Saturday, February 03, 2007

The War on Terror and other such things

After a 2 week blog hiatus here I am writing 3 posts in one day. I feel the need to comment though on this whole war thing though. It hits home. The day after the state of the union address I found an unwelcome message in my inbox. My brother (who I always welcome emails from) was notifying us that his deployment to Afghanistan (he's in his 11th month there with the 10th Mtn., and he already served a year in Iraq with the 101st when troops first went in) had been extended until June-ish.

Now, his unit is doing some amazing things that no one else in the army is doing, or has ever done to my knowledge. They're out, not on a base, living in a river valley doing some really inventive stuff - from winning the hearts and minds of Afghani civilians by building schools and giving them protection, to searching for Taliban forces and providing security to contractors in the region. What he and his soldiers are doing is pretty amazing, but also highly dangerous.

We were told weeks ago not to send any more mail - he'd be coming home soon. Then wham, a week later, we get this email from him that he's there longer. My first instinct was to lash out at our Commander In Chief. Thank you, El Presidente, for deciding to further risk my brother's life. But, after actually using my head and looking into the issues a bit further, and after hearing Rob's take on it, I think we need to stay the course. Yes, our troops are stretched. Yes, they're underpaid and undersupported. But pulling them out of the hot zones will not make our country or the world a safer place to live. Here's an excerpt from Rob's email:

I just want to say up front that we all believe this to be the right decision on the part of the President and the SECDEF. We have known for awhile that this was being considered, and in an effort to hold on to the peace that we have been fighting for over the past 11 months this is the right choice. We know the area, we will stay in place while our follow on unit, the 82nd, will move somewhere else. So for now, things will stay as they are.

In the mean time, keep all of our soldiers in your prayers. This will be a difficult time for our soldiers, but their strength of will and sense of duty is truly an amazing thing to behold on a daily basis. At the end of the day, we will be fine. As a matter fact, we will do very well over here and the company will continue to bond and get stronger through our continued deployment.

Thanks to all of you for your support up to this point and I look forward to it continuing over the next few months! Take care.

While most of us here stateside have varied opinions about the war and how soon our troops should come home, support for the war is decreasing. There are so many people who give monologues on what we should do. But talk to the troops. Talk to the ones who have come home or the ones who are still on the ground, and see what they have to say about the situation. Every soldier I've talked to who's served in Iraq says that sending more troops is 100% the right thing to do. They're not talking out of selfish motives. More troops in Iraq (or Afghanistan) means more time away from their families, more missed birthdays and Christmases, more missed births, and frankly they put their lives on the line every day they spend in combat. And they're the ones saying, yes, let us do our jobs.

In our day to day lives, that means a couple things. One, perhaps we (we consisting of those of us who have not been to Iraq or Afghanistan in recent months) should stop pretending we know what to do. And two, let's show a little more support for the men and women who put their lives on the line daily and sacrifice time with their families for our greater safety.

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