The Costs of War
Maryellen Walter is an out-of-work telecommunications worker from the Midwest.
Teri Allison's letter put into words many of my own feelings. We are a blue-collar union family whose only two sons are now in Iraq, using the Army to pay for their educations. One son is an armor officer who earned an ROTC scholarship; the other is an enlisted medic who wants to finish his education on the GI Bill. They knew the risks and joined voluntarily. And were they serving in Afghanistan, it would be so much easier for me to bear, because that battle in the WOT [War on Terror] needed to be fought. Iraq is a huge wrong turn that seems to inflame the risk of terror, not diminish it.
We also have a contradiction about Iraq within our family. Our officer son's wife is a huge Bush supporter who views Iraq as the main stage of World War IV, and W. is her White Knight defending our civilization. I envy her the peace of mind that helps her cope with the separation and anxiety. But whistling past the graveyard gives me no such peace. If this is indeed an apocalyptic clash of civilizations, where is the national sense of urgency, why are so relatively few bearing the burden and why are we paying for it on credit?
Mike Roemhildt, a music teacher, lives in Cloquet, Minnesota.
I just wanted to write to thank you for posting the letter, "The Costs of War." It expressed the feelings of my wife and me in a way that was so close to ours it was scary. Our son, age 19, is a tanker in the Army and has been to Iraq once already and will go back sometime this coming winter. Needless to say, we dread it very much. His first tour found him in an ambush, witnessing many horrible sights, IED explosions and mortar attacks, and finding himself in a position in which he had to kill. He seems to be handling things OK, though he drank for nearly three weeks upon his initial return. There was virtually no psych screening to speak of to identify those soldiers who might have problems. In fact, they were not even held more than a few hours on base before being released into the world!!!
I could certainly go on about my thoughts and feelings but my main purpose for writing was to thank you and to request that you forward this letter on to the author. It meant a lot to my wife and me to read another person's experiences and to discover that we are not alone.