Rhode Island at War

The War in Iraq is pretty far from Newport, Rhode Island. It is an abstract debate on Sunday morning “Meet the Press”; the empty parking lot at the Rhode Island National Guard depot; a little more security at the local Navy Base; a rare in state funeral for a fallen soldier – but truly – Rhode Island is hardly on a war footing. Sure we voted against anything Republican earlier this month to send the President a message that we were not happy with the way things were going – but really it is pretty distant.

Today I was in a store looking for some token Christmas presents. It seems ridiculous to be Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving – but I have to send some stuff abroad. A small child was exploring the lower shelf of the aisle. Aged two – maybe three. He could hardly maneuver from underneath the large Desert camouflage Tactical “Boonie” hat he was wearing.

I met him again at the checkout in his mother’s arms.

“Cool Hat” I commented. He smiled.

“It’s his Dad’s” offered his Mum.

“Dad’s home right now?” I asked.

“No” his Mum said “He’s in Falluja……………I hope.”

“Good Luck” was all I could say. Mum smiled and said “Thanks”.

As I turned away I felt a wave of incredible anger at those who have put that mother in that situation of hoping for the best. I am quite sure in this volunteer army – Dad is serving loyally at a profession he has chosen. But the situation that father, and all the other serving parents have been put in by a leadership that declared a war on the flimsiest of excuses is unconscionable.

I hope that Dad makes it home, I wish all the parents serving in Iraq make it. The sad thing is – before this war and holiday season is over – I am afraid we can assume – if the present situation is anything to go by – some parents will not make it home.