Since the bombs began falling on Baghdad last week, Shannon Foshe ’06 has spent much of her time thinking about war, and worrying about her friends.
“I’ve been watching the news every day,” Foshe said. “I’ve actually had trouble doing my homework.”
With friends in both the Army and Navy deployed in the Middle East, Foshe is one of several Yale students distracted from life in New Haven by a personal stake in the war.
Foshe said watching the images of bombs exploding on television reminded her of the danger her friends were now in.
“It hit me really hard,” Foshe said. “I think that’s when it became real for me.”
Foshe said she is particularly close with one of her friends in the Army, who enlisted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“One of them is like a brother to me,” Foshe said. “He’s been gone since November.”
Foshe said she communicates with her friends in the Navy regularly through the Internet. But her friend in the Army has been harder to keep tabs on. She received official word only yesterday that he had been deployed to Iraq.
Jordan Davis ’05, whose father served in the military for 21 years, said the threat of war was not prominent in her family growing up.
“There was never really the conscious thought of my dad going to war,” Davis said.
Davis said her whole family was relieved her father, whose time in the Army included service in the Middle East, retired in 2001.
“It made him happy that he retired in time,” Davis said. “The timing of it worked out so well for my family.”
But, Davis said, her father’s long career in the military made him many friends who are still in harm’s way.
“Two of the guys in his battalion were deployed. He trained them, so he’s confident in their abilities,” Davis said. “But it’s scary for him to think about what could happen.”
Yale’s small group of ROTC students have little risk of actually being involved in the war in Iraq, since they have no obligation to serve until after they graduate from college. But the reality of war has not gone unnoticed. ROTC Air Force cadet Matthew Collins ’03 said the tension in Iraq has only strengthened his resolve that service in the Air Force is for him.
“I think a lot of things post 9-11 have validated my choice to join ROTC,” Collins said. “In a large way, [the war] reinforces every reason why I want to join the military.”
Collins refused to speak specifically about what his supervisors have told him regarding the war and said he could not say much about his own political views.
“We’re told explicitly not to comment,” Collins said. “We don’t want to give the impression that the views expressed by any cadet are the views of the Air Force or the military.”
Since he has retired, Davis’ father can now freely express his reservations about the war in Iraq. But Davis says he feels conflicted in openly opposing the war, since he remains close with those doing the fighting.
“I think it’s difficult for him not necessarily agreeing with the command,” she said. “He wants everything to work out but he doesn’t agree on why they’re there in the first place.”
Foshe said she has tried to ignore lingering doubts about the war, and focuses instead on the safety of her friends.
“I’m neither anti-war or pro-war, Foshe said. “I just want it to be over.”