Pentagon Channel Launches In-Flight Service on Military Charter Flights

By Jim Garamone and Petty Officer 2nd Class Carolla Bennett, USN
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2006 – The Pentagon Channel has launched "Pentagon Channel In Flight," a military news and information service that will be aired on military charter flights worldwide.

"Pentagon Channel In Flight is another way in which we can introduce service members to the Pentagon Channel and provide them with the timely military news and information that they need to do their jobs." said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications.

Pentagon Channel In Flight will air on participating military charter flights, including Air Transport International, ATA, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Miami Air, North American Air, Omni Air International, Ryan Air, and United Airlines.

The Pentagon Channel, the Department of Defense's cable television channel, broadcasts military news and information for and about the 2.6 million members of the U.S. armed forces -- active duty, National Guard, and reserve. Broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Pentagon Channel helps ensure that U.S. forces remain the best informed in the world.

Pentagon Channel programming also is available online, streamed live 24/7 and on-demand at, and is available via audio and video podcasting.

Today, more than a million servicemembers on more than 312 military bases, camps and installations in the U.S. can watch the Pentagon Channel. It also is available to the 800,000 service members and their families serving in 177 countries overseas via American Forces Radio and Television Service.

The Pentagon Channel reaches more than 12 million households through commercial distribution on satellite and cable systems nationwide. DISH Network, Verizon FiOS and divisions of Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter, Mediacom, RCN, Armstrong, Midcontinent, Knology, GCI, and a number of smaller cable companies and local access channels in communities around the country carry the Pentagon Channel.

(From a Pentagon Channel news release.)

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Bush: Victory in Iraq Will be Blow to Terrorist Ideology

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2006 – A successful democracy in Iraq will be a major tactical and ideological blow to the totalitarian vision of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, President Bush said in California today.

"One, it will be a tactical blow. We'll deny them that which they want," Bush said in a speech in Irvine. "But secondly, it will be a major blow because, in the long term, the best way to defeat an ideology of hatred is with an ideology of hope."

Bush said the United States learned a lot of important lessons on Sept. 11, 2001.

The first is that the U.S. faces an enemy with no regard for innocent life, and the only way to deal with this is to stay on the offensive, "which is precisely what the United States is doing and will continue to do for the safety of the American people," he said.

Another important lesson is that terrorists cannot be allowed to find safe haven in any country, which they would do in Iraq if the United States were to pull out of the country. "We denied safe haven in Afghanistan, and we're denying them safe haven in Iraq," Bush said.

Terrorists' most powerful weapon is their "willingness and capacity to kill innocent people," Bush said.

"They understand the United States of America is a compassionate nation," Bush said. "I'm sure they view it as a weakness of our country; I happen to view it as a strength that we value every life, that every person is precious. But they know, and it doesn't take much to realize that when you put carnage on our TV screens, it causes us to weep."

He said it's a "legitimate question" for the American people to wonder if the cause is worth fighting for in Iraq, but that Americans must remain steadfast in their resolve.

"It's very important for the American people to understand that they're trying to run us out of Iraq for a purpose, and the purpose is to be able to have safe haven from which to launch further attacks," Bush said. "And I understand it, and we've got a strategy in place to achieve victory."

The president also spoke about a visit a day earlier to U.S. Marines in Twentynine Palms, Calif. "These young men and women are incredibly dedicated. They are motivated. They understand that we must defeat the enemy over there so we do not have to face them here at home," he said.

"Most of them raised their hand to volunteer after September the 11th. Many of them have said, 'I want to continue to serve our country.' We're lucky to have people like them willing to serve," he continued. "And the United States government, whether you agree with my policy or not, must stand by our troops. When they're in harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best equipment, and the best possible support."

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Ten Ways to Support our Troops Overseas

You know the situation our troops face everyday. We live in dangerous times and our soldiers are laying down their lives to keep all of us, you and me, safe and secure at home.

Maybe you know someone in the military. Perhaps you son is in the Army, your brother is a Marine, your niece is in the Air Force or your neighbor serves in the Navy. You may even have been in the National Guard at one point.

Yet even if no one you know is in the military service, you understand a soldier's duty and sacrifice. And you can't just sit idly by and do nothing.

Right at this moment, this country is engaged in a supreme struggle to secure our future. Whether you agree or disagree with our reasons for going to war in Iraq, you have to acknowledge that we are in it for the long haul. In the United States, we don't "cut and run," when things get difficult. And so, our fighting men and women sacrifice themselves, literally, ever day so that we, you and I, can live the life we so much enjoy in America.

