I AM SPEECHLESS With Anger
Actually, I am not speechless. I should be after dredging through the sludge of American news media. Time to meet someone: The charming, sweet, young woman who was blown up in Iraq the other day. She isn't nameless. She was a real person.
From the Marine Corp's own web site:
For Marines and Sailors here, there may be nothing sweeter than the sound of mail call. One Marine with Headquarters Battalion makes it her mission to deliver those delightful words.She was the mailroom worker who was pressed into service literally on the front lines as our grip on the country slips more and more. Now we have our soldiers spending all day searching Iraqis like....I remember pictures of the Germans searching everyone all the time all over Europe. This is what happens when one tries to hold a country that one has no right to invade.
Lance Cpl. Holly Charette, a 21-year-old from Cranston, R.I. recently deployed here from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. She is one of the thousands of 2d Marine Division Marines serving in the Al Anbar Province as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Charette's job allows her to meet many of the people in Headquarters Battalion, where she works. Her part in the Global War on Terrorism is something different than most Marines. And that's not all that sets her apart from her fellow service members.
"I never really thought too hard about being a mail person, but it's really an important job and people depend on me," said Charette. "There are a lot of stresses involved, but it's really worth it at the end of the day."
As Marines and Sailors stop by her building to ask if they have any mail, she usually stops them before they even open their mouths. That's because she knows everyone's name. They know her too. She can be seen carrying the yellow, military mailbag slung over her shoulder as she walks down the gritty streets of the camp. Most everything in the area is covered in a sandy dust that kicks up as the trucks lull by at five miles-per-hour.
Last week, Charette and her colleagues sorted through 60 bags of mail, each weighing 70 pounds. That's hundreds of parcels and letters with names she mostly knows personally.
On a good day, the 2001 Cranston High School East graduate may even stop one of the Marines in the mess hall and let them know there's mail waiting for them. Otherwise, she can usually be seen driving around the camp in her High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle, dropping off mail in her full battle dress -- flak jacket, Kevlar helmet and M-16 A4 service rifle.
Where she grew up she always admired people in uniform. She had hoped to be a postal worker but never a Marine, until a few years ago.
"I was attending college and a recruiter was canvassing. He showed me a video from boot camp and I though, 'Hey, I can do that.'"
Charette has about one year left on her contract and plans to make the most of her time. She feels that some of the valuable life lessons she's learned have given her an advantage over her peers, even the ones who chose to attend universities.
"When I get out, I plan to applying to the U.S. Post Office," said Charette. "It won't be the same as being a Marine, but at least I'm still in uniform."
This wonderful, cheerful, obviously sensitive and kind woman is dead. She was blown up. The same day, Bush was laughing and ribbing everyone as he joshed around with the figurehead Iraqi "elected" minister. Bush could hardly contain his merriment, eyes twinkling as he grinned at everyone. Such a clever boy!
One more family has an empty chair at the table next Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, back at home: From the Mercury News:
mericans overwhelmingly do not want to see the return of the military draft, and a majority also would not encourage their own children to enlist, an AP-Ipsos poll has found.My goodness. "You volunteered so now die," attitude certainly sounds supportive, doesn't it? Many Americans don't want to see the truth and don't want to see the faces of the dead. I looked all over the place for the face of Charette. She was no where to be seen. No where. I think I am breaking the news of what this delightful young woman looked like! It didn't take me more than ten minutes, too.
About a quarter favored reinstating the draft, with men, older Americans and Republicans most likely to say conscription is a good idea.
The survey highlights the problems faced by the military as recruiting is in a slump.
``Things have been working well with the all-volunteer army and that's how it should stay,'' said Kathy Fowler, a 44-year-old mother from Chillicothe, Ohio.
All four branches of military service, however, are having trouble attracting recruits to their reserve forces. The Army has repeatedly missed its monthly recruiting goals this year, falling short by 42 percent in April.
Despite the recruiting problems, seven in 10 Americans say they oppose reinstatement of the draft, and almost half of those polled strongly oppose that step, the poll found.
From the Washington Post:
The kids playing soldier are "resume building" not preparing for war. This is why we lost the war. We have no idea of what we are doing, nor do we have any desire to do anything, anyway.
Just as military recruiting is down across the country, the excitement for a career in the services is waning even among JROTC cadets. The number of students participating in JROTC programs across the country has soared by more than 80 percent, from nearly 270,000 in 1994 to more than 501,000 in 2004, according to the Defense Department. But a recent study of Army JROTC students, which military officials consider to be true for all services, shows that about 30 percent of JROTC cadets say they intend to join the military.
"I just thought the uniforms were nice and JROTC would look better on my [college] application," said Minh Tran, 14, who will be a sophomore at Fairfax County's Thomas Edison High School in the fall. "But it's really fun. You get to shoot at the end of the year and learn survival [techniques] and first aid. One kid in my French class asked me, 'When are they sending you to Iraq?,' and I just kind of laughed it off. I want to go into the pharmaceutical business. I don't like blood. I'm more of a book kind of person."
And Iraq is a roaring mess now getting worse by the hour. How many more Charettes must die before we finally throw in the towel?