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February 10, 2010

To everyone who has sent me that Salon essay, thanks. I can't write about it tonight. It cuts a bit too close to home for me.

And anyway, John did a magnificent job.

Will try tomorrow.

Update: I am going to take a few whacks at this but it will not be until this afternoon. Need to finish what I'm working on, but I can do it during my "lunch" hour.

Posted by Cassandra at February 10, 2010 07:56 PM

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I thought it might. I did hesitate to post it to you, but I couldn't think of anyone who could critique it better.

Posted by: RonF at February 10, 2010 11:59 PM

Courtney Cook is and comes across as a glib, callous, callow, selfish bitch, who deserves most of the opprobrium she receives from the letter-writers.

The following comment (not meant by me to excuse the bitch's stupid, egotistical worthlessness), however, points to something that perhaps ought not be overlooked when considering the dynamic of military marriages (of which I know virtually nothing):

Many years ago, my DH was in the military, and planned to make it a career. I loved the life and the financial security. But the time came when my military man realized his children were growing up, and he was always gone. So, he stepped away and relinquished his commission. Bebe36

Military life is not for everyone. I would never question that the husband in this sad story made more sacrifices that I can imagine. But he also sacrificed being a hands-on father to his kids so that he could live the military life, which certainly has its thrills, exhilaration and rewards (judging from the glowing remarks many of your readers make about their own experiences in it). It is admirable that our military men and woman are willing to put good-of-country ahead of personal comfort. But aren't they defending, at least in part, the kind of life that enables men and women to be hands-on fathers and mothers?

We could digress into a discussion of the wisdom and righteousness of American entering into Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11, but that is best left for another day and another place,and I won't go down that road now.

But I hope that the readers here have not lost sight of the fact and can still appreciate that just as much as the military life is the good life for them, full of honor, duty, sacrifice and danger, there is honor duty, sacrifice and sometimes danger in staying stateside and being a hands-on father too.

At the risk of sounding ... well mushy, I am reminded of a line from a Joni Mitchell song from a number of years ago, that I think can be applied to both sides of the equation which is the subject of the Salon article: "there's something lost and something gained in living every day". We each make choices, and there are consequences, some good, some terrible, some wonderful, some not so good. That is what freedom is - the freedom to choose and the responsibility to accept the consequences.

Posted by: I Call BS at February 11, 2010 12:39 AM

You need not feel obligated to speak to it. No one has a right to demand it of you; and we will understand if this is not the right time.

Doubt, anger, and fear are our lot. Faith, hope and love carry us, if we choose them.

If we do not, others bear the burden we laid aside.

Posted by: Grim at February 11, 2010 12:59 AM

I Call BS,
I will say that many service members who do stay married and raise a family do so because of Duty, Honor, Loyalty are part of the mix of love that goes into the relationship in the first place.

We call that 'fidelity.'

Posted by: Cricket at February 11, 2010 04:41 AM

Let me explain something here. When my wife and I met, I was in the Army. When we wed, I was in the Army. I am no longer, but she made the decision to marry me, even though I was in the Army, and she went in with open eyes. But even so, the full weight of that never hit home until we were watching Independence Day in the theater. One scene in particular really bothered her, and that was when Will Smith's character had to leave his fiance to go to base. My wife suddenly realized that in the event of an serious emergency, I'd have to go to base and leave her at home. That bothered her.

Now, ICBS decides that leaving the wife (and kids) to go to the base/war is abandoning them. I say what I told my wife that day. If I am at home, I can do only a poor job defending her. I am neither armed nor equipped to do much good protecting her at home. But if I go join my unit, I am equipped, I am armed, I am trained and I am most able to keep her safe.

Call it abandonment out of ignorance, fine. But at it's core, it's not something done lightly, but ultimately, it's the single best way we can keep our families safe. But by all means, denigrate those who protect your safety with their very lives when you can't be bothered to lift a finger in your own defense.

Posted by: MikeD at February 11, 2010 09:17 AM

Mike, I have no problem with your comment but it - and many others like it - are why I am hesitating to write about this.

I had a lot of issues with some of the things she wrote in that essay. I think it goes without saying (or it should) that I wouldn't have handled things the same way she has.

At the same time I think ICBS has a point, although I might have phrased it differently as well.

I know what people would like to hear me say about this, or I'm pretty sure I do from reading comments at other sites. And part of what I might have to say on this would no doubt please them. But I saw a lot in that essay that I haven't really heard anyone mention. Maybe because her life and the way her marriage started out are almost eerily similar to mine.

I don't see things in black and white here, though I realize I'm supposed to. I think she was wrong to send her husband a DJ letter in theater instead of waiting for him to come home.

I think she was wrong to pawn off the job of telling the kids onto him.

And finally, I think she was wrong not to be there for her son.

I also think people are missing a lot here. That missing part might not justify her behavior, but then we really know very little about her marriage. I saw several things in that essay that make me question his behavior as well.

And so I don't think ICBS is completely off base.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 09:29 AM

But aren't they defending, at least in part, the kind of life that enables men and women to be hands-on fathers and mothers?

Yes, they certainly are. But as the mantra goes "The military defends Democracy, not practice it."

The military also defends a way of life that allows you and I to simply walk off the job at a moment's notice. The soldier cannot do so: we call that desertion and it is a crime. Could you imagine being hauled off to jail for quitting your job? The soldier can.

And as sad as it is, it must be that way. The type of work that must be done to defend our way of life is pretty much mutually exclusive with actually living that life yourself.

It's one of those paradoxical realities like how putting up fences (rules, restrictions, etc) can actually increase freedom. To provide freedom for the many, some must give it up.

It's why an all-volunteer military is so important. No one should be forced to give up their freedoms against their will.

And while the trade-off of being a hands-on parent myself versus giving that up to provide the ability for others to be a hands-on parent is not one I would (or did) choose for myself, I don't disparage those who did.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 11, 2010 10:12 AM

M'lady,

With respect, what Grim said...

Beyond finding no fault with John's analysis, I seek no privilege to comment on any marriage other than mine. And on my marriage to my dearest Walkin' Boss these past 30+ some odd years, well, again with respect, it's no one's business but ours, WB And I.


Posted by: bthun at February 11, 2010 10:16 AM

it's no one's business but ours, WB And I.

That's what puzzles me about the Salon piece: I don't understand why the author wrote it.

