Godspeed, my friend

Godspeed: a wish for a prosperous journey, success, and good fortune.

While paging through the usual drivel in the RedEye on my way to work this morning, I stumbled through an article about Bush and his plans for Iraq. Suddenly I saw something that made this war more real to me than ever before..

Under Bush’s plan, thousands of troops will be alerted that they may be needed in Iraq – including units already there whose service would be extended, or others that could be sent earlier than initially scheduled, said one official.

Moving first into Iraq would be the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, which is now in Kuwait and poised to head quickly into the country, the defense official said. The Brigade, numbering about 3,500 troops, is based at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

One of those 3,500 troops is my friend, Liam. I had received word of his deployment late one night in December. I had returned late from a party and I immediately tried to call him, with no regard to what time it was or how drunk I sounded. I left him a voicemail and we had been playing phone tag ever since. I had no idea his deployment was coming up so quickly. On January 2nd I received a phone call from his wife Danielle who filled me in on his deployment and also told me that he wished he could have spoken to me before leaving. I too wish that could have happened. Instead I had a wonderful conversation with her, with his new baby boy cooing in the background – united their family is stronger, no matter the distance.

It has been far too easy for me to disassociate myself from what is going on in Iraq. Now that this has happened, I feel a new conviction to support those who have gone to fight for our country, regardless of how I feel about the choices that this administration has made. For every one of the 3,500 troops from the 82nd Airborne division, there is a family… there is a story… there is strength. The same can be said about the hundreds of thousands of troops already in Iraq.

Please join me in wishing Liam, as well as the rest of the troops Godspeed.
We are there with you in heart and spirit. When you return your family and friends will be waiting with open arms, and the bar will be waiting with two Gin and Tonics for us both.

It is a shame we didn’t get to speak before you left – but I am there with you now and will be here upon your return. Godspeed, my friend.

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7 thoughts on “Godspeed, my friend”

  1. Amen… my cousin’s wife is there working in intelligence right now. And he’s been in Baghdad before, spending some time at the airport and experiencing a stray mortar or two while taking a break from flying C-130’s.

    Americans were deeply scarred by Vietnam, but the military has been the most devastated. Every move they make is questioned, every use of force is compared to Vietnam.

    And I’m sorry to make this political, but people like John Kerry and Ted Kennedy have not helped heal the scars and rebuild the military’s confidence.

    Military families have ALWAYS been united behind the mission of their loved ones–finish the job, do it well, and come home. Most troops support the mission they are part of and see a bigger picture than you and me.

    Politicians play with the feelings of the populace and ignore the feelings of the boots on the ground and their families. I’m not denying that the other side doesn’t do it, but at least they err on the side of supporting the people over there.

  2. Trying not to get drawn in, but..

    Mike, you say: “Every move [the military] make[s] is questioned”

    I say, their moves should be questioned! If they had been to begin with, we wouldn’t have so many troops in danger right now.

    I don’t think someone has to agree with how or why we got into this war to support the troops. The “with us or against us” BS is the worst kind of political gerrymandering. The two are not mutually exclusive. I can hate that we ended up there but still want them to succeed. To think anyone wishes otherwise is hogwash.

    Do I think we should have gone to Iraq? No. I never have. My position here has never wavered.

    Do I think that we should do everything we can to stabilize the country and get our troops home safely? Yes. Absolutely, unequivically, yes. Unfortunately, there’s no clear way to do that. Pulling out completely may very well cause more problems than it solves at this point, and who knows if a “surge” will help? The Iraq Study group certainly didn’t think so.

    “And I’m sorry to make this political, but people like John Kerry and Ted Kennedy have not helped heal the scars and rebuild the military’s confidence.”

    If we weren’t there in the first place, there wouldn’t be scars to heal. But we are there, and the only conscionable action is to get out doing as little further (and continued) damage as possible. Perhaps the hubris of our military (and it’s commanders) is the reason for this debacle to begin with. In which case I say: they were OVERconfident to begin with!

    Our troops are mostly doing an incredibly admirable job that I am truly in awe of, and I wish them all home safely.

  3. I didn’t want to get sucked in either, but I do need to make a comment. Iraq is NOT Vietnam, not even close.

    When we finally made the correct decision to pull out of Vietnam, our enemies didn’t follow us home and kill our women and children. But the insurgents in Iraq have been killing our innocent a long time and will always do so unless we continue on the offensive to hunt them down and kill them first.

    Whether or not we SHOULD have gone into Iraq is no longer an issue, so we need to stop talking about it and beating a dead horse. The fact is that we are there now, period. The important questions that need to be asked now are about how we can quell the violence and keep our troops alive and well. Keep the status quo? Clearly not working. Pulling troops out right now? This might leave the remaining troops and innocent Iraqis helpless.

    Is sending 20k more troops the answer? I don’t know. I don’t pretend to have the first-hand intelligence that our generals send our President daily. But, neither should the Kerrys and Kennedys of the world. These people claim to have all the answers, but are basing their policy on opinions and not ALL of the facts. Personally, I trust our military and the people we have trained to run it, if not always our governments decisions of its usage. If they say that more troops will help the cause, then dammit, give them more troops. Too many times we have ignored our militarys request for help, better equipment, more troops, etc. (see Somalia, Vietnam, Kosovo…)

    The clear majority of the men and women in Iraq, and Afganistan, believe in their missions. They are the only ones who have seen and heard the truth; not the media, not the politicians, not you and I. They are the ones who have CHOSEN to fight for our country and the freedoms that we all take for granted. They knew that there was the potential for war, and injury and death, and yet, they signed up and accepted their assignments. It is those troops who watch helplessly as the man next to him is killed. They are the ones who carry their fallen brothers off the battle field and make sure that nobody is ever left behind.

    I don’t know what else to say accept that I thank God for the courage and skill that these men possess, which is far greater than mine. But let me assure you of my original point, Iraq is not Vietnam. Pulling out now might save lives in the short-term, but I don’t believe it’s the answer when we are talking about the potential of more terrorism and killing on our own soil.

  4. And thanks to the men who came before us we have the freedom and technology for just such a debate. Try to do this under the rule of Islam.

  5. My grandson of the 2/16 Rangers is part of the aforementioned surge. Nothing could make him more pleased. He is ecstatic. And now he is there. 19 years ago a judge told him on Monday to come back on Friday with his four year enlistment papers or he was going somewhere else for the next four years. His choice worked for him. Perhaps, however, on this day his wife and mother and stepfather and others would beg to disagree. Myself, I go with him.

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