Afghanistan Tour

Ignorance is Bliss 6

It is hard to believe that after nine years of war, there are so many people who are ignorant to what our soldiers are doing in Afghanistan. I mean I can understand that from 2003-2009 most people were almost completely ignorant that we were even still at war in Afghanistan because the MSM focused almost all of their coverage on the war in Iraq. It was not until President Bush in late 2008 started planning to surge forces into Afghanistan in the spring of 2009 (yes that was President Bush, not President Obama who authorized the original surge) that most news outlets started talking about Afghanistan regularly. To be quite honest, because of GEN Petraeus and President Bush’s push for a surge in Iraq did things calm down in Iraq and many of the daily kinetic battles taper off to the point that MSM was bored there.

The combat activity in Afghanistan was there the whole time, with it really starting to ramp up in 2006, but you would not have known it by watching the news. Which I think is one of the reasons why blogs like this one and others like AWAC, Afghanistan Shrugged and Afghan Quest became so popular. There was a small percentage of the population that did care about what was happening in Afghanistan and they went looking for someone who was talking about it.

But back to my original statement that people in large are ignorant to what has happened and is happening in Afghanistan. I run into people all the time that are clueless of what is asked of our American service-members serving in Afghanistan. I am not talking about the ones going to every USO show that comes into the base, I am talking about those that are truly “outside the wire”. I talk to civilians, DOD or DA employees and sometimes even military members that have no clue. I am not sure if I should be pissed off, sad or glad for them.

I mean how dare they not know, not understand, not care. Who the F@#$ are they to get up every morning, check their Blackberry, flip on CNN, and eat their cheerios without knowing who’s soul left this planet overnight because they were doing their job as a warrior when 300lbs of homemade explosives ripped their body apart. They should be made to know, they should be made to see it, they should understand what a select few of full time soldiers and citizen-soldiers are doing for them. Your “I support the Troops” yellow ribbon magnet is not doing it for me anymore. I don’t buy it.

But at the same time it is very sad that these people walk through their day, bitching about the traffic on their commute into the office, frustrated that someone took the last of the coffee from the break-room without re-filling the coffeepot and angry when a meeting cuts 15 minutes out of the normal 90 minute lunch. Why would they want to walk through life so ignorant? There was a quote from the movie The Matrix that I think resonates a lot of truth when I think of these people, “Ignorance is Bliss”. I mean you don’t know what you don’t know, and if you don’t have to bother your day with thinking about guys who are missing the birth of their first child, not making it home for their father’s funeral, or watching their buddy die in their arms then I guess life is good for you I ‘spose.

As I said, sometimes I am not sure if I should be GLAD for them. I mean how lucky they are NOT to have to worry about all of that mess. It was said by a soldier (Dustin) in the docu-movie At War that “there is a difference between WANTING to go war and WILLING to go to war”. I mean many of us who go to combat do so with the thought that we go so others don’t have to. I have said that and think that also, so it is conflicting for me personally to be upset when people are ignorant to what our troops are doing and going through. Me and my brothers and sisters have walked the battlefields, we have carried the stretchers to the waiting medevacs, we have attended fallen soldiers ceremonies so not everyone has to go through that….ignorance is bliss I guess. Lucky for you to not have to go through that pain.

So maybe my anger or sadness is jealousy, maybe I am jealous that you, the ignorant American, get to go through life putting no more skin in the game than a $3.99 yellow ribbon magnet from the local 7-11. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want your pity, I don’t want your pat on the back, I don’t even care if you say “thank you for your service”. I don’t need thanks and I don’t need your pity because I am proud of what I have done and the service I have given to this country and still give. I would never do anything different with my life than be a soldier, as it has defined who I am and who I have become. Don’t feel bad, sad or sorry for me. Just be glad there are those like me that do what we do so you can still check that Blackberry and enjoy that 90 minute lunch.

