Coming Home, Leaving Home

I finally made the trip down from D.C. to my parent's house, our home, in the Northern Neck of Virginia earlier this week. My parents were thrilled to have me back home for an extended stay, but we all know the visit means activation is right around the corner.

My mom wants to do anything and everything she can to help out, and even asked me what I needed while I was gone. I didn't have an answer at first, but then it came to me. I wanted her to learn to use a computer so we'll be able to communicate via email and IM while I am gone. She was reluctant, but agreed to learn and we had first session Thursday.

Of course her biggest interest in using the computer is to read 'Reporting for Duty' -- and yesterday was about the last day I wanted her to read the blog since it dealt with the death of my friend Adrian Stump.

Still, I went ahead with the lesson and showed her the blog, providing what I thought was ample warning. She tried hard not to break down crying, but did anyway. She told me she stopped wearing eye makeup about five weeks ago since it would always end up underneath her chin at some point in the day.

That ended our computer session. I hope to get her back in front of the computer again, though.

My father seems to be doing much better with the situation. He is an ex-Navy guy so he knows this is the job I've signed up to do. He helped me move all of my crap into storage yesterday. I embrace this deployment, but the moving was a pain in the ass.

These interactions with my parents, some of them difficult, made me wonder if my experience is normal or unusual. I'd be interested in what others of you have to say, so please feel free to comment.

As a single soldier, I feel the emotional part of a deployment is easier than the operational part -- paying bills, storing my belongings, putting my career on hold. But for married soldiers, is this the case? I'd guess that for married soldiers dealing with the emotions of leaving a spouse and children would be much more difficult than operational details -- if only because there's a spouse around to handle things like paying bills, etc.

What about the single parent soldier? What is that like?

By Bert Stover |  October 7, 2005; 9:35 AM ET  | Category:  Family , Preparation for Departure
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I am A Chinook pilot in Iraq stationed at Balad and have been deployed for 10 months. The deployment has been tough and we all get shot at regularly, but nothing compares to leaving my wife and daughter. When I left I told the wife no long goodbye's. When I hugged my 4yr old, she says, "Daddy don't go to work, I will go and help you." Needless to say it was nice, but at that moment very painful to say, "You cant go this time." I will come back in Jan. and will deploy to Afghanistan in Feb. 07. The country is at war my ass, Haley, Heather and I are at war. No one else is doing anything but watching the war on TV. Peace Out. JP

Posted by: CW2 J. Pierce | October 8, 2005 06:14 AM

What will the Americans do, when every country, on earth is democratic and when there is no scope for war?

Posted by: Harikumar | October 8, 2005 06:40 AM

Dear Harikumar,

We will live in peace and not worry about a bunch of misogynistic, religious faddists driving airplanes into our buildings.

Posted by: eljefe | October 8, 2005 08:52 AM

Bert,
Trust me it is never easy for the family of a solider, any branch, to see their solider go off to duty. I did it countless times during the years I was alive for my father's service. As I used to tell my father, and this applies to every solider. Stay strong, be careful, and come home soon. Hang in there and I must commend you as a recent college graduate with a communications degree I have found your blog very interesting to keep up with. Good luck and god speed.

Posted by: Military Brat | October 8, 2005 12:52 PM

I honor you with every fiber of my being. I remember World War II - my husband, brother, brother in law were in service.
Good luck to you, best wishes to your family.

Posted by: Chinook Pilot in Iraq | October 8, 2005 03:37 PM

My son just came home and told me he had enlisted in the AF. I couldn't be more proud! He and you honor our country with your sacrifice and I pray that both of you come home safe. It's difficult to deal with my youngest son leaving but I know that he's in good hands. Take care and peace.

Posted by: AirForceDad | October 8, 2005 08:54 PM

Shortly before the electronic blackout preceeding Operation Al Fajr in Fallujah last November, I made sure to call or e-mail my Mom everyday all the while knowing I couldn't (or shouldn't) tell her what was going on. I thought the hardest day of my life was when I told her I was headed to Fallujah, but man, those couple of days were harder. For my mom, the absolute hardest day came after I was home. That was the day when a convoy with female Marines in Fallujah hit an IED. Though I was home, she knew that it could have been me had it been a couple of months earlier.

