Sleep Deprivation and the War

This’ll be a short one. I’m writing from Denver. It’s 1:00 AM Eastern time and I’m about to board a plane for Atlanta that will get me there at 5:00 a.m. It’s been a long day and it’s going to be much longer.

Airplanes are a great place to collect people. I met an interesting one on the flight out. She’s about twenty-four, I’d suspect. She kept to herself, as is customary on airplane flights. With nothing to read, she napped and looked out the window. I’d smiled at her earlier . . . remarked at how cool it was that the snack bags inflated at high altitude and wondered if they’d explode when we hit 40000 feet.

She asked where I was from and what I was doing. “Georgia,” I replied. “going to Salt Lake City for a meeting.”

Her family lives outside of Atlanta. She had been home for a visit and was returning to California, where she had been stationed. Marine Corps. Out 10 months after a tour in Iraq. She didn’t want to go back there.

“Things are bad there. I was stationed in Tikrit. It’s a civil war. I don’t know what we’re doing over there. Morale is bad. I don’t know how much longer we can stay.”

We talked about Vietnam, the war I missed; and how we’re not too good at learning from history. We talked about how tough it is to get the straight story on anything.

I asked her what would happen if we left. She didn’t know, but her answer was interesting.

“Halliburton would still make money,” she said. “We pay to build things and the Iraqis blow them up. Then we build them all over again.”

A tough girl. No nonsense. Returning to California to take a job in a sheriff’s department in a county east of San Francisco. “We’ll get another President who’ll pull us out,” she said in parting. “Then it’ll start all over again.”

Food for thought for the sleep-deprived mind.


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