May 09, 2008

I'M NOT ANTI-WAR

Dragonfly found an interesting opinion piece called Anti-War Wounds. I don't relate to every opinion in the article, but it's well-written and makes a good point about "being the 'we.'" And about how it feels when people don't get that.

My husband fights this war. He risks his life every day. We have both made sacrifices for it. And to hear them say that it’s “a waste of time,” that it “will never make a difference,” that “we should call the whole thing off” — well, if that’s true, I’m not sure I’ll get out of bed tomorrow morning. There has to be a reason that our family — and thousands of others — are enduring this.

Yesterday someone called to say goodbye to my husband before he left, not knowing that he'd been bumped forward. And in the conversation, this person asked if my husband thinks that being in Iraq is worth it, if his job means anything, and if he thinks we should've gone there in the first place. How do you answer that question 1) politely and 2) succinctly? And then what do you do when that person says, "Well, I don't think it was the right idea in the first place"?

All I could answer was that my husband reads countless books, articles, and blogs about the Middle East. He's no robot blindly following Bush's orders. And he will do the best job he can with the brain he's been given so that he does make a difference down there.

You know, I've heard the saying that the soldier is the most anti-war person because he actually sees what war is, but I don't think I ever want label myself as anti-war. To me, that's like being anti-pollution or anti-cancer; it's a meaningless term. (I've written about this before.) There is war in this world we live in, like it or not, and sometimes you have to fight it. And if that time comes to my family, then that makes me pro-war. Do I think this time in Iraq has been perfect or easy? No way. But I don't have a crystal ball that can tell me what the world would've looked like if we hadn't gone to Iraq five years ago. It's possible the world might've been worse off. So you fight the war you're in with all you've got and don't waste time thinking about what might have been in some alternate dimension.

So please don't ask our military families to discuss that alternate dimension. It's pointless and off-putting.

Posted by: Sarah at 03:02 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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1 Especially since they don't want to hear our answer unless it is the same as theirs anyway. I mean, really, I have never experienced someone asking me a question like that who was truly trying to get my perspective to add to their own reasons for the way they feel about the war. NEVER. What they were fishing for was whether they could use me as a "typical victim in the military" anecdote when they propounded their own opinions.

Posted by: airforcewife at May 09, 2008 04:34 AM (mIbWn)

2 Agreed! I've written about this as well. I think we're all pro-peace - the soldiers and the families that support them. We're just not out there fighting for peace like our soldiers are.

Posted by: Tonya at May 09, 2008 06:01 AM (KV0YP)

3 “You’ll join us when your husband dies,” one of the protesters whispered. Huh, wtf? Peaceful, my butt!

Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at May 09, 2008 06:33 AM (irIko)

4 “And in the conversation, this person asked if my husband thinks that being in Iraq is worth it, if his job means anything, and if he thinks we should've gone there in the first place.” Anybody who would ask such a thing, at such a time is a complete, flaming asshole. You & your husband would be wise to keep your distance from such a douche. This clown’s agenda wasn’t to say goodbye to your husband but rather to spew his/her crap about the Iraq war. Disguising it in an “innocent” question doesn’t excuse the motives of such a reprehensible tool. This person, obviously knowing the situation, couldn’t keep their beliefs to themselves and just say something nice and leave it at that? Geez, I’m PO’d for ya’. Sorry for the language, I’ve just had it with these vermin.

Posted by: tim at May 09, 2008 07:53 AM (nno0f)

5 Tim, a year or so ago I might have agreed with you -- but I have had so many people ask about whether it is "worth it" or whether we should "be there"... and they honestly want to hear it from someone that has some "inside" knowledge. They don't trust what they hear in the media (or don't know what to think!) and they seem genuinely happy when I tell them "Hell yes!" and the reasons why and what is going on in Iraq. So I no longer take offense... and look at it as an opportunity to educate them. I find that people who can't be swayed and have their minds made up start off with the obligatory "we should never have gone" or some other comment on the BushCheneyHitler line.

Posted by: Some Soldier's Mom at May 09, 2008 08:51 AM (1t9I+)

6 The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 05/09/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

Posted by: David M at May 09, 2008 08:58 AM (gIAM9)

7 Some Soldier’s Mom, I understand what you’re saying and I appreciate your comments. I don’t obviously know what this person’s motives where or if they were honestly searching for some sincere answers as was your experience. I just read into Sarah’s post that it was inappropriate and not appreciated. I also thought that under the situation, husband just left for the war being questioned, it was totally improper to say the least.

Posted by: tim at May 09, 2008 11:01 AM (nno0f)

8 I'm just a civilian however I know for a fact that the men and women who serve in the military are all that's left standing between liberty and tyranny. That said; I live in NYC, was here during both attacks so I am a little familiar with the effects of war. If I were asked the question 'it it worth it?' I would respond with "was it worth 8 1/2 years of willful blindness only to see the WTC crumble into ash, the Pentagon attacked and a massive hole in Pennsylvannia on 9/11?" We gave peace a chance yet peace gave us 9/11. I wish I could really express to the families of those serving that there has not been a day since 9/11 which I have forgotten my vow to Never Forget; every day since I wake up thinking about those who serve and their families and that you're worth defines everything good in this world. I'm too old now to serve however I'm not too old to send care packages full of love and gratitude to the most important people in the world.

Posted by: syn at May 10, 2008 12:48 AM (Dx06M)

9 Tim, Fair enough. and you're right... the timing of the question to Sarah is certainly suspect... on the other hand, the person could just be a social klutz (or just plain insensitive)

Posted by: Some Soldier's Mom at May 10, 2008 07:55 AM (1t9I+)

10 I think this person really did want to know my husband's opinion, but it's really hard for me to speak for my husband in the first place. I feel funny doing that. Secondly, this person seemed to have a preconceived idea anyway. I don't know how open he/she was to what I had to say, and I didn't say much in the short conversation. It just came off as weird all around.

Posted by: Sarah at May 10, 2008 12:07 PM (TWet1)

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