Saturday, April 10, 2004

Two Points about the War Today

First there is the New York Times which weighs in with a report about military families of the 101st Airborne and how they are taking the war. A couple excerpts from the full story
NY Times Story move me a bit, and also might be a good sign for Kerry.
But talk to members of military families in the parking lot next door, and the emotions are a good deal more complex. Samie Drown, 28, voted for George W. Bush in 2000, and she was stoic and supportive when her husband, a member of the Army's elite 101st Airborne Division, was secretly shipped off to Iraq with less than a week's notice last year. Mrs. Drown took care of their four young children as the 101st led United States troops into Baghdad.

But now, with the occupation dragging on and casualties mounting week by week, she says she feels her views shifting. And not just about the war, but about the president who sent her husband to Iraq.

"This has completely changed my view of the administration," said Mrs. Drown, wearing an American flag T-shirt and sunglasses. "My husband is a soldier and his job is to fight for freedom. But after so many months and so many deaths, no one has shown us any weapons of mass destruction or given us an explanation.

"So a lot of military wives are now asking: `Why? Why did we go to Iraq?' The administration talked a strong story, but a lot of us are kicking our butts about how we voted last time around. Now we're leaning the other way."
I am not shocked that her focus is WMD, but I'm shocked she spoke about this to a reporter. Around my way the military appears to be all one voice, and all in support of the troops and the war, but we're hearing those related to the troops starting to rebel. For a wife of a soldier to speak out like that has got to be encouraging to Kerry. Around here, the reactions against Bush are more likely to come from more distant relatives, like here:
Brittany Wood, 19, whose stepfather has spent most of the past 18 months in Iraq, said she was a Bush supporter a year ago. Though she still "loves the President, since he's serving his country," she said she would vote for Mr. Kerry this fall.

"I was glad we were doing this because we need to help other countries fight for freedom, but now lots of people feel there's been a cover-up and it is a lie and we were not told the real reasons for being in Iraq," Ms. Wood said. "That is making a lot of soldiers and their families think about voting. And for the first time they're thinking about voting Democratic."

Part of the ambivalence about the war and the election is driven by the personal hardship endured by families here, as parents and spouses are far away. Ms. Wood, a university student, helps her grandmother run an on-base day care center. "Now you have kids growing up without mothers," she said.
Encouraging stuff. I'm sure Bush supporters will be quick to call these family members of servicemen traitors.