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January 9, 2010

Beyond the Rah-Rah (For a Change)

Afghan Deployment Vermont.jpg

It’s actually rare to see a media picture of a soldier and his family going to pieces before shipping out.

…Messes with our war denial.

(image: AP Toby Talbot/AP via Charlotte Observer Daily Edit. caption: Pfc. Troy Duprey, left, of White River Junction, Vt., hugs his fiance, Tiffany Knapp, as his mother, Gloria, hugs his brother, Josh, before a deployment ceremony in Essex Junction, Vt., Friday, Jan. 8, 2010. Two hundred more Afghanistan-bound troops from the Vermont National Guard are shipping out. They are members of a special training unit of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team based in Rutland.)

  • jtfromBC

    Looks like a big challenge ahead for this *Reserve Unit*…I think I’d be holding on tight and shedding a tear or two before I departed for the mountains of Afghanistan
    The 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) is a Vermont National Guard light infantry brigade. It was reorganized from an armored brigade into a light infantry brigade as part of the United States Army’s transformation for the 21st century. The brigade commander is taking advantage of the state’s (and the Army’s only) Mountain Warfare school to transform the brigade into specialized mountain troops. – wiki

  • bystander

    I was going to grab a clip from this, but I couldn’t isolate one stanza that applied better than the others…
    Messes with our war denial, indeed.

  • http://doran.pacifist.net doranb

    My first thought was that they were grieving for a loss, perhaps of a family member or dear friend. Then I realized the crying was fear of future loss. Indeed, we don’t often see these photos during modern times.

  • Bookworm

    I was present for this ceremony, since my brother is being deployed with the 86th. Many of the troops shipping out are young men less than 21 years old and they are frightened because they have no idea what’s in store for them. They are leaving their families for a year and will be living in a country where they will never be safe for a single second, where the hatred of the enemy for us is so great, they will risk their own lives to suicide bomb us. The grief that you see is for the “What Ifs”. “What if he gets killed?” “What if he gets wounded, paralyzed, loses a leg…?” “What if he’s not the same person when he comes back?” (or she, as there were many women deploying also). You feel pride for all of the soldiers deploying, not just yours. You also feel despair as you look around the room because you know not all of them will be returning and you wonder which families won’t be there to greet their soldier in a year. Could it be your family? It is overwhelming and heartbreaking to watch the soldiers say goodbye to their families but you know that they are doing it for us. To protect us and to keep us safe. It doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye though.

  • Norm

    @Bookworm
    “but you know that they are doing it for us. To protect us and to keep us safe.”
    Every male in my family going back generations has served in the military. We have served in WW2, Vietnam and now I have a brother in the special forces who has been in and out of Iraq a few times. And a very young nephew who is now in Iraq for the second time. I understand the great sacrifice these young soldiers are making, and I honor them for it, but I do not make the mistake of thinking that their service is protecting America. Their presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is simply propping up corrupt and, especially in Afghanistan, illegitimate governments. Our military presence, and the civilians we are killing, in those countries is manufacturing terrorists. It is a waste of young American lives and national treasure to make these unnecessary and stupid wars. I honor these young soldiers service by opposing these wars and demanding that they be brought home. I encourage the vets reading this to seek out Veterans For Peace. http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

  • Ursula L

    @Bookworm
    “but you know that they are doing it for us. To protect us and to keep us safe.”
    But they aren’t, though.
    We know now that Iraq was justified with lies, and it did nothing to make us safer, and much to increase hostility towards the US, making us less safe. And we know that Afghanistan was badly mismanaged, because of the distractions from Iraq, and that we failed to catch the ringleaders behind 9/11, and that, like Iraq, our presence there does much to increase hostility towards the US, making us less safe.
    If we play along with the claims that what the US is doing in the Middle East somehow makes us safer, we undermine one of the most powerful points towards ending the war – the fact that what we’re doing isn’t making us safer, and therefore we should stop it.
    The fact that soldiers are lied to and told that what they’re doing will make the US safer is disgusting. If we’re going to send them off to be killed, we should have the respect to do it honestly, even if we can’t muster the self-control and wisdom not to do it in the first place.

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