Warning: Some of you may find this post offensive, in which case I apologize. But these are words that I must speak.
The headlines on the newscast last night spoke of another horror in Afghanistan. Another case of one of our military losing control, giving in to the stresses. It was a horrendous tale of a horrendous act. Before we condemn the man who lost control, who brought the horror into the night, however, let’s look at how he may have gotten there.
Two tours in Iraq. Another tour in Afghanistan. Too many years of living in the midst of violence and death. Too many years of reinforcing the training we impose on our men to kill. As mothers, we try to raise our children to be fair, to not bully, to be reasonable. Sometimes we are successful, most times I would hope. Then they grow up. They feel a loyalty to their country, a need to protect and defend the freedoms their country offers. I applaud that loyalty, I applaud the courage and the caring that our young people demonstrate when they join the military, when they choose to fight for their country. Truly the largest majority of them are heroes, heroes who deserve our admiration, our respect.
Out of this story of horror, perhaps something can be learned. Perhaps our leaders, those who we hope are wise and reasoning, will someday realize that men cannot be subjected to war, to carnage, for as many years as is currently happening. Perhaps someday man will learn to talk, to listen, to reason, to find a way to resolve differences in more peaceful ways. I happen to believe the war in Iraq should never have occurred. I happen to believe our administration, or their advisers, led us into a war that was not truly justified. I happen to believe we cannot possibly take care of all the woes in this world, and we should not attempt to. I believe we cannot force democracy on cultures that do not understand it, that are not prepared to handle it. I know many people disagree with me, and that is their right as it is my right to feel the way I do.
I hate what mankind does to mankind. I hate the agony this soldier’s family must now be suffering. The agony far too many military families have had to suffer. The agony the people remaining in those tiny Afghanistan villages must be feeling. We have that in common – the agony. We have that in common with all of those who lose loved ones, livelihoods, homes. Whether we are American, or Iraqi or Afghanistan citizens, we have that agony in common.
I hope, I pray, that someday, someday, reason will prevail. I hope, I pray, that our military will pay more attention to the reality, the devastation of PTSD. That they will provide the assistance needed immediately. Not later, not when it’s too late.
I hope, I pray, for peace.