Just Plain Foolish

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

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The price of escalation

Dear Senator Boxer,

I'm not from California, but I wanted to thank you anyway. I know that you have been publicly taken over the coals for your comments to Ms. Rice on who pays the price for this war. As one of the people paying right now, I want to thank you. My dad is currently serving in Iraq, his second tour there.

There is very little support for military families, particularly of National Guardsmen and the Reserve. (My dad is in the National Guard.) There is none that I can find at all for those like me, the grown child of a soldier.

Already, once I have seen my dad come home to stare at bare walls, jump at the smallest sound, and just generally not be the man I have known for 30-some years. I have seen the ruin of war in his eyes, heard his stories on coming home. ("Now, this fellow was just about your age. His trailer got hit with a shell just as he was coming in from a shower...") And this time, his time there will be twice as long in a less stable situation. For my family, the war has already escalated.

I have seen the pictures of my dad in Jungle camo body armor standing out like a sore thumb against the desert. But at least he had body armor. His truck had armor, even if it was scavenged scrap iron welded on in theatre. He hasn't sent me any pictures at all this tour, though he's been there since just after Thanksgiving. As you may imagine, my family's holidays were a little more somber than other folks.

I'm up now because I couldn't sleep. I woke up at 2 in the morning and couldn't go back to sleep. I just sat and crocheted on the blanket my friends and I are making for him, praying over it and thinking about what you said to Ms. Rice. I think it takes a different kind of bravery to stand up to the criticism you are taking, but it is bravery also. And I want you to know that when I read Ms. Rice's words, I also did not think she got what you were saying. She does not fully understand the sacrifice I am making every day my dad is in harm's way. Not even close.

Thank you for having the courage to ask the hard question about what this "sacrifice" will mean to those of us making it.


Blogger Don said...

God bless you and God bless your Dad. I'm going to link your post on my blog. It brings tears to my eyes and it should. You have had to endure so much. I continue to hope and pray that our elected officials can do something to stop this insanity.

1/13/2007 8:42 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Thank you. I'm just tired of seeing someone make a reasonable comment about the way this administration has insulated itself from the horrific consequences of a totally insane war and then tries to vilify anyone who calls them on it.

I'm furiously angry that Ms. Rice *dares* to say she understands my sacrifice. Neither she nor her employer have shown the slightest understanding of or compassion for the suffering they have caused both at home and abroad.

And for those who link the comment solely to the fact that she is unmarried and childless, I will note that my dad has many brothers and sisters, and they, too, wait anxiously for word. There is an entire county that is receiving less medical care while they wait for their doctor to return. My cousins worry about their uncle. Each of us is paying a price.

What price is Ms. Rice paying? What sacrifice, aside from any remaining shreds of decency, has she made? She says she's been to the hospitals. Fine, but did she know them before? Does she know them now, other than as a name on a list and a photo op?

To her, my father is just one soldier, but to me, he's the person who taught me to love the woods, who makes the world's worst rice casserole (and I'd eat 3 servings of it if he'd prepare it for me now.), who had long talks with me as I was growing up, and who had the proudest look on his face when he walked me down the aisle behind two of my cousins who had scattered rose petals.

1/13/2007 10:00 PM  
Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White, Ph.D. said...

Elizabeth, I shall pray for your father and family. If you send this to Sen. Boxer, please ask her to do more than speak out, but side with Sen. Kennedy in opposing funding for this escalation and in finding every legal means to end the war and bring your father and the other troops home.

1/16/2007 11:28 AM  

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