Monday, March 14, 2005

Day 64 - Yin and Yang

Sorry it's been so many days since I posted last!! I noticed that we have now had over a 1000 hits - so I figured that I better give y'all something to read!!

I had a wonderful weekend with Al's mom --- I will post pics tomorrow at work where I have 'fast' internet . . . it is so nice to be able to get together with her and just have fun - she's so sweet - and out of anybody in my life right now - she 100% understands my need to try to be there for Al and support him - the good, the bad, the ugly.

Last week, I got my first 'comment' on the board. I haven't advertised this blog too much except to Al's and my family and friends - but, I did post on the Blogger forum to try to get some ideas for site layout and content. I'm not too sure if that person found us that way - or what. But they had some interesting things to say. The older that I have gotten in life - I have learned the hard way to not respond out of anger about something. That instead I should mull it over and really "think" about what I want to say.

So, I don't want to bait anyone - I don't want to get a running discussion going - I don't want this blog to become anything other than what it's for: to support Al and to provide his family and friends information on where he's at and what he's doing. But, it has bothered me very much since then - so I feel that I must say something.

Here is the comment:

I honor your husband's service to our country. I mean no disrespect, but I hope you are open-minded enough to question these assumptions. True, patriots of the American Revolution secured these freedoms once, and they have had to be re-won periodically--most notably WWII. Nevertheless, there has not been a war fought in the last fifty years where U.S. freedoms were threatened. Those who believe that have been brainwashed by government jingoism.

I'm sad to say that U.S. troops are in Iraq for reasons other than securing those precious freedoms for Americans.

Okay, I have thought about this long and hard . . .

First, I want to thank you for what you have to say. It means a lot to me to be able to live in a country where we are allowed enough freedom where EVERY viewpoint can be heard. Even though you disagree with me on a fundamental level on almost everything that you said, I still agree very much with your right and privilege to say it.

That being said. I would like you to consider for five seconds an Iraqi person's opportunity for freedom --- before Saddam was removed from power, if someone opposed his political party - they would have been murdered, raped or brutalized for their beliefs. Mass graves have been discovered - the man gassed an entire population of people (the Kurds) because they were inconvenient - his sons put their political opponents alive into wood chippers for God's sake - but, you're right - lets just focus on "American freedom".

In America, we live in a commercialized paradise - where you can walk into Wal-Mart every day and pull anything that you want to buy off the shelf - stick it in your cart - pay for it - and it is "yours" --- the poor in this country have the ability to receive welfare to better themselves and to improve their opportunities in life - we, in America, with our "freedoms" - can pull up to any random gas pump - know that there is gas to put into our car - not have to wait in a long line to get it - and best of all, when we swipe our credit card -- we know that there's money in the bank to pay for it. How do you think that freedom is defended? How do you believe that we should protect our country? Do you put gas in your car? Use electricity? Shop at Wal-Mart? Eat at Taco Bell? You are a consumer just like me - and just like Al, before he got the shaft and got stuck in a desert wasteland full of third world poverty, hunger and disease.

How precisely would you suggest that we fight wars? Should we wait each time to defend our freedom until we get attacked on American soil? Should we wait for another Pearl Harbor before it's 'okay' to protect the "American" way of life? The problem is, Pearl Harbor already happened - on 9.11.2001 --- and the sad thing is, that in today's mixed up political world - there is no clear enemy. There is no "Axis of Evil" - there are handfuls and cells of terrorists who every day threaten not just me, not just my children - not just Al - but whole countries - whole ways of existance -

I don't think enough people realize and understand that the economic sanctions placed against Iraq were slowly starving a nation of people. That, for years, they had been deprived of the ability to have foreign trade - to receive foreign subsidies - Saddam was still living high on the hog w/ oil money in elaborate palaces - while the everyday Iraqi citizen was being starved to death. Now, don't get me wrong - do I believe on a fundamental level that they are happier being bombed - invaded by a foreign nation - and having what few freedoms that may have had in Sadaam's reign taken away from them? No. I don't. But, we are not living for today - I don't believe that Al and his fellow soldiers are there for today - I hope that in time, when Iraq gets rebuilt - that people will see that we had a good intent for being there - to help protect ourselves as a nation - and to help the Iraqi people become a free nation also.

The thing is that I have never heard Al talk about "political" reasons for being in Iraq - I have never heard him speak negatively about the Iraqi's at all. I have never heard him say anything other than how sorry he feels for them - how much the children are wonderful - how hopeful he is for the country - how much he wants on an individual level to help them have a better life. When he says those things, it makes me cry ---- because nobody 'here' in the media - in the nation at large seems to understand that although the soldiers may have to carry guns to protect themselves --- that they are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters ---- and that they relate to the Iraqi's on a VERY basic level. When Al looks into they eyes of a little boy over there, I know he can see the eyes of his son, Trey - who he can't be with right now - whose fifth birthday he will be missing next month. I believe that he tries to love that little boy with as much love as he would give his son if he was here and the chance.

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So, if you read this blog for any reason other than to support Al or to try to 'understand' what we are going through - or to try to relate to soldiers - please try to open your heart just a little tiny bit and realize that there is no black and white in life. In everything there is yin - and in everything there is yang. Do I believe that we should be in Iraq? I don't know - I can't answer that --- all I can tell you is that we ARE. And that on a very human, very selfish level - the love of my life - my soulmate - the person that completes me, IS. And, because of that - no matter what - I have to support him. Is the Army a wonderful institution all the time? No. Is it full of bureaucracy and people that make mistakes? Yes. But, I truly believe, in my heart of hearts - that when those soldiers lie awake at night - thinking of their homes, their families - that they want the best for all the little boys and all the little girls that see everyday rubbing their tummies for food.

There is an old adage that you can't know or understand someone's life until you walk a mile in their shoes ---- I have learned the hard way these last months how true that statement is. I feel so bad for not supporting the military more until I "was" military -- I feel so guilty for not relating more to the Iraqi people until Al "was" in Iraq - I point my head down in shame of how many times I have held an 'opinion' on something that I knew NOTHING about.

So, let me finalize by saying this, Sir or Madam, if you have such a huge problem with Al being in Iraq - if you question his motives, or the Army's motives - or heck, even President Bush's motives for sending him, so much --- and you think that you have all the answers -

Why don't you go and fix everything - so Al can come home? We have a wedding that we would like to be able to plan, a house that we would like to build - and future to make together.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I believe that was well said!! Bravo to you!!

Katie said...

If you've never loved a soldier than you couldn't possibly understand. Well said Mel, way to represent!! :)