Cory Remsburg

James Fallows has been writing all week about the reception given Sgt. Cory Remsburg, who was terribly wounded during his 10th deployment in Afghanistan, during the State of the Union speech. Here’s his first reaction:

But while that moment reflected limitless credit on Sgt. Remsburg, his family, and others similarly situated; and while I believe it was genuinely respectful on the president’s part, I don’t think the sustained ovation reflected well on the America of 2014. It was a good and honorable moment for him and his family. But I think the spectacle should make most Americans uneasy.

The vast majority of us play no part whatsoever in these prolonged overseas campaigns; people like Sgt. Remsburg go out on 10 deployments; we rousingly cheer their courage and will; and then we move on. Last month I mentioned that the most memorable book I read in 2013 was Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain. It’s about a group of U.S. soldiers who barely survive a terrible encounter in Iraq, and then are paraded around in a halftime tribute at a big Dallas Cowboys game. The crowd at Cowboys Stadium cheers in very much the way the Capitol audience did last night—then they get back to watching the game.

All of his follow ups (here, here and here) are worth reading.

The only thing I can add is that it the insane number of tours these soldiers are serving hurt soldiers in ways other than wounds. The daughter of one of our neighbors was married to a soldier who did a huge number of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I’m sure that’s a big part of the reason they’re now divorced, even though he’s avoided injury so far (knock wood).






67 replies
  1. 1
    Scout211 says:

    I think I read that he was in the Rangers. Right?

    Rangers and other special forces have shorter deployments (around 4 months) and typically one per 12 month period. (A family member of mine is currently in that category).

    Regular forces are still being deployed for up to 12 months every other year. The longer deployments are much harder on families, IMO.

    3 Ranger deployments = one regular Army deployment, in terms of time away from family.

    All deployments are hard on families but the short ones are a tad bit easier.

  2. 2
    Cervantes says:

    But while that moment reflected limitless credit on Sgt. Remsburg, his family, and others similarly situated; and while I believe it was genuinely respectful on the president’s part, I don’t think the sustained ovation reflected well on the America of 2014. It was a good and honorable moment for him and his family. But I think the spectacle should make most Americans uneasy.

    Ludi gladiatorius.

    You might think we’ve come a long way since the days of the Samnites and the Campanians. You might be wrong.

  3. 3
    Napoleon says:

    @Scout211:

    I think I read that he was in the Rangers. Right?

    I did as well, and it was in the context of Cory and some other Rangers, before Cory was injured, doing a parachute jump for Obama at a D-Day celebration (at which Cory had a chance to meet Obama).

  4. 4
    debbie says:

    …we rousingly cheer their courage and will; and then we move on…

    Don’t forget the flag lapel pins.

  5. 5
    WereBear says:

    It was his father’s face which spoke volumes. Stoic all the way through; I don’t recall seeing a smile.

    Ask him the price of things.

  6. 6
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    A just-released USA TODAY/Pew Research poll found that by a ratio of 57%-32% Americans believe that the US mostly failed to achieve its goals in Iraq and Afghanistan. After all these years, all of the lives broken or ended, all of the money that’s been spent, the American people are at last more fed up with war than are many politicians. It would be comforting to think that the results of such polling would make future presidents think twice about military intervention. It won’t.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    I don’t even know if America’s political and military goals in Afghanistan were ever clearly stated. The George Walker Bush administration was never very good at that.

  9. 9
    Brendan in NC says:

    The daughter of one of our neighbors was married to a soldier who did a huge number of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I’m sure that’s a big part of the reason they’re now divorced, even though he’s avoided injury so far (knock wood).
    DPM – Physically no injuries, but i’d bet he’s suffering some PTSD, etc…

  10. 10
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    When our political and military goals were stated they were stated so nebulously as to mean nothing. That’s because Congress likes that kind of thing so much that it even includes it in AUMFs that are then subjected to only slightly less interpretation than the Bible.

  11. 11
    Cervantes says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I don’t even know if America’s political and military goals in Afghanistan were ever clearly stated.