My only advice is to have your Dad help taper how much news she watches on TV. My Dad is a Vietnam vet and I was grateful that he wouldn't let her watch it constantly.

Best of luck to you and keep your head down.

Posted by: USMC_Iraq_Vet | October 8, 2005 09:47 PM

When that smirking buffoon on Pennsylvania Avenue keeps his promise about bringing back "dead or alive" the "misogynistic, religious faddists driving airplanes into our buildings," then we will make the first steps to genuine peace. Unless I missed the obituary, I believe Osama bin Laden and the architects of 9/11 are still alive and well (and most likely living in Pakistan).

Say, did anyone notice how the administration responded to the earthquake in Pakistan? It was a damn lot faster and more organized than the response in New Orleans. Message to the people of New Orleans: start wearing turbans and chanting "Allah akhbar!" and you'll get your federal aid faster.

Posted by: E. Etage | October 10, 2005 09:00 AM

Etage -

You speak of this administration as if they were self appointed dictators. Bush was elected by the people of this country (I'm assuming that you're a US citizen) so regardless of your opinions, remember that there are more people in this country on his side than there are on yours. That's the beauty of democracy. Also remember that here in America, at least you have the right to post these sour sore loser comments of yours. We are fighting for the freedom of people that don't even have the right to do that. I wish you would move to a third world country and openly express your disdain with the government over there, so that their secret police could drag you out of your bed in the middle of the night and shoot you in the face.

Posted by: Deuce Wang | October 11, 2005 09:59 AM

I support our soldier's that are in harm's way. It is sickening to hear the rhetoric of the anti-war crowd. It's time for them to pack up and move, preferably out of the USA.

Posted by: spankyd | October 11, 2005 11:46 AM

Wow, such open thinking. Apparently, if one thinks that badly planned and badly handled wars are bad, we're hateful jerks who don't support soldiers.

Maybe they'd be safer if the whole thing were run better, planned better, handled better, not started on a lie? People like me can disagree with the idea of the war and still want our troops to be safe. If you think "supporting" our troops is "hoping they kill as many people as possible and crush everyone", then you're basically sick.

REAL support of our troops is saying "We hope you spend more time rebuilding that country than you do having to fight. We hope you come home safe, and we hope you provide stability to Iraq as it gets on its feet, not end up stuck in an ongoing never-ending battle that just crushes everything and everyone senselessly."

What you support is not the troops, it's the idea of wholesale destruction and war for ideology.

This is our country too. We will stay here, because, as Americans, it is our right to disagree with you, with war, with our leaders. Take your ignorant "Love it or leave it" attitude and sit on it.

We'll stay, and we'll stand up for what the USA really means. If that bothers you, then YOU move. If you want your war so bad, YOU go there.

Posted by: RealLiving | October 11, 2005 12:02 PM

I volunteered and served 4 years in the Navy during WWII to fight for my newly adopted country.
I left my wife who was sight impaired,and son (5 months old) for sea duty in the Pacific. I didn't see them for eighteen months. Freedom to me is cherised and priceless.

Posted by: Ernest | October 11, 2005 12:40 PM

Duence Wang - Well said.

E. Etage - Did it ever occur to you that Aiding PAKISTAN in their time of extreme need could possibly give Musharaf enough political cover to allow American forces to operate more freely inside PAKISTAN in the hunt for Bin Laden and Al Qaeda? We are trying to get the bastard. Where do you think the majority of US combat operations in Afghanistan are being conducted? Answer - Ding Ding Ding! Along the PAKISTAN/AFGHAN border.

CW2 Pierce brings up a point that I, as a guardsman who is always only a phone call away from deployment, often struggle with. Our country has declared a war on terror. Yet only the people serving in the armed forces and their families have been asked to sacrifice for this war which absolutely, in my opinion, has to be fought. Today's soldiers asked to serve, and most do their best to live the army values every day. Two of which are Duty and Selfless Service. To me those mean that you show up when your name is called and that you don't ask for a pat on the back for doing so. On the other hand I'm sure that when you find yourself in CW2 Pierce's situation and you miss your wife and little girl so bad, all that hooah stuff sounds like a bunch of bullshit. I truly don't understand how able bodied young men who support the war on terror but are not in the armed forces can sleep at night knowing that CW2 Pierce is sacrificing so much for their comfort. Why aren't they stepping up to the plate?

