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Independent Voter - Old Soldier view of Afghanistan War

Updated on May 20, 2011

(24 Sept 2009) As an Independent Voter and an Old Soldier I feel compelled to offer a view on the national debate brewing about the War Against Terrorism being conducted in Afghanistan known also as Operation Enduring Freedom. I have until now hesitated to comment as I am writing this safe in my office in Georgia, and my remaining son is not currently serving. I do however have a deep empathy with the Mothers, Wives, Husbands, and Fathers and Children of those deployed and know too well the pain of losing those you love when they are young.

During my deployment to Iraq as a Morale Welfare and Recreation Contractor I lost my wife to a blood cancer, and my youngest son to a car accident, within the span of four years. There are no worse feelings in the world than to bury your spouse except than to bury your child. While I was in Iraq I faithfully attended each memorial ceremony on my FOBs to pay my respects as a veteran and many times as a personal friend of the soldier remembered. So I have tried faithfully, and carefully to measure my words here.

There are three elements in this debate that need to be addressed. They are the Politics, the Strategy, and the Logistics. They all tie together and either create, support, or undermine our national will to continue. Some history may be appropriate as well.

The Politics- The War in Afghanistan was begun on September 11th, 2001. The invasion of Afghanistan happened a month or so later but the War began on that fateful and horrible day we watched 3,000 of our citizens die on national TV. How did that happen? The Taliban Government in Afghanistan harbored and abetted the terrorists of Al Quieda. Our current President during the campaign characterized it as a war of necessity. Our previous President through Defense Secretary Rumsfeld poorly managed this war, and we are now faced with a resurgent Taliban and Al Quieda operating out of Pakistan. Are we now to say “oops we goofed that one up, OK you guys you can have Afghanistan back.”? Make no mistake about it, that attitude will be the morale equivalent of blood in the water for the Taliban, if we even give a hint of this, our troops are gonna be in for an even tougher time. When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the last convoy of troops and tanks heading home was attacked just 5 miles from the border with devastating losses; when asked why they did this when the Soviets were leaving the Taliban Commander said words to this effect, ”We want them to remember why they left.”.

My Adopted Unit

Folks we have to get ‘real’ and understand politically that we are in such a fight and that the enemy is as vicious and evil as any we have ever fought. This is not just about 9/11 anymore this also is about deciding weather or not we as a nation and we as free nations (NATO) are going to allow a political philosophy cloaked in religion, that is even more cruel and with many of the same objectives, as the Nazis to continue to exist, perpetuate itself, and threaten the rest of the world with its terrorist guests.

I think sometimes you have to do tough things, for no other reason than because you are the guy who can. We may well be in this position if our NATO allies do not have the resolve to continue. We also have to recognize and steel our hearts that this fight is going to encompass generations of Americans and will have many bad days ahead. These are the politics of intestinal fortitude that we must come together and demonstrate as a nation. We cannot allow this evil to continue. We must defeat them in Afghanistan or we will end up fighting them here; America, pick one of the two there are no other options.

The Strategy-This is the area I have the least expertise in. I am on old Non-Commissioned Officer and all the strategy I ever needed was find the enemy and kill him. But I do recognize that this is an over simplification. Strategy and politics are as entwined as threads in a piece of yarn. What I do know is that the current Commander, Gen McChrystal is probably the best officer for the job at this moment in history. He has a unique career that has prepared him for this command better than any before him. He has asked for more troops among many other things and has put together a well reasoned plan based on over 30 years experience in Special Operations. To the President and the rest of the country I would ‘listen loud and talk soft’ on this subject and support this Officer.

The strategy of winning will not bring us an easy victory nor a swift one in this fight. Any who offer such a substitute just do not understand the problems with training people who are illiterate, who are suspicious of your commitment to them, and who have lived so long under one form of subjugation or another that they have developed a national ‘battered wife syndrome’, the instinct to ‘smell out’ who they think is the winner and go along with them to survive. When survival of yourself and your family is by necessity your fundamental value, all politics go out the window. The necessary strategy of ‘NationBuilding’ must first be anchored in the security of the population and convincing them you will be there to help and protect them into the future.

So our national strategy must be two pronged, first near term stability and second long term economic progress and then political reform etc. Look for this in Gen McChrystal’s plan.

