Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html en-gb 30 Tue 28 Apr 2015 07:33:01 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=96#comment27 Whether a soldier is married or not, it is loved ones, family and friends who stick by the soldiers. They may need support systems, too, sort of a unit to fall back on in difficult times. Some family are friends and some friends, are family. Every person's situation is unique, as we are all unique. Life would be boring if we were all the same. The point is, it is the whole support system that counts, from the friends and family at home, to the friends and family stationed together in the military. All of our soldiers matter to us equally, whether they are married or not, they are our soldiers. If and when they want or don't want to get married is up to them and we support that. We are connected to them and they to us, we are bound together by our love of our one and only country...Americans like myself do not forget and continue to love and support our troops...and Americans like myself love our allies and our allies troops, for that is something worth more than any amount of money, and we thank them for their sacrifices, too and support them...May God love, protect, comfort and bless our troops and our allies past, present and future... Thu 26 Aug 2010 03:33:51 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=92#comment26 Just for the record, my husband doesn't need my help, I do what I can to make his life a little easier and to take an active role in understanding his job, which is something I think all spouses should do, not just military ones.Furthermore, you are obviously a person who let's their own personal downfalls in life skew their viewpoint. Just because someone like you couldn't balance a military career and a marriage, doesn't mean that it's impossible for everyone else. Maybe you should be a little more open minded to the benefits a happy (keyword) marriage could bring to a soldiers life.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------Active role in understanding his job? Sorry to burst your bubble, but you really dont believe that whatever the soldiers do in wars, they tell it to their spouses? They have a de-briefing teams available, which tell them exactly what they should tell their spouses, should the spouces think that they can be a private tutor and therapist for their husbands, while taking care grocerries and bill payments.. Wed 25 Aug 2010 22:29:37 GMT+1 PROUDarmywife7783 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=89#comment25 Just for the record, my husband doesn't need my help, I do what I can to make his life a little easier and to take an active role in understanding his job, which is something I think all spouses should do, not just military ones.Furthermore, you are obviously a person who let's their own personal downfalls in life skew their viewpoint. Just because someone like you couldn't balance a military career and a marriage, doesn't mean that it's impossible for everyone else. Maybe you should be a little more open minded to the benefits a happy (keyword) marriage could bring to a soldiers life. Wed 25 Aug 2010 21:28:41 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=85#comment24 My husband has a very challenging job and he has often had to take extra training courses beyond his basic duties. Who do you think stays up helping him study all night long and takes care of the house, bills, groceries, etc, so he can excell at his job? My husband always appreciates having me around to assist him, he doesn't see me as a burden, holding him back from his mission.In addition, logically, a soldier that actually has something worth living for, someone worth coming home to, is more likely to be less reckless and fight smarter than someone who is already feeling lonely in life. Besides, let's face it, anything can be a distraction. How many soldiers get involved with drugs/alcohol, prostitutes, or spend all their money buying expensive cars and then can't pay for groceries.....-----------------------------------------------------------------------------A soldier who needs a private tutuor to help pass exams, should resgin or should not be promoted...You, by saying that you take care of the things which he wouldnt have to worry about he wasnt married, support what i said...The soldier commits himself to defend the country, thats enough to keep him focused..and motivated..You have not heard of military mess? its a place where they eat, socialize and then they go to their rooms... Wed 25 Aug 2010 19:05:44 GMT+1 PROUDarmywife7783 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=82#comment23 With regards to comment #8:Those were the old spartans, the genes dont go anywhere, they can wait til the soldier retires or get a desk job..Make use of modern technology and sperm banks...Yes, you can. the marines, the armored units, infantry unit..married life doesnt suit..Either you marry, or serve your country.._________________________________________________________________________While you may have the right to have the opinion that people who serve in the military should not be married, you are absolutely ignorant to say that this practice should be mandatory. While yes, unmarried service members might be less worried to lose their lives in war, you are undermining the amount of support that a spouse/family can bring to someone who is facing these challenges. My husband has a very challenging job and he has often had to take extra training courses beyond his basic duties. Who do you think stays up helping him study all night long and takes care of the house, bills, groceries, etc, so he can excell at his job? My husband always appreciates having me around to assist him, he doesn't see me as a burden, holding him back from his mission.In addition, logically, a soldier that actually has something worth living for, someone worth coming home to, is more likely to be less reckless and fight smarter than someone who is already feeling lonely in life. Besides, let's face it, anything can be a distraction. How many soldiers get involved with drugs/alcohol, prostitutes, or spend all their money buying expensive cars and then