Julien A. Sharp

So many thoughts...

Filed By Julien A. Sharp | February 23, 2007 2:33 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, George W. Bush, hypocritical motherfuckers, Iraq, military, war

...so little time. I am preparing for my FIRST computer-free vacation with my beloved since July 2004. I have promised to leave said laptop at home (and as a freelance writer this is very hard to do!). We are even leaving our little rescue dog home for the first time - we don't think he would be happy in the freezing snowy weather, or being cooped up in a hotel all day, so he is staying with his wonderful dog walker for a few days.

My thoughts? Well, today in the front page of the New York Times, a headline really grabbed my attention: Long Iraq Tours Can Make Home a Trying Front

The article of course chronicles the lives of a few families amongst the many that are being torn apart by deployment after deployment and extension current tours of duty, and the story is not a pretty one.

Some are coming back injured, only to find that their spouses won't be at their side during the horrible recovery period, having already found comfort in the arms of another.

Children, many of whom have not seen their serving parent in over a year, or in the case of babies have never met them, are acting up, failing in school, and generally failing to have a normal, proper childhood.

Something that particularly struck me in the article was how the school administration of one suffering 12-year-old boy, who was having tantrums after his father was called for a second tour, were completely unsympathetic, and in fact blamed the at-home mother for the shortcoming.

This is the interesting part (*bolds mine):

And unlike the Vietnam era, when the draft meant that many people were directly touched by the conflict, this period finds military families feeling a keen sense of isolation from the rest of society. Not many Americans have a direct connection to the war or the military. Only 1.4 million people, or less than 1 percent of the American population, serve in the active-duty military.

Now, okay, we don't have a draft, and the wisdom of that is a discussion beyond the scope of this post. However, I do wonder why, if our Dear Leader is so patriotic n'all, he has never asked more from "those at home"??? In WWII, children made bandages, they collected scrap metal, and everyone gave up a little to support the troops. Now, the only way you are considered "supportive" is if you swallow everything Bush and his NeoCon, PNAC Cabal shove down your throat as gospel.

Because at the end of the day, it was never about the troops, was it?

And speaking of shoving drivel down one's throat, I am very sick and tired of having "family" values shoved down my throat by this administration. Family values is NOT making sure my partner and I don't have any legal rights to make medical decisions for each other, or any of the other hundreds of benefits married people (like Britney?) enjoy. It is about protecting all families. And reading the story in the New York Times, I don't see any families being protected here (except for the families of the Bush klan, and of course their supportive cronies; none of them will see any of this war they started first hand, nor will their children).

No, the Bush administration would rather do this...

...these separations have also left a trail of badly strained or broken unions, many severed by adultery or sexual addictions; burdened spouses, some of whom are reaching for antidepressants; financial turmoil brought on by rising debts, lost wages and overspending; emotionally bruised children whose grades sometimes plummet; and anxious parents who at times turn on each other.

...families...are reeling as soldiers are being sent again and again to war zones, with only the smallest pause in between. The unrelenting fear of death or injury, mental health problems, the lack of recuperative downtime between deployments and the changes that await when a soldier comes home hover over every household.

...than to utilize the service of the thousands of brave LGBT citizens who would gladly serve their country. Utilizing their services would not only help alleviate the terrible shortage in Arabic-speaking positions in our military, it would also help ease the strain on the families who are being destroyed by the multiple deployments.

But no, Dubya would rather hire criminals or other, shall we say, "underachievers", than enlist these brave, educated people.

Who is Bush kidding?? Family values, indeed.

While I personally would not want to go to serve for any country with a DOMA in place (my partner couldn't visit me in the VA, she wouldn't have access to any of my pension or other benefits if something happened to me), I certainly would not want to stop others from doing so, if they desire.

At this point in our history, we need to eliminate DADT and DOMA in one fell swoop. The country should rally for our soldiers, and push to get them home as soon as possible, of course. But the first step could at least be a push to help the current soldiers hold together the "sanctity" of their marriages by letting other qualified personnel relieve them of the quagmire of the back-door draft in which they are caught.

But that won't happen, will it, America? There's no time to rally now, is there? American Idol season six is just heating up!

I mean, why would the people of America care about less than 1 percent of the population anyway when such excitement is on the TEE-vee?

God help you all.

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Enjoy your laptop-less vacation, Julien. We'll hold down the fort while you're away. :)

I think you raise some interesting points in regards to the families left behind. Our daughter was abused before she came to live with us and the trauma that she suffered has led to some issues. I can't imagine what the kids of some of the soldiers must be reacting to: parents gone for long periods only to return as authority figures again, parents that have been killed, injured or maimed, and parents that have returned only to be sent right back out again. The implications for a generation of children is staggering.