By Glenn Mollette
Iraq - now we know where hell is. Hell is supposed to be a place of torment reserved for some people after death. Unfortunately, too many have ended up there before they died. Is there no end to the turmoil in Iraq and Afghanistan? We will never see peace and quiet in either of these two countries. Hell never ends.
The religious factions of these countries hate each other. They want to kill each other. These factions are crazy. America is killing itself and our troops trying to fix crazy religious people. The only thing worse than a crazy person is a religious crazy person because they invoke the name of God or Allah or somebody during every crucifixion or beheading they perform. As they torture, murder and rape they move on in the name of their religion.
Some Americans thought we were finished in Iraq. When it comes to Iraq or the Middle East there is never a period but always a comma. Craziness does not end but only grows.
The only way to have some civility in Iraq or Afghanistan is to station 30,000 soldiers in five or six bases throughout each country. We can be assured if we do there will never be a time that our soldiers will not be in danger of ambush, bombs or the native soldiers turning on us as has happened numerous times. I think this is a bad idea.
Most Americans did not want us to go to Iraq or Afghanistan but we did. Over four thousand troops have died fighting the Iraqi cause. Where did all of that death get us? What do Iraq or America have to show for it?
The same scenario will happen in Afghanistan. Thugs sometimes called the Taliban will band together to steal, kill and retake any part of the country that surrenders to them as played out in Iraq recently.
Do we keep 30,000 troops in Afghanistan to help them police their country and continue to lose our American troops? Physically, emotionally and financially we can't keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan or send thousands back to Iraq.
There is no ending to this boiling pot of the world. Turbulence in the Middle East will never stop. In recent months we could have justified sending troops to Syria as well and then we could be in three countries.
How thin can we spread our soldiers, as well as stretch our American dollars? Hell is a hot place and we will never extinguish the fire.
Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author. Contact him at GMollette@aol.com.
With the recent graduation of the Class of 2014, and my upcoming LCHS Class of 1984 reunion, I think back to that day, 30 years ago, when I and my classmates walked across that same stage, getting ready to enter the next chapter of our lives.
Just like the 2014 class, we had hopes, dreams, and lots of plans. We were filled with excitement and confidence, ready to face the world, and embrace life and all it had to offer...the good part, that is.
We really didn't think about reality and the downside of life. At that age, a person just can't comprehend how complicated their life can and will get, and of course no one can predict the future, which is a good thing, I guess.
Like all the graduates before and after us, we looked forward to accomplishments, college, working, living on our own, careers, travel, opportunities, relationships, meeting new people, moving to new locations, marriage, children, new experiences, adventures, and achieving our goals.
There was no way we could prepare ourselves for the disappointments and heartbreak, divorces, break ups, financial burdens, loss of jobs, death of parents, death of children, lost opportunities, caring for aging parents, raising children, health problems, growing old, falling short of our expectations, and the incredible stress and hardships that we have to endure.
I don't mean to sound discouraging, I just want these young people to know that it doesn't matter how much we plan and map out our lives, God has his own plan for us.
There is always going to be things we didn't plan for, major disruptions, and things we didn't see coming. It's inevitable, it's the one thing you can count on.
How we respond determines our ability to get through the rest of our life. Every one of us makes mistakes, poor choices, and bad judgement. All we can do is our best, and what we think is right at the time. Sometimes, it turns out wrong, but we move on.
Sometimes it turns out right, and we move on.
Catrina Vargo, Class of '84If the 48 year old me could give advice to the 18 year old me, I would say always expect the unexpected, and don't waste any time because one day you will wake up to being 40 years old, wondering how that happened.
Also, to the Class of 2014, the Class of 1984, and everyone else: Don't compare yourself to anyone. You may look at someone and think their life is perfect from all outward appearances, but it's not. No one is perfect and no one's life is perfect. Don't beat yourself up for your mistakes. Turn them into learning experiences.
Most of all, trust God. He is the other thing you can always count on.
Good luck Class of 2014! I wish you all the best, and ask that you listen to us old(er) people. We really are a valuable resource because we have already been through what you are going to go through. We have traveled the graveled rocky road and want to see you take the paved road. Maybe, if you ask us about something, we could help you. Think of us as a search engine, only better, for we have what the internet doesn't....experience and love.
To the Class of 1984: Wow! Can you believe it's been 30 years since we left LCHS?! What a journey it has been. If we had only known that evening in May, how our lives would turn out, what would we have done different, what would we have done the same?
Thirty years from now, the Class of 2014 will be asking those same questions, and so it goes, as time marches on....
I wish I had been a better father. I wonder if anybody else has felt this way?
It seems like yesterday that my two beautiful sons Jared and Zachary were only small children. What happened to those days when we played in the yard, swam,or just spent time together? The days of telling silly nighttime stories, tucking them in bed and just hanging out flew by faster than a breath of air on a frosty day. If I could reach back and pull a few of those days back to the present I would stop the clock and savor every moment of those beautiful childhood years.
I've heard that fathers on their deathbeds do not wish they had spent more time at the office. Most fathers do regret not spending more time with their families.
We get preoccupied as dads. I've heard great spiritual leaders like Billy Graham and Charles Stanley talk about being totally preoccupied and consumed with their speaking, writing and vocational interests to the point that they knew they had neglected their families.
It's not easy being a dad. We know we have to bring payroll into the house, keep a roof over the family and try to keep the family fed. In and around those daily duties there are the desires to give to your children. We want them to do well in school and enjoy music and sports. Dads want to provide vacations, an occasional fun weekend, and comforts to the family. Often the stresses of work, personal goals and life's problems make dad's life a juggling act.
Most every dad feels the pride of fatherhood. I was right "there" when both of my sons were born. I leaped for joy on both of those occasions. I have leaped many times since. My two sons are now in the military. My oldest has served almost eleven years and my youngest is starting his fourth year. I am very proud of them both. While I can't go back and try to be all that I wish I had been for my kids I can keep trying today. I never miss a chance to hug and kiss them and tell them how much I love them. More than ever I want to spend quality time with them but now the time is relegated to a few days a year.
In the remaining years of my fatherhood I want them to know I am on their side. I am their father regardless of what comes their way. I am here to help if I possibly can but will always encourage their independence and personal goal setting. I want them to be happy and fulfilled. I know time is passing.
My dad passed on several years ago. He lived to be eighty-five. However, life was quick and the time we had together seems like a vapor, here for a moment and then gone.
Dads, today, before the vapor of life is gone, do the most important thing that you can do for your children - spend time with them.
Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author. Contact him at GMollette@aol.com.
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