His third deployment since 911. Granddaughter is singing her goodbye song, “It's ok to cry...” I'm bookmarking iCasualties to check if the latest news reports are likely to involve where he's based and can sometimes reassure his mother, my wife.
There's a strange disconnect from the anonymity of this war fought by professional soldiers, mostly by kids from small towns and the inner city, and by officers like my step-son. Life goes on with hardly a ripple disturbing business as usual except for the families of those at war.
My wife comes from a family with a military tradition. Her father won the Distinguished Flying Cross, fighting the Nazis. One of her childhood treats was to be allowed to sit on his lap and play with shrapnel still in his arm. Her first husband was an Army Ranger in Vietnam.
And now her son does his duty, protects our nation and risks his life in this most confused and futile war. He seems to be in as much danger from Afghan soldiers that he's sent to train, as from the Taliban enemies whose mentality and daily life have not partaken of the wisdom of the Enlightenment, let alone the 21st century.
He risks his life to keep a most corrupt government in power whose President recently agreed with the local religious authorities that Afghanistan's women should not mix with men, or travel unaccompanied by a man.
The sons and daughters of the war makers, the President and the Congress, are not fighting along side my step-son, watching the road for IEDs, and watching their backs from our increasingly angry and vengeful “allies”.
How many more of America's bravest, are to be sacrificed to fight a war that makes no sense, that is likely to end in nothing but more war, that is justified in the name of fighting Al Qaida, whose remnants hide in the hills of Pakistan not Afghanistan, and by those mysterious “American vital interests.”
It's not all right to kill and maim our kids, or to subject them to the horrors and scars of war that sometimes last even longer then the scars to the body, to kill or be killed in Afghanistan because its good for somebody's electoral chances, or for the control of natural gas and oil, or for profit, or geo-strategic advantage. It's not all right at all.
It's time for all the families of soldiers, for all Americans to say enough is enough. Bring the troops home now. Declare victory or defeat, whatever polls best. But bring our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters home now.
Enough have died. Enough have been maimed, Enough have had their souls twisted by this soulless war. Enough.
This article is reprinted by permission of the author. Roy Morrison lives in Webster, NH. His latest book forthcoming in 2012 is Sustainability and Liberation.