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With One War Ending, The Military Community Remembers

With One War Ending, The Military Community Remembers

 

Today President Obama announced that all troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year. As expected, the military spouse blogs and Facebook pages are buzzing.

Are we celebrating? Or are we simply relieved. That depends on your interpretation. There will continue to be some troops in Iraq, protecting the enormous US Embassy and training Iraqi troops and police. Exact numbers are being argued and debated; claims of 150, 500, 5000, are flying through the blogosphere. The debates of should we/should we not continue to stay, together with the debate of should we ever have been there in the first place continues.   One non-debatable point: no matter what anyone thinks of these wars, the sacrifices made by my community — by the parents of the young Marines and soldiers, the spouses and the children who survived and surmounted the stresses and strains of multiple deployments, the courage and fortitude of the service-members downrange — are not to be slighted or considered a waste.

Personally, after all these years, this milestone is welcomed. I have a friend whose husband is deployed in that theater of operations, and we are celebrating the fact that he will be home sooner than previously thought.  My husband spent two deployments in Iraq, my son survived one there.  I spent hours and hours watching news reports, wondering if I would see their faces, sending hundreds of care packages, making thousands of cookies and meeting many wonderful family members going through the same thing.

It has been a long, long war, with thousands dead and tens of thousands wounded. The wards at Walter Reed, Bethesda Naval Hospital, Brooke Army medical Center and VA hospitals around the country are filled with men and women who were wounded in Iraq.  They will continue to bear the scars, both seen and unseen, of combat and this will not end at the end of the year.

Are we celebrating? Or are we simply relieved?  Good question. With many of us in the midst of deployments to other areas, this does not resemble the V-J or V-E Day celebrations of decades past. This is a quieter, more private celebration or commemoration for us. But then, so was the war. For weeks or months at a time, the American public seemed to forget that there even was a war.

We will remember the friends we lost, the ones who came back changed, the new friends we made as we supported each other through days and nights of deployment.  Today I remember Ken, my friend Karen M’s son, who is at Section 60 in Arlington Cemetery; I remember the 9 funerals of Minnesota National Guardsmen that I attended during the 22 month deployment; I remember my son calling me from Wiesbaden to tell me he was heading downrange and sliding to the floor; I remember his calls and emails from Mosul  and Baghdad; I remember my husband’s nonchalant “yeah, that’s just a mortar” when I asked what the loud noise was; I remember the hello’s and goodbyes at airports and armories.

 

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32 comments

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9:09PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

We will probably keep at least a couple regiments, maybe a division there. So the estimate of 5,000 plus is closest. No door hitting on the way out - it's the Iraqi govt's wish for us to stay an extended period. Without U.S. military power, they are not a stable state.

An awful conflict, at the wrong time and for all the wrong reasons. But there is no backing out of this complex client-state relationship, only a retrenchment and drawing down. Our casualties were not for nothing - we are in this for the long haul.

6:39PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Well, it appears that much of you have stayed awake, at least for the matinee.

The announcement came as a result of the Iraq's refusal to extend Amerika's insistence that all US military be protected from Iraqi or any other tribunal for war crimes. Something like, "Don't let the door hit you on the butt as you leave".

Oh, but watch wise grasshopper, Amerika has an ace up its arse, I mean sleeve. It seems that we now believe that Iraqi troops need our sorry M-16's, instead of the reliable AK-47.

I guess a lot of troops will be singing "I'll be home for Christmas", somewhere into Spring, lets us hope it is America's, Arab Spring.

8:54PM PDT on Oct 23, 2011

'Ending?' Says who? Obama? Is anyone out there still trusting Obama? How many 'contractors' (mercenaries) will remain?

Roy M, the only real difference between O and Li'l Georgie is that Georgie's an idiot and Rocky-O's not. Rocky's had the job for 3 years now, and the mess is his mess because he's done nothing to clean it up.

6:15PM PDT on Oct 23, 2011

I feel for the men and women who were deployed multiple times and will never be the same for doing what they had to do. Being an acceptable loss for some was a horror and life changing event for some families as well. War, right or wrong, has a toll that will be paid by several generations and only love can heal the world. 30 billion dollars would feed all the hungry in the world for an entire year yet our world spends that in 8 days conducting wars. Stop the fighting and start the feeding.

12:00AM PDT on Oct 23, 2011

Don't worry lots of "troops" will still be there- just not under the DoD.

10:17PM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

I want to know if there will be military contractor's presence in Iraq. I really don't think the military industrial complex is going to let any conflict go easily. I would also like to see what our government spends for these contractors - past and present, by the year.

8:19PM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

@ Sheri S “Unfortunately, much of the fight for freedom we did is in vain, because it is for a people who hate us” Excuse me, they didn’t hate us before we destroyed their country, bombed their undefended cities, let our Blackwater mercenaries murder people without punishment by Iraq, the US army, or the US government in an entirely unjustified attack. Fight for freedom? Whose freedom ? Do you have more freedom now than when the war started ? Iraquis have no more freedom than they did under Saddam. The dungeons and torture chambers are as busy as they were under Saddam now that the Shiites are in charge. Christians that have been there since Jesus have now been forced to flee for their lives. It was in vain all right. You got at least that part right. Now we wlll have a new batch of unemployed.

3:52PM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

The things we could have done with the money spent. The man power wasted, the wrong path taken, has led to the self-destruction of America, we are not the country we were before the 2nd Iraq war. And the only person blamed so far is I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, if you remember he took the blame for the outing of CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame, because her husband was sent by the CIA to fact check the WMDs in Iraq, and found out very easily the stories were not true, the Bush administration did not want this to get out to the American people so they discredited him by outing his wife, this act was treason. If the President and vise President can commit treason and remain in office, what does this say about our country?

12:50PM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

Bring out troops home!

10:53AM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

Sherri, Bush was never fighting for freedom.

He was fighting for oil.

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