Posted by: Elise at February 11, 2010 10:45 AM

I don't have a problem with her writing about it Elise.

She was extremely careful not to say anything that put her first husband in a bad light. That is one of many things I think people are overlooking.

As I said, I see a lot in this essay that gives me pause. I will never agree that the way she handled her situation was the right one.

But I'm not so sure as everyone else that this is as one-sided as people would like it to be. Again, maybe I feel that way because I walked the same path.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 10:51 AM

FWIW, I do think I know why she wrote the essay. Whatever else she may have done if I'm right about why she wrote it, good on her for doing so.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 10:52 AM

I am surprised at how angry this is making me.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 10:54 AM

COuld you explain why you think she wrote it? That's the hardest thing for me to understand. Whatever role he played in her decision to leave him, she also has responsibility in the situation. So the way she lays it out there as if it's nothing she did (and the horrifying opening paragraphs) are just stunning to me. Were I her, I'd have a sense of shame for having made poor decisions (at least), and for having been unable to maintain my vows. But she seems to have zero shame.

And so I am left appalled that her essay seems to show she thinks she's blameless for this all...

Posted by: FbL at February 11, 2010 11:08 AM

Then again, I'm usually incredibly hard on myself and often apply that same unreasonable standard to others...

Posted by: FbL at February 11, 2010 11:11 AM

Yeah, Mike D, I never said this: "Now, ICBS decides that leaving the wife (and kids) to go to the base/war is abandoning them."

I've not been in the position where I've had to, BUT, I think I could kill someone as ruthlessly and totally as the next USMC guy could if I needed to do it. I'm not especially a physical fighter, but I'll rip your effing heart out of your effing chest with my bare hands and shove it up your @$$ if it's a question of you or me or my family.

In the meantime, however, to borrow a phrase from 1960's advertising: "If I only have one life to live, let me live it as a hands-on father". Life is a gift and I mean to savor it when and how I can.

Posted by: I Call BS at February 11, 2010 11:21 AM

For her child, of course -- the one who just came out of the USNA. She admits she stood by and let the soldier's letter do the work of breaking her children's hearts; she didn't take responsibility for that then, and wants to confess now that the failure of the marriage was her choice. She wants her son to know that, and she wants, in this way, to take responsibility at last for her decision and the moral weight she ought to bear for it.

The military has asked -- the nation has asked -- a lot of its soldiers these last two decades. We need experienced officers to go with the young men and women, teach them and help them. Yet that means we keep deploying the same people over and over, for long stretches. It's a tremendous load to bear. Until recently, the other Federal agencies haven't even discussed taking up part of the load -- let the military do it all.

It does have rewards: very powerful ones, for the soldier. It is engaging, it occupies your full capacities and makes you live things in a much more full and complete sense than seems to happen here at home. Even the holidays apart are more deeply felt, in a sense, because they are poignant.

There's only so much a person can bear, though, and it will be different for each person. It's fine to say that she's wrong for having left him, but she could not have known -- at the time of her marriage -- just how heavy the load would be. And life is short, so you have at some point to choose how you want to spend yours.

Perhaps, if she'd explained that she could bear no more, her husband might have been willing to leave the Army. Or perhaps he would have agreed they had to separate. She didn't give him a chance, which is a failing. Yet I can certainly understand coming to the end, and saying: "I will not live like this any more."

Aristotle held that the purpose of politics is to support ethics: that is, we should have a state that allows us to, and assists us in, living virtuous lives. We've apparently built one in which a woman might choose to leave a man who speaks of duty and honor without irony for a 'lithe, blue-eyed Marxist.' Our system, in this case, has created a situation in which she would prefer the worst kind of man to the best one.

That is our failure, not hers alone.

Posted by: Grim at February 11, 2010 11:25 AM

In being puzzled about why she wrote it, I am simply being puzzled, not using "puzzled" to mean "she's a real [fill in derogatory term]".

I certainly don't think she's a monster or beyond the pale. She was 18 when she got married, 18 when she had her first child, and her husband appears to have been away from home for a large chunk of the next 12 years. I can certainly understand that not everyone is capable of handling that type of life and understand even more that an 18-year-old without a military family background would have no clue what she was getting herself into. Furthermore it would have taken someone of unshakable self-definition to take the path she chose after 18 and be at home in her husband's world; I suspect she was not any more solidly formed at 18 than most 18-year-olds and her subsequent educational and career choices led her further and further away from her 18-year-old view of the world while her husband seems to have retained the views he had at (I assume) 22.

I must also say, though, that there's something a little distasteful about her tone but I can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it's nothing more than the visceral distaste for someone who writes a "Dear John" letter but I think there's something else there. I'll have to think on that.

All that aside, however, I simply don't understand what made her decide to sit down at her keyboard and write this. I guess I don't see the point of the essay, what I'm supposed to learn from her or take away from her writing.

Posted by: Elise at February 11, 2010 11:45 AM

Perhaps, if she'd explained that she could bear no more, her husband might have been willing to leave the Army.

This is part of what I see everyone ignoring. She did do that. Twice, from what I read.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 11:47 AM

"I must also say, though, that there's something a little distasteful about her tone but I can't quite put my finger on it."

Her glib, casual, breezy tone is revolting and reveals her (or at least her attitude as she wrote the piece for publication) to be a callow, selfish, shallow, superficial, ego-centric ... [list could go on].

And her boasting about her wispy little blue-eyed Marxist is just a gratuitous slap in the face at the ideals her husband put himself into harm's way to defend.

Buck the fitch.

Posted by: I Call BS at February 11, 2010 11:53 AM

*Checks the bulkhead fasteners... Indeed, the three meter poles remains secure.*

Posted by: 007 at February 11, 2010 12:09 PM

Cassandra, I am not overlooking the fact that there was a relationship with the kids, or that she didn't dis her husband, but her opening paragraph puts her forever, in my mind, as selfish beyond reason. It is about her, and her marxist husband has written a dissertation about American imperialism (like that was original with the socialist crowd...NOT).

Her needs abound in this; she put up with it for as long as she could, but her erotic needs came
before her wedding vows. Excuse me? Not to get
too personal here, and forgive the visual, but allus who are married (happily) pounce gladly upon
he or she who is our better half when there is a separation. Iknow the Engineer and I gladly resume conjugal relations and abstained when duty
called. We did so because we love each other.

