Archive for August 1, 2010
Summer in Iowa, Heading for Afghanistan
by Paul Deaton
that cloudy day, most seemed to avoid the idea that real Iowans were
committed to service in Afghanistan, and that some would end up
sacrificing their lives to defend our future.“
The sweet corn is coming in, RAGBRAI is finished, the state fair is coming up August 12-22 and the sendoff of our next deployment of the Iowa National Guard Soldiers to Afghanistan is rapidly approaching.
Based on our informal survey of RAGBRAI riders zipping by Exit 55 off Interstate 380 between Gilbertville and Jubilee, there were a lot of supporters for our messages of “War is not the Answer” and “Support the Troops, End the War.” We got bell rings, thumbs up, “I agree,” and fists clenched in solidarity as the hundreds of bicyclists rode by. As members of Veterans for Peace, we received more than a few “thank you.” There was at least one f-bomb, a few “win the war,” a “Semper Fi,” some “kill them all,” a few shaking heads and an adamant thumbs down.
Beside all of the obvious responses, the majority appeared to have no opinion, being engrossed in the challenges of bicycling across Iowa. And so it goes with our troops. On that cloudy day, most seemed to avoid the idea that real Iowans were committed to service in Afghanistan, and that some would end up sacrificing their lives to defend our future.
The send off ceremonies have begun and the 2nd Brigade, 34th Infantry Division is ready for deployment. A few veterans plan to attend the send off ceremony here in Johnson County and we seek ways to support the troops who have been called up. The military is well organized for this, so we plan to write letters, and especially lend an impartial ear to help them deal with the stress they are sure to encounter. Veterans supporting veterans, hoping to help troops deal with post traumatic stress disorder.
Last week we heard of the “wikileaks” about our wars. The documents were available on line and the author read a few of them. They represented the mundane and existential life that is serving in the military: long periods of boredom mixed with brief and unexpected moments of intensity. It is hard for a lay person to make much of these documents. During war, things happen. Reading these reports highlights the mundane aspect of war regardless of what it reveals about what we are being told of combat operations.
The hot days of the year are here and let us take time from vacations, time at the beach, coolers of beer near the backyard barbecue and town festivals to remember those who serve in our wars. Let us pray that our government brings our wars to a speedy and acceptable resolution and that we take care of our troops when they return home.
~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail Paul Deaton