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July 14, 2005

Sometimes Even Good Men Go Away

As PFC Eric Woods drove through the absolute blackness of the desert in his Humvee his thoughts drifted back to another time, half a world away in Omaha Nebraska...

He slides out of the driveway,
points his headlights toward the highway
still tryin’ hard not to make that sound.

It was so hard to leave Jamie and little Eric... so hard. Would they be all right without him? Was he doing the right thing? Jamie had looked so pretty, standing there, bravely struggling to hold back the tears as she kissed him goodbye at the front door.

Got two in bed and one at the door,
pretty soon there’ll be one more.
They’re all cryin’, askin’ him to stay.

The Humvee barreled on through the night. He'd gotten a letter from her just yesterday. Little Eric was 3 now. He was changing so fast - would he even recognize his Daddy when he got home? Maybe the pictures he sent would help... and the phone calls... That's all you could do. Jamie was a good Mom - she'd help him to understand. Eric just hoped she understood why he'd had to go.

God, he missed her so.

“Oh, no, my pretty ones.
There’s a need for men and guns,
and it ain’t enough to sit and pray.
Sometimes even good men go away.”

As the driver slowed the vehicle, PFC Woods saw the bodies lying by the side of the road. He grabbed his gun and Medkit and leapt over the side of the vehicle before it had even stopped rolling.

Yeah, Daddy’s gone a soldier,
got an Eagle on his shoulder,
flag on his arm and he’s gonna make ‘em pay.

Sweeping the area with his eyes, he thought, "This is why I'm here. This is what makes it all worthwhile - helping people. I just hope some of these guys are still alive."

Back home they’re scared of fightin’
sayin’ “You don’t have to die, son”.
The kids say “Daddy, are you comin’ home today?”

The first two were beyond hope, bled out, torn bodies lying in a hopeless tangle. "Bastards", he thought. Funny how you never get used to seeing people die.

He says “Oh, no, my pretty ones.
There’s a need for men and guns,
there’s just too much at stake.
There’s some things in life you gotta face.”

It wasn't until he got to the third Guardsman, who was still breathing, and started to go to work that he saw the wires...

And then everything went black.

Well there’s a letter in a locker,
when she gets it, it’ll drop her.
It’s sittin’ underneath some baby boots she made.

Just after dawn the doorbell rang in a little house in Omaha, Nebraska:

...the nightmare became real, she realized that she had grown into the role of Army spouse. Two soldiers knocked at her door in Omaha and told her the news that every military family dreads - her husband had been killed by an improvised explosive device early Saturday while trying to save another soldier near Tal Afar, Iraq.

Jamie closed the door and went inside to wake her 3 year old son.

It says “Oh, no, my pretty ones,
I guess this means my time is done.
Like gypsies who never stay,
Daddies only come to go away.”

Oh yes, Sometimes Even Good Men Go Away...

Back home, highly nuanced men argue over why we went to war, who should have done what, who knew what when, or whether decisions were made when they should have been. They dither over whether Saddam financed, harbored, and trained enough terrorists before the war to justify military intervention.

Our own media hasten to cry defeat:

Iraq's Rush To Failure (New York Times)...J Alexander Thier ...Despite President Bush's no-retreat-no-surrender rhetoric, the military and political truth about Iraq is growing clear: the American military will not defeat this insurgency. The rebels can be defeated only by political reconciliation among Iraqi leaders, and the constitutional process is the essential step.

Data Shows Faster-Rising Death Toll Among Iraqi Civilians (New York Times)...Sabrina Tavernise
Iraqi civilians and police officers died at a rate of more than 800 a month between August and May, according to figures released in June by the Interior Ministry. In response to questions from The New York Times, the ministry said that 8,175 Iraqis were killed by insurgents in the 10 months that ended May 31

The White House spin cycle (MSNBC ...David Shuster)
I don't know if things are getting better or worse in Iraq. But I do know, from a close friend who works at the White House, that the Bush administration is now panicked over the erosion of public support for the occupation.

Afghans, not the U.S., deposed the Taliban (LA Times -Letters)
In the July 11 editorial, "Still a land of danger," you write: "In the months after 9/11, U.S. troops quickly ousted Afghanistan's Taliban rulers." But U.S. troops did no such thing. Before the fall of Kabul to the Afghan Northern Alliance in November 2001, there were no U.S. regular combat formations in Afghanistan.

Yes, sometimes even good men go away. And sometimes they come home again:

Capt. Jeremy Fresques, 26, Florida
Maj. William Downs, 40, of Winchester, Va.
Capt. Derek Argel, 28, of Lompoc, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Casey Crate, 26, of Spanaway, Wash
Pfc. Eric Paul Woods, 26, Omaha, Nebraska

It has been argued that military men are mindless automatons, because for them these matters don't seem so complex. They see all these things too. They ask questions. But when their country needs them, they understand there is a job to be done. And they put their heads down, and they do their duty.

Some things are not so complicated, after all.

Thanks to Greyhawk for the lyrics and song link. This is an imagined account of PFC Woods' last moments. I have no knowledge of what transpired that night.

God rest his soul.

God bless all of these good men.

Posted by Cassandra at July 14, 2005 08:45 AM

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I listened to that song when Hawk posted it. One of the few times I've been home this week. The way the guy sings it just rips your guts out. Then I read the moonbat attacks at places like young Nick's ( http://twentyfirstcenturyrepublican.blogspot.com/ a Marine looking for a billet in the warzone) and it just angers me to no end.

