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War Wife Weekly Wrap Up: Leaps Of Faith

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Earlier this week, there was a story run on the web about how private donors have furnished enough school supplies, clothing, pots and pans for the people in Asadabad, in Afghanistan's province of Kunar. More than 500 women, ophans and disabled descended on the Governor of Kunar's compound to receive needed items.

I can attest that this just isn't smoke. The Hubs and the team have been personal recipients of numerous boxes of items from friends of my MilSpouse Blog, The Kitchen Dispatch, who have sent over clothes, flip flops, toys and school supplies for the locals who come through his clinic each day. Each effort made to establish a relationship takes a leap of faith. But I think it's necessary for our own long term safety, and moves like this are precisely what we need to be doing. We need to live amongst the population as COIN intended. And on an equal side, we need stories like this reported in the mainstream news.

Sadly, they are not. Everyone knows that if you want to stay updated you read the MilBlogs. Why? Because The media just Afghan National Soldier Hands Out Supplies To Townspeople of Asadabadisn't willing to see the big picture, and with the downsizing of the newspaper industry altogether, boots-on-the-ground reportage has easily taken up the slack.

Also unable to take a leap of faith are our politicians, who are unable to see the bigger picture.  We are stalled, despite the fact that McChrystal had his report in on time over 3 weeks ago. And what makes this  so dangerous is that with each political stall, with each grandstanding by Pelosi, and each signal from Gates that Obama isn't ready to make a decision …the insurgents use it as a sign of indecision and poor leadership. Though Obama has a flair for self promotion, he's hasn't shown an ability to throw a left hook when we need it.

So these stories are needed, especially at a time when people are more apt to see failure than the small strides being made. However, this isn't to say that those of us with loved ones over there, or have loved ones at home who are having problems, don't understand the complexities and the dangers. This isn't to say we also don't understand the politics at play.  Accept this now: we know far more than we are able to put on our blogs, tell friends, or even tell our children.

War is a shitbox. There's no other way to describe what it does to people. It never makes any sense to me, and yet, war is a story through the ages. Did the wives during the days of Alexander wait for that moment their husbands might walk down the lane? I'm sure they did. It's a pathetic comment about humankind's learning curve that a modern day Army wife has a bind to soldier's wives from ancient times. And yet, I'm glad we took the leap into this new life because I am constantly astonished. Because if one group has consistently taken leaps of faith, it's the men and women in the world's armed forces.

Each day, I come across old military stereotypes that crumble. Take for instance, one soldier who finally sought help for many years of suffering with PTSD. His unleashing a torrent emotions on a blog was the first step to unloosening not one, but several blocks. It was painful to read, but I knew it tougher for him to go through, to live with, and finally to get it onto the page. And so by writing about it, I recognized that he had taken a very significant life step. Getting help took a leap of faith.

Free Range Int'lPlease go take a look at BabaTim's suggestions on What To Do Next (in Afghanistan), Part 2.

Talk about a leap of faith. Lynch's decision to make a life in Afghanistan has taken just that. He thought he could –as a former Marine, an independent contractor and entrepreneur make it a better place. Having employed over 6,000 local Afghans in cash for work infrastructure projects. A Canadian company has employed over 5000 locals working in Kandahar.

We get results because we live and work in the community and operate in close coordination with the municipal authorities who we see almost daily.  Plus we control the cash which allows us to use my favorite saying “No – you have time; I have a watch."

Tim also supports the Fab Lab Project, which wired Jalalabad with wi-fi ("FabFi") Lynch's leap of faith is working wonders in places like Jalalabad and Gardez. 

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About Kanani

  • You mention that conditions for soldiers and their families have been much the same since the time of Alexander, but actually if you look at the history, in many periods armies which would be in the field for a very long time often let families accompany the soldiers, which had both problems and benefits. I’ve always wondered if on these long-term deployments where parts of the country are controlled or there are nearby safe areas it wouldn’t be better to send families with our soldiers the way we do with our diplomats. What would it do for moral if there were a safe-zone near or in Kabul which housed military families?


  • What I meant is that both have the same sense of wondering. For the most part not all families acompanied their soldiers.

    However, it’s an interesting idea. I know of more than one milspouse, who if the US had played their strategy differently, would have jumped at the chance of going to offer substantive services.

    As it is, the implementation of COIN has pretty much been ignored. And the stalling of Obama seems pretty much wrapped up in a huge effort to appease rather than to exercise some decisiveness.

  • Clavos

    My wife is an Army brat. When she was a child, her family traveled with her Dad to most of his assignments, except for Korea, which was during the war. Her brother was actually born in Berlin.

    But to my knowledge, the US has never deployed families to combat zones.

  • Clavos

    Oops! Accidentally hit the “post” button instead of “preview.”

    Meant to conclude my above comment with,

    Maybe it’s time such deployments, on a voluntary basis, be considered. There appears to be much to gain from the idea.

  • So let me get this straight …do you think Nancy Pelosi would be willing to send the wives in instead of more soldiers?

    Because if this is what’s being extrapolated from this article, then quite frankly, had they sent in the Housewives of Atlanta, New York and New Jersey, Osama might’ve outed and offed, the whole thing would be over, and for sure ….there’d be a mall plus wigs.

  • *raising hand* Also an Army brat, and briefly an Army wife. Also against war for the most part, but see it as a part of the human condition.

    That being said, I think the network of wives (or milspouses) is much greater now than it’s ever been, and that’s a good thing. My mother was basically adrift every time my father had orders, struggling with six kids and no relatives nearby.

    Thank you for your perspective, because it’s one that is needed.

  • Thanks Joanne. The network is incredible, and if it weren’t for the internet it’d be so much more of a struggle than it is.

    I do think that for the most part military bloggers remain unknown to the general public. That’s why I’m happy to post here –I started first writing book reviews and fashion reviews for BC, and when I became a milspouse just added this too.

    I’ll continue to submit “Kitchen Dispatches,” hoping to bring down the wall between those who serve and those who don’t.

    And for all other Military Brats out there –thank you for serving all those years when you were young.