    I know you know this but it bears repeating: America does not have goals, and neither does Laos; or Kiribati; or France. Individuals such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and Henry Waxman and Lee Kuan Yew have goals. Various unified groups of people may have shared goals, but most countries are too large a unit of analysis to have unified goals.

    Did the Bush Administration state its goals when it sent soldiers to kill and die in Afghanistan? Some statements were made, yes, but equating those public pronouncements to anyone’s goals would be naïve.

  12. 12

    How old is Sgt Remsberg, he seems very young. Is he even 30?

  13. 13
    Randy P says:

    @Cervantes: There’s a commanding general. In theory he has a mission and can report progress of that mission.

    In theory.

    A military mission is supposed to be a little more clearly defined than a corporate “mission” (we will increase synergy while empowering employees…”)

  14. 14
    Cervantes says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: 30, exactly.

  15. 15
    JGabriel says:

    dpm @ top:

    The daughter of one of our neighbors was married to a soldier who did a huge number of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I’m sure that’s a big part of the reason they’re now divorced, even though he’s avoided injury so far (knock wood).

    Maybe he’s avoided physical injury, but I doubt he’s avoided injury. I can’t imagine that many tours – that much situational whipsawing back and forth – is any good for one’s mental health.

  16. 16
    Jacel says:

    I suspect one factor in how unusually sustained the applause for Remsburg on this occasion was a dilemma faced by every Senator and Representative in the audience. Not one of them wanted to risk being caught on camera being the first to stop applauding. So the applause kept going and going…

  17. 17
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    When you have a culture that leans so heavily on military ceremonials, a culture in which every holiday including Groundhog Day and Halloween requires invoking “The Troops Who Allowed Us To Celebrate Today”, then maimed soldiers become a kind of punctuation, easily forgettable props like stealth bomber flyovers at college football games. Even the SOTU after a decade of stupid, profoundly costly wars is obliged to end on an extended homage to American military might.

    I assume that FOX will have its live links to Afghanistan during the S*p*r B*wl, and the usual “thank you for defending our freedom, now here’s a beer commercial”.

  18. 18
    aimai says:

    @JGabriel: Marriage is hard enough when two people are living in the same house, raising the same kids and commuting to two jobs in the same city. This country is nuts if it thinks that marriages breaking up when one partner is continually away, continually under fire/under threat, or even discontinuously living at a distance is at all surprising. In addition the modern army and the use, by Bush, of significant numbers of National Guard has meant that lots of family members are not living on or near a base at all and so they lack a support system–even theminimal social support that an all draft army gives families in the sense that at least everyone else has someone in the armed forces too.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Well, most Americans are not the Dark Lord’s cronies who profited handsomely from those military adventures.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jacel:

    Similar to a meeting of the Supreme Soviet in Stalin’s time. The first delegate to stop applauding gets shot by Yezhov.

  21. 21
    Judge Crater says:

    We’ve now been on a 13-year-long orgy of jingoism, not patriotism. We bring the casualties of war back on their shields and talk about warriors and American exceptionalism and pay lip service to their sacrifices. But, our foreign wars have no constituency among the American people any more. The sad exemplars of our folly are displayed probably to salve our guilt about how much was wasted and how little gained. It is truly repulsive. Veterans in this country should be outraged. The nation that we became after 9/11 is a frightful shadow of the United States that we were once truly proud of.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    One of my coworkers (younger than me) is now divorced thanks to her ex-husband’s multiple deployments to Afghanistan. One of the issues is that it’s really hard to adapt back to civilian life after being in a war zone that long. Some people don’t really see any point in re-adapting if you’re going to have to go right back in 6 months or a year anyway.

  23. 23
    Jay C says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Yes, and I’m sure that somewhere on the starboard rails of the blogosphere (or more likely, OFF the rails), someone’s Cheeto-stained fingers are busily typing out some huffy, self-righteous screed about how the Bush Administration’s wars were truly Noble Crusades Against Evil, and how we were actually “winning” in Iraq until that dirty Kenyan Muslim Usurper took office and cravenly bugged out to appease the Disloyal Dirty-Fucking-Hippie-Peacenik fringe who are only (and can only be) motivated by Hatred For America.