How can that not put her husband in a bad light?
The job at the independent bookstore which caused her to question her relationship? She let it fall apart because of what she wanted for herself, not what she wanted for her son. If she wanted the 'nice safe civilian world' then why live in crime-infested Manhattan? How could her civilian world be made safe unless there was the citizen-soldier? She sought to give her son that...how? Would she have liked it better if he became an LEO?

Her husband left the military and joined up when (-11 happened. That was the last straw for her.
The selfishness of that man and the call of the
nation to defend itself! How DARE it rain on
her perfect little life!

My son said 'Dad will have to go. I will support him.' And he did. Where did that come from, at
the age of 14? We didn't live on a military base.
But he knew what it would take to protect our way
of life. That was the same child who wrote a thank-you note to Queen Elizabeth II, thanking her
for playing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' on that
horrible day.

The Engineer who went. Yeah, it was irritating, but that is life. What you make of it. We stood
by him and he stood by us.

No way do you bail when the going gets tough.

Posted by: Cricket at February 11, 2010 12:11 PM

She did do that. Twice, from what I read.

I saw one, when he did leave the Army (at least until 9/11), where was the second?

My only guess at the other one would be in the first paragraph or so where she lays out the "How". But I didn't really take "how it could be done" to necessarily mean "how I did it".

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 11, 2010 12:15 PM

"and her marxist husband has written a dissertation about American imperialism (like that was original with the socialist crowd...NOT)."

OK, now - let's not muddy up the discussion with the suggestion that there's never been any "American imperialism" ... we're not STOOPID, ya know.

Posted by: I Call BS at February 11, 2010 12:15 PM

If you lay the groundwork early, saying to the soldier before he leaves, "This will be the end of us, we might as well admit it," it's that much easier.

I'm not going to get into what I'm about to write about, but there isn't a shield big enough to block that big a clue bat.

I don't think any of us know exactly what happened in that marriage, and I take your point about "how" not necessarily being the same as what happened, Yu-Ain. But the opening paragraphs - the ones that pissed everyone off so much - are what got me thinking in the first place.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 12:22 PM

I agree that that statement, if issued, would be a pretty big cluebat.

And I don't see how anyone can really object to that message in and of itself. Nor to the heartache of deployments that brings one to the point of divorce.

But I think what angers people is that those first few paragraphs don't read like she's describing the painful heartrending tragedy that it is but rather that she's prescribing an instruction manual for how to take the easy way out:

Hey ladies, no need to face the problem head on and deal with it, just wait till he leaves and is defensless! Why fight fair when you can kick him when he's down?

The way she presents it, it seems like the statement isn't offered as a heartfelt plea, but like premeditated ruthlessness. The language isn't "try to save your marriage by..." it's "Lay the groundwork for its end..." and that just seems, well, not quite right.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 11, 2010 12:53 PM

I feel for her kids and for her ex.

Posted by: Nicki at February 11, 2010 01:19 PM

Me too, Nicki.

The way she presents it, it seems like the statement isn't offered as a heartfelt plea, but like premeditated ruthlessness.

I understand, and I think that's one way of reading it (and certainly the most straightforward one).

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 01:28 PM

she's prescribing an instruction manual for how to take the easy way out:

As Elise said in another context, "Why would she do that?"

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 01:33 PM

As Elise said in another context, "Why would she do that?"

Poor breeding? Demonic possession? Gen-X'er?

Posted by: I Call BS at February 11, 2010 02:16 PM

I should just shut up and wait for Cassandra to explain in her usual brilliant fashion but I didn't really read her as presenting an instruction manual for the easy way out. If anything, I'd say the lack of affect and - especially - the lack of any attempt on her part to make herself look better when talking about dumping the guy by letter, letting him tell the kids, and so on is evidence of a really deep pain or fear or shame or something. She's drifting over dangerous ground, confessing bad things she did without letting herself really talk about how bad they were or how bad she feels about them. And - again - without making any attempt to justify herself.

And perhaps that is what feels "off" to me about her essay. She almost seems to have gone out of her way to make herself look as bad as possible, with her rotten behavior front and center and the mitigating circumstances tucked away inconspicuously. Weird.

And I still don't understand why.

Posted by: Elise at February 11, 2010 02:19 PM

Ding ding ding ding!!!! Elise gets the marmoset :)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 02:26 PM

Posted by: Elise at February 11, 2010 02:19 PM

Ding ding ding ding!!!! Elise gets the marmoset :)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 02:26 PM

Agree, but then the question of
"Why would she do that?"
would cost me a whole nickel, and require the talents of a person with the appropriate skill set to plumb the depths[shallows?] of that woman's mind.

It's not worth it. At least not to me.

Posted by: bthun at February 11, 2010 02:35 PM

You mean why would she try to take the easy way out of her marriage or why she would advocate others to take the easy way out of theirs?

For her own I can think of a couple reasons:

1) He's a complete jerkass who could become violent.

2) She's a selfish coward.

3) Somewhere in between.

Given that she does try to paint him as the noble type I'm really only left with leaning towards #2 for her particular situation. After all, if he's so noble what ugliness from him is there to prevent?

For advocating those tactics to others, the most straightforward is to try to assuage her own feelings of guilt. That other spouses standing on the precipice would read it and agree "yeah, that is easier". Then she could be comforted by the feeling of "not being alone" (you've mentioned before that women often talk about personal issues as a way of making sure what they are feeling is "normal"). The problem I have is that "other people were doing it, too" only sounds like a good excuse when you're talking about yourself. :-)

So in either case, this doesn't seem to be placing her in a positive light.

Grim's suggestion that this is written for the benefit of her son doesn't seem quite right either. First, if it were, it could have been done privately. There's no gain by doing this publicly. Second, it doesn't really read like a mea culpa, to me. If I'm her son, what I read out of it is "you left Dad because of the military, are you 'laying the groundwork' to leave me because of it, too?"

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 11, 2010 02:40 PM

I don't think she was advocating that anyone take the easy way out of their marriage.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 02:47 PM

Great. Something else to dust. Well, okay, something else to not dust. Assuming it's dead and stuffed of course. Otherwise, ick. No offense.

Posted by: Elise at February 11, 2010 03:09 PM

*snort*

At least it wasn't a giant stuffed Moose (yes, I am the proud owner of a giant stuffed Moose). The shameful secret is out [hand to forehead].

