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West Point Class Of 2002

Most of us heard some portion of the president's 2002 speech outlining the doctrine of pre-emption. It was a huge shift in U.S. policy, and kicked up an enormous debate. But for the graduating class of West Point that year, it changed their lives. President Bush delivered that speech at the United States Military Academy, and every new officer listening was sure to prepare for war. Bill Murphy, Jr., went back and talked with many of the members of the class of 2002, and their friends and families. He tells their stories in a new book, In A Time of War. On the 7th anniversary of 9/11, we'll talk with Bill, and a member of the class of 2002. As well as the widow of another member whose story is told in the book. If you are — or were — in the military, how did 9/11 change your life?



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We are a proud military family and Sept. 11 changed our lives completely because my husband started Officer Candidate School soon after Sept. 11. When my husband became a commissioned officer we were suppose to head to Fort Lewis, Washington. A presumed Army base where people never deployed, simply stayed home with their families. However, Fort Lewis is the home of the Stryker Bridage. With that said, my husband became part of this new brigade 3rd. Brigade 2nd. ID. The first Stryker Brigade! So, we only saw my husband for 6 weeks before he was told that he would also deploy to Iraq for an entire year. Keeping in mind that my husband was nearly gone for 18 months before he was again part of the family ( 2 army schools plus a deployment).

Sent by Veronica Williams | 2:42 PM | 9-11-2008

I was in the reserves on 9/11. I was intially afraid I was going to miss the war. The unit I commanded was finally called up for duty in Afghanistan in 2003. Before we deployed, we were told that the Afghanistan mission was a peace keeping operation simmiliar to Bosnia or Kosovo. I got the impression my peace time higher command did not take the Afghanistan mission as seriously as the Iraq mission. Within 2 weeks or arriving in Afghanistan, my company began to suffer combat casualities. They also dismissed many of my reports when I did not say what the wanted to hear. Despite two tours in Iraq after that, I am still angry about this.

Sent by Bill | 2:44 PM | 9-11-2008

In the segment it was briefly discussed that people who are not serving in the military or do not have loved ones serving in the military are not shouldering any burdens. It is not a matter of fairness, but choice. As Americans we have a choice to serve in our military or not. To assume that we should all pay the price of war regardless of our personal values and choices, is ludicruous.

Sent by Kristine | 2:44 PM | 9-11-2008

Every one in the country is passivly paying a price for this war in the shape of a ruined economy and loss of international prestige as evidenced by the Presidential impotence regarding Georgia.

But please, do not say people who eagerly anticipate going into a conflict where death and mayhem are the only result do not have "blood lust". Blood lust is the driving force behind organized killing and it leads to torture, masacres and rapes - all of these things we Americans have done in Iraq under color of patriotism.

We are a country ruled by a government of the people, by the people and for the people. So when there is one murder, one rape and one masacre - we all bear responsibility.

Iraq was an unwise conflict started by Presidential blood lust and founded on a bed of misrepresentations.

Please discuss why 330 million people deny their "blood lust" one day.

Sent by Christopher M. Brown | 3:18 PM | 9-11-2008

On 9/11/2001 I was a USMC Officer in flight school in Pensacola. After being ordered to return to the airfield early on the emergency band, us flight students found out why when we watched the attacks on the Ready Room TV. Ironically, we were sent home that day, and were stood down from flying for the next four days! At the time all of us wanted to be part of striking back, but were unsure about when and where.

As a professional military officer, I tracked the progress of our effort in Afghanistan, even though I was never sent there. I was part of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and was sent back for peacekeeping in 2004. My gut instincts about our misadventure in Iraq (and from what I experienced there) made me resign my commission.

Overall, the attack on 9/11 was used by the Bush Administration as a propaganda tool to twist the facts to "justify" invading Iraq as part of the bogus "War on Terror". Iraq was, and is still, a huge money pit that is draining our miltary, diplomatic and economic resources, and has made America despised throughout the world.

History will judge 9/11 and our Iraq disaster as one the closing chapters in the end of the American Empire. The leadership deficit of the Bush administration is reflective of the arrogance of Roman Emperors who thought they were powerful as its empire decayed from within.

With a national debt approaching 10 trillion dollars, we won't be able to afford to have troops in Iraq for years on end, unless Big Oil starts paying for it. Hey, why not drop the premise completely and rename the Marine Corps "Exxon Warriors"?

Sent by brett | 5:29 PM | 9-11-2008

Mr. Brown, it is tough to ascertain whether you were discussing Iraq or our American cities, most of which are controlled by Democratic mayors. Hey, in Chicago the weekend murders are surging. I know what you're going to say. It's Bush's fault. He made the economy bad and people are so desparate they are killing each other. If we had a real blood lust we could do allot better that we are doing considering the fire power we possess. We could easily rape and plunder allot more if we really thirsted for blood

Sent by Clifford | 1:00 PM | 9-12-2008

I spent two years in Iraq and each deployment I had a different West Point grad as my PLT LDR. The first was from a pre-9-11 class and the second was from the class of 2002. I cannot count on one hand how many times my PLT LDR almost got us killed because he was not trained to do his job. I feel he and his class were rushed through their training in order to get them onto the battle field sooner. The Army even "pushed" him through ranger school. My hope is that our military will not be in such a hurry next time and that they will take the time to fully train us all.

Sent by Tony | 10:52 PM | 9-16-2008

"In the segment it was briefly discussed that people who are not serving in the military or do not have loved ones serving in the military are not shouldering any burdens. It is not a matter of fairness, but choice. As Americans we have a choice to serve in our military or not. To assume that we should all pay the price of war regardless of our personal values and choices, is ludicrous.

Sent by Kristine | 2:44 PM ET | 09-11-2008"

Therein lies the danger. When only a very few bear the costs, we can get ourselves involved in an number of wars, with or without provocation. In a democracy, we all take a part of the responsibility of governance. I'm not sure that I support a return to conscription, but sometimes I think I do. Precious few people consider the merits and drawbacks of war, if they can safely go about their business without any impact on their lives. The pain and death and suffering are comfortably far away. War has strategic costs, the balance of power in the Middle East, and between us and Russia and China, and between India and Pakistan, may not come out in our favor at all.

But war has costs. It has moral and ethical costs to the people of the countries we target. It costs our society. Literally, the defense bill has ballooned, and with it the amount of money we will be paying Veterans wounded in war. Those of us who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan are young, mostly in our twenties. It will be fifty years or more of benefits paid out to disabled combat Veterans.

Can our economy really handle all that? Can our society? Can we handle it strategically? In the long run, the bill will come due, in every respect. For now we have the illusion of safety. It is dangerous indeed. A democracy should be clear-sighted. We may end up blind-sided. It would do us all well if these things mattered to more Americans on a personal level.

Sent by Ruanne | 1:37 PM | 9-17-2008

I can say that 9-11 definitely changed my life. That day will be forever ingrained in my memory. I was walking to the barracks that morning following a military history class when a freshman (plebe)said, "Sir, a plane just hit the Sears tower." I immediately rushed upstairs to see the replay on TV, only to see the second plane crash into the towers in real-time. I knew then that I, along with most of my classmates, would be deployed within a year.
In case you haven't guessed already, I was in that class, and reflecting on that day sends chills up my spine everytime I think about it and the classmates I've lost since then.

Sent by Chris | 9:37 PM | 9-22-2008