Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, May 03, 2004


I hope this gets some attention.

By DENIS D. GRAY, Associated Press Writer

NAJAF, Iraq - One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his switchblade knife and charged the Iraqi gunmen.

In one of the only known instances of hand-to-hand combat in the Iraq conflict, Toloza stabbed several attackers who were swarming around a comrade. The stunned assailants backed away momentarily, just as a relief column came to their rescue.

"We never considered surrender. I was trained to fight until the end," said the 25-year-old Toloza, one of 380 El Salvador soldiers whose heroism is being cited just as criticism is leveled against other members of the multinational force in Iraq. [...]

Phil Kosnett, who heads the Coalition Provisional Authority in this holy Shiite city, says he owes his life to Salvadorans who repelled a well-executed insurgent attack on his three-car convoy in March. He's nominated six of them for the U.S. Army's Bronze Star medal.

"You hear this snotty phrase 'coalition of the billing' for some of the smaller contingents," says Kosnett, referring to the apparent eagerness of some nations to charge their Iraq operations to Washington. "The El Sals? No way. These guys are punching way above their weight. They're probably the bravest and most professional troops I've ever worked with." [...]

And it's interesting to note this quote:

[...] "We didn't come here to fire a single shot. Our rifles were just part of our equipment and uniforms. But we were prepared to repel an attack," says Col. Hugo Omar Orellana Calidonio, a 27-year army veteran who commands the Cuscatlan Battalion. [...]

"Our country came out of a similar situation as in Iraq 12 years ago, so people in El Salvador can understand what is happening here," said Calidonio, referring to a civil war between the U.S.-backed government and leftist guerrillas that left some 75,000 dead. The military was held responsible for widespread abuses. [...]

In the end, I think we are better served by one platoon of men--or even one man--like this, than an entire army belonging to certain of our snotty phrase-making allies.

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