Posted by: Bill | October 11, 2005 01:48 PM

Deuce: yes, Bush was elected President: by the Supreme Court in 2000 (he lost the popular vote by a half-million votes, remember?) and by 51% of the population in 2004 (the lowest margin for an incumbent going for a second term). As for the statement that "there are more people in this country on his side than there are on yours," I suggest you read the President's poll numbers on all issues (especially on foreign policy). Also, we are fighting for freedom abroad? I guess no one told that to the people drafting the theocratic constitution in Iraq (since when do democracies allow Islamic law to trump civil war?).

Bill: I am not opposed to aiding Pakistan. I am furious, though, that the Pakistanis got US aid for their catastrophe in less time than the people of the Gulf Coast when their communities were destroyed. Isn't it weird that the military can move supplies across Central Asia with more speed than in moving aid across the US South?

PS I live in America and I happen to be a Reagan Republican.

Posted by: E. Etage | October 11, 2005 01:57 PM

RealLiving: Our troops are there secondarily to rebuild a country, but primarily to identify and eliminate terrorist groups that will not rest until you and me and every other American is dead. Would you rather all the troops pack up and go home and leave Al Quaida to replenish its strength and attack again? If so, I hope they blow up your minivan on the way to soccer practice before they get me. You love to talk about the "lies" but even if there were no WMD's, do you still feel that American lives weren't in danger? As someone in New York City who watched the towers crumble with my own two eyes, I can say for certain that I'd rather have our troops in a war they signed up for than force innocent American civilians to become casualties in a war that they didn't sign up for.

Etage: What does it matter if he won by one vote or by a landslide? You can manipulate the numbers any way you like, but the bottom line is that our president was elected according to constitutional law and whether America agrees with his policies or not, he is the man that was chosen over any other.

I am not suggesting that you leave the country (although that would be a great start). All I am saying is that you should be thankful for the freedom you have because Bert and the rest of his army buddies are fighting for your right to go on these anti-war tirades, as incongruous as they may be. And many of these soldiers are going to die. So, I think we would all breathe a collective sigh of relief if you would post your comments for an audience interested in hearing them, because as you may have noticed, we are here to read about the adventures of our dear Bert and not to listen to you on your soapbox taking your "stand". Unless you're just extremely unobservant or purposefully trying to be difficult, in which case I'll send you some Christian blog links where you can entertain yourself by posting anti-Jesus comments to your heart's content.

Posted by: Deuce Wang | October 11, 2005 02:43 PM

RealLiving: Our troops are there secondarily to rebuild a country, but primarily to identify and eliminate terrorist groups that will not rest until you and me and every other American is dead. Would you rather all the troops pack up and go home and leave Al Quaida to replenish its strength and attack again? If so, I hope they blow up your minivan on the way to soccer practice before they get me. You love to talk about the "lies" but even if there were no WMD's, do you still feel that American lives weren't in danger? As someone in New York City who watched the towers crumble with my own two eyes, I can say for certain that I'd rather have our troops in a war they signed up for than force innocent American civilians to become casualties in a war that they didn't sign up for.

Etage: What does it matter if he won by one vote or by a landslide? You can manipulate the numbers any way you like, but the bottom line is that our president was elected according to constitutional law and whether America agrees with his policies or not, he is the man that was chosen over any other.

I am not suggesting that you leave the country (although that would be a great start). All I am saying is that you should be thankful for the freedom you have because Bert and the rest of his army buddies are fighting for your right to go on these anti-war tirades, as incongruous as they may be. And many of these soldiers are going to die. So, I think we would all breathe a collective sigh of relief if you would post your comments for an audience interested in hearing them, because as you may have noticed, we are here to read about the adventures of our dear Bert and not to listen to you on your soapbox taking your "stand". Unless you're just extremely unobservant or purposefully trying to be difficult, in which case I'll send you some Christian blog links where you can entertain yourself by posting anti-Jesus comments to your heart's content.

