Lawyer returns from serving in Afghanistan, Iraq

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Augusta's reluctant hero is back.

Shawn Hammond stands with Afghan children in this photo taken in August 2006. The Augusta attorney spent a year in Afghanistan after being called up by the Army 12 years after he last served.  Special
Special
Shawn Hammond stands with Afghan children in this photo taken in August 2006. The Augusta attorney spent a year in Afghanistan after being called up by the Army 12 years after he last served.

After a year in Afghanistan and four more months in Iraq, 1st Lt. Shawn Hammond, an Augusta attorney, is home again.

"Look at this - this is the one I'm most proud of," he said of the combat infantryman's badge on his chest. "Doug (Flanagan) and I are the only two lawyers in Augusta who have this."

It is the only medal a soldier is allowed to wear when not in full dress uniform, he explained.

In January 2006, the Army re-activated Lt. Hammond over his protests that he was overweight, a single parent of three and in private practice. The Army didn't care that 12 years had passed since he had served. He had military combat experience.

By April 2006 he was "MoHammond," the man in charge of training a 52-man unit of the Afghan National Army. He led more than 50 combat missions throughout Afghanistan, his colonel wrote in support of awarding Lt. Hammond a Bronze Star.

His friends and acquaintances back in Augusta held their breath when Lt. Hammond e-mailed details of the December attack on Camp Joyce on the Pakistan border. Taliban forces rained mortar and machine-gun fire from the mountain ridge above the camp. They rejoiced in learning of his safe return after assisting in the capture of the Taliban warlord Said Mir.

"It was cool guy stuff, but I'm a dad now," Lt. Hammond said in his dining room in Columbia County.

When not in combat, Lt. Hammond stopped massive amounts of fraud and waste of supplies in Kandak; helped soldiers with legal troubles from home; and donated time and gathered supplies for Afghan schools, hospitals and villages.

"Training, helping soldiers, then patrols," Lt. Hammond said. It made for full days, he said.

As a year passed, he and his family began to think about life after his service. But not yet, the Army said. There was a surge in Iraq, and Lt. Hammond got new orders.

He made it home this month after more than a year away. Now he starts over from scratch with a new law practice, he said.

He has 90 days to decide whether he wants to stay in the Reserves. If he does, he can keep the health insurance for another five years. That's important with three children, Lt. Hammond said.

After being a divorce lawyer for 10 years, exchanging gunfire with the Taliban didn't seem that bad, he joked.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

SHAWN HAMMOND

AGE: 40

FAMILY: Father of three

OCCUPATION: Augusta attorney who had to spend about $1,000 to buy his own combat gear

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sjgraci
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sjgraci 07/23/07 - 12:41 pm
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Lt. Hammond thank you for

Lt. Hammond thank you for your service to our country. Sorry you got caught up in the back door draft. Since you are speaking with the Republican Party, and since you know Lowell Greenbaum, maybe you'd like to speak with the Democratic Party as well. Follow Me!

truthbknown
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truthbknown 07/23/07 - 01:20 pm
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Welcome back!! Thank you for

Welcome back!! Thank you for your service.... I hope you and your children are enjoying your time together...I wished there were more men like you in this World!!!

jmoval0315
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jmoval0315 07/23/07 - 01:32 pm
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Anybody with any sense knew

Anybody with any sense knew that Iraq was no threat. Oh but they are a threat now to all of our futures

Leve Tab La
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Leve Tab La 07/23/07 - 02:32 pm
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Cain, in the words of Sgt.

Cain, in the words of Sgt. Hulka, "Lighten up Francis". I was, and never have been in favor of the war, but my best friend of 34 years is in Iraq right now, and I support him wholeheartedly. Furthermore I support all of the men and women who have chosen to serve this country. They were/are willing to. I wasn't. I'm grateful for their service. Welcome home 1st Lt. Hammond.

