Saturday, November 28, 2009

Night Letters

Khost, Afghanistan

Like shadows in the night, they deliver warnings to villagers, side with the foreign forces and we will kill you and or your family. Whilst US Forces in Khost Province in South East Afghanistan, may claim they have superior technology and thermal cameras to protect themselves and their bases. Out in the villages the Taliban deliver their messages with no one capable of preventing them.

Talk with any Afghani and without hesitation they tell you things are getting worse from security to corruption. The optimism of 2002 – 2003 has long gone, from translators to waiters we hear nothing but negativity in regard to the future of Afghanistan.

Transpose this with what the US Military continue to tell you in countless briefing after briefing and honestly you start to think they are talking about a different country to the one they are in. Reality is an inconvenient truth that every officer seems to ignore.

Things are getting better, we are working with the Afghan Army and Police to develop an effective and stable nation, is a mantra that is well past its use by date. Eight years on in this war, and yet the Afghan Army is in any way capable of enforcing security.

The Police are despised and loathed by every local, and petty issues are more important than major events. The other day we went out on a patrol and the Police did not come along, not due to staffing or morale issues but because they could not be bothered. The Afghan Army set up a roadblock outside of a small village and started checking cars. Sure enough fifteen minutes later two men are caught with an AK 47, four magazines, two pistols, a knife and two hand grenades.

The question then arose did the army have the authority to seize he weapons, what would happen to the two guys. It short it was a balls up, in the end the Army flexi cuffed the two guys and took then back to their base and not the Police Station.

Once the Police heard about this they were pissed to say the least, the main reason they were annoyed was that the Army kept the weapons and would not hand them over to them. The two guys well they were friends of someone in some high position and within half an hour of getting to the Army base they were drinking tea and having a good old laugh by all accounts.

Whilst this incident is one small event in the grand scheme it also highlights the simple fact that on the ground these are the issues that the Afghans deal with because it is something they control and each and everyone has there turf. The locals here do not care what is happening in the next province because it has never affected their life.

Everyone knows that each US Unit is only there for around a year and that after they leave another Unit will replace them and try to reinvent the wheel. With new ideas and new plans, again a simple case of taking four steps backwards follows the progress of the current unit.

The incident that best captured the lack of respect the Afghan’s have for the US Forces was etched on hundreds of faces the other morning. The celebration of Eid-ul-Ahza is on the Muslim calendar a major holiday and everyone goes to the Mosque to give thanks and enjoy friends and family, as they were leaving their Mosque to go home for lunch. The US troops decided that they had to go back to the main camp, so loaded up in four MRAP’s they drove through the people tooting horns and waving guns to get out of the way, cursing them for walking on the road and getting in their way.

The look of disgust for these foreign invaders was all to clear to see, but the soldiers in the vehicle I was in were blind to the obvious, a mission had to take place. For all the goodwill they believe that they have created they have once again set themselves back another year in this valley.

People will not forget the disregard for their religious holiday soon and those letters in the night will not seem as threatening.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally...we don't care about doing one thing to change Afghanistan. They can live in the dark ages, worship anything they want, be as corrupt as they care to be but ... we definitely don't need to waste one more soldier's life or dollar in Afghanisan or anywhere else in the middle east. However, when they train people to come to MY country and kill our people that's where all sympathy for them stops. Get out of the middle east, develop our own dang energy and oil...load up the planes with the big bombs and say...one wrong move in our direction and your friggin country is glass...otherwise you can live any old way you want with your religion of "peace". BUT..no more foreign aid to any of you. You know this making us the enemy is a pile of crap. The 9/11 war was started by them...not us. We should have gone in and killed all the bastards involved we could and gotten out, closed our own borders and stopped all immigration so they can't come over here and enjoy the labor of our hands. We should kick them out of our schools and educate people who use knowledge for the good of the world.. We should say to them all one wrong move in our direction and we will flatten your miserable country....So go live in the dark ages for as long as you want, treat women like cattle, worship any stupid man you want....who cares. But don't blame civilized people for the cesspool you live in.

21stCenturyMom said...

It often feels like the only way to get a view of what's really happening over there is to read your blog. Your perspective needs to find its place on the nightly news - every night.

I am so glad that Obama is not just sending troops in under the notion that more fire power is better. I have some some teeny sliver of hope that this administration will derive and execute a strategy that has a snow ball's chance of being effective.

21stCenturyMom said...

ps - I wonder how Anonymous can tell the bad guys from the good guys.

Anonymous - how about at least feigning a belief that not all Afghanis are the same. I know it's really much more work than being a 'one size fits all' hater but please try.

How would you feel if people from other countries decided that the folks you see on 'People of Walmart' represented every American? http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/

I'd be a little upset.

