Saturday, August 20, 2005

Knitted Helmet Liners???

A brief google search suggests that I’m the only person in the world to feel this way. Oh well. My hope is that other people are just afraid to say it loud, but if I’m the only one, I can live with that, too.

Knitters are being encouraged through blogs, local yarn stores, websites, and stitch and bitch groups to knit wool helmet liners for the troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The idea apparently is that the helmet liners that are standard issue are synthetic and therefore not as warm as wool would be. True enough. As a knitter, I’m all about wool. And the desert does get cold at night.

But what is this project really about? Who started it? Why? Did they ask anyone if these things would be used? Did they mention the little tidbit that wool has to be hand washed? How likely is THAT? And, for heaven’s sake, why isn’t the government issuing them? Why are we doing this?

My brain has no trouble understanding the concept that it’s possible to support the troops while simultaneously believing that they are absolutely doing something wrong. I support them, but not what they’re doing. And I know -as the mother of a 21-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter and the sister of a member of the Air Force- that if it were my family out there and that if anyone anywhere could make their lives easier or safer, I would be eternally forever abjectly grateful.

But still…. Why are we being encouraged to do this? It feels to me -with no evidence but deep concerns- that this project has been manufactured to encourage us to buy into this war. I hate conspiracy theories, and here I am spouting one. But honestly. I can’t imagine that there are enough knitters from one end of the country to the other to really tip the balance of support towards the war. But it is hard, once your hands have literally wrapped around the wool and needles and thought about and prayed for the intended recipient for the few hours that it takes to make one of these things, to feel separate from the war.

But you know what? I’m still not going to make one. And I still support the troops and want every (remaining) one to come home safely. And I mourn the ones who will never hug their mothers again. But there are better ways of supporting the troops than this. Surely.


Michael said...

For what it's worth, given what I've seen a sites like Any Soldier, the hand-washing thing would actually be an asset, not a liability. Washing machines are apparently pretty doggone scarce in Iraq, not to mention the electricity to run them.

Andrea8358 said...

A friend of mine in the Air Force (not my brother -someone else) wrote me back a one-word e-mail that sums it up. It says "wash??????". So I guess the hand-wash restrictions are not exactly an impediment.

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget that synthetic yarns could melt if a soldier was exposed to intense heat, like in an explosion. Wool vs synthetic aside, the blogger seems selfish to me. I don't agree with the war either but the thoughts of soldiers in our military freezing and the fact that I could help by knitting a simple liner seems to outweigh any on my political views!