Tied also in the Strategy are the Rules of Engagement, (ROE) these have recently changed and from what I have heard may be too restrictive on the units conducting combat operations. While understanding the necessity to provide the civilian population with some protections, we must first consider the protection of our forces and the accomplishment of the mission. This is a difficult juggling act that we have faced in many areas and not always with a good result. (I was and am in fact proud that as American soldiers we tend to care at all and err on the side of fewer civilian casualties than more, it is one of the things that makes us better than the rest) I will leave the discussion at that with the hope that it will be more closely reviewed where it needs to be and that is within the military. This is an area that requires the Command at all levels to weigh the benefits and risks to the troops and the mission and make a tough choice. That is what we have trained and paid these commanders to do.

The Logistics- There is a saying amongst the military that when folks get together and talk about battles won and lost the amateurs talk about strategy and tactics; the professionals talk about logistics. I have a few friends both military and civilian in Afghanistan, and logistics has been an issue, troops are not getting what they need where they need it and for that there is no excuse. The three B’s of Logistics are Beans, Bodies, and Bullets. It is fundamental for our military leadership to make sure they are all where they need to be. Our troops can do seemingly impossible things when they have the tools to do it. It is a fundamental obligation of the military command, the civilian leadership, and our nation as a whole to make sure our troops have what they need.

Having said all that let me also explain to the general population that there are the necessities and the nice to have. When I wrote home to my parents and later my wife I asked for cookies, toiletries, etc be sent in care packages no matter where I was. In the current operations, many of our troops are stationed on what are called “Combat Outposts” these are very small bases that may only consist of one building or several small tents.  Surrounded by concrete T Wall Barriers or Hesco Barriers, these are the places troops operate out of when they are on training missions or security missions. They may or may not have hot chow on site, while MRE’s do have a heating element, it’s not the same as a good hot ‘not in a bag’ meal. The larger bases have PX’s and it could be months before they get to go to one so the simple necessities become scarce. Mail however gets to them somewhat regularly and it is a surer avenue of supply than the road trip to the FOB is for most. Consequently they ask for those necessities to build up their stash when they can and to share with their buddies when they are out. We (soldiers) are by are nature hoarders of these comforts and are always on the look out for more. Now I want to be clear here, I am not minimizing the needs, I am just pointing out that troops are troops and this is what we do. To the nation I would say send more of everything, send more till it hurts; get your kids to adopt a soldier through one of the many support programs and have them give up some allowance or undertake some job to help pay for it, teach them to do their part to support our troops in harms way. They are risking everything for us, I believe it should be fundamental to the American psyche that when ever, where ever our troops are deployed we support them as much through deed as we do through words.

In summary our nation is at a crossroads, and one that will have even wider implications than just the successful conduct of the war on terrorism. We ditched South Viet Nam for many of the same reasons that are being brought up now. (We abandoned Somalia and Lebanon for even less.) Viet Nam was a war where we never lost a battle; we spent eight years training the South Vietnamese military, and then cut the legs out from under them when after withdrawing our troops the US Congress refused to give them the bullets and spare parts to fight with. That turned all the blood and sacrifice into a wasted pile of rubbish that those of us who served during this time will never forget.

Our nation’s political leadership must review, and either endorse or modify, and proceed with Gen McChrystal’s plan in short order. I do not subscribe to the idea that our President has to take a great deal of time on this, we pay for a large staff of subject matter experts, our nation elected him to multitask on issues; so Mr. President light a fire under the butts of your staff and get done what you need to and proceed.

It seems eight years is turning out to be our national outside limit on our resolve to undertake the hard road. We get tired, and we let all things war related drift into the background of a 30 second spot on the evening news. We just want it to end and forget about the reasons we went in the first place. Abandoning the people of Afghanistan now will have the effect of setting in concrete the idea that we are sunshine friends that cannot be counted on. It will give both Al Quieda and the Taliban a propaganda tool that those who have to choose between fighting for their freedom and surviving tyranny will pay close attention to. That is the choice facing many around the world today, not just in Afghanistan. Here though is where we must draw the line and say no to terrorism, no to tyranny. Here and now we make our stand; here, now, and forever we must stand for freedom.