    Of course, laudatory stuff like the applause Sgt. Remsburg got at the last SOTU kinda steps on another part of their narrative (“spitting on the troops when they came home“), but I’m sure someone, somewhere, is working on that meme, too….

  24. 24
    Ruckus says:

    Other folks here had much worse deployments than I did during Vietnam. They went in country for a year at a time. My ship would do 6 month deployments about once every 2 yrs. IOW gone 6 months, back a yr, yr and a half, deploy 6 months. And not to a war zone. And that was tough on the married guys, their wives and families. A year in a war zone? That’s got to be a lot tougher. A year out of every two over a decade? No shit that’s going to screw up a few lives. Ten tours as a Ranger? Don’t they get deeper into the shit? Isn’t that why they are higher trained and do shorter tours? I’ll bet the risk is exponentially higher and off an already high base risk. That keeps a persons stress level at what a low to moderate state?

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Judge Crater:

    Agreed. The “Land of the free, the home of the brave” became a country of pants pissing twits on that day.

  26. 26
    Astor Column says:

    Appreciate the OP writing about this… but I think that it would’ve been a better post if he’d shot it over to someone who had actually been in the military and been deployed and asked them to add their insights.

    Not sure if living next door to a military family really gives you insight.

  27. 27
    Botsplainer says:

    I’m always most irritated about the post-Korean conflict, pre-Vietnam heroes that never saw action or much of anything beyond the quartermaster dumps they illegally sold stuff out of in the midwest and south.

    Their service was easy, their post service benefits exceedingly generous, and they tend to be monolithically wingnut in opinion, constantly demanding the sacrifice of young men in order to prove that the country supports the troops.

  28. 28
    Ruckus says:

    @Astor Column:
    DPM sees the problem. DPM writes about it.
    You find a problem with that?
    I was in the military and I don’t.
    Do you think that someone has to be directly affected by something to understand it? Conservatives are directly affected by their parties policies, or lack of them, and they don’t see the problems. Your argument is not just weak, it’s ridiculous on it’s face.

  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Astor Column:

    Given the “stiff upper lip” ethic of many military families (and I can’t blame them, because they need to keep it together as best they can), are they really going to publicly complain about it? Potentially jeopardize their family member’s promotion opportunities by being “whiners” in public?

  30. 30
    Rob in CT says:

    @Scout211:

    In terms of time away, sure. But the reason they’re shorter is that they are “high tempo” or whatever the term is. They see more combat. The cumulative stress is probably the same or worse than 10 regular army deployments.

    Either way, 10 f*cking deployments and we haven’t accomplished much (we have killed a bunch of people, including OBL, but that’s about all you can say). Sheesh.

  31. 31
    Astor Column says:

    .@Ruckus: *sigh* I said it would’ve been a better post if he’d shot it over to someone who’d been deployed to add their insights to… and it would’ve. Because there are such people amongst the front-pagers.

    Former 12B, 11A here.

  32. 32
    Cervantes says:

    @Astor Column: The point of the article was to call attention to what Fallows has written about the subject. If even such an article has to be pre-approved or sanctified by a veteran, then that’s part of the problem Fallows is writing about.

    Veterans are free to add insights here, after all — and you’re right, it does add something to the discussion to do so.

  33. 33
    Astor Column says:

    @Mnemosyne: To the best of my knowledge, The Big Green Weenie doesn’t come down on families for speaking out about the difficulties they experience when a family member is deployed. They aren’t demonized as “whiners”. Maybe they did back in the first few years of Bush’s Big Jeffersonian Democracy Adventure… but no more.

    Perhaps I’m wrong. All my time was in the Army Reserves/NG and I got out in 2000.

  34. 34
    Mike G says:

    @debbie:

    Don’t forget the flag lapel pins.

