He sent an email the other day about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. It was quite fascinating to me because I try to avoid the news. What I do hear about the war, the media says its a waste of our time and resources.
Now I certainly don't want to see the war continue; I am a hippie at heart and doodle peace signs whenever I have a pen and paper in hand. I also firmly believe in the lyrics quoted from Sting's song, "Russians":
There's no such thing as a winnable war. Its a lie we don't believe anymore.But at the same time, I do want to say that like me, those soldiers aren't 'pro-war', they're 'pro-peace'. That is the mission of our military, at least from my soldier's point of view. I can support that. I was just ignorant of what the military and war were like. I'm learning more and more each day.
From my soldier regarding life under Saddam Hussein:
There are many stories involving death that I won’t share right now, but I’ll just summarize by saying that anyone who thinks the world was a better place before the United States removed Saddam Hussein from power is misinformed at best. Anyway, sometimes I open conversation with (my Iraqi counterpart) by asking him what the Iraqi news channel is saying. This led him to share with me that while Saddam was in power they only had two channels allowed in the country, “Channel 1, Saddam Hussein. Channel 2, Saddam Hussein” as he told me. Everyone was required to be familiar with Saddam’s TV messages and would be quizzed, more or less, the next day...”Let me tell you, very bad if you don’t know what Saddam say last night”.Another thing I've noticed when speaking to my soldier or reading military blogs is how upsetting it is that the American media doesn't focus on the positive things that are happening in Iraq. One of my favorite blogs to read is Butterfly Wife's Blog because she will post a daily "Good News from Iraq."
(He) told me about “elections” between 1976 and 2003. The ballot had two blocks you could check: “Saddam Hussein” or “Not Saddam Hussein”. He said everyone feared that there were cameras watching what voters were doing; therefore, almost everyone checked “Saddam Hussein”. The results would come back as 99% for Saddam, so Saddam would direct his bodyguards to go out and find the 1% who checked “Not Saddam Hussein”.
I can see where the media would be upsetting to the soldiers. Why continue if you feel like all that you're doing, including being away from family and friends and putting your life at risk, is being completely ignored by the media? I guess good news doesn't sell?
From my soldier regarding the media:
While hearing what the Arab media is saying is entertaining, the American media isn’t great all the time either. This past month one of Hezbollah’s leaders, Imad Mughniyeh, had a date with justice (he’s now dead). He was responsible for killing Americans in Lebanon and was on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. I turned on AFN, which was broadcasting CNN at the time, and they spent an hour covering Roger Clemens taking steroids and Britney Spears leaving the hospital. No mention of a successful day in the war on terrorism. No wonder Americans don’t know that the surge worked and security is dramatically better in this country than it was three years ago, CNN is too busy covering Britney Spears to tell you good news.So, like many of us, I dread hearing stories about more soldiers dying. I am happy to hear that the Army is thinking of shortening deployments and trying to make sure the soldier is home for a certain amount of time between deployments. (My soldier's last 'home time' was only 10 months after a 15 month deployment.) I fully support a new GI bill and anything to help transition these troops back home to their families.
But at the same time, let us not forget that they are making a difference in the world. As futile as it may seem or as the media makes it sound, we have to let them know that we appreciate them and that they haven't been forgotten.