Some things are difficult to say as a liberal, certain realities are difficult to deal with. I have wanted to tell my President thank you for over two weeks now by way of a diary but had to process events first.
Like so many things I have lived through since 9/11, I am on a completely different life track than almost everyone else out there. When I have been hurting and stressed beyond comprehension, others not involved in the military were not hurting or feeling very stressed, and now others are hurting as I'm feeling a little better. I can cope a lot better though, when someone isn't standing at a podium telling me that I will be "staying the course" when the course leads straight to hell.
The events of 9/11 destroyed my life as I knew it. Not because anyone that I knew died that day in that act of terrorism. I was spared that pain and suffering.
The children and I had just returned home from spending the summer with my husband in South Korea. He was doing a year tour of duty there and had been gone far too long. We'd wanted to be together again, a family again. The children had needed to know more about the place their father had been living in for so long. Then we returned home in time for the school year.
September 11, 2001 was my daughter's first day of school. She always got ready for school listening to the radio. As I drove her to school she said that something strange had happened in New York and a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I dropped her off and headed to my grandparents with one year old baby Joshua.
They hadn't seen him all summer. They had missed him and I had missed them. And my grandparents did seem to be truly getting older. When we got there they were still in bed, so unlike their 50's and 60's when I wondered if they ever slept and they would already be eating breakfast while I stumbled around looking for a light switch.
That day, they got up quickly though to see baby Joshua, I started the coffee, and then I remembered what my daughter had said. I was telling them about it second hand just making newsy conversation while I turned on the news. By then a second plane had hit and people were jumping out of windows. We all watched in shock. Then the buildings came down.
I immediately grabbed my grandparent's phone and called my husband in South Korea.
The military had moved quickly and my husband who lived off post was locked out. Many of the soldiers were. If you were on post when they realized we were under attack you were locked in. If you were off post you were locked out.
It was a horrible day for a career soldier in a foreign land, locked out from even the fellowship of other U.S. Soldiers and unable to defend the soil that was technically his own. He was so angry and so frustrated. And he suffered because obviously - he had let you down and he had failed you. If he hadn't none of this would have/could have happened. I stayed on the phone with him for four hours that day.
So many things have changed since then, nobody pays $180 for any phone call to South Korea now. My grandparents have passed and are gone. And we have been a family going to and from war for years.
My husband came home exactly four months after 9/11 to wait. Soldiers and families at Fort Carson waited and waited for orders to go to Afghanistan that never came.
Instead, fourteen months later, our nation, under excruciating stress with huge protests in the streets, anxiety and fear due to Al Qaeda's unaddressed threat, sent her soldiers at Fort Carson to Iraq.
Billions of dollars worth of tanks, helicopters, personnel vehicles, weapons and logistical support systems were loaded onto trains pulled by enormous engines painted a hellacious red to designate them as a military train. I have no idea how much it cost to move all that from the middle of the continent to the coast, where it was all loaded onto ships and sent to Kuwait.
I could go on and on telling you about sleeping with the television on for reports of shotdown helicopters and dead soldiers. About crying behind closed doors because I was supposed to be brave and smile and be fearless in protecting my country. That would take so much of your time and mine.
But if you cared about it all, it won't take much for me to take you back there with me. A few choice words and acronyms are all it takes in a certain sequence; Colin Powell and little glass vials at the UN, AUMF, WMDs, Bush, Cheney, Feith, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Rice, L. Paul Bremmer, de-Ba'athification, Halliburton, Fallujah, Blackwater, Abu Ghraib, Qusay Uday photos, spider holes, 51% mandates, white phosphorous and melting human beings in Fallujah, IEDs, Cindy Sheehan and What Noble Cause?, assassination teams in Baghdad, the Surge, Stop-loss, how many Zarqarwis dance on the head of a pin?, how many dead innocent civilians giving Iraqi's Iraqi Freedom?, broken Army, everyone standing gets promoted, $30,000 re-enlistment bonuses and huge money working as a contractor, dead, maimed, widowed, orphaned, leveled, homeless, broken, broke,
Stay the Course.