2350LEGAL
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2350LEGAL 07/23/07 - 02:33 pm
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shawn, thank you for your

shawn,
thank you for your service. look forward to seeing you in the courtroom again. i'm sure it was tough being away from your
children for so long. regardless how one feels about the war,
they should remember that their opinion could not even be
expressed if it weren't for brave men and women like you.
welcome home.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/23/07 - 02:58 pm
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It is a load of crap to say

It is a load of crap to say that American soldiers fighting an unjust,
illegal, immoral & unwinnable war of aggression in Iraq are
somehow fighting to protect our freedoms. This war is destroying our
civil liberties, undermining our democracy, hurting US prestige in the
world, weakening United States, hurting military preparedness,
distracting from many other important issues in the world, pushing the
US military toward a breaking point, spilling American blood,
disrupting families, increasing suicides, increasing divorces,
traumatizing veterans & bankrupting the US Treasury. We should
honor those officers who resigned rather than follow illegal orders. We
should honor those soldiers who have refused to return to fight &
kill Iraqis who never did anything to us. Saddam was a tyrannt. He
should have been apprehended like Slobodan Milosevic & tried in The
World Court. United States did not have a mandate to invade Iraq from
the UN. Congress authorized the use of force to strengthen the
President's hand at the negotiating table. UN inspectors were in Iraq.
Bush ordered them out so he could commence shock & awe bombing.
United States military might brought death & destruction to Iraq.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/23/07 - 04:06 pm
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The Iraq Survey Group led by

The Iraq Survey Group led by David Kay & Charles Duelfer officially concluded that Saddam Hussein possessed no organized stockpiles of chemical weapons. He had no nuclear weapons, no evidence of a reconstituted nuclear program as VP Dick Cheney claimed & no bacterialogical weapons. For 1st Lt. Shawn Hammond to repeatedly make the false claim that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD & argue that this disproven claim justifies United States killing hundred of thousands of Iraqis & occupying that nation for more than 4 year & 4 months does not constitute honesty or patriotism IMO. Mr. Hammond can tell his war stories & make these same outrageous claims before Columbia County Republic Party faithfuls at their breakfast this Saturday. That is his right, but it is almost my right to correct false claims & to point out that pre-emptive war is justified only when there is an IMMINENT threat. Saddam Hussein posed no such imminent threat. Neither does Iran, but CnC Bush is likely to strike Iran without Congressional authorization "in defense of US troops in Iraq". This Unitary Executive claims almost unlimited powers. The Bush Doctrine of "preventive war" is ILLEGAL under international law. WORD!

bone
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bone 07/23/07 - 04:13 pm
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so, let me get this straight:

so, let me get this straight: since we are supposed to honor soldiers who refused to fight, are we supposed to revile the ones who did their duty & followed orders? you seem pretty set on giving praise to soldiers who joined of their free will but chose to dishonor their obligation. the number of soldiers who had no problem taking gov't assistance thru military education funds but suddenly became conscientious objectors when asked to fulfill their service was truly disheartening. i know, i'm one of those "rather fight them there than here" guys and i realize saddam's puffing/boasting was coming from bravado; that said, i recall his refusal to open up his facilities for inspection and his being given ample opportunity to avoid hostilities. those who choose to believe that he had no wmd's & no intention of creating nuclear weapons in order to consolidate his power in the middle east are delusional. troops ordered to destroy his seat of power and help establish a different iraq did their duty to make us safer here. but i'm sure i haven't swayed your opinion if you are positive that nothing bad was ever going to come from saddam's iraq. maybe he was a decent guy after all...

