So with the permission of the author (heh), I am reposting a portion of a posting from The Flight Deck a little over one year ago which should, hopefully, explain most of that.
'A Little To The Right Please'
I came to Lex's blog last summer. I came specifically and explicitly to read Rhythms. An occasional commenter here was praising Lex's writing on the IMDB site for one of Clancy's movies. And praising it. And praising it. So I finally decided to come and see what all the hype was about. And, of course, I was totally blown away. Lex once pegged me as loving a good sea story. And he's right, I do. Particularly if there are fighter jets involved. But I didn't even know that about myself when I first came here.
So with Rhythms complete, I checked out the blog. What was this place all about anyway? I did not come here to talk politics. I was not looking for a place to talk politics. Why would I be? I must admit that if Lex's writing had been a little less to the centre, a little more to the right than what it is, I would have left here pretty quickly. A "great story, shame about the rest of it" kind of thing. But it was just close enough to and just far enough away from my own thinking, that it titillated me. Challenged me. Gave me pause. And kept me reading. And, of course, one never knew when one would find another sea story. It started there. It ended up here. Hooked. Line and sinker.
In the last little while I noticed that something else has happened. Besides feeling right at home (some days I wonder if I feel too much at home here!), I notice that something has changed for me in my thinking about Iraq. Took me a while to figure out exactly what it was but now I think I have it. I would like to try to explain it.
Here's where I started, before I set foot in the land of Lex. I always felt that the US should not have invaded Iraq and was glad Canada did not join them. I was, however, more than okay with going after the Taliban in Afghanistan and was always proud to have Canadians soldiers there doing their part. I've also always felt that even though you shouldn't have went to Iraq, now that you're there, you can't just pull out. It was broke before you went there (under Saddam) and now its broke again...broke bigger ... broke different ... something like that. Anyway, you have to finish what you started. And I wish, hope and pray for only the best to come out of that. For the Iraqis. For the Americans. For all of us. Nothing much has really changed in any of that.
But here's where something different happened. Although I always would have been/was sympathetic and supportive to the individual soldiers involved, that was because I viewed them as just people "doing their jobs". Now, I see it differently. We (you and I and everyone else) are just people doing our jobs. They (all the soldiers from wherever in both Iraq and Afghanistan) are amazing people doing an an amazing, extraordinary job. And we (meaning those of us who have never served or have someone close to us serving) can hardly begin to comprehend what their day to day life is like. And if we could, we wouldn't want to.
Before I was supportive "in the abstract" without thinking too much of the details of what exactly they did or what their daily lives were like. But now with what I've been exposed to here, its much more real to me and its become somewhat, actually a lot more personal to me. I "identify" with them at a much more personal level than I ever did before. And interestingly enough, that would now be true not only for the American soldiers but also for "my own", the Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. Although in the past year, pre-dating my coming here, I had developed an interest in the military I never had before (from reading the Clancy books), being here played off and strengthened that interest. And then turned it from an "interest" into something much more personal.