As I sit here and write on July 4th, I wonder how all my friends, both civilian and military are faring in Afghanistan and Iraq. It feels unfair that they are there and I am not with them. Supporting them and talking about the desire to leave while not knowing how to come home. Sharing stories while cherishing the community that grows closer, under tough, stressful and even deadly conditions, in such a short time.
With all the mayhem here in the States, politicians not managing the wars (or the country) well, their jobs seem ever more daunting. The mission is to rebuild; to leave both Iraqis and Afghans with a better life.
However as they work, deadlines get imposed, jobs get rushed or canceled and too many of the stated tasks never begin. The sewage plant, the school, and the electrical grids are left unfinished. People, nationals and expatriates alike, are angry, sad, disheartened and numb. In Afghanistan, commanders are changing with the political wind. No one knows where it will go today.
In Washington, there is less cohesion. More rhetoric, infighting and blame. A definite failure to understand the environment our young men and women are in. While our soldiers fight, our politicians fail to support their efforts and wonder why on earth there is no chance for a win.
On this 4th of July, a day that celebrates the birth of a strong nation, one can only hope that all Americans take the time to reflect on their true mission. To come together with the desire to end these wars. Then continue on to make this country peaceful, economically strong and, in this newly interconnected world, more thoughtful of other nations.
Most especially, it is time to be more attentive to our own - our military. The ones that manage our own propensity for violence, so we do not sacrifice them for unnecessary political gain but instead celebrate their commitment to today's independence of a United States that can, if committed, again be strong and powerful enough to support those who we count on to make us safe. Then, giving us many more 4ths of July.