Posted by: Deuce Wang | October 11, 2005 02:44 PM

As a woman with two brothers, and my father in the country of Iraq and countless friends including Bert Stover, as well as my husband WO1 William Shufeldt soon to deploy I offer a different perspective and it is this. My father being an old army soldier himself volunteered to leave his wife, four children, and eight grandchildren, to help rebuild the country of Iraq with the Corp of Engineers. Not many people understand my father. He is definitely his own man and we love him for it. Dad is doing what he believes in his heart is right and none of us are angry for that. It is a nice thought, that maybe we will be gone before my husband goes, but very unlikely and if for some reason we were to pull out... my husband too would feel he could have made a difference had he just been given the opportunity. It is a different mindset and I guess having been raised with dad just makes me that more proud that he is a man of high moral character that believes in something so much that he would lay down his very life, to save someone else's son, daughter, or father perhaps. In doing so he has made a profound mark on all of us. He will never be thought of as a man who sat in his living room and talked about or watched injustice but got out there and did his part no matter how small or foolish it seemed to others. My heart wells up with pride any time I think of My father, My husband, My brothers Brian and Kevin as well as the countless friends and their families we know through the military. Whenever I see the movie "Saving Pivot Ryan" I think of the letter from Abraham Lincoln that read,
"Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln."
I believe that the Iraqi people deserve that same freedom and I am proud that my family is working so hard to make it happen.
And with that I think of my mother, Robyn, Marissa, and Myself who's spouses will face this same enemy and I still say I am proud to be one of those spouses and I am proud to be my fathers daughter, no matter what may or may not happen. I believe you would receive the same response from any of us. Proud to be Americans and Proud to serve. Sincerely, Diane Shufeldt

Posted by: Diane Shufeldt | October 12, 2005 12:39 AM

A link my father sent as he and others rebuild Iraq http://www.grd.usace.army.mil/index.html

Posted by: Diane Shufeldt | October 12, 2005 12:42 AM

I love how the righties here hope that people who disagree with their war die. It's amazing.

Also amazing is that Iraq *wasn't* a terrorist state until we invaded and failed to take control of it. So you can't say we invaded to "clean out Al Queda".

I know, however, that there's no convincing the extreme righties who want everyone who doesn't agree with their war to die or move to france.

Go back to your Nascar.

Posted by: RealLiving | October 12, 2005 09:34 AM

So can someone explain to me just how stupid you have to be (like the posters here) to think that Iraq was responsible for 9-11?

See, even most of us lefties agree that the war in Afghanistan was right. Perhaps if we'd done the job there instead of sending more than half our troops there over to Iraq instead, we would have done a better job of finishing off Al Q.

But Righties obviously don't care about that. They just care about defending the pointless New Vietnam in Iraq. And anyone who dares question it? We're apparently playa-hatas who don't support our boys over there.

Posted by: RealLiving | October 12, 2005 09:40 AM

I'll explain that to you if you promise to explain to me how stupid you have to be to think that there are not terrorist cells in Iraq, specifically ones that were sponsored by the Hussein regime? Who do you think is responsible for carbombing all of these convoys and killing the innocent iraqi women and children, the girl scouts?

You can disagree with the war all you want, the great thing about America is that you have the freedom to do so. And we really don't want you to die, we just want you to realize that our troops are getting killed so that you don't have to. And we ask that you be grateful for it instead of spraying your diarrhea of the mouth all over this weblog.

PS - I hate Nascar.

Posted by: | October 12, 2005 09:57 AM

So explain.

Posted by: | October 12, 2005 10:28 AM

Although Hussein and Bin Laden despise each other (one being a secularist and the other a fundamentalist), they do share a mutual hatred of the United States. When he encouraged attacks on the United States in response to the war on Iraq, Bin Laden indirectly promoted the perception that there were alliances between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Which led to the popular misconception that Iraq contributed to the 9-11 attacks, though there is no evidence linking Hussein to Al Qaeda.

But, this does not mean that there is not a terrorist threat in Iraq. Although they may not be Al Qaeda and they may not be responsible for 9-11, that doesn't make them any less threatening or dangerous. Terrorism experts don't rule out that some Al Qaeda fighters have slipped into Iraqi territory after the attacks on Afghanistan. There are also several terrorist leaders that have been found in Iraq (one being the infamous Abu Nidal - who died in Baghdad in 2002 and used Iraq as a base).

