Monday, November 17, 2008

Fifteen-month deployments

Many of the Soldiers I interact with have been deployed before. For a significant number of them, (like SFC McG, for example) this is their third deployment to Iraq. For some, it's their fourth deployment. I'm not able to count the number of Soldiers who've told me that they've spent three -- or more! -- of the past five years away from their families.

Most of the people I come in contact with where I work have been here almost a year now. They aren't scheduled to return home until next year sometime. This means that they'll have spent TWO holiday seasons in a row away from their home and hearth.

It would seem to me that, in an asymmetric war (as they're calling this; in other words, a war without "front lines" and clearly-identified enemies wearing easily-distinguishable uniforms) such as this, fifteen months probably seems much more than just 25% longer than a year.

I hope psychiatrists and psychologists and sociologists are collecting data concerning fifteen-month deployments, because it seems pretty clear to me that whoever came up with that idea had never been deployed for fifteen months in a counterinsurgency....

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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