15 February 2007


This post contributed by Brian Russell, an Aerospace Soldier in Afghanistan.

Why? Why is it that some lose hope and take drastic actions to end their lives?

I can never understand how we can get so down in despair to lose hope. It is difficult to comprehend. I know that depression has a chemical component and can be treated with chemicals, however, it is often the emotional scars that can be the hardest and slowest to heal.

The tragic loss of our brother Soldier was self-inflicted. I talked with a Soldier who was planning the memorial to be held for him and he said that the circumstances are just so confusing. He knows the young man and said he exhibited none of the “signs” we are told to look for... he just gave up.

I watched “Flag of Our Fathers” tonight and it caused us to think... how will history look upon our actions here in Afghanistan? Will they call us heroes or wasted souls cast into the fray by a heartless or soulless government? We do feel forgotten... this is our Korea.

I know that many remember us, I get letters and packages from so many caring people.

But we watch the news and the lead story is some bimbo model who took her life (that is what we think the result in the end will be). She had money and is famous, the tragic loss of one child and disputed fathership of another because of the life style she chose to live.

Are we to feel sorry for her? How does her death compare to this young man here in Afghanistan? His name will be forgotten by the country he served and world he sought to better... hers will become a movie of the week. Just the way it is I suppose…

No famous flag raising here. No Mount Sarabachis. Just the daily reality that our work goes on. How silently the days pass. No monuments or Pulitzer photographs, just the horrors of war and the reality that this place can become a personal hell. We build walls inside our minds and hearts and tell ourselves that we are brave and that what we see doesn’t bother us. We are liars.

One day you see the good and then the next you see the bad. We rec’d a video clip made by the Taliban and its images are haunting me. The message to the Afghans working with the coalition here is that if you continue to rebuild the nation with U.S. help you will be punished.

On one hand I want to delete it, on the other hand I feel I should keep it to show the horror and hate some in our world cling to like a badge of honor. I cannot describe the images here, too horrific, but it has marked me, changed me, even if in small way. I wished I had never seen it.

I am so thankful that my hope is not in false images or lies. I am so thankful that I have hope in a tomorrow that will be another day with air in my lungs and the love of my family in my heart. I struggle to write these days. Just seems like our world is just so confusing. I need to see the face of God... oh the innocence of a child.

It saddens me to think that so many are lost by false teaching and hate mongering.

In Afghanistan the message heard is still one of hate and like seems to happen all too often - the minority voices seem to rise above the majority who remains silent.

Here it is out of fear. That is the reality of life in Afghanistan. In my country it is because of other reasons I just can’t fathom.

There are so many good things happening here and so many good people as well. The children are genuine and hopeful, until their heads are filled with hate. Like in my country where prejudice and its associated ignorance are the inheritance of Americans till today.

I’m tired... maybe I should take up drawing or needle point?

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