Anonymous said...

I'm a realist Mom...I'm probably a lot older than you are, an American, and I've seen a lot more war than you no doubt. I don't like burrying my head in the sand and hoping that things come out okay...I remember the second world war.. There were people who thought you could appease the enemy then too. Didn't work and the USA had to pull the bacon out of the fire for the rest of the world as well as ourselves. There are two arms of Islam..the political arm and the militant arm...they both have the same goal. There are no moderate muslims. If you don't believe me you don't have to. But I suggest you go to Afghanistan without the security of having the military protect you and be as moderate as you want to be and see how long you last. As I said, I don't care how they live or what they believe. I said, bring all our men home and tell THEM no wrong moves towards our country...and then destroy all their capability from the air...waste no more men on them or trying to civilize them. I don't go to their countries telling them how to live...I say do what you want but don't tread on me...We were attacked on 9/11 and elsewhere as well....were you? Maybe when they gore your cow you will wake up. Until then you can be as upset as you want. And I will call evil..evil because I live in a country where I bow my knee to no man or evil religion. I actually think for myself and make my own observations. I refuse to be brainwashed by liars or swallow the old liberal line...which is very old and very boring. If there were so many people in Afghistan who didn't agree with the militant part of Islam...there would be no militant Islam...or at least so very many of them. and once again...they wouldn't be living in a cesspool. Maybe you are the one who should take another look at things and get realistic. But I know you won't. It is easier for you to call people like me haters. Then you can feel superior and feel good about yourself. I suggest we have fought more wars because of people like you than like me. Thank you Mom.

Dr. Bzzzz said...

I like what Obama says. It must be difficult being President of the USA, to say the least. On the one hand a whole bunch of voters would get annoyed if he did not send troops and on the other hand many want him to waste no more time, energy, and lives. So Obama does both simultaneously - troops in, troops out. Kind of funny. But I believe what he really wants is troops out and possibly even kindness in. This is honourable. Anonymous, Roskin said 'It is the weak who are cruel. Only gentleness can be expected from the strong.' Theodore Roosevelt(great President) said 'The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people' and Lucas said of civilization it is just a slow process of learning to be kind. Obama really does just want to make his/your country great. I actually believe this and he has the foresight to see that this includes respecting and representing everyone because it is one hell of a small world right now. People who do not see this are not only ignorant they come from many religions and walks of life. They just do not see the bigger picture. It is time to leave Afghanistan but only in terms of fighting. Was/ is America in Afghanistan because of 9/11 or is it deeper than this? Thoughts of oil(Russia made this mistake) , positioning in the middle east in terms of other resources? Who knows and who cares right now. Leaving isn't loosing. Let the Afghans choose their fate sometimes it is good just to listen.

21stCenturyMom said...

Dear Anonymous,
I am an American, born and bred. Born 55 years ago, at that.

I'm pretty sure there lots of people in Afghanistan suffering under the current regime.

I think Obama has a great plan. Hopefully he is also firing up a squad of CIA operatives who can infiltrate and kill the bad guys. It's time for some spy power.

Anonymous said...

It's time for some brain power...which is obviously lacking and has been replaced by bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Yep...I'd say 9/11 was about the biggest act of kindness I ever saw. And Obama is too busy snooping on his own people putting his nose into our lives and taking away our freedoms and calling us terrorists and racists to worry about our enemies. And besides, he has just about destroyed our Intelligence services. Yep, I never saw anyone in power who was cruel okay. Give me a break.
Neatie...not that anonymous other Americanone...but I agree with anonymous. And I say...none so blind as those who refuse to see. That's all I got time for...got to go search for some work to feed my family....I'd use my credit card but my identity was stolen by an illegal alien. I could go on Obama welfare with this redistribution of wealth but I don't qualify...I'm not a slug.
Neatie...Thanks Mal...love your work. Keep it up and spread a little love...will you?

Anonymous said...

Right Mal....you can spread the love the same time you spread the bribary money....money and love...sort of go together don't they? Makes ya all light headed..doesn't it?

Dr. Bzzzz said...

Dear anonymous Hiroshima was not kind either. Or Pearl Harbour. Or the concentration camps. Or the PLO etc etc etc I hear there are 30,000 jobs going in the military at the moment if you hurry! woohoo

Anonymous said...