After all that (and there is no way I covered all the words either. I'm certain I've missed some that you remember and that hurt around the edges) the initial threat was still out there. Anxiety was even more poignant because we were told that we were “trying” to address Al Qaeda. But our leaders really weren't.
They did not want to relieve that anxiety. They wanted as many Americans as possible clinging pitifully to lurking horrors and easy to manipulate It is probably the worst thing I've ever lived through because of where I was positioned.
I could not escape that there was a threat out there, nor could I easily distract myself from the fact that it wasn't being addressed. We were the people who were supposed to be addressing it. The Bush administration told you that they were doing that fully. You had no argument you could make that was meaningful and no choice that didn't require extreme violence and bloodshed but to eventually vote them out. It took forever.
I hated every minute. I stopped crying during all that, even when alone, and that is never a good thing to do when you are on such a road. It means you are hard and cold now, your walls are high and thick in order to survive.
We voted in a new President. He started winding down Iraq and he sent more troops to Afghanistan. It made some people really angry, even though that was the plan before election day. Our family quickly put the Bush years behind us, tried to blindly forget them and leaned into the harness with Obama.
Our soldier in our family asked to go and went to Afghanistan with the first big push. It was hard. Afghanistan had been neglected for years. The intel we had was very poor and the measure of the real threat had not been truthfully assessed in years. That reality had also been ignored. Nobody had gathering much significant documented real intel on Al Qaeda during the Bush years. If anything the Bush administration was trying not to because anything they found would be reported and lead to more shame and blame for the Bush Presidency as we Stayed the Course in Iraq.
So on the evening of May 1st I felt just about nothing. No. On second thought I felt like a cartoon. This family is part of the system that protects this nation from attack. But we had been so misused for years, patching it over the best we could to survive, that Osama bin Laden's death just didn't seem real.
My husband went to work very early on May 2nd to be with other soldiers. They were very somber, but they all wanted to be together like they did the day of 9/11. I cried off and on at home as the poison in the wounds surfaced.
The system was finally working and addressing the real threat after collecting real intel. It took me days to feel again in this particular realm of my life. When I did free myself I cried. Sweeping the floor or washing dishes, suddenly I would burst into tears. I did that alone too. A lot of this second part of the 9/11 journey has been alone.
This family had choosen to be here, in spite of how how horrible it had all been for eight long years. Knowing it might not be any better with the new guy either. But we thought President Obama, the nation and the voters deserved one more go at addressing the real threat of Al Qaeda.
It had never really occurred to me that we would ever be this successful. That we'd get more intel too, a clearer picture and understanding of what we face. I only hoped to help keep the nation safe and get on the same course that the enemy was playing on. We can't use our energies to play against them when we're not even on the same fucking course.
It does matter that we got Bin Laden too. It always matters when people that really are living to do nothing much other than attack and kill you are confronted. Any President who would not address that is a one term President. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs trumps all self actualization. If you don't have your need for safety met, you can't get to self actualization.
I had lived through one President who had used that need to manipulate and destroy his own people and his own country Now I am experiencing a President who is addressing the threat. I am repaired.
Bush broke our military. We had to stop-loss soldiers just to have enough meat for his meat grinder. Our military is flush now with those seeking to serve under this President and address the real threat. They are still being injured and killed too, just like they were in Iraq....but we are addressing the real threat and THAT MATTERS! It makes all the difference in the world.
And now that we did get one of the very big 9/11 fish. We got all that intel. We also understand the lay of the land with the ISI, and the Pakistani military, and Pakistan itself better....that matters too.
We can now begin to address the threat in ways that Americans may find more to their liking. It takes real facts, not deduced facts based on mostly neglect, to entertain the options that can work. We can move forward now. When I think about all the lives lost, forever altered, and everything that has been destroyed for nothing, other than Staying the Course, the darkness is overwhelming.
We have a President now who bases his course of actions on facts, who does not play games with the lives of our troops. A President and First Lady who support military families. It matters. It matters a great deal. Thank you Mr. President.