Why is it that politics has to enter into war? I just don't get that. It's one thing to attack an admin on it's other policies and stand united against an enemy that wants to destroy the very fabric of our society and it's another proposition entirely to denegrate the sacrifice of our Honorable to regain "power" in politics. This causes a reaction in me comparable to a stomach flu. I try to ignore it. To stay away from the news. Insulate myself from the asshattery. It always ends the same, I come out swinging. To no avail but my own peace of mind. Not only is it sickening that our own Countrymen can behave this way but it is just simply not right! Something they will never understand. Or just simply refuse to admit!

Oh well, we'll be headed over to CL in the morning. We'll get wasted and pass out in the sand at Atlantic Beach. Wake up, pat Da Grunt on the butt, and tell him, "Go get 'em tiger". Much as we did when he would take the field in high school or when little after getting knocked down hard on a foul in soccer. Except there is no second place in the game he is a participant of. Something the moonbats will never understand because they do not have the moral courage to stand for even the most basic of patriotic causes. There is literally NOTHING they feel is worth dying for. And this always begins the cycle of reaction for me; sadness, withdrawal, awareness, and then an anger that burns from the soul! I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire and Heaven help the ones that run across me personally! I have no regulations forcing me to restraint. Frankly my Dear, I DO give a damn and have had about enough!

Here endth the rant. For now. If you're in the CL area look us up. I'll buy the first round. Of course you may have to pick me up from the ditch outside the hotel on Marine Blvd but I'll be good to go shortly thereafter! ;-)

Posted by: JarheadDad at July 14, 2005 11:25 AM

JHD, it was your boy (yes I know he's not a boy, but they're all boys to me) I had in mind when I wrote this. I kept seeing his face when I played that song.

I tried to go to your site and snag his photo, but it was down for maintenance. I was so short on sleep I never went back. I will, sometime. He is one fine-looking young man. I wanted it to go with a post I was working on.

And now I'm getting too emotional so I'd better stop. Wish I could be down there this weekend. But I'll raise a glass to you, and him.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 14, 2005 03:57 PM

JHD, the reason why it gets political is because the moonbats aren't running the show.

They did give us Kosovo, you know.

And Cass, I will keep vigil this weekend for a family who will only feel anguish.

And pray her to have peace, and to teach their son about the duty his father had and carried out.

I have about seven different hymns running in my head and can only say that I am tearing up.

Posted by: Cricket at July 14, 2005 04:06 PM

Thanx Cass and Cricket. I find myself falling back on my favorite sites for the support. Funny how some places become friends while others don't!

Cass? Did you get the pic I sent of Da Grunt, Dink, and Tinkerbell? The one with Tinkerbell all dressed up in her 4th of July Red, White, and Blue outfit (that Granny bought for the occasion btw - can I get a loan?)? I'm going to put that one on the site as soon as he leaves. I don't think I can take him anymore and he'd bust me if he saw it before he left so I'll wait. That's the thing about gettin' old, us old farts have the patience of saints! Plus treachery! heh!

When I showed him that series of photos from the 4th cookout he said about that one in particular, "This is why I fight!". Heh! I think he titled it without knowing it huh? ;-)

I sent that song out to a bunch of friends and all the reviews are positive. Even though he was a Doggie, I also highly recommend Keni Thomas' CD. I now own three of those but they keep disappearing out of the KW so I'm guessing the 17 yr old female contingent must find it pretty good also! :-o

Wait 'til you hear this young Marine from 2/2 Golf. He was invited on stage at Pendleton during the Dierks Bentley concert and sang a song to his Dad. Tore the place up! The boy can really sing. When they get back I'll see if he is going to do a demo and send it on.

Posted by: JarheadDad at July 14, 2005 04:36 PM

It's on my desktop :) It makes me smile every time I look at it. You have a beautiful family - and you're not so bad-looking yourself :) But I already knew that.

*running away*

Posted by: Cassandra at July 14, 2005 04:41 PM

Aw geez, make me blush why don't you? And I haven't done that in years! :-o

It was the blinding light of the sun reflecting from all the gray hair that blinded you! Yeah, that's it! ;-)

Tinkerbell is something now! I had her for awhile today while her Mom ran some errands. She thinks her Pampa is funny from the way she laughs at me all the time. Must not hold to your assessment of my looks! he-he! I got her a little bitty soccer ball for her crib while I was on the road this week. Woo-Hoo! Get to train another one! :-)

Posted by: JarheadDad at July 14, 2005 04:47 PM


Don't let him fool you ladies. He's a hottie.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 14, 2005 05:24 PM

Damn you to the uttermost depths of hell, woman.

Tough Guys® aren't supposed to cry at work.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 15, 2005 03:23 PM

Cass.... that's one of the most beautiful tribute posts I've ever read. Man, oh man.... that one came from the soul. Thoughts and prayers go out to them all- the deceased, their family and friends, and fellow Soldiers.

It never gets easier, you know? And, honestly, I hope it never does. Because when it does get easier... that means I've become too accustomed to our guys dying over there- a point I never want to reach.

Posted by: AFSister [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 15, 2005 04:21 PM

That song was actually written and performed by a former Airborne soldier, who maintains a weblog over at http://www.goldfalcon.org. If you like that song he has some more of his work up.

Posted by: Andrew [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2005 12:07 AM

Wow, that story makes my little song seem insignificant by comparison. Thanks so much for reprinting it here. I'm glad that the song speaks to people, and I hope my admiration and respect for the men currently in uniform shines through.

Posted by: GoldFalcon [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2005 05:23 PM

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