Friday, April 30, 2004

Once again, I'm woefully out of date on my blogging. There are several reasons for this. First, it can be really hard to score time on the good computer, which is the one I use for uploading my photos but which is also--it turns out--the better machine for tending one's neopets. Second, I've been busy but in a boring, not-blogworthy sort of way: I had the April coffee for the Mannheim-area JAGs here at the house Wednesday night, so the days leading up to it were hectic, and yesterday was my day for recovery. The biggie though is this: I'm not even sure how to go about blogging a lot of what's happening in our lives these days as we get closer to the day of Fred's departure.

When the deployment to Iraq first became a possibility way back in the fall, one of my first coherent thoughts was this: "But I want to do a light-hearted blog detailing the adventures and misadventures of one quirky, homeschooling, army family as they discover Europe together. I don't WANT to do a keeping-the-homefires-burning-while-my-man-is-off-at-war blog!" Shallow, perhaps, but as my invisible friend Deana says, for a writer it's all material. And so far I've been blessed with a lot of really good material for that first blog, the one I wanted to make in the first place.

We're getting to the point though where more and more material is suitable for the second blog, the one I'd rather nobody have to make. And if I'm going to blog this stuff, you're going to have to know where I'm coming from.

Some of you already know the story of how Fred wound up deploying in the first place. Unlike most of the soldiers over there, he had a choice and didn't have to go. In October, he was offered the chance to do the same job there ("there" being Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan) that he does here (managing a region of army defense attorneys). He didn't have to take the job; in fact, there was apparently quite a line of JAGs eager to fill the position. But Fred felt that he had to go, since he has personally deployed several of his soldiers over this past year. They couldn't say no, so in Fred's mind (which is all about honor and duty and which I usually love but which sometimes makes me want to smack him with a two-by-four), neither could he.

I support my husband. I support our troops in general. BUT I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS WAR!

Every morning we have the Stars and Stripes delivered to our home. It's a small paper--about the size of the National Enquirer or any other supermarket tabloid. Given its small size, there's not a lot on the front page beyond 3 teasers for articles inside the paper, one main headline, and one big, honkin' photo.

Today's photo is a 6-by-10-inch gut-wrenching image of a soldier checking a young Iraqi boy killed in yesterday's mortar attack. That's a lot of front-page real estate for a newspaper that measures 11-by-15 inches. Inside, we've got shots of soldiers trying to help a wounded child, a closeup of a soldier with a wounded boy, and a shot of an Iraqi man leading one child away from the corpses of two others. This is what I consume along with my Cap'n Crunch.

I hate this war. I hate that we were lead into it either through outright deceit or unpardonable ignorance. I hate that it is framed for so many people as a response to September 11, when even our own president admits there is no link. I hate that 8 men from 1st AD were blown up yesterday when they should have been coming home after already serving year-long tours.

Next November, to me, will be all about a firing. I want Bush and his henchmen out. Meanwhile, I find it offensive that a man who may or may not have been AWOL from his National Guard duty but who freely admits taking an early out to get an MBA is raising questions about whether a man who volunteered to fight was REALLY injured enough to deserve those purple hearts.

While Fred is away, Mike, Annabelle, and I are going to keep on keeping on as best we can, and we're already making plans. We've got annual passes to Legoland and want to use them to visit the Legoland parks in England and Denmark as well as the one here in Germany. We're going to Scotland for a week this summer with my dad, and the kids can't wait to get a glimpse of Nessie. I've already got our reservations for next Christmas to visit family and friends in North Carolina and Florida.

But in the meantime, I can't sit here and do nothing but my best Rick Steves travel-guide impersonation. Not when my husband is ordering two holsters (one for the office and one for traveling) and celebrating the fact that he managed to get issued the "good" body armor. Not when he comes home with the news that his smallpox vaccination "didn't take" and now he has to go get it again. I never wanted that crap in my house in the first place, and I'm madder than hell that it's going to be coming in again. And certainly not as we count down to the big goodbye on May 19th.

I have really tried to this point to keep my blog as apolitical as possible. The political has become deeply, deeply personal to me though, and that's going to be coming through in my writing. Hang with me, folks. This could be a long year.

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