taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

It's the night before the war begins. My last call from my sister was on Friday; I suspect she called because it was her last chance before she was cut off. We don't even know if she's at Doha any more, or even in Kuwait. The sandstorms continue, she told me.

In 1991, when we went into the Gulf the first time, Nick and I drank beers at a bar in Federal Hill and watched the TV and held hands. I was seventeen, he was twenty-one; I remember thinking I hope they don't reinstate the draft, because he would've had to go. That night it seemed like the world might end--partly because we were so, so young and have never seen a war before. Vietnam ended the year I was born, and Grenada and Panama were not even blips. But Iraq looked like it might last a while. Of course, in hindsight, we should have known it would be no contest. Though what we left undone, we're paying for now.

This is my sister's first deployment in twenty-five years in the Army. I suppose we should consider that lucky, but this war looks bad from start to finish. I hope it's quick. I hope it's painless. But I'm not stupid enough to be able to sustain that delusion for long. I know people will die. As long as it's not her, I'm okay with that. I can't pretend to some kind of honor here: she has to get back okay, and that's all I care about at this point.

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