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Congressman Kennedy Reports (Trip to Iraq)
Power Line ^ | November 23, 2005 | John Hinderaker

Posted on 11/23/2005 6:42:09 AM PST by yoe

My Congressman, Col. John Kline, has just led a delegation to Iraq that included Minnesota Congressman Mark Kennedy. I think we'll be hearing from John soon, but in the meantime, Mark has sent us his impressions of the trip, recorded contemporaneously:

The Right Headline The headline on Sunday, Nov. 20 edition of the military newspaper “Stars and Stripes," Mid-East Edition, was: “Amid debate, Bush vows ‘complete victory’ in Iraq. House overwhelmingly rejects immediate troop pullout.” That is exactly what our troops needed to and wanted to hear. I spent the day reinforcing the message with our troops that America stands behind them in the great work they are doing bringing freedom to Iraq and keeping America secure.

What a difference a year makes..... We began our visit to Iraq with a briefing from General George Casey, Commander of Military Operations in Iraq, at his office in the Al Faw Palace in Camp Victory, near Baghdad. I told him that since I was briefed by him in that same office in August, 2004, dramatic progress had been made. This is my third annual trip to Iraq. I visit Iraq every year to thank our troops for their brave service and sacrifice, and find out what we can do to help them get the job done and come home safely, to see first hand conditions on the ground, and also to benchmark progress. Progress was clear.

In August, 2004, we landed at a military-controlled Baghdad International Airport controlled in a cork screw pattern to avoid being fired at. This time we landed straight on at that same airport, which is now under civilian control, and has not experienced an attack for a year. As we flew on Blackhawk helicopters over Baghdad this year, I saw school yards filled with young students and streets throughout the city choked with traffic.

Last visit, General Petraeus introduced us to the first Iraq battalion to graduate from the then new Iraqi Military Academy the day after they engaged the enemy for the first time. Today, 40 Iraqi battalions (750 men each) can take the lead and Lt. General Dempsey said that nearly 100,000 more Iraqi Security Forces will be on hand for December’s elections than were on hand for January’s election. Since August 2004, the Iraqi people gave the terrorists an ink stained finger as they voted in January with a high turnout among all voters, including Sunnis, and approved a constitution last month. On December 15, they elect a permanent government under that constitution. In August 2004, we had to fly in and out of Iraq every day, this year we spent the evening in Baghdad. General Casey said that day by day, progress is not always easy to see. I told him that year by year, thanks to the great work of America’s military and Foreign Service, it is evident and remarkable.

Surreal
As we were being briefed by General George Casey, Commander of Military Operations in Iraq, at his office in the Al Faw Palace in Camp Victory, near Baghdad, we could see FOX news on big screen TV in the background. As we were there to carry a message of support from the American People, on the TV flashed images of our Congressional debate just hours before on a resolution dealing with whether to pull out of Iraq. Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) was shown calling Rep. Adam Putman (R-FL) a ‘howdy dowdy nimrod,” but it didn’t stop there. The highlight was when Rep. Sodrel (R-IN) watched from Baghdad his image on TV pressing his fingers against his temples as Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) lambasted him. Unfortunately, the debate was less about the substance of our Iraqi policy or how to win the War on Terror, but more just the unleashing of anger. And as General Casey said, “the vitriolic” worries the Iraqis about our commitment. Luckily, pulling out of Iraq immediately was rejected almost unanimously. Yes, we still face challenges, but progress is dramatic, the stakes are so high, those who take risks to stand with us in advancing freedom must know we will not cut and run and the troops must know that we stand with them.

Training Wheels
Significant progress is being made in standing up Iraqi Security Forces. It is a three step process: 1) Training Iraqis, 2) embedding a Coalition Transition Team and 3) Partnering them with a Coalition Force. Handover of areas of operations to Iraqi forces continues apace, with 2/3 of Iraqi Brigades being able to take the lead in counter-insurgency operations by next June and 80% of the Divisions able to by the end of 2006. But continued training on the job with Coalition forces is critical.