Dr. Buzzz....I find no whoohoo in war. Pearl Harbour and a lot of aggressive killing came before Hiroshima. It stopped afterwards. The concentration camps did not go away on their own. It is not kind to allow a mad dog to come into your home and destroy your family. You kill the mad dog. Sometimes love and kindness are hidden behind by cowards who do not recognize that true evil exists in this world as well as true love. Without those who have the couragae and convictions to stand against evil you would not have the freedom to believe as you choose or to state your beliefs. Many have fought and many have died for you and for me to have our freedom to be as kind and loving as we choice to be. For all of your kind talk you are quick to judge and strangely enough you judge those of us who fight to defend freedom but choose not to be kind to those who would curtail freedom. Knowledge without wisdom isn't worth much. Nor is love and kindness when wasted on mad dogs. With your education and all your kindness you have judged me as a war mongor. Laughable really. Your conclusions could not be further from the truth. I hate war as much or more than maybe even you do. But I am not foolish enouh to think I can love this world into peace or "be kind" mad dogs into submission. I judge men, because I can't know their hearts, their motives, by their actions. This keeps me out of dark alleys at night and to lock my doors at night...a shame. I didn't use to have to lock my doors at night...before we we became so kind and loving to those who would break in and rob and kill. Hummm...was that so kind? It isn't loving and kind to mislead people. And if you think I agree with politicians who use their power and position to gain more power and control of people you are wrong. I am not a blind follower of politicians. In fact I have come to dispise politicians. But I know that some people respect nothing but strength and power. They have no respect for love and kindness, Buzzz. There is a time to love, to be kind, and there is a time to stand up and fight. You seem to see love and kindness very narrowly...superficially. It is not being kind or loving to mislead people I say again. It is not wise to close your eyes to reality. Nobody has asked you to fight. I don't ask anything of you. You keep on being kind all you want. I too will continue to be kind and love but I also will stand and fight to protect my country from the dogs without...and within. We see the world differently Buzz. There is a reason for that...I wonder if you know or even care what that reason is? We also see love and kindness differently. I see no benefit in loving evil. Thanks for your thoughts. Old Mal is probably over there scratching his head and wondering how he opened this can of worms...He's a good guy. I think he should have something to say about all this....after all...he's there isn't he while we are comparatively safe. It's easy to run your mouth talking theory when nobody is shooting at you or you have to watch where you step because of bombs. Thanks again Mal for what you are doing...and I'm sure you spread love and kindness around whenever you have the opportunity and you have someone who wants your love and kindness. Woohoo Mal, as Dr. Buzz says, whatever the hell that means.

Dr. Bzzzz said...

'woohoo' was irony - not sure if you do irony or sarcasm ...there does exist, possibly rather unfairly, a generalisation that suggests Americans don't. This has got rather complicated hasn't it? I think the Americans should leave Afghanistan, save their money and, or, plough it into domestic issues. That's all.......oh and maybe stop going on about 9/11....devastation that was caused by a handful of psychopaths with obviously not much to live for.

Anonymous said...

Buzzz..I guess you and I don't even agree on what irony is...ironic...isn't it. Yes, things do get complicated...don't they... but may I say, not being sarcastic or anything like that, that the truth is never confusing. It is the lie that confuses, that leads us into chaos. I know Dr. Buzz...You will now condemn me for presuming I alone know the truth,probably have a god complex, my father beat me, and god forbid even worse, that I'm some sort of religious nut. I have noticed there are a lot of those types running around....carrying bombs ocassionally in their belts now days. On the other hand..heck, it might even cross my mind, just for a moment you understand because I don't have too many brain cells to trap a thoughts, that you on the other hand paint the world in lots of gray shades...and for a second I see you standing at your window...gazing into the upseen distance, stroking your beard, and thinking.."What is truth anyway?" Fortunately, for people like me, truth is not hidden from us but is hidden in plain sight for all who seek it. Fortunately as well, for all who love life and truth, there is never need to kill yourself out of desperation. You might consider a belief system, a lack of truth, a society so dark, that it could convince a person that death is an escape from reality, that death is a goal, that death is what life is all about and something to be desired. I don't know what people really think about Americans because I don't think most of them know much about Americans and I consider it a waste of time worrying about it. Personally, I think most American individuality has been destroyed by PC, by multiculturalism, by mass immigration that cares nothing about what it is to be an American but rather uses what real Americans can provide for them. Individuals used to be important here...individual freedom was important. Not so anymore. We just conform to whatever the experts and politicians tell us we should be, act how they tell us to act....you know...stop thinking for ourselves, fulfilling our own destinies... just accept what the one world, one boring world people tell us we should be, what we should do. Life is only confusing if you make it so by accepting lies. But then, if it is so simple that simple people can understand....that does away with a lot of busy work for all the deep thinkers of the world ....doesn't it. We wouldn't want to do that....would we Buzzz. Unlike you, who think I have no sense of humor of any sort....I think you are funny as heck and it's been fun ...bullshiting with you. That's an old American West expression Dr. Buzz....no offense is meant by it...it's a local descriptive term. We must have something in common...after all we do both read old Mal's blog. Either we are both crazy as loons or Mal is a man for all readers...He used to be anyway, when he wore one gold earring and had wild hair...but since he turned 50 and he seems to have.... settled...know what I mean? And I won't tell either of you to have a nice day...I'll tell you both to have an interesting and safe day, to live life and enjoy it no matter where you are. It's a screwed up world out there...know what I mean? Love somebody worth loving and who cares that you love them and watch out for the rest. Yep...good and evil exist side by side...and you better be wise enough to know the difference.

