Letters from Home

After coming through the election-maelstrom with more than a few “you-voted-Kerry-so-you’re-gonna-go-to-hell” remarks still in mind, I felt I should post a letter from my Mother working in Fallujah as it sheds some light on why I believe our presence in the region is a mistake. On a side note, the marine mentioned, Justin, is one of the brothers which I’ve often spoken of here.

    Hey guys. This place is sometimes a living nightmare. A kid was killed three days ago when shrapnel blew his brains out. My God this place is something else. I worry so much about Justin now that I’m here because I get information and I sometimes know what he is doing and it kills me. I’m getting old fast. It looks like we are about to redo the map of Iraq and take Fallujah completely off of it and my son is out there. So are all these other sons. . .I sometimes think I lost my mind completely by coming here. We get bombed every day. People die here every day in horrible ways. A few days ago as I was going to work I saw a Humvee with a group of marines around it crying. I then saw that it must have run over an IED because the engine was blown completely out of it, blood was all over the inside and the back tires were gone. Then I was told about a kid who was killed and by an RPG which took his head completely off and it was never found. They sent him home without it. Every time I see them open the morgue doors (it looks like a refrigerated unit for food) it makes my stomach turn. I hear outgoing and incoming rounds so often here that I don’t even flinch anymore even when the whole building looks like it is about to come down. I just keep working. Two days ago I was off work and waiting for my ride back to camp and marines kept coming outside where I was sitting to talk to me. They were nervous about the hell that is about to be unleashed here and had to get some things off their chest. I don’t want to hear anymore. I can’t stand it. I’m crying right now because I just can’t stand it. But still, I listen, and I console and I tell them that they are heroes and that I love them. But in my heart, I know they are telling me the things they do in hopes that if they come home in a body bag, I will tell their stories. Jesus. I don’t even take pictures anymore. I can’t take photos of most of this base anyway and I don’t want another picture of a boy who is going to go home with his entrails still leaking blood into this Iraqi soil. I guess I just need a pep talk. I give pep talks all day long, but there is no one to console me over here. I can’t stand having to be strong all the time. Even my poor TCNs (Phillipinas and Indians) are scared and need to talk. Hell, I can’t even understand them most of the time. Tonight, Iraqi men sat around me as I was working on Christmas decorations and talked a long time about their hopes and dreams. All I could think about is how many more of our boys are going to have to die so they can have their country back and their freedom. No one can understand what I’m going through unless they have been here; I know this, but I just need to talk to someone sane for a while. We have men over here who are so scared they want to go home, but can’t until this mess is over with. I don’t want to come home, but I’m exhausted from not getting sleep because of the rockets. Rockets are worse than mortars. Although mortars have a lot of shrapnel, rockets tear the guts out of everything. It’s a good think these insurgents don’t seem to know shit about algebra and trajectory. Anyway, thanks for reading. I’m battle fatigued and have no one to turn to and couldn’t get out of the country now if I wanted to. I don’t want to. I can’t leave my son. He comes over when he can to talk and get things off his chest so I have to stay, but God only knows how much I’d like to fly out right now.

    We are having a storm here, and I used to love storms, but now I can’t tell the difference in thunder and warfare, so it is not comforting. Well guys, I have to get back to work. I love you all and miss the hell out of you. I’m feeling better already, but I just can’t stop crying inside.

    Love you,

    Linda & Mother

Do we even need another reason?

26 thoughts on “Letters from Home

  1. My heart so goes out to your mom. If you think she would appreciate some supportive snail mail from a stranger, please email me her address.

    My son just left for the Navy on 18 October. I have no idea what his future holds.

  2. I’ll send her address along when I get her new one. I’ll try to get what I can pretty soon because I’m leaving for bootcamp the second of December.

  3. that’s some pretty tough stuff.  unfortunately, it’s not going to get any better until they clear fallujah out.  hopefully the iraqi units involved perform well and show their ability and motivation to make their country whole again.  there has been a lot of talk about litmus tests on the news lately, and fallujah certainly will be theirs.

