I first brought this up a couple of years ago and wanted to raise up the topic again.
For years I have struggled with how to address Memorial Day when greeting people on this weekend. I know many of my brethren have told me they sometimes struggle with the same thing.
I mean saying Happy or Merry Memorial Day does not seem right at all. Would you walk up to someone on the anniversary of the date a loved one of theirs died and say Happy Anniversary!! I think not.
I think that is one of the reason’s why I am not a big fan of parades on this day. Parades are meant to be fun and joyous, not sad and somber. But many communities have them and even though I know they mean well, it just doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe I am weird like that, I don’t know.
So how does one give a greeting on this honorable and reverend of holidays that our country actually takes a pause to recognize?
Like I said, for years I have been struggling with this issue.
Today while driving from one cemetery to another to visit past soldiers of mine I had an epiphany. It suddenly popped into my head. Rather than “Happy” or “Merry” , use the word Honorable. That is what we are doing, or at least supposed to be doing on this day. Honoring.
I know it does not flow as well as Happy or Merry, but quite frankly I don’t care. I think it is the best word to use. Maybe there is a better one that I can’t think of, but I know for now I will stick with Honorable. So when I see someone today I will say “Hope you are having a HONORABLE Memorial Day” or maybe just “Honorable Memorial Day”.
I hope you will join me in changing the way we greet people on this weekend and day. Lets make this a grass-roots effort to HONOR those that have made the ultimate sacrifice and their families and friends who have memorial day 365 days a year and not just one.
In 2007, a few months before I left Afghanistan, we had heard that ISAF or some level of command had instituted a “Drive Safe Afghanistan” campaign where they were trying to order coalition forces not to block off the roads while convoying and to allow civilian traffic to be in between vehicles and to not be so aggressive an mean looking to civilians are we traveled.
In Army language we call this lowering the defensive posture. In today’s news I saw this…
In the south, three U.S. service members, two U.S. civilians and the doctor were killed when a suicide bomber detonated a car full of explosives just as a convoy with the international military coalition drove past another convoy of vehicles carrying the governor of Zabul province.
I wonder if these lives were lost because of this lowering of posture. Actually I wonder how many have been lost since then due to the most powerful Military in the world not wanting to look so mean and intimidating, you know like and Military is supposed to look.
Coming hot off the presses….
The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan incorrectly reported a decline in Taliban attacks last year, and officials said Tuesday that there was actually no change in the number of attacks on international troops from 2011 to 2012.
The corrected numbers – from the original reports of a 7 percent decline to one of no change – could undercut the narrative promoted by the international coalition and the Obama administration of an insurgency in steep decline.
So it seems that a “clerical error” continues to try and support the notion of faking progress.
In mid-December, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said “violence is down,” in 2012, and that Afghan forces “have gotten much better at providing security” in areas where they have taken the lead role. He said the Taliban can be expected to continue to attack, “but overall they are losing.”
On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Panetta was “concerned to learn of the errors” and was only very recently briefed on the matter.
“This particular set of metrics doesn’t tell the full story of progress against the Taliban, of course, but it’s unhelpful to have inaccurate information in our systems,” Little said.
I chalk it up to Panetta, who in my opinion is probably the worst Secretary of Defense this country has had in 40 years, trying to pad his legacy and resume as he walks out the door as the self-proclaimed champion of military equal opportunity.
It supports why I think he is one of the worst as he tries to spin the numbers and make it look like our warfighters are not fighting the hard fight, like they know they are. This country deserves more than putting lipstick on a pig and calling it pretty. It deserves the damned truth, as ugly as it may be. Our young men and women are not being wounded and dying for politicians to cover it up and create a great sounding soundbite on the 6PM news.
The Afghan president has ordered US special forces to leave Wardak province within two weeks.
The decision was being taken due to allegations of disappearances and torture by Afghans considered to be part of US special forces, said a spokesman for Hamid Karzai.
The strategically significant, central province of Wardak has been the recent focus of counter-insurgency operations.
Don’t just stop there Mr. Karzai, let us help you get them out of every province and in fact not just Special Forces. Lets pull ALL US FORCES out of all of Afghanistan in the next two weeks. Come on, you got it Karzai, you can do it, you and your grotesquely corrupt government and your falsely inflated numbers of an Army and Police force. We have been there since 2001, and training your forces since 2002. You surely have it all together by now. You can plan, lead and execute military operations like the best coalition partners helping you out. You can maintain your force and equipment conduct support missions by air and provide all the medevac and other combat multipliers with ease and without our help.
So go big or go home, Karzai, kick all of our forces out, and with our forces will go all their equipment, weapons and oh yeah….MONEY. You know the stuff that pays your salary and the salary of your entire government because you can’t secure your country enough to provide a development and extraction of raw materials which could be extracted and sold on the world market in order for you to have a GDP.
I call on our Administration and Military leadership to give the Mayor of Kabul what he wants, complete control over his security forces and the security of the country. Start demolishing they new, big buildings on Bagram, shipping out all the MRAPs and don’t let the door hit us on the way out. Bring every C-5 and C-17 in our inventory to Afghanistan and start filling them to the brim with troops, ammo and equipment.
