Some years ago, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, a World War II veteran, in which he described his decision to put the cow-milking business on hiatus to enlist in the Marine Corps. He would leave town on the train to Chicago and not come home for over three years.
Can you imagine that? Better yet, can you imagine being his mother, never once getting to even speak to him in three years? Three years, waiting day to day for casualty lists to be published, for the awful sight of two uniformed men on your porch, never knowing where your child is or if he is alive, or whole.
The headlines wouldnt have helped.
WAR CABINET READY FOR LONG WAR: WILL WIN AT ALL COSTS
And yet, people endured this. Even when MacArthur abandoned the Philippines, the failure of Operation Market Garden, the horrible casualties in the Ardennes and Iwo Jima, even when it was not clear at all that we were winning this war, one thing had to be clear: that we could not afford to lose it, either.
We are indeed an instant gratification culture. I want a baby right now. People want to graduate from college and have the house of their dreams and two new cars right away. We want the war to be over right now. I find it to be one of the worst American habits. We all need to get over this feeling; not everything can be fast-food style.
I have been working on it myself a lot lately. Patience. Long term perspective.
Kudos to RagingMom; she has perspective in spades.
I waited 10 years to get living room furniture, 20 years to get bedroom furniture, 28 years to get a car I actually enjoy driving, 3 months to get a freakin' address from my son since he deployed... I'm still waiting to be able to travel and see some of the places I've always longed to go in my life.
As you can see - I've never had the luxury of instant gratification. So when people talk about "I want this now" I don't get it. Having had to wait and work for everything in my life - always knowing "I can't do this now", I find myself biting my tongue constantly to keep the sharp retort from popping out of my mouth. :-)
Oh, and Raging Mom was wrong about one thing - during WW2 - you didn't get uniformed people at your door to inform you of the loss of a soldier. You got a telegram. The soldiers at your door - that's a modern day occurrence.
Posted by: Teresa at October 12, 2007 09:06 AM (rVIv9)
Sarah- thank you for your comment!
Teresa- I know you are right about that; for some reason I had that scene from Saving Private Ryan in my head. Research pays off!
Posted by: Raging Mom at October 12, 2007 11:43 AM (l+Chn)
"And this perspective from someone who will soon have all three of her sons in Iraq".
Whoa, a Thank You doesn't seem to cut it.
Posted by: tim at October 12, 2007 12:30 PM (nno0f)
Yeah waiting would be well and good if the Iraq adventure were necessary to begin with. I said 5 frigging years ago, that I foresaw one of two eventualities : 1) If Iraq had the chem weapons we alleged, they would be used, and the casualties would be enormous. 2) If the chem/bio weapon's weren't there we would lose whatever moral authority we thought we had, and would look like jack asses to the world. Guess which one came true. This is not the America I grew up believing in that is for damned sure.
Posted by: BubbaBoBobBrain at October 12, 2007 02:07 PM (BR9zA)
Herman Wouk provided an interesting fictional view of frustrating times during WWII, here
Posted by: david foster at October 12, 2007 07:57 PM (rmlhc)
As I look back(there's that damned hindsight, again), I cannot comprehend, being a Mother, of a soldier, in wars of the past. I know with email, messenger, and all the 5am phone calls, we can communicate with our "kids", in the warzone(s),
Posted by: debey at October 13, 2007 08:08 AM (phnCO)
I read Winds of War and War and Remembrance during both of hubby's deployments because the agony that accompanied doing one's duty so rang home to me. We do what we have to do, and it's called "duty" and not "fun"because we have to do it no matter what.
I think those books should be required reading for all military spouses, and most of the general population of America.
Posted by: airforcewife at October 14, 2007 11:10 AM (emgKQ)
Got to jump back in with this one.
It's been four years.
That's more than patience.
That's out right surrender to a notion that those like me wanted no part of.
War. Good God.
Posted by: WIll at October 14, 2007 06:13 PM (0Yps+)
Gee Will, I bet thinking about how long weve been in Japan, Germany & Kosavo keeps you up at night.
So you didnt want us to go into Iraq and now four years later you proclaim your impatience. No, sorry dont believe ya. Your patience never existed to begin with so its a moot point.
BTW, you unwittingly make the original point.
what is it good for? Absolutly nothing
except ending slavery, fascism, Nazism & communism, but other than that
Posted by: tim at October 15, 2007 12:24 PM (nno0f)
I really enjoyed that article. Patience. working on it...
Posted by: wendy at October 15, 2007 06:51 PM (56tHP)
"We'll be greeted as liberators."
You can't blame Americans for lacking patience without blaming the Bush administration for telling people to expect a short and easy war.
Posted by: Pericles at October 23, 2007 03:52 PM (eKf5G)
When will the US Military step in and solve its own serious problem - the aspiring dictatorship of the bUSH administration.
Posted by: Will at October 24, 2007 10:42 PM (0Yps+)
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