    And don’t forget the sunshine patriots and chickenhawks’ sneering at those of us who don’t participate in their bombastic grandstanding of cheap grace.
    “Where’s your FLAG PIN!! It’s NOT BIG ENOUGH!! Why didn’t you PUT YOUR HAND OVER YOUR HEART when the B-2 bomber flew over the football game???”

  35. 35
    Astor Column says:

    @Cervantes: I believe we can all agree that there are front-pagers here who’ve been deployed.

    And that an anecdote about a deployed person’s family having a difficult time would be a lot more compelling if it came from the soldier who’d experienced it.

    And that dpm probably doesn’t really know what led to the divorce of the daughter of his neighbors, hence his anecdote isn’t particularly compelling. Basic Journanimalism 101.

    All that said, you’ll note that I thanked dpm for linking to Fallow’s story in my original comment.

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Astor Column:

    All my time was in the Army Reserves/NG and I got out in 2000.

    So … you don’t actually know what the past decade has been like for servicemembers on multiple deployments, either?

    This is kind of coming across as you assuming Fallows must be wrong because he’s not in the military but, as others have pointed out, that’s part of the problem Fallows is discussing — people who were in the military pre-9/11 are assuming that things stayed the same, but they didn’t. You realize how lucky you are to have gotten out of the Reserves/NG when you did, right?

    (Edited for grammar and antecedents)

  37. 37
    Ruckus says:

    @Astor Column:
    So you didn’t actually serve in a time of war or on full time active duty?

  38. 38
    Cervantes says:

    @Astor Column: You know, I really don’t have a problem with what you said then, or what you are saying now, except for one tiny detail:

    It would’ve been a better post if he’d shot it over to someone who had actually been in the military and been deployed and asked them to add their insights.

    Instead of “would’ve” I might have said “may have,” so as not to leave the impression that all the best writing on the subject must come from veterans.

    If that impression is my misunderstanding, sorry. On all other points you make I agree.

    Thanks.

  39. 39
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Amir Khalid: They never wanted to fight there in the first place. Iraq was always in their hearts, from day one of his administration. They wouldn’t have ever done anything in Afghanistan if it wasn’t for the fact that Bin Laden was there and they had to at least pretend to give a shit about getting him.
    When I was in Afghanistan during the Bush admin, you could tell even at my level that the Army was well aware that the President’s main focus was Iraq. We were shorted on everything. Ammo, fuel, spare parts, sometimes even food and water, and even Med Evac assets.
    In my two tours in Iraq, also during the Bush admin, there was no shortage of anything, ever.
    I don’t know if there was ever a chance to consolidate gains made in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11, and possibly put a competent, capable government in power. I have my doubts for many reasons. But I am as certain as I know that the sun will set tonight and come up tomorrow, that by the time I got to Afghanistan in 2006, the chance to do that, and thereby achieve something recognizable as a victory was gone. I figured that out one month in country, and spent the next thirteen months trying to not get killed nor see any of my Soldiers killed or maimed to no value.

  40. 40
    Cervantes says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    I figured that out one month in country.

    Exactly — and the bastards pretend to wonder why we are so angry with them.

  41. 41
    Keith G says:

    @Astor Column: You are now crossways with the hive. Nothing you further say will make a difference. A school of minnows will now nibble on your flesh. Good luck to you sir, or ma’am. I appreciate your service.

  42. 42
    Paul in KY says:

    @Jacel: That used to happen in Soviet times. Especially under Stalin.

  43. 43
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Or maybe Yagoda. They cycled thru a few of them back then.

  44. 44
    Astor Column says:

    @Mnemosyne: *sigh* Since I copped to being a former 11A and 12B, if you looked them up you’d see I served both as an enlisted combat engineer and an infantry officer…

    … and you would know I probably served a long time and made some friends who were still serving for years afterwards.

    But if you didn’t look at comment #31 and only at comment #33, you wouldn’t know that and it would be understandable that you’d lip off to me about the ops tempo since 2000.

    Not sure what I said to merit the sarcasm from you but I’m choosing to ignore it. Also, I have no clue where you got the idea I disagree w/Fallows.

