13 March 2012

War in Afghanistan

If you have never served your country.  Never served in the military.  Never deployed before.

Keep your anti-war bullshit opinion to yourself!

I am tired of all these people bitching about the war in Afghanistan.  Its not even really a war anymore, its a suppression of enemy forces, and a rebuilding of a country.  We are helping hundreds of thousands of people who CAN'T help themselves.... as opposed to the hundreds of thousands of people in the US who WON'T help themselves.  The ones everyone thinks we should focus on...
If you have a roof over your head, drinkable water, and can eat at least one meal a day: STOP YOUR BITCHING!

We are trying to help an ENTIRE COUNTRY worth of people get to the point of being able to sustain themselves and their families.  We are trying to help the children, the ones who stand on the side of the road when our convoys pass, begging for us to throw down something, anything, for them!
These kids light up like the Rockefeller xmas tree if you give them just a pencil.  Give them a Cliff Bar?  a Gatorade?  You just made that child's month!

Afghanistan is a 3rd world country!  One of the poorest countries in the world.  Houses here are made of mud bricks.  Doors are ill-fitting planks of wood.  Shoes?  Forget about that; if they don't have an ill-fitting pair of sandals, they are probably barefoot!  And I have seen kids walking barefoot in the snow, in the rocky mountains.

Healthcare?  The only people receiving quality healthcare in this country are the poor souls blown up by insurgent IEDs.  Those fortunate enough to make it to NATO medical facilities, anyway.

There is no such thing as credit in this country.  If you don't have the means (money, food, livestock) by which to acquire it, you go without.
Most farmers here grow weed and poppies.  Because they hope to make enough money to feed their families through winter.  You see, food crops don't go for much around here, and though it may mean they eat, it means they can't afford other things they need: clothes, equipment, other ingredients...

$300 is considered an annual income here.  Thats not even considered a monthly income in the US.  and its barely accepted as a biweekly income!

Afghanis do jobs most Americans believe are beneath them.  We have a pond here, of human waste.  I can tell you that I have never seen an American working at that pond.

These people manage to balance a week of firewood, and half their family on a single motorcycle!  They fashion household goods out of our throw-away's.

These guys are braver than we are!  The Afghanis who go on convoys with us: they don't get up-armor!  They don't have bullet proof vests!  They don't have Kevlars!  They don't even get their own weapons to defend themselves!
We ride around in our MAT-Vs, in full battle rattle, "safe".
And the interpreters?  These guys risk the safety of their entire families to help us out!  Some, for only $700 a month.  These guys KEEP US ALIVE, for $700 a month!
You know what they really want?
They want to earn their citizenship.
They want to come to America, and go to school, and be free.
And then, some of them want to return to their country and help it rebuild.

In Afghanistan, the family unit is strong.  Children respect their parents, and there is a deep love and connection within the families.... something that is being lost in the bullshit of today's America.

And, what do you think ending the war will do to unemployment in the US?
do you think that 140,000 soldiers being kicked out is bad enough?  What about additional soldiers they'll downsize?  And all the civilian jobs that go with them?
If you don't have a job, and you are trying to get one, do you want 140,000+ new people (with military experience) competing against you for the few jobs available?

Think before you speak.


  1. Point taken. Thank you for the perspective.

  2. While I understand that you feel that your experience as a soldier lends credence and validity to your opinion, it does not invalidate the opinions of those who have had different experiences that led them to the opinions that they hold.

    Being "anti-war" does not automatically equate with being anti-soldier. Believing that there is a better way to provide humanitarian aid than through military action does not equate with not believing in the value of giving assistance to those in need.

    I get it that you are simply using your space to vent your feelings on this subject, so I'll take the rest of my thoughts over to my own blog, but I felt compelled to make the point that your desire to simply silence the voices that disagree with you is not going to solve any problems for anyone. Only further thought, discussion, and action from a variety of people who approach this issue from a variety of angles is likely to come up with a feasible long term solution.

    1. I said "anti-war *bullshit opinions*"
      There is a complete difference in consciously objecting to something, and just spouting off opinions about something you know nothing about.
      If someone has an educated view on a subject, I am open to the possibility of a discussion. This post was a vent directed at the (imo) morons who say shit like "Obama needs to pull out of Afghanistan and focus on our own problems"

      These people who don't know enough to realize we are part of a multinational taskforce, and that us pulling out of Afghanistan tomorrow won't solve any of the problems in Afghanistan or in the US. In fact, chances are it would make things 1000x worse, because that would fuel the insurgency into a huge growth that would once again turn all of the middle east into a powder keg, that would spill over into allied countries, and possibly europe, and maybe even america again.

    2. Thank you for clarifying that, especially since you didn't have to. I can certainly sympathize with your frustration about people not taking the time to learn about the bigger picture. While I can understand where people are coming from who feel that we need to focus all of our efforts on cleaning up our own house, I agree with you that to take such an isolationist stance is, shall we say, childish?

      My own personal feelings are that the way that this military action was undertaken was poorly planned and reactionary to begin with. I just cannot agree that military occupation of a country full of civilians is the proper response to the actions of a militant faction of that countries citizens. Yes, we are a 1st world country, and one that has done very well for itself, but we don't have all the answers to solve every problem, and it is arrogant to use our military forces to carry out half assed ideas.