Finally, a word about our troops. I recently attended a ceremony at Fort Stewart Georgia and got to spend some moments talking to Brigadier General Thomas Vandal, Deputy CG (Support) 3rd Infantry Division. We talked about the troops and the prevailing attitude amongst them about Operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan (elements of the 3rd Infantry Division are deploying to both areas of operations). Afghanistan in particular has a focus with our younger troops. Most of them watched the TwinTowers fall while they were in grade school all have chosen to serve in the military knowing full well they would more than likely be deployed. They are resolute in their focus to successfully accomplish their mission. This is what soldiers do.

I read an article not too long ago where the correspondent had been with Marines through an ambush in Afghanistan and the troops complained about rules of engagement, the chow, and not enough ammo. He asked the Sergeant in charge of this small unit after the fight, after they had taken wounded, if things could be any worse, his answer was “Yeah we could have been left at Camp Le June.”  I think that is a message that is both powerful in its spirit, and elegant in its simplicity; heed his message well America…

John H Ellis Sr (USA, ret)

Hammer Jammer 1

We need the same resolve..

Authors Bio

Hmrjmr1 on HubPages

JH "Big John" AKA as Hammer Jammer 1

A simple man who loves God, Family, and Country...

22yrs Service in US Army (now retired)

9 yrs Service in USPS (resigned to serve in Iraq)

Served as Contractor MWR Coordinator, Technician and Supervisor at various Forward Operating Bases in Iraq from Jul 2004 - Nov 2008. Now developing and publishing providing Technical advice to MWR professionals and informational articles with (I hope) useful advice, ideas, and prespective for Family Resource Groups (FRG) and deployed Contractors.

Mail Services Supervisor at Joint Military Mail Terminal Joint Base Balad (JMMT JBB)Dec 2008 - Mar 2009 (now retired)

Widwed from wife Zena in Oct 2005 after more than 23yrs of marriage.

Father of two sons,

     Daniel -A young man who makes me proud just to know his name.

     John II -A wonderful personality who is now in the comfort of his mums loving arms. 1984 - 2008

The Obstacles on the road both before us and behind us pale in camparison to those that lie within us.

Fark ek Fidele - Uk Prasim


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    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Gus - Much Thanks my Friend I will be updating it soon keep an eye out eh! GBY!

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 8 years ago from USA

      Big John - I found this because I eas looking for more of your stuff. If I could do so, I'd make a plaque of this article and hang if on the wall. Maybe, better yet, I'd make two plaques of it and hang one on the wall and the other one by the front door. Or even better than that, I'd make a million of them and send them to a million people to copy and to do the same as I would like to do.


      Gus !!!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Doyle - We'll just have to agree to disagree. I served in Vietnam as well and this is a different scenario. One that we have to win. If we fail we will be fighting them here, even more so than we are now. Thanks for reading and commenting. Thanks for your service as well my friend.

    • Doyle Wheeler profile image

      Doyle Wheeler 8 years ago from

      Brother you may be right but I just disagree that this war can be won, I think we will chase our tail forever. Oh we will kill of most of the Taliban but that will have little to do with what happens in this region.

      Anyway I very much respect your service, but having served in Vietnam I see us headed right down that same old tired road.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      outdoorsguy- As of this writing 4 Dec 09 - It remains to be seen how things will work out in the end though it seems The President has approved Gen McChrystals Plan, albeit with modifications and as of today Nato is filling in most of the gaps in the plan. It will be a long hard fight and we have to be prepared for that as well.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting..

    • outdoorsguy profile image

      outdoorsguy 8 years ago from Tenn

      HmrJmr thanks for a great hub, and my condonlensces for your your loss.

      and thank you for your dedication to our Country. with that said. Im not surprised that Logisitics are lacking. Ive suspected that will be this governments approach for a while now. never do openly what you can accomplish from behind.

      and with the new ROE's winning is not a viable option anymore. another way for the Admistration to hamstring the military. and that is unforgivable.

      okay I promised myself I wouldnt rant or go off on a long tirade. so all Ill say is God bless our troops, keep them safe out there in Dark, and guide and gaurd them to safety

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      50 cal - well said my friend and thanks

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 8 years ago from Arizona


      you have a gift to analyze and present a fine message. It is well received. I would add an emphasis on a distinct difference from our retreat in Vietnam. We were in no danger of that war following us home. For those thinking we should withdraw from this war, I urge them to consider the fact that we will fight them no matter what, it is a matter of where! They would follow us home and we would fight them here if we were to withdraw from Afghanistan. I figure that 9/11 would appear a cake walk in the wake of the terrorist actions that would befall the US if we were to cut and run. We failed to supply South Vietnam with the supplies to carry on. We also had teams through about 1980 charged with entering 'Nam and destroying combat operational supplies we left behind as well as moving things like Helo's to the Philippines who were in no immediate need of them. Those records have been released as of the area of time 1990.

