Friday, March 17, 2006

Going home

I am a wee bit drunk as I type this. 365 days ago I was also drunk. How do I remember that fact? That was the last time I had a few pints before I went to Afghanistan was also St. Patrick’s Day. Now I was back at the same pub drinking a few pints, but I did stop this time after five pints, because soon I will be flying on the big iron bird home to my wife and kids, versus going down range.

For the past ten days I have been out processing or de-mobilizing in army speak. Go to CIF to turn in my body armor and all my other bits of field gear. Have the doctor ask me about my health, metal and physical. Did I see any dead bodies? I asked him US, coalition, or civilian? He put down yes in all three columns. Finance calculated my terminal or now referred to as transition leave. The dentist advised me to get my teeth cleaned when I got home. I now have three big folders, stuffed with papers, saying I am now a combat veteran. It feels like I just I blinked my eyes and I was leaving, but when I think about it was a long 365 days in Kandahar. I am trying to remember how many ramp ceremonies I went to. Way too many. But we (The US military) did lots of good there. I have no regrets. I helped open schools, train the Afghan National Army and Police, secure roads and arrange Hajj pilgrims go to Mecca. This fact will never make the newspapers or the cable new trash channels: there are no protesters chanting: “Americans go home, come back Taliban.” The Afghans like us and want us to stay. And stay we will. I expect tours in Afghanistan will be like tours for US personnel in Korea during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. A long hardship tour.

The interpreters I worked with wished me good luck and a safe journey home. I told them that I would visit them in a few years with my family and show them where the TICs and IEDs were at. I gave them a hug and wished them a safe, peaceful and prosperous future.

What is interesting is how many soldiers are going to the Active Army from the reserve. A lot. A few requested Iraq. That was a surprise. A couple of soldiers are ETS’ing or leaving the army, but many more re-upped to stay in the reserves. This is a post in it self.

I will be writing and posting a few more images when I get home. I have many themes and ideas for more posts written down in my notebook. I have a few ideas for a novel that I am bouncing around. Maybe if I have enough or as my platoon Sergeant would say “make some time” I start will writing.

While I was at the bar we were making toast: “to electricity, to in-door plumbing, or beer.” Then people mentioned names of fallen comrades. Last somebody said “To Tehran in ’07.”

Image hosting by Photobucket
Driving through a village.

Image hosting by Photobucket
PCO=A cell phone that is for rent, since telephone land lines are non-existent. Shops along highway four toward Spin Buldak.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hello

Sorry for not blogging for a while. I have been a wee bit busy getting ready to leave the AO. I will put up some more posts frequently since my replacement is now up to speed. I like to say thank you for all of you who drop by.

Here is one post that I wrote a while back:

One common thread you hear about troops who may be leaving the military is most will be going for a higher education at college and university. With over a million troops with experience in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility and many of them will being going to universities and colleges when they return to America. Remember that many of the leftovers of the radical 60’s who could not make it in the free market economy retreated to the ivy towers of Academia will be in for a rude awakening with the influx of former military who have witnessed our enemies terror and will correct their Michael Moore leanings. It will be hard for a professor to argue against a veteran who was an eye witness to enemy atrocities. Relying on the biased press and dated theories will be their down fall against reality.

Uncle Sam is buying soldiers some new magazines to use from HK.

I have seen this piece of crap and this review sums up this video debacle.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Construction trucks in the countryside.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Apologies, Iran, bomber, definition, Canada, and images.

Sorry for not writing for a while; I have been busy for a while. That’s what happens when you are in a war zone. Also I have to crank out studies, evaluations, after action reports, and plans to get out of here. So typing a blog entry is sometimes a task that I have been putting off.

Here is a great video on what it is like to be a sniper, not like that MTV/Hollywood crap.


If this is true, does this mean Iran is waging a proxy war against the US? The government of Iran must know what is going on within its own country. Are they encouraging it?

This was ugly. Most of the dead were women and children shopping before Eid-Islamic version of Christmas- a happy festive time. The Afghans I talked to want to kill all the Taliban for targeting women and children, but the Taliban just shrug their shoulders saying “inshallah” or God wills it.

Oh yes, Mr Journalist here is a tip, I know it might be picky, but it was not a suicide bomber. A suicide bomber is one who loads up with explosives, walk out in the field, cries out “ bye, bye cruel world!” and kills himself, hence “suicide” bomber. The asshole who at this attack killed children, women, men where innocent and was at the wrong place and time was a murder. Right? He wanted to collect his 72 virgins, but forgot that he will be standing in line behind a few thousand dead terrorist before he can have his way with his burka boy.

The Canadians are here for peacekeeping, but it will be more of peace making after this. I am glad that Canada will not get the Spanish Flu and run home.

