I love my cousin Sarah. Tomorrow is her 25th birthday. She has a total of four service days left before she is out of active service in the army. She already served in Afghanistan for a year and I’ve been holding my breath hoping that they wouldn’t send her to Iraq. Technically, they can send her ass over there at any time in the next four years but I’m really hoping that’s not the case. Four days. Four days and she’s free, so to speak.

I love Sarah. Growing up I absolutely idolized her. She was and still is, my closest cousin on my mother’s side of the family. She’s hilarious and goofy and full of spunk. I love her. Historically speaking, she comes from a pretty long line of soldiers. We’re not a military family by any means but my Grandmother’s side of the family has been fighting in American wars since the time of the pilgrims. (Seriously. Her ancestors were some of the original Presbyterian settlers.) My ancestors fought in the Civil War, both World Wars and more recently my uncle fought in the first Gulf War. Just about each generation has had at least one member of the military. But I never, not in a million years, would have thought that Sarah, of all my cousins, would join the army. I’m pretty sure if someone had told me beforehand that she was going to, I would have called the cops to report some serious crack abuse. She’s more than just not the type. She’s the type flipped on its axis and covered in spray paint.

Her parents are wealthy, upper middle class folks who gave her a great upbrining and a private education. It’s not like she was fresh out highschool either. She was halfway through her Junior year of college when she joined. Besides that, though, she’s a total rebel. I’m talking piercings, tattoos, dyed hair (shaved head at one point.) She was a total free spirit, so for her to willingly sign over her life to the ultimate authoritative and disciplinary institution ever? Well that was just ridiculous. I truly didn’t believe it when I heard it, it was just that preposterous.

She came out to our family shortly after she signed up. (Ironic, I know.) Her right wing, Christian parents flipped out. It was a quite a one-two punch for them. I couldn’t have cared less and told her as much. I don’t give a flying fuck whom she (or anyone) loves or makes love to. It makes no difference to me either way. I love her no matter what and would forgive her almost anything. Almost

It’s taken four years but I’m finally to the point where I can see her as my cousin, instead of just as a soldier. I’m relieved to no end that she’s getting out. That after four years I won’t have to worry about her being killed. That she’ll be able to go on with her life. I love her so much. But no matter what, I will never be able to forgive her.

It’s horrible, I know but as much as I love her and enjoy spending time with her, there is a part of me that will always view her as an enemy. It’s not just that she joined forces with the man, she joined forces with everything that I loathe and despise in the world. She didn’t just sign a contract with the devil. To me, this was giving him a strip tease and fucking him as well.

My mom has this bumper sticker on her Toyota Prius. She got it while Sarah was in Afghanistan. My mom and I tend to have very similar opinions regarding politics except for that. See, I don’t support our troops.

Yeah, I said it.

I don’t support the war in Iraq and I don’t think that blindly supporting the the troops when they are fighting an illegal and unjust war makes an iota of sense. They are not protecting our rights or defending our freedom because our rights and freedoms have only ever been threatened by the very people who have sent them over there in the first place. No, it’s not their fault that they have been ordered there by an oil hungry maniac but they did choose their professions. They chose to be soldiers. And as far as I’m concerned there is nothing noble about being a professional killer. I can forgive just about anything, but not that.

Not that.

But I’m glad she’s almost out and that she’s safe and relatively unscathed.

I love her.