Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30 1240

   This is a French assault vehicle, parked near their camp. The Poles have left and so have the Cheks. Fighting rages on in the south with 10 US casualties last week plus several NATO and untold ANA. Helicopters are shot down weekly. The determination that Taliban and other militants show is unbelievable to me. In the face of withering firepower and the best technology available, it seems like a high dollar version of whack a mole out there. There is no possible way for these fanatics and lost souls to prevail but that does nothing to slow them down. No more word on talks or negotiations with the Taliban. That effort, in hindsight seems to have been a fleeting thought with the response from the Taliban boiling down to high profile assassinations and suicide bombings in crowded markets. In Kabul this week, 19 civilians killed including 10 children, a policeman, and two women. 37 others injured. Six suicide bombers involved in this orchestrated attack. Somehow, there seems to be a never ending supply of these guys, presumably still being trained in Pakistan madrassas (religious schools, read: terrorist training camp), funded by wealthy Arabs. Who funds this? Many indications point to our friends in SA .
     The manipulation of facts by previous administrations becomes more obvious each month. Congressional investigations and research by determined individuals make it clear that citizens of the United States (and other countries)  were hoodwinked by those at the top. Iraq never had any involvement in 9/11 and had we not wasted our nation's precious resources, squandered our children's financial future and sacrificed thousands of brave serviceman's lives in Iraq, I would not be sitting here, writing this, now. Afghanistan would, in all likelihood, have been well on the road to recovery now had not all US reconstruction resources been pulled out  to manage the Iraq insurgency. "Afghanistan in The Graveyard of Empires" by Seth Jones provides a fairly unbiased account of events in Afghanistan prior to and after 9/11. 
       What seems strange is how little the war seems to affect us back in the states. Is the public numbed to what goes on here or have folks simply gotten on with their lives because "its a long ways away and it does not affect me", I suppose that is normal.  I don't know how to make sense out of it all except that I firmly believe that if the US pulls out without a viable ANA, the Taliban will be back along with whatever remains of Al Qaeda. Earlier territorial withdrawls by US forces brought the insurgency back within weeks, they are waiting. It happened in 2004 and recently in several remote areas deemed unmanageable by the Army. With an unlimited supply of insurgents waiting in Pakistan, that will not change.
       Jon Stewart will be entertaining the troops tonight, I am anxious to hear what he has to say to service men and women. 106 today.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23 1300

  This is my friend Bill (top photo) an IBEW member working in Afghanistan. Bill is sittng on a Honda CB125 motorcycle that US soldiers seized from the Taliban in the Khost province.  Soldiers are not allowed to ride so the motorcycles were given to Bill and his partner (they keep the lights burning on the base). I'm not sure what kind of karma lies in riding a dead mans motorcycle and I doubt he gave it a second thought. I am very jealous.

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 15 2011

    I have returned to backwards world and much to my surprise the war is over. Packing my bags for Libya until the conflict in Yeman begins. Kidding-sadly, the number of civilian deaths this spring reached a new high for the 10 year war. Karzai's brother was killed last week and a follow up suicide bomber attacked mourners at the funeral killing 3 religious leaders and injuring many. The anxiety these killings create is intensified by talk of a drawdown and eventual withdrawal. The US withdrawal in 2004 (done to support the Iraq war) resulted in the execution of civilians by the Taliban. Those that previously supported the US in country were identified and done away with. Concerns by the locals are well founded. This country is a mess.