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Another Terrible Day in Kabul – and Here at Home

Another Terrible Day in Kabul – and Here at Home

Saturday’s attack on the convoy in Kabul has resulted in the worst single casualty figures since August, when a Chinook was shot down, killing 30 SEALS. This latest truck bomb killed not only NATO soldiers, but also civilians simply going about their regular day.  Between reports of the latest court shenanigans in Los Angeles or the Occupy Wall Street protests, I wonder if anyone will take notice.  In my community messages have been flying.  Those of us with deployed family members have called, or emailed to each other, making sure that we are all ok.  We tell our civilian friends that we are fine, that we heard from our deployed service-member, but in the back of our mind, we are gasping.

We can all see in our minds eye what is happening.  The Casualty Notification Officer and the chaplain are being called and told they have a notification;  soon a black sedan or SUV will be pulling up in front of a door on post, or on a quiet street in a small town; two service-members in full dress uniform will be crossing a front porch or going up the elevator of a high rise;  Care Teams are being called for activation. The bottom is about to drop out of a family’s world; the worst news in the world is arriving.

As always, when my husband called this morning and told me he was ok, the relief was immense, and as always the guilt followed immediately.  The guilt that I was so happy and relieved, but there is another family for whom life will never be same; that he’s ok, but someone else’s “him” or “her” isn’t.  They talk about Catholic guilt, or survivor guilt – they don’t know about military family guilt. We have guilt over our spouse staying in the military, or getting out because we wanted them to; we have guilt about making our children travel so much; we have guilt over being happy that our spouse was promoted, or being happy he wasn’t so retirement is certain.

But the guilt we feel the most is the “it wasn’t him/oh it was her son” guilt.  To the families of the 5 service members and the 8 NATO civilians, to the families of the Afghan police officer and the soldiers, to the families of the Afghan civilians who were killed today – our thoughts and condolences.

The joy we felt earlier this week, with the official notification that troops are pulling out of Iraq, since the Iraqis have asked us to leave; in my case the knowledge that a friend will have her husband home for the holidays, is tempered now with sadness.

We know that casualties are expected during war; we know that the men and women who put on the uniform can be injured or killed; but that doesn’t mean that we cannot mourn, that we don’t hurt for the families.

 

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35 comments

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7:48PM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

Well said Ernest. I'm not sure whether the military is about offence or defence.

5:02PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

@ Beth S & Ernest R

This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but there never was a terrorist group known as al qaeda. The words actually mean "the database", and it was an existing list of cia trained mujahideen. It's disgraceful that well-meaning servicemen and women are giving their lives for these shams. & Ernest, that is a heckuva reasonable response to a terrorist attack, and has even been followed in nearly every other case. Hmm.

5:02PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

@ Beth S & Ernest R

This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but there never was a terrorist group known as al qaeda. The words actually mean "the database", and it was an existing list of cia trained mujahideen. It's disgraceful that well-meaning servicemen and women are giving their lives for these shams. & Ernest, that is a heckuva reasonable response to a terrorist attack, and has even been followed in nearly every other case. Hmm.

1:15PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

@ Beth S—I think the appropriate response to 9/11 would have been to extradite Bin Laden and put him on trial if there were evidence to have him extradited. The Taliban government was prepared to do this if the evidence were presented, as any other country would have required. President Bush refused to bother with international rules and demanded that Bin Laden be turned over or he would demolish the whole country. There are no Al Qaida left in Afghanistan but the war continues. The attack on Iraq was a blatant illegal act. I am a volunteer veteran of the Korean conflict and think my service was called for. I would be ashamed to be a part of the above “wars”.

12:59PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

@ Aurora D Are our troops protecting us in Iraq or Afghanistan? I am not clear which. The Taliban have never in history threatened anyone more than a couple of hundred miles from their tribal area. The Republican guard in Iraq was never a threat to us. Maybe the troops should come home and protect our border against an invasion of illegals and drug gangs. Or even better, to protect us against a total dictatorial takeover from within ? They could continue to serve. Better than the unemployment rolls.

3:27AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Thank you Karen for the article. My condolences to the all the families that have lost loved ones. May they all come home soon, alive. Bin Laden is dead. We will never wins the "hearts and minds" of these people. Two different ideologies that never will coexist.

9:22AM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

lis G said: PS There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, only politicians with weapons of mass deception but how many thousands of lives including civilians, has it cost and how much human misery

Human misery is insignificant in the military/industrial complex. Top secret deals and corruption are the norm, with troops and civilians considered nothing more than cannon fodder(per Kissinger) and collateral damage. All we do is follow the money, no matter how we have to do-si-do. Sadly, there are many in the military who trust and believe our government. We, as their families, can only support them (care packages, encouragement, etc) as we stare at the empty chair at the kitchen table. It doesn't feel good to know that our loved ones are helping to destroy other countries and leaving a legacy of hate and depleted uranium.

12:29AM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

War never bring solution to any problem but it creates destruction and misery on both ends the main sufferers are the poor families of the soldiers ,their still time to bring forces back from Afghanistan and negotiate peace full solution fighting for last ten years has brought nothing bring forces back home to their loved ones i am sure the Taliban will ease fighting against Americans and Pakistan who has suffered most in this war of so called terror created by war criminal BUSH some sense should prevail in present Mr Obama administration and end this war rather then blindly following the IDIOT BUSH policies

6:01PM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

I feel so terrible for the families and friends of the victims of this latest tragedy. My sincere condolences go out to them all. Life will never be the same for them again.
That said, what are foreign troops doing in Afghanistan (and Iraq)? The Russians tried and gave up. The US supported the Northen Alliance (the forerunner of the Talibaan) when it was fighting the Russians and now here we are 10 years after 9/11 trying to do what? There are better ways of winning "hearts and minds" than invasion with weapons of destruction.

PS There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, only politicians with weapons of mass deception but how many thousands of lives including civilians, has it cost and how much human misery.

1:42PM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

Jonathan Y
We could be there another one hundred years and the outcome for a country would be the same as if we left today. The Karzai regime is totally corrupt there is no central government other than in Kabul and in the dreams of the neocons who desparately wanted the UNOCAL Pipeline revived but could not get it while the Taliban and Al Queda ruled Afghanistan. Afghanistan has always been a collection of tribes ruled by warlords who owe their allegience to no country, just to the highest bidder. Too many occupiers learned this lesson the hard way in the "graveyard of empires" but the overly educated idiots who were signatories to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) thought they knew better than military historians and strategists. These "people" who had no military experience for the most part are the ones who pushed Bush to threaten, pre- 9/11, the Taliban regime with dire consequences if it did not allow the UNOCAL pipeline project to go through and did not oust Al Qaeda. They are also the ones who pushed Bush to invade Iraq, who listened to Chalabi as he fed them whatever they wanted to hear as long as they continued to pay him millions. Sorry for the rambling folks, I know this page should act as a memorial for those lost in the attack, but it makes me sick that these people have gotten away with so many deaths of our youth for their own greedy empirical plans that sought to privatize the national resources of both countries. That greed allowed Bi Laden t

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