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 03:11 PM

"I am the proud owner of a giant stuffed Moose"
Now that is far too spiffy to ignore.

You must post a photog of Bullwinkle on Le Blogge. Maybe include Monsieur Snausage in the shot for scale?

BTW... You don't, by any chance, hunt from a helicopter, do ya? =8^}

Posted by: bt_Badunov_hun at February 11, 2010 03:22 PM

There's a defense mechanism called "reaction formation" where a person adopts a false position because their true feelings cause them anxiety. I sense a bit of that here.

When I first pondered getting back into the Guard I asked my then fiance what her thoughts on it were. I don't remember the exact phrase, but it was along the lines of "If you want to I'm OK with it, but I don't want to hear any complaining if you deploy." She's been supportive through two deployments and a couple of remote schools so far. I honestly don't know what would have happened if she said, "No, I really don't want you to go." I suspect I would have held off on re enlisting, but I don't know what the cost would have been, aside from knowing I would have been unhappy (with myself) for not getting back in. There is a very self centered side of running to the sound of guns that is conveniently being missed here. We can talk about duty and honor and mission, but the fact is going back to war is something we want (have?) to do. The cost to our families for this can be high. Our duty may be to the United States, but our responsibility to the family may well conflict with the duty. Not every husband or wife can deal with that conflict. When I first read that article I formed a pretty low opinion of the author, but with some thought and a re read or two I think she'll be living with her decisions for the rest of her life, and knows it. If she didn't honor her commitment to her Army husband, neither did he honor his commitment to her. I think she discovered too late that she wasn't cut out for the world she thought she wanted. I've made a lot of mistakes in my day, but none of them have haunted me like this poor ladies does her.

Cassandra, I too really am interested to hear what you have to say about this. And I'm not looking for a black and white answer. :-)

Posted by: Pogue at February 11, 2010 03:24 PM

As posted in Argghhh!: Wow, I don't know what to say other then I am deeply grateful that I met the wonderful woman that I have been married to for the past 22 years. She stayed by my side and supported me in those days in Germany when I would get a phone call at 2 AM for an unannounced alert and disappear without a word for days (in the days before cell phones and email). When I would leave for a month at a time for planned training exercises. She has tolerated the many missed birthdays, anniversary's and an entire year deployed in Iraq. Now she is dealing with losing me for another year for a tour in Afghanistan. I know she doesn't like the absences and looks forward to the approaching day when I retire (or get retired), but has always supported me.

Posted by: Frodo at February 11, 2010 03:34 PM

Thank you, Pogue :)

Your lady is very lucky in you. I hope she knows that.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 03:35 PM

Cass, understand that I was not looking for a diatribe from you. I wanted your opinion, not your validation for my opinion.

What bothered me was the "instruction manual" theme in that piece. And I was also quite bothered by the concept that as she immersed herself in academia and worked in the bookstore she was influenced not only by the stresses of deployment on her marriage but also by the political and social views of the people she was surrounded with, a concept that was cemented by her commentary on her new husband's politics.

Posted by: RonF at February 11, 2010 05:41 PM

The easy way out of marriage? Elise hit it right on the head; she was not responsible for her part in it at all and made him the bad guy.

I Call BS, read what I wrote in parenthesis: That the 'American Imperialist' point of view is NOT original to mr. marx...it is indeed, as you pointed out, something you agree with. Thank you for confirming that.

Posted by: Cricket at February 11, 2010 06:19 PM

ron:

I didn't think you expected anything at all from me. I get a pretty good feel for who people are from reading their comments, and I have never thought that of you.

Chalk it up to being female. We worry a lot about things we can't help.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 07:00 PM

Miss Cricket, Miss Cricket, Miss Cricket,

Now admit to all the territory that has been has commandeered by the evil U.S. empire in the past century. Oh, wait...

Ok, make that all the wealth we have sucked out of the hands of the down trodden. Yeah, yeah, that's it, all the wealth seized at the point of a gun from those who produce in order to support decadent, hedonistic, self absorbed, finger-snapping, bourgeoisie, sneering, anarchists. Ahhh, wait, that's domestic policy, never mind...

But by all means we should ignore the fact that when we were a growing nation, we were elbowing and clutching right along side every other government and assembly of humans that were capable of doing so. And did so.

But I suppose we're guilty mostly because we succeeded and prospered. And by doing so, we are much more wicked than if we had failed, in a noble, humanitarian way. Like say, in Cambodia, Communist China, the USSR, or on a less grand scale like in Argentina, or Nicaragua, or Cuba, the even the Ottomans, and on and on and on...

Face it.
*raises mug in salute*
We're just bad to the bone Imperialists.

Posted by: bthun at February 11, 2010 07:06 PM

*Pulls out the good old S&W Model 19 and shoots the <sarcasm> </sarcasm> tags right between the ampersands*

Posted by: bthun at February 11, 2010 07:08 PM

I didn't want to "go there", but since Cricket and bthun want to do so, I offer this comment:

"I would love my father even if he had committed a crime, but my love would not exculpate his guilt."

Posted by: I Call BS at February 11, 2010 07:44 PM

Or is it "... exculpate him" ?

Posted by: I Call BS at February 11, 2010 07:45 PM

Yeah, whatever.

Posted by: bthun at February 11, 2010 07:45 PM

... exonerate him of his guilt ... excuse his guilt ... exculpate him ... you get the idea

Posted by: I Call BS at February 11, 2010 07:47 PM

This is why I deliberately flicked this booger at Cassandra in email.

I kind of figured she would head where I think she's heading.

I know how complex this can be - I've been on her husband's side, in a sense (except I thought the mark from the cluebat was a bruise from falling down some stairs... I'm dense that way, ask SWWBO. Wait, don't.)

I still lean towards this is catharsis for her, and, like her using her husband to take the blame, she's using Salon to say to her son, "Sorry I'm what I am, kid."

I also thinks she shares waaay too much of herself in the category error she makes with the actors.

But that's just me.

Posted by: John "Pulls only one wing off the fly because I like to watch 'em fly in circles" Donovan at February 11, 2010 08:00 PM

John, I have a feeling that no matter what I write, some people will decide I'm making excuses for her.

I can only say that, from where I sit, I saw something very different in her essay.

I don't think any of us can avoid bringing our own lives and experience to the table when interpreting a complex situation. But I think we should try to understand how different things can seem from another angle.

