War wives

Reading about Karilyn Bales’ blog (now removed because her husband is Staff Sgt. Robert Bales) brought me back to those horrible days when Chip was in Vietnam.

Days of waking up to news of Pleiku, where he was stationed, the place they called Rocket City. Days of listening to the tapes he sent, explosions in the background. “That was outgoing,” he’d say. “Oh, that was incoming.”

The dream I had, the consoling but unlikely-seeming dream, that the war was over and we returned to Nha Trang, where he began his tour; in the dream it was a tourist resort (as, indeed, it now is).

He was just there once, of course. I can’t imagine going through that four times. Or, being not just the spouse, but the person actually experiencing it four times.

The Army says it’s not unusual, these days, to be deployed four times. It’s a volunteer army. They all signed up for this. But Bales is 38. When he signed up, conceivably, Bush hadn’t started all those wars.

And are Iraq and Afghanistan any better off, after all the collateral damage?

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