Archives for October 2004


Baby Helps Sox Win

An 18-month-old does his part for the Sox.

Evil has fallen. Following the mythological hero’s journey outlined by the late Joseph Campbell, the Red Sox hurdled heretofore insurmountable obstacles, entered the belly of the whale, and vanquished the beast. Osama, watch your back. Like Campbell’s heroes, the on-field protagonists are supported by the living network that is Red Sox Nation, a brigade of Obi-Wan Kenobis connected across the ether by two emotions— hope and regret—and the latter has yielded the field. The players did their part. But to lift The Curse, the Fenway Faithful employed their own black magic. Here’s one toddler’s contribution.

At 1:30 a.m. Monday, the Red Sox were three outs away from being swept by the evildoers when I changed my good luck charm. Tired of standing on one leg with runners in scoring position, I snuck into my 18-month-old son Gavin’s room. Pedro’s written a Dominican midget into the script as a “lucky charm” so I figured my own 28-inch little man would double our chances. Gavin was wearing red pajamas, sleeping soundly even as my heart tried to flee my chest. I rubbed his belly and whispered, “This is the year.”

I heard a collective, agonized groan on 70th street. Here behind enemy lines in New York we Sox fans walk the point in the hundred years war. By day it’s bad enough, all the body snatchers glaring at your hat, but at night sounds are amplified and all the clapping from the condo across the street can give a Sox fan post-traumatic stress.

Turn Loose the Marines

Los Angeles Times

Don’t make the same mistake in Fallujah twice.

For weeks, Marines have paced like chained bulldogs on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Fallouja, lunging and growling but restrained from going in.

On Thursday, the U.S. and Iraqis sent these forces to conduct raids inside this bastion of Sunni violence, while Iraq’s interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, warned that unless insurgents turn over a notorious terrorist the Marines and Iraqi troops will storm in and take control once and for all.

The last time Marines marched into Fallouja, they were promptly ordered to do something that runs counter to their creed: pull back short of the goal. That was a mistake. But the decision-makers this time have apparently learned.

It was on March 31 that a gleeful mob killed four civilian American contractors and mutilated their bodies in Fallouja. President Bush ordered Marines to take the city. On foot, they seized block after block, losing six Marines in the fight. Although U.S. forces had refrained from unleashing their artillery, the Arabic television channel Al Jazeera made the attack look as if it were destroying the city. On April 9, Allawi, Ghazi Ajil Yawer, a Sunni Muslim and tribal leader, and other Iraqi politicians persuaded L. Paul Bremer III, then the U.S. administrative chief in Iraq, to declare a cease-fire.

The Marines objected. Like Rome’s legions, Marines are feared because they never turn back. They figured they were two days from finishing the fight. The White House overruled them.