      We cannot as a nation afford any cut and run policy in Afghanistan and as individuals we need to use the link you provided and let those who be know we support the troops AND we support the missions they perform and cost in dollars is a non-issue, we need to reinforce them and provide the supplies in excess.

      Very well put together hub and well thought out. Rumsfeld Screwed President Bush, but Bush bent over for him and I suppose history will not be kind to either of them.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Dame Scribe - Thank you and God Bless..

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 8 years ago from Canada

      I have no words to describe the feelings for our soldiers other than, I would be willing to stand beside them and help in whatever way I can no matter how terrified I may feel. They keep us safe from harm and we are fortunate to have retired soldiers at home to help us ordinary folks get it together. Fantastic Hub! :)

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      CJW - You may be right as far as the force structure goes though that is the missing element that has not been made public from Gen McCrystal's plan. But I disagree about some of your other assumptions, One of the keys to winning there is that either by force or persuasion (Either is fine with me) you have to convince the population that their survival, and future is tied to your combined success. If that takes money so be it. Use all the tools you have.

      There too is a role for the regular army in that you need to establish and maintain presence and the COP (Combat Outpost) model was effective in Iraq though I would suppose it may have to be modified to fit circumstances in Afghanistan. All remains to be seen, as of this writing the plan has yet to be approved and what form it will take is closely held. Thanks for you time and comments!

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      C.J. Wright 8 years ago

      While I believe that Gen McChrystal has the right pedigree for the job. I'm convinced that the current strategy will work. We have tried the two pronged approach you speak of in Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, etc. What we have learned is that you can't "buy" freedom/democracy for someone else.

      This war by definition is an unconventional one. Therefore it should be fought via unconventional means. The special forces background of McCrystal is key here. Using US Army regulars is not going to be nearly as effective as a larger Spec Ops force that has a much smaller footprint. Placing a large standing army in theater plays well for the terrorist. Since Vietnam the US has grown to expect seeing the carnage on the evening news. That way they get to see what their tax dollar is buying. The downside is that most will never understand, or better yet be able to stomach the attrocities of war. Public war fatigue grows faster during this age of video.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Dutchess OBlunt - Thank you for your Kind words, and for stopping by! GBY

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      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Hmrjmr1, I am glad I clicked on this hub after you became my fan. I appreciate your information, your outlook and the clarity with which you express your thoughts. I salute you!

      This is a Hub I will be passing on.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Anywheregardner - Thank you for your kind words glad it helped! Keep up the good hubs you do!

    • AnywhereGardener profile image

      AnywhereGardener 8 years ago

      You've written a very informative article, I appreciated reading the back and forth commentaries from others as well.

      Thank you for the links, I will check them out as well. And thank you for welcoming me to the world of Hub writing.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      readytoescape- I thank you sir for both your support and your families service to our great nation. I had the honor and privilege to serve with so many troops in Iraq that said the same things as your sons. We really do have the best soldiers and the best Army that our nation has ever had.

      As for the previous errors I am confident that they were as you say ( and well said I might add), but there were also many Command and Management issues with the scope and conduct of operations as well, that fall in to the purview of the National Command (Pres Bush, Sec Rumsfeld and more than one General Officer) Authority. History will not judge their efforts kindly.

      Needless to say that leaves us (The American Public) in the position that we have to explain to our political leadership the necessity of continuing operations and doing it right. I ask you as well to use the fine tools of your words and join me in doing our duty to our country and our troops. Thank you again and God Bless..

    • readytoescape profile image

      readytoescape 8 years ago from Central Florida


      Outstanding hub Sir! The message is clear, simple and to the point, and entirely the correct one. As the Father of Two that have served, between them, 7 tours of combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan (and are still serving) I can not be in more support of your stance, and the one that should be of all Americans and all citizens of the free world.

