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From:WPROUTY@aol.com
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004 10:21:06 EDT
Subject: Essays on Excellence #419
To:Benefits2001JnT@aol.com
Good Morning Freedom Fighters and Truth Seekers,

My sincerest thanks to Major Butler.  I grew up in Des Moines and my time in Viet Nam reflected the same kind of feelings that  he expresses about what he is finding in Iraq.  My time in Viet Nam was at the height of the anti-war pressure that we are seeing again.  The tragic part is that the anti-war protestors of the late 60s are the now the leaders of the Socialist and Democrat parties today.  They are influencing the young to condem our efforts to bring Freedom and Liberty to the over 50 million citizen of Afganistan and Iraq.  Freedom is far from free and the heros of this war are the citizen soldiers and Freedom Fighters like those of you reading these essays who stand tall and firm about accepting our duty and responsibility to help others throw off the shakles of tyranny and terrorism.

Hope you will take a few minutes today and every day to lift up in prayer the members of our Armed Forces and those in positions of leadership and power who are fighting the cancer of terrorism, illiteracy and ignorance.


New York Times
August 23, 2004 
Over Najaf, Fighting For Des Moines
By Glen G. Butler

Najaf, Iraq — I'm an average American who grew up watching "Brady Bunch" reruns, playing dodge ball and listening to Van Halen. I love the Longhorns and the Eagles. I'm you; your neighbor; the kid you used to go sledding with but who took a different career path in college.

Now, I'm a Marine helicopter pilot who has spent the last two weeks heavily engaged with enemy forces here. I'm writing this between missions, without much time or care to polish, so please look to the heart of these thoughts and not their structure.
I got in country a little more than a month ago, eager to do my part here for the global war on terror and still get home in one piece. I'm a mid-grade officer, so I probably have a better-than-average understanding of the complexity of the situation, but I make no claims to see the bigger picture or offer any strategic solutions. Two years of my military training were spent in Quantico, Va., classrooms. I've read Sun Tzu several times; I've flipped through Mao's Little Red Book and debated over Thucydides; I've analyzed Henry Kissinger's "Diplomacy" and Clausewitz's "On War"; and I've walked the battlefields of Antietam, Belleau Wood, Majuba and Isandlwana. I've also studied a little about the culture I'm deep in the middle of, know a bit about the caliph, about the five pillars and about Allah, but know I don't know enough.

I am also a believer in our cause - I put that up front just so there isn't any question of my motivation.
We marines are proudly apolitical, yet stereotypically right-wing conservative. I'm both. And I'd be here with my fellow devildogs, fighting just as hard, whether John Kerry or George W. Bush or Ralph Nader were our commander-in-chief, until we're told to go home. The other day I attended a memorial service for an old acquaintance, Lt. Col. David (Rhino) Greene. He was killed July 28 while flying his AH-1W Cobra over the eastern edge of Ramadi. His squadron was composed of reservists: "old guys" like me who had been around a little while. But unlike me, these guys had gotten out of active duty to pursue other careers and spend more time with their families. Now, they were leading the charge against the Iraqi insurgency. The night after the service, I sat around in an impromptu gathering of $10 beach chairs in the sand, watching the sunset and smoking some of Rhino's cigars with friends I hadn't seen in almost a decade. I listened in awe as they told me about their Falluja April, about how they had all cheated death, been shot down, again and again. We talked about the war, pretending to know all the answers, and we traded stories about home, bragged about our wives and kids. We also talked about the magic bullet that ended Rhino's life.

It could have been shot by a sniper who had slipped in over the Iranian border, or maybe it came from the AK-47 of a rebellious Iraqi teenager who viewed shooting at Yankee helicopters the same way mischievous American kids might view throwing rocks at cars. No matter, the single round pierced his neck, and within seconds a good man was dead, leaving his wife a widow and his two children fatherless. I won't soon forget that day, but it was quickly overshadowed by events to come, as I was thrust into the heat of battle in my own little slice of Mesopotamia.