I went to the ramp ceremony for the murdered diplomat. It was moving send off with a bag piper playing “amazing grace.” A few thousand US, Canadian, British, Dutch, French, and Afghan soldiers stood at attention when his casket was loaded on the plane.

There will be more like that coming up, but we joke that murder bombers are a one time use weapon. Also the murder bombers are Arabs and the Afghans now have another reason to hate Arabs even more. It does not make the media, but a many of them have been stopped by various means and the locals are ratting them out since the Taliban does not care about the welfare of the local citizens.

I will have another post soon. Have a nice and fine US army day!
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Vendors in Kandahar City.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Flying above the country side.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

I like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and safe and bountiful New Year.
Take care and God bless you.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Local children
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Quote fore the day: Every day is Monday.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Images and our press

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

A building that is going up outside of KAF.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
The “Golden Arches” in Kandahar City. It is a prominent landmark to navigate in the city. There are not many billboards in Afghanistan, but most are selling cell phone service.

This is a post on some of the ass hats in the media. She is spot on.

Links galore

Here are a few good articles to read. I will put a decent post up soon, but I have been busy.

Let’s see if the Europeans can pull their weight.

We will find out today if the Dutch will do so. But the Canadians may be holding the bag.


Want to see the UN and Afghans debate? Read this.

More news from Afghanistan that will never make the crap pile in America.

Torture? I know people who pay money to go to places like this.

Here are some of the Michael Moore’s buddies in action. What a bunch ass hats. Do you wonder why the Afghans rat them out?


Is this the way we declare victory over al Qaeda? We will win, but it will take just as long at to defeat communism.
This is al Qaeda’s vision. This is what we are fighting. Notice they don’t give crap about Bush. Clinton, Bush, and Kerry; they are all the same in al Qaeda’s book: Infidels to kill.

Quote: He may be a shithead, but he is our shithead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

End state, crap, irony, and media

The Taliban and al Qaeda will never negotiate with the infidel Americans and their Afghan lackies. The Coalition, US and Afghan forces can not eliminate hatred, misogamy and pedophilia and those are some of the better qualities of the Taliban. The US is promoting education, democracy, economic growth and women’s rights. When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they did the opposite. The US will have a presence in Afghanistan for many more years. Just ask the Germans, Italians, and Japanese how long America has bases on their soil. Ask any Afghan if they want the US to leave and the answer is no. We are seen as the fair dealers and the one nation who has backed up our words with deeds. The Russians and Taliban had their chance and blew it. Now it Americans and with the Coalition Nations who are hunting the Taliban down and helping the Afghans join the community of nations in the 21st century. The Taliban will be around but marginalized, consorting with criminals and those who want to warp time and go back 700 years.

I have seen this piece of crap and this review sums up this video debacle.

If you look hard, you can see this happening. The US is helping Muslims go on the Hajj. Life is full of irony.

Did you hear about this in the news in America? I bet not, but you did see this jem. Once you read the Globe's article do you get the impression that we are loosing with the photo adding weight? Remember blood and sex sell. Ignore that crap in the defeatist press, read some good analysis and get the real scoop instead of listening to the droning marionettes on the boob tube.


Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Supporting the students.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I am back

Hello I am back. I have been kind of busy, it happens in a war zone. One small and lame reason I have not posted for a while was I lost my personal USB memory stick. Usually I carry it all the time so when I have an ideal to post I can open up a word document and start typing away or resize images. When I go out on a mission and that has been happening more lately, I usually clean out my pockets and take out personal items to leave back in my room. Also I get kind of anal retentive or OCD about packing ammo, GPS, map, spare power bars, knives and mission related items. So when I came back I could not find my memory stick; I ripped apart my section of the room. So guess what happened? I lost my memory stick and went ape shit for a few days.

I have been working with the Afghans and I have come to the conclusions that most have a complete different set of values. If something does not happen or goes to shit, it is not somebody’s fault or responsibility. It is “ishmal Allah” or God wills it. It is frustrating and I feel sorry for the interpreters who are stuck in the middle between a US soldier and the Afghan National Army, Police or Border Police.

It is a trip to go in to a village or even Kandahar city because if you took away the cars, bicycles, Jingle trucks and cell phones, this place would have look the same as it did a thousand years ago.

Also it a land of extreme contrasts here. You will see an old man on a cart being pulled by a donkey yakking away on a cell phone or a herd of sheep moving out of the way in a village with dirt streets for a Lexus SUV with gold trim and pimped out rims. You can drive by mud huts and then see a palace that looks like it came off the strip in Las Vegas.

