Thursday, May 05, 2011

I Hate The War

Tonight, with permission, I'm writing about someone.

Around three years ago, a woman came to one speaking thing we did on a college campus. She wasn't antiwar, she wasn't pro-war. She really didn't want to think about the Iraq War but couldn't help but follow it because her son was deployed there.

This isn't a story, for any wondering, where she 'awakens' and realizes the Iraq War is illegal wrong. She still feels the same way. And in the time since, has always stated that she'll probably figure out what she thinks about after her son's safely home.

About three years ago, that was six months. In six months, her son would be home and she could breathe -- she doesn't feel like she really breathes while he's deployed. But instead of returning home, he asked to stay.

He's leaving Iraq now and leaving the military.

And she thought when this day of his leaving Iraq loomed, she's feel so much better than she does. Instead of feeling relieved, she explained tonight that she was more stressed than she'd ever been and would be until he was on the plane back. She does follow the news and she's aware of how, in the last months especially, a number of US forces have died when they were close to the end of their deployment.

Whenever we're going to be at that campus (she works on it), Dona will always e-mail her a heads up and she'll show up to hear what everyone has to say and she'll share what's going on with her son. Tonight, she just wanted to talk about how Monday he'll be home and how she's afraid to let herself embrace that until he's on the plane back home.

In the old, long ago days, if you served a deployment, you were then done (this is the days of the draft) unless you decided you wanted to sign up for another deployment. These days service membes serve multiple deployments. And there's talk about the effect it has on children -- which is an important topic -- and adults are just supposed to somehow manage. And if you're a parent and your child makes it home okay, she stressed tonight, you probably forget what you go through out of gratitude and happiness. But, for her, the last three years have been about never having the luxury to take a deep breath or relax. She feels as though she's always had to be prepared for bad news, around the clock. And when someone shares a story, what we generally find out is that there are several other people who had a similar experience.

She's convinced that once he's home safe, she's going to forget how on edge she was for three years straight and she asked if I'd mind including a line or two about that in something here because, while it will be over for her, she thinks it might help someone else. I'm sure she's right.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4452. Tonight it is [PDF format warning] 4455.

The e-mail address for this site is