As we approach eight years of war, too many military families are quietly coming apart at the seams. The public hears the most dramatic stories and statistics — soldiers killing their wives, themselves, each other. Less well known are the effects that prolonged war and multiple deployments have had on our daily lives. As the wife of a commander of a battalion that deployed last year, I know that many of us feel embittered, powerless and disconnected from the Army in which we and our husbands serve.
The blogosphere provides a sense of the many families coping with health issues and the less tangible effects of war and military life, including how marginalized many feel. “Spare me the rah rah party line about how much the Army is doing for the soldiers once they come home,” wrote one wife whose husband had suffered a traumatic brain injury. “[T]hey don’t do even half of what they should to provide adequate treatment for soldiers coming back from deployment.” Wrote another wife: “We are outsiders living inside an institution that doesn’t want to see or hear us. . . . You don’t have to wear a uniform to be wounded by these wars, but no one outside of those of us impacted seem[s] to know this.”