Tuesday, July 10, 2007

June Just Posts


Nine days after K and I were married planes flew into the World Trade Center in New York.

Our honeymoon plan was to leave the country and backpack around the world for 16 months in Southeast Asia, India, Nepal, Eastern and Southern Africa, and Central and South America. We were scheduled to leave on October 15, 2001 and our journey was to begin in Indonesia.

After mourning the incredible tragedy that was September 11th with our families and community, we decided to go ahead with this trip though we decided to begin in Malaysia as there had already been several serious reports of violence in parts of Indonesia.

Our parents were nervous. It was an uncertain time in history and though Malaysia is very diverse, it is a majority Muslim country.

Do you know what happened to us there?

Malaysians treated K and I with incredible kindness and expressed their sympathies over the horrific events of September 11th.

They were also very curious about our nation's foreign policy choices.

People in Malaysia, and in many other countries over the course of our trip, asked us,

"Why can't the United States, the most powerful country in the world, be the kind of leading nation that everyone, everywhere looks up to?"
I was never able to answer that question for anyone.

Instead, I had to tell them that I wondered about and wished for the same thing.

Nearly six years later, we are still
asking the sons and daughters of our neighbors to serve our nation and risk their lives in a fight I can't seem to understand.

I have a deep respect for those who choose to serve in the military and I strongly believe that we should not ask them to sacrifice so much unless it is a last resort.

War seemed to be our first choice in this case.

In all these years, I can't say that we have made any significant strides towards being the kind of global leader that commands respect through the character of its actions.

There are so many wonderful things about the United States and yet, I am so disappointed.

I was especially haunted by the photo that circulated on the internet last month of a hooded Iraqi prisoner trying to comfort his son during a visit. (You can see the photo here, but I warn you, it will hurt.)

I could not find the right words to talk about how this photo affected me.

My very good friend found them for me.

I want to recognize Little Monkies for her post entitled, War and I hope you will read it
and join her.

Please visit all of the featured posts in this month's Just Post Roundtable.

Ally with accident of birth
Alejna with throwing blame
Little Monkies with war
Mrs. Chicken with why
KC with working for the man
Mama Karma with let's act
Mary with mommy love thyself
Chani with serenity, limits to unconditional love, romanticizing homelessness, all the wilting people, this is not education
Crazymumma with it's just hair
Bad with around the corner i had a friend and doing it
Susanne with cloth diapers and pink third
Shelly with special needs
Blog Antagonist with the color of impetus is teal green and beauty interrupted
missing minorities (The entire blog)
Jaleh with mom vs. mom
Sage Femme with Incens(ationaliz)ed who also writes as Sage with thembelihle
Lawyer Mama with of privilege and prejudice
Jess with i touched al sharpton with my boobs
Julie with the divine right of kings, wergild and the big tragedy of the duke lacrosse scandal
Pundit Mom with only 40 years ago
Jen with american beauty, pulling rabbits, curbside pickup and we are all children here
Christine with 800 hour
Jenny with the almost great lebron james
Slouching Mom with we must never forget
Kaliroz with reality, morality and future-ality
Florian with Alexandra Renewal Project
Deb with operation first casualty
Flutter with open arms
Hel with speaking our truths
Jordan with reaching out
Cecileaux with street sense and uncommon sense
Cheryl with because i am a girl and class action suit
Shannon with act my issue
Alice with ahhh Nina and outdoor essentials
Mrs. Chili with cutting of our nose
Jennifer with all kinds of wrong


Kyla said...

So glad you stepped up to do this, J. I feel much like you. I deeply respect our troops, but I cannot seem to understand why they are still over there. I wish they could come home and be with their families...to be safe again.

Lots of good reading here.

Anonymous said...

Very important blogging going on!!!

We had just come back from our honeymoon when that happened by the way!

Biddy said...

oh that picture just breaks my heart...

slouching mom said...

That question ("Why can't the United States, the most powerful country in the world, be the kind of leading nation that everyone, everywhere looks up to?") had better be answered soon, or it will be the end of us. Our country has already cost too many too much.

It is gut-wrenching.

Julie Pippert said...

Ditto. Amen. All that.

The men in my family have been military at least at some point in their lives. My brother is one more generation.

It is because I respect our troops, their lives, other lives, and understand our obligation that I am so critical and think and feel much as you stated in this post.

