Sunday, December 12, 2004

The war's come home ... .

Learned yesterday that Jessica, our 18 year-old lovely young step-granddaughter -- in an act of desparation to get out on her own has enlisted in the army and leaves in two weeks. Like so many of her friends, she was unable to get into college; had a future consisting of WalMart and/or MacDonalds as the only possible alternatives and -- in a moment of hopelessness answered the call of the recruiters. They'd been hovering around her campus for months -- like the scavengers they are -- and she was caught up in the net of "opportunity." Now she will have the chance to "be all that she can be" in this hateful war. She'll learn to hate and to kill and to maim and will lose what's left of her innocence on some road on the way to or from Bagdad, I suppose. She will learn that she is surrounded by "the enemy" and that she must kill them before they kill her and "they" will undoubtedly be some 18 year-old like herself with as little understanding of their role in this holocaust as she. This is a less than 5 foot tall girl-woman who just graduated from the 12th grade. She's barely out of her senior prom gown!

Tried again tonight to search my mind for the justification for this war -- those that we've been served up via the media -- and I find none; not even something superficial. Saddam is safely imprisoned. Osama bin Laden is in a quiet period somewhere in the caves of Pakistan or Afghanistan, hardly even mentioned anymore. Those WMDs have been declared non-existent, and -- if what we're doing is pacifying the Iraqis -- I'd say that's a failure of massive proportions. With 100,000 Iraqis now counted among the dead, thousands more wounded and dying slowly from lack of medical attention and/or drugs to allay pain; with continuing reports of the discovery of headless bodies, mass graves, and on-going reports of prisoner abuse, I'm finding it hard to know how our president and his cohorts sleep at night. What kind of callousness is required to get them through the days? They've hidden the returning flag-draped caskets from us, but they can't be de-sensitized to their existence, can they? What does it take to be that unfeeling? Besides that, they've embedded all of the objectivity out of the press corps so that we've lost all faith in what we're told. And, beside that, there are fewer reports coming out of Iraq since news gathering has become too dangerous to engage in where the fighting is the fiercest. What a disaster!

But it's now tiny Jessica's turn to save the world by shouldering an assault weapon. Her waist-length jet black hair will be clipped. She'll learn to crawl on her belly through razor wire. She'll climb rope ladders and ooze her way through mud and slime. She'll grow up fast now, and will return home to empty promises of college funded by the federal government. That's a hell of a way to make it onto campus! I won't let myself think about other possibilities. But now I have my own "troop" to support. I was expecting Rhico to be the first called. He's the other 18 year-old in our family, and eligible but unwilling to enlist, I believe. Never dreamed that I should have been concerned about Jessica. How the world has changed ... .

Jessica is the "All Volunteer Army" in microcosm!

We have two weeks to mourn her decision before she's on her way to the reception center. Because of her determination to make that decision alone, she is leaving without feeling the blessings of those who love her, and we do -- deeply -- and wish with all our hearts that she leaves knowing the truth and strength of that love. Her mother must be crushed -- but also extremely proud of her declaration of independence, even at this cost.

We're devastated!

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