I see some clear right/wrong aspects here and I'm not dodging that. But I also have some things that are important to me, and that I want to say. People can take them as they will.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 08:07 PM

All gave some. Some gave all.

I don't know how this woman really feels because
1) I'm not a woman
2) I'm not married to someone in the service who has been deployed for an extended period

I have seen a lot, though.

The neighbors we had as a kid; the father was a Colonel in the Air Force, his wife was a sweet Southern lady. One day, she just killed herself with sleeping pills.
A girl I used to work with had parents that were divorced. Her father was a retired Air Force One-star, had been in SAC and also a tour in Viet Nam in the '60's as a ground officer (commander), and was an alcoholic. He had killed his second wife in a auto crash a few years before (this was in the '80's). Her mother was sassy but pretty nice. It was a weird family.

One of the finest men I ever knew was a Major in SAC (a navigator), good Catholic, father of eight, always found time for everyone, even though he had a very stressful job. Cricket's husband sounds a lot like him, to me.

Close friends of ours; the husband had stayed in the Air National Guard for years after his active duty, because Guard duty was easy, and they needed the money. Along came 9/11 and he got deployed to Pakistan for 8 months. His wife was a bit of a wreck during the deployment (they have two kids), but wanted him to quit the Guard after he got back. He wouldn't, and she was mighty upset about it. We met them for dinner one night and she came into the restaurant first, in tears because they had another fight about him leaving the Guard. They are divorced now. There were other reasons for problems, though.

I could go on with more stories about people I know in the service that have wrecked their lives, but I'm sure the vets out there know more than me.
The sad thing is that this is the hidden cost that service families pay. I don't hate this woman, but it was a weird article, with a lot of things unsaid.
I think Pogue got it closest, in insight. She has unexpurgated guilt, and maybe this article is some kind of penance.

Those who stand and wait also serve.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 11, 2010 08:31 PM

I know. That's why I sent it off to you.

And if people give you gratuitous shite, I've got plenty of cluebats in stock. To include ones of the size I gave Andi a few years back.

Posted by: John "Too Dense for a Cluebat"Donovan at February 11, 2010 08:34 PM

:)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 08:42 PM

One thing I think you're wrong on John is the sexual thing's importance.

It will be interesting to see what Cassandra decides to write.

Posted by: Argent at February 11, 2010 09:21 PM

More than anything, it was the fact that she did not attend her son's commissioning that backs up my opinion of the author (based solely on what she has written in the article. I'm well aware that what we put forth on line or in a magazine is not an accurate representation of our true selves.).

I understand about the hardships of military marriages - been there, done that, got the T shirt and the clue bat marks. But she tips her hand with regard to her "it's all about me" bent with the admission that she did not attend the commissioning.

Like I said over at John's place, "Excuses are lies we tell ourselves."

So very true.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at February 11, 2010 09:27 PM

It seems obvious to me: She feels very, very guilty about leaving her husband essentially for being a soldier. I don't think she necessarily had to put up with the repeated absences, but I think she thinks she did. And she couldn't, and she is ashamed of it. So she confesses, but confesses in a manner that everyone will blame her for it, as she thinks she deserves. Sad, really.

Posted by: alwaysfiredup at February 11, 2010 10:07 PM

Cassandra, thank you, for all that you do. I'm a visitor from the Castle, I do believe John just *tolerates* me.

About this document, what do we know, not speculate? We have no context, so how do we discern the intent of the writer? What do we know about her relationships with both her ex-husband and their children? Then, what do we know about her relationship with her parents and siblings? Prior to the divorce, what do we know about her relationship with her in-laws? This will help us to develop her context, so we can walk through her world. Then and only then will we begin to understand her document.

Posted by: Grumpy at February 11, 2010 10:44 PM

I hang out at Cap'n Lex's blog a lot, and make lots of comments. I think I've read everything he's ever written there and we've exchanged emails a time or two, so I think I know him as well as I can know somebody I've only ever "met" on the Net.

He coulda been an admiral, had he wanted to. He deliberately got off that career track so as to be able to spend more time with the wife and kids. I betcha they would have supported him anyway, but are glad they did not have to do so.

Admirals, cops, and Presidents: Don't hire anybody for those jobs who applies for them, they probably want the jobs for wrong reasons.

Yes, I know you have cops in your family. I trust that they are among the 10%, according to Sturgeon's Law.

Posted by: Justthisguy at February 11, 2010 10:46 PM

Elise hit it right on the head; she was not responsible for her part in it at all and made him the bad guy.

That's not what I said. Or at least it's not what I meant which is not always the same thing. :)

Posted by: Elise at February 11, 2010 10:54 PM

I've been silent on this so far, not really knowing what to say. I don't so much have a problem with her deciding that she couldn't handle being a military spouse: not everyone is cut out for it. My problem is with the manner in which she did so: sending a Dear John letter, and also seeking male companionship elsewhere prior to her resolving the issues with her marriage. I can't help but wonder what, exactly, "spending time with the young, funny, book-reading guys I met there" really means...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 11, 2010 11:46 PM

Yeah, I Call BS, your comments are laughable, but I am so not going to hijack the thread over this.
Not because I couldn't kick your cyber butt in an argument, but because I respect our hostess.

Let me just say that our war of agression in Germany has kept me in Ritter sport bars for the past 20 years.

Posted by: Cricket at February 12, 2010 09:29 AM

No, I'm actually going to defend our rudely named devil's advocate here. If you take a very narrow look at the article, the lithe, blue-eyed Marxist wrote a treatise on American Imperialism in the 19th and early 20th Century. And from a strictly historical standpoint, it is (in fact) indisputable that the US held foreign countries in thrall in an Imperialist fashion. To wit, we installed military governors in the Philippines, Cuba, and other countries that we took from Spain in the Spanish-American War. We did not allow those peoples to govern themselves, we collected "tribute" of a sort in goods and resources... it is the one time in US history that we have behaved in an Imperial manner.

It is important to look at that time for two reasons. One, we sought equal footing and prestige with the great powers of Europe. Each of whom (at the time) was an Imperial power. The sun never set on the British Empire. The French held a majority of Africa. The Dutch held the Congo. The Italians had Libya and designs on other nations. Germany was the poorest in overseas possessions, as they were only recently united. What little they had was stripped from them following WWI. In order to be taken 'seriously' by the international community, we had to old overseas possessions as well. So we took them from the Spanish.

