May 11, 2004

A Message from Afgahnistan

This is the text of a letter, written by a young woman in the National Guard and currently stationed in Afgahnistan. She got in the National Guard as a way to pay for college to become a doctor. Now she's a lab/medical technician in the Army. Her parents and friends are very proud of her.

Lately I have been receiving some questions from people on military presence etc. I would like to show you those questions along with my answers. I know that by no means am I the most articulate person, nor do I have extensive political, religious, or military knowledge. All I can take my answers from is my heart and what I do see and do know.

A. How about the accusations that our troops are abusing, in whatever form, the enemy captured? We are supposed to set an example for the entire world. If our soldiers are resorting to Husseinesque techniques to handle prisoners, it can only lead to a poor conclusion.

Can we say that Germans are bad because of the Nazi’s, or that Afghanistan’s people are bad because of the Al Queda? No. Are all Catholics bad because of the choices of a few bad men? You can’t ever judge an entire group, belief, or race off of a smaller group or individual’s actions. What I believe this statement is referenced too, is a particular event or group of interrogators. I’m sure there are people who have used their power in the military as MP’s or Intelligence in the wrong way, but the ignorance in this statement nauseates me. We do not sodomize, rape, pillage, spit on, drag around, murder, molest, demean, and torture our prisoners by any means "Husseinesque". Every prisoner I have ever seen, and I see them everyday, has shelter, cloths, three square meals, interpreters, they’re even being taught about Jesus. Sure they are interrogated, handcuffed, and I’m sure yelled at, called names and hit; but there is no way our "techniques" can or should ever be compared to Sadam Hussein.

B. Do you truly believe that America is doing the right thing by being over there?

I don’t know what the long term political, economical, social, etc effects will be on this country. What I do know is that I can’t look into the eyes of these children everyday who have 80% of their bodies burned because they were being disciplined, Talk to 14 and 15 year old boys who have never seen the town 8 miles down the road from them, who don’t know any education outside of which landmines are which, Watch these old men cry their eyes out and beg us to help for the sake of future generations and not think for a second that we’re not doing the right thing by being here. We can only try our best to help. These people (the uneducated ones) no nothing more than how to smoke their dope, grow their opium, and buy more weapons. Should we not want to help them?

Above all this, I don’t believe what so ever that I’m here because the military sent me here. That’s such a narrow-minded view. I’m here because this is where God sent me. I’m here because this is where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. I obviously have a reason for being here out side of luck of the draw. Maybe even multiple reasons for being here. People constantly question my excitement in being here. I’ve had people write me asking me if I’m lying about wanting to be here and if I’m depressed and miss home etc. Of course I miss home and of course this sucks and its not all peachy 24/7. But this is one year of my life. Knowing the women in my family I’ll probly live to 100. So one year, is it really that much of a sacrifice? A lot of people live 100 times worse than how I'm living this year only they live it their entire lives. I believe it’s selfish to moan and complain and wish I were back home. I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to grow and to learn and to make a difference. Hopefully I’ll do the best job that I can.

Hat tip to Posted by Ted at May 11, 2004 9:08 PM