The Deployment Diary

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Day 187 - News and other Political Ramblings

I woke up this morning and hit my regular rounds online to catch the news updates. During the week, I get up about 45 minutes before it's time to wake the little ones to hear some news and check email. I'm so not a morning person. I need that time to have some coffee and turn from grouch into pleasant mommy ;). On the weekends, I sleep until the little ones wake up so I don't see any news on TV before they are downstairs. I rely on the internet on Saturday and Sundays instead.

Of course, my first stop is Iraq Wires (linked to the right) where I see we've lost six soldiers while I slept somewhat peacefully. Six more lives gone. Six more sets of families, friends and co-workers and their families in mourning. Like many days before, this day started in prayer also.

I enjoy the lulls. Where there's little death news out of Iraq - soldiers especially, but Iraqi civilians too. It's those days I gain my footing somewhat, stand a bit straighter, worry less and live more free heartedly. When we have days where we lose our loved ones, I take a few steps back. Days where it hits close to home like back in January or more recently when my friend was touched so close, I take a leaps backwards. I guess in this deployment, unlike others, it's two steps forward and a step back on the emotional roller coaster. You'd think after six months I'd be used to it. I'm not.

I read a soldier's thoughts the other day and for the life of me I can't recall where I found the link - or what blog I read it. The soldier had said they thought an increase in violence would take place leading up to the handover on June 30th. I can't help but agree. The motivation, if I understand news accounts, is to try to incite a civil war.

What would the US do if Iraqi did break into a civil war? I guess I'm glad I'm the (to quote Madeline Albright in 1998) "arm chair critic." It seems in this region, the only thing some understand is hard-line, no playing around butt kicking.

I'd make an announcement that we are there to build a free and democratic Iraq. We have given lives of American citizens (and soon to be citizens) in this endeavor and will not fail due to our national security and the honor of our dead.

I'd explain that there are those among them that want nothing more than war within the different sects and those are the people the Iraqis should target, turn over to the Coalition and stop. If a civil war breaks out, we will level both sides and let God start over.

Now, go in peace, allow us to help you build your country into one of riches and freedom.

I can't help but pity and dislike the Iraqis all at the same time. I try to put myself in their shoes. What would I feel having been brutally treated my entire life and all of a sudden have freedom at my fingertips. Would I be like someone living in America in a gang war zone - afraid to turn in those who are causing the problems? Afraid they'd kill me, or my children or both? It's easy for me to sit in middle America and judge them. Too easy when people I know and love are losing arms, legs and some - their lives.

Before my husband left, we sat on our porch one evening. It's a porch I've always dreamed of having. Beautiful huge columns, room for wicker on one side and rocking chairs on the other. Coming from a poor home, owning something (even a home needing as much love as this old place still needs after almost two years) like this was a fairy tale - not reality for me. To be sitting on this porch and instead of relaxing with a mint julep (if I drank, which I don't lol) discussing landscaping or our daughters grades, we're discussing a future without my husband. A dream home, a beautiful porch - well, it's nothing without him. NOTHING.

He was so calm and straight forward about it. He sat there with a cup of coffee (our drink of choice) and discussed his reasons for feeling like this was the right thing at the right time. He said, "Look at this street. By the time our children are grown, if we don't do this, it could very well mean they never know freedom and security. Instead of watching their friends ride by and wave from their bicycles, they could be seeing tanks rolling through doing patrols. I've lived a good life, a happy life - but if I don't come home, it'll be worth it if my children and grandchildren never have to see that."

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time or know me, you know what stupid here was doing. Yep, big ol' tears rolling down my cheeks. I agreed with him. At that moment, I wished that back when we first married and I thought of joining the Army I'd done so. When we married, we planned to have no children. I'm so thankful for our babies, but in those few minutes on the porch, I wanted to put on a uniform, have our last name proudly sewn on MY uniform too and go with him. If nothing more, to follow him around and shoot anyone who looked at him wrong. Oh yeah, I was really sane those days leading up to him leaving lol! Thankfully, talking to a few other wives in our FRG - I am not the only nut in our group lol. Many others had the same feelings. I come from the south - the land of the concealed weapons permit. I'm a damn good shot with a shotgun, rifle, pistol and semi-automatic 9mm. I figure I could have aced the military firepower of choice in a week tops ;). I guess the truth is, I wish I were there with him most days - almost as much as I wish he were here with us.

If I can continue on my Madeline Albright crusade of the arm chair critic here, I'd advise this Administration to hit the airways now. Talk to the American people about what we face leading up to the hand over of power. Explain that as the stabilization period comes to an end, the crucial time is now. We will see an increase in violence. We need to stand firm with the Iraqi people and not allow a small minority turn our collective progress into failure. Many Iraqis have died trying to forge freedom in that country too, along with our Coalition of the Willing.

Instead, we're seeing Russert on Meet the Press grill NSA Rice on WMDs instead of the future of Iraq. Afterwards, lobbing soft ball questions at Dean. And if anyone thinks Dean likes Kerry - just watch his face. The man is a leftist version of me ;). If I'm thinking it - it's written all over my face. Dean is the same...he despises Kerry and knows he's wrong for this country at this time, but lets play the party affiliation game. You know, your political party is so much more important than your COUNTRY.

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