On Aug. 5, after a few days of building intensity, war erupted in Najaf (again). When we had first come to Iraq, we were told our mission would be to conduct so-called SASO, or Security and Stability Operations, and to train the Iraqi military and police to do their jobs so we could go home. Obviously, the security part of SASO is still the emphasis, but our unit's area of operations had been very quiet for months, so most of us weren't expecting a fight so soon. That changed rapidly when marines responded to requests for assistance from the Iraqi forces in Najaf battling Moktada al-Sadr's militia, who had attacked local police stations. Our helicopters were called on the scene to provide close air support, and soon one of them was shot down. That was when this war became real for me. Since then my squadron has been providing continuous support for our engaged Marine brothers on the ground, by this point slugging it out hand-to-hand in the city's ancient Muslim cemetery. The Imam Ali shrine in Najaf is the burial place of the prophet Muhammad's son-in-law, and is one of the most revered sites in Shiite Islam. The cemetery to its north is gigantic, filled with New Orleans-style crypts and mausoleums. We had been warned it was an "exclusion zone" when we got here, that the local authorities had asked us to not go in there or fly overhead, even though we knew the bad guys were using this area to hide weapons, make improvised explosive devices, and plan against us. Being the culturally sensitive force we are, we agreed - until Aug. 5. Suddenly, I was conducting support missions over the marines' heads in the graveyard, dodging anti-aircraft artillery and rocket-propelled grenades and preparing to be shot down, too. My perspective broadened rapidly.

At first there were no news media in Najaf; now, I assume, it's getting crowded, although the authorities have restricted access after a group of journalists "embedded" with the Mahdi Militia muddied the problem and jeopardized others' safety. I haven't had time to catch much CNN or Fox News, and although I've seen a few headlines forwarded to me by friends, I don't think the world is seeing the complete picture. I want to emphasize that our military is using every means possible to minimize damage to historical, religious and civilian structures, and is going out of its way to protect the innocent. I have not shot one round without good cause, whether it be in response to machine gun fire aimed at me or mortars shot at soldiers and marines on the ground. The battle has been surreal, focused largely in the cemetery, where families continue burying their dead even as I swoop in low overhead to make sure they aren't sneaking in behind our forces' flanks, or pulling a surface-to-air missile out of the coffin. Children continue playing soccer in the dirt fields next door, and locals wave to us as we fly over their rooftops in preparation for gun runs into the enemy's positions. Sure, some of those people might be waving just to make sure we don't shoot them, but I think the majority are on our side. I've learned that this enemy is not just a mass of angry Iraqis who want us to leave their country, as some would have you believe. The forces we're fighting around Iraq are a conglomeration of renegade Shiites, former Baathists, Iranians, Syrians, terrorists with ties to Ansar al-Islam and Al Qaeda, petty criminals, destitute citizens looking for excitement or money, and yes, even a few frustrated Iraqis who worry about Wal-Mart culture infringing on their neighborhood.

But I see the others who are on our side, appreciate us risking our lives, and know we're in the right. The Iraqi soldiers who are fighting alongside us are motivated to take their country back. I've not been deluded into thinking that we came here to free the Iraqis. That is indeed the icing on the cake, but I came here to prevent the still active "grave and gathering threat" from congealing into something we wouldn't be able to stop. Weapons of mass destruction or no, I'm glad that we ended the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

My brother and other American jet pilots risked their lives for years patrolling the "no fly zone" (and occasionally making page A-12 in the newspaper if they dropped a bomb on a threatening missile battery). The former dictator's attempt to assassinate George H. W. Bush, use of chemical weapons on his own people, and invasion of a neighboring country are just a few of the other reasons I believe we should have acted sooner. He eventually would have had the means to cause America great harm - no doubt in my mind.
The pre-emptive doctrine of the current administration will continue to be debated long after I'm gone, but one fact stands for itself: America has not been hit with another catastrophic attack since 9/11. I firmly believe that our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq are major reasons that we've had it so good at home.

