Rachel Starnes's new book is The War at Home: A Wife’s Search for Peace (and Other Missions Impossible): A Memoir.
From her Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross:
GROSS: What year did your husband join the military?Visit Rachel Starnes's website.
GROSS: So how did you feel about him joining the military when you didn't support the war in Iraq?
STARNES: That was difficult because it wasn't so much that I didn't support the war in Iraq as I just still hadn't really had the time to untangle my feelings about what it was I'd seen when I lived in the Middle East. And again, my family was there for three years in various incarnations. Myself, I was only in the kingdom for my ninth-grade year. But my impressions of Saudi Arabia and of living in the Middle East also coincided with a pretty intense time in my life. It was kind of the peak of the awkwardness of my adolescence. And the experience of being white and female and young and Western in that country was so profoundly disorienting.
And now to have so much of our country focused on events in the Middle East and the question of, do we belong over there or not; what are we pursuing; what are our goals - and also knowing that there was quite a lot of nuance in that population, there were quite a lot of - there was a whole spectrum of ideas and understandings of Islam. And to hear it discussed on such a single note in our country was deeply disturbing to me in a way that I really just had not had the time to sort out. So, yeah, I mean, jumping into that, both in the collective sense as an American when we invaded Iraq, and then also in a very direct sense, supporting someone who was going to be joining that force, was very difficult for me.
And I told him in the beginning, upfront, look, you know, I - what do you need from me in terms of support, because here's what I don't think I can offer - which is a clear and uncomplicated view of what it is you're about to do in a macro sense. I don't have that. What I do have is a conviction that serving in the military is noble and is one of the most active ways you can put your citizenship into practice, and...[read on]