Saturday, May 05, 2007


All in the Family Panel

Becky, Military Families of Victory, Military News of the Day: Frustrated mom of three military.

Sarah, Trying to Grok, SpouseBuzz: Number one "ware cheerleader on a hate site." Contributor to The Blogs of War

Carla, Some Soldiers Mom: Not enough parent voices. Contributor to The Blogs of War.

Rachelle, Army Wife Toddler Mom. Contributor to The Blogs of War. "Blogging cheaper than therapy."

Andi heads the panel.

Andi: Quoting Sarah, writing about an Iraqi policeman who quit because his police chief was beheaded.

Sarah: Described it as a "knife in the heart" that her husband is putting his life on the line for Iraqis, but an Iraqi who "runs away" from the danger. Knows it's not representative, maybe "same three disgruntled Iraqis" in reports, but still upsetting. Have a truncated view of our own history, Independence, had this Civil War, everything was easy. Hard to face reality of how long how much it takes.

Carla: What it's like to be a mother of a wounded soldier. "After Noah was recovering...was not the person we knew who returned from Iraq." (Suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

Our soldiers are younger, they're experiencing horrors...Not just his experiences that caused the PTSD, but all the losses of friends he experienced. Within a week of him leaving for Landstuhl (Germany). Survivors guilt. We've gone the gaut with the Army medical system. Changing, but not fast enough for this mom. Getting people to acknowledge PTSD as an illness. People say theu should suck it up. "We have a generation on the streets because they sucked it up."

Anthing that sounds negative is "fodder for the anti-war crowd." It is what it is. It's a war. [Dad: Says more about those who use it as fodder than those who talk about it openly] After the war, we'll still have fall-out. There is no one who is more anti-war than the mother of a soldier. Sometimes war is necessary.

Son said, I'd rather be in theater slaying dragons, than in garrison slaying paperwork.
Carla: Are there soldiers being treated improperly, overmedicated, of course. Many more are being taken care of, capable of functioning in society.

Deployment Extensions. Families found out by leak from Pentagon, in news, rather from Military. Hoped SecDef found the leaker before an Army Wife does...

AWTM: All about respect. I don't like finding out from my father, or from the neighbor. Anyone who's getting ready for a deployment...sort of a separation in the home that goes on. Physical separation, when you get the word that you ae going again, get that separation in the home. On and off again, disrespectful. Other things going on in the family, other struggles, disrespectful that word gets to families through the media.

Day of phone calls that leads to a week of phone calls. Hardship on military families.

Families that spek out to the media. Becky, appearance on Larry King/CNN. Had some really hateful things posted in comments on the blog. Some wish the troops dead. "Someone has to die before you'll be against the war." Even when I know where these people are coming from, it still hurts. Better after the CNN appearance.
Sarah: Lots of people don't pay attention. They say, why don't you enlist? That would be easier, for me to deploy rather than my husband. I can come to grips with my own mortality, than for my husband.

Carla mentions that soldiers worry more about their siblings.

AWTM: Someone else experiences the same, been there done that. As National Guard wives, in a town with only two Guard wives. Isolated from military community. Important to get the support (SpouseBuzz, etc.).

Sarah: The day Andi asked me to join SpouseBuzz, she had a friend had a battle on her blog, turned into Officer versus enlisted fight. I was really reluctant, things get really nasty on the Internet. Best environment, very respectful, relaxed, I thought it was going to be "like all the others."

Andi: Carla, why don't you start a "ParentsBuzz?"
Andi is bringing Robert Stokely up to talk about the loss of his son and what the MILBLOGGING community means...

Robert: Speak from the heart, you can't go wrong. SGT Mike Stokely's 2nd marriage anniversary. Dead three months later after deployment. I went from being first place to second place (when his son got married). He never made me feel like second place.

What I felt like as a Dad, got a clock, set it ahead to Iraqi time. Learned there was no down time in Iraq. I worried if he was okay, if he would come home the shell of a person. Obviously worried if he would get hurt.

You guys gave me my life back after I lost my son. I felt like I had lost my mind. I stumbled on the MILBLOG community. Expressed some feelings to Greyhawk. Then Others. Felt how much love y'll were willing to give me and my family. It would be easy to cave and fold, not just as my son, but my best friend.

That loss cut really deep. That little boy, born premature, (lifts a diaper) "unused of course," couldn't wear this diaper without falling off (really small), grew up to 6 foot two, 220 rock hard pounds.

Was it worth it? Ask that little boy who became a man. I don't know what else to say.
At mike: Keep after your local media. Might get offered an opening.

AWTM: One of the good things that's coem out, advocacy with VA and in military community. I would encourage those out there...

Carla: Have had a lot of opportunity to advocate for our veterans. A lot of places don't want to just hear from a Mom. How she got the name for her blog, had some SGT say, "you're just some soldier's mom" (Her husband said, "oh no, he did not just say that...")

People thank me for my service when I thank them for their son's service.

Quotes Murtha, "we need to make this war more personal." It doesn't get more personal than this.

Becky: Litany of contacts back at our blog to contact representatives...

Sarah: When a reporter lost a friend, then it became a story for her to tell. Became personal. Every soldier is someone's husband or son or friend, not just somebody who's a friend of a reporter. Everyone's worthy of a story being written.

[Dad, an aside. Wonkette intro'd herself in the last panel, "I'm from the media, and I'm here to help."]

Hoah Wife at Mike: Is SpouseBuzz showing how spouses are doing?

AWTM: Really impressed with young wives. 22 year olds, really heroic and brave. I've been really impressed.

Andi: met 18 and 19 year old wives when SpouseBuzz Live at Fort Hood, amazing what these women have to deal with at that age.
Hook at Mike: You guys are my favorite bloggers...I hope to grow up someday and be as cool as you. Do you ever have any angst if your blog has any effect on your soldiers career?

AWTM: Manure. At an officer's convention...AG came up and said, I found your blog. (Oh, manure). I don't know if it's altered [my husband's] career...

Carla: I didn't know what I was going to write. I was afraid if I wrote something it might get back to my son. Reason I satyed anonymous. Once I hit send with his name, someone told her son that "I know your mom!"

Colonel's wives who will stop her son and say, "I love your mom's blog." He did take a lot of grief from NCOs, just giving him grief about his Mom.

[Dad: Sounds like "Yo Momma" type ribbing. "Yo Momma is a blogger."]

Sarah: Telling people you met people on the Internet, get funny reactions. Here Husband said, "I heard Jodey was in town." She replies, "that was retired LT GEN Jodie to you."

Becky: I've seen lots of soldiers off, different when you send your own son off.
Carla: I am totally humbled by my children's service. I am in awe.

Sarah: What do we want MILBLOGGERS to know:

My friend came back from an SF assignment. I kept thinking: I feel a jinx, what if he doesn't come home.

To anyone deployed: we don't know what it's like. We don't have all the information. My war is probably cartoonish. Whenever we aren't on the phone with you, you could be in danger. You know where you are. We sit in that waitful stage. My husband can't really understand. You know when you're safe, we don't.


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