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October 12, 2005



Great post! Stay safe and may God speed your return home. I am praying for you constantly - and all of your unit.


Thanks for your continued presence in Iraq. It is good to know that despite the bad press, horrible deaths, and regular infighting here in the US there are dedicated and amazing men and women there who are committed to the purpose of providing freedom and good will to the people of Iraq. I especially appreciate the ongoing efforts of your unit in maintaining good relationships with the people who work with you.


ah, i love the taste of a good cigar alongside the smell of a port-o-john. man, i'm jealous! haha psyche

catch up with you in the coming months, love -bro

Sandi Szym

You have given me more information and encouragement than you'll ever know. My son is scheduled to return to the states the end of this month, after being there since January. With your excellent blog and God's hand on him, it has made it much easier for me. Thank you so much and God be with you and all your endeavors. God bless, Sandi


Thanks for the encouraging post. I'll be linking to it at my blog for military Christians.


great post man. i'm a little late in reading it, but what else is new. gav will have to share with u my birthday gift blunder. thanks for your sacrifice. as many shared their unworthyness in the bible, so do i share the same sentaments with those who have risked life for liberty.
GOD bless you and your fellow mates. i would love it if u were up to sharing any of your experiences with the youth when u get back to the states.

~ Mike


Where do you want me to send the ANT brother Shawn?
Tough loss (win) - great game. Hope you got to see it.


I am so glad you are on US soil and safe!!! Can't wait to talk to you. TIFFANY YOU MADE IT!
Love ya both!
Welcome Home


I wish you a safe return,...


thanks 'wilsonkolb' as brother to shawn i know that his blog is not about political ideologies or conspiracy theories. to shawn (and he expressed this to me many times) this space is about his journaling of an experience. an experience that he wished to share with his family and friends for their comfort & at times to give a glimpse into the life our soldiers.

with this understanding, i have 'clipped' your comment. it is not deleted, but not visible to the people who come here to hear from a love one. if shawn wishes to change this, he will be able to when he returns from active duty. we appreciate your support of our troops and concern for them, but if you wish to share a political viewpoint there are other blogs (even some on the military blogroll that you are welcome to share, heck, you can come over to my blog even).

God's Blessings and Peace to You & Your Family,


Censorship is cowardice, gavin. You're afraid of the truth. Most un-"christian" of you, in my book.


i appreciate your thoughts, whomever you are.

this is a journal as i've explained, not a public forum for reasons stated of yours or others "truth." if you cannot respect this space and what it is intended for then i am sorry. but i will continue to keep vigil to the spirit of this journal. if my brother wishes to change the direction of his journal he can, but that time is not now.

i figured that after my action & written response that you would be responding such as this, i wish you had respected our wishes. if you care to engage with me, i've offered, my space for conversation is readily available.

Tahoma Activist

Freedom is indeed precious. I hope you guys don't mind us lefties protesting for peace in the Middle East back here at home. For most of us, protest and political activism is the best way we have to promote and extend our first freedoms. By using our feet, our voices, and our words, we have the power to protect the First Amendment so that you all can continue to serve without being the passive victims of government propaganda.

Check out It's our local Tacoma-based blog to support The American Peoples Congress, but we hope that every community in America will want to set one up. If you're interested, check us out.



Well, I'm going to take a middle ground here. I re-read through this blog and I can see your point about it being a "journal" not a political site. That said, I think it's also fair to say that in some of your postings you've portrayed the U.S. invasion and occupation in humanitarian terms, and as an exercise aimed at protecting "freedom."

You haven't flogged those themes terribly hard, so I'm not going to flog my opposition terribly hard either. I don't appreciate you having censored my earlier comment, but I'd also like to say that when I used the word "cowardice" I used it in a figurative sense.