Your turn to explain.

Posted by: Deuce Wang | October 12, 2005 12:00 PM

E. Etage - There is plenty of blame to spread around at all levels of government and personal responsibility for what happened in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. My grandmother's 89-year-old cousin died in Mississippi because she thought the government had "cried wolf" once again and she didn't want to be inconvenienced with evacuating for another false alarm. Is her death the Presidents fault?

Realliving - Almost everyone I know, including myself, are in support of what we are doing in Iraq. None of us believe that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for 9/11. We do believe that based on Saddam's invasions of his neighbors Iran and Kuwait, his use of chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds and the Iranians, his NBC weapons programs he had running in the past, his plots to kill former President Bush, his daily attempts to shoot down American aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones that he agreed to respect under the armistice that ended the first gulf war, his payments of $25,000 to the families of anti-Israeli suicide bombers, the international intelligence communities collective evidence that he was currently conducting NBC programs, etc... it was reasonable to assume that at some point in the future if unchecked Saddam Hussein would either supply weapons for or orchestrate terrorist attacks against Americans and our friends. 70+ US Senators agreed with this rational in their authorization vote for the use of force against Hussein.

Posted by: Bill | October 12, 2005 12:39 PM

Deuce: if you were the navigator on the Santa Maria, Columbus would've discovered Spain!

The link between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein was not encouraged by Osama Bin Laden. It was a neo-con job. And if you go back to Paul O'Neill's book, you will recall that Bush & Co. were talking about how to invade Iraq as far back as January 2001. The funny thing about "rebuilding" Iraq: Bush & Co. were taking RFPs for projects relating to the "rebuilding" of Iraq when Hans Blix was still in the country on the WMD hunt.

I appreciate your comment that I post anti-Jesus remarks on Christian blogs. I happen to be an ordained minister.

For the record, Bert and his colleagues are not being shipped off to the slaughterhouse...sorry, not being shipped off to Iraq to protect my right to free speech or to preserve the American way of life. And if you read the draft of the Iraqi constitution, they're not even preserving liberties in Iraq. An Islamic theocracy where shariah trumps civil law is no one idea's of a democracy.

Hey, did you ever notice how Bert never responds to anything posted here? Pro-war, anti-war, etc. Do you think he reads this stuff?

And I like NASCAR.

Posted by: E. Etage | October 12, 2005 03:19 PM

I personally do not like NASCAR, but I don't hate those who do.

E. Etage - Somewhere inside all administrations there are plans being worked up and constantly revised for invasions of any number of countries. I think if you and I had access, we would find that the US currently have invasion scenarios worked up for China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, etc... Probably even France and Canada. The Kennedy Admin. had them, the Carter Admin. had them, the Clinton Admin. had them. They all do. If they didn't, they weren't doing their job of protecting the American people from all potential threats. You want to rag on the current admin. for having worked up plans to invade a country that we had been at war with only 10 years before? That, my dear minister, was simply being prudent.

Posted by: Bill | October 12, 2005 04:56 PM

Back from the office. Let's talk.

See, there was no threat from Iraq before we decided to go kick it around. Sure, it was a dictatorship. Had been for decades. The government didn't care. Hell, Rumsfeld himself was there shaking Saddam's hand, the US sold him weapons... Iraq was boxed in, going nowhere fast. It wasn't a threat. Afghanistan was the place to invade, but Bush took his eye off the ball. He wanted to kick around Iraq, and made up lies and excuses to do it.

American lives were not in danger from Iraq *then*. Are they now? Yep. The fact that we didn't finish the job in Afghanistan, the fact that we didn't do the job right and finish of Al Queda there, and in the other nations it flourished (hint: Not Iraq... Pakistan!)... That cause Iraq to fall into chaos, JUST the kind of chaos that Al Q terrorists could hide in and work in. There is no evidence of terrorist cells related to Al Q that Saddam was working with. Don't be stupid. Iraq was not the cause of 9-11, and you know it.

The problem is, sickos on the right can't stand that non-sickos and non-righties dare to open their mouths to challenge the ideas behind the war. We don't like seeing our friends and families shipped off to die for a quagmire, even if we DO support the idea of Iraq having been made a free country. Shame that we couldn't have, you know, finished the job in Iraq first.

