Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Some days, it's hard to be a fool

Today had a pretty rough spot that I'm not sure I'm ready to blog about.

And I couldn't stop thinking about the recent allegations out of Iraq. As my husband and I sat in our favorite coffee place, I found myself asking my husband if he could imagine being someone who loved these soldiers, not as unknowns, but as people he'd loved for a long time, husbands, brothers, friends, cousins, sons, maybe fathers. Ah, that hurt.

You see, my father is a soldier. He's been there before and he's going again. Now, he's not combat personnel, but this war has fronts everywhere. When he went the first time, I watched him go out for months ahead of time, practicing shooting a pistol at a target, preparing in case he had to kill. I found myself praying not only that he wouldn't be hurt or killed, but also that he wouldn't have to fire that gun the entire time he went. So far as I know, he didn't. But there are so many others there, soldiers who have been traumatized over and over again, body and soul. Soldiers who have had their humanity so broken by the machine of war that they can do awful things to fellow people.

It's not that I'm not upset for the people of Iraq. I am. But I'm also worried about the soldiers we're destroying with this war. I'm worried about their families. I know personally of one divorce already by a spouse who could no longer continue to live with the person who had come back from the war. There are undoubtedly hundreds if not thousands more. I worry about the children, especially of the soldiers who have been publicly identified as possibly having committed murder. The playground is not known for its grasp of concepts like innocent until proven guilty.

And I worry about these soldiers should the allegations be proven true. Already, there have been statements about what will happen to them. They will receive harsher punishment than quieter crimes, to serve as an example. And the madness from knowing what they have done will be added to by the treatment they will receive behind bars.

And now, the announcement comes that all soldiers will receive ethics training - a slideshow of moral choices. Let's see - a slideshow versus months of practice to kill. And orders to kill. And being under fire, witnessing horrors day after day, with not a scrap of sympathy or help, returned again and again to the same task.

Oh, yes, I support our troops. I've sent food, letters, DVDs, art supplies, origami, love, prayers, and my breaking heart with them.

2 Comments:

Blogger Paula said...

Foolish,

I'm so glad you've joined the blog-o-sphere. Your writings brighten my day and cause pause - something I need.

Even though they have been raised under my influence, my two teenage sons think the military is cool and one is planning on joining. I don't know what to do.

Paula

6/04/2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Paula,

Ouch. One issue that's been sitting heavily on me of late is the heavy recruitment drives that are targeting our young people, especially young men. I see it in my neighborhood, where there's a high school right behind my apartment building.

The last time I looked into a commercial clothing shop nearby, the summer clothes were in shades of army green and camo. And I cringed. I wonder whether the clothing stores in wealthier neighborhoods are different, but the push is certainly on.

Oh, I worry for you and your sons. Right now, there is an effort to keep the costs of the war hidden, and that means that they fall heavier than ever on the families of soldiers. Can you have conversation about what it means to be a soldier? Even in peacetime, becoming a soldier is not an easy thing to do. In wartime, the risks are horrific.

Y'all are in my prayers.

6/04/2006 2:00 PM  

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