April 30, 2004
April 27, 2004
April 26, 2004
April 23, 2004
I know some of my readers know PFC Ludlam's family. They can be assured that my two friends are doing everything they can to respect his belongings and make sure they make it home.
April 21, 2004
April 19, 2004
(And he'll probably kill me for broadcasting this...)
April 16, 2004
Have I mentioned how much I love my job?
Den Beste is not personally affected by the war as a software engineer. Lileks has little chance of seeing an attack near Jasperwood. Amritas doesn't have any friends or family in the military. But all of these men, and countless other bloggers, rate the war on terror as the highest on their list. I've heard that numerous bloggers shifted hard to the Right after 9/11 only based on terrorism. None of their other views have changed, but for these folks -- most of whom don't have a husband who's sitting outside Najaf as we speak -- the war on terror trumps all other hands.
Yes, I have big issues with the current restrictions on stem cell research because I'd really like to see our medical technology move forward. But how can we as a country continue to move forward when an entire section of the globe is stuck in the fifteenth century and determined to convert us to their antediluvian ways? If we did ignore the Middle East and focused instead on new research, we might miss the fact that they were doing research of their own, that which leads them to nukes. A radical Muslim with a nuclear weapon is the most frightening thing I've ever imagined in my life, and I believe this war on terror is aimed at just that fear.
I'd love to focus more on the US and her internal problems. But to me right now that seems like trying to study for a test while someone keeps hitting you with spitwads. Sooner or later you're going to have to go over and deal with the nuisance before he graduates to a slingshot, and studying will have to wait until you can concentrate. I believe the terrorists will never give up or get bored or look for ways to improve their own health care system, so until their threat is abolished we must remain diligent.
That's not just the military wife in me talking.
April 15, 2004
I had an extremely informative IM chat with an old friend this evening. She and I had never talked politics, but the phrase "I like Kerry" came up, so I decided to gently explore. What I found out was remarkable in its simplicity.
I'm surrounded by the military community, a segment of the population that intimately feels the burden of the war on terror. I spend all my free time reading blogs about terrorism, Iraq, or US foreign policy. I completely take it for granted that these are pressing issues that deserve immediate attention and steadfast determination.
When you're a regular 26 year old, working a good job in the Midwest, terrorism couldn't be further from your mind. The things that matter to you are often the more domestic social issues. Not the socialist junk like health care -- you've got good benefits -- but the role of a conservative government with respect to 21st century social issues.
I agree with my friend that I am concerned about the marriage amendment. I agree that I prefer less government control on issues like abortion. I agree that stem cell research is high on my list of beef with Republicans. As I listened to her reasons why she currently intends to vote Kerry over Bush, I could relate.
Except there's a war on.
I explained my view to her that, although the war affects me personally as a military wife, it also affects all of us as Americans. When there are radical Muslims out there who have sworn to kill Americans by any means necessary, all else must come secondary, in my opinion. "Stem cells and abortions won't matter when we're all anthraxed," I said. And she thoughtfully listened to me and said that I had given her important things to digest.
I hope we both learned a little from our exchange tonight; I certainly did. I realized that there are voters out there who don't see the war on terror as the pivotal issue; there are some people who don't care one way or the other whether the UN is with us in Iraq, because Iraq is not their top priority. She doesn't prefer Kerry because he's multilateral; she prefers him because his party represents certain social issues that she thinks are important. I can respect that. I don't even know how to counter it, because I agree with all of the things she said.
But I'd still like her to entertain the idea that terrorism, if left unchecked, could someday become a pressing issue in her own life in the Midwest.
April 11, 2004
I'm so proud of him.
Since most of his guys were also nine months in Kosovo last year, he thinks they all deserve it more than he does. He also said he's not sure how big of an effect this list will have anyway, since they've stopped all talk of R&R since Fallujah. I told him I was impressed by his integrity and that we'd take R&R if we could but I'll be proud of him if we can't.
I'm so lucky to be married to such a selfless soldier.
April 09, 2004
A secondhand love letter (riddled with soldier swear words) is better than nothing at all...
Best friend concluded with
But trust me...you have nothing to worry about...he's going to do a mission that you can be very proud of. It's a big one.
MORE TO GROK:
Spoke too soon; the husband just called. Ten minutes sure goes fast.
April 08, 2004
Hell, I can hope so, right?
I can't say I'm not worried -- he's my best friend and my whole life -- but all I can do is remind myself that he's smart and prepared. That thought gives me the confidence and fortitude I need to accept his new mission.
And if there's something I've learned from life, it's that there's always someone who has it worse.
Time to listen to I Won't Back Down again...
After reading the news yesterday night, I awoke this morning to a feeling of anxiety. No phone call in the middle of the night. No email. Nothing telling me what's going on in my husband's company. I couldn't even read blogs; after half an hour I just shut it down and went back to bed. And when I felt like I couldn't stand it anymore, I knew what I wanted to do.
I wanted to call a friend.
My definition of friend has changed tremendously since last year. I've really reflected on who I want to share my life with, and I've narrowed the list of people I'd approach in a crisis. Here on post, there's a feeling of walking on tiptoes, not wanting to stress anyone out more than they are already. No one wants to hear my problems, because they are all looking for ways to deal with their own. And as much as I trust my favorite friend here on post, her husband is on rear detachment, so it's sometimes hard for her to relate.
So I called Tim.
He talked about the agony of being so near the finish line and seeing the goalpost move. I talked about the agony of uncertainty, of not knowing where my husband is or what he may be doing. We just talked, venting our frustrations for a few minutes, as friends do.
And I feel a whole lot better.
April 07, 2004
[Coalition spokeswoman Paola] Della Casa said the Iraqi attackers used civilians as human shields, and a woman and two children were among the dead.
I've always tried to maintain my resolve throughout this war. When other wives say that they wish we could just nuke Iraq into a parking lot and bring our husbands home, I always tried to remember that what my husband is doing there is necessary for the future of the Middle East. I've maintained my optimism and idealism, even saying "Our soldiers are lucky to be part of something so monumental in history. When the puzzle is complete, all their work will make sense, and a beautiful new Iraq will emerge from the pieces."
But today I'm not so resolved. We're fighting to save a country from itself. As Victor Davis Hanson said Sunday, "Are the citizens of Fallujah the victims of Saddam, or did folk like this find their natural identity expressed in Saddam?" I'm starting to wonder about that myself.
April 06, 2004
April 05, 2004
When another dissenting reader first used to come around here and leave comments, it used to make me so mad. I would absolutely fume at home, complaining to my husband that I wished this guy would leave me alone and that I really thought he was wrong, but didn't know how to counter him. I would lie in bed thinking about it, wondering what I could say, and I would be overcome with anger and worry.
I resolved on New Year's to learn to be bemused. So far I think I've been doing a great job of reaching my goal; at least now I don't let things affect me so much to where I can't sleep at night.
Look, the title of my blog is trying to grok. Trying. I would never be one to say that I've got the world all figured out, or that my way of thinking is the only one. I'm open for suggestion. But there's a difference between suggestion and beating someone over the head until they give in. There's a difference between Joshua coming here to have a healthy debate about Israel/Palestine and someone coming here to insult me on three different comment threads.
And, I'm sorry, but the idea that my disgust with vandals who care more about putting Bush down than respecting a historic monument would dishonor my husband makes me laugh instead of fret. Laugh. I'm at the point where I can laugh at this stuff, which means I've done a whole lot of personal growing since I started this blog.
Deal with this: I'm bemused.
April 04, 2004
This morning I'm going to the circus.
If there's any bigger clash in activities, I don't know what it is.
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