Thursday, July 13, 2006

One Man's Terrorist is Another Man's Freedom Fighter...

The last several weeks I have had nothing of importance to write about. Now there is so much to write about that I don't know where to begin. I said in my last post that I would write about North Korea and Somalia. However, the escalating war between Lebanon and Israel has suddenly and unexpectedly taken precedent over everything, including the so-called "low-level" civil war in Iraq. I think the thing that is most disturbing to everyone about this escalation is that nobody knows what is going to happen next. This is threatening to break into a devastating regional war and I'm not sure that the American public grasps the seriousness of the situation. In the past, whenever Israel has delved into Lebanese or Syrian territory, they have retreated relatively quickly. However, due to the continued attacks by Hizballah (arabic: hizb=political party; allah=god; party of God) and the subsequent retaliations are about two feet from spilling into Syria. According to Al-Jazeera (Arabic version), Iran has threatened Israel not to attack Syria or face severe reprisals. Inevitably, if Israel strikes Syria, the U.S. will become involved in some capacity, which will provoke Iran and the scores of foreign fighters who are just waiting to get involved. This is such an unbelievably serious situation that I can't even believe it.

Oddly enough, I just got off the phone with my brother Derek (the Marine) and he had no idea that anything was even going on in Israel or Lebanon. He is relatively sheltered these days, living at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, training for his MOS, which is motor transport. His biggest worry is being deployed to Iraq. For a while, he just talked about being deployed, but he never said where he would be deployed. Now, with only four weeks left in his training, I think he is trying to prepare us, as well as himself, for the very real possibility of being sent to Iraq. Maybe this is worst case scenario, but as this point, it seems to be the most realistic scenario. He will be in motor transport, as our neighbor said, "IED bait." I really don't know what I'm going to do with myself. How will I live everyday, just waiting for someone to call and tell me that something has happened to him? I will be holding my breath his whole tour. It seems like torture for military families. War changes people and I love him the way he is. If he changes for the worse, it will be like a death. There is no way that we will not be changed in some way or another by this. I guess we can only hope to come out of it as unscathed as possible. Of course, I worry about Iraq. If everything keeps escalating, God only knows where he will end up. Hopefully, not Iran or North Korea.

It makes me so mad sometimes. I don't know why he had to join the military. I know to some degree why he did, but I don't understand why it seemed like the right answer. I blame his right wing old boss, and I blame Fox News for propagandaizing (my new word) the War on Terror, and of course, I blame American society for glorifying war and violence, but it's not really fair because he made the choice. Derek wanted more for himself and his family and he didn't see any other way.

This brought me to a realization the other day. I abhor violence and the killing of innocents in any shape or form, of course, but I got to thinking about the reasons why Derek did join the Marine Corp and came to a disturbing thought. Derek joined because he wanted to be part of something bigger and better than what he had. He is dedicated to his belief in American democracy and that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the right course of action. Although he believed in these ideals before, the military has further instilled these beliefs in him throughout his training. My disturbing thought was, "Is he any different than a suicide bomber?" Think about it. Suicide bombers are recruited through their absolute belief in good and evil. They are usually vulnerable and ultimately want something better for themselves and their families. They believe they will achieve paradise (although not 72 virgins, I don't know where this bullshit came from) and their families may receive what is tantamount to a blood price for their mission, much like what military families in the U.S. receive if their loved one dies.

Don't mistake me, I don't think my brother is a terrorist and I'm not justifying suicide bombings, particularly of innocents. I know he would never hurt anyone if he could help it, but we're all human and we all have a dark side that I think, when placed under the worst of circumstances, will inevitably come out. However, I guess it all depends on the side that you are on. I'm sure that for all the people that think he is a freedom fighter, there are many more who consider him, by virtue of the fact that he is in the U.S. military, to be a terrorist. It's like they say, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." It all depends on your perspective I suppose. From my ideological perspective, all killing is wrong because there is never a good enough reason to do so. However, from my perspective as a sister, I would vaporize the entire damn country of Iraq if I knew that doing so would bring him back safe to us. Suddenly, the life of others becomes so cheap. Maybe I found my dark side after all.

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