Like many Americans here at home, I have mixed feelings about all of this. But there is one thing I have no mixed feelings about, and that's the wish that our people do no further harm and that they are able to return home safe and sound.


thank you wilsonkolb. i appreciate you respecting this space. in my eyes i haven't censored you, deleting you completely would have been that. i'm just holding vigil to the spirit of this space. i encourage us all to share in a prayer from Saint Francis as we all wish for peace in all of humanity.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen


Thank God for allowing the safe travel to those who are back on American soil, and to those who are on the way, may they have a safe trip as well. I saw the first bus load come in this evening and it was heartwarming to see such a wonderful city wide turnout for those men.
My fiance' became friends with Shawn while in Iraq and he shared this site with me. He really spoke highly of Shawn and it was great know that he had people around him who were very strong in their faith. The site really helped me deal with the situation so much better.
And to those who do not agree with the war... please don't try to bring families who have soldiers risking their lives for you down. The soldiers and people of Iraq do believe in this, it is the media that doesn't. They are and DID make "Iraq and the USA" a better place for everyone even You. Don't invade the space of those trying to make it day by day and minute by minute with the unknown. I do not wish the last year of worry, anxiety, stress, and being alone on anyone. But, if you had to endure that then and maybe, just maybe you would understand what they are fighting for. YOU!!!


cindy, in my opinion they are not fighting for me. gavin, if you want to delete this I would certainly understand, but I also hope you'll be evenhanded and trim the politics out of cindy's message. Fair's fair.

Jonathon Norman

i'm not sure why someone who is for nonviolence shows up at someone's blog and writes with the intent to engage in idealogical discussion in the manner that you are doing.

you say, "But there is one thing I have no mixed feelings about, and that's the wish that our people do no further harm..."

don't you think that you are possibly doing harm to this man's blog, which is not a political or idealogical forum but his public journal of his experiences to share with those interested?

i invite you to continue the discussion if you like, but not on shawn's site, please feel free to continue the discussion at my blog or email me: [email protected]




A couple of things. First, I have never written that I am "for nonviolence." Secondly, a blog is a public document so there's nothing inappropriate about my "showing up."

As for the rest, if you and/or gavin reads my prior comment carefully and in the way I intended to be read, I make a very narrow point: Be even-handed with respect to political statements here. Nothing more, nothing less.


Shawn and Tiffany,

I am so happy for you guys. Y'all have stayed in my thoughts and prayers throughout this deployment. Shawn, thank you for your service to our country. There is no way I can thank you enough for the sacrifice you made of your career and marriage by going to Iraq. TD, you rock but you don't need me to tell you that. Have fun enjoying your time back together. You're two of my favorites.

Best wishes,


p.s. For anyone who wants to make this blog a soapbox, get a life. I assure you my politics aren't consistent with most of our nation's foreign policy but that's not what this space is for. This space is for Shawn and Tiffany and their loved ones during this tough time. Whatever you feel about our involvement in Iraq, be glad we have soldiers with Shawn's integrity to show others what Americans can be at their best and spouses like Tiffany that keep them going from the home front. If you don't get that, I don't care if we do view the situation in Iraq similarly, you're an idiot and I'd appreciate you getting lost. Peace!

Joel Thomas


I agree with you to an extent, except that Shawn hasn't placed a disclaimer that dissenting opinions aren't welcome. It might be better if he included a box that provides that this is a personal journal of his experience in Iraq and not a political forum or place for dissenting views. Most people properly assume, unless specifically warned otherwise, that comments are "open."

Since I already understand such from reading Gavin's blog, then I just read Shawn's blog for appreciating the sharing of day-to-day life in Iraq and of the story of one person standing up for what he believes in and the opportunity to keep Shawn and other military personnel in my prayers. Thus, I don't comment on foreign, military or political policies here.


Blogs ARE "soapboxes." Jonothon and Bart and cindy are mad that I'm not a wingnut who just gives the ol' stiff-armed salute on cue. Now, gavin made a good point about the purpose of his blog and ever since then I've quit posting an "ideological" point of view (in contrast to what, the "non-ideological" wingnuttery from some others here?).

Since gavin and I had our little go-'round, my point has been simple and non-ideological: If the comments section is to be non-partisan, I'm absolutely willing to go along with it if others will. Apparently, the wingnuts don't want to do that.


Welcome home Soldier.
If you want a forum to express your views and experiences after you shut down stop by my site...
and email me.
I have Marines, Soldiers, and Coasties write paragraphs and co-author articles.
God bless you, and God Bless America!



Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News

This is a lovely post!! Thank you for this brilliant sharing! Keep it up!

This is Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News

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