27 January 2013

Week 29 from Afghanistan

It was another frustrating week here.  I'm sure it is the same for anyone in a situation where you are trying to wind-up a war--decisions are made for pragmatic reasons and short term gains, and the ultimate values that we hold dear are sacrificed to the practical.  It is a tough thing for people of high moral standards...the "why" doesn't make sense.
I had a conversation with my deputy tonight about this.  She is an Air Force Academy grad, and is of the mind that we should pull everyone out as fast as possible.  Her rationale is "why should we ask my friends to fight and die for something that just isn't worth it."  I think this is a common mantra over the decades of conflict since the second world war.  My answer to that is that we don't swear our allegiance to a conflict or policy, but to the constitution.  Under our constitutional framework, congress has a powerful role in conflict--both declaring war and funding it.  The people also have a significant role, as they can vote out Presidents with bad policy records.  Unfortunately, Congress has abdicated its role, and except for the War Powers Act and a couple of funding red lines in Vietnam and Iraq, have done little to debate and sanction or limit our conflicts.  The people likewise, are more disconnected than ever to our military, and it will be more so in the future--in 30 years or so, when the Vietnam generation has passed and is passing, there will be nothing left but the volunteer veterans of the growing warrior class.  57% of currently serving active duty military had a parent who served in some branch of service.  
It is sad and probably unsustainable.  I'm not sure how morally or ethically correct it is to send men and women into conflict without having a real stake in their fortunes.  It will be more and more difficult to answer these young captains when they ask why their friends should die, when the principals that provide strength to our constitution--an engaged public and Congress--give way to partisan interests, pragmatic political solutions, apathy and comfort.
I think her view is fairly consistent with what the majority of our young leaders believe.  It is the more senior folks who toe the line.  There are many reasons for this--certainly we have some good leaders--but there are also many seeking promotion, or profiting from the conflict, with less altruistic motivations.
In the sunset of my career, all I can think to do is to pray for our leaders, try to educate our people, and to inculcate the coming generation with a sense of duty and care for more than their personal and localized interests.
Fortunately, through faith, we have a surety of hope for a better world, and while this is concerning, I have plenty of peace in my own life, having a confirmation of good things to come.  I am thankful for the prayers for our family, for a Church family who serve and pray for us, for those in temples who remember our men and women in uniform, and our family specifically.  We are blessed.
Hope all is well.  Warmest regards.

21 January 2013

Thinking Valentines

V Day is coming up again.  Looking for more ideas for my kids.  Last year I had more time to make homemade crafts.  This year I'm thinking of getting some help from Oriental Trading or Terrys Village.

I might try and trick them into thinking I didn't do anything and then put the decorations up while they're at school.  When they come home they'll have a nice surprise.  Maybe I'll even get them each a doz Krispy Kreme.  They'll love me forever just for the doughnuts.:)

20 January 2013

Week 28 from Afghanistan

We are slogging through out here. We were hoping President Obama would announce some hard numbers of troop size, but absent that, we are muddling through the best we can, under the best assumptions we can. I have now seen the art of war at tactical, operational levels. While the politics of DC are disturbing, the confusion of coalition warfare is more so. I'm glad the folks at the tactical level don't worry about it too much and just get out and execute, or we'd be in a lot of trouble. Anyway, hopefully the can doesn't get kicked too far down the road.

All else is well. Looking forward to [Spring] and my R&R.

13 January 2013

Healthy Care Packages

I've been watching to see how long our packages take to get to hubby in Afghanistan. If I use the APO Priority boxes they take on average less than 10 days. So we decided to experiment. Hubby is on a NATO base and the chef there is Dutch. He says the food is aweful. And made a resolution to eat better this year. We've been sending tuna packets and crackers, but this time we sent peanut butter and honey and a loaf of bread. It was the high fiber kind. It got there in 8 days and in great condition! I was afraid the delivery time would be too long and the bread would start to go bad. The weather probably helped along with the cold weather in cargo hold at high altitude.
Hubby just emailed:
"They made it! Bread looks great. I had a peanut butter and honey sandwich--it was awesome!"

So don't be afraid to try and send healthy foods in your packages (healthy breads, peanut butter & honey, nuts, protein mix, balance bars, tuna, etc.), along with the comfort foods of cookies and candies.

06 January 2013

Week 26 from Afghanistan

Its great to write "Week 26"- halfway done and it is all downhill from here!  I appreciate the prayers and letters that help as I've moved through this journey.  I can now set my sites on my R&R, scheduled for spring--then, by the time I return from that, I'll only have a few months left.

It's been deathly slow here in Afghanistan.  With the holidays, even though we had some pressing business to attend to, it becomes challenging, because the folks at CENTCOM and in DC are all on vacation.  Hopefully we will be back in the swing of thing this week.  We are all hoping that the President's meeting with President Karzai this week will yield some decisions about our force posture here.  There is a lot in stand-by mode while we wait for a decision.  

Anyway, its been really quiet.  The gym tends to be the best thing about my day.

Hope all is well.  Warm regards