It’s a hard thing for a Veteran to enjoy his war experience and then ask himself if he would be willing to see his son fall in the same war. Or worse given the trend of the military, his daughter, the same one watching Sophia the First on TV right now. The truth is that war brings with it unique and exciting experiences that can turn into a horror movie in mere seconds. Not all are cut out for it, I did it but to say I was uniquely designed for it would be a stretch. Some are, but I fall into the category of adequately got it done by the grace of the Almighty. However, for as much as the online Veteran community would honor our wars and as much as politics would make us follow partisan opinions of the war, I think it more powerful to ask if we would send our sons to fight the same war. The answer among GWOT vets could vary greatly as we are not homogenous minions, but my opinion? No, I would not send my son to fight the same war I fought in Iraq and watch him fall as a result. Granted Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2002 can be considered wildly different experiences, but this is mine. It’s not cowardice or fatherly protectionism, but rather the good governance war Veterans ought to offer this country on this side of the uniform. We did our duty in war and now we must do it for our sons.
The Online Veteran Community
For the greater good of his nation, we must evolve my friends. We must with growing maturity and I pray we are part of the solution and not the problem. Beyond musing about our war experience, which we embrace, we must ask what it has taught us more than what we enjoyed. Saying “Till Valhalla” online is all good until it is your son you are sending to Valhalla. For all the keyboard warriors online, we simply will not be the ones to kick in the doors of tomorrow. Rather, it will be our sons and if that is not a question you have honestly pondered then you clearly have no sons.
Just today, my nearly 2-year-old son ran up and hugged me. And then due to his violent nature, starting punching me in the face because he has the social conscience of Freddy Krueger. Would he make a good Marine? I think so. But would I send him to a Muslim land in 2003 so that we could have the result we have in 2016, the answer is a definitive, NO! Blame the interference of politicians all you want, but as the older generation of Vets would tell us we GWOT Vets are to become the influence on said politicians and the future of war in America.
Somehow in 1990 the Vietnam generation influenced the Gulf War generation of politicians to get it right with clearly defined political objectives and overwhelming force. And yet, by 2003 and the invasion of Iraq we seemed to have lost said influence. However, I’m not here to revisit history but rather to look into our future. Would I happily send my son into the Gulf War? Yes. Would I happily send him to Operation Iraqi Freedom as was I, the answer again is a definitive NO! For the sake of our sons, we must differentiate what we enjoyed versus what learned about war. Now, for a Beatles classic.
All These Places I Remember
It’s time to let it go brothers and think more about our sons than ourselves. “All these places I remember. In my life, I loved you more” said the line in the Beatles song. For better or worse, I think so fondly of my time in Iraq that you would think I’d preference my own children live there. Except that, I want them nowhere near it. The places we remembered and the men with whom we served are all fine things to remember just so as long as you ponder what matters most to you now. Brothers, if you genuinely believe the Iraq War a success then do as you please. However, if there is a part of you that would hesitate to lose your son in the same conflict with the same end result then please, pause, and evaluate for both your son and mine.
For everything, there is a season. A time to fight and a time to die. And perhaps it is this dreadful election season that forces me to realize I’d preference my son not die at the hands of those in charge. Would I happily send my son to the war of Trump or Clinton’s choosing? Would you? If Veterans really want to influence the future of politics, then we ought to weigh in heavily on which wars are to be fought.
Kids going over to Iraq today were 5-years-old when I was there in 2003. If that doesn’t make you feel old, then I don’t know what will. We listened to Linken Park and these kids to Miley Cyrus. Seriously, if anyone in Iraq or Afghanistan currently gets caught listening to Miley will you just beat them up for me? I mean we have standards in the Corps, right? But it brings us to the question at hand. What did the GWOT wars teach us about sending our sons to war and is it cruel to ignore it for the sake of our own reminescent joy.
When I went to Iraq in 2003, it was my WW2 D-Day Veteran grandfather who was worried for me more than any other. Proud that I became a Marine, but worried for me on the precipice of war? You bet ya. It was as if he knew what awaited us all and I can’t help but think that for all the online bravado we must be as much for the next generation.
War sounds really cool until you watch a guy get turned into hamburger meat before your eyes. Sure death in war is inevitable, but the question we must ask ourselves is what wars are inevitable? I love the online Veteran community, but as much as we have fun with it, we ought to in such a perilous century ahead ask what our war taught us. Does our reminiscent joy dictate the future suffering of our children and for what purpose? It’s a fair question and there is no one better to ask it than us.
I’m too old to pray for war, wish ISIS would come get me, or even wish the average mother would. However, I’m old enough to have seen enough life to consider which war to which I would send my son. Iraq vets who act defensively about their own war at the expense of their sons ought to ponder a minute or two more on the matter. Or perhaps consider with the introduction of women in the draft and Infantry, ask if you would send your daughters downrange to fight the same men you and I went head to head with. Call me old fashioned, but it’s one thing to ask the military to “man up” your son but an entirely other to ask them to send your daughter to face men like ISIS against her will. So I ask again, what did GWOT teach us about war? Keyboard warrior all you want, but it will be your son, my son, and our daughters fighting the wars of the future determined by our influence or lack thereof. Seems like something we ought to figure out now rather than later.
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