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/23/07 - 04:34 pm
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Lawyers like Shawn Hammond

Lawyers like Shawn Hammond should understand the rule of law. Saddam
Hussein was already known as the Butcher of Baghdad in 1980 when United
States sided with Iraq in its 8 year long war with Iran. We were
playing geostrategic politics. United States helped arm Saddam Hussein.
United States did NOTHING after Saddam gassed the Kurds in 1988. We
should NEVER have dealt with Saddam. Charges should have been brought
against him for genocide & war crimes. An arrest warrant should
have been obtained. Armed with that warrant it would have been legal to
apprehend Saddam and turn him over to the World Court. United States
has no legal right to occupy Iraq. That is why Bush cannot order total
war. This is a political war. It worked as long as "might makes right"
& United States was winning. Americans & our leaders have to
face the fact that we are the aggressors in Iraq. 90% of Iraqis want us
gone NOW. 60% of Iraqis support attacking US occupation troops. Only 1%
of Iraqis want United States military to stay permanently in Iraq. That
is Bush's goal & why there is a guerrilla insurgency resistance. They
will win because they are fighting on their own turf against an illegal
foreign invader.

scoobydostwin
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scoobydostwin 07/23/07 - 04:51 pm
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Having my comment removed ,

Having my comment removed , Cain, doesn't change the underlying truth. You are still what you are, a despicable human being.

LynxRHot
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LynxRHot 07/23/07 - 04:52 pm
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Cain.....take your

Cain.....take your conscientous objections elsewhere. If living in the US is that difficult for you because we are at war illegally, then pack your bags and move to Iraq...I'm sure they would love to have one more American on their turf. Perhaps the Soviets and Americans should have turned a blind eye to Hitler in the 1940's because he was no direct threat to the US. Evidence has been uncovered that reveals Hitler's next target was...guess who...the United States! The same would have happened with Saddam and his regime if he had not been stopped. If you are too close-minded to see that, then maybe one day you can join the regime of the likes of Saddam and Hitler.

LynxRHot
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LynxRHot 07/23/07 - 04:55 pm
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And to think that my

And to think that my forefathers shed their blood for people like Cain....just sickening!

Eric
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Eric 07/23/07 - 04:55 pm
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Cain, you are certainly a

Cain, you are certainly a piece of work. I ask you again, if you feel so strongly against this war, why do you hide in a forum behind a screen name and tell everybody why this war is wrong and illegal? Why don't you show some guts and go to Washington to lobby to get something done about it? You are not going to change the mind of anyone here and they are not going to change yours. So why waste your time here spewing out all your garbage. Shawn, it's a shame that there are people with so little to do and so little compassion, that when a good story like this gets printed, all they can do is press their own agenda. Everybody ignored Cindy Sheehan and she has fallen by the wayside. We need to ignore Cain and he will do the same.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/23/07 - 05:05 pm
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Who are we fighting in Iraq?

Who are we fighting in Iraq? We are now told by President Bush that we are fighting Al Qaeda WHICH WAS NOT IN IRAQ BEFORE HE ORDERED THE US INVASION. AQ is a small albeit deadly component of the insurgency. We are touting success in Anbar because we have armed Sunnis (who have attacked us) in their fight against AQ. That is well & good in the short term, but the Sunni insurgents want us out of Iraq too. We aren't just fighting AQ. We are fighting Moqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army. They are Shiites. More & more United States is relying on air power to fill the breach left by having far too few troops on the ground - even with the "surge". Having 500,000 US troops or more would make the occupation easier, but it would not make it just or legal. By what right do we occupy Iraq? By the invitation of the U.S.-puppet government we helped set up & which we prop up with our troops & our money. No pro-US govt or army will last 5 minutes after US troops leave Iraq. Iraqis will NEVER standup. They join the military for the paycheck because unemployment is so high & they have to feed their families. Americans are stupid & we are being played for fools. We will be forced to leave Iraq ... to Iraqis.

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 07/23/07 - 05:06 pm
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Cain, the draft dodger even

Cain, the draft dodger even had the gall to attempt to belittle my service during Desert Storm. When exactly did he lift a finger to defend the Country? When will he? He claims to KNOW everything that is going on in a country he's never been to, and claims that those that were/are there don't know what they are talking about. How arrogant can one person be?

