September 30, 2007

RED 6 ON THE WAY

A certain Silver Star recipient former tanker Indian type is in the car headed our direction. It's been two years since we've seen him, so it should be a good day. Too cool.

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September 11, 2007

9/11 CHANGED EVERYTHING

I just heard Herman Cain on the radio, asking callers to call in and say where they were on 9/11/01 and how it changed their lives. I started thinking about what I'd say if I called in. I've said all this stuff before on the blog, but it's worth summarizing today.

On 9/11/01 I was a stupid kid who didn't know a thing about the world. I hated politics, put my fingers in my ears any time someone mentioned Israel, and was shockingly naive about how deep the world's hatred for my country ran. I was at school that day and was annoyed that my fellow classmates all wanted to go home; I thought they all just wanted an excuse for a day off. New York was 800 miles away, so there was no reason we couldn't continue with our lessons. I was engaged to a guy in Army ROTC, and the severity of 9/11 still didn't sink in. In short, I was a complete idiot.

Today I started thinking that if 9/11 hadn't happened, my life would be quite different. My husband was slated to join the Army for four years of Finance. My guess is that he would've completed his commitment and taken his business mind elsewhere for more money. Certainly he wouldn't have stayed in and chosen to learn Farsi. We'd probably be somewhere in the Midwest, working and living like most of our peers.

Although I was too obtuse and self-absorbed to realize it at the time, 9/11 changed everything for me.

And 9/11 changed the blogging world too. Early in the morning of 9/11/01, Steven den Beste wrote a post about online gambling. Guess what he posted on the rest of the week, and more or less for the rest of his blogging career. If it weren't for the path that he and others like him forged, I might still be sitting with my fingers in my ears.

Without 9/11, I never would've learned to think.

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September 07, 2007

300

The husband and I had a talk tonight, about going to war, about being left behind, about duty, honor, and glory. I shed a tear, we shared an embrace...and then we watched 300. It is such a fitting thing, to watch 300. And nothing gets to me like Queen Gorgo's speech:

I am not here to represent Leonidas; his actions speak louder than my words ever could. I am here for all those voices which cannot be heard: mothers, daughters, fathers, sons - three hundred families that bleed for our rights, and for the very principles this room was built upon. We are at war, gentlemen. We must send the entire Spartan army to aid our king in the preservation of not just ourselves, but of our children. Send the army for the preservation of liberty. Send it for justice. Send it for law and order. Send it for reason. But most importantly, send our army for hope - hope that a king and his men have not been wasted to the pages of history - that their courage bonds us together, that we are made stronger by their actions, and that your choices today reflect their bravery.

We are made stronger by their actions.

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SMARTS AIN'T ALWAYS THE ANSWER

Miss Ladybug writes a nice post explaining her take on an article about why we need the draft. She does a good job of explaining her side. I have one thing to add about this part in the original article:

Consequently, we have a severe talent deficiency in the military, which the draft would remedy immediately. While America’s bravest are in the military, America’s brightest are not. Allow me to build a squad of the five brightest students from MIT and Caltech and promise them patrols on the highways connecting Baghdad and Fallujah, and I’ll bet that in six months they could render IED’s about as effective as a “Just Say No” campaign at a Grateful Dead show.

First of all, my husband just whooped MIT's butt at that Fast Money MBA Challenge, and he went to a state school and chose to be in the Army. So I'm thinking he could do just as well at "patrols on the highways" as Ivy Leaguers could. Hell, he would do better since he wants to be there instead of being forced to be there; I don't care how smart you were at school, if you don't have the drive and desire to apply your brain power to a problem, you ain't gonna fix it either.

But secondly, and here's my real contribution, smarter doesn't always make you a better soldier. My husband likes to tell one anecdote: The guy in their company with the highest ASVAB score, so presumably the smartest soldier, was the one my husband had to put in jail in Iraq. The best soldier they had, the one everyone wanted to work with, was the old gangbanger.

There are plenty of smart people in the military; I'd rather talk to Jack Army about the Middle East than anyone at Caltech. But book smarts isn't always what the Army needs, especially if it's been forced to be there. Somehow I get a little giggle imagining this Marine corporal trying to organize a squad of drafted Ivy Leaguers. I'm not sure it'd go as swimmingly as he thinks it would.

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September 06, 2007

BECAUSE HE WENT TO WAR

Families Cracking Under War Pressure

Sigh.

Love My Tanker does a good job of fisking this article. I will just point out a few things, less diplomatically than she does.

"I don't know one military family that is still together or anything like they were before the Soldier in the family went to war," 30-year-old Mylinda, whose husband was among the first Marines to be deployed in Iraq, told AFP.

We're still together and exactly the same as we were before. Only better. My husband has matured as a man, as a leader, and as a citizen. He is a far better person for having been to war because he now understands things that most of us only know from books. If he's changed at all, it's for the better. Me too, for I had to spend a year being self-reliant, not whiny, and strong.

"Now, you have boy scouts fighting over there. They get kids out of high school, put them in boot camp and then send them to fight.

"When they get out, all they know how to do is kill someone."

Yes, my husband now knows how to kill someone. He also knows how to talk to people about electricity, gas shortages, getting along with their neighbors, and training to be soldiers themselves. Because he went to war, he changed career paths and now is learning to speak their language so he can continue to talk to them about how to make their countries better. Talk to them. If he was just going to kill them, he wouldn't need to waste six months learning to speak their language.

My husband is a better person because he's been to war, and we're a stronger couple because of it. Better. Maybe you could interview someone like us next time.

MORE:

FbL points out that this article got picked up at Islam Online under the title "Unseen American Victims of Iraq." Great.

Posted by: Sarah at 01:00 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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