There's different levels of suck, and they parallel the different levels of reality.
A the sharp end of suck, you're on foot patrol in some crazy eddie infested part of Iraq, dodging direct fire and IEDs. Realities pretty sharp up there, at the tip.
Move back a bit, and you're in one of those C.O.B.'s, the company operating base. Life's a little less Hobbseian there, indirect fire attacks and VBIEDs.
You get to go on a combat logistics patrol, and you find yourself on a F.O.B., the forward operating base. Some hot chow. A shower.
When you need to brief big, maybe you get to the M.O.B., a main operating base bereft of combat power, but in the words of Dave Bowman, "it's full of stars."
Time to leave, and you're at a S.N.O.B., a somewhat near operating base, where they wear funny uniforms and smile more often.
Finally, you get on a plane and head west. Somewhere over the Atlantic, you pass through the looking glass and arrive back in America. At this point, the suck is real low. But so is the level of reality.
It's a continuum.
What's fun is finding people along that continuum, and hearing what they say. Times have changed. Back in the day, if all you had was a handsomely bound, leather Italian writing journal and a quill pen, well, then that was what you used. Today, with web 2.0, email, phones and a general connectivity, the front is just there, over the hedge row. It's no secret that military personnel blog (don't ask, don't tell).
So two things.
One was this email exchange by a Marine, who, because he's anonymous, we'll call Stud. I'd brushed up against the "controversy" over the weekend, but found the full exchange on David Axe's most excellent Warisboring. Stud writes:
"God, I do love killing these bastards."
Now see, obviously, Stud is troubled. Probably something about a confused sexual relation with his Dad, inner feelings of insecurity, or a white boy's fear of the "other." Or probably not. Looks, god bless the Marines. They are nucking futs. If I get a DEPORD to invade hell, here's to hoping the Marines go in first. And they will.
Read the whole thing, as they say, and you don't find a blood thirsty maniac bent of notching up the so called 655,000 dead Iraqis a bit more. You find someone who, simply, found someone "who needed killing." Crazy Eddie.
Well, I swung up the contimuum a bit, and found this post at a NSFW site about CPT KJ, and officer blogging from Baghdad. For Glamour Magazine. First thing I thought, when her picture popped up was, um, yeah, "air force."
But she's on that continuum, and web 2.0 enabled. Flickr, a blog, and now the Glamour thing.
Fighting a different fight than Stud, but fighting nonetheless.
My whole thing is these voices from the front are varied, and getting louder. My one fear, is that they won't break through the noise at home.
What's it like, when someone tells you to have a nice day, you respond that you are....and then you get ignored.