This is a GREAT list of posts and participation.

Thanks for stepping up.

jen said...

thank you, jess. and a lovely, thoughtful post. i too cannot understand.

Marmite Breath said...

People in Europe want an answer to that question too. It's awful when I don't have an answer? Because it's run by humans? That doesn't seem adequate somehow.

Jenn said...

I can hardly stand it anymore.

This frustration with our government-it makes me crazy and pissed.

I talk with a few friends regarding what is happening, and am in constant awe (and not the good kind of awe) that we, the supposedly enlightened, are accepting so quietly what is happening around us.

cronznet said...

I can't look at your picture because I'm still reeling from the one of two grinning Iraqi boys holding plastic guns to the head of a sobbing four-year-old. What on earth have we done...
Thanks for listing the Just Posts and for filling in. And thanks for your post.

KC said...

My husband is active-duty military and far too often, we read about one of his former classmates from the Naval Academy dying in Iraq. It is terrifying and senseless.

Thanks for stepping up this month (and a perfect choice too). You are spreading the word.

Gingers Mom said...

I think you put this so eloquently. Although I DO believe that this war started over something very important and was a necessary step for us to take I do believe it is time to come home. Our troops and their families are depleted. We gave that nation a chance for liberation and they just aren't taking it. The cost for us to stay there is too great. I don't share with the belief that the United States has been the terrorizing bully in the world. I think ous country was doing an admirable thing by stepping into Iraq, but the time has come to step out.

katy said...

My nephew had to go to Iraq twice and I feel like it was such a waste of time. The military is also ignoring those coming back with problems. My nephew saw horrible, horrible things and came back with a lot of problems of his own, none of which he can get any help for because a counselor he saw a few times when he came back decided he would be ok. I don't know how we are supposed to fix other country's problems when we can't help our own people.

Lawyer Mama said...

That's the first time I'd read her post, so thank you for the link. It was a powerful post.

I so look forward to reading all these posts every month.

Jennifer said...

I can't think right now, beyond that photo. I had not seen it before but I know it will be with me now for some time to come.

This line from your post here will also stick with me: "There are so many wonderful things about the United States and yet, I am so disappointed." AMEN. When, when, when will we see that we cannot stomp around, acting as a bully, trying to force "our" way on others? And that violence is so seldom the answer...

And thank you, thank you, thank you to every one out there who writes on these matters. I was so completely honored to receive a Just Post award this month and it is encouraging to see how many voices are speaking up. Maybe if we all speak together, like this...

Jordan said...

Thank you so much for what you have written and for overseeing the June Just Post nominations. I am excited to be a recipient and can't wait to read the others!

GoteeMan said...

What a powerful picture. It affected me in a profound way.

I am concerned that our government has only made things worse by recent decisions and choices, and by taking an imperialistic approach to action, while politically isolating the US from the rest of the world.

Thanks for posting.


Her Bad Mother said...

I love the Just Warrior Jess. I really, really love her.


WILLIAM said...

When someone aske me the question "Why can't the United States, the most powerful country in the world, be the kind of leading nation that everyone, everywhere looks up to?"

I say that we are. The US is the most generous country in the world. We are called on by most nations to do things that they themselves cannot do. And the fact that I am allowed to express my pride in our country or my embarrasment at our political situation and the fact that I am allowed to vote in the embarrasing people is something that I think people should look up to.

Remember it's "We the people..." not the government

wordgirl said...

What does it say about me that I worry more about what other countries think about me as an American (especially those who would assume that I voted for GWB...which I certainly did not) than do I worry about what my fellow citizens think about me for vigorously protesting almost everything about this dismal administration? We were headed to New York for a wedding only days before 9/11...a wedding that had to be postponed.

painted maypole said...

You wrote so beautifully about such a painful thing, thank you. I think that with power comes responsibility, and we have abused that power rather than stepped up to the plate and taken responsibility

carmachu said...

You should have asked them what they exactly meant by that?

Becasue more than a few do look up to us and our ideals....

We dont always succeed, but we dont always fail either...

Aliki2006 said...

Right on target, otj--very thoughtful post.

Thanks for the list of great links to check out and for doing this.

notfearingchange said...

excellent post! well done.

FENICLE said...

Wow, that picture...words cannot describe the sickness I felt in my stomach and the hurt in my heart just by viewing it.

Thank you for helping host this & sharing.

