LW sent this over to me and he obviously has no concern as to how high my blood pressure could possibly get.
"I went to Afghanistan last fall with a question: Why, with all our technology, were we killing so many civilians in air strikes?"
Up, Up, Up it goes... not even a break. Like 3 paragraphs into the story.
Elizabeth Rubin, in this writer's humble opinion, has published an article and it is a load of bull-pucky, centered around true events. The article covers Battle Company, commanded by Captain Dan Kearney, son of Lt. General Frank Kearney, Commander of SOCCENT (Special Operations Command Central Command) and their actions while fighting in the Korengal.
I take it on the chin here, along with some of the fellas here at B5 for having to read things like this. It comes with the territory. Bottom line was that it pissed me off, bad. Not because it is not true, but because I think it doesn't tell the whole truth about the war we are fighting there. I was truly disappointed in the angle she took on this story, because Sebastian Junger has an article on the same guys in the same area over at Vanity Fair. Read this one too, so you have an idea about the difference.
The things I know about the Korengal are limited, as I was not near there, but I do know that it, along with some other areas of Afghanistan, are the center of gravity for the battles against the Taliban. And like the battles in the south around Kandahar and Musa Qala, are going to be where we break their back.
And as Matty said, the Devils in Baggy Pants are fighting hard to win. And despite what Ms. Rubin implies, we are winning.
It disturbs me when I read things like this, because, I can't be for certain that they are true or not. My sense is that this situation is subject to interpretation by the actors involved.
So what exactly was his job out here? To subdue the valley. It’s a task the Marines had tried, and then the soldiers of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division — a task so bloody it seemed to drive the 10th Mountain’s soldiers to a kind of madness. Kearney’s soldiers told me they’d been spooked by the weird behavior of their predecessors last May: near the end of their tour, many would sit alone on the fire base talking to themselves. Privates disobeyed their sergeants, and squad leaders refused to step outside the wire to show the new boys the terrain. No one wanted to be shot in the last days of his tour.
I served with the 10th Mountain before the 82nd got there, and while I did serve somewhere else and observed other soldiers, I know the professionalism of those soldiers, and I say it didn't happen. The soldiers I served with were not only prepared, but eager to fight our enemies in the most professional manner.
The Old Grey Lady had the chance to do a good story about good men doing the best they can in one of the most hard fought corners of this war against those that would enslave us.
And they didn't do right by them and the efforts that they make at the cost of the blood of their comrades. Worse, they chose to put in the story every left-wing, libtard, tin-foil hat contention under the guise that it was news and try to recycle the talking points that they have been pushing about the ITO and make them fit the ATO.
"Was there a deeper problem in the counterinsurgency campaign? More than 100 American soldiers were killed last year, the highest rate since the invasion. Why were so many more American troops being killed?" (I suppose it would do no good to talk to her about the fact that 100 soldiers dead was a number that would probably add up to the number of casualties in the first 15 minutes of the Iwo Jima landings, when we were in the last, darkest, most hard fought days of WWII).
"Kearney often calls himself a dumb jock, playing the crass, loudmouthed tough guy with his soldiers. He had been in Iraq and told me he had gone emotionally dead there with all the dying and killing, and stayed that way until the birth of his son a year ago."
"It didn’t take long to understand why so many soldiers were taking antidepressants. The soldiers were on a 15-month tour that included just 18 days off. Many of them were “stop-lossed,” meaning their contracts were extended because the army is stretched so thin. You are not allowed to refuse these extensions. And they felt eclipsed by Iraq. As Sgt. Erick Gallardo put it: “We don’t get supplies, assets. We scrounge for everything and live a lot more rugged. But we know the war is here. We got unfinished business.”
The money quote on this article is this one, and I have a hard time believing it.
One full-moon night I was sitting outside a sandbag-reinforced hut with Kearney when a young sergeant stepped out hauling the garbage. He looked around at the illuminated mountains, the dust, the rocks, the garbage bin. The monkeys were screeching. “I hate this country!” he shouted. Then he smiled and walked back into the hut. “He’s on medication,” Kearney said quietly to me.
Then another soldier walked by and shouted, “Hey, I’m with you, sir!” and Kearney said to me, “Prozac" Serious P.T.S.D. from last tour.” Another one popped out of the HQ cursing and muttering. “Medicated,” Kearney said. “Last tour, if you didn’t give him information, he’d burn down your house. He killed so many people. He’s checked out.”
I know I say it alot, but I am tired if this. This most especially, because all Americans, whether they live on Park Avenue, or Burley Idaho, benefit from the freedoms that these men fight for us to have. And make no mistake, search the web with the words "Korengal" "Hindu Kush" or "Pech River" and see what the butchers bill is.
But take the time to compare it to the butchers bill for our enemies, and you will see what freedoms we are fighting for.
I personally do not care about what happens to any of the people who live in the Korengal, or near the Pech River, or in Zormat, or Orgun-e. I went there, and these men are there, to fight the enemies of this nation; enemies who would desire greatly to see us driven from the field of battle. The way we win that battle in this environment is to be, as General Mattis put it "no better friend, no worse enemy"
I have listed at length the things I am tired of in this war, but this really is the one that gets on my nerves;
I am tired of American Soldiers being portrayed by the traitors in the media as victims of some evil conspiracy to kill the youth of our country, drugged out mercenaries who willingly participate in the wanton butchery of innocent woman and children, or faceless serial killers who drop bombs randomly around the countryside, marveling at our macabre, god-like ability to snatch life from the living.
Have we as an army killed civilians? Yes, we have. Was it intentional? No. Have we made efforts to avoid this situation? Every time we go outside the wire.
Elizabeth is right about one thing in that article; the Taliban are using women and children as shields and propaganda sources. They know this and count on our goodness to manipulate our media, who then attempt to manipulate the views of the Americans who may not really know what is going on, in the hopes that the cowards in government will change our policy and order us to retire from the field.
Even Sebastian Junger's article is a bit on the biased side, but that is another post for another day. Read all of them and decide for yourselves if I am out of my tree here....