Thursday, September 28, 2006

Patriotic Duty?


Merideth Howard of Waukesha, Wisconsin, joined the Army Reserves in 1988. It was her way of doing something for her country. She planned to retire in 2008 after twenty years' service. Unbelievably, she was called up for active duty in December 2005. Many questioned why a woman her age would be called to active duty and sent to the Middle East. Howard didn't question; she just went and did the job she was sent to do. Friends and family say she knew the risks -- and accepted them as her patriotic duty. Her job? Turret gunner in the Army Reserve's 405th Civil Affairs Battalion in Afghanistan.

She was killed, along with Staff Sgt. Robert Paul, 43, of The Dalles, Oregon, in Afghanistan on September 8th when a car bomber slammed into her vehicle.

She was 52 years old.

Howard may not have questioned her deployment, but I do. It's bad enough that young American men and women are losing their lives in the Iraq War, but where on earth is the dire necessity of sending ladies old enough to be grandmothers off to fight? It doesn't matter that she was a young-at-heart woman of middle age. So am I, but I sure as heck don't want to have to think about going to war at my age. There's just no sense in imposing what amounts to the draft on middle-aged women OR men. At least, I don't think so. Am I in the minority or the majority on this issue?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was probably paperwork oversight or something, but you are not alone in your disgust.
I think had we finished in Afghanistan before playing in Iraq we would not be needing a grandma corp.

iwanfro- and I do want an afro

Serena Joy said...

I saw an Afro today. I thought I was having a flashback to 1969. I think the guy must have gotten himself a permanent; no way that hair was natural.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks it's fundamentally wrong to be sending older people to war. If there was a war going on on American soil and the lives of every American at stake then, yeah, it would be extreme circumstances and everybody still able to walk should pitch in, up to and including the front lines if necessary. Fighting to "liberate" Iraq just doesn't qualify.

I agree 100% with you, Kan. The war should have stayed in Afghanistan. Had it been confined to Afghanistan, we'd probably have bin Laden by now.

Word: Oh, my -- what do you suppose a vvnub is?

RexZeitgiest said...

I will stay out of the political aspect of this and just agreee that women AND man in their 50's and above should not be on the front lines....

My cousins first husband 'Bruce' served in Vietnam, when he came back he was a changed man. (my dad and Uncles emerged basically the same) Bruce got worse and worse, Terry divorced him and he became a bum on the street and was eventually committed in the late 70's .....

Fast forward to 1995, Bruce is out and getting his life back together.....he joins the national guard.......Last year Bruce was deployed to Iraq with a maintence batallion, he is 58 years old.......He should not be in the reserves let alone in the Iraq....


That being said, look at WW 2.....many soldiers on the front line were older people.....Many of the baseball stars and hollywood heros, signed up in the 40's Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, etc. all served in their 40's and 50's....this is nothing news......But it is still very sad....


War is desperatly sad, even if it's necessary

Anonymous said...

It is Rex.
I am mostly avoiding the politics, but it is hard with this situation. I can find no excuse for a 52 year old woman to be serving as a "Turret gunner in the Army Reserve's 405th Civil Affairs Battalion in Afghanistan" and my rage is not directed at Bush per say because I would be just as mad at Clinton.

I think "urgpdfmz" sums it up rather well.

Serena Joy said...

Rex, you said it -- war is desperately sad, even when it's desperately necessary.

There was one difference between older men enlisting to fight in WWII and older men and women being in effect drafted to fight in Iraq. In WWII, not only America but the security of the entire world was at stake. People were fired up, especially after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Conversely, Iraq's not a threat to any Western power. Or at least no evidence of any such threat has been found. The situation in Iraq is basically a civil war. The general populace may have wanted Hussein removed from power, but it was up to them to depose him, not the U.S. I just don't think Americans of any age should be over there dying for an Iraqui democracy that, if it ever happens, won't last long. It's not our fight.

I'm really sorry about your cousin's husband. That's a sad situation.

Serena Joy said...

That's it in a nutshell,Kan -- it's not a partisan issue at all. It doesn't matter who the president is, which party has control, or anything else. The issue is drafting people, old and young, to fight a war we have no business fighting. And when reserve units are being constantly called to active duty and already deployed troops keep getting held over past the time their tours were supposed to end, it IS a draft.

You're right, it's just urgpdfmz. And xjuic.

RexZeitgiest said...

And you can tntofawtf to that list.....

Anonymous said...

tntofawtf?
I had the "TNT of Awtf" in an online game once I think.

Serena Joy said...

Did you guys just curse me? Well, hiulmof to you!:)

Anonymous said...

Don't get hit in your "gjyarx".
I almost feel like hitting refresh if I don't like my word, but that would be cheating.