  45. 45
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Astor Column: As somebody who has deployed several times–a couple of peacekeeping ops to Bosnia and Kosovo, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, I see where you’re coming from, but he can make an observation.
    I don’t know how many times Mix’s neighbor’s son in law deployed and I don’t know anything about that family, but it’s not unreasonable to make the assumption, in my experience.
    I will say this–out of all the families that I have known who have experienced this, the ones that had failed marriages had other problems in their marriages in the first place, without exception. The ones I have known that got through it and are still married today all shared the distinguishing features of both adults completely respecting each other, and having the ability to talk to each other about their lives in the world outside of their household. These successful couples share a joint vision of what their family should be, and where they should be as a family in the future. This is not to say that they don’t argue over things.
    For me, the thing that made my marriage stronger was the final certainty that I would never deploy again after I was declared disabled in 2010. It seemed to me that my wife and children all let out this breath they had been holding in since 9/12/2001.
    Of course, my wife is the daughter of a Navy one-star Admiral, Submariner, so she had a pretty good idea what she was getting into marrying a Soldier, and that no doubt helped her and the kids cope, as well as having all of the support they had from my family and hers.
    The strangest thing has happened though–my father seems more distant and cold to me than he ever did before I left for my first deployment. I don’t know why. I suspect that he’s bought too deeply into the myths about combat veterans, and he is, on some level, uncomfortable in my presence.

  46. 46
    Ruckus says:

    @Keith G:
    He really isn’t. But he stepped in his own shit and it stinks. I’ve done it before by not thinking completely through an idea, but when called out I accepted the reality of my stupid idea and apologized. It happens, it doesn’t have to keep happening. We can learn from our mistakes. Not all of us do.

  47. 47
    Cervantes says:

    @Keith G: Not particularly fair, but never mind that: I wanted to thank you for the information you provided the other day re the “open classroom” movement. Your comments re the pedagogy of it (here, e.g.) were invaluable and I was interested to see how they dovetailed with my comments re the politics.

  48. 48
    Cervantes says:

    @Astor Column:

    I’m choosing to ignore it.

    Wisdom, indeed.

  49. 49
    EthylEster says:

    I cringe whenever I hear someone utter the robo phrase “thank you for your service”. it seems an empty acknowledgement. one recites it and, poof, is magically off the hook for supporting the afghan and iraq wars.

  50. 50
    Astor Column says:

    @EthylEster: I took Keith G thanking me for my service as pouring oil on possibly troubled waters… because my fee-fees were obviously hurt that the hive was questioning my (peace-time) warrior bona fides.

    And I’m sure we’ve all met Colonel Blimps who harrumph and blither when they feel their towering military expertise is being questioned.

    That said, I have mixed feelings, too, about thanking folks like myself who were never deployed to dangerous/combat zones and served during peacetime. But I think that anybody who served in the last 13 years deserves an automatic heartfelt thank you. Even if you then go on to disagree with them completely about whatever ignorant opinions they may hold.

  51. 51
    Astor Column says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    I don’t know if there was ever a chance to consolidate gains made in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11, and possibly put a competent, capable government in power. I have my doubts for many reasons. But I am as certain as I know that the sun will set tonight and come up tomorrow, that by the time I got to Afghanistan in 2006, the chance to do that, and thereby achieve something recognizable as a victory was gone.

    Exactly. And why that isn’t repeated every single time anybody in the media brings up Afghanistan, I don’t know.

    Even the media drones who twitter endlessly about horse-race politics should be able to understand that you only have 1 chance to make a 1st impression… and that Bush spent 7 years making that impression one of ‘you’re on the back burner’ to the Afghans.

  52. 52
    EthylEster says:

    @Astor Column: i didn’t write my comment because of any comment here. it is just a statement of how i feel when i hear people mouth this apparently “automatic” conversation starter. i wish people would take some time to craft a personal response instead of merely reciting “the phrase”.