It is time to go, actually it has been time to go for almost a year now.
Oh and Mr. Karzai, don’t call us, we will call on you….when we see terrorists starting to organize and plan inside your borders again. And that calling will be in the way of JDAMs, Tomahawks and AC-130 Specter Gunships.
Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21566295
So now we face the threat of not being able to even training our soldiers and prep them for war?
Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said the military will be able to fund training and operations for combat units in Afghanistan now and for those deploying in the summer and fall. But he says there will be delays in training for those deploying in 2014. If those training delays can’t be made up, Odierno said he would have to send forces to war that aren’t ready or extend deployments of units already there. A number of combat brigades will be deploying later this year and next year, even as the U.S. winds down the war.
So what does this mean for one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world? It means that in a time where our soldiers are not stretched too thin we can’t afford to prepare soldiers properly and send them over to combat. Some may say “they all have combat experience, why do they need trained?”. Even though that is true for the most part, it does not mean they all have experience doing the job they would be doing on the next deployment. Guys who may be Company Commanders now, were maybe a platoon leader before or even an enlisted soldiers. NCOs who may be platoon sergeants now may have been a squad leader or team leader on the last deployment.
Not to mention that new equipment has been fielded, fixed, upgraded that soldiers need to train with and train on. Like the title says, this is probably reason 10001 why Sequestration is going to be very bad for our country and our military. Congress has to work together and get past this “my way or the highway” attitude they have had. March 1st is coming and when that date hits, all is going to hell in regards to the defense of our country. What you see in the news is the tip of the iceberg. Ranges on major military bases are being shut down, DA Civilians are being prepped to be furloughed without pay, government contracts are going to be allowed to expire, equipment is not going to be purchased or even reset for it to be continued to be used. That is what I can mention publicly, but just know this…for every “bad” thing you hear in the news about what the sequestration will do to our military, there are 1000 other worse things really happening on the back end.
Maybe this news story about how soldier’s combat tours are going to get extended because the United States of America can’t afford to prepare its son’s and daughters for combat will either motivate our elected officials to work together or at least get Americans to wake up and contact their elected officials and demand action.
Right now the most important thing effecting this country is not 30 round magazines, Obamacare or broken down cruise ships. It is this, the temporary destruction of our military readiness.
On Tuesday of this last week I was asked to be a guest again on the BBC’s World Have Your Say radio program. A show that I have been on more times than I can count. Most of the time it is about Afghanistan and last week was no different.
With Karzai coming into the US last Friday to meet with the President with a beggar’s hand and a slapping hand, they decided to call. They asked me if I had an opinion on him coming into town asking for more money at the same time while he is blaming us for all his country’s woes. They knew darn well I had an opinion and I was more than willing to share it.
I used to be a fan of Karzai a very long time ago, but that respect was lost as I watched him get drunk with power. It is one thing for him to shoot off at the mouth to his own people in order to look tough but something else when he starts talking smack to Americans. I don’t know who he thinks he is, but we have a saying in the US that says “never bite the hand that feeds you”.
Hamid Karzai, who will meet Barack Obama, wants Washington to stump up for planes, helicopters, heavy weapons and other advanced military equipment for Afghanistan‘s still-shaky armed forces. He also wants more aid money to be channelled through ministries rather than spent by western aid agencies.
So when you come asking for something you really should also slam the country and government you want free stuff from.
Karzai’s government in turn has accused the west of fuelling corruption and waste in the way it spends money in Afghanistan. The finance minister, Omar Zakhilwal, is pushing for more money to be put straight through the government budget to be spent by ministries like education and health, rather than channelled through foreign aid organisations.
“We believe that the way the US money is spent here, there’s a lot of waste, particularly money spent through contractors and outside sources,” Zakhilwal told the Wall Street Journal before the visit. Much of the aid cash flowed back to the US through “big consultant salaries and overheads”, he added.
So it is obvious that besides being drunk with power he is infected with stupidity. If he thinks that he is going to stand any chance of convincing an American people and Congress of continuing to give more money to his grotesquely corrupt government after giving them money and blood for the last 11 1/2 years, then he should really try to suck up a little bit.
Karzai has never stepped up to the plate to make his country truly take over the security and running the country the way it should have be. 11 1/2 years ago the SF team ODA574 helped escort Karzai into the country and keep him alive. 11 1/2 years and Karzai hasn’t been able to lead his citizens to truly stand up and care for their country. Even with billions in free money and the assistance of a huge coalition of countries, many of which gave their up their own son’s and daughters.
I think it is clear the reality is that Karzai is NOT the leader of Afghanistan or even the “Mayor of Kabul” for that matter. He needs to keep his mouth shut, take himself back to Afghanistan and do the country a favor, resign.
You can read a lot more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/07/afghan-president-washington-talks-military
…by adding more enemy fighters to try to kill out soldiers
KABUL, Afghanistan — Some 250 prisoners formerly held by the U.S. have been released by Afghan authorities in hopes that this will lead to reconciliation in the 11-year conflict, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Friday.