We go rocketed a few weeks ago, but big deal. It is harassment fire. The real big news that murder bombers are being imported. 90% or more Afghans hate them. Ask them and they say rightly that all they kill is civilians. They are right. US forces have the means to fight them. Civilians are just Taliban and al Qaeda collateral damage. One of the interpreters I worked with said if he sees an empty taxi, he runs away.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
A store on the side of the road.

Quote for the day: This has been an extreme exercise of futility. Let’s do it again tomorrow.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Controversy, vets and poster

There is a controversy going on. Some of the Afghans I talked to said that the Taliban deserved what they got. One mentioned that car bombs are bad and why is the Taliban getting upset? What does a suicide bomber looks like after he perpetrates his evil deed? They blasphemed Islam and put Afghanistan through hell, so it is pay back. A few soldiers said we were giving them a Viking warrior funeral. Yes, it is against the Geneva War Convention, some soldiers are saying that the reporter is making a quick buck that and is out to crap on the US Army. I say there is nothing off the record with the press around, so I will do my research on an embedded reporter. As a soldier, I might be his next meal ticket or victim, so I will mind my P’s and Q’s around the press.

The VFW has an article about Vietnam vetrans who are still serving. It is an interesting contrast and shows how time changes or don't change the situation.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Afghan Anti-opium poster

Postscript: Over at the Intel dump, an intelligent analysis is put forth and at StrategyPage tells what is the impact in the Islamic world. Trust me the everyday Afghan does not give a rat’s ass what happens to the Taliban. There are no big demonstrations by the Afghans going on right now. The Afghans just want to crawl out of the 14th century that was imposed on by the Taliban. The Taliban had their chance to rule Afghanistan and they blew it. Now they are assassinating Mullahs (leading Muslim clerics) Non Governmental (doctors and nurses) charity workers and government officials. What a bush of ass hats.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Comedy, Canadians, lamers, wantabe heros and kids.

I am busy, but here are a few items that stand out:

We had a few comedians drop by to help us forget that we are here for a few minutes. They were both funny and one even made a diary on line of his adventures here while did his comedy tour. His comments about “Burka boy Thursday” and the ramp ceremony are spot on, sick and funny. You got to be here to understand.

The Canadians are now going for blood.

He is right, paint ball is for lamers. This why I joined the army, because cleaning house is fun! Check out the video.

Since I have been here, I can catch a few minutes of ESPN, baseball or other athletic games on AFN. Now I look at athletes as well paid actors. You want to meet some great athletes, join the military. We stay in shape because it is life and death matter. Football players with their bling bling attitude, give me a f'ing break. Basketball players: what a bunch of prima donnas. Don’t even get me going about soccer players-what a bunch of fakers and pussies; especially the European variety. So check out the Best Ranger contest and see some real athletes. I hope AFN and Discovery Channel broadcast it again.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Kids on the side of the road.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Favor, NATO, virgins and store

I am going to do the media a favor. They can cut and paste the following for a headline: We are winning in Afghanistan. The BLUF or Bottom Line Up Front: Two successful elections and no real opposition to the election. That’s right – no suicide bombers at the polling or voting stations. Yes there was violence, but not enough to scare Afghans from voting. The elections have been certified by the UN and other NGOs as being fair and conducted according to international standards. How do I know this? Unlike the majority of the media, I am here in Afghanistan. I see this place everyday. I run on it roads. I have delivered donated clothes, books and toys to Afghan children. I talk and drink chia with village elders, and play with their children. I have seen the progress for the last six months. This might piss off those who hate the US Army and or America, but Afghanistan is making a slow climb out of the dark ages of the Russian occupation who tried to impose their version of compassionate socialism and vicious Taliban/al Qaeda rule. Women ran for office and voted; for a very Islamic country that is progressive. Even the Kuchis voted. On the ladder of life, the Kutchis or nomads are looked down upon by many Afghans and will be represented in the new parliament. Food is being grown in record crop levels and refugees are returning en mass. Will any of the whiners on the left say anything good about the US Army for helping Afghanistan? That is our mission here: to help the Afghans after years of hell and establish democracy. Do you support us and our mission?

This pretty well confirms everything. When I talk to the Dutch, British and Canadians and ask them: will your country go crazy and pull out if your country suffers casualties? Most of the soldiers just mumble or smile.

A Saudi’s look at the 72 virgin part of being a suicide bomber. Every Afghan I have ever talked to calls suicide bombers Arab pussies who do not fight like a man.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
A store in Kandahar.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Ramp ceremonies, ISAF, and playing ball

Over the past week I have been to three ramp ceremonies. One was for a French soldier who was killed right before the election. Soldiers from all the militaries on KAF lined up and rendered a salute as a coffin draped with the French tricolor was placed in front of the ramp of a French Armee de l’Air (Air Force) C-130. An officer read in French and English a tribute to the soldier and then a Chaplin recited a prayer. After that he was loaded on to the aircraft and headed home.

