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Morale dips for American marines in Afghanistan
London Times ^ | 10/24/2009 | Stephen Grey

Posted on 10/24/2009 3:53:58 PM PDT by Saije

A mile from South Station, an outpost of US marines in Helmand province, the tribal chief was openly hostile. “The Americans threaten our economy and take our land for bases. They promise much and deliver nothing,” he said.

“People here regard the American troops as occupiers,” said Haji Khan, a leader of the Baluch tribe, who rules like a medieval baron. “Young people are turning against them and in time will fight them.”

Inside South Station, soldiers are proud of the progress...Until they arrived, this remote part of Helmand had not had a government presence for years. But many are pessimistic about where the conflict is heading.

“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.

A New Yorker who joined the marines after 9/11 and served two tours in Iraq, Richardson, 24, said his men had achieved much. “You can see we are making progress, slowly. But when we leave, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda will surely return.”

With enough effort, resources and time, the marines are confident the population can be won over. But, with the platoon’s influence limited to a small area around their base, many soldiers wonder if the Taliban and Al-Qaeda may simply outlast them, or if the US and Afghan governments have the resolve to send enough troops to win.

Third Platoon, Charlie Company of the 2nd Light Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion, came last July to Khan Neshin, as far south as Nato soldiers have reached in Afghanistan...

Although they have read the manuals on counterinsurgency and heard generals speak about how to defeat the Taliban, the reality has been bloody, painful and frustrating.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; bhodod; bhogwot; frustration; helmand; jihad; marines; morale; obams; oef; wot
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Sgt Richardson, quoted in the article, has done two tours in Iraq and is now deployed to Afghanistan. He's 24 years old. That's a lot of war fighting in a fairly short period of time.
1 posted on 10/24/2009 3:53:59 PM PDT by Saije
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To: Saije

Not to worry Sgt. Richardson. Your Commander in Chief will make up his mind whether to send more troops or not sometime after the mid-term elections in 2010. He has to have a mandate you know.

2 posted on 10/24/2009 3:59:42 PM PDT by Bad Jack Bauer (Fat and Bald? I was BORN fat and bald, thank you very much!)
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To: Saije

I agree. Its more than anyone should be asked. It reminds me of my father in law. Drafted in forty. Came home before he shipped out in 42. Did not see home until 45. The guy spent his sweet years in hell. God bless them all.

3 posted on 10/24/2009 4:01:29 PM PDT by Vermont Lt
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To: Saije
Boy,having Hussein as your CiC and knowing that he couldn't give a rat's hindquarters whether you live or die would damage the morale of *any* Soldier,Sailor,Airman and Marine.
4 posted on 10/24/2009 4:05:37 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Host The Beer Summit-->Win The Nobel Peace Prize!)
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To: Saije

Bring them home now.

We dont need American troops guarding poppy fields for America’s drug dealers.

The whole stinking country and all it’s inhabitants aren’t worth the life of one American soldier.

5 posted on 10/24/2009 4:20:54 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: Venturer

We can use them back home. God Bless them.

6 posted on 10/24/2009 4:23:38 PM PDT by luv2ndamend (May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. — Samue)
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To: Saije; MestaMachine; mojitojoe; Saoirise; 1COUNTER-MORTER-68; Vn_survivor_67-68

(snip)”...General Stanley McChrystal, the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, says the mission is to protect the population and isolate them from the Taliban, but the marines are finding it no easier to defeat the Taliban than it has been for the British, who have fought in the province for three years. Villagers are rarely willing to express a simple opinion, let alone inform soldiers where the enemy is hiding.”

(snip)“We are all brothers here,” said Lance-Corporal Corey Hopkins, 22, from Georgia. “And it hurts to see your brother hurt or put him in a bag for the last time. It pisses you off. It makes you mad. You know people out here know what’s going on, but they won’t tell you.”

(snip)”..Some marines were unconvinced about paying money for the canal to a tribal leader and drug baron who gave them almost no help and would probably keep the cash.

Later, a marine intelligence officer said the drug economy and the feudal system made the strategy of winning hearts and minds extremely complex. As drug producers, men such as Khan had a “working relationship with the Taliban”.”

Smart Marines. They are being asked to negotiate with drug dealers and producers. It’d be better to have them blaze the poppy fields.

“Taliban Build Multi-Million Dollar Insurgent Operation, Complicating U.S. Efforts”

“...And they get the largest chunk of their drug money from payouts by drug trafficking groups, according to the report.”

And how do you trust the locals anyway?

(snip)”...Several U.S. officers said they suspected that the insurgents had been tipped off by sympathizers in the local Afghan security forces or by the village elders,..”

(snip)”..Lt. Fabayo and several other soldiers later said they’d seen women and children in the village shuttling ammunition to fighters positioned in windows and roofs. Across the valley and from their ridgeline outposts, the Afghans and Americans fired back.

“We are pinned down. We are running low on ammo. We have no air.”

My heart goes out to these warriors. Doing their jobs to the best of their abilities without the support of the current CIC and bound by unrealistic, dangerous and deadly ROEs. The Sissy in Chief wants our guys to risk their own lives at the expense of possibly hostile locals and play nice, that’ll do any warrior’s morale some harm.

“The rules murdering our troops”

“Reading Miranda Rights to Terrorists Is ‘Crazy’ and ‘Stupid,’ Say GOP Congressmen”

“Bagram inmates can challenge detention: Pentagon”

“GIs Told Not to Risk Civilian Lives”

“U.N. Lawyers Target U.S. Troop”

Prayers up for our Marines.

7 posted on 10/24/2009 4:42:53 PM PDT by 444Flyer ("Permission to engage enemy Sir! " " Permission denied." (Under CIC Obamao.))
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To: Saije

Happy 234th Birthday Marines!

8 posted on 10/24/2009 4:52:09 PM PDT by 444Flyer ("Permission to engage enemy Sir! " " Permission denied." (Under CIC Obamao.))
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To: 444Flyer

This is absolutely unacceptable, all the while Zero touts his latest idea, “muslim technology fund”. Unbelievable.

9 posted on 10/24/2009 4:57:14 PM PDT by Gapplega
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To: Gapplega

This man agrees with you.

Here is a letter about the current ROE’s USMC (26 years) Veteran John Bernard wrote to his Congressman Mike Michaud on 7/23/09. His son Lance Cpl Joshua Bernard’s unit was ambushed by the Taliban on 8/14/09 only a few short weeks AFTER the letter had been sent.

The Lancy Cpