Sunday, August 01, 2010

Why Afghanistan matters to me

This is my brother. His name is David.  He's my "not that little, little brother" and he is awesome. He is my hero.

Afghanistan matters to me because today (August 1, 2010), he ships out.

Afghanistan matters to me because I live in Seattle. Recently, two sailors went missing in Afghanistan - one was from here. I secretly prayed for God to spare him pain and feel guilty that he was found dead. I just didn't want him to be tortured.

Afghanistan matters to me because I'm military. My grandfather, my dad, my stepdad, my uncles, my brother. I never lived on post, but for all intents and purposes, I grew up on Ft. Bliss.

Afghanistan matters to me because I don't understand how you fight an insurgent, philosophical, non-governmental entity with conventional resources that expect/predict/plan for conventional results.

Afghanistan matters to me because, in some ways, I feel like if I had just done my job and cared back at NMSU, he wouldn't be in the military.  He would be an engineering college graduate with a decent, but probably not superstar athletic history to his name.

Afghanistan matters to me because I'm scared that this economy will take my life. Because we're severely underemployed in my household (I have my job, thank goodness, but I wasn't the main breadwinner here), I couldn't afford to go see my brother (and his son, whom I've never met) back home in El Paso before he left. If anything happens to him...I won't be able to live with myself.  Mostly because I know my husband won't be able to live with himself.  And if I lost both my brother and my husband...

Afghanistan matters to me because I voted for a guy who said we were in the wrong war.  And I wholeheartedly agreed.  And I constantly told all the peaceniks that he wasn't anti-war and promoted as a good thing that Afghanistan was going to be the focus.  It has been a tough year.  And my Hope Beacon has been flickering off and on like a Wii controller with mismatched batteries. Or a candle in the wind. Or that last flickering ember by the campfire. I don't want this war to squelch that Beacon.

Afghanistan matters to me because he's my little brother.
I'll be counting down the days until he comes back.

And then wrapping everything I have around him to make sure that "normal life" is tolerable. This Pentagon report on what is happening to our soldiers when they return (and why it is happening) is sobering.  The NYT article on soldier suicides breaks it down.

My little brother is not a statistic.  I won't let him be.  Not this time.

1 comment:

Tamany said...

Jamie was in the first wave into afghanistan, after 9-11. He was wounded 33 days into his tour. He has spent every day since defending the indefensable. His spirit and willingness to do this thing, that now your brother is doing, is beyond our ability to change or alter. Trust me when I say that my son was NOT raised to be military, or to want to have anything to do with military. Its a calling, not unlike the priesthood or other such callings.

All you can do now, is pray that whatever happens to him, that he will have the strength to endure.

Jamie is the exception, not the rule. When you look at the percentages and do the math, the odds of your brother being harmed are about the same as driving his car on a friday night. It could happen, but most likely will not.

I am against violence in ANY form and do not believe that the slaughter of people over ideals is a civilized way to handle differences. Yet my son, raised in a completely non-violent environment, went to war and was wounded becuase of those ideals.

Don't get panicked and fatalistic about life because you weren't able to do all that you think you should have or could have. We are all capable of Shoulding all over ourselves. It won't change a thing.

The economy is what it is, its the ability to outlast it that will make or break you.

My advice is get lean, get rid of everything that is sucking up money that you don't absolutely have to have. All that stuff is meaningless anyway.

Trust me your boy has done without before, and it won't kill him Or you (and Rob will NEVER hurt himself he's far to practical for that). In fact it will make you both more appreciative of each other.