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Yin and Yang: Military Style

There's been a lot of debate lately regarding the video game, Medal of Honor. Apparently, this gameallows a player to become a member of the Taliban and shoot American and coalition forces. Everyone from Gold Star mothers to the British government to AAFES (who refused to sell the game) went on record to decry the tastlessness of this game.

My friend, Christian weighed in yesterday and reminded us that the grunts he's spent time with during his embeds would have no objection to this type of game.

The point is, I saw first hand that it didn't matter to those Marines playing the game who's side you were on. They were just as vicious to eachother in a virtual context and didn't pay much attention to the morality of it.

But that's not how it went down with the poo bahs at the military exchanges. It turns out, the game has been banned from the PX at almost all bases and stations because of the Taliban option. Execs agreed with families and some vet advocates that the game's "become a terrorist" capability just hit a little too close to home...nevermind that the game's earlier versions allow you to play a Nazi or Japanese soldier in World War II battlefields. Heck, that was 60 years ago, right?

But I guarantee you every Joe, Grunt, Airman and Squid over in The Zone will be clamoring to play this game in their hooch as soon as they can get their hands on it.

Christian is probably correct, and I've seen this line of commentary bandied about in various forums. After reading the arguments for and against this game, I pushed the superficial discussion aside and examined why it was, exactly, that actual soldiers can be unbothered by something like this, but family members can be deeply affected by it.

Military families struggle, thrive, fight, fail and succeed as a unit, but the spouse and the service member often employ very different coping mechanisms and have opposite reactions to events which affect the military community. Namely, war. When my husband is preparing to deploy, he is very matter-of-fact regarding the tasks at hand. Things like updating living wills, wills, SGLI paperwork, POAs and the zillion other forms that must be completed before deploying are mere tasks. Check the box and move on. Paperwork. But the things contained in that haunting yellow envelope are more than papers to me. They're a prescient reminder of what could go wrong. Where he sees a piece of paper, necessary and important though it is, I see a possible death warrant.There have been times in the past when I've been all "wee-wee'd" up over some anti-military sentiment and my husband didn't give it a second thought

While we lay awake at night, terrible thoughts infecting our minds and threatening our sanity, our spouses are busy carrying out their missions. Many of which are very dangerous. They are focused and professional. We're preparing for the worst, obsessing in some cases, and they're thinking about accomplishing their mission. Checking the box. Moving on to the next task. I've heard soldiers say they have no time to sit and think about worst-case scenarios, nor would they want to. Many have said they prefer to spend their down time thinking good thoughts about home and family.

On the other hand....

We're at home equipped with little information (or that of the frightening variety) and are left trying to imagine what our spouses are going through and what they're up against. I've created imaginary mountains out of imaginary molehills more times than was necessary or healthy, but that happens on the homefront. I deal in what ifs while my husband deals in reality.

Although we're husband and wife navigating military life together, our perspectives are as different as our experiences are unique.I've used far too many words to simply say that the Medal of Honor debate made me realize that I'm more wrapped up in my husband's mortality than he is. This may seem odd on its face, but I don't think it's an unusual reaction to matters of life and death as they pertain to war.

Yin and Yang, Military Style.....

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