Building a "fortress America" is not only impractical, it's impossible. Prudent homeland security measures are vital, to be sure, but attacking the source of the threat remains essential.
Now we are on the verge of victory or defeat in Iraq. Success depends not only on battlefield superiority, but also on the trust and confidence of the American people. I've read some articles recently that call for cutting back our military presence in Iraq and moving our troops to the peripheries of most cities. Such advice is well-intentioned but wrong - it would soon lead to a total withdrawal. Our goal needs to be a safe Iraq, free of militias and terrorists; if we simply pull back and run, then the region will pose an even greater threat than it did before the invasion. I also fear if we do not win this battle here and now, my 7-year-old son might find himself here in 10 or 11 years, fighting the same enemies and their sons.

When critics of the war say their advocacy is on behalf of those of us risking our lives here, it's a type of false patriotism. I believe that when Americans say they "support our troops," it should include supporting our mission, not just sending us care packages. They don't have to believe in the cause as I do; but they should not denigrate it. That only aids the enemy in defeating us strategically. Michael Moore recently asked Bill O'Reilly if he would sacrifice his son for Falluja. A clever rhetorical device, but it's the wrong question: this war is about Des Moines, not Falluja. This country is breeding and attracting militants who are all eager to grab box cutters, dirty bombs, suicide vests or biological weapons, and then come fight us in Chicago, Santa Monica or Long Island. Falluja, in fact, was very close to becoming a city our forces could have controlled, and then given new schools and sewers and hospitals, before we pulled back in the spring. Now, essentially ignored, it has become a Taliban-like state of Islamic extremism, a terrorist safe haven. We must not let the same fate befall Najaf or Ramadi or the rest of Iraq. No, I would not sacrifice myself, my parents would not sacrifice me, and President Bush would not sacrifice a single marine or soldier simply for Falluja. Rather, that symbolic city is but one step toward a free and democratic Iraq, which is one step closer to a more safe and secure America. I miss my family, my friends and my country, but right now there is nowhere else I'd rather be. I am a United States Marine.

Glen G. Butler is a major in the Marines.


Positive Emotions Are The Key To Life
by Brian Tracy


Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area. 

Your Main Energy Source 


Here’s the important point. Positive emotions give you energy, while negative emotions deplete your energy. When you are excited and happy and are interacting with people you love and enjoy, you sparkle with energy and enthusiasm. When you are angry or depressed, or negative for any reason, you feel tired and frustrated and, eventually, burned out. 

You Burn A Lot of Energy 


It takes 1,000 units of physical energy to operate your body and you do not do physical labor, that physical energy can be refined in your body to produce 100 units of emotional energy. 
Emotional energy is a far more refined form of energy, and it is absolutely essential to healthy emotional functioning. 

Creating Mental Energy 
If you do not consume all your energy units in the _expression of negative emotions, such as fear, doubt, anger, and resentment, your emotional energies are conserved. If your energy is conserved at one level, your body continues to refine it into higher and better energy. 100 units of emotional energy thus conserved will be refined by your body into 10 units of mental energy. 

Anger Is A Killer 

You’ve probably heard someone described as “shaking with anger.” When a person is shaking with anger, it is an indication that he has burned up the glucose or sugar-based energy in his system, and he is actually weak from his angry outburst. 

Don’t Take Things Personally 

They stand back and refuse to take things personally. They do not allow themselves to get drawn into arguments or other people’s problems. They save their energy for more productive purposes. The whole purpose of physical relaxation is to allow yourself to recharge your emotional and mental batteries. You don’t engage in physical relaxation so much to relax your physical body because it’s likely you don’t work that hard with your body. The aim of rest and relaxation is more to build up your mental and emotional energies and thereby improve the overall quality of your life. 

Keep Yourself Calm 

Another characteristic of very successful people is that they keep themselves calm much longer than the average person does. They are more relaxed, more genial, and more in control of their emotions. They are very aware that expressions of negative emotion deprive them of the energy they need to be effective in the more important things they do. They don’t allow themselves to become upset or angry over little things, or even over large things. They remain objective and detached. 

Action Exercises

Here are three things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action: 

First, keep your thoughts on your dreams and goals, and keep them off of the things and people that cause you stress and negative emotions. This is not easy, but it’s very important. 

