Sunday, August 01, 2004

His War: Our Soldier

ANCHOR-We are getting reports of a car bomb that has gone off in Baghdad –tentative reports say it may be in front of a Christian Church…wait we are getting the first pictures. The smoke looks very black, can this really be a car bomb or was a fuel station hit?

REPORTER-No, this is a car bomb –they have gotten very good at making them out here.

ME: That’s was CB said the other day.

HUSBAND: Yeah, I know.

SISTER: Who is CB?

ME: He’s our soldier…

Mine, justrose’s, ~Jen~’s, 91Ghost’s, EXFBonnie’s, ThisWe’llDefend’s (the list is endless)….he has become ‘our soldier’, and many of us are here because we started reading his site and ours evolved from there.

Fox News:
Anchor:We are also getting reports there was a bomb in Mosul

My heart sinks…I will be checking every hour to see if CB posted now. How did this stranger become such an important part of my life? I have been thinking about this all day as I fretted over the fact that he has yet to post at 10pm EST. What if something happened to him? How will we know? Do his parents know about the site? His wife?

No matter what our politics of origin, those of us who flock to his site -(for the most part) leave them behind there. It is a sanctuary from the vitriol. There we don’t care so much if it’s Bush or Kerry –we only care to know that he’s OK and that he continues to feed our addiction to war-real-time. Maybe somewhere deep down we all feel guilty (stateside guilt I always say)…if we read each and every day we are involved –invested even.

JUSTICE: Mom, I want to see what CB looks like.

ME: You can’t, he can’t put his picture up.

JUSTICE: You have yours there.

ME: I am not at war.

Sometimes I feel like we are all being selfish –maybe not consciously, but selfish none-the-less. We want confirmation to validate our point of view… “See he says that he is mad at Bush for stop-loss…” “No see, he said that he thinks it would be a slap in the face to vote for Kerry…” and so on...

I notice reading the posts that many try to slip in their views --scantily veiled in ‘concern’…”CB, I am undecided, but vote Kerry so maybe you can home quicker.” In some small way maybe we all want him to justify all that we have said-- for or against the war.

ME: Dad, have you read the soldier blog that is linked to my site yet?

DAD: It takes me long enough to read everything on yours.

ME: Read his instead then, you will love it…read his. Ya know what he said the worst pick up line in Iraq is?

DAD: What?

ME: Are you a terrorist, cause you da bomb….

Here is a person that I have never met…a person who has no first name…no face…yet a friend. His words have become so familiar –so anticipated. He seems to be the embodiment of all that is good in this country. A hero….yet he is often blunt, disgruntled…and human. A visitor to his site once pointed out that the ‘hawks’ were overlooking glaring signs that say, “Anti-war” –the painting choice, the link to Hunter Thompson…but I think that’s what I find so wonderful. He seems mad about the war sometimes –yet the next day touched by a gesture from a local. He listens to SOD, but reads Hunter Thompson. He comes from a republican family –yet contemplates a vote for Nader.

ME: Do you think more than one person writes CB’s page?


ME: Because he just doesn’t make sense. Hunter Thompson said that he would rip off the heads and piss down the neck of this Nazi administration….

JUSTROSE: No, it’s just him…

I disagree with those who constantly tell him to go to school for writing/journalism. Academia will steal his edge and attempt to reign in his raw talent and passion. His writing is real and prompts many of us to respond with words of comfort and well-wishes each day.

The things that many of us say/want to say to him –“We are proud of you”, “Stay safe”, “Thank you for what you are doing”…seem to ring hollow typed in the comments section of the blog…but I know they are all truly from each person’s heart.
There is no figuring this soldier out –and that’s why he is everyone’s soldier…he is our soldier.

*For anyone that hasn’t read CBFTW’s site –please do at


Frater Bovious said...

I first started reading him when I saw on ~jen~' site the thing about "Am I the only one that freaks out when he doesn't post?"

I looked several times a day, anxious, until he did. What freaked me out was the post about "I'm not supposed to be here" and then he skipped a day.

I tell everyone to go there. I think about the stupid crap I think is so traumatic, until I go back and read something he wrote.

His writing is raw and real. He doesn't need any "training". A writer writes as Owen was told. (Throw Momma From the Train.)

Loved your post. I've been thinking about him all day. Thanks.

RBP said...

My older brother is in the Navy, I talked to him on the phone today. He doesn't think he will go over there. He's waiting on his next deployment orders. He doesn't know where that will be. He has a wife and a young daughter.

Kat said...

yeah...that's how I feel about it, too. Whatever he posts is real. he makes it real. It helps me to remember that there are real people that are over there. I read a couple other blogs as well. There is a woman who sounds a bit like CB. Thinks things suck. Will vote Democrat because it goes with her personal domestic agenda. Thinks that we are doing the right think in Iraq. Even when she's pissed, she gets up and does her job. Very inspiring.

she also talks about the other soldiers around her and they are very human. Anger, fear, friendship, weird relationships. Just like civilians. That makes them real people and not some toy in a uniform. That can make you even more proud of their continuing service.

Gotta love those soldiers.

I don't have the link right this second, but "A View From A Broad" is on my links. You might not agree with her politics, but she is very funny and down to earth like CB.

this we'll defend said...

ALa71 - well said. Very well said.

~Jen~ said...