Jenifer said...

Way to step up...that photo is haunting.

Ally said...

Thanks for recognizing Little Monkies for that amazing post. The photo she speaks of will haunt me for a long, long time. I am encouraged by the many bloggers out there who want to do something about this crazy war. This post is a good start.

Anonymous said...

You know, we did not start this war. Before 9/11 GWB was just another bumbling joke in Washington DC. Comedy Central had a show "That's My Bush" that was a parody of GW's low IQ among other things.

But after those muslim extremists attacked America, GW stepped up to the plate and brought it back to them in Afghanistan.

Of course they stopped two steps short of home plate by not finishing Bin Laden.

But as for what we are doing in Iraq, Saddam Husein murdered and gassed thousands of his fellow countrymen. I would rather see our troops fighting in a foreign land, keeping Al Queida bogged down in a quagmire and stopping them from blowing up any more Americans on our streets.

flutter said...

Thank you for stepping in, and stepping up.

thailandchani said...

I'll stay away from saying anything about American foreign policy.. but will say that I liked and appreciated your post very much.

Any time this issue is raised, I am grateful because people have been asleep for too long.



EE said...

Well said.

Owens Family Adventures said...

Hello..this is my first time reading your blog and as the wife of an Air Force Capt and someone who voted for Bush a second time I felt compelled to respond.
How does a person explain to another what it is like to fear that your husband, the one you hold most dear, could at a moments notice be sent to the "sand box". And for what? And why?? How did we get here??
How do you put into words your deep deep disappointment for a president you voted for and one you, on many occasions, defended?? We are told not to voice our opinions as we are military spouses. We are told to support those in charge. I must tell you that every time I hear of another loss of life my heart bleeds for the family members. I have friends who watch the news faithfully in hopes of catching a glimpse of their loved ones. I am hoping and praying that we come to our senses and can again strive to be a nation we can be proud of.
Really well written post, my friend. It is one that will make me think tonight.

carrie said...

Well done. I think mad picked the perfect lady to fill her shoes when she'd gone.

Also - so glad you went ahead with that honeymoon when you did.

I too wish, after all this time and loss, that there was some peace in our great, big world where children didn't have to see their parents taken away or worse, killed over some wacko presidents personal vendetta. Sorry, that's just how I feel about it now.


PunditMom said...

Wow! Thank you so much! I am totally surprised and honored!

QT said...

Thanks for stepping in, Ms. Jess. You are wonderful for that.

Your feelings and mine about this country and the sitch it is in are quite similar, indeed.

Sue at nobaddays said...

Looking forward to participating ... the next time I have more than two brain cells to rub together so that I can come up with a thinking-woman's post. Sigh!

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

I could not look at the picture.
I was afraid. I have my own visual.

Anonymous said...

Watching the news on the wars and seeing these pictures over all these years put me of the opinion that all Americans are arrogant, selfish, power hungry people who couldn't care less what became of the rest of the world.

However, reading this blog and others like this has made me realise that most Americans are in fact intelligent, witty and compasionate, and above all, responsible parents and people. The people are different from the policy and the government.

Thanks for putting things into perspective for me.

Lotta said...

Thanks for the links to some great reads!

ewe are here said...

War was this administration's first choice and it drives me insane that our elective representatives didn't seriously question it at the time. I hate that we went over there, and I hate that we're still there and I hate that when we do leave we're going to leave behind chaos.

And I especially hate that my cousin has just been sent over there. He's in the Navy and has been trying to retire for the last 2 years after a 20+ year career, but they wouldn't let him. And now they've sent him in to lead security forces on the ground --- not what he was trained to do!- --- along with a lot of other 'trapped' navy personnel who weren't trained for this. The military is that shorthanded and desperate.

I will probably post about this on mu own blog if I can stop getting so upset every time I htink about it.

Starrlight said...

That was an incredible post. And that picture did hurt. We seem to have forgotten the old line about choosing your enemy well for that is who you will become.

wayabetty said...

Having lived through the Vietnam war and escaped communism to live in this free country, I have to say that this is still the best country to live in the whole world despite its foreign policy.

That picture reminds me of that one photo of a naked girl running through the street during the Vietnam war, it speaks volume and pains your heart.

Jordan said...

Hey there - any tips on getting the June Just Post button? I've been to Jen's and Mad's sites recently and couldn't figure it out! Thanks!