As General Dempsey says, we want the process to go 75 mph, but the limit on Iraqis' ability to absorb, balanced with a sincere effort to avoid the Iraqi’s becoming dependent on Americans, means we need to go forward at 35 mph. Dempsey says any further rush would be like giving Iraqis a bass boat with a fancy fish finder, when what they really need is to be taught how to fish. Not only is the magnitude of the training program impressive, led in part by NATO, but efforts to help develop their logistics and Defense Ministry function will increasingly allow Iraqis to defend Iraq with, assuming continued progress on the political and training fronts, as General Dempsey described, a “progressive and gradual reduction in American forces over time.”

Al Qaeda in Retreat
American commanders say that we have never been better positioned against Al Qaeda in Iraq, not just because of the victories we are achieving cutting off their supply lines along the Euphrates River with Operation Steel Curtain, but because of their recent attacks turning the Iraqi people against them. Recent Al Qaeda attacks against everyday Iraqis – Sunni and Shia alike, the Zawahiri letter to Zarqawi, capped off with the Amman, Jordan bombing have undermined their support.

Saddam on Trial
U.S. liaison to the trial of Saddam said that it was important for the Iraqi people to create a record of the atrocities that Saddam inflicted on his people and to ensure justice is done by holding the perpetrators to account. He said that if you asked an Iraqi, who in their family was one of the 300,000 still missing, or was held without trial, tortured or killed by Saddam, “a cousin would be as far away as they get.” One of the cases brought against Saddam was 135 women and children holding their toys, each with a small arms bullet to their head, lying side by side in a mass grave. It is inconceivable to me that some would say that we should not have overthrown this brutal tyrant and have let this suffering go on.
Congressman Mark Kennedy

Mark is a good friend and a solid conservative. His unswerving support for our soldiers, sailors and Marines in the field, and his unwavering commitment to victory in the war on terror, remind us how important next year's elections will be. He is also one of the leading supporters of freedom of speech on the internet and elsewhere.

A year from now, Mark will be running for an open Minnesota Senate seat. Exchanging the feckless Mark Dayton for Mark Kennedy would be a huge upgrade in the Senate. And Mark will almost certainly be running against a left-liberal Democrat in the Dayton mold. Please consider giving him your financial support in the months to come.


TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Breaking News; Canada; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; US: Minnesota; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 109th; blogsarentbreaking; iraq; markkennedy; notbreakingnews; personalaccount; success; threadthatwontdie; zot
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1 posted on 11/23/2005 6:42:10 AM PST by yoe
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To: yoe
Simply amazing how hate filled and mentally unbalanced the Democrat Party Congressional Delegation is. This stooges belong in a mental ward, not the US Congress.
2 posted on 11/23/2005 6:46:41 AM PST by MNJohnnie (Cowards cut and run, Marines never do" Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (Rep-Ohio))
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To: Dog; Cap Huff

FYI


3 posted on 11/23/2005 6:52:49 AM PST by Coop (FR = a lotta talk, but little action)
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To: MNJohnnie

This stooges belong in a mental ward, not the US Congress.
---
No, they belong in PRISON for thier treason.


4 posted on 11/23/2005 7:00:18 AM PST by EagleUSA
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To: MNJohnnie

Did I miss something? This guy is a Republican.


5 posted on 11/23/2005 7:01:35 AM PST by digger48
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To: digger48

Everone knows Kennedys aren't Republicans.

; )


6 posted on 11/23/2005 7:05:11 AM PST by SmithL (There are a lot of people that hate Bush more than they hate terrorists)
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To: digger48
In reading the article I am struck by how hate filled and mentally unbalanced the Democrat Party Congressional Delegation acted during the Iraq debate. These stooges belong in a mental ward, not the US Congress

There I fixed my earlier statement. Got to remember proof reading is my freind. :-)

7 posted on 11/23/2005 7:05:33 AM PST by MNJohnnie (Cowards cut and run, Marines never do" Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (Rep-Ohio))
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To: MNJohnnie
Great letter, thank you.
8 posted on 11/23/2005 7:07:05 AM PST by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: SmithL

This one is.