    But I think that anybody who served in the last 13 years deserves an automatic heartfelt thank you.

    i don’t think it’s possible to easily determine who in uniform TRULY deserves an “automatic heartfelt thank you”.

    and i’m not interested in being able

    to disagree with them completely about whatever ignorant opinions they may hold

    .

    my comment might be more along the lines of: “I’m sorry our government sent you on missions that damaged so many of our soldiers and so many civilians living in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope our government will help deployed soldiers adapt to life back in the US and offer the needed medical attention, including mental health services. You deserve that.”

    those words accurately reflect what i actually think. “thank you for your service” does not.

  53. 53
    Astor Column says:

    @Cervantes: I can see where I came across as snootily demanding that only service vets get to write about military affairs.

    I didn’t mean to.

    I liked dpm’s choice to personalize his link to Fallow’s story by mentioning the military family he knew of’s difficulties.

    I didn’t like that he clearly hadn’t talked to that family and the info sounded 3rd hand.

  54. 54
    Astor Column says:

    @EthylEster: I appreciate your distinctions but believe that saying,

    “I’m sorry our government sent you on missions that damaged so many of our soldiers and so many civilians living in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope our government will help deployed soldiers adapt to life back in the US and offer the needed medical attention, including mental health services. You deserve that.”

    is probably not going to be graciously received by most veterans.

  55. 55
    RaflW says:

    Sat next to a commercial pilot who quit the Air Force Reserves after his 4th deployment to Iraq/Afghanistan. (Maybe he said 5th).

    He wanted to serve, but never expected as a reservist to do that many or that frequent of tours. I’m glad he came back OK and is making a good living now flying to S. Texas and the Caribbean and such. Good for him. But we took advantage of him when he joined the Reserves.

    I recall hearing that the MN Reservists got above average #s of tours – one suspects our folks served very well and were rewarded with more tours. How nice.

  56. 56
    Bitter Scribe says:

    James Fallows is just shilling for a military draft, which is something he’s done for decades. Fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Astor Column:

    I came to the same conclusion as Cervantes — that you were saying that only a veteran could write about veterans’ issues, so you were disregarding what Fallows was saying. I think it would be interesting to have SoonerGrunt and/or Cole write their own post about Fallows’ article, but that’s not the same thing as saying only SoonerGrunt or Cole should have posted about it, which is how you came across.

    ETA: Also, several of the other commenters who posted, like Ruckus, are also veterans, and you seemed to be dismissing their comments as well on the grounds that they served too long ago.

  58. 58
    Cervantes says:

    @Astor Column: Understood. No worries.

  59. 59
    Soonergrunt says:

    @EthylEster:

    my comment might be more along the lines of: “I’m sorry our government sent you on missions that damaged so many of our soldiers and so many civilians living in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope our government will help deployed soldiers adapt to life back in the US and offer the needed medical attention, including mental health services. You deserve that.”

    You could just say “I’m sorry that you’re a victim,” and take less time.

  60. 60
    Someguy says:

    Support the troops by not publicly cheering them.

  61. 61
    Dave says:

    @Ruckus: I have four tours. Though one of those was seven and a half months in Kosovo and one I spent the majority of in the Kurdish province of Dahuk (cake tour lot of work but good time), the second Iraq was a little harsher but not to terrible and my most recent in Afghanistan was pretty harsh. I was mentally, morally, and physically exhausted going into it and it only got worse coming out. And yes it destroyed my marriage, though she is still my best friend and someone I love greatly, not only because of my tours but because of the trauma that she endured on her tour (all but one of these was as a reservist which I think is harder than active guys).

    It’s hard to talk about because it becomes normal and when it’s not there it leaves you lost and drifting I told my guys that if they did one that’s ok but don’t do a second that’s when you are done. This is more likely now that the op tempo is dropped. I’ve been left with the impression that ranger tours aren’t necessarily more intense than any tour that takes you outside the wire on a regular basis but the three months out of every twelve means you never adapt back to garrison life(and they can be damned intense but some regular tours can be as well). I said it’s harder for Reserves and National Guard because you are adapting back to a completely different life. I’ve not successfully made that transition yet.