      In this support, besides comprehending the threat as you describe, I only echo the voices of my sons and their brethren, which is merely “untie our hands and give us the tools, we’ll get the job done.” I use the term “merely” to shout, that while to us this war seems a monumental task, our soldiers to man say “its our job and we want to do it,” and then after a short pause, “who else will?”

      The last portion of the phrase should be chilling and humbling to those that oppose. These proud and courageous men and women have earned and deserve our undying and unfailing support, politically and patriotically.

      Of the mistakes you assert, the only clear one that damaged our military’s ability to decimate and eradicate the enemy, was one of diplomacy, that being the “failure” with the Pakistani Government. Specifically by not gaining Pakistani “permission” to allow our forces to pursue and attack the enemy across the border and/or their reluctance to acknowledge the impending threat to their own nation, refusing to commit their own military to the fight until possibly too late. This “failure” is not born on the shoulders of the United States alone; NATO and the rest of the free world also bear responsibility in their refusals to fully support the war in general and in gaining Pakistani effort.

      The rest of your article is DEAD ON TARGET. Thank you sir for your persuasive and informed hub. The conclusions are inarguable, as you have demonstrated in the comments.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      jiberish - Thank you for your kind words. I must tell you though that I am far from a hero, only a man that must bow to the will of divine providence, and continue to do his duty.

      AS for your question it is also essentially the one posed in the hub, so we as citizens must do our duty and write our leadership and tell them to do theirs.

      I also leave you with this thought I posted a few days ago on facebook.

      I do not carry my faith around nor wear it on my sleeve.

      No my friend so strong it is, That my faith, it carries me...

      God Bless you Ma'am

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Tom - Thank you for your comments, I reiterate, we must as a population take action with the best weapon we have, our words; and direct them to our present and future political leaders informing them that we must prevail and we expect them to use every ounce of political capital and will they have to this end. God Bless..

    • jiberish profile image

      jiberish 8 years ago from florida

      Great Hub, Great Comments. I just want to say that you are a true Hero enduring the death of a wife and a child. and thank you for your service. I have a question, that is why aren't we more aggressive, it seems the few troops on the ground are doing all the work, why don't we show them that we are serious instead of just diplomatic?

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      Big John,

      I truly believe this is the most heartfelt message I have ever read on hubpages. I am almost at a loss for words. I am typing through tears. I feel very personal about 9/11/2001 which was my 55th birthday, and never before in my life had I felt so much hatred for being American. If anyone in the World thinks Bush over reacted, then they better thank there lucky stars that I wasn't President.

      I have no doubt that we can militarily prevail, but the politicians lost Viet Nam and I fear history is about ready to repeat itself. We can't fight with one hand tied behind our backs.

      Thank you for your service.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks Bill God Bless

    • profile image

      WBHELMSJR 8 years ago

      I know big John and his family, loosing MS, Z was hard on us all, she was first a lady,amom and wife,and a dear friend on me& wife,i too lost my wife 1 1/2 months ago ,so i know how he feels also lost 2 sons,we got to carry on, Big John and I do American Legion deeds, we love helping vets, young & old, helping their familys, Bij John sends packages of needed items to the soldiers,a local elementary school collect money for our Legion post so we can send items over to the soldiers,John is a true believer of anything he writes, he believes in GOD & COUNTRY, family values runs high with him, Our country need more men like Big John, especially in Congress, John, God Bless you and God Bless America and our fighting forces

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Peggy W thank you for your kind words I hope you take action on them and send a message to the White House that we must move forward swift and sure..God Bless and Thanks again

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      When watching the Sunday television shows it was stated that from 8 or 9 to 13 years is about the end point of patience of Americans when enmeshed in warfare. Very sad because as you so nicely stated...the "we tried" apology won't hold water nor generate confidence in any future commitments to countries when necessary. We must stand firm in our resolve or no one will ever trust us again. And we NEED countries to trust us when we give our word.

      Damage has been done in the past (Viet Nam...perfect example) but we must not erode our future.

      May God Bless all the men and women in our military, and their loved ones.