Second, preserve your emotional energy by staying calm and positive in difficult situations rather than allowing yourself to be upset or angry. 

Third, take ample time to rest completely so you can recharge your physical and emotional batteries. The better rested you are, the more effective you will be.


Choosing Beauty © 2002
by Julie Jordan Scott

After climbing what seemed like an unfathomable number of
granite stairs that rose high along Moro Rock in Sequoia
National Forest, Margot turned a significant corner.  Looking
forward, she gasped. She committed to complete her journey
one step at a time.   Margot was rewarded with a vision of
breathtaking natural beauty.

With sore muscles from lifting and straining and a much lighter
bank account, John settled into the leather sofa in his spacious
living room.  He sat in front of the window with the incredible
view.  Contentment filled his veins, literally flowing into each
cell of his body.  Satisfied, new home owner beauty.

The last three months had dragged on more slowly that an
inchworm making its way across the country from East to West.
The last three hours had been more painful that she ever could
have imagined.  The last three minutes had been nothing short
of miraculous.  Eye contact for the very first time.  Incredible
newborn beauty.

Take a moment to connect and reflect upon three of your most
recent experiences of beauty. 

Do you recall them with all your senses?

Close your eyes and focus inwardly.  Experience the beauty
again, from a fresh new perspective.

What would it take to experience such beauty in each moment
of each day?

Looking to our examples there is a distinct pattern.

#1)  Choose to focus on the beauty rather than on the
less-than-beautiful.

#2) Commit to the journey towards beauty, even when
there are flashes of hopelessness amidst the positive.

#3) Take continual, congruent action to your choices
and your commitment to experience  beauty each day.

Rachel Louise Carlson, American Naturalist, said "Those who
contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that
will endure as long as life lasts."  By observing beauty in your
life, you naturally attract even more beauty.  You will strengthen
your  heart and cleanse your spirit.

Passion Activator: Take some time to consider what steps you will
take to integrate this simple process of recognizing beauty in
your life.   Decide to embrace and invite the beauty around and
within you to flourish.  Then live your life accordingly.

All encompassing beauty.


ACCEPT NO LIMITS
by Vic Johnson
(excerpted from Day by Day with James Allen)

"A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses."
-- James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

You are not limited to the life you now live. It has been accepted by you as the
best you can do at this moment. Any time you're ready to go beyond the
limitations currently in your life, you're capable of doing that by choosing
different thoughts.

We each earn the income we do today because that is the amount we have limited
ourselves to earn. We could easily earn 5, 10, 20 times more if we did not limit
ourselves through the thoughts we maintain.

Don't believe that's true? Surely you know people who earn much more than you
who don't have your education, your skills, or your intelligence. So why do they
earn more than you?

I love the story of George Dantzig that Cynthia Kersey wrote about in
Unstoppable. As a college student, George studied very hard and always late into
the night. So late that he overslept one morning, arriving 20 minutes late for
class. He quickly copied the two math problems on the board, assuming they were
the homework assignment. It took him several days to work through the two
problems, but finally he had a breakthrough and dropped the homework on the
professor's desk the next day.

Later, on a Sunday morning, George was awakened at 6 a.m. by his excited
professor. Since George was late for class, he hadn't heard the professor
announce that the two unsolvable equations on the board were mathematical mind
teasers that even Einstein hadn't been able to answer. But George Dantzig,
working without any thoughts of limitation, had solved not one, but two problems
that had stumped mathematicians for thousands of years.

Simply put, George solved the problems because he didn't know he couldn't.

Bob Proctor tells us to "keep reminding yourself that you have tremendous
reservoirs of potential within you, and therefore you are quite capable of doing
anything you set your mind to. All you must do is figure out how you can do it,
not whether or not you can. And once you have made your mind up to do it, it's
amazing how your mind begins to figure out how."

And that's worth thinking about.


William Prouty, CLU RHU CBC CEC MBA PhD
CEO and Founder
Champions For Life Foundation
PO Box 989, Sun City, CA 92586-0989
909-301-0605  Phone
909-301-0606  FAX
wprouty@aol.com
www.gewdc.org
www.benefitstech.com


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