After a punishing 22 hour plane ride from Kuwait, I gratefully surrendered to the loving arms of my family here in San Francisco, a luxury that most of our military do not have in the Christmas season.
Before I click you over to Danny Gonzalez's excellent blogging from Baghdad, I have a few things to say about Move America Forward's efforts in a tangled war zone six thousand miles away in Iraq.
As most of you folks know who follow me on the radio, blogging, in my column at WorldNetDaily.com or on television, I have little patience for the Hollywood elites who are directly undermining the support for the war and our efforts to thwart the murderous intentions of radical Islam.
But I want to acknowledge the sacrifice of the entertainers who travel with the USO to buck-up the troops, including Robin Williams, Lewis Black, Lance Armstrong, Kidd Rock and Miss USA Tara Conner.
Williams and Black are vocally opposed to the Iraqi war. But regardless of their personal feelings, they have set aside those convictions and followed in the footprints of such legandary entertainment greats like Bob Hope, Ann Margaret, and Connie Stevens during the Vietnam war, as well as many others who simply love the military men and women and try to raise their morale by going to dangerous places to take our troops to another space for just a few hours.
Williams, Black and the others were at the same American base in Kuwait from where I was reporting. I missed their show by a few hours, but the soldiers I talked to told me that not one word of criticism was uttered about the policy of the Bush administration. They skewered lots of people and situations, but it was humorous and not harmful.
Kidd Rock jammed with the crowd, Armstrong talked from his heart and Miss USA let everyone within proximity take pictures with her.
The entire base was buzzing about the screamingly funny performance of Robin Williams and Lewis Black at the show. Our troops LOVED that night away from the horror of war and they'll remember it forever.
Williams, who also lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has always been a favorite. Not so much with the anti-war stuff, although I can understand his position, but because he has proven he DOES support the troops. He is not just spouting off, he's walkin' the walk.
The USO folks should be proud of their choices.
I also had a chance to meet Mike Boettcher of NBC News. Our career paths crossed in 1983, covering the bombing of the Marine compound in Beirut, and we were both assigned to cover the uprising for Democracy in Tianamen Square , although he got expelled from Shanghai while I was in Beijing. We had a chance to swap war stories, chat about our mutual acquaintences, and he graciously helped me get through the Kuwaiti airport with all my luggage.
The reason I mention this inside media stuff is because of the newest project Mike is undertaking.
Sometime in early January he is re-embedding with the military, and is going to spend the next 15 months in Iraq reporting the incredible stories of soldiers who are fighting and dying for our country.
His resume is impeccable--over 30 years of 'straight' reporting from some of the worst hot-spots on the planet. As we rode to the airport together, one of our media transit facilitators Sgt. Doug Demaio asked him how many wars he has covered ---twenty minutes later the number was in the dozens, a complete litany of world history on his watch.
His new show is called "Duty, Honor, and Country." He is using a multi-media platform of Radio, TV, and the Internet to call out the heroism of our warriors.
He is financing this Herculean effort himself, and working with Ken Livingston, whom I blogged about before. Ken is a movie producer and is working with Jerry Bruckheimer, a Hollywood mogul who is totally attuned to the military to share these stories that Mike is going to report.
Wait one minute folks! I'll be right back. There are Christmas carolers at our door.
Excuse me for while I wipe my eyes.
I burst into tears hearing the songs of my faith this evening. Especially after being with our troops who don't have that opportuity.
The Mount Tamalpais United Methodist Church of Mill Valley, where we belong, surprised the whole family with Christmas carols. The teenagers (and Mom Lynn) who sang for us are extremely talented and have performed in many venues.
Our church made dozens and dozens of Christmas cards to send to Iraq with our group. By coincidence, ( I reached into the grab bag of letters) the 100,000th card that Move America Forward collected came from Mount Tam, which I gave to Vice-President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne to sign while we were in Washington for the rally and concert called 'A Song for their Service.' Our total count as of this writing is now 200,000!
I'll get a picture posted shortly.
Now it's time for you to click over to Danny Gonzalez's report from Ramadi on the situation from the ground in Iraq at www.moveamericaforward.com.
God Bless and Merry Christmas,