Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

Another day in the ruins of Eden, and a rare two-day respite from work.

Christmas has come and gone with little fanfare. The unit received holiday care packages from stateside well-wishers, and in the morning I opened presents over webcam with my wife. Nice, until the generator cut out. By the time the power was back up, she had gone. Christmas brunch date with some friends of ours in the JAG.

My day was uneventful-- I read a little bit, passed the time with some Half-Life 2. In the afternoon, I caved and walked alone to the PX for a haircut. I consoled myself with the guilty purchase of "Superman Returns" on DVD. Decent movie. Spent the evening watching that; caught up with my wife and mother again online. My mother asked me to call her down at my Aunt Bonnie's, but with the time difference, the lines, and work tomorrow, I don't think that's going to happen.

I polished off the last of my wife's cookies, and later in the evening I went up to the chow hall. Figured I'd get myself a piece of this famous Christmas dinner everyone talks about. Say what one will about Army food, the DFAC guys really go all-out for the holidays. Turkey breast, yams, mashed potatoes and pecan pie--all washed down with some V8 and chocolate milk. It wasn't Anne's cooking, but it wasn't bad.

I ended up getting a to-go plate; these days I rarely waste my precious free time in the chow hall. I ate alone in my trailer and paged through the most recent copy of Stars and Stripes. "SENIOR TALIBAN LEADER KILLED," the headline said. The byline: "U.S. military calls man a close associate of bin Laden."

Right, I thought to myself. Him and the last eight guys.

You can't fool all of the people all of the time, I've learned, but you can damned sure fool enough for it not to matter. If the American people really wanted us home, I think, they'd be flooding the streets like Hispanic-Americans did in California this last year. They'd be standing up en masse, demanding action, not sending me another box filled with hotel-room hygiene products. I'm grateful for the support, make no mistake; I just have a hard time understanding what a country-music concert and a crossword book in the mail are going to do for my morale. Facts are, I'm three thousand miles away from my wife; I'm unhappy in my job; I don't feel I contribute anything valuable to the unit; and I don't really have any friends here. Not that I'm bitter.

Two days of rest, in celebration of the holiday, and I find that I really don't feel all that rested. I'm reading an article on MSNBC about Christmas celebrations by Christian Iraqis. Happy holidays, America. Go easy on the eggnog.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Milo;
You sound mightily frustrated. Not to make light of it, but it sounds like you feel rather alone. You're not, you know, because you have a family who loves you, and you have a fanbase out here on the 'net.
Your writing is amazing, and I can almost feel what you are feeling. Just try not to get angry. There are many of us who support you guys, even up here in Canada, as we are also supporting our own warriors (and reluctant warriors). The job that they have been given, which they do, whether they really believe in it or not, is still done for their country and its people.
Yes, some of us may not agree with war (I'm one of those "bleeding hearts" that doesn't believe that any of humanities current "wars" are winnable by pure force). I've always thought the one that you're in was wrong. Yah, even publicly protested it. But, I have never once not supported the troops, even though occasionally they behave abysmally. I know that there are many guys and girls out there who feel much the same as you do.
I'm old enough to have been through this before, with a few of you Americans.. . You'll be okay, just stay attached to what you believe and those who love you. Those of us who are willing to listen and back you, will keep doing our part.
May peace be with you,

8:58 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Merry Christmas to you and a safe and peaceful new year. Fine, intriguing writing. May I link to you?

12:11 AM  
Blogger iamcoyote said...

I hope I'm not being presumptuous by commenting on your site, but I wanted to thank you for stopping by our humble adobe. How did you know we were thinking of you? You must be psychic.

Holidays are the worst when you're away from family, I can totally relate to the lonely feelings, having spent many years as a Navy pilot's wife. We didn't have the internet then, and snail mail took months. I'm glad you and your wife at least have some ability to see each other's faces; it really keeps your loved ones real for you, which makes the long days livable. And being able to write well is a boon, you're really good! Your Leaves of Oak poem is brilliant, world class, really.

