On MSNBC.com, there's a newly posted piece about the effect of overly long Iraq deployments on military families.
"Their stories put a human face on stark statistics showing that the U.S. military -- a small force by historical standards -- is stretched thin after more than four years in Iraq and six in Afghanistan. Repeated deployments of active military members and reservists and diminishing 'dwell times' between postings to the war zone have taxed soldiers and taken a growing toll on the home front," writes MSNBC's Kari Huus from the military town of Midland, N.C.
"Families are truly exhausted," Huus quotes Patricia Barron, who runs youth programs for the National Military Families Association. "They are starting to feel the stresses of separation more acutely."
I'm not without sympathy for these families. During World War II, my then-future Mom and her love-my then-future Dad- were separated for more than three years. I've read the letters and seen the photos. And there was no Internet for quick "I--love-yous." Just ships that had to sail slowly and very, very carefully.
But World War II was a necessary war. Debateably, Afghanistan was, too. But Iraq? No.
The painful truth, it must be told, is that if all manner of polls and surveys are to be believed, it is many if not most of these military families that voted the Iraq-invading Bush Administration into office. I've seen stats well into the 70s, and even into the 80s on that on Bush voters in the military.
Not only in 2000, but in 2004- when the war was already 18 months in- and a guy was running that had actually served in combat.
Well, why the Bush tilt in the military- at least in the last two elections?
In this era of the volunteer Army, there's surely a pre-selection for folks who believe in hierarchical command structures. When your country calls, you go. And in these same military families that spawn the brave men and women who by genetics and upbringing fall into this culture of obedience, you can bet that others with different programming- such as "Hanoi Jane" Fonda and Bill "Draft Dodger" Clinton were routinely derided by the fathers of those who are now on their fifth deployment in a land that didn't attack us on 9/11.
Maybe these sad and lonely separations should be a teachable moment for military families. To question your leaders is patriotic.