can't pay for groceries.....Furthermore, your statements are an insult to all military spouses who proudly stand by their soldiers. We didn't walk down the aisle with blindfolds on, we know they made a promise to their country and we understand all too well what that means. Wed 25 Aug 2010 18:24:28 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=78#comment22 Simon, if the Afghan women did have an abundance of money, how do you suppose it would change things? Would they be treated better by their husbands? Would they still obey the Islamic dress/etc. codes? Would they journey to the West to go to college? Wed 25 Aug 2010 00:23:11 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=74#comment21 Simon, yes, but in many cases, the women are the peacemakers and compromisers...so why not at least let them try? Give them a chance.I wish that we could help all the poor countries in the world, but it is simply not possible at this point in time. We just have to do the best we can and help the ones we can.It should not just be up to the USA and our allies to help the world. That is too heavy of a burden. Like that great old 60's hippie song, "Take off your load and put the load right on down on me..." or something like that. It is up to the world to help the world. It is up to all of us, rich or poor, white or black, purple or orange, Christian or Muslim, male or female, young or old, etc., etc. etc....it is up all humans, not just one country, one religion, one race or one gender. To truly help the world's poor, it takes people from all continents, from all walks of life. Wed 25 Aug 2010 00:07:04 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=71#comment20 20. At 11:52pm on 24 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:colonelartist wrote: So you have not really heard about the reacriational camps like camp anaconda of iraq? shopping malls, fast food, slow food, internet facilities, swiming pools sovernour shops...You should have asked your brother in law to buy for you some souverniers from there...-------------------------------------------------------------------------Never heard of Camp Anaconda. Well, technically, he's not my brother-in-law, just call him that b/c its easier. He is my sister-in-law's half brother. He mostly stayed in the Green Zone. Even with all those 'luxuries' of fast food, etc., he missed home quite a lot and at one point was very depressed, so we all sent him lots of letters and care packages, which he said helped him very much and returned him to normalcy, at least as much as possible. He just returned home recently, is doing wonderful and has already got married, to a city grrrl! Lol.Receiving things from people back home means so much to many of the soldiers, no matter how big or small. It is the thought that counts the most and it lets our soldiers know how much we love them.-------------------------------------------------------------------------colonelartist wrote: The troops werent asked at the start of the game, what they think about the endgame is not important..Its the people of afghanistan that should be asked about what they think of the endgame of usa..After all it is their country the whole game is being played in..-------------------------------------------------------------------------Women are considered to to be the most peaceful and compromising...it would be great to hear what the Afghan women have to say...but they have to speak up and with the Taliban often terrorizing them, that isn't so easy to do...can't even imagine what they go through...we live in the same world, but the way we are treated are not the same...------------------------------------------------------------------------No and the difference is money and food. You have both in astonishing abundance and the Afghans have none.As to the first point. It is a popular view that women are more "peaceful" but I am not so sure it is true.If it is then why do they not pass on this inherent peacefullness to their children?And there are plenty of cases from Boadicca to Ranavolana to some of Pol Pot's cadres where women did not exactly emerge as peacemakers. Tue 24 Aug 2010 23:31:38 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=67#comment19 colonelartist wrote: So you have not really heard about the reacriational camps like camp anaconda of iraq? shopping malls, fast food, slow food, internet facilities, swiming pools sovernour shops...You should have asked your brother in law to buy for you some souverniers from there...-------------------------------------------------------------------------Never heard of Camp Anaconda. Well, technically, he's not my brother-in-law, just call him that b/c its easier. He is my sister-in-law's half brother. He mostly stayed in the Green Zone. Even with all those 'luxuries' of fast food, etc., he missed home quite a lot and at one point was very depressed, so we all sent him lots of letters and care packages, which he said helped him very much and returned him to normalcy, at least as much as possible. He just returned home recently, is doing wonderful and has already got married, to a city grrrl! Lol.Receiving things from people back home means so much to many of the soldiers, no matter how big or small. It is the thought that counts the most and it lets our soldiers know how much we love them.-------------------------------------------------------------------------colonelartist wrote: The troops werent asked at the start of the game, what they think about the endgame is not important..Its the people of afghanistan that should be asked about what they think of the endgame of usa..After all it is their country the whole game is being played in..-------------------------------------------------------------------------Women are considered to to be the most peaceful and compromising...it would be great to hear what the Afghan women have to say...but they have to speak up and with the Taliban often terrorizing them, that isn't so easy to do...can't even imagine what they go through...we live in the same world, but the way we are treated are not the same... Tue 24 Aug 2010 22:52:50 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=64#comment18 14. At 11:50pm on 23 Aug 2010, chronophobe wrote:re: Simon @ 11 The idea is that families distract soldiers from their primary duty and adds to their military rage.And of course rape was regarded as a legitimate tool of war -- one of the spoils of the victorious army. I'm not sure why the Colonel would be nostalgic for the practice.