“My husband doesn’t have the ability to voice his opinion. He’s controlled. I am controlled in that I don’t want to get him in trouble, so I am nervous about what I say to people.” — Leslie
I recently spoke with the woman who made this statement, a military wife, Leslie (her name changed to protect the innocent), at a local restaurant, and asked her what she feels about the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I’m very upset about the war,” Leslie said. “The more I read the more I know it was a big screw up from the start. I never supported it when Bush wanted to go. Bush knew what he was going to do and did it and he didn’t care about facts.”
The following is a transcript of my questions (CO) and Leslie’s answers:
CO: Where do you get your facts?
Leslie: “I’m always looking on the internet for what’s going on. And I read a lot of books.”
CO: Do you trust mainstream media?
Leslie: “No, not at all. There’s so much information out there, but the media doesn’t want to look for it, and doesn’t want to tell it.”
CO: Do you have a lot of friends in the military who feel the same way?
Leslie: “None of my friends feel the same way. A lot of my friends are avid supporters of Bush. But some of them are now against the war, because their husbands have to go. I have seen attitudes change as they become personally involved.”
CO: Do you ever meet people who are also against the war?
Leslie: “Most military people, especially wives, don’t talk about the war. It isn’t something that we just start talking about.”
CO: Has the war changed your husband?
Leslie: “He wasn’t directly in the war zones when he went over there. He wasn’t exposed to death like others. I’ve heard of soldiers having nightmares, and a lot of problems, after being there. My understanding is that most soldiers are affected negatively by the war. Spouses and children can’t stand to see soldiers leave, but then they come back stressed out and angry, and their kids become deathly afraid of them.”
CO:How does that affect you?
Leslie: “I refuse to have kids while this is going on. Soldiers are over there a year or longer, some are going on their 3rd or 4th deployment. I know a man whose daughter learned how to walk and talk and he missed all of it; now she’s 2 years old and they don’t know each other.”
CO: What are your emotions about this time?
Leslie: “I’m extremely disappointed. I can’t believe that people aren’t upset. I can’t believe our media doesn’t tell us what’s going on and people want to avoid the truth. People should be very angry and scared about our rights being taken away by our government. I know I’m scared. It’s been portrayed that opposition to the President equals opposition to the troops. We’ve been controlled into silence with that.”
CO: How do you oppose the war?
Leslie: “I can’t lie about how I feel. I share my opinion when asked. But I do a lot more. I write at least one letter to a congressperson, representative or senator every day.”
Leslie: “At least one letter a day.”
CO: What would restore your faith in the rest of us?
Leslie: “Care enough to look for the truth! Get involved in elections. Tell Senators what you want them to do. They work for you! Get everyone out, Republicans and Democrats, who give the rubber stamp to Bush and the neo-cons. Impeach Bush and Cheney for lying about the cause of death for so many soldiers and Iraqis.”
CO: What should military people do?
Leslie: “Military families should speak out to their representatives and share their feelings, because it directly affects them and their loved ones. Soldiers don’t have the right to protest, but their families and relatives do. Speak up!”
With those words, Leslie encouraged all Americans to look deeper than the spoon-feedings of mainstream news, to seek out information and voice their concerns.
As of this writing, the current Iraq war statistics are as follows:
Iraqis dead 69,907-76,365
US military dead 3,706, wounded 27,409
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In addition to the irreplaceable loss of life, and the physical and emotional damage to soldiers and their families in the aftermath of war and deployments, the United States, which means the American taxpayer, is spending $200 million dollars a day, or $6 billion a month, to sustain the war, with a total of $400 billion dollars allocated so far, according to Congressional Budget Office. The final cost is expected to be counted in the “trillions” of dollars.