A NEW WAY TO STAND AND WAIT |
October 09, 2006
Technology has made this a new war both for our soldiers and for those of us who "also serve." I don't often agree with my fellow alumnus's political opinions, but I think the recent Doonesbury series on email and spouses is pretty on target. DH never tells me when he is going out or when he is going to be back. First of all, it is a violation of OPSEC (Operational Security). Second of all, it just produces unnecessary worry. However, I know there are plenty of couples who are constantly online together, and DH and I communicate pretty regularly thanks to the internet.
As Trudeau highlights, the communications technology can be a mixed blessing. When you hear from your loved one every day and then suddenly not for 48 hours, you begin to picture all sorts of horrors. Of course, you remind yourself that your information is up to date -- that you would have heard already if tragedy had struck -- but still you worry, tensing at every noise. Was that a knock at the door?
On the flip side, the technology can play into the soldiers' paranoia as well. It is 10:00 pm there, why didn't my wife answer my IM? Where is she? Much of our force is young (as is usually the case for warriors) and the young tend to be less secure in their relationships.
On the balance, though, I like the webcams and IM-ing -- especially now, so DH can see Lilah's growth. I can't even imagine what life was like for our grandmothers during earlier wars, when they were lucky if a letter made it through once a month or so, and the soldiers were often away for years at a time.