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 07/23/07 - 05:08 pm
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Oh by the way....Unemployment

Oh by the way....Unemployment is at an all time low. That is a fact. And why would you pretend to know why anyone joins the millitary? How could you know? Why did you join the millitary...Oh yeah...you skipped out on your chance.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/23/07 - 05:33 pm
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I did not dodge the draft,

I did not dodge the draft, KPC. I had a college deferment & I drew a high number in the first draft lottery. I was talking about high unemplyment in Iraq not United States, but the fact that 1st Lt. Shawn Hammond who is an attorney is seriously considering staying in the reserves because it provides health insurance for him & his children says something negative about our national priorities AFAIC. KPC, you are also one of those nut jobs who keep claiming that Saddam Hussein had WMD when the Iraq Study Group & every other investigative body of United States government has officially concluded that he did not. You served aboard an aircraft carrier in the first Gulf War which lasted 2 months. More than 16 years later you are still self-congratulating yourself for your splendid service. I understand that military types are indoctrinated & are team players. Unfortunately our team sometimes loses when we pick the wrong fight for the wrong reasons. This is a neocolonial war of aggression by an imperial United States seeking oil, regional hegemony for Israel & bases for US domination of the entire Middle East. Iraq is the first domino. Iran was to be the 2nd. Might does not make right.

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 07/23/07 - 05:41 pm
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Sorry...I missunderstood the

Sorry...I missunderstood the unemployment statement. However I stand by my opinion that after 40 years you still think it was somehow honorable to go to school instead of fight for your country. Maybe when you were indoctrinated in college that all millitary is evil, they also taught you to endlessly spew the same buzzwords over and over ad nauseum. (neocolonial war of aggression, hegemony, neocon, etc.) It appears that fewer and fewer people are buying YOUR crap. You seem to be one of the nut jobs that ignores all the reports from those that were there, that there WERE WMD's and accept the reports that there weren't. It works both ways you know. It's a shame that you have NO idea how to defend a nation. And by the way...it is my OPINION that by choosing to go to college when your country needed you makes you a draft dodger. I feel the same way about Dick Cheney, so don't attempt to hide behind that tired old "chickenhawk" defense. Some of us aren't blind party followers.

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 07/23/07 - 05:47 pm
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And my 8 months (not 2) in

And my 8 months (not 2) in Desert Storm, where far more honorable that hiding in college. I don't appologize for my "self congradulating." At least I have something to be congradulated for.....do you? (I suppose Cain knows more about how long I was there than I do...he must have read it in a newspaper or seen it on the news.)

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/23/07 - 05:57 pm
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The consensus among

The consensus among historians is that the Vietnam war was unnecessary. It was a French neocolonial war before we got in. It was also a civil war that was none of our business. Fighting in Vietnam & killing between 1.5 - 3.0 million Vietnamese, Laotians & Cambodians had NOTHING to do with defending this country. We should have learned our lesson from Vietnam & been too mature to get into a similar situation. Vietnam was a political war. Iraq is a political war. Neither could be fought as total war like WWII because we were not attacked by either country. Neither Vietnam nor Iraq declared war on us. Vietnam was eventually settled politically. There was no military victory to be had. Same with Iraq. It is a shame that Americans have to learn the same lessons all over again because ignorant people like you, KPC, don't learn from history. That is another reason why education should be one of the top priorities in this country just as Shawn Hammond's heathcare dilemma points to the need for universal health coverage in this country especially for children. Those things would unite us. The Iraq war will divide this nation more deeply & bitterly than the Vietnam war. This thread is proof.

bone
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bone 07/23/07 - 05:57 pm
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don't spar with cain, kpc -

don't spar with cain, kpc - he has no idea about what a military commitment means. sitting in a classroom and listening to professors wax philosophically about the horrible u.s. gov't and those who serve their country is a completely different kind of training that results in a completely different kind of person.