9 posted on 11/23/2005 7:07:24 AM PST by digger48
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To: MNJohnnie

I thought you might have left something out.

I always enjoy seeing Dayton speak. He just needs to clip the microphone to his back pocket on his pants, cause he's always talking outta his @ss.


10 posted on 11/23/2005 7:10:47 AM PST by digger48
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To: digger48

Sounds pretty up-beat to me - why all the vitriol?


11 posted on 11/23/2005 7:17:16 AM PST by yoe
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To: yoe

Something about that 'Kennedy' name.

Makes ones Blood Pressure go up 20 points just seeing the name.

I can't think of any Kennedy, regardless of their relationship to the buck-toothed bootleggers, who has worked out well for this country.

Hope this one breaks the trend.


12 posted on 11/23/2005 7:26:40 AM PST by digger48
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To: Carry_Okie
Exactly. Great letter. It sounds like the enemy is on the ropes. But I suspect the islamos will take a play out of the Vietnam play book. Make some big show of an attack like Tet 68 to let the MSM broadcast "there's no light at the end of the tunnel". When you corner any creature it will come out kicking and scratching. I hope our planners are ready to counter this and any media hype should it occur. Great news though from the front.
13 posted on 11/23/2005 7:33:52 AM PST by rip033 (.)
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To: yoe

"Amid debate, Bush vows ‘complete victory’ in Iraq. House overwhelmingly rejects immediate troop pullout.” That is exactly what our troops needed to and wanted to hear."

The Democrats were really stupid to vote that way and then cry foul over the vote - when we have divisions in out country we need to make it clear those situations where the divisions do not apply - like opposing Al Qaueada, supporting our troops in the field, helping (within reason) disaster victims etc.

It would be nice if that list were longer and included things like smaller government and lower taxes but we should at least present a united front to the enemy while our troops are at risk.


14 posted on 11/23/2005 7:39:09 AM PST by gondramB
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To: rip033
Make some big show of an attack like Tet 68 to let the MSM broadcast "there's no light at the end of the tunnel".

We didn't have the Internet or blogs in 1968. The MSM has lost a lot of traction.

15 posted on 11/23/2005 7:54:29 AM PST by angkor
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To: yoe

I really wish that Kline had decided to make the run. We need more folks in the senate who were man enough to wear the uniform, not just talk about it: be & do.


16 posted on 11/23/2005 8:00:32 AM PST by Meldrim
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***

Some are mistaking this Kennedy for Ted the Democrat.
This is Mark Kennedy, a conservatove Republican.


17 posted on 11/23/2005 8:11:26 AM PST by No Blue States
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To: digger48

This Kennedy is a home grown Minnesotan. There is no relationship to the mASSachusetts kennedy's.


18 posted on 11/23/2005 8:15:56 AM PST by MattMa ("Void of ideas, driven by hate, vote the Democratic Party in 2008")
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To: Meldrim

Yeah, guys like Murtha


19 posted on 11/23/2005 8:18:33 AM PST by bybybill (GOD help us if the Rats win)
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To: yoe
This time we landed straight on at that same airport, which is now under civilian control, and has not experienced an attack for a year. As we flew on Blackhawk helicopters over Baghdad this year, I saw school yards filled with young students and streets throughout the city choked with traffic.

BTTT

20 posted on 11/23/2005 8:23:59 AM PST by No Blue States
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To: yoe
One of the cases brought against Saddam was 135 women and children holding their toys, each with a small arms bullet to their head, lying side by side in a mass grave. It is inconceivable to me that some would say that we should not have overthrown this brutal tyrant and have let this suffering go on. Congressman Mark Kennedy

Saddam is a sick SOB and I look forward to his execution.

21 posted on 11/23/2005 8:24:55 AM PST by No Blue States
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To: bybybill

Never thought I would vote for a Kennedy. This one almost makes me want to move to Minnesota.