Sometimes I think you can read my mind Ala. :)

This post brought tears to my eyes today. I've had the same conversations in my real life about him. Scary. Sometimes I email his posts out to my email list. The one titled "Dear Mom having a blast" about the 18 year old kid he met in that internet cafe just ripped my heart out. He does that to me a several times a week. Frater, that one about "I'm not even supposed to be here" tore me up too. I don't think he understands what his posts mean to the rest of us. Maybe that is even part of his charm, though "charm" seems a pretty weak word for it. I don't know. This universal appeal that he has, to reach across all political/personal/whatever differences and speak to all of us, it just floors me.

Thanks for writing this. I'm going to copy it and paste it on my site.

~Jen~ said...

JFM, my husband was a Navy boy too. He was on the Roosevelt, known by the sailors as "The Pig" (he won't say why - must be naughty - hehehehee).

Please thank your brother for me for serving our country. Will you keep us updated on him?


justrose said...

The thing is, they always go on about "the troops this and the troops that" on the news -- and what we really all want to know is that they had eggs and sausage and with a side of bacon for breakfast. Or got ants down their pants. Or papered the inside of the Stryker with Maxim girls. Or said God I'll never sin again if you get me through this ride.

It's very hard to feel a personal connection with the people who are fighting this war for us, because we're not given one. CB's site is a window into a reality that we are, in some part, shielded from. For one soldier. And yet his posts have such a universality to them. And he tells it all with such grace and humor, and yet through the eyes of a warrior.

He's not afraid to say he felt bad for the bad guy's wife and kids. And yet he fights on, missing his own wife and cursing his cancelled leave, because he is doing his job and that is what he is there to do. Everyone should be that selfless.

I just think his blog is a literary treasure -- living, breathing history. We are all privileged to be able to share there. The only drawback I see to the blog is when people use it for their own agenda, forgetting for a moment what this man -- and all his comrades -- are there enduring for us so that we can sit here and talk about it.

He said on mail call once, I don't know what kind of difference I'm making for America. Well, apart from his contributions to the military effort -- which are significant and honorable -- from reading his blog, I surely know.

alix said...

with all that on his mind - the carnage, the poignant contact with locals, the humanity he somehow preserves in the face of darkest human endeavors - my first thought was "how lucky we are. how privileged we are that he sees fit to share and even ANSWER our QUESTIONS!"

i agree that schooling will possibly dull his spontaneous and unrefined succinct dialogue. how i've grown to love this stranger! every day i check on him in the limited way we do...worry when he hasn't posted...marvel how Mosul has been marked on my map. God bless him for that. how *couldn't* he have made a difference?

Bigandmean said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and writing talent. I understand now what Jen has been talking about for months. You and Justrose are brilliant. Keep up the good work.

~Jen~ said...

Hi Bigandmean, I know it seems like months, but would you believe I signed up for a blog around my birthday? Weird huh.

leftyjones said...

I see you were discussing brilliant people.
I see that I was left out.
I'm going to go start a war now.
I hope you're happy.

91ghost said...

I agree with you that academia will blunt his sword. Not only that he'll run into the consumate, "lesbian seagull" (referring to Beavis and Butthead) English professor who will be both intimidated, disdainful, and jealous of him and will do his/her best to put a damper on his writing. I'm really hoping that CB will simply save all of his writings from over there. If he does so, he might have a few weeks of some organizational work to do and a little editing, but I think he could pop out one hell of a book that America needs to read.

exfbonnie said...

Ala71 - This is so beautiful. Im posting this word for word with a link to your site. So eloquent. "Our Soldier -My War."
This comes down to the very root of what being human is all about. We are always so tied up in whats happeing with ourselves, that CB stands for whats left of what it is to be a good human being. Pulling so hard for some stranger's survival, so that we may tell his story so that it becomes a part of our own. A genuine Holden Caufield, the last of a dying breed.

91ghost said...

No, he's not the last of a dying breed---he's the latest in a long line of CBFTWs--they've been in every war and always will...

Shar said...

I can to your site via CB's site. I love his writing, worry about how he is, hope his family is doing alright while he is away and most of all hope he comes home safely.

On another soldiers website I had said that
"I think its wonderful that you are willing to share
a part of your life with us, the public.

Many many people will read what you write, they
will care about how you are doing, they will value
your opinion, care about what you think and feel,
they will worry about you, include you in their prayers.
People will be concerned about your welfare and
the welfare of your family.

As you reach out to people, so do people reach
out to you. By reaching to you in return, we
reach out to each and every soldier who will
go off to war and try to show our concern that
each one of you will come home safely.

In the land of instant messaging and internet
blogs you are never very far from someone who cares about you."

That was on the American Soldier website who is waiting to go to Iraq and just started a blog.

I think that is the best way I can put it about how I feel about soldier's blogs and why I read them and worry about each and every one of them everyday.

I read the A View from a Broad site too and agree its very good, whether you agree with her politics or not.

Desultory Girl said...

91 Ghost, (on the phone with Punk Rock Mommy), she says and I quote, "I know, you are one of them"

Tammi said...

He's how I found you!! :-)

I check CB, Hook, Sarah @ Trying to Grog, Mudville and Matt @ Blackfive first thing every day. It's been absolute hell not being able to get on line and see how everyone is this past week.

I read his post today and about fell out of my chair.

And what you say is so right - he is Our Soldier.