------------------------------------------------------------------------I am not sure of the point you ar emaking. Rape by the military has nothing to do with whether the soldiers were married whether it is Americans in Iraq, Russians in Berlin, the Japanese in China, Germans everywhere etc.Rape is unfortunately as natural to the military as looting. Where you get bands of armed young men with total power over civilians - then you will get rape - and occassionally intermarriage to of course. Tue 24 Aug 2010 22:29:12 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=60#comment17 The troops werent asked at the start of the game, what they think about the endgame is not important..Its the people of afghanistan that should be asked about what they think of the endgame of usa..After all it is their country the whole game is being played in.. Tue 24 Aug 2010 17:19:59 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=57#comment16 One of the most important things, as well, is care packages sent to the soldiers. Most things are permitted in care packages, but not all, so you have to look at the list. But snacks, cards, toiletries, etc. all can be used and are appreciated by the soldiers.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------So you have not really heard about the reacriational camps like camp anaconda of iraq? shopping malls, fast food, slow food, internet facilities, swiming pools sovernour shops...You should have asked your brother in law to buy for you some souverniers from there... Tue 24 Aug 2010 17:08:32 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=53#comment15 arclightt #3;"MAII's comments on the decline of engineering were right on target. I am an engineer, and it is appalling what that practice has degraded to."I didn't comment on the state of engineering in the US, only the failure of America's business, utility, and government culture to understand the vital role it plays and the depreciation of its perceived value. This comes as no surprise as the old cliche' has it about businessmen (especially MBA trained businesmen) that they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.I do lament what appears to be a decline in the overall quality of engineering but reflecting on it some more I think it is a very complex picture and depends on what area of engineering you are talking about. I think our accredited engineering schools still are excellent and the best in the world. We still have excellent civil engineers. We have among the very best electronics and software engineers. Nearly all of the major developments in high technology come out of the US. We excell in all fields of bioengineering and automation. Aerospace engineering too. Where we fall down in in what is perceived to be a lesser technology of electrical and mechanical enginering, especially electrical engineering. That aspect which sustains our critical physical infrastructure. That infrastructure is the entire underpinning of our technology based society. If it fails, all the rest of our technology will fail with it because it depends almostm entirely on it. I think part of the reason is that in prior decades these systems, especially electrical systems were so well built, so conservatively designed, the hardware so durable that its reliability and adequacy have been largely taken for granted. In a world where management philosophy and culture has it that we will deal with problems if and when they arise and will not invest money to pre-empt them, that creates dangerous risks that will have disasterous consequences. Often these are problems that will not be solved easily or qickly and certainly not cheaply. This is one area with a few hundred thousand or a few million in prevention is worth many millions and tens of milllions of cure. The impact of failure of these systems, the consequential costs can and will be staggering.In Autust 2004, the failure of a single electrical feeder in Ohio resulted in a cascade of events that shut down the entire power grid for all of the Northwest quadrant of North America for quite a number of hours. The outage spread all the way to Canada. This was not supposed to be possible but it happened. It is the lack of maintenance, redundancy, study, and committment to the integrity of these systems (regardless of the lip service that is paid about them) that characterizes the business culture which controls where resources are expended and where they aren't. While this is a particularly dramatic and extensive example, the same thing is happening at a smaller scale everywhere I look. You can barely find a large corporation that has an adequately sized and trained internal staff of facilites engineers and maintenance people anymore. Everything has been outsourced to people who have no direct committment, no day to day familiarity, and often no hands on experience with the systems and clients they are dealing with. As a result, when the inevitable finally happens, I don't think there will be nearly enough qualified people around to deal with even a sizeable percentage of it. Today business managers want everything done fast, cheaply, and they want equimpent and expertise for next to nothing. They will not get it because such a thing doesn't exist. What they will get instead are a large number of quick patchwork fixes while the underlying problems continue to fester. Out of sight, out of mind. And then one day, kaboom. They are are turning the US into one vast infrastrucure mine field of ticking time bombs. Tue 24 Aug 2010 11:32:32 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=49#comment14 Ref 14 chronophobe"I'm not sure why the Colonel would be nostalgic for the practice [rape]."I think the Colonel is only putting forth what would make the ideal soldier. I have to agree with him that marriage and the Army are not good together during times of war.War really doesn't go well with anything. Tue 