08 March 2010

Don't Ask, We Won't Tell

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been trying to figure out why I reacted negatively to some well-intended questions during my extended airport delays last week, but more positively to others. I started a list of questions I personally hoped wouldn't be asked of me--at least until I could think up some better answers. Some other citizen-soldiers might be better able to apply verbal-judo to deflect some of these, but I'm not one of them. I've heard some of these first-hand, others through news and buddy-reports.

Questions Not to Ask a Soldier You've Just Met:
  • "Where are you all traveling?"
  • "Do you want to be deployed?"
  • "When is your unit deploying?"
  • "To where is your unit deploying?"
  • "How long will you be gone?"
  • "Do you believe we should be over there?"
  • "Have you ever killed someone?"
  • "Have you ever been hit by an IED?"
  • "What do you think about Bush/Obama?"
That last question is a favorite ice-breaker of nosy taxi drivers around the world. (It's either "Bush good!" or "Bush very bad--but I love Amrika!") Here, in my own country, the question is still way above my pay-grade. Besides, the president is in my chain-of-command, and I'm wearing the American flag. I don't bad-mouth the boss, no matter who he is and what his politics are.

So don't ask me to.


  1. Excellent attitude. It's difficult to keep a handle on, even when you aren't directly employed by The Powers That Be, but have dear friends who are.

    Civilians can have a difficult time navigating those waters, as we experience some of the frustration of and with our military friends. All we can do is pray and support. We may not be perfect in our speech and attitude, but we actually pray for our President. Every day.

    Thanks for the good object lesson.

  2. Shit, Sherpa, I don't expect you to bad-mouth your CIC...I'll do it for ya. Gladly!

  3. @ Coffeypot: Roger that--but I'm also guessing that your observations would be about the POTUS's politics, party, or policies, rather than his actions as commander-in-chief.

    I appreciate your distinction, by the way, regarding the "CIC" role--I get a little nervous when I hear politicians, for example, start talking about how the American people must support "their commander-in-chief." I didn't sign up for a military republic, and I'm pretty sure no one else did, either.

    Finally, I realized I may have misspoken. As a National Guard soldier--until federally mobilized, my commander-in-chief is technically the governor of the state of Iowa. Trust me, you'd probably have a lot of fun with him, too ...


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