I see righties whining that anyone who disagrees with the war supported the regime in Iraq. How stupid is that? The righties aren't lining up to invade China, or Myanmar (which should have been freed AGES ago), but you don't see them saying "oh, well, I don't support invaving Myanmar, that means I must support the terror-loving oppressors there."

It's a double standard. Much like the double standard whereby the righties say to non-righties "Hey, y'all better love the fact that our soldiers are fighting in Eyerack to proteck yer free speech, but y'all better not use that free speech to criticize the guvmunt or the preznit or the war, y'all!"

You say you care about free speech, but when you say "If you were in another country, you'd be killed for speaking out... if you don't like how Amurricuh runs things, then leave", the implied statement is clear. "You disagree with our power structure. Were it not for the thin veil called 'free speech', you would be executed. We hate you, we don't think you deserve to live in America, because you don't think like us, leave and go die."

That's what you're implying.

Is it any wonder, ANY wonder at all, that you are hollow, angry people?

What's funny is that you say "Oh, President Bush was elected, so he's got a mandate to do anything..."

First time? He wasn't elected, he was chosen by the Supreme Court. Second time? Sure, he won. BARELY. And only because we as Americans gave him the benefit of the doubt on Iraq.

That was obviously a mistake, because he and his administration proved to be incomptetent, intentionally damaging to our nation and our security, or both.

No matter how many votes he won by, the truth is: The majority of America supported the Iraq war until they realized 1) it was started on a series of lies, 2) it was run into the ground, 3) it made America LESS safe rather than more.

America, by a landslide, no longer supports the Iraq War OR President Bush.

And for you and your ilk to sit here and whine and froth at the mouth about "Them evil anti-war terrurust lovin' librulz betaer leave 'Murricah" just makes you sound like dinosaurs struggling in a tar pit.

Posted by: realLiving | October 12, 2005 07:47 PM

I believe the question at hand was... I'd guess that for married soldiers dealing with the emotions of leaving a spouse and children would be much more difficult than operational details -- if only because there's a spouse around to handle things like paying bills, etc.

What about the single parent soldier? What is that like?

How did the subject get so political and argumentative? Instead of comments we seem to have full blown debates going, find another site for debating you are making us all dizzy.

Posted by: | October 12, 2005 09:14 PM

Dear Bill:

Regarding your comment: "If they didn't, they weren't doing their job of protecting the American people from all potential threats." Well, guess what? Bush & Co. didn't do their job in protecting America from the 9/11 attacks (read the 9/11 Report). Of course, neither did ol' Hot Pants Clinton (who responded to al-Qaeda by bombing a Sudanese aspirin factory and then lying it was an al-Qaeda operation!).

People keep ignoring that there are two different wars going on: a war against al-Qaeda (justified, for reasons that don't need repeating) and a war against Saddam Hussein (which is separate and apart from 9/11 and, based on all known facts, was never justified).

By the way...three cheers to Harold Pinter for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature! For once, the Nobel folks got it right. (Having the IAEA and its chief winning the Peace Prize was ludicrous -- even I need to admit that!)

Posted by: | October 13, 2005 09:23 AM

PS Those are my comments above. Forgot to sign in!

Posted by: E. Etage | October 13, 2005 09:25 AM

E. Etage - I'll concede that the Bush Admin. deserves in sharing some of the blame with the Clinton Admin. for 9/11 if you'll concede that it was perfectly reasonable for the Bush Admin. to be planning for an invasion of Iraq before 9/11.

RealLiving - You seem to have a prejudice towards southern Americans.

There is no question that the right thing to do in Burma would be to take out the current government. However, the government there does not have a history of supporting terrorists who strike at our friends, a history of hostility towards the US, or a history of NBC weapons programs. Unchecked, Iraq was a threat to the US and the west. India probably has more of a responsibility to invade and liberate Burma than our government.

Doing a little bit of good in the world is better than doing nothing at all. 2 days till the constitutional vote in Iraq. They have come along way in a short amount of time.