24 Aug 2010 06:25:39 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=46#comment13 re: Simon @ 11 The idea is that families distract soldiers from their primary duty and adds to their military rage.And of course rape was regarded as a legitimate tool of war -- one of the spoils of the victorious army. I'm not sure why the Colonel would be nostalgic for the practice. Mon 23 Aug 2010 22:50:33 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=42#comment12 One of the most important things, as well, is care packages sent to the soldiers. Most things are permitted in care packages, but not all, so you have to look at the list. But snacks, cards, toiletries, etc. all can be used and are appreciated by the soldiers. Our schools and churches both put together care packages several times a year, especially seasonal times, to let them know how much they mean to us. My brother-in-law was stationed overseas in Iraq, just came back several weeks ago, thanks to the goodness by the grace of God, has thanked us several times for the care packages, of which he shared with other troops and greatly appreciated. He said the letters meant the most.Our brave soldiers fight for us day in and day out. They are there for us. Lets be there for them.I love you and thank you, brave and courageous soldiers, who fight for us and our allies. Americans like myself salute you and we do not and will not forget what you are sacrificing for the good of our country.Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers forever and always.May God Bless America and her Allies Forever and Ever... Mon 23 Aug 2010 22:01:13 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=39#comment11 Not sure what this means Mark do you know any country where families do not regret sending their relatives off to war?Pepys writing in the 17th century records hearing the cries and screams of sailors' families as the fleets left the Thames. Gravestones of young Athenians feature their family members saying (it is assumed) a final farewell.This would be more of a story if they families opposed the deployment.Oh and a soldier killed in action is a heavy burden. Being told your husband, son, brother etc is now a permanent paraplegic is no laughing matter either.And it is one of the more hideous aspects of how this war has been "spun" that the wounded practically never feature. Mon 23 Aug 2010 20:50:44 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=35#comment10 7. At 6:42pm on 23 Aug 2010, Scott0962 wrote:re. #6. At 5:23pm on 23 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:There is more to family support groups. I have been deployed (years ago) but my wife as told me that the families of those deployed would get together and have picnic's and families of the paltoons get together and visit. Even after the deployment the support is still there and grows into long lasting friendships. For the families of the military a deployment is more than a 5 minute news story. It is a stressful part of life. That can strenghten or destory a marriage ------------------------------------------------------------------------Why get married? a soldier as long as he is in the military should remain a bacholar..When you sign up for military, you sign up for the whole package, including being away from your family...if someone is not prepared for this, then they should think twice and one for time to be sure, before signing up.---------------------------Even the ancient Spartans allowed their professional soldiers to get married and have children.Enforced batchelorhood for soldiers is an appalling idea. Aside from the fact that it violates the very human rights our troops sign up to protect it would drive experienced and expensively trained personnel from the military when the services already have trouble getting enough volunteers. If anyone has earned the right to pass on their genes surely its our men and women in uniform who risk their lives to protect our society.-------------------------------------------------------------------------Not entirely true. Spartiates could not marry for some time after joining "their mess" and then they were supposed to sneak off to be with their wives. If caught they could be flogged.Legionaries could not marry either.The idea is that families distract soldiers from their primary duty and adds to their military rage. Mon 23 Aug 2010 20:42:17 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=32#comment9 I still think you'll drive experienced, trained personnel away from the service and discourage volunteers. How are you going to sell the idea to potential recruits, or do you propose to bring back the draft?-----------------------------------------------------------------------Its called, filtering out hay from the wheat...Only the ones ready to serve whole nine yards, the country...and not let military be polluted by those who end up in camps when they go out to defend the country...HOwever the way usa army is going, looks like its life expentancy is very short. the army would soon be made redundent..reliance of drones, and local militia is the new military strategy Mon 23 Aug 2010 19:13:44 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=28#comment8 re. # 8. At 7:11pm on 23 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:"Those were the old spartans, the genes dont go anywhere, they can wait til the soldier retires or get a desk job..Make use of modern technology and sperm banks...Yes, you can. the marines, the armored units, infantry unit..married life doesnt suit..Either you marry, or serve your country.."I still think you'll drive experienced, trained personnel away from the service and discourage volunteers. How are you going to sell the idea to potential recruits, or do you propose to bring back the draft? Mon 23 Aug 2010 18:36:21 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=24#comment7 Even the ancient Spartans allowed their professional soldiers to get married and have children.Enforced batchelorhood for soldiers is an appalling idea. Aside from the fact that it violates the very human rights our troops sign up to protect it would drive experienced and expensively trained personnel from the military when the services