Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

This is coolbert: I have seen some news reports about the parents of soldiers being killed in Iraq as being very bitter. Hard to accept the loss of a son in any war. But with the current family structure in the U.S., it seems even more difficult to accept than it was in the past when war deaths did occur. And this does not have to necessarily to do with the nature of the war itself, it is legal/illegal/unnecessary, etc.

Bitterness is from a much greater realization.

The current archetype for the American family is to have two children, one son and one daughter if possible. The parents reproduce only themselves and no more. Zero population growth. This is sometimes not even done either. One child seems to be enough for some. This is done for a variety of reasons, mostly economic. Large families are almost non-existent any more.

And the idea is to raise that child with a maximum of nurturing. A lot of time, effort and yes, money, is spent in raising that child to adulthood. The parents have a lot of investment in a single child, or a boy in a male/female offspring [two children] household.

If that son enlists and serves in the military, while almost always a young man, and that young man goes to war and is killed, cut down in the prime of life, those parents have lost a tremendous investment. These parents, if this was an only child, no longer have hopes for grandchildren, someone to look after them in old age, etc. Their investment in the future has been totally dashed. This was not the case if there were five or six children in the family, as used to be the case not too long ago.

Zero population growth may be a good idea, and has a lot of adherents, but I am sure losing your only child/son at war was not a consideration of the advocates. Will this cause parents to rethink the entire concept?? NO, I am sure it will not. Wars of the future are going to create a lot of bitterness. Of course, a death at war was always a tragedy, even when sons of large families were killed. However, the deaths of soldiers now, because of the ideal family archetype being followed in so many cases, is even more emotionally troubling for the parents. Tragic!


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