Archive for January, 2010

A bit of philosophy on the war

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Some Philosophy in an Art Blog:

I’m taking a break from the update blog to give some moments and thoughts to our countrymen and women overseas.  As many of you know, and a lot of you have guessed I worked for the government for several years.   The time changed me rather dramatically and I hope it was for the better.

Given recent losses in unknown but respected and admired colleagues, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to our choices as individuals and as a nation.   As individuals who have amazing freedoms are we obligated to protect them, by force if necessary?  Once we are in an area, no matter how sticky and uncomfortable it is, are we obligated to stay?  I would say yes we are.  I know that many people are not suited for foreign service, be it armed, civilian or just taking on the stresses of handling a nation at war.  That means that those of us who can/could handle such things must do so… no pressure or anything for those who feel like they can and must serve in civilian or military service.  I want to be clear though.  The fact that we can and do serve in war zones by no means devalues the contributions that others make.  It’s like being tall enough to reach the top shelf for your friend… why wouldn’t you take that book off the top shelf to help them out?

As it turns out, I’m a more sensitive soul and have subsequently struggled with my choices and the sheer violence of warfare.  I’ll openly admit, I have PTSD… and I didn’t even go into combat.  Maybe that makes me wussy, but at the end of the I don’t care, the reality is that war is hard, it is brutal and filled with brutal choices.   And I’m so very grateful that I was able to serve for however long I did.

As a precursor to some questions:  yes it was hard, yes there were days where I cried over losses of friends, or the stress of knowing my friends and loved ones were in danger.  Yes there were days that I cried over the stress I knew I was putting on loved ones.  My family and friends did things and gave support that means more than I can express.  They made it possible for me to serve and continually reminded me why I served.  But.. at the end of the day I’m grateful I was able to serve.  I am honored by the sacrifices and courage that our countrymen have shown.   And I have learned that the sacrifices are not all overseas.  You who are here and are kind to people coming back are incredibly important.   You who sent random care packages and notes from kids (my favorite was some little boy wishing we all had a frog), you who allow us to be a bit off and socially inept when we come home… you are serving your country too.  You are serving the homefront.  And here is my wish to you and I guess now to me.  We are the homefront, we are the country too.  We must acknowledge that the war is hard, it will cost us.  At the end of the day, we are in Afganistan and Iraq.   We have started something in both of these locations, some will argue (and I would agree with them) that Al Qa’ida started it but we responded.  It was our choice to go over to these locations and for right or wrong I believe it is the right thing to stay a while longer.   We are there, the least we can do is give these guys a chance to see what it is like to be free.  I don’t have false illusions (well not many I hope), I am not expecting miracles like a stable uncorrupt government.  I do however, hope that we can show enough people what it is like to have a representative government, to read books, to know that not everyone outside their village is a hateful individual.

So here is my thank you to the homefont and to those who are overseas now.