The second reason it's important to look at this time in US history, is to realize what real imperialism looks like, so when mouth breathers today decry modern "US Imperialism", you can know exactly how stupid they really are.

Go give credit where credit is due. ICBS is completely correct when he says the US was at one time an Imperial Power.

Posted by: MikeD at February 12, 2010 10:37 AM

Mike, that is why I stipulated "in the past century" in my back-handed response.

At one time, before the 19th century, we -ok my brood- were Europeans squatting on land, then occupied, by the noble savage. A noble creature who, it is believed, migrated over a land bridge in order to escape other possibly more powerful or persistently encroaching humans, and/or to find new conquests, and/or follow treasure as in game, possibly displacing other humans as a result of their migrations.

Humans seeking land, consolidating power, amassing wealth whether it be goats and wildlife or tea, spice and gold has been a perpetual character flaw in the human condition. A character flaw that at one time was considered to be pioneering, adventurous, industrious, closely tied to prosperity, if not survival. And one that I'm confident predates history.

"The second reason it's important to look at this time in US history, is to realize what real imperialism looks like, so when mouth breathers today decry modern "US Imperialism", you can know exactly how stupid they really are."
Yup, then versus now is the point of the exercise.

Posted by: bt_CurmudgeonsЯUS_hun at February 12, 2010 11:06 AM

Careful, Mike D: your comments may just go to my head ... of course, that's better than having 20 years of Ritter bars going to my ***! Ha ha ha!

Posted by: I Call BS at February 12, 2010 11:11 AM

Only problem is that Cricket never actually said we didn't. She only said that a Marxist writing a paper on it wasn't exactly original.

I mean, are you really surprised a Marxist decided to focus on a negative rather than a positive or a neutral?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 12, 2010 11:29 AM

we're getting pretty far afield here ...

Posted by: I Call BS at February 12, 2010 11:45 AM

we're getting pretty far afield here ...

Which was kinda my point. Cricket's comment seemed as uncontraversial as mentioning the proclivity for Livid Terriers* to rant about "Force or Fraud".

Like *that's* never happened before. :-) /sarc

*old in-joke for libertarians.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 12, 2010 12:05 PM

Far afield? The sad-sack of a woman did mention her

"lithe, blue-eyed Marxist whose dissertation was on U.S. imperialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a man who participated in war protests in Santa Cruz, Calif."
Were this a trial and not a gathering of individuals casually commenting on the all too public burnt offering by this woman to her new found bliss, a solicitor might argue that the woman's comments speak to her character, and state of mind...

Not to mention that those stated characteristics apparently define her new hubby in a way in which she derives some amount of pride.

<sarc>Yesiree, as the fellow says, that's something to be proud of, that`s a life you can hang your hat on.</sarc>

Or to summarize, now that I've pecked all this dribble into a comment, what YAG said...

*turns and leaves the scene of the accident*

Posted by: bt_CurmudgeonsЯUS_hun at February 12, 2010 12:12 PM

Gee, Argent, *one* thing I got wrong?

What else did I get wrong? Or should we go through the list of what I got right, IYHO?

That said - don't go post-modernist on me, or I win. Because it's what I feel about what she said that matters, not what she said!

Not that I really think you're going to go all PM on me...

Posted by: John "Too Dense for a Cluebat"Donovan at February 12, 2010 01:19 PM

I want a Ritter Sport Bar ...

Posted by: I Call BS at February 12, 2010 01:41 PM

So sickening that there's a part of me that wonders if it wasn't intended as a Juvenalian satire (like Swift's A Modest Proposal.) Sadly, I know people of both sexes who will probably take it as good advice, regardless of the author's intent.

Posted by: htom at February 12, 2010 01:41 PM

Hot Air has now picked up the story.
"How to destroy a soldier’s life"
Just heading over to see their take.

Posted by: Hotel1 at February 12, 2010 04:30 PM

I would give you a list John but my email account has sending limits.

You did in fact get something right;

You married SWWBO.

Having said that your "it's what I feel about what she said that matters, not what she said!" might pose minor problems when applied to the above.

Posted by: Argent at February 12, 2010 04:48 PM

Did someone say Ritter Sport?!? I see your Ritter and raise two Lindt bars. [checks her Kinderschoko reserve]

I'm following the discussion here and at the Castle. Very thought provoking.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at February 12, 2010 07:58 PM

I can get Ritter Sport at the HEB grocery store in my neighborhood. Used to be, I could only get them when my parents sent them to me when I was in college & they were still in Germany, or at Christmastime, when those seasonal holiday stores in the mall might have them. Never was big on Lindt, though I do LOVE me some Toblerone...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 12, 2010 08:02 PM

Everybody seems to be dancing around it, so I'll just say it.


Divorce can be deadly.

Some women rightly feel afraid for their safety, and in that case, a long-distance goodbye message makes sense.


And the guy's co-operation in telling the kids is, to me, significant.


BUT I don't feel all sympathetic toward this woman. There's something about the writing that feels inauthentic and untrustworthy. I read a lot of different people's writing as part of my real job, and I'm not even sure this article was written by a woman. The voice I hear in this writing is not a woman's, but a man's, one who wished he were a lithe, blue-eyed radical.

Posted by: Valerie at February 12, 2010 08:28 PM

Toblerone - regular and Toberlone with raisins!! Lindt Milk Chocolate!!
Lindt Dark Chocolate to make hot chocolate at Christmas time!!

Posted by: I Call BS at February 12, 2010 09:07 PM

My sister (in Brooklyn) sent me a thing called "Brix: Chocolate for Wine." It's a very hard chocolate that shatters into pebbles or shards under a sharp knife. She sent me the extra dark, knowing my preference for strong-flavored reds, black coffee, hot peppers, and so forth.

It has lasted thus far, and will last a few more days, but the thing is almost gone. You might like it, if you're looking for a good chocolate.

We also used to get Côte d'Or chocolate, milk and dark, back when we lived up in the D.C. area. Those I recall as extraordinarily good.

Posted by: Grim at February 12, 2010 09:51 PM

I don't doubt some women fear - with good reason - their significant other; however, this woman say nothing to indicate she was fearful for her safety if she left him...

I can't agree that this wasn't written by a woman, either.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 12, 2010 11:48 PM

I am a little bit late to this but I finally read the actual essay.
Before reading the essay, I had the doubts Cassandra had but after reading the essay, I have to say that this woman is an extremely shallow, egotistical, elitist excuse for a woman. Sorry.