Our goal for Netroots for the TroopsTM 2011 is $100,000.0 (cash or in-kind donations)
NFTT's primary function is the purchasing and assembling of Care Packages at Netroots Nation to be mailed to American Military serving in war zones. However, the needs of our military families and veterans at home are also a NFTT priority. As llbear et al. have shown, far too often veterans and their families end up caught between a need and red tape. As we raise funds this year remember that your donation will be helping on multiple levels. Our deployed sons and daughter will know they have not been forgotten. Military families will know that they are not alone. Veterans at home will receive needed help.
We realize that you would like to donate something tangible to go inside the packages that will be mailed to the troops. Unfortunately, accepting in-kind donations from individuals is not practical in terms of storage and handling of the items. We will only be accepting corporate donations or cash from YOU to purchase items for the care packages this year.
Here’s how YOU can help:
1. Please contact TexDem if you know someone who might be helpful in securing the corporate in-kind donations. Just leave him a message through the dkos message system. To help you think of companies who could donate products, see below for a list of potential items. Put your thinking caps on and let us hear from you. It takes time to get through the corporate processes so we need to hear from you ASAP!
2. We are accepting cash from individuals and -beg- ask that you DONATE HERE to contribute to this worthy cause. Your donation will enable us to purchase the things that we are unable to obtain through corporate donations, and will help to pay the costs of shipping them to our troops.
3. Sign up for a diary! Don’t worry---we’ve made it easy for you. We’ve got a template set up, and all you need to do is add a small introduction. You can tell us why you are donating or share a story of someone you know who has served or is serving. You can post some favorite pootie and woozel photos. Or how about some gardening photos? We love them! Recipes? We're ready to cook. A list of the top ten guitarists of all time? We'll listen. An homage to your favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer? (Terry Pratchett is one of mine.) We'll be reading. We want you to have fun while raising money for our troops and their families. Just drop Onomastic/Ono a message through the dkos message system to get the template and on the schedule.
4. Do you know a service member who would like to receive a care package? Email a request to: email@example.com before May 31, 2011. Please include all of the following information. Unfortunately we will not be able to process any incomplete requests:
APO Address Line 1:
APO Address Line 2:
APO Address Zip:
If you know of a Military Unit that would like to receive care packages please include Unit and contact information by May 15, 2011.
6. Help us assemble the packages in Minneapolis. It's fun! More information will be forthcoming for those of you who are going to be in Minneapolis and would like to help there.
7. Please consider joining the NFTT FaceBook Group. Invite your FaceBook and non-FaceBook friends.
_________The goal for 2011 is 600 Care Packages assembled in Minneapolis, that equates to approximately $100,000.00. Again this was decided upon after seeing we could assemble 300 in 45 minutes in Pittsburgh. Those boxes had a retail value of approximately $210.00. The items we'll be sending will be comparable to what was sent last year. However, that list is subject to modification based on suggestions, request and needs. Btw, check out the NFTT website.
The following list contains some of the things we have included in packages. Please let us know if you know someone who might be helpful in securing these corporate in-kind donations. (Please DO NOT send these items yourself! We have no way to accept them. Instead, your cash donation is the very best way to help make this happen on the ground in Minneapolis.)
- Baby wipes
- Mechanix gloves
- LED flashlights
- Gel shoe insoles
- Goop Cleaning Gel
- Powdered energy drinks
- Gel energy food packets
- DVDs and CDs
- Letters to the soldiers
- More suggestions coming soon
The NFTT diaries are a way for the Daily Kos community to support the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families. We send them packages of items they might not otherwise receive through the normal military process but that they find useful. This is a non-political diary. While we understand there are differing views on the wars and the warriors, the site gives plenty of opportunity to express those views elsewhere. Furthermore, we would hope that users do not engage with those that attempt to hijack or otherwise disrupt these diaries.
We appreciate your understanding and support. Thanks!
Netroots For The TroopsTM is a project of Netroots for the Troops, Inc., a Virginia non-profit corporation. Netroots For The TroopsTM raises money for the assembly, mailing and delivery of care packages to American military in war zones, and to provide assistance to military families in the United States. Netroots For The Troops, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.