Recently I ran across an article that discussed resentment among some in the military over women who are perceived to have gotten pregnant intentionally to avoid deployment or service. Later I read that one of the arguments in favor of permitting abortion on overseas military bases is that many servicewomen become pregnant after being raped. Then someone from my church posted a photo on facebook of a woman she knows. The woman was wearing fatigues and sitting in a chair in the rubble of a destroyed building in Iraq. She was holding a pistol (oddly enough, it appeared to be a flare gun), and had a big smile on her face. Several folks commented about how awesome she looked. These separate things troubled me, and I decided to do some research regarding women in the U.S. military.
The list of disturbing facts I posted two days ago are some of the things I discovered. I really didn’t know what conclusions or opinions to draw from them. I decided to post them here, without commentary. I didn’t know what to title the post, but what came to my mind was a TV commercial from my childhood. When I was a kid, cigarette ads were the most common commercials on TV. I can still remember several of the jingles. One was for a cigarette targeted to women, and commercializing the “women’s lib” movement of those days. It went: “You’ve come a long way, baby, to get where you got to today. You’ve got your own cigarette now baby. You’ve come a long, long, way.” Revolting, isn’t it? Well, that is what popped into my mind as I looked at the sad list of facts. So I titled the post, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”
A few hours later I was on a shuttle bus at the airport. I picked up my courtesy copy of USA Today, and buried in the middle of section A was a blurb announcing the latest US military death in Afghanistan. It was Simone Robinson. Reading that, and thinking about the post I had just made on this blog, was like a stab in my heart.
When I got home I changed the title of the post to “Daughters, mothers, wives, sisters.” Then I looked up more information about Simone, and created the post I put up yesterday.
There is so much I want to say about this tragedy, and yet I cannot do the subject justice.
I’ve prayed for Simone, her parents and her young daughter. And for the thousands who have gone before her, and their families.
It is our obligation to work for justice and for peace. We live in a broken and messed up world. Let us all look forward to the day when young mothers like Simone live to grow old in the company of their children.