Families and War

I heard this program on NPR yesterday,
Personal Stories of the Iraq War
While arguments rage over troop increases or withdrawals, for millions of Americans and Iraqis the war is a family issue. The mother of a recent enlistee, the father of four U.S. servicemen, and two Iraqis talk about how they are directly affected by the war in Iraq.

I found it interesting that the callers that I heard were more interested in talking about how much they don't like President Bush, the war is about oil, the war is a personal vendetta, etc rather than themselves and their family members who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Chaldean-Iraqi expatriot on the show made it very clear that were it not for the intervention of US troops Iraq would be a different and not good place. Her message seemed very much to be that she was grateful that the sons and daughters of these people choose to serve.

I also found it interesting that one mother said she was proud of her son for joining the military and proud of his desire to help the people of Iraq but still opposed the war.

When the war started I got a call from my dad telling me about some of the boys from our old church were at the time on their way to Baghdad. They had grown into men after I left for college and so I didn't know any of them very well (or at all). For weeks I got nervous every time he called because I was afraid it would be to report that one of those boys that I hardly knew had been hurt or killed. Every time I heard or saw a news report of someone being injured or killed in Iraq I worried that it was one of these boys or one of their comrades in arms. My anxiety was a pale shadow of what the families and close friends of those boys were feeling. I eventually realized that to continue on in such a manner would warp my mind so I had to beat back the worrying. It has been confined to a place that isn't front and center in my mind. All of this is to say that I have some inkling of what it is like to have a loved one deployed in a combat zone. Not that it really matters.

Only one of the guests on the program seemed to show any support for the war. The one who had lived in Kurdistan and survived Saddam's use of chemical weapons on the Kurds.

You get an interesting view of the topic when you view it alongside this
I’ve been mulling over an NBC Nightly News report from Iraq last Friday in which a number of soldiers expressed frustration with opposition to war in the United States.

I’m sure the soldiers were expressing a majority opinion common amongst the ranks - that’s why it is news - and I’m also sure no one in the military leadership or the administration put the soldiers up to expressing their views, nor steered NBC reporter Richard Engel to the story.

I’m all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army. But I also hope that military commanders took the soldiers aside after the story and explained to them why it wasn’t for them to disapprove of the American people.
(Hat tip Say Anything.)

It seems that members of the military serving in Iraq are skeptical of, and frustrated by, the "we support the troops but not the war" mantra that is apparently uttered by some of their own family members. The gentleman who authored the above linked piece took it upon himself to take to task the soldiers that he quotes for daring to criticize their betters. That's really very supportive of you sir.


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