22 posted on 11/23/2005 8:25:31 AM PST by stocksthatgoup (Polls = Proof that when the MSM want your opinion it will give it to you.)
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To: digger48

If we're lucky, he might take Evacuatin' Dayton's Senate seat. Though I wish Kline would have run.


23 posted on 11/23/2005 8:33:47 AM PST by Colonel_Flagg (Inertia: It's not just for breakfast anymore.)
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To: Molly Pitcher; Mo1; Peach; Bahbah; saveliberty; tiredoflaundry; Txsleuth; AliVeritas; Tony Snow; ...

F-I-L ammo ping Molly.

Great article ping!!


24 posted on 11/23/2005 8:34:58 AM PST by prairiebreeze (Take the high road. You'll never have to meet a Democrat.)
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To: yoe

I almost had heart failure. For a momemnt I thought that T. Kennedy had gone to Iraq. They won't let him in because he reeks of alcohol. And, he can't get any there unless he brings it or drinks their date wine that will probably blind him.


25 posted on 11/23/2005 8:37:35 AM PST by Doc91678 (Doc91678)
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To: yoe

I almost had heart failure. For a moment I thought that T. Kennedy had gone to Iraq. They won't let him in because he reeks of alcohol. And, he can't get any there unless he brings it or drinks their date wine that will probably blind him.


26 posted on 11/23/2005 8:38:25 AM PST by Doc91678 (Doc91678)
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To: yoe

Damn! I though Teddy K. was going to go see how much the troops would love to have a little "chat".


27 posted on 11/23/2005 8:44:37 AM PST by RasterMaster ("Bin Laden shows others the road to Paradise, but never offers to go along for the ride." GWB)
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To: bybybill

You bet: guys on both sides that can speak about the military with some credibility. As opposed to those who sat on the sidelines and let others serve.


28 posted on 11/23/2005 8:47:06 AM PST by Meldrim
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To: MNJohnnie
mental ward, not the US Congress

More like PRISON...for treason...

29 posted on 11/23/2005 8:49:30 AM PST by shield (The Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God!!!! by Dr. H. Ross, Astrophysicist)
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To: Txsleuth; prairiebreeze

More Congressmen visiting Iraq.

I read an article today by an Iraqi who was FORCED to join the jihadists or they threatened to shoot his family. When sent on a mission, the Iraqi saw some children nearby and refused to shoot and the jihadists shot the guy in the stomach. He survived to tell the story of how AQ and jihadists are trying to coerce good people into their own evil deeds.


30 posted on 11/23/2005 8:50:16 AM PST by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: prairiebreeze

:-) Thanks for the ping!


31 posted on 11/23/2005 8:52:45 AM PST by saveliberty (Conservativism - the commitment to live within your own means and to take care of yourself & family)
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To: Republic; Miss Marple
The highlight was when Rep. Sodrel (R-IN) watched from Baghdad his image on TV pressing his fingers against his temples as Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) lambasted him.

Only wish that he had used one finger.....

32 posted on 11/23/2005 9:06:14 AM PST by hoosiermama
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To: digger48; MNJohnnie

digger, I will remember that line!!
MN, thank you so much for posting this, I'm passing it on!!!!!!!!!!


33 posted on 11/23/2005 9:11:23 AM PST by freema (Proud Marine Mom)
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To: yoe

A good news bump


34 posted on 11/23/2005 9:27:28 AM PST by Irish Eyes
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To: Flora McDonald; jan in Colorado; La Enchiladita; Gipper08; trooprally
Must read - "We're Winning"
35 posted on 11/23/2005 9:49:08 AM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! WBB lives on. Beware the Enemedia.)
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To: Justanobody; USF; Fred Nerks
"Amid debate, Bush vows ‘complete victory’ in Iraq. House overwhelmingly rejects immediate troop pullout.” That is exactly what our troops needed to and wanted to hear. I spent the day reinforcing the message with our troops that America stands behind them in the great work they are doing bringing freedom to Iraq and keeping America secure."

God Bless our Troops and our President!