I have to say, if I had a giant, a swordsman, a dread pirate, and a holocost cloak, I would so be storming the white house to demand your return. As it is, I can only hope something will change with this new congress, while harrassing my reps to remember the actual humans stuck in the insanity of occupation. Doesn't seem like enough, does it? The Low & Lefters feel it every minute of every day, which is why we're all quite mad. Well, except for our pal, snark; he's an architect, and annoyingly sane. He's just there for the dirty talk.

Take care, Spc. Freeman, glad to have met you. I wish I could give you your family back for Christmas. Best I can do is let you know that you're not alone in the wilderness, we can hear you, thanks to blogger. Come and chat, if you have a mind to; our motto is "Staying on Topic is for Losers." Talk about whatever you want, and you'll find a willing ear and open heart. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Boxing Day! I decided that I'm bringin' it back....

Oh, and funny x-mas story...

I got my parents the first two (you know only two) Godfather films...and they got me the whole, funny from my perspective. Cheer up...that's really easy to say from 3,000 miles away...but it's also really hard to do something physically comical to try and pick spirits up like you know I'd make a bad attempt at.

Adios-The TB

7:23 AM  
Blogger cinnabari said...

Missed the day online, but I thought about you. Happy holidays, Milo, much as you can manage. Next year you will be home for Christmas.

(And were it up to me, you'd be home this year because we wouldn't have gone into Iraq in the first place, but no one consults me on these matters.)

5:46 PM  
Blogger Seven of Six said...

As former Army, and a disabled Veteran I know exactly what your going through.

I have protested bu$h at one of his appearences before a staged audience here in AZ, in fact the day Katrina roared ashore. I can't forget that.

My thoughts are with you and I hope you get home to your family safe.

I blog at two sites. The original site I found when I started to become politically active, it's got a load of information on it. And the others at Low and Left were kind enough to invite me to join.

I don't write well but I give it a good try.

Hey, do they still keep condoms on the ends of the weapon to keep the sand out?

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Pixie said...

Milo... You are in our thoughts (mine and Soul Pumpkin's). We spoke of you and Anne while doing the whole Christmas thing at my parent's house.

We are right there with you in thought and understanding.

I know I project a certain image (if you will), but I only do so because I am all about peace, even if it means keeping my stupid mouth shut... eventually, one day, I suspect I will implode or spontaneously combust, LOL.

I thank Soul Pumpkin for having bigger cahones than I do... know that his words are mine as well, I'm just the scaredy cat in all of this.



5:50 AM  
Blogger MichaelBains said...

...I just have a hard time understanding what a country-music concert and a crossword book in the mail are going to do for my morale.

You and me, both, man. Unfortunately, I only know about half a dozen others in my area who think/say/do/feel/ the same way.

...You can't fool all of the people all of the time, I've learned, but you can damned sure fool enough for it not to matter.

Guess that covers the why of it, eh.

I've writ my Congressfolk (in 3 Districts over the last 4 years) repeatedly and blog a lot about it, but do keep a fairly low-key approach at my work. I don't stifle m'self when the subject comes up. I just don't press it much because, well, it's like my views on religion. There're a LOT of good decent people who believe things I've found to be empirically baseless or in contradiction to what those folks claim to intend. So if they ask or profer an Op, I'll consider it an invite to share what I've learned, and - depending on the person - maybe try a little debate for "conversion's sake". Generally though, it's gotta be live and let die/live.

I'll keep working on our politicians in that regard. Let manifests as make all to often with the power they've got.

Peace and Happy Holidays however you can find 'em, bro!

12:19 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Don't forget some of us are working from the inside out. The 2008 Election has started already and you are the number one issue. I'm not marching, I'm trying to work smart, I'm campaigning, it’s what I do well and I encourage everyone to get involved in the process.

As always glad to see your words Milo.
Happy New Year,

6:20 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

Every Tuesday there is a protest of the Iraq war on a bridge overlooking a major interstate during rush hour traffic. Just a few show up. Although there is a positive response from commuters, it's disheartening. Yet we keep on keeping on. We want you home. We want peace.

My son is home from his 2nd tour in Iraq and will be out of the army in March.

Be safe soldier.

5:39 AM  

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