already have trouble getting enough volunteers. If anyone has earned the right to pass on their genes surely its our men and women in uniform who risk their lives to protect our society------------------------------------------------------------------------Those were the old spartans, the genes dont go anywhere, they can wait til the soldier retires or get a desk job..Make use of modern technology and sperm banks...Yes, you can. the marines, the armored units, infantry unit..married life doesnt suit..Either you marry, or serve your country.. Mon 23 Aug 2010 18:11:52 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=21#comment6 re. #6. At 5:23pm on 23 Aug 2010, colonelartist wrote:There is more to family support groups. I have been deployed (years ago) but my wife as told me that the families of those deployed would get together and have picnic's and families of the paltoons get together and visit. Even after the deployment the support is still there and grows into long lasting friendships. For the families of the military a deployment is more than a 5 minute news story. It is a stressful part of life. That can strenghten or destory a marriage ------------------------------------------------------------------------Why get married? a soldier as long as he is in the military should remain a bacholar..When you sign up for military, you sign up for the whole package, including being away from your family...if someone is not prepared for this, then they should think twice and one for time to be sure, before signing up.---------------------------Even the ancient Spartans allowed their professional soldiers to get married and have children.Enforced batchelorhood for soldiers is an appalling idea. Aside from the fact that it violates the very human rights our troops sign up to protect it would drive experienced and expensively trained personnel from the military when the services already have trouble getting enough volunteers. If anyone has earned the right to pass on their genes surely its our men and women in uniform who risk their lives to protect our society. Mon 23 Aug 2010 17:42:29 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=17#comment5 There is more to family support groups. I have been deployed (years ago) but my wife as told me that the families of those deployed would get together and have picnic's and families of the paltoons get together and visit. Even after the deployment the support is still there and grows into long lasting friendships. For the families of the military a deployment is more than a 5 minute news story. It is a stressful part of life. That can strenghten or destory a marriage ------------------------------------------------------------------------Why get married? a soldier as long as he is in the military should remain a bacholar..When you sign up for military, you sign up for the whole package, including being away from your family...if someone is not prepared for this, then they should think twice and one for time to be sure, before signing up. Mon 23 Aug 2010 16:23:51 GMT+1 radiorat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=14#comment4 There is more to family support groups. I have been deployed (years ago) but my wife as told me that the families of those deployed would get together and have picnic's and families of the paltoons get together and visit. Even after the deployment the support is still there and grows into long lasting friendships. For the families of the military a deployment is more than a 5 minute news story. It is a stressful part of life. That can strenghten or destory a marriage Mon 23 Aug 2010 16:03:24 GMT+1 GH1618 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=10#comment3 arclightt (3): "MAII's comments on the decline of engineering were right on target. I am an engineer, and it is appalling what that practice has degraded to."I just rearead all of MAII's comments in that thread, and I didn't find anything on the "decline of engineering." What I found were criticisms of government and business, not engineers.I, too, am an engineer, and would not call the practice of engineering in the US "appalling." Mon 23 Aug 2010 15:31:40 GMT+1 arclightt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=7#comment2 All: I suspect we'll have folks in Iraq for far longer than one year. We still have troops in the Balkans (1500 in Kosovo as of mid-2009, per a Congressional Research Service report I pulled), more than 10 years after the events there, and the Balkans are not very much farther along any road of healing than they were all those years ago ago. We never hear much of anything about these folks, though, even though they are just as much away from home, and just as much open to being killed or injured on duty.My hope is that we can choose leaders who will begin to properly count the costs of both military action / expansion and inaction / contraction, and will stop pursuing either course as an economic tool.Regards,ArclightPS I saw the topic on electric power too late to respond. There were lots of good comments about the crumbling of the infrastructure, as well as the comments about America's greater willingness to whine (part, I presume, of placing greater and greater emphasis on emotions). MAII's comments on the decline of engineering were right on target. I am an engineer, and it is appalling what that practice has degraded to. Mon 23 Aug 2010 11:23:08 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=3#comment1 Sounds like a valiant effort to support military families, keep up the good work!Here's a song written by a veteran from Alaska while on tour in Afghanistan.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75_aaIBb70w&feature=player_embedded Mon 23 Aug 2010 11:08:12 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/the_families_the_surge_leaves.html?page=0#comment0 I guess that depends on the reality on the ground in Afghanistan, especially a year from now. Most soldiers will simply want to get the job done so they can return home. IMO, the bigger question might be: what job are they suppose to be doing if everyone knows it's all over in one year? Is there some Frank Capraesque motivational film handy? Mon 23 Aug 2010 05:11:41 GMT+1