36 posted on 11/23/2005 10:01:28 AM PST by jan in Colorado (The ENEMEDIA will do all it can to spread a lie and conceal the Truth!)
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To: jan in Colorado
I just knew you would like this one!!

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to our awesome Troops and their Commander-in-Chief!!

37 posted on 11/23/2005 10:07:01 AM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! WBB lives on. Beware the Enemedia.)
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To: MNJohnnie
You are correct, however, unfortunately, there are at least 56 million of their Kerry voting constituents out there in the Free Republic. Socialists all.
38 posted on 11/23/2005 10:10:41 AM PST by RetiredArmy (I have no faith in any politician or political party any more. They all lie for their agendas.)
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To: Justanobody
You are correct!

The good news is here...what a shame that we have to work so hard to find it!

Shame on the media...shame on their lies...shame on their routing for the enemy...just SHAME on them!

39 posted on 11/23/2005 10:25:44 AM PST by jan in Colorado (The ENEMEDIA will do all it can to spread a lie and conceal the Truth!)
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To: jan in Colorado

No schooling today?!!? WooHoo! ;*)


40 posted on 11/23/2005 10:27:41 AM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! WBB lives on. Beware the Enemedia.)
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To: Justanobody

Hey...moms need a day off from school once in a while too! ;o)


41 posted on 11/23/2005 10:33:56 AM PST by jan in Colorado (The ENEMEDIA will do all it can to spread a lie and conceal the Truth!)
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To: yoe
What a difference a year makes..... We began our visit to Iraq with a briefing from General George Casey, Commander of Military Operations in Iraq, at his office in the Al Faw Palace in Camp Victory, near Baghdad. I told him that since I was briefed by him in that same office in August, 2004, dramatic progress had been made. This is my third annual trip to Iraq. I visit Iraq every year to thank our troops for their brave service and sacrifice, and find out what we can do to help them get the job done and come home safely, to see first hand conditions on the ground, and also to benchmark progress. Progress was clear. In August, 2004, we landed at a military-controlled Baghdad International Airport controlled in a cork screw pattern to avoid being fired at. This time we landed straight on at that same airport, which is now under civilian control, and has not experienced an attack for a year. As we flew on Blackhawk helicopters over Baghdad this year, I saw school yards filled with young students and streets throughout the city choked with traffic.

How can this be? Murtha told us things were getting worse.

42 posted on 11/23/2005 11:00:01 AM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: Justanobody

Thanks!!!!


43 posted on 11/23/2005 11:22:18 AM PST by Gipper08 (Mike Pence in 2008)
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To: MikeinIraq

'You've done good' ping. :)


44 posted on 11/23/2005 12:10:22 PM PST by Ultra Sonic 007 (We DARE Defend Our Rights [Alabama State Motto])
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To: yoe

BTTT!


45 posted on 11/23/2005 12:37:55 PM PST by hawkaw
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To: yoe

I cannot believe this scumbag Kennedy got reelected to Congress despite his assault of a Federal airport screener in 2002.


46 posted on 11/23/2005 1:51:30 PM PST by montag813
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To: MattMa
This Kennedy is a home grown Minnesotan. There is no relationship to the mASSachusetts kennedy's.

After I reread my post I guess it looked like I thought he was part of that family of leeches. I was sure he wasn't.

That's about as much of an insult as you can get! Apologies to the Congressman.

47 posted on 11/23/2005 2:23:50 PM PST by digger48
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To: yoe
Good to hear!

Thanks for the posting...

48 posted on 11/23/2005 2:35:19 PM PST by DBeers ()
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To: montag813

I think you got the wrong Kennedy in mind...


49 posted on 11/23/2005 2:36:24 PM PST by DBeers ()
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To: jan in Colorado
Thats one thing I admire about the man.. he makes his mind up and sticks to it, even when everything around him descends into madness.

I'm reminded of those lines from Kiplings poem:

If you can keep can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies
Or being hated, don't give way to hating
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise
Then you are a man, my son.

50 posted on 11/23/2005 4:14:22 PM PST by USF (I see your Jihad and raise you a Crusade )
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