      Excellent job with this hub. The care and thought that you put into this shines through your words.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      The Sablirab - Thank you for reading and your comment, MR Deeds did in fact say what about 50% of America is thinking and that is why we must change their minds through the grand debate of the written word. I also invite you to use the link above and contact the White House and have your say as well. Thanks again sir..

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      TheSablirab 8 years ago

      Thank you for posting this. It has given me a different approach to the war in Afghanistan and what to do now that we are there, etc.

      Mr. Deeds has brought up a good point and has said something that, I think, a lot of Americans are thinking.

      I hope that our current president finds this hub and reads it. I think it will give him some food for thought. If only President Bush could have read it while in office.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      AIM-Thanks again for your comment and for doing your "homework". I understand as well how difficult it is to see your friends and neighbors with the pain of a lost son or daughter. I would ask you to carry with you the thought that they can only be left with the comfort that their son or daughter was lost while doing their duty as they saw it. It is up to us to ensure that their duty and sacrifices are not given in vain. It is up to us to ensure that comfort does not become a hollow one. It is up to us to ensure to the survivors of those who perished in the Twin Towers, that their family member died FOR something. How can we say as a nation to these people that "We're sorry, we're just too tired to carry the rucksack of Freedom and the defense of our nation and your loved ones any more. We're just not sure it's worth the cost any more. I'll just set this ruck down here by the memorial to your loved ones so you can remember we tried."

      Juanita, I can't do that. I don't think you could either; so I ask you to steel your heart, with the knowledge of the danger and those of every Infantry Mom you know and do what I asked William to do in the last paragraph above. This is our only recourse that holds true to America and honors the commitments of our sons and daughters who serve. God Bless...

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      William R Wilson- Thank you for your comment. While I do not agree that Iraq was unnecessary, that is a whole 'nother hub and separate from the issue at hand, though many do think otherwise.

      The facts as I see them are that they were both poorly managed from the start and history will put the blame for that squarely on the shoulders of Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush. I'll let those chips fall were they may.

      We never lost our focus in Afghanistan because we never focused on it correctly from the start.

      So now that we have an officer that can focus the lens we as patriots must ensure our political leaders share that focus and clear away the political clouds of uncertainty so our troops can focus the sun like a laser beam and burn these pests out their holes.

      I've added a contact link for the white house so you can do that from here. So take a moment and watch the video provided once again, listen to the creed and read the words and let them sink in. Then focus the clearest finest weapon you have, which are the bullets and bombs of your words and opinions, and harness their commitment in your volleys to their Commander in Chief. So here and now is your chance, I say to you, Do your Duty sir...

    • Army Infantry Mom profile image

      Army Infantry Mom 8 years ago

      Thank you Hmrjmr1, said something that I cannot shake (and thats good),..those who fail to LEARN from history are condemned to repeat it. You are right, I just never looked at it from that point of view. It get's really hard sometimes to see the light at the end of the tunnel,especially when I see my friends grieving over a loved one that has been KIA. I know the war in Afghanistan wasn't managed the way it should have been, perhaps your right with General McChrystal maby we will see a turn for the better. I was researching some of the examples you wrote about, during the researching I came across a letter with a written request from German General Luttwitz for us to surrender, Brigadier General McAuliffe replied NUTS ! (another way of saying go to hell) Against all odds, we did succeed, and against all odds we were, I was amazed by the will and determination, it's something that I will keep reminding myself of everyday, while our Troops show the same will and determination. So for here on out,..NUTS !!! to the Talibans !!! Thanks again for showing me,..all is not lost.

    • William R. Wilson profile image

      William R. Wilson 8 years ago from Knoxville, TN

      I was adamantly opposed to the war in Iraq. But I felt like the Afghanistan war was justified and necessary.

      It has become a very complicated situation, unfortunately. I am not sure our nation has the political will to win in Afghanistan, and I'm not sure that we even know what victory would look like there. Your mention of Alexander's tactics might be the best path to victory.

      I would have much preferred a fast, violent, focused, total destruction of the Taliban. I feel like we lost our focus when we went into Iraq.

      Unfortunately, here we are, and now we have to solve the problem that we should have solved immediately.