Posted by: olga at February 13, 2010 03:28 PM

I don't know what she is, but I've decided I'm not going to argue with anyone over this.

I've been throwing up for two days and it's just not worth it to me. I don't feel particularly sympathetic towards her either.

I do think that there isn't a single service member who has children who could do what he does without his wife being willing to go through an awful lot of shit. Not everybody's up to it, and there's a goddamned good reason for that. People might care to walk a few miles in her shoes before they begin calling her a bitch and a whore.


Posted by: Cassandra at February 13, 2010 03:54 PM

Feel better soon, and feel free to ignore us!

Posted by: valerie at February 13, 2010 04:27 PM

sorry ... i think i called her a bitch first ...

Posted by: I Call BS at February 13, 2010 04:43 PM

yea ... feel better ... this too shall pass

Posted by: I Call BS at February 13, 2010 04:47 PM

I agree that not everyone is cut out to be a milspouse. My biggest problem is with the manner in which she went about dissolving her marriage. Pretty shitty, if you ask me.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 13, 2010 07:37 PM

People might care to walk a few miles in her shoes before they begin calling her a bitch and a whore.

She probably wears "f*** me pumps" and I doubt I could make it a city block in them.

Posted by: I Call BS at February 14, 2010 01:06 PM

Yu-Ain and bthun got it right. I Call BS, something went to your head and I don't think it was a thought. Ritter Dark Chocolate with Marzipan, and then...the Dark Chocolate with Mint.
If I ever get back to Germany, the Strawberry Milk Chocolate ones are mine!

MWahahahahahaha!!!

Cassandra, I am so sorry you are not feeling well.
Don't bother about us. We will behave civilly
and with restraint, but ICBS just needs to quit
peeking into my house! I think he is jealous I have a tuckus!

Posted by: Cricket at February 14, 2010 04:50 PM

Cricket, are you familiar with GermanDeli.com?

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 14, 2010 04:59 PM

Not meant to reveal anything about my proclivities, but Cricket's comment made me think of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ImZTwYwCug&feature=related

Posted by: I Call BS at February 15, 2010 11:15 AM

I'd never presume to blame a military wife for breaking under a kind of strain I've never had to bear. I do reserve the right to object to a woman's inability to distinguish between what happens to her and what she does -- no matter how terrible are the things that happen to her.

I also think that it's one thing to have failed in honor or kindness (who hasn't?), and another to be unable to fess up in a straightforward way that, under intolerable strain, one has failed in honor or kindness. To describe her failings in a way that puts nearly all the emphasis on how tough a spot she was in, how hard it all was for her, and how terrifically things have turned out for her now, is to expose herself to a lot of fully justified outrage from the public she chose to expose her life to.

It wouldn't be that hard, after all, to say: "I did these things because I was young and immature and under the load of a lot more trouble than many of you have ever experienced, but it doesn't change the fact that I blew it left and right, in retrospect, and I bitterly regret the considerable harm I caused to my son and his father. There were a lot of reasons my marriage couldn't survive, some of them being my husband's contributing fault, others being circumstances we couldn't control, and it's a darn shame we couldn't find a way to work together when both of us were trying to support things as important to life and society as protecting the homeland and making a safe and nurturing home for the kids. We and our son have all paid dearly for our mistakes." But the "How To" manual aspect: yuck. I wish I could read that in a more ironical spirit, as in "How to Make a Real Mess of Your Life and the Lives of Others If You're Not Careful."

Not attending her son's commissioning: it's hard to get past that. My grandfather had some mysterious quarrel going with my mother and boycotted her funeral more than 50 years ago. I never met him, but it permanently informed my opinion of him, fairly or unfairly. There are some things you just don't skip, no matter what kind of statement you think you're supposed to be making with your absence.

I don't see how you forgive yourself, or ask others to forgive you, before you even acknowledge that you had choices and you blew them. As long as you're making excuses and blaming other people for what you did, you're either going to be feeling the gnawing of remorse or deliberately deadening it and cheapening your life. At least, that's how it works for me. And I have plenty of experience with it.

As Tolstoy said, there are no evils except illness and remorse.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 15, 2010 11:34 AM

Not attending her son's commissioning: it's hard to get past that.

I've seen that comment several places, but that's not what she did.

She didn't drop her son off for Plebe summer at the Naval Academy. I have a hard time getting excited about that. I really do.

I put two boys through college and I can tell you that neither one of them wanted their Dad or I around any longer than it took us to physically deposit them at the college. Yes, NA has all sorts of ceremonies for parents but they aren't really for the plebes. They are mostly for the parents. And the ones that are for the plebes, I'd be shocked if most red blooded boys were going to be emotionally traumatized over not having Mom there.

Full disclosure: I didn't go along when we dropped my oldest boy off at school. My husband took him and it was actually a lovely chance for the two of them to spend some "man time" together. I would have been redundant.

As to the other, I realize that a lot of folks don't agree with me but I never saw this as any kind of "how to".

I haven't excused how she ended her marriage (even once). It's just that having watched innumerable couples over the years I see several things in this story that make me wonder; a senior impregnating a freshman girl who is 4 years younger than he is within a few months of her arrival at college is just one of those things.

If one of my sons had done that, he would not have heard the end of it in this lifetime :p At 18, 4 years is *huge*.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2010 11:42 AM

OK, good point -- if it wasn't a real ceremony but only a drop-off and a perfunctory thing, it's not a big deal. Even so: she seemed to be making a big enough deal out of it skipping it, as if she thought it were an important gesture and a way to express her disapproval. Otherwise why mention it at all? I suspect that, knowing your real attitude, your sons took it one way, and this woman's son another.

To another of your points, it's a very bad thing for an older fellow to impregnate a very young woman, especially if he isn't going to be able to be there for her for one reason or another. But it's also not a good thing for a young woman to expose herself to pregnancy before she's sure she's made arrangements for a safe home for the probable baby. This attitude is no fun and it doesn't lead to a carefree sex life for teenagers, but there it is. I say this in full knowledge of the risks I took at that age, as much of an irresponsible idiot as anyone else. I just think that, when one describes what happened decades later, the tone ought to be one of remorse that one caused (or at least seriously risked) a bad situation for the kid, not merely regret that life was unfair, coupled with satisfaction that one extricated oneself, perhaps at the expense of others, and not by very nice means.

