<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: Military wives are worn out

Monday, March 13, 2006

Military wives are worn out

An editorial in today's NY Times says that wives of soldiers serving in Iraq are exhausted - not only from running households, caring for children, and holding down jobs, but from serving as volunteers assisting other soldiers' families.

Why do they serve as volunteers, if they're already overburdened with their own responsibilities? Because it's expected - by the Department of Defense.

The DoD knows that military recruitment and retention levels are directly linked to spouses, who are often the deciding factor in whether a soldier re-enlists. If families are cared for and content, soldiers are more likely to focus on their mission and to continue serving.

Also, these women's volunteer work saves the Army alone an estimated $11 million a year.

So these women not only have to endure the loss of their husbands' company for months or years at a time (or sometimes forever), they're also expected to serve as consultants, accountants, social workers, publicists, counselors, fundraisers, program managers, administrative assistants, advisers, class instructors, and event coordinators - for free.

Tanya Biank, author of "Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives," says that the needs of military families change with each new deployment because each assignment is different, and families may not have enough time to recover from one deployment to the next. "It's not just soldiers who are worn down by repeated deployments," she says. "Spouses and children are affected too. If we are committed to our troops, then we need to make more of a commitment to their families."

The operative word here is "if." Are we committed to the troops and their families? Or do we just think we're committed to them because we have yellow ribbons on our SUVs and pickups?



Blogger The Rambling Taoist said...

The best way I know of to be committed to soldiers and their families is to quit creating needless wars. If there are no wars, then more soldiers get to stay at home to be spouses, fathers and mothers. If there are no wars, then soldiers get to come home at night to be with their families instead of coming home in body bags to be mourned by their families.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Editor at Large said...


Exactly. The commitment begins with an end to needless wars - which ultimately means ALL wars.

Thanks for illuminating the space between the lines.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest war we fight is our own internal war. When every individual consciousness is flooded with the light of awareness, all war will end. The U.S. making a policy of military use only at home would change things also. As long as we spend billions to uphold the industrial/military complex, we will feel we need to use what we have built. That complex has taken on a life of its own and it doesn't want to die. It is a hungry $$$ monster. Americans need to insist that their military only be used for domestic protection purposes and not as corporate, world police.


3:18 PM  

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