So much lost - so little gained - time after time after time -
While planning out a strike one day, a boy ‘round nine years old walked into our conference room and looked me in the eye,
And said, “I hope you don’t have kids, but, if you do, they’re little - still too young to realize that - if in fact you die
Fighting in our country, they’ll grow up without a father...unless, of course, their mom finds someone new to take your place!”
Traces of the fact that he’d been crying - and his comment - together with the lost and desperate look upon his face,
Made it more than obvious his father had been killed, either as a soldier or a casualty of war,
And, at that moment, I was wond’ring - could there likely be anyone on earth he could have possibly hated more.
Completely thrown off balance by his candid observation, I responded, “No, I don’t... but...based on what you said...
I assume your dad’s been killed!” “Yes, he has,” he whimpered, “and after weeks and weeks of air-strikes - all my fam’ly’s dead!
“They took my mother hostage so we’d have to join the fight, but, after being given guns, Amir, and I escaped.
Rogue insurgents burned our home - stole what cash we had - and both my mom and older sister, Farahnoush, were raped!
“That’s precisely why we’re here,” I countered his complaint, “why we’re spending billions and are risking countless lives,
Meaning to destroy them, son - and set your people free. To guarantee the future for each Afghan that survives
“Will be both safe and conflict-free - like all the world desires...filled with freedoms only known by cultures steeped in “rights”,
Rights that must be recognized and are indeed worth deaths, and, when denied, in almost every case, will lead to fights.
“Fights like this one. Major conflicts. Wars where occupation alters every aspect and where many lives are lost.
At your age I know it’s hard to comprehend the concept of deeming as “acceptable” what you see as - ‘the cost’
“Of paying for a life of freedom --- but,” I filled him in, “keep in mind what - just before this war began - you had.
Take it from a General, son...you’re far too young to know that - when it comes to what we're doing - one day you’ll be ,b>glad!,”
“But someday you’ll be leaving,” he replied, “and some are saying, once again, the ones that seem defeated will return!
Looks to me like - knowing that a ‘war’ is often fruitless - is something that a lot of men like you have yet to learn!”
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Copyright © Mark Stellinga | Year Posted 2021