      Bless you for your service and your thoughtful analysis.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Army Infantry Mom- God Bless you and thank you for you comment. I have taken a great deal of time pondering your comment and I think what I read is a concern that because so many others have tried to occupy Afghanistan for whatever their reason, and have been unsuccessful that we should not attempt to continue in the face of the Taliban resistance because history will repeat itself.

      What Ralph and much of America leave out of the phrase in question is the first part. That is that those who fail to LEARN from history are condemned to repeat it. Now if our forefathers had used this warning in 1776 we would still be English, and subjects of the Queen. Since throughout the say 9776 years of human history that has gone before no rebellion based on democracy had ever succeeded.

      Even the democracy of the Greeks was founded not on one man one vote, but on a democracy of the Kings of each City State, and that went down the tubes with Alexander's father Philip. I for one am glad that instead they learned lessons from the failures and created this unique republic.

      As for the lessons in history of counter-insurgency operations, I could not do a good service to our troops or our country to talk of methods here that I ma not familiar other than to say, Gen Petraus, and Gen McChrystal are both subject matter experts. Gen Petraus put our troops out into the communities in Iraq in small units and on regular; community patrols. The insurgents in Iraq did not wear uniforms either to my knowledge but our troops did find them and defeat them area by area once the local community saw and dealt with our soldiers every day.

      Both Generals have extensive Special Operations backgrounds, what that means is they both trained to organize and conduct insurgencies (this is one of the Green Beret missions) and the best way to fight an insurgency is to know how to operate one.

      For our troops that do not have this training for the regular infantry and others, that are trained to fight a known and designated enemy there is a big (and sometimes terrible) learning curve each time they deploy. But it gets shorter as deployments continue and multiple tours are completed. They learn more and more of the local culture, a little bit more of the language every time, and get better and better at it. It is a difficult job, it is this sort of tactic though that may have given a better result in Viet Nam.

      As for history take also a look at Alexander who to my knowledge was the only outsider in history to be successful in Afghanistan. He did so by incorporating them into his family through marriage and convincing them their success was tied to his. That is the lesson to learn for Afghanistan. That is what we must do in Afghanistan now; (convince them their success is tied to ours) and it cannot be done if we continue to wring our hands about weather or not we should be there at all.

      We must as a nation stop this argument and shift this energy to the intractable support of our troops and their mission. We did not give up at Bastogne when we sere surrounded, we did not give up at Khe San when were surrounded, I can go on and on with darker days than these in past wars when we did not give up our cause when history said all hope should be lost. That is not the American spirit or way that I know.

      Now that is not to say there should not be discussion, and even free debate about the methodology or the logistical support of our troops. They need their Commanders and us to ensure that they have the tools and training to be successful in their mission. As an old soldier and voter I demand this of our leadership and will be watching to make sure it is so. I hope you will join me in this and continue your Service this way AIM, again God Bless you, your family and your son...

    • Army Infantry Mom profile image

      Army Infantry Mom 8 years ago

      Hmrjmr1, this hub really gave me something to think about. I do suppose if we were to pull out of Afghanistan, there would be potential danger of the Taliban taking over Afghanistan, therefore giving them the motivation to take over Pakistan and begin stiring trouble in India. I guess with our Troops there, we have put the Taliban into an offesive position. I am not a trained Soldier so I cannot think like one, but I can listen with open ears to those who are trained. However, I have asked the same questions Ralph Deeds have asked too. People say history repeats its self, and I have found that to be true,..if thats the case, what makes it different this time round that there will be success, when no other country has found success over there.

      As for General McChrystal, I do believe he probally is the best person suited for the job he has at hand. I give him credit for trying to reach out to the inoccent, that is the humane thing to do,..however, As a mom,..I want to be 100% sure, that my childs life is being protected to its fullest, and with the new "rules", I just see it as putting him in a no win situation. My son had mentioned to me many of times,.."Ma, you can't tell who is who". So if he and others can't distingish the good from the bad, and they are told to get out of the humvee's and walk around and meet and greet people, isn't that like russian rullette ? I know people are at their last wits with this war, I hear more and more from people saying, to just roll the bombs in, kill em all and let God sort them out. I haven't had thoughts to that exstreme yet however, I haven't lost my child over their either. Theres no crystal ball to see what the future holds, but I can say as long as we have Men and Women serving over there,..We as Americans, need to step it up, take some responsiabilty ourselve's and do what we can to support them !!! Awesome hub John !!!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Ralph- Thanks again for responding but I think the argument that they are different is like trying to distinguish the Wermacht from the SS in WWII, they are both our enemy. If the Taliban were to succeed in Pakistan it opens up a Nuclear wild card that would threaten the world.