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 07/23/07 - 06:02 pm
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This country remains free

This country remains free because it's not run by cowards like Cain, who NEVER think it's ok to defend yourself. I'ts the consensus of historians that Cain chooses to agree with, not the majority of them... as usual.

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 07/23/07 - 06:05 pm
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I guess it's pointless to

I guess it's pointless to fight with someone who doesn't know how.

bone
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bone 07/23/07 - 06:06 pm
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unfortunately, cain, the

unfortunately, cain, the cowards are about to be running the country again soon. as usual, i'll throw my vote away to some candidate that sounds fun (kucinich is my favorite, but i'll vote nader in a pinch)

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/23/07 - 06:13 pm
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KPC, the shooting lasted two

KPC, the shooting lasted two months in January - February 1991. You were way the hell out at sea on a aircraft carrier protected by a battle group & navy fighters. You were not kicking in doors & facing IEDs, big guy. You were fearful of chemical and rocket attacks, and that fear has not left you. That should raise your empathy for U.S. combat troops who are facing greater threats everyday over longer periods. This war has lasted 52 months which is 26 times longer than the 1991 Gulf War. PTSD is going to affect soldiers, their families & this nation for decades to come. The WWII generation is dying out. That conflict was over 60 years ago. This nation will be dealing with the consequences of this unnecessary, unwise, unwinnable war for the next 60 years. Humanity has to move beyond war as a means of settling international disputes if we are to survive as a species on this planet. The peaceful end of The Cold War was the model for a new paradigm. What did United States immediately do after the USSR collapsed and ended the Cold War in 1989? We invaded Panama to capture one man, Gen. Manuel Noriega. It was back to the business of war as usual. The Iraq war is about corporate profits.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
571
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/23/07 - 06:15 pm
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A consensus means a majority,

A consensus means a majority, kpc, but being uneducated you don't know that.

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 07/23/07 - 06:25 pm
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Uneducated? Just shows how

Uneducated? Just shows how little you know. When you can't argue, you question my intellegence. The fear has left me, but I do remember it. You have NO idea what's it's like, so don't even try. Shooting on the ground lasted 2 months....I heard several mines hit the hull for months later, but you didn't read it in the newspaper so I guess I must have imagined it. Don't try to argue about things you CAN'T know about. You have and will continue to lose.

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 07/23/07 - 06:28 pm
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If you actuall read what I

If you actuall read what I posted I said the consensus that Cain chooses to believe. That's not the consensus of all historians, just the one's you listen to. Once again...twisting words to fit your agenda. It seems the CONSENSUS of the people on this thread are on to you...run away.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
571
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 07/23/07 - 06:54 pm
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KPC, the consensus of

KPC, the consensus of historians which means THE MAJORITY of historians
now agree that the Vietnam war was unnecessary. Since you don't study
& learn from history, and since you were born in 1968 and don't
remember the events of the Vietnam war, you are talking through your
hat. A handful, a MINORITY of revisionist historians still try to blame
the U.S. defeat in Vietnam on the press, the peace movement, Democrats,
etc. Trying to deny historical truths only works in the short run.
History has passed neocolonial wars by. You are a 39 year old
anachronism. You are out of place in time. History has passed you by.
Rock on, dinosaur. Only those able to adapt to changed circumstances
will survive. George W. Bush has hastened the end of the American
empire. We must now reinvent ourselves and reassert our democratic
values. The Bush years will be seen as counter-productive to our true
national interest which is being an example of the rule of law and
respect for human rights in a cooperative world alliance. Bush tried to
dominate. We must unite to provide for the common good not elitist
corporate greed. Ordinary people not the rich made this country great.
Out with Bush, on with progress.

Eric
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Eric 07/23/07 - 06:57 pm
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CAIN, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO

CAIN, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS? You keep regurgitating your rhetoric; but, have yet to answer my question.

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