I have a lot to post about.
But first. A note about the war abroad – A light topic for a Monday…
I flew out of town this week for business. And I sat next to a man returning from Afghanistan on R&R for 15 days on one leg of my trip.
And I spoke to him. Even though I don’t normally speak to people on the plane. )I am a reader and am loathe to interrupt the best time for reading ever invented by talking). BUT. He is serving my country and he clearly wanted to talk so – talk I did.
Before you read any further, please understand two things:
1. I really want to respect the men and women serving in the armed forces
2. Even if I can’t respect them, I still appreciate them and what they do
Here are the notes I jotted down after my interaction.
He and I spoke for about 10 minutes about how this was his second deployment and how now that stop loss is over he will be out of the army as soon as this term ends. We talked about his 6 hour ride on a Schnook (sp?) helicopter and how he had to spend almost three days in Kuwait on his way home. We talked about his family, he has a son who was turning 7 this week which is why he is home. We talked about his two year old daughter which is the reason he joined the army – to get medical benefits. We talked about how frazzled his wife is because he’s going to be earlier than expected and she’s not ready. We talked about the burger he can’t wait to have at the neighborhood burger joint he loves.
And then the captain came over the intercom and announced how honored he was to have this man and another service person on the flight and the businessman (hereafter “BM”) in front of me turned off his phone, turned to the serviceman (hereafter “AM”, and their conversation went like this:
BM: Where are you deployed?
AM: Afghanistan this deployment, Iraq my first deployment
BM: Have you shot anyone?
(that’s right. His second FUCKING QUESTION!)
AM: Oh yeah. I’ve shot a lot of people. That is a medieval country. It’s not even third world, it’s much worse. I think the world would be better off if the whole place blew up. As far as I am concerned, they could all die.
They talked a bit more about killing and how horrible the people are. There was some conversation about how the little kids there throw rocks at the army men and beg for pins and other trinkets. This was some how used to support the “kill them all” theory. but I lost track.
Then they started talking about family. And the businessman asked if he was home to see his family.
AM: Yeah, I am here to see my wife and kids. And I am lucky because I married my wife long before I joined up. Some of the guye marry a stranger before they deploy and end up divorced and out their service pay and deployment pay, so they come home to nothing. But I’m lucky, my wife wouldn’t do that to me, she knows better.
BM: (nodding sagely)
Me: (the first time I have spoken since they started talking) AND, you get a free ride from the airport! ha ha
BM & AM: nervous chuckle.
and silence…pretty much for the rest of the flight…
And then I was waiting for my bags the TV was turned to CNN and there was an 11 year old girl being interviewed in Afghanistan because she was sold into marriage at the age of 7 by her father to cover his gambling debts. Her “new husband” was more then 20 years her senior.
She set herself on fire the night of her wedding and has third degree burns all over her body.
When I told someone this story they said:
“‘heh. kind of confirms his statements about being a third world country doesn’t it?”
And it does.
But I think it also refutes his conclusions.