I know probably 200 people who are currently in Iraq or Afghanistan. Half of my guard unit is in Afghanistan right now. All of them believe in the mission. And just like your "friends and family who are being shipped off to die in a quagmire", they all volunteered for duty. Why can't you respect those men and women's decisions to risk their lives to do what they believe is the right thing to do? Just because you are not willing to go or don't believe that going is the right thing to do doesn't mean that grown adults shouldn't make those decisions for themselves. I shutter to think how many soldiers will get spit on by people like you when you realize that today's soldiers are all volunteers compared to the Viet Nam conscripts who experienced that kind of abuse.

Posted by: Bill | October 13, 2005 01:52 PM

Bill: of course it was reasonable, if you consider we are talking about reason as perceived by an idiot with an old axe to grind.

Iraq was never (repeat, never!) a threat to America. Not to the American mainland. Not to American interests in the region. And not to America's friends in the region (but that last one is a cheat since America has no real friends in the region).

Posted by: E. Etage | October 13, 2005 04:02 PM

Etage - Do you call people names during your sermons? What denomination are you an ordained minister for?

Israel is America's friend. Kuwait is America's friend. Iraq was certainly a threat to those two countries and had attacked both in the past. Iraq shot at American planes flying in the no fly zones repeatedly since the end of the first gulf war. Saddam attempted to have President Bush senior (the Vice President that you elected when you were a Reagan Republican) assassinated.

What are your facts to back up your assertion that Saddam was not a threat?

Posted by: Bill | October 13, 2005 07:44 PM

Living: No one is arguing that 9-11 was caused by Iraq - you're debating with no one but yourself on that. The fact of the matter is that they are a threat now. If you stop living in 2001 and focus on the present, maybe you'd agree that the war is justified. Also, because they are not as great a threat to us, we have not waged war in Myanmar. Should they become such a threat, I am sure that we will. I think now you're just being absurd. If you can prove that there are Al Q cells in Myanmar that pose more of a threat than the ones in Iraq, I'll go down on you.

And talk about angry? I'll bet you'd stand in line for an hour and pay five dollars just to smack a southern Bush-lover in the face. You southern-american hater, you.

Father Etage: You'll have a better time convincing your congregation that there is an invisible bearded man who lives in the sky who can turn water into wine than convincing me that Saddam Hussein was never a threat to America or other innocents. Put down the Bible and pick up a newspaper for a minute. I'll repost Bill's comment earlier in an effort to reillustrate the point of what Saddam has done (I should say has been caught doing, I am sure he was guilty of much more):

o invasions of his neighbors Iran and Kuwait
o use of chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds and the Iranians
o NBC weapons programs he had running in the past
o plots to kill former President Bush
o daily attempts to shoot down American aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones that he agreed to respect under the armistice that ended the first gulf war
o payments of $25,000 to the families of anti-Israeli suicide bombers

Posted by: Deuce Wang | October 14, 2005 10:21 AM

Bill: I don't call people names, Mr. Poopypants!

Deuce: as per the alleged threats to America:

o invasions of his neighbors Iran and Kuwait -- uh, the US actually backed Saddam in the war with Iran and provided him with money and weapons. As for Kuwait, let's not forget the Kuwaiti royal family did nothing to defend its country and actually planted blatant lies in the US media about alleged Iraqi atrocities (remember the scam about Kuwaiti babies being yanked from incubators?).

o use of chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds and the Iranians -- can you guess which superpower gave Iraq the funds to purchase these weapons? Hint: its capital is on the Potomac.

o NBC weapons programs he had running in the past -- we are talking about Iraq, which was no one's idea of a military superpower. The war with Iran stalemated for eight years because both sides were supremely incompetent in their military tactics. The effectiveness of Iraq's military was clearly shown in 2003, when it collapsed upon American impact.

o plots to kill former President Bush -- plots? There is alleged talk of a single plot, but that was never independently confirmed.

o daily attempts to shoot down American aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones that he agreed to respect under the armistice that ended the first gulf war -- and after 12 years of this, there is the abrupt decision to go to war? C'mon, kiddo.

o payments of $25,000 to the families of anti-Israeli suicide bombers -- as opposed to the Saudi royal family paying millions to al-Qaeda?

And where is Bert, by the way?