    This is disjointed because I’m thinking as I write; I would say that families speaking out being punished depends a lot on the unit, the command, and the location. A reserve unit in Mass. is going to face different expectation than one in Utah.

    Backtracking what happens is high intensity becomes normal you live in it and crave it and hate it at the same time. It energizes and wears you down. I found myself seeking challenges moral physical and otherwise and also just wanting to let got to sleep to be lost in a movie something. I, and quite a few people, never believed in the wars and it matters a little but in the day to day it doesn’t it’s not about some grand moral struggle but the patrol or the day maybe the district is you are in a position to plan for more. And you come home and it’s gone and things that were awful but normal are gone. And your family has suffered and you have suffered but in different ways and it’s very very hard to keep it together. Rebuilding is fragile and if something goes wrong in that time it is devastating it destroys the framework.

    The other realization is how thin morality and ethics are. It’s very easy to find yourself a pound of trigger pressure away from murder, to avoid dehumanizing local nationals to want to break a human with your hands. What I’m saying is it creates issues and then you miss it anyway.

    All that of course is just me I know others experience it the same way some experience it and quite rightly never miss it or want to be near it again but that’s how I experienced it didn’t mean to go so intense.

  62. 62
    Dave says:

    @Soonergrunt: This is truth.@Soonergrunt: From the other side I have to say this is true. My ex wife had many issues that she had to work through. She has made great progress but is still working through things. Her progress makes me very happy to see (and I certainly had my own to work through and still am). I think the other big challenge and more for reservists/national guard (correct me if I’m incorrect but I’m under the impression you were active duty at the time) is if you have a stable life set up ahead of time. Finished school, have a career, spouse has a support network they can rely on etc. Then yes most marriages will survive. I think missing any of those though significantly increases the strain on a marriage. This is why I suspect that post mob is easier for active duty you return to a paycheck, a career, structure etc.

  63. 63
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Dave: Thank you for your comments. Your writing about your experiences really brings it home for this reader. Make sure you keep talking about it and sharing what you’ve learned and experienced with the rest of us. We’ve got to make sure our fellow citizens and leaders learn these lessons, sooner rather than later.

    Best of luck with the transition you’re going through. Hang in there.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  64. 64
    Ruckus says:

    @Dave:
    Thanks for responding.
    I think that you made my point for me. Combat tours are tough. I don’t think you get over it, you learn to live with the memories and issues. You learn that time and distance makes living with whatever you experienced somewhat easier. And you learn that you can go on. Your life will be different than it was and that may be the hardest thing to understand. I didn’t have to go to combat to understand the above and I may not have it exactly correct but I’ve spent some time with other vets who did see a lot of combat and this is what they have told me. Any particular war is not the issue, combat is the issue. The more combat one sees the harder it may become to fit back into civilian life. And none of this is specific to thinking a war is just or not.

    ETA also what Scott said as he said it so well.

  65. 65
    Keith G says:

    @Cervantes: Yeah, maybe not totally fair, but sometimes a lynch mob (in the western sense – so no one is offended) shows up and instead of asking clarifying question just begins knotting the rope. At such times my natural inclination is to push back, fair or not

    Re education…thanks. .Open concept was in most places a failure, but that failure was due to improper implementation – and it was never going to be a fix all even if done “by the book”. So it became a target thanks to scurrilous political operatives who fabricate even while sleeping.

  66. 66
    Cervantes says:

    @Keith G: If you dislike lynch mobs (again, in the Western sense), this place must be a regular ordeal for you.

    Clarifying questions are excellent. I love clarifying questions. Alas, even these are too often misconstrued.

    failure was due to improper implementation – and it was never going to be a fix all even if done “by the book”.

    I’m interested in those aspects of its failure that cannot be ascribed to lack of funding (i.e., cannot be ascribed to politics in the widest sense).

  67. 67
    Keith G says:

    @Cervantes: No, not an ordeal, but I do hang out here a bit less.

    Will type a response after I ponder this (open concept) a bit and will flag you down….Also remind me if it gets to be a while as things like this get lost in the cracks.

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