01 December 2009

Military musings.

Ugh. So the surge. THE SURGE. It has already sparked debate in my household... I agree with the plan (this would be the "shitting" portion of my previously held position of "shit or get off the pot") generally speaking... even though I know as well as most of you what this surge means... and I hate the price that we will have to pay for success.

It means extended tours. It means increasing the OpTempo once again. It means tapping into a well that is already running dry. And worst of all, it means that my friends, my military family (and possibly Swiss and I), will have to pay the price... paid with fear, worry, trepidation, loneliness, holidays spent alone, a year without their loved ones, living with the omnipresent cloud of a loved one at war... every day. It will be paid with blood, sweat and tears. It will be paid with lives lost too soon. It will be paid with young widows and children who will never grow up with two parents.

I shudder to think about all of the other families getting ready for this surge. The ones who will leave yet this month... the ones who are getting the calls to ready for deployment. The ones who's hearts sunk when the final word broke today- knowing full well their families would be the ones bearing the burden. The ones who's lives will be put through the ringer (wringer?) in every imaginable way. The ones who will live this next year on the edge of their seats... afraid of the news, the phone ringing, the unfamiliar sedan in front of the house... the ones who will live in fear of the ringing of their doorbell.

But more than anything... watching the CBS News and hearing the reporter say that these troops would be there for "just one year"... my temper flared, my voice rose two octaves and I was using my outside voice inside. JUST ONE YEAR? Just. One. Year. *gasp* I've lived that year. I'm still living it. There is no "just" in one year. That is every holiday spent alone. That is 360-ish nights alone in your large bed meant for two. That is a full year of mowing the lawn, raking every leaf, shoveling every last snowfall alone. That is a full year of involuntary single parenthood. That is countless missed birthdays... missed first steps... missed first anniversaries... missed nights spent like any other normal couple across this country. There is no "just" in a year.

Inevitably, my rant turned into my least favorite (and admittedly touchiest) subject. "They signed up for this." And you know who said it? My parents. My blood began to boil. My rationality went out the window. I KNOW he chose this. But in no way, shape or form does that make this easy or fun or not horrible. And then I was told that "that isn't what I meant, it isn't personal". How could it not be personal? These are real people who have to enact this surge... families torn apart... IT IS, AT IT'S VERY ROOT, PERSONAL. It couldn't not be personal, if for no other reason, because this surge could lead to Swiss's retirement paperwork being denied. Which means he will be part of this surge. Another war. Another deployment. Another round of God Please Just Bring Him Home, every night, every day. How much more personal could it be?

I don't think I will ever get over how disconnected the American public is from this military lifestyle and all it entails. I understand that living it gives one a unique understanding an outsider could never match (Maude knows I didn't get it until I lived it). But I don't see how the general public can be so flippant about it. "Its their job." "Its about time." "They should send more" ... I want to shout that there aren't more to send.... they can't keep this up... this is taking its toll in ways you can't even begin to fathom!!! But I know, no matter how I say it, it will fall on deaf ears... because it isn't their spouse. It isn't their kid. It isn't their sibling. And it isn't their concern. It's just another talking point... another way to grade a President... another game to armchair quarterback. And it isn't personal.

So, to all of you who are or will be touched by this: May your loved ones come home safely, may this conflict end swiftly and without loss, and may your family, friends and whomever you pray to give you the comfort, support, love and reassurance you need. And know that I will be here for you.


Post Tenebras Lux said...

Well said, Tucker. Well said. This kinda ties my stomach up in knots.

Meghan said...

Me too! Makes me very nervous feeling! Thanks for stating your points so nicely, I may need to whip them out someday to defend our military family :)

Julie said...

I was telling my husband last night that sometimes I wish I could turn off the news and just go to the mall. It seems like that is what so many Americans can do. But the military families can't. We have to live this.

lola said...

Came over to read from Post Tenebras Lux -- well said! There are rumors flying that my husband may get extended, but I support the surge, and if we're affected then so be it. It's not fair for me to support it but only hope that some other military family should bear the burden, you know?

I'm glad he took the proverbial "shit" instead of getting off the pot! ;)

mumsy t. borogrove said...

Also here from PTL.

Have you considered sending this post to the President, and to your Senators and Representative? I would if I were you. Or if I were me and I had written it. Or something. It would be good for them to hear. Or, if they never saw it, good for their aides to read. Somebody somewhere in the decision-making chain ought to be lying awake at nights thinking about this.

Anonymous said...

Well freaking said! Thank-you.