Police Maj. Jalal Uddin said that 80 were freed from prisons across the country that day, the latest batch of a total of 400 to be released this week. The released prisoners had been captured in operations against the Taliban and other groups.
“We are certain they can help to bring peace in Afghanistan and will support the government,” he said. Uddin said that members of the Afghan High Peace Council as well as relatives were at the Kabul prison for the release. The council is tasked with seeking a peace agreement with the Taliban and other militant groups before NATO, including the United States, withdraws most of its forces by the end of 2014.
The council also hopes that the release of 26 Taliban prisoners by Pakistan over the past two months will help end the conflict, with the freed serving as intermediaries between Kabul and the Taliban leadership.
I just picked this up on military.com and it continues to strengthen my stance on why our soldiers needs to be out of Afghanistan like YESTERDAY! I had a great talk with my one son who was born on a military base and has been an Army brat his whole life. A boy who watched his father and then older brother both go to Afghanistan. Yet still wanted to go to The Citadel and would love an Army contract to serve as an officer himself. He has always been very worldly and still is. He pays attention to areas of the world that usually only our intelligence agencies do like Africa and South America.
Anyway we talked about this topic at great length, including my post http://www.bouhammer.com/2012/05/this-is-it-bring-our-troops-home-now/ that I wrote last year.
Here are the facts, we have a highly effective and very successful military. The reason our military has so many marks in the WIN column is because we do what military organizations are supposed to do, we kill the enemy, destroy their infrastructure and protect the innocent people. We are not an Army of nation builders, well diggers or educators. Yes we can do that, but our primary mission that every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine is trained to do from day one is to kill our enemies with extreme prejudice and do it quickly with minimal damage to those that are not a threat.
If you want our Army to do that, then let us do our jobs. If you want to close with and destroy the enemies of our nation, then our Military is the group to answer the call. If you want to nation-build, fund development projects and over-see Government building then call the State Department. That is their responsibility.
To release our known and proven enemies back on to the battlefield (yes the entire country of Afghanistan is a battlefield) is just a slap in the face of all those risking their lives every day and essentially makes our troops cannon fodder.
I am not a cut and run guy by any stretch of the imagination, however if the Govt. of Afghanistan continues to do this kind of crap they might as well be the enemy. What is the difference between Pakistan and Iran moving fighters into Afghanistan to battle our troops and the Karzai Government releasing experienced fighters back into the fight? None, so as far as I am concerned the Govt. of Afghanistan may as well be the enemy themselves. The quandary I am in is if you read the link to the blog post I put up last year you will see our own military has been doing this too.
In light of all that I feel stronger than ever that if you are not going to let our military do the jobs they are trained to do, you are going to restrict their abilities with insane Rules of Engagement and you are going to release known bad dudes back into the world to try to kill them, then BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW.
The draft handbook offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism toward Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam,” according to the Journal.
Yes there is a new handbook being considered for our soldiers in Afghanistan that tells them to ignore some of the most basic human rights and values we as a sane western society adhere to, pedophilia.
I have written about this and many other atrocities conducted by the Afghan security forces that our soldiers have to deal with and struggle with in how to react. Now the Center for Army Lessons Learned has seriously drafted a handbook telling soldiers that speaking up about these and other “taboo” things in the Afghan lifestyle is why the forces we have been embedded with for 10 years are all of a sudden turning on us an trying to kill us.
The draft of the newest Army handbook seems to suggest that ignorance of Afghan culture is to blame for deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against the coalition forces, according to The Wall Street Journal, which got a peek at the 75-page document. But its message of walking on eggshells around the locals is not going over well with U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top military commander in Afghanistan.
Do they think our soldiers just recently started these practices? I was there FIVE years ago and I admonished Afghan soldiers for homosexual acts and drug use on missions, beastiality, and pedophilia among many other acts of indecency and unprofessionalism. There were green on blue acts back then but DOD and ISAF were not tracking them. They didn’t officially start that until 2009. However I never felt threatened by an Afghan for talking to them about these things. They only time I or anyone on my team felt threatened is when we tried to correct an act by an Afghan which put the lives of US soldiers, Afghan soldiers, Afghan civilians at risk or compromised a mission. Not every time these things happened, but some times when they did.
I am encouraged to see that Gen. Allen thinks this handbook is crap too.
“Gen. Allen did not author, nor does he intend to provide, a foreword,” said Col. Tom Collins, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. “He does not approve of its contents.
As long as he holds his ground and is not forced by the administration to allow this handbook then maybe there is a chance this will never see the light of day. Regardless this just shows how disconnected some senior leaders in our military have become, along with other “experts”.
Whoever authored this handbook and approved it, needs to have their teeth kicked in and then sent to Afghanistan to live among the locals for a few months. Then I would like to see how touchy-feely and PC they would like to be.
They next thing they are going to say is that we should not talk bad about, cuss out, or say anything derogatory about the Taliban as it may upset them and encourage them to try and kill us.