Letter From A Soldier’s Mom

Yesterday, I asked you folks to just take a moment out of your day to put politics down for just a moment, and to take a personal look into your own personal feelings towards war. I had a few responses, and I wish to thank everyone who left one. It is very much appreciated.

But I received one in my inbox, one that I would like to now share with you. It comes from Tracey who writes as Soldier Mom over at a relatively new website called Iraqslogger, as well as being the Democratic Party Online Editor for Bella Online. (quick note: Iraqslogger is non partisan… I can’t exactly say the same for Tracey’s slice over at Bella)

Tracy is the mother of a soldier in Iraq, and she wrote this letter to me:

Dear Mr. M,

I want to write and thank you for your wonderful anti-war post that was not anti-military. So often, when I read pieces by progressives, they assume the young men who have chosen to serve out country are stupid, duped by recruiters. I was impressed by your use of “We.” It was clear that you understood that is “Us,” who choose the civilian leadership, which decides when and where our soldiers go to war. I have son currently serving in Iraq. He joined the military after college, during the Clinton administration. He actually believes in things like democracy and duty to ones country. He has enormous faith in the American people, in the ability of ordinary citizens to choose their leaders. When he joined the military, he made the choice to trust in us, that we would choose leaders who would use the military in responsible ways, and never send them into harms ways unnecessarily. He knows that from time to time, we might make mistakes. But he believes that the democratic process provides ways to peacefully rectify those mistakes, and he has great faith that, with time, the American people will rectify the mistakes they make.

My son has expressed to me his concern that so many of the “calmer heads,” those less “gun-ho” to go to war, have left the military, frustrated with this war and its mismanagement. He worries what will happen when we no longer have voices that will speak-up and say wait, when our civilian leadership wants to go to war again, to consider other options, less costly, less deadly. He worries when on the battlefield their won’t be the guy that will speak-up when everyone is angry about their buddy being killed and say wait, “we are the good guys, killing everyone in the village isn’t going to bring him back and it isn’t going to make any of us safer or end this war any sooner.” He worries that the failure of those that believe that war ought to be our last choice to serve, places our country at greater harm than anything else.

The real tragedy of fighting this war, a war that should never had been fought, will be if it leaves us with a military that believes that war should be our first choice and not our last. It was nice to see a progressive who placed responsibility for this war where it belonged, on us.

Best wishes,

Tracey-Kay Caldwell

The letter largely speaks for itself, but I want to reinforce this one idea, an idea that has come out in subsequent emails.

When any person joins our military, there is a very simple pact: They swear to defend this country with their lives, and in return all they ask is that we use them wisely, use them rationally, and help them build a life while in the military and after.

As civillians, no, as citizens, we are the ultimate employers. We are the employers of the Commander in Chief, and the employers of those who hold the purse strings as well. It is OUR duty to ensure that our end of the bargain is honored, because all be damned if the military ain’t holdin’ up their end.

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