If the husband were writing the story, I might be hard on him, too, especially if his entire focus were on how tough it was to get the "Dear John" letter, and he seemed oblivious to the situation he'd left behind. It's not so much about whether these people were being judged by superhuman standards as it is about each accepting responsibility for his own part in the disaster.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 15, 2010 03:31 PM

This is what I meant by the smug "How To" aspect:

"And if you have children with that soldier? You can handle all that with a letter, too. He’ll write it — because he cares about the kids, because he wants to work with you to do what’s best for them even though you’re leaving him — and you’ll give it to them. Here again, you will avoid a nasty confrontation. Who will they cry to? You? You’re just the teary-eyed bearer of the letter. Him? The one who’s sweating it out in the desert?"

Posted by: Texan99 at February 15, 2010 04:18 PM

Well that was precisely the part that made me stop and think. Who comes out looking bad in that?

I took that part as (like Tom said) being rather Swiftian in nature (IOW, "If you really want to be a jerk, do this", not "Wow I'm really neat. Do what I did - it's easy!".

No, it didn't work well but then those things rarely do.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2010 08:16 PM

...it's a very bad thing for an older fellow to impregnate a very young woman, especially if he isn't going to be able to be there for her for one reason or another.

Let's just say that several things in that essay made me think they were well matched.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2010 08:27 PM

You're more generous than I am, to take that passage as ironic and self-critical awareness of her own boorishness.

No doubt he wasn't a prince, but he didn't write a smug memoir; she did (or so I take it). I do give her credit for not trashing him in a forum where he couldn't defend himself. The worst she really says about him is that he chose to be absent a good deal. If he was paying attention, he certainly was willing to call her on her ultimatum before he re-deployed that last time. But a father who can get a son to follow proudly in his footsteps can't be all bad.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 15, 2010 11:01 PM

I don't think generosity has anything to do with my interpretation. As I've said several times, I have no dog in this fight and I'm certainly not interested in defending her behavior.

I just don't see this as being nearly as one-sided as a lot of folks want to make out. Real life rarely is. She decided to write the essay for whatever reason and she has certainly taken enough abuse for doing so.

I'm not going to change anyone's mind.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 16, 2010 10:31 AM

I just don't see this as being nearly as one-sided as a lot of folks want to make out.

I think this is a result of her not heeding the maxim that discretion is the better part of valor.

She's taking the brunt not because she's more at fault, but because she's the one who stuck her neck out.

He could even be more at fault than her, but if he's wearing camoflage and she paints a big ole bullseye on her chest it's not hard to guess who will receive more incoming fire.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 16, 2010 01:32 PM

Yep :)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 16, 2010 01:43 PM

Well, I'm jumping to the conclusion that someone who writes this:

"And if you have children with that soldier? You can handle all that with a letter, too. He’ll write it — because he cares about the kids, because he wants to work with you to do what’s best for them even though you’re leaving him — and you’ll give it to them. Here again, you will avoid a nasty confrontation. Who will they cry to? You? You’re just the teary-eyed bearer of the letter. Him? The one who’s sweating it out in the desert?"

-- is openly confessing to being a terrific jerk. I think that to read that passage and conclude that she's poking some fun at herself and realizes that what she did was contemptible is to be awfully generous. You could be right, but I'm more suspicious of the plain words than that, and not inclined to give her as much benefit of the doubt. Which is all I meant.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 16, 2010 07:09 PM

Why else would someone openly confess to being a jerk? Or was it supposed to be an involuntary confession? Is there even such a thing?

I suppose it's possible the author doesn't realize that behavior is "jerk-like", but the rest of the essay and the way it's written doesn't really support that thesis.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 17, 2010 09:01 AM

Well, I didn't read it as "Hey, this is pretty neat, let's get everyone to do it". But it does sound a lot like "It may be horrible, but it's better than doing it yourself."

Which admittedly sets the tone for the rest of the peice.

But if we look on those first few paragraphs as descriptive rather than prescriptive, this seems really weird "...because *he* cares about the kids..". What? Does she not care about them? "...because *he* wants to work with you to do what's best for [the kids]..." What? Does she not want to work with him to do what's best for the kids?

I have a really hard time believing that, so if those reasons apply equally to her why is she not equally sharing in that nasty duty? The only thing I can think of (again, admitting my bias against her already), is that she is being purposefully manipulative by using his integrity against him for the sole purpose of making her own life better at his expense.

Is there another way of looking at that?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 17, 2010 10:00 AM

By "confess to being a jerk," I didn't mean that she necessarily understands how much of a jerk she was. It's possible she simply exposed herself inadvertently. Or she knows she was a jerk but doesn't feel very embarrassed about it because she's self-centered with a very strong sense of entitlement. The passage doesn't have a "coming clean" feel about it to me. But I'm sure it reflects better on you than on me that you're willing to try to see the better side of this woman. I'm rather nasty-tempered that way, and Lent is a bad side for indulging my nasty side.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 17, 2010 10:53 AM

Well, the problem I have with her strategy is that she dumped him while he was overseas, and then acted she had been the one who was dumped; the 'teary-eyed bearer of the letter.' The children can't cry to their mother, because *she* is upset. She thus avoids dealing with her children over the issue. 'Who are they going to cry to?'

What a weasel.

Her other jerk statement was about loving her son.
Aside from extreme behavior like murder, stealing, rape, and beating up people and cruelty to animals, loving your children as much as you love yourself is what it is all about. She just happens to love herself more that she loved her husband or her children.

Posted by: Cricket at February 17, 2010 11:28 AM

I'm retired army.
Lost my first wife to the needs of the service,
so I can identify with the situation she writes of.
I read the piece in question... then let it simmer for a few days.
Now, I'm not so sure that it isn't a piece of fiction. The author has managed to push ALL the negative hot buttons associated with (voluntary) military service. I can't help but wonder if the
sh-t storm she started wasn't the goal all along.
("Just to tweak those rightous right-wing noses a bit.")

Posted by: Joseph M. Welsh at February 17, 2010 10:00 PM

Could be. More evidence she's a jerk.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 18, 2010 10:42 AM

I think there are some on the left who aren't exactly pleased she wrote it because it is such a shoddy thing to do.

Posted by: Cricket at February 18, 2010 10:55 AM

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