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Chelsea Green Blog

Talking about rejecting missions

My link to Peter Laufer’s “Letter to a Young Marine” elicited this comment from Pamela
Peter’s letter made sense, and yet, as a mother of two sons in the military (USAF and USN), I am torn between their believing what they do is their “job” and my wanting them to be safe at home. If it is that easy to get out of the military, as Mr. Laurer states in his letter, then perhaps that grassroots movement from within the ranks must begin. In the meantime, my husband, a clinical psychologist in private practice who has returning soldiers and their families as clients, has opened a Deployment Recovery Counseling Center–to help the soldiers deal with the emotional wounds they bring back with them. We are a warring society. Wars have been part of “civilization” since the days of the Old Testament. That doesn’t make it easier any for a wife or a mother whose loved one comes home in a body bag.
To which Peter replied
Dear Pamela, Your note gives me great hope. And I agree with you that the work against this war comes on many fronts: a civilian peace movement, whatever efforts our elected officials make, an informed media, and — so important — those soliders who say no to the war. Those serving, such as your sons, are in a unique position to know in detail exactly what is wrong with our nation’s policies. If they say no to war then perhaps we can begin to move into a direction other than one of a warring society. Meanwhile, the work your husband is doing is, of course, crucial. With a million military men and women cycling through the Iraq War theater, your husband’s practice is, unfortunately, a growth industry. No one is coming out of the Iraq war whole, that million from the military and the rest of us back here on the home front are forever damaged, and we need treatment. Here’s to the nation waking up and supporting your sons and the rest of the troops by bringing them home now. Best, Peter
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