and in his joy, made bigger and bigger stitches

Distribution map of the world's religions.
Considering their large land distribution it is interesting that the world hears so little cultural noise from the Eastern Orthodox and Buddhists.

Interesting story from The Jerusalem Post, US rejected Iranian overtures in 2003

Officials in US President George W. Bush's administration turned down a 2003 Iranian offer to begin talks with the US, recognize Israel, and end support of Palestinian terror organizations, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The proposal, which arrived via fax along with a letter of authentication by a Swiss ambassador, was ignored. Reports have circulated in the past that Iran had extended its hand to the US, but the document itself was only recently obtained by the Post – reportedly from Iranian sources – and confirmed as genuine by both American and Iranian officials.

And this last bit from a conservative that now holds the office once held by Thomas Jefferson. A lesson in how history is full of irony,

"What the Iranians wanted earlier was to be one-on-one with the United States so that this could be about the United States and Iran," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who when Teheran faxed its proposal was serving as Bush's national security adviser. "Now it is Iran and the international community, and Iran has to answer to the international community. I think that's the strongest possible position to be in," Rice said.

Is Rice saying that the international community wasn't concerned about Iran three years ago. Or is she saying that the United States is too weak to deal with Iran on its own. Obviously when you have conservatives extremists dealing with the world with their candy colored wing tipped notions of how the world works that creates a huge obstacle to getting anything constructive done, but just as big an obstacle is their deep and unabiding incompetence. Then there is the propaganda snowball that they feel they must roll over everyone and the ensuing bitterness when they see that not everyone is buying.

3 U.S. Soldiers Accused of Murder and Death Threat

All three soldiers, assigned to the Third Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division, were placed in pretrial confinement in Iraq last Thursday to await hearings to determine whether they will face courts-martial, officials said.

The charge sheets list 12 separate instances in which the suspects threatened a specific private first class with death if he assisted investigators.

The charge sheets quote the suspects as saying, " 'I will kill you if you tell anyone,' or words to that effect," and " 'You better not talk or I will kill you,' or words to that effect."

Military officials said over the weekend that the allegations of wrongdoing were brought to light by an enlisted soldier.

Bad apples and good apples still adds up to tragedy. One of the reasons, and there are many, that this latest apparent war crime is tragic is because it serves as an excuse for the other side to act even more brutally and reject mercy, US vows to search for kidnapped soldiers, al-Qaeda claims abduction

'Over 8,000 US military and Iraqi army and police are working together, conducting an intensive search operation to determine the status of these soldiers. We are using every means at our disposal,' Major General William Caldwell said in a press statement.

Caldwell said the US army is stepping up intelligence and surveillance efforts and is conducting extensive raids in search of the two soldiers, during which three suspected insurgents were killed and 34 detainees held.

No telling what hell these guys are going through and their fate may well have been sealed regardless of Haditha or the alleged killings by the three members of the Airbourne, but incidents like those give the enemy the upper hand in terms of the psychological war. When the Haditha story broke Rep. John Murtha said that one of the consequences of these long and frequent deployments was the stress that it puts the soldiers and marines. So the trail of responsibility always leads back to the same place, Rumsfeld, Bush, and Cheney. Pro war or anti-war, once boots were placed on the ground in Iraq we owed those troops the best leadership that America has. Its obvious to all but the right-wing fringe that the current leadership has failed our armed forces and our country.

He laid the bread near him, sewed on, and in his joy, made bigger and bigger stitches. In the meantime the smell of the sweet jam ascended so to the wall, where the flies were sitting in great numbers, that they were attracted and descended on it in hosts. “Hola! who invited you?” said the little tailor and drove the unbidden guests away. The flies, however, who understood no German, would not be turned away, but came back again in ever-increasing companies.

from The Valiant Little Tailor by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.