I don’t really know why I am writing this. In some ways it is ironic. Less than twelve hours ago I was complaining to two close friends about how tired I am of reading Iraq war reflections. Yet here I sit in front of my keyboard with a stack of pictures and a bottle of scotch. I have never really written or talked much about my time in Iraq. Not because I find it difficult but mostly because I never really thought I had anything of value to say. The stories that are published online or printed in newspapers and magazines are usually written by officers, senior enlisted men or policy makers who regale readers with strategic and tactical adventures. They relive important moments in the war or walk through the thought process that ended in some critical decision. My war always seemed different than that.
As the dust settles from another bitterly divisive presidential election, tomorrow Americans will come together in unity and remembrance. Each year, on November 11, we set aside partisan differences and join in parades, service projects, and displays of gratitude in support of veterans. However, over a decade of war has widened the gap between the majority of Americans and the small minority who swear to defend and protect them from danger. Instead of sharing the burden of war, we have become accustomed to yellow ribbons, American flag bumper stickers, and “I Support the Troops” signs. In reality, the community of America’s veterans, especially those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, face crippling unemployment, an epidemic of suicide, and heart-breaking numbers of homeless. Continue reading
(This is a personal post and reflects solely the views and opinions of the author. It is in no way a product or reflection of class discussions.)
As a Marine fighting on the front lines of America’s war on terror, I observed firsthand the life changing effect of helping someone build hope for the future and the power of tolerance, understanding, and discourse in achieving that hope. Unfortunately, too many times I also observed the terrible price to be payed in the absence of tolerance, understanding, and discourse, when hope is gone. The events which occurred in Cairo and Benghazi epitomized that loss of hope. Continue reading
This week’s blog topic asks us to look at the ‘others’ in our community. Naturally, when we think about others we tend to image those who are physically different than us. Those who look different or speak differently. This gut instinct makes it difficult to reflect on the others in my community. Not because I am some holier-than-thou post-racial person, but because my community, for the most part, looks just like me. Continue reading