  4. Neo, please send my very best to your mom, your brother, and everyone else there.  Their sacrifices are more than we deserve, and I would like nothing better than for them all to come home.

  5. Yeah, I know Fallujah has to be cleared out. I’m not worried so much about my mom as I am my brother. My mom is as tough as nails. My brother on the other hand has one of the most dangerous jobs in the marine corps though. His duties as a mechanic keep him out in the field most of the time picking up damaged vehicles so whenever he leaves base he’s headed into territory where he knows he’s going to be shot at. Hell, he’s already been in combat six times in the past three weeks.

  6. Neo, thanks for sharing this and my best thoughts go to you, your mother and brother.

    Real people ON BOTH SIDES are involved in this catastrophe so I can only hope this is over
    very soon. I hate the way these things become impersonal goals in people’s minds, as in this is a “litmus test”, as though it is a relatively
    harmless exam you take and hope for an A. I really hate callous, abbreviated thinking.

    Please be careful and be safe.

  7. My prayers go out for your mom & brother to feel renewed thanks for the many Iraqi lives they’ve already saved, not to mention the hope it brings them that they aren’t alone in that chaos.

  8. Neodromos, my heart really goes out to you and your family, and to IMPoe and his family, too.  That is such a difficult situation to be in; I know I can’t even begin to understand what it must feel like.  My cousin almost joined the navy but ended up going for state patrol instead and the relief—I just can’t imagine—he is still a baby to me.
    As much as I want to see everyone come home, I can’t help but feel that we’d really let Iraq down in a way that is unjustifiable.  I just don’t know what the right answer is now—any suggestions?  But much as I hate what Bush has done in Iraq, I admire the incredible strength and courage of the armed forces.  You do things I could never have the balls to do and for that, I am so grateful.  All I can offer in return is that I will do what I can to prevent the government from misusing the armed forces. 

    Brock, that is so true. Bush needs to get more in touch with his own sense of empathy in order to make the right decisions, especially because he is asking the soldiers to set aside their own in taking on such a difficult and scary job.  Empathy is more important now than ever. 

    Please send me your mom’s address, too.  I don’t know how much comfort I can provide, but I’ll try.

  9. Thank you for posting your mother’s letter.  Regardless of how I personally feel about this war, I do want to thank your family for the sacrifices they’re making, and to you as well, as I see that you have joined the military as well.  If your mom would like someone to talk to, I’d be happy to be one of those people, so go ahead and pass it along to her if you’d like.  Thank you, and God bless.

  10. Neo- Where will you be in boot? My son is in Great Lakes IL graduating 17 December, going to Maryland from there and then I don’t know.

    Shana – Thank you. And… I’m a girl smile

    Les- On a totally unrelated note… I still can not sign in as a member. I am using Firefox and have my settings correct (I believe) what more can I do?

  11. Hmmm. That is odd. You’re in the Member’s group so that’s not an issue. Can you tell me what the error you’re getting is?

  12. I don’t get any error message at all. I get to the redirect page and come back here to find I am not signed in. I don’t get it.

  13. I had a problem like that when I set my IE privacy setting too high. When I changed mine from medium high to high, I could no longer sign in as a member. I’d still like to go back to the high setting but I don’t how to do it and still log in here.

    Sorry to be talking about this in such a serious thread.

  14. Don’t know if I’m repeating myself, but it sounds like it might be a cookie issue. Have you tried it under IE to see if you get the same results? Do you have any software installed that blocks cookies? Do you have Firefox set to block cookies? Those would all be possibilities.

    EE can handle logins two ways, one being cookies and the other being sessions (or both) and I could turn on the session handling, but that would mean it would log you out after a couple of days requiring you to log in every so often as opposed to having a cookie that logs you in automatically each time you visit.

  15. Indeed, perhaps I should start a new entry for this, but seeing as the damage has been done:

    Brock, you can have your settings set to high and still login here if you add SEB’s URL to your “trusted sites” zone in Internet Explorer. Here’s how:

    1) Select Internet Options from the Tools menu in IE.
    2) Click on the Security Tab and then on the Trusted Sites icon.
    3) Click the SITES button and this will open a new window allowing you to add sites to the Trusted Sites zone.
    4) Add https://stupidevilbastard.com/ to your list.

