Friday, March 21, 2008
I'll be counting.
there was a whole lot of day counting for me.
on one hand, I'm no fan of The War (this one, or any other).
on the other hand, I'm a big fan of my brother.
it's hard to know where to put my hands. what do you do when a good friend, a loved one, a blood relation participates in something you don't believe in?
You love them anyway. Isn't it what you'd want if you were in their shoes?
If you want to learn more about people who support the troops but not the war, there's MFSO: http://www.mfso.org/index.php. There's also IVAW http://www.ivaw.org/ if he feels the same.
I don't always agree with my friends and family, but what I 'want' from them is the REAL them, not some front constructed to maintain appearances while they anguish quietly.
Silence is all to often and all too easily mistaken for acquiescence. Well intentioned silence is part of what makes it easier for people we care about to register in the first place.
No what I expect of my friends and family is to be real with me- even when we disagree strongly.
That way I know the real them, even where we have vast differences.
Now, how does that relate to antiprincess' dilemma?
That's a hard one. Families have found chasms between members over such- participation in and rejection of wars.
The more opportune time is of course to have these hard discussions with them BEFORE they've signed the contract, but obviously you're very here now.
I think the main thing is what you've already said- to let him know;
You're a 'big fan' of him personally
but when it comes to this it's not something you're ok with.
It is important for family members in the midst of such to understand, they're still loved and you'll still be there for him, but what he's doing is deeply at odds with your own conscience.
A lot of where my focus in relation to such has been sort of at the 'front end of the funnel' before enlistment. I've peer counseled with young men prior to selective service registration, and on college campuses talking about alternatives to enlistment.
I've even had that pre-elistment discussion with my own brother. It wasn't pretty, but it was damn important he understand where I stood on such- AND more importantly, that signing up wasn't going to solve the real problems that he had that were the genuine root of why we were having that discussion in the first place.
Not surprisingly, the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) have a number of resources geared towards counter recruitment etc- http://www.afsc.org/youthmil/default.htm.
I know this is not your situation, but some of the 'questions for recruiters' materials can be useful in discussing what your brother may have been told he would be getting vs. realities.
And then there's stop-loss and such which basically override any promises made.
I hope your brother makes it home safely and gets to stay.
For that matter, I wish they all could.
To that end, yeah, go spend some time watching PBS Frontline's "Bush's War" available online here- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/bushswar/?campaign=pbshomefeatures_1_frontlinebrbushswar_2008-03-25.
It can be very difficult to actually get big picture overviews when you're in the middle of something, newspapers etc and good for daily bits and pieces, but for a recent history overview on something like US involvement in the dismantling of IRAQ there aren't a lot of places to turn. The Frontline piece, for what it is, actually does a decent job of dealing with the narrow scope it's taken on.
(That said, in the film it unfortunately falls to Rumsfeld to articulate the glaring flaw sitting in the middle of the 'clear, hold, build strategy- that being that the minute US troops cease to 'hold' it all goes to hell again. At that rate, US troops will be required there forever- and no guarantees such could even work in the long term.
Also, while the film tries to end on a 'high note' and claims Bush will go out of office on at least a 'stalemate', once again, events have ALREADY overtaken even the film, per this week's attacks.
Those flaws aside, it's worth the many hours worth of watching. It condenses many of the good books on the subject down into interview soundbytes and images. Naturally, I still advise reading the books, but those who may not have the time, the Frontline piece is a 'shortcut' of sorts.)