These brave young people in the armed services recognize their duty to stand up against threats to our way of life. They have volunteered to go into harm's way on our behalf. Imagine the courage and strength of character required to do that for people, most of whom they'll never know personally. Indeed, we owe a debt of gratitude to them for what they're doing for us.

Most of us, unless we've also been in the service during a war, will never know what our soldiers do every day while overseas. Many people don't really want to know – it's too agonizing to envision. Yet the fight is not only the troops' alone. We too have responsibilities even as we live comfortably with our families at home.

Here's how to support our troops overseas: We need to know what's going on, know why, contact our representatives to let them know how we feel, know who is over there, write them, send them pictures from home, chat with them on-line, send them a gift or care package, prepare for their return home, and pray for their safety and well-being.

Paul Stober

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South Park Takes on the Mohammed Cartoons

I just finished watching an episode of South Park that I'm certain will be generating its share of buzz tomorrow.

SP creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone gave their audience alot to chew on, so I'm going to recap from memory and TiVo best I can.

The show's plot centered around the Mohammed cartoon controversy, opening with a scene where main character Stan is startled out of bed by his hysterical father, who rushes the family out of the house to join the shrieking masses already frantically seeking shelter.

The reason for their panic? In the South Park episode, Fox's animated sitcom The Family Guy is planning to air an episode where the Prophet Mohammed makes a cameo appearance. Family Guy is an animated sitcom, meaning a Prophet appearance would be -gasp! You guessed it- a Mohammed cartoon.

The townsfolk of South Park barricade themselves into the village community center, fearing an American repeat of the violent Muslim response to the Danish cartoons. Only after a news report airs the following morning that Fox made a last minute decision to censor Mohammed do they emerge from their makeshift fortifications.

I'll skip to the end of the episode, as the middle was filled with subplots. This is where it gets a little complicated.

Fox announces that the Family Guy episode was a two-part series, and that Mohammed would appear uncensored the following week. The South Park show ends on a cliffhanger, as the people of America begin burying their heads in the sand to prove their sensitivity to Muslims (they won't hear the show or see the show with their heads buried, get it?), while a voiceover announces that South Park is also a two-part series, and begins asking that Adam West-Batman style of questioning: "Will the people of America be safe? Will Fox let the Family Guy air? Will they show Mohammed Uncensored? Find out next week to see if Comedy Central pusses out."

I told you that story so I could write the following.

South Park used the Family Guy as a metaphor for their own show. Trey Parker and Matt Stone announced to the world that they will caticature Mohammed next week, and dared Comedy Central to stop them.

South Park may be an odd place to find inspirational speeches, but one came from a SP citizen responding to a professor's call to submit to the Islamist temper tantrums:

Freedom of speech is at stake here, don't you all see? If anything, we should all make cartoons of Mohammed and show the terrorists and the extremists that we are all united in the belief that every person has a right to say what they want. Look people, it's been really easy for us to stand up for free speech lately. For the past few decades, we haven't had to risk anything to defend it. One of those times is right now. And if we aren't willing to risk what we have now, then we just believe in free speech, but won't defend it.
South Park has come under fire for lampooning religions in the past, the most recent example being their trashing of scientology (an episode which cost them one of the show's main characters, Chef, voiced by scientologist Isaac Hayes). Comedy Central later banned reruns of the offending episode.

Chunky South Park-ite Eric Cartman responded to the network's censorship in this evening's episode, explaining to his friend Kyle how pulling an episode can signal the end of a show:
It's simple television economics Kyle, all it takes to kill a show forever is to get one episode pulled. If we convince the network to pull this episode for the sake of Muslims, the Catholics can demand that a show that they don't like get pulled, then people with disabilities can demand that a show that they don't like get pulled, and so on and so on, until Family Guy is no more. The same thing happened to Laverne and Shirley.
Sometimes it takes an unlikely hero like South Park to step up and put things into perspective. If there is such a thing as "The Cartoon Wars," then animated sitcoms like South Park are on the front lines.

From what I could gather from the cliffhanger ending, South Park creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone have forced Comedy Central to stand at the same crossroads that hundreds of newspapers and periodicals across America stood at not a month ago. Next week they will guest star Mohammed in all of his animated glory, and they have let Muslims know in advance that it's a-coming.

Comedy Central has a choice. They can either stand by their longtime stars in Parker and Stone, or succumb to cheap threats from petty thugs. Should Comedy Central make a decision endorsed by the First Amendment, I will be glued to my tv next Wednesday at 10pm.

If you all want to catch this evening's South Park, it should rerun April 6th at 10pm.