      I would ask you to consider this as for assigning guilt for the 9/11 attacks. IF I invite someone into my home allow him to use my shed to construct bombs, allow him to use my backyard to train people to attack and kill your wife and kids. I let him use my telephone to transfer money to hire killers, and communicate with them. Am I not an accomplice to the crimes committed against you? What to you then is worth the cost of bringing me to justice? Where do you draw the line as to what is worth it or not?

      I submit you cannot draw that line and measure it as to weather it is worth it or not, like buying a car or evaluating some business proposition. You can only accept success or failure despite the cost of either. I contend that walking away now would be strengthening the Taliban and putting Pakistan at risk. It does not require ballistic missiles to deliver and detonate nuclear weapon against the United States, it only requires a tramp steamer and 10-15 people willing to die in the attempt. They would not even have get any closer than 10 or 20 miles off the coast of Seattle or Los Angles to do more terror and harm than most of the world have the capacity to imagine. I spent most of my career in the Army during the Cold War and preparation for nuclear war was a way of life. I can imagine it vividly and I caution you and my countrymen as whole against minimizing this risk.

      Finally thank you once again for commenting, I would also remind you that under the Taliban such a public discussion of weather the government is right or wrong, or a different religious view would be a prison or death sentence for us both. God Bless you.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Wesleycox- thank you for your comment, the oath to support and defend is a life time one, I'm sure you will always do your duty as you see it, and it presents itself. God Bless and stay safe lad.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Yours is an honorable position. Al Qaeda has metastasized to Indonesia, throughout the Middle East, throughout Europe and as we've seen again this week to the U.S. I'm not sure what we are doing in Afghanistan is worth the cost, and I'm not sure it will be successful. I hope I'm wrong.

      The biggest worry is that if we fail in Afghanistan the Taliban will take over Pakistan and foment more trouble with India. India, not the U.S. is the country the Taliban dislikes. Much of the talk about Afghanistan seems to assume that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are one and the same. They are not. The Taliban provided a safe base for Al Qaeda, but they haven't promoted attacks on the U.S. outside of Afghanistan.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      This is the kind of message that needs to be put out and you did the best job I think anyone could have done. All I can say is Amen to that. They say once a soldier always a soldier, and I think you feel that way as you us in reference to the soldiers. I think that is the coolest part about this whole message. I can only hope that I too have the kind of dedication that is so evident in this wonderful hub, after I retire.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Ralph Deeds- I do not think any one can answer The question of how long and at what cost? No one had these answers at the beginning of World War II or The Civil War or any other war in our history. You can only ask is what you stand for worth defending? As far as not being sure about reducing our exposure to terrorism I would invite you to consider how many attacks would likely have been planned and or conducted if our enemies had free reign and safe harbor in Afghanistan instead of a small part of Pakistan. The reasons they attack us are not because we are in Afghanistan or Iraq, (that is a convenient excuse) they are attacking us because we are what we are and we stand for what we stand for. The have been against us and attacking us since 1980's 1979 if you consider the hostages in Iran.

      No sir I think every generation has to face down a great evil in the world and these folks are ours. I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

      Thank you for stopping by and expressing your view..

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Well written Hub. I'm not sure where I stand on our action in Afghanistan. I'm not sure what we are trying to accomplish and how realistic those expectations are, let alone how long it will take and at what cost in lives and money. Are we trying to capture/kill al Qaida? Are we trying to destroy the Taliban and create a civilized democracy with women's and citizens rights? Are we trying to stamp out opium production? And I'm not sure that our actions in Afghanistan are actually reducing our exposure and that of our allies to terrorism. The events of the past couple of days seem to indicate that the terrorist danger is already here in the United States and our allied countries.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thank You sir! Let's hope they listen..

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Big John a.k.a. Hammer Jammer 1 - Thank you for sharing from your heart & experience. Very well done & very timely. I hope the present administration listens to solid counsel like this. Take care.


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