Next a CH-47 went down and five soldiers were killed in that crash. Over at A Storm in Afghanistan writes about the ramp ceremony, since the five soldiers killed were from his unit.

Then we one more soldier who was killed in a TIC and I was back on the ramp doing the right thing and paying my respects in a military fashion. When I go to a ramp ceremony I will spend a few minutes in silence at parade rest with a few hundred other soldiers from all the coalition nations that are waiting to snap to the position of attention and salute the fallen comrade in arms one last time on his or her way home. During those minutes I do a lot of thinking: am I a good soldier, husband or father? How will I be remembered if I buy the farm? When I make it out of here what will I do? Where will I go? Seeing a coffin pretty well drives home the message that I am mortal and have to make the most of the short time while I am here on terra firma. Most of the time I think I am doing good- but when I am away from my family, friends and country, while reading the newspapers online, sometimes doubts creep in to the back of my mind. Those thoughts are erased when I go into an Afghan village and the villagers tell me about the horrors that they suffered under the Taliban. That is another blog entry there.

This is a spot on report on Afghanistan coming form all places Parameters! It was written by a Canadian. What is the world coming to? The article is polite but tells of the problems that ISAF has. Unity of command is a problem, being cheap and not being able to bring enough personnel and equipment to do the job. Some say ISAF want to avoid casualties and just drive around with their national flag for display.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Playing ball with a boy.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Election

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
How and why to vote in Pashto and Dari

What have you done to advance democracy? Did you run for office? Did you vote? Pass out flyers for a cause or candidate? I am right now waiting for a mission and typing this little monograph while millions of Afghans are going to vote tomorrow. I and many soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen of the US military and coalition forces (CF) have helped create an environment for the Afghans elect their representatives for the Wolesi Jirga or Afghan Congress. For many of us, this is the highlight or main reason of our tour here. Many soldiers from the US and Afghan armies have died or have been wounded to ensure this election despite the actions of the Taliban and al Qeada. The elections will be held and life will go on or as one of the interpreters said “Allah wills it even if the Taliban are fools.” Then he said “Tashakure” or thank you in Pashto as he left last night to go home so he could vote tomorrow. That is what I and my brothers and sisters in arms are doing for democracy.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Reason, flag, posters and Freedom Watch

This is why I and many more are here in Afghanistan. I want to make sure that my children do not have to make this decision.

Today I was one of many raising the US flag above the Taliban Last Stand (TLS) building. Many of the flags will be going back to friends and families in the US. It is sobering knowing that where I was raising the US flag the Taliban used to walk around. Now we have the Taliban on the run and the election next Sunday will be another nail in their coffin. Rumor has it that they are making deals with drug industry to survive. What a surprise.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
This image shows all the posters for the 200 plus candidates running for office. The candidates are pressing the flesh around here to win.

Do you really want to know what is going on in Afghanistan? Read this. Many of us here from all the different coalition forces read it.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Katrina and Afghan notes and interpeter conversation.

This is why it takes time to move an Army unit to a natural disaster. Logistics.

Here is a view form the Air National guard in New Orleans.

The 82nd Airborne in NOLA.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Afghan Gastation

This is a sure sign that life in Afghanistan is returning to normal. When refugees are returning, this means that they feel that they will arrive to a stable area that they can start living life again. This is progress that I bet will not be in the newspapers in America.

This will never make the media and will show how big the hearts of American soldiers are. God bless the child and the medical professionals who care for her.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Camels on the side of the road.

I was talking to an interpreter who grew up with the Taliban in Kandahar. He told me from a child’s perspective of the insanity of the Taliban – how the Taliban trashed public women’s toilets and banned women from going to school or working under pain of death. Also the Taliban stole money from people to buy expensive cars then raced the cars around Kandahar air field since no flights from other countries landed there. They killed off most of the airport staff. The Taliban lived the high life not the religion they preached and if anybody who questioned them, it was then time to head to the football field to be executed. As a boy he went to a wedding that played tradition Afghan music, so the Taliban raided the wedding because music was banned and the Bride’s father and the Groom both went to jail for a few weeks. He was glad that America came and liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban and told me about the Taliban fleeing to the mountains to avoid the wrath of the people. He said that he and most Afghans do not want America to leave or tribal differences will tear Afghanistan apart. Becoming a true nation will take a few generations to over come tribal differences.

When I told him that ISAF or the European and Canadians will be arriving to help soon, he just smiled and said that he did not trust the Europeans. “It was the Americans who liberated us-not the Europeans” he said. Americans were not afraid to die with the Afghans to free Afghanistan of the Taliban- that is how you could summarize the next five minutes of our conversation.