Friday, July 01, 2005

AFGHANI HELL

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Suicidal soldier wrestled to the ground in Georgia.

Americans forgot all about Afghanistan once Bush pushed America into the Iraq meatgrinder. This is understandable since it is hard to focus on two losing wars at once. But now the time has come to focus again on the problem of bin Laden, Afghanistan and our religious wars with Muslims. Just like the previous crusades against Muslims, the Christians think, all they have to do is invade. When force wins the day, we settle in, expecting them to drop their religion and welcome us with open arms.

Alas, the arms that are open are firearms.

When Bush gave his 9/11=Iraq speech the other night, Afghanistan rudely intruded. The increasingly desperate hunt for bin Laden, launched after Goss of the CIA foolishly revealed that Bush knows where his buddy is hiding and doesn't want to disturb him, has sowed the wind and is now reaping the whirlwind.

Most Americans shrugged last week at the news that we killed "645 insurgents" and "took into custody" even more young men in Afghanistan. Translated into Afghani, this meant we buzzed into dirt poor mountain villages and kidnapped or killed thousands of peasants. This whacking of the wasp's nest had the inevitable result: they are now out to kill us. No longer can troops move in those mountains and stay alive.

From the Associated Press:
A small team of U.S. soldiers was still missing Friday in the same mountains in eastern Afghanistan where a special forces helicopter was shot down earlier this week, and U.S. forces are using "every available asset" to find them, a U.S. military spokesman said.

The MH-47 Chinook helicopter — with 16 people on board who all died in the crash — had gone into the mountains Tuesday to "extract the soldiers." The team on the ground has been missing since the chopper was downed, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry O'Hara said.

A purported Taliban spokesman, Mullah Latif Hakimi, meanwhile, claimed the rebels had captured a U.S. soldier in the area, near the town of Asadabad, close to the Pakistani border.
Americans forget the Afghanis are old hands at mountain ambushes. I think they honed this skill around 6,000 years ago if not earlier. Not one Afghani attacked us on 9/11. Now they have us in their sights. Just yesterday, a Pentagon paper pusher hiding in the bowels of that institution claimed the downing of the helicopter was "a lucky strike" and dismissed it as some organized opposition. Unfortunately, a big component of war is luck. Indeed, it is a very old belief that luck is a very big component to winning or surviving a war. This is why soldiers gamble. This is why there are no atheists in fox holes. Everyone prays to Lady Luck during war.

As demoralization destroys our military, the Pentagon paper pushers try to find some way to keep things running. From the Washington Post:
The Army plans to draw far fewer reservists for Iraq duty in a new rotation of forces that has just begun, counting instead on active-duty soldiers to fill most of the deployment requirement, the Army's top officer reported yesterday.

Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, said in Senate testimony that the number of Army National Guard brigades in Iraq will drop from seven this year to as few as two next year. In relation to the total number of troops, that would cut the share of Guard units from 41 percent to 11 percent.
As usual, these sadists hold out the hope that troops will come home after three rotations through Iraq in two years. Of course, their return is after Iraq "turns the next corner" in the merry-go-round from hell. Who is replacing them?

Regular military units. Are they happy to go? Well, it seems not! From the McDuffie Mirror:
A 31-year-old Oklahoma soldier, distraught over orders to go to Iraq and a restraining order keeping him from seeing his six-year-old son, threatened to jump off an interstate overpass in McDuffie County Monday morning.
by Jason B. Smith
Sgt. James Richard Rogers climbed out of his gold Saturn about 10:15 a.m. Monday and was standing on the overpass railing as emergency personnel arrived. McDuffie County Public Information Officer Don Norton said the incident lasted about 30 minutes as traffic on the westbound lanes of Interstate 20 was diverted up the Exit 172 ramp and across Highway 17.

Around 10:50 a.m. a cadre of Georgia State Patrol Troopers and McDuffie County Sheriff's deputies wrestled Sgt. Rogers to the ground. Georgia State Patrol Post Commander Mark Bentley and McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall said Monday afternoon their agencies would likely not be filing charges in the incident.

Officials said Sgt. Rogers was first transported to McDuffie Regional Medical Center and then to Fort Gordon. Mr. Norton, who also serves as county manager, said Sgt. Rogers had come to the McDuffie County Courthouse in an effort to see his child Monday morning.

There he was told a restraining order was in place, and the man became distraught.

"He was not threatening over here or anything like that, just terribly upset," Mr. Norton said. Fort Sill Media Chief Nancy Elliott said Sgt. Rogers is attached to the B Battery, Second Battalion, Fifth Field Artillery Regiment and the unit is on deployment orders. She did not have any more information on the soldier, she said.
Sigh. Divorce in the military is way, way up. It shot up around 80% in one year. Suicide is up, too. So is desertion. Mental illness, too. Being a soldier isn't all it was cracked up to be. Indeed, it seems to be a way to crack up. Just like last week's tragedy when a brother of a dead soldier threw himself in front of a semi the day before the funeral or the mother in Arizona who died of a heart attack at her only son's funeral or the officer in the National Guard who came home, told his wife he had to go into the bedroom that same day to fetch something before going out to dinner to celebrate his return, only to shoot himself dead...the toll from this war and any war is great. Even on the victors, the pain is great.

This is why one doesn't launch war except as a last resort.

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