Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Madbob has been selected to serve on a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Iraq
Why I would go…
As I related to several family members & friends who have asked the basic question, “why?”:
I am a changed person since September 11th.
Belatedly, I – along with the most Americans - realized that we were at war with a people who knew no bounds in their reckless hatred of Western civilization, embodied by the U.S.
And like most Americans, I was unaware of the Islamic declaration of war – not just on the U.S., but on Western civilization in general – when Iranian Islamic fundamentalists violated international law and stormed the U.S. embassy in 1979. My excuse was that I was busy partying my way to college. I remember the suicide truck bombing of US Marines barracks in Lebanon in 1983, and I didn’t understand how a religion could drive a man to such an extreme. But I started paying attention to Middle East affairs after the first attempt to bring down the World Trade Center in 1993, and the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in ’96, and the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. And finally the Islamicists got my undivided attention on 9-11-2001.
For a short while, most Americans were united by the “revelation” that we were at war with an entire people, affiliated with no specific nation-state, who wished nothing less than the death of all infidels (that would be us Christians, Hindus, Jews, atheists, etc. – you know, all non-Muslims). Please, make no mistake. There is no negotiation, no mediation, no compromise, no concession that will appease these Islamicists. Nothing short of the West’s complete subjugation or elimination will suffice to satisfy their inhumanly religious desires.
[UPDATE: Traditionally, updates occur at the end of the posting. But after re-reading the beginning of this post, I believe I am likely coming across as painting all Muslims with a broad stroke. So I felt the need to clarify or define what I mean when I refer to the “people” who wage war against Western civilization. I thought it would be clear by my reference to people who were “…affiliated with no specific nation-state” that I was talking about the Islamic fundamentalists (aka, Islamicist), and not the Muslim people in general. To be sure, the vast majority of the Muslim world has been able to co-exist with other peoples and religions for centuries. But if I interpreted my own words wrongly, then this update needed to be inserted here to make my position clear. END UPDATE (20 March 07).]
So what changed? Why do some insist that there is no threat, that we are not at war? Could the success of our current efforts to fight terrorists in their backyard versus in our cities be giving the U.S. public a sense of security that is truly false? And please, don’t be deceived by the political posturing of both parties when they spout the canard, “I support the troops, but not their mission”. They mean anything but that. And what the service men and women in theater hear is, we don’t have confidence in the troops’ ability to do the job. If you support the troops, then let them win. Please visit some mil-bloggers, who will provide you with what you’ve been missing in Iraq if you’ve relied on a diet of MSM feed. I think they present a well-balanced view of what's happening on the ground, both good & bad - there's not a lot of sugarcoating at these sites. And I can’t link to blogs without one to the Professor, whose Libertarian views coincide remarkably with my own, and who inspired me to start this blog. There are so many voices out there, with so many views – you just need to explore to expand your understanding (end of shameless plug for the socially redeeming value of blogging).
So - why me? It’s because I’m so angry and frustrated at the way this war is being “played” by the politicians and the MSM that I have often felt that if there were ever any way I could contribute to the effort, besides my vote, I would do so. This is especially true since my deep belief in this cause translates to my advocating the sacrifices in life and limb by our courageous and dedicated all-volunteer armed forces. How could I stand on my soapbox in support of this effort, and when given a chance to put my own life on the line, not step up to the plate?
That’s it in a nutshell (yeah, in my world, one page of text is a “nutshell”). I think I would regret not taking this opportunity for the rest of my life. I think I would forever feel the hypocrite – willing to let others put it all on the line, but unwilling to do so myself. Geez, most of ‘em over there in harm's way are kids – or parents. Or both. I’m neither. I am the perfect candidate for this kind of job. This is why I would go…
Should I Stay?
Why I would stay…
First and foremost, my wife and lifetime love, Mary Ann. It hurts just to think of leaving her for a year. I can’t imagine being away from someone I love so much for so long. And the guilt will be incredible – I convinced her to move out to the mid-West, and now I would leave her to fend for herself. We haven’t been very successful in penetrating the social circles out here (haven’t tried real hard, truth be told!), which means that there’s no support structure, no one she can really turn to for comfort and help here in the heartland.
Then there’s my older brother, John – close friend & confidant. I always assumed that there would come a time when the two of us would be able to sit down and just be like we were before this all started, back in our youth – discussing any and all topics, relating our wildly unrealistic plans and goals, creating fantasy worlds of beings fearful & fantastic by the force of our will, talking about what went right or wrong that day or that week… on and on. Now I wonder how much more time God will grant me to share with John.
Consider also the missed time with all my family and friends. Like with my younger brother, Rick. Our lifelong friendship hit a new high when he and his wife asked that I take on the responsibility of being their first child’s Godfather (you can call me Bobby “Two-Flake”). And then there’s my sisters – oldest & youngest of us siblings. Debbie & Patty were the first to react to my potential deployment, and their love and understanding warms my heart, even though they disagree with the idea of my going. I should be helping Debbie in doing things to try to keep our family together; I should be enjoying the bliss I see on Patty's face as she raises her child.
And haven’t we, my family, been through enough in the past few years? It occurs to me that our parents shared this month, March, as the month of their birth, and they now share May as the month of their passing. Dad has been gone for almost a year now; Mom, almost nine.
Happy birthday, Ma & Pops!
And I also have to consider all the life events that I would miss if deployed: our 20th anniversary; Debbie’s milestone b.day; the Major Family Reunion; any and all events in the lives of my nieces (Cate, Christina, Lorelei, and Samantha); all the holidays, esp. 4th of July & Christmas - but mostlyThanksgiving, since that will be Mary Ann's b.day this year (and you know how much she loves that...*end of sarcasm*); and painfully, the inevitable passing of our first and favorite pet, Sly… on and on.
Let me not forget to add – I 'm also afraid for my life.
This is why I would stay…
What would you do?
[UPDATE: I filled in places where I had deleted too much material (this piece was culled down from a six or seven page rant), and provided some extra details on 18 Mar 07. That is, if you noticed...]
10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012