But what you can do is pay attention and not be sheep. As ugly as combat is, don’t pretend to understand it or voice your “opinion” on it. Just try to understand what our American men and women are doing for you and pay attention to all the places we have men and women deployed. Don’t stick to the idiot boxes of big heads for your daily infuse of information as they will only tell you what they want you to hear and how they want you to hear it. Go the web, read blogs, Google it, look around for yourself. You are an American with more freedoms and liberties than most in the world. Use those freedoms and the power of the internet to find out for yourself what our mighty and awesome military does for you. You owe it to yourself as an American to appreciate what you have beyond your own life.

The Polish are coming to town

The Polish Army moved into the battle-space that I was operating in right before I left country. They were getting setup and ready to take over. From what I have heard, they have done great things in the area over the last year. They have stepped up as a NATO partner and are performing as professional and outstanding as the Aussies, Brits, and Canadians.

Well the Polish Army is now moving into every volatile Ghazni Province. As you can see they are in all the rough areas of Afghanistan; Sharana, Gardez, Kandahar, and now Ghazni. This country is one to be proud of and one that is doing their part. I wish I could say that of all the countries over there, but that is not reality.

Until Next Time…

CAPPY Guest Blogger: His first post on Bouhammer (PG-13)

Well Toby Kieth’s concert was cut short due to rocket attack on the air field. Three songs for free is better than nothing. It was too bad because he does put on a good show, and the troops seemed to really be getting into it.

Things are pretty quiet here to date, since the late rain and cooler temps north of here are holding off the poppy harvest until the middle of May. Things are moving now so that a bad-guy strike is expected soon. The Marines are on the ground, and seem to be ready for the conflict. I only wish they weren’t so young and eager. I didn’t kill any one until I was 38 or 39 and even then it was a lot to handle. I hope that this cup may pass without so many (young troops) taking a drink, but I really believe I am wrong. I feel this year’s hunting season will not be an Afghan-only event. Iran will probably participate with money, training and ordinance. Also some Muslim nations in Asia, Africa and the former Soviet Union are all sending participants. So I can’t really say for sure which anti- American foe we will be facing here in the south.

I am thoroughly un-impressed with our foreign allies, save the Canadians. Certain ones ride around with no armor on their vehicles, the Portuguese don’t do a damn thing, the French have no concept of radio operations, and all the others I’ve only seen on KAF (Kandahar Air Field) are without any real tactical gear. They do enjoy the PX (Army and Air Force Post Exchange), so it’s all good. The one group who really frost my stones are the young guys working for these corporations here in the Stan. These guys are younger than I am, too self-centered to enlist and help their nation, completely unprofessional, and are making huge checks doing fuck nothing. This war should be a military-only party. If I can suck it up for a third deployment, when can they get in line for just one?

Well enough bitching. The morale of the guys on the teams in South is pretty high, which is always good. The government is paying us, and feeding us well. I have yet to run into anyone who is thoroughly bitter, outside of Phoenix (Task Force HQ in Kabul). The one thing that I can attest to is that this is the last deployment for most New Yorkers. The only thing most people wanted was to stay together, and not get passed around like sluts at a biker party. Well that is exactly what has happened again, way to go!

JON GUEST BLOGGER: The more remote the better it is…sometimes 1

It seems that the smaller you are the less noticeable you are. What I mean is the more you can get away with, the more freedom you’ll be granted. Just do your job and the less B.S. you have to deal with. The brass (senior officers) is probably the biggest cause of this B.S. Having 5 or 10 seagulls (Colonels) with nothing better to do but look at stuff that might be wrong or things they don’t like just adds to the misery. It reminds me of the two old men on Muppets criticizing everything around them, never once looking at themselves. I’ve personally seen more higher-ranking people with jacked up uniforms than the lower enlisted.

It seems the higher up (in rank) you get, the more jacked up your beret gets. Sorry for ranting, hypocrites tend to piss me off. The point is that I feel fortunate that I am at a small FOB so I don’t have to deal with brass at other larger FOBs. Now you don’t want to be in a FOB so small that you’re one of 6 Americans being guarded by a company of ANA. That might be too small.