McChrystal's ROE saving American lives
"I'm Coming Home"

Godspeed Faida "Popeye" Mohommad

Via Seamus, another forwarded email from a Marine in Afghanistan about the fight:

This is a stray email that i wanted to send regarding another death that happened in Afghanistan. Kandahar to be exact. This base is here primarily to support the Reconstruction Team that is responsible for projects throughout the Kandahar Province. Along with the projects there is a multinational group of civilians that represent the Department of State for the US and the equivalent for Canada. In fact Canada has been here a long time and has carried the mission forward doggedly at times. This is a good group of well meaning people that are comprised of some very well meaning individuals from all walks of life. There are young 20 year olds and formerly retired 70 year olds that have all come to do the right thing in helping the people of Afghanistan. Along with them of course are the military that provide the security and escorts needed for them to travel around and meet with the people.

The story however is really about a man, an old man from Kandahar. He was affectionately known as "Popeye" due to his smile and the very large arms he developed laboring all his life. The story goes that he was working at this camp for almost 30 years. He worked here when it was a cannery and later when the facility was used by the Afghan government, the Soviets, the warlords, the Taliban and eventually the Coalition. He was in every sense a survivor. He had three sons that i am aware of who also worked on the camp in primarily labor jobs. He was very strict with them, probably ensuring they worked hard and thereby ensuring their continued employment. He was the highest paid worker on the camp at $78 USD a day. This is far more than even the skilled tradesmen that weld and earn only $16 USD per day. Popeye earned every bit. He was in fact an inspiration by virtue of the high level of work he put in every day. He would show up before dawn and work until around 11 at night. He put in almost a full day on Fridays, the Muslim day of worship. He was by far the most dedicated worker i have seen.

He was killed today.

He left last night as he always did and was stopped by gunmen and shot. This happened not far from the front gate. There are too many sad stories to tell every time you live in a combat zone. Some are more poignant than others and this falls into that category. He was not a political man, nor was he involved in anything more than moving the endless stream of heavy water bottles around this sprawling camp with unending energy. This is not to take away at all from the uniformed men and women, young and old, that have paid the ultimate price. Theirs is a sacrifice however that is defined by a sense of duty that is unique to soldiers everywhere. This man that was taken away today was the example of the hard working and I would venture worthy type that anyone anywhere wants to help get a step up in life. The fact that someone somehow came up with a thread of reasoning to rationalize killing him is also defining. It defines the lack of limits this struggle possesses. I believe it is another example of our enemy who is battling for control of the very same people they kill. If the politics of this Great Game are hard to understand, and i believe they are, then I believe it is easier to understand what we want from this particular tragedy. We do not want the type of individuals that can rationalize this killing to be the ones in charge of this nor any other country or people.

If we allow that to happen, they will come for us all someday when we are heading home from work...