Tuesday, August 16, 2005

“Nothing can ever be the same”.

I remember those words. I was working in R&D, but had been sold up the river for 90 days to the QC department. They had hired someone to a high level position and she was in over her head, so I was asked to pitch in until she got up to speed. I hated the day to day sameness of QC, but there was a radio and internet access everywhere, things we lacked in the R&D lab.

I got to work late that day, mostly due to my apathy at working in QC, so I heard the news in the parking lot: An airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I shrugged it off, figuring some bonehead had accidentally flown his Cessna into one of the towers. Soon after, the horrible facts came to light and I ran for the R&D lab to fill everyone in. News like that makes its way even into the R&D lab-they already knew. That's when my boss made the pronouncement: “Nothing can ever be the same”.

I was thinking about that yesterday for some reason. Thinking about a guy I know who was in the Army for something like 13 years, then bagged out for whatever reason. He was an Infantry officer, airborne and Ranger qualified, but I don't think he ever spent time in TO&E Airborne unit. Be that as it may, after being out of the Army for quite a few years he got a bug up his whazoo and joined a newly formed Reserve Civil Affairs battalion. The battalion is tasked to support the 18th Airborne Corps, and he signed up mostly so that he could jump again. That was in August of 2001.

He spent six months or so training full-time, then was off to Afghanistan. He came back, with another deployment looming, and ditched his lucrative civilian career in commercial sales to sign back up for the regular Army. For him, and countless others who have followed that same route, nothing can ever be the same.

Then after contemplating that, I read Dadmanly's blog. In profiling his battalion CSM, Dadmanly also writes of his unit's transition from a peacetime National Guard unit to a deployed active duty unit. It's a profound transition, and nothing can ever be the same.

Although I supported the invasion of Afghanistan fully, I wasn't real certain that we needed to enter Iraq as well. Given what has transpired there, I now support it fully. The media have apparently consigned the issue of the children's prison to the memory hole, but it was real. The pogroms were real, the torture was real. The WMD research, hidden away from us while the UN postured, was real. The links to Al Quaida were real as well. A place like that can't be allowed to stay the same.

Now that we're there, we have to stay there until the place stabilizes. To simply pull up stakes at this point would be to allow Iraq to become a lawless wasteland.

Nothing can ever be the same.


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