Name Removed to Protect the Guilty
Re: I Don’t Share Your Views
I don't understand why this country is SO war hungry? YOU obviously have never been in war, I HAVE! These people volunteering are NOT avenging 9/11, they're simply fighting a war Bush engineered against Iraq, to get even for Sadamm [sic] trying to have his "Daddy" assassinated! I DO NOT SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! My step-son volunteered for the army behind our backs, and he's been dis-owned! (he's in Iraq now and I hope he catches the bullet he signed up for) When is this country going to learn from history? Was Sadamm bad? Of course, but who appointed us the world's policeman? He had NOTHING to do with 9/11. I hear Bush has [sic] still has the Mars Rover searching for those WMD!
All we're doing is continuing the violence and hatred! When are we going to learn Peace is the answer? Iraq was NO threat to us at all! This was the wrong war that we started and history will not forget!
Mark H (name removed to protect the guilty)
Wounded Viet-Nam Vet
(I had no choice!)
Of course, my first inclination was to respond with something smarta$$ like, “No wonder he joined the Army with a stepfather like you.” Or “I sense anger there.” Or “Sounds like a control issue.”
But I just couldn’t. The part where he wishes harm to his stepson was so overwhelmingly horrific… repulsive… sad. It made me gasp when I first read it. The DH was incredulous.
When our children are still under your control (i.e., before age 18), when they want to make choices you don't agree with, you do your best to explain why that’s not a good idea but you also just get to say, “Nope. Not happening.” When each of our sons came to tell us that they wanted to join the military, we asked questions, we discussed the pros and cons. We let them make the decision and we support them 100% in their choices (in these cases, we agreed with their choices.) We are incredibly proud of each of our children.
As parents of now-adult children, we have been there when they were making choices that made us cringe or want to scream or erupt in anger: “You did WHHAATTTT????” But I cannot imagine ever wishing ill on any of our children simply because they did something we didn’t agree with. In fact, in those situations, you want the decision to be right… to work out… you want to be wrong (if even just that once) because you want to spare your child from the pain or fallout if it turns out as badly as you imagine it might.
If your child mentions his or her intentions before they make it final, you do your best to talk reason to them. Sometimes there is no talking to them; their minds are already made up and you might say, “OK. Just remember that adult decisions have adult consequences.” Even in their worst decisions, you may be angry (how could they be that unintelligent?) However, it has always been our intention to “be there” for our children -- good or bad -- to be supportive of them whether we agree with their choices or not (well, as best we can). That’s our job as parents. And I try to remind myself that they all have to make choices and mistakes for themselves (just as we did) because that’s how they learn... most of life's larger lessons cannot be transferred via genetics nor osmosis.
But to wish harm on a child you [allegedly] love and have helped raise and wanted all the good that life has to give?? Creeps me out.
So, Mark, here’s my response:
I am not pro‑war. I am as anti‑war as they come as I have skin in that game. In this case, I am pro-Victory.
No, I have never physically been to war, but I have sent a child to war... and the veterans I have spoken with (including both my husband and a 32 year career Army officer) say that sending their children to war was -- is -- the hardest thing they have ever done). I know it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I think sending him the second time will be harder still. If I had my way, no child anywhere in the world would ever have to go to war again. Ever. Anywhere. (And it's perhaps the strongest reason for staying until the job is done in Iraq and Afganistan... so our children and their children NEVER have to go back.)
Not everyone who joins the military believes that they are avenging anything, but all believe that they are protecting this country and the people who live here. Including you.
As you say, so say I: I don’t agree with your views (on the war).
The fact that your (step)son volunteered for the Army against your objections tells me that this young man has strong convictions and beliefs and was willing to “put his money where his mouth is”. You should be desperately proud of that young man -- even if you do not agree with his beliefs or his choice. (I’m proud of him.)
“When are we going to learn Peace is the answer?“ When people are no longer trying to kill us, Mark. When there is no more genocide in the world. When people no longer war in the name of religion or ethnicity.
I’m not an overly-religious person, but I do know that prayer works, so I will pray for your stepson even though I do not even know his name. I will pray for his safety and for strength and courage for him and his brothers. He needs someone in his corner - and my friends and I will be there for him.
And I will pray for you, Mark. I will pray that you find some peace. I will pray that you will love your (step)son and find pride in his selfless service to his country.