Posted by: E. Etage | October 14, 2005 12:41 PM

Do you also believe that there are no terrorists in Iraq? Do you think if the troops pack up and go home that this terrorism problem will just go away?

Posted by: Deuce Wang | October 14, 2005 02:14 PM

Ms. Etage, is there ever a good reason to go to war?

Posted by: Bill | October 18, 2005 12:15 PM

Saying "The fact of the matter is that they are a threat now. If you stop living in 2001 and focus on the present, maybe you'd agree that the war is justified." has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard.
Let's say there is a mental institution and it is day 1. And everyone is crazy and locked up there for committing all kinds of terrible crimes. However they are all contained in their little padded rooms and they don't have belts or shoe laces and they cannot get out and they are a threat to nobody. IF(notice I said IF not WHEN and in this scenario the IF is pretty big considering all the measures that are taken to rid them of paper clips and bobby pins etc.) they were to escape and become armed they would go on to kill everybody in a five mile radius. Would it be justified to blow up this institution? Of course not, why would you, everything is under control. Now lets say that on day 5 some moron goes in and gives all the crazy people guns and knives and bombs and keys to all the doors, and their belts and shoe laces... On day 6(that is today) can you really say a day 2 bombing of the entire place was justified? Of course not because on day 2 there was no threat. Of course if we are living in a movie such as Back to the Future or the Terminator and I am not aware of it and the basic rules of time and logic do not apply I stand corrected and apologize for wasting your time...

Posted by: Snaps | October 19, 2005 04:39 PM

Etage,

Isn't it the case, sadly, with most inner city areas in this country, that a majority have been receiving aid in the form of welfare and related subsidies? So, couldn't we say that the Gulf area was already being helped before the hurricane?

Posted by: Want a Better System | October 25, 2005 10:16 AM

I was once a fiscally responsible independent who voted Republican. I still hold the same values, but the country is now so far to the right, that I now vote against anyone calling themselves a Republican. Yet from my point of view, both Republicans and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Democrats, have sold out to Big Money Lobby.
Yet political beliefs have noting to do with my full support of our troops. No matter how they feel about what they are doing, pro or con, I'm with them all the way... Whatever helps them do their jobs and come home safely is fine with me.

Posted by: Charles Munn | October 26, 2005 12:20 PM

Etage, my husband is in the same unit as Bert, and your comments infuriate me! To answer your question as to where he(Bert)is, he in training! He is learning how to stay safe and keep those around him safe as well. He does not have all day to sit and read every post on this site.
As for you being an ordained minister, do you preach hatred and disrespect to your congregation? Why dont you try praying for your country, military and president as much as you spout your contempt?! You sound like a very bitter person. I will remember to pray for you tonight when I pray for my soldier, his unit, our country and President.

Posted by: wife of soldier | December 6, 2005 01:02 AM

Way to go. The system needs more gullible people to sign up and feed their bank acounts. Come on, don't be wussy.

Posted by: Doesn't Matter | April 5, 2006 11:06 AM


E. Etage:

Before you go and start bashing on Bert for never responding. Maybe you should ask yourself why Bert never responds. Because, 1. It would be a waste of time. You wouldn't begin to understand the conviction of what it is that WE (All U.S. Armed Forces) do here.
2. Knowing Bert it is just a waste of time for him to do it.
Something to keep in mind though, as continue to bash the people that are here. Doing things that you could never understand. Everything that you see on the news is not all that goes on here. Lets mention the Iraqi civilians that we are carring on our helicopters, to our medical facilities to receive medical treatment from U.S. personel. Not people that are wounded by U.S. forces. People that are in car accidents, people that are hit by a car, or fall off of a scaffolding while building a school for children. Not everything that we are doing here is as horrible as CNN and MSN make it out to be. There is alot of things that go on that you, because you have never been here will never get to see. Things like that civilians that work on U.S. bases telling Military Personel that for all the bad things that are happening now, they are still glad we are here. Because the worst days now are better then the best days when Saddam was still in power.

We defend rights that we do not have. - Selfless Service.

Posted by: H60CE | May 25, 2006 07:39 AM

RealLiving: You're a Kool-Aid drinker!

Posted by: forsam | July 26, 2006 07:26 PM

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