Dr. Bzzzz said...

I find it both fascinating and IRONIC :-) that on the one hand you talk of 'Americans' as an entity and in the next breath want to be an 'individual'. Also, correct me if I am wrong, but was America not founded on immigration and multiculturism? Is the 1st amendment not the freedom of speech, religion, press and assembly? and unless you are a native american are you not an immigrant?
But now I am bullshitting you :-) And in way's I admire your integrity and your opinion. I am just a simple soul who everyday wakes up thankful that I live in a society where I have been given the chance to become anything I want. My children too. All they need is foresight, strength and resilience to overcome those fun western distractions. All they need to do is respect themselves and others and have a dream.I hope they continue to grab these constitutional gifts. There are those who never have such chances. I tell my son's do not be afraid of what others have to offer you fight for what you want and be honourable. I do not agree with illegal immigration but have no problem competing with others and many Americans (people) allow those others to overtake them and then get upset. Grab your chances. So it is that I simply say leave Afghanistan (at least in terms of fighting for dust) and look after your own by building on, and investing in, your countries biggest strength - Your people.

Anonymous said...

"Native Americans" also immigrated here..howbeit before the Europeans who founded and developed our country did. Indians are individuals too. I live in the middle of Indians...trust me. The world is a world of immigrants. You don't call Germans a country of immigrants but they came from somewhere else once. The point being that once in America...people immigrated here to become Americans. They loved America. That's why they came. It gave them freedom and opportunity to fulfill their own destinies. It was the great melting pot. Those who came did not want to change America but to become Americans. Since 1965 with a great liberal change in our immigration laws, this has changed. Immigrants have come from parts of the world they hadn't come from before, that had nothing to do with the establishment of our Nation. The goal is no more to become Americans..We now have multiculturism...We used to all be Americans..now we are Mexican Americans, African Americans, Korean Americans. Big difference...It divides...no more Americans first. United we stood. Divided we may very well fall. Once a country of individuals but all Americans. See the difference? Our Constitution recognizes that many of our freedoms are God given ....not just Constitutionally insured. These rights and freedoms we were guaranteed Constitutionally are being chipped away at. Oppressive Governments, wherever they are, destroy freedom and individuality. Power and control is the name of their game. You know that. Control of your own destiny is what you seem to believe in. Control of your own destiny. I hope it continues to be that way for you. Far as I'm concerned people can run their countries and lives any old way they want to, worship trees if tey choose. But don't come to my country and try to conform it into your image. A lot of good Americans have died to uphold our Constitution and kept us free from tyranny and so will I. Americans are individuals but at the same time they are Americans...standing together in unity. What's so hard to understand about that? That is what has been destroyed by mass immigrations of people who have not become Americans first but want to make America like what they left. I wonder why they left their home countries to start with? This has divided our Country, changed it. Change is not always good. I get up every morning like you and I understand what the world and my country are like. I have my beliefs and goals and no matter how my freedoms are threatened by our present elected officials who seem to like telling everybody what to do and what to think...I keep on chuggin'. They pay no attention to what we the people want. They have forgotten that they work for us..and are hell bent on seeing that we work for them. I don't intend to be a slave of the state. And so I continue to fight in every way I can those who would destroy my Constitution and my freedom, the ones within and the ones without. Some learn nothing from history, especially revised history. Our destiny is in our own hands. Maybe a big difference between you and me is that I don't let things happen to me. I don't take things sitting down...I don't roll over. Maybe in some ways we are alike but I think in some basics we are very different. Variety is the spice of life, or so they say. But basics never change. Truth is always truth. Real love is always real love. Right is right and wrong is wrong. On 9/11 my country was attacked, all 50 States...not just New York, an act of War. We are one Nation. You say by a handful of pathetic nuts I've observed that there are more than a handful of these pathetic nuts in the world. I have no intentions of letting them change my destiny, my freedom or my country. They can be anything they want..at home but if they bring it here I will fight them. Thanks Bzz for your thoughts. Guessing we have become a boar to Mal. What would we do without people like Mal. Stay ignorant I guess. Thanks and take care.

Dr Bzzzz said...

Maybe we're not so different - ditto on this being Mal's blog supposedly - Take care

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