Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Military Families

I was talking on the phone to Grandma this morning, as I frequently do, and she was quite upset over a story in our local paper about a young man, who graduated from the same high school my son attends, who was killed in Afghanistan. What upset her most is that his wife was serving in Iraq, and their three children are left here with grandparents.

Grandma is WWII vintage, you know, and she says they never sent people in the same family into combat. In those days, of course, they weren't talking about spouses, but brothers, usually. (That was the whole basis of the story line in the film *Saving Private Ryan*.) She then went off into stories of people she knew, brothers that had to wait until the brother serving overseas came home, before they could go.

There is something more than a little insane about having two parents in a war zone, while their children have to be cared for by grandparents. I wonder what they do when there aren't grandparents who can step in.

And they wonder why they are having
trouble getting recruits.
If you want people to volunteer to put their lives on the line, then it just naturally follows that you have to treat them like gold -- and our government doesn't. The AmericaBlog story also notes that the way we have treated our National Guard and Army Reserve troops could hurt this country for a long time. You aren't going to get guys to sign up to be to part-time soldiers, if they think they are going to be shipped overseas for an indefinite period, while their jobs go to other people, and the wives left at home can't make the house payments.

Just like some of the people making feedback comments to that story, I say "They can't have my son. No way.". The very thought puts me into Mama Tiger mode -- the defensive rage that mothers get into when their offspring our threatened. Even your toughest military man is no match for a Mama Tiger when she's roused. I would put my own life and freedom on the line to prevent my son from being put on a battlefield; I'm not kidding. Unless I were convinced that our country was in such grave danger that there really was no other option, and the current war does not satisfy Mama Tiger in that respect.

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