...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
      ( 3:12 PM )
Our Brothers Before Us

I noticed today for the first time on Kamikaze Kumquat's blog that her brother is being deployed to Iraq in less than 2 weeks. I can sort of relate, having just had my own brother return from that conflict in late June, as some of you will remember. I don't know what her brother will be doing or where he will be going in Iraq, but I wanted to send out a blog-pal note to say that we will be thinking of him and hope he comes home soon and safe.

This brings up another note of news today: The Washington Post is reporting that more than 30 soldiers have not reported back from their brief R&R (the two weeks they got off from Iraq). Funny thing about it, though:

[Army Col.] Mack said the soldiers who have
missed their flights are "definitely a concern,"
but she added that the Army had anticipated
that some soldiers would not return
, and
that the numbers thus far are small.

It's clear that several of those soldiers simply don't want to go back. They haven't yet been declared AWOL, but the Army is keeping track. Billmon reminds us that perhaps they are only following their Commander-in-Chief's example of not showing up for his Guard duty for an entire year during Vietnam. Not that Bush was serving any sort of actual combat duty like the men and women of today's armed forces. But still, how hard could it have been to show up for drills in Alabama?

It may be that this new idea of giving the soldiers R&R back home in the US is not the way to go for the Army. It is too easy to not go back. And more and more soldiers don't want to go back. Or even be there in the first place. In a year from now, will there still be mounting casualties and troops drawn thin and weary from 18 month deployments with no breaks and no end in site for the rotation? I hope not. But with this president, I fear the worst when it comes to the welfare of the people who serve their country. Amazingly, they still serve their country, even when their country sends them to hell.

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