      The fact that we have such a visible military presence in so many parts of the world has led to us being considered bullies by many people throughout the world. For every person who sees the US as a shining beacon of hope for what their country could become, I find it hard to believe that there isn't another person who thinks we should just go the hell home and let them live their lives the way they feel it is proper to do so.

      Whether you and your fellow soldiers should be there or not is a moot point now, so it is best that you complete your mission to the best of your abilities, but some of the people who feel that it's time to call it have a point- another 14 months or 5 years isn't going to turn Afghanistan into the US. The path that it's citizens and leaders take into the future is one that they will have to choose and follow for themselves.

      While you are completing your mission, the rest of us back home need to give serious thought to what we view as America's role moving forward, and we have to participate in our government to make sure that we are electing leaders who will give serious thought to whether future military actions are carried out on foreign soil. Basically, you make some history, and we'd damn well better learn from it.

    3. We are currently in the "Hearts and Minds" phase of the war. We are training their military to function on a decent level. There are contractors, from quite a few countries, helping the Afghanis build quality structures and good infrastructure. Believe it or not, there is a Shell gas station now in Kandahar city.
      We are building hard structures, now, that will be left to the populating. We are trying to get them away from growing opium and marijuana, and trying to make their crops sustainable and beneficiary. We are helping them get clean/safe water.

      What most people don't see: (not to include the recent events) Most people in this country want us here. They want to be able to live without fear of attack, or murder of their families. They want to be able to feed their families.

      That is what this phase of the war is.
      The military is no longer a shoot-now-ask-questions-never military. We are a mobile humanitarian force.

      Just know, I know both sides of the war effort all too well. My first tour we were hit with 40+ IEDs (to my vehicle, or the vehicle directly beside me.......does not include the other parts of my convoys)
      My second tour I was shot, twice.
      This, my third tour, is logistics, like my second one. The area we operate in is so "safe" the unit we took over for only got hit ONCE in 12mo......and no one even got hurt.
      LNs (local nationals) want us here. They turn in IEDs they find, so that we are safer on the roads.
      They want to rise above where they are, and are willing to get down and dirty to do anything necessary.

      I just wish most Americans were willing to work that hard (I know there are MANY out there who work very hard, this doesn't include them), because if they were, then maybe I'd have a little more sympathy to their plight

  3. I can't even imagine how good it must feel to be able to see that noticeable a difference from the effort that you and those around you are putting in. One can only hope that after you guys leave the people you are helping can keep what you have helped them attain and continue to build on it.

    What you say is very true, Americans in general have no idea how good we have it compared to people in some other parts of the world. If faced with the challenges that people in Afghanistan and other less developed countries live with on a daily basis, a lot of us would just curl up and quit. There are a hell of a lot of people who give up here when faced with relatively minor obstacles.

    It just seems to me that the more logical solution to providing assistance in places like Afghanistan would be to carry out these humanitarian missions with the emphasis on the "Hearts and Hands" coming before the "Big Scary Dudes With Guns." Clearly there are those within these countries who are interested in putting forth the effort to better the situations of themselves and their neighbors, I find it difficult to believe that they could not work to meet those goals with a group of people who are not soldiers from another land. If the goal of countries such as the US was truly to promote the economic and social development of 3rd world countries, then outfits like the Peace Corps would be getting as much publicity as the USMC.

    To my mind, the catch phrases uttered by military members and recruiters do not accurately describe the purpose that the US military serves. "Be all you can be" does not speak to a person's altruistic nature, it encourages someone to join the military in service of their own personal goals. "Serve your country" or "Serve our country" does not accurately describe the mission that you are involved with now. Noble as your goals are at this point, your service in being performed in furtherance of the goals of another nation's people.

    Every citizen certainly has the right to join an organization which exists to carry out that type of mission, but I truly do not believe that this is what many of the men and women who make up our armed forces thought they were signing on for. And it isn't what politicians are asking our citizens to support a huge military budget for either. We are being fed soundbites full of fearmongering "Weapons of mass destruction" and "Vote for the guy who will make damn sure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon!"

    I just feel that our goals of providing a strong defense for our citizens from threats and our goals of helping others who are less fortunate than we are should be kept separate and should be more clearly delineated. Shows of force on foreign soil should be extremely goal specific and limited to small strategic actions. Our efforts to help those who desire our aid in helping themselves should be more broad and not carried out by those same people we ask to go into combat. Those missions require very different skill sets, and we should be utilizing the best people for the job based on who is best equipped with the skills that are needed.

    Perhaps if we were not perceived by those who do not share our culture to be forcing that culture on others, we would have less need for brute force overall. Even if that were to prove not to be the case, we still have to understand that we cannot fix one problem by creating 5 others.

    1. There is a HUGE difference between us and politicians.

      And most people in Afghanistan are not intimidated by our weapons. In fact, one of my medics was on a mission last week, where a vehicle kept bumping into the trail vehicle of the convoy, like it was a game...even having a 50 cal pointed at them. Took three rounds to their tires to get the message.

      The country as a whole is less than educated, but just about every family has an AK-47.
      The peace corp, and other unarmed organizations would be absolutely SCREWED here. There is no Geneva Convention here. The enemy doesn't play by our rules.
      You bring an unarmed organization here, you raise the American death toll dramatically.

      Our weapons, like most of theirs, are for self defense.


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