    That should do it. You can then set your security back to high and it’ll block most cookies you come across, except here.

  16. IMPoe, I am so sorry.  I read “Poe” and thought “Edgar Allen Poe” and it went to ignorance from there!
    IMPoe and HER family!!  I am sending you hugs and hope!

  17. No problem, Shana. It is a masculine name. And it is a combination of my interest in I.M. Pei and Edgar Allen Poe. My solid black kittie’s name is Poe. And, of course, my avatar is Oblina from AHHHH! Real Monsters! I wanted Ickis but I couldn’t find a graphic I liked. Can ya tell I’m a geek?

    Thanks for your hugs and hope.

  18. Thank you everyone. As to your requests/questions….My internet service through directway has crapped out recently but I will post mi madre’s address as soon as I get it

    IMPoe

    There are two training facilities for the Navy, one in Great Lakes, Illinois and another in Pensacola, Florida. The training center in Great Lakes is only for men thus I’ll be freezing mi culo off in Illinois through December and part of January. After that, I will be training for a Master at Arms rating in San Antonio, Texas and with a little luck I should enter the SEALS program in California.

  19. Neo,
    Sorry, the wording of your last post is a bit confusing and I want to make sure I have genders right this time…you are a boy?
    I would hate to email your mom using the wrong gender.

  20. Neo, thank you for the address. I’ll be at Great Lakes from the 16th thru the 18th. His graduation is scheduled for the 17th but that could change at any moment depending on how well he does.

  21. Whoof. Just read this. Sorry if I’m beating a dead horse here, but this is the stuff that armchair generals (both those in front of the TV and those that make the decisions for the real generals) should take to heart.

    Not because war is automatically wrong, but because going to war is one of the gravest decisions a nation can make.

    On a side note – Neodromos, you say you are going to enter the military? Family tradition as you said, and personal wish too. Seeing that you are pretty much opposed to Bush and this administrations policies (as I gathered, correct me if I’m wrong), how will you square it when you have to go to war at their command in a few years?

    Please don’t take this as an accusation – I really would like to know how you think about such matters.

  22. I am curious about that, too, Ingolfson.
    In protesting, I ran into some military types who blindly supported everything the admin does—it was like they’d been brainwashed.  I am glad to hear there are soldiers out there who think about this stuff. 

    Dude, I give up on this gender thing.
    Neo…sorry >>MAN.  I was going along with IMPoe’s girl bit, though I assume she is a woman since she has kids.  Ok, going back to my corner now…

  23. ingolfson

    shana

    First, to ingolfson, honor is defined as “principled uprightness of character; personal integrity”, courage as “the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery”, and commitment as “the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person or persons.” To me, these are not mere words. I strive to live my life in accordance with these principles in the hopes that when all is said and done, I will have earned a place amongst great men. My principles dictate that as a man my purpose is to serve something greater than myself, and as a testament to that I strongly believe that by serving my country in a capacity which I am best suited is nothing short of civic duty. Thus, I hope to join my brother in Iraq. Granted, I’ve no faith in the United States’ justification for war but I do believe the crimes commited against the Iraqi people warrant the subjugation of Saddam Hussein’s regime. I am also saddened that the United Nations neglected to do so. The world’s apathetic view of Saddam Hussein and his treatment of his people was a disgrace. More to the point, our ignorance of the plight of millions who suffer is as much. I believe that as a man I have a duty to stand and fight against oppression and tyranny no matter who is responsible. Be it Saddam or Geroge W. Bush, I consider it both a privilege and a duty to stand against any man who seeks to deprive a people of their civil liberties.

    Second, to Shana, I too have met a great many men and women in uniform who blindly support their commander in cheif, but as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, “Our’s is not to reason why, Our’s is but to do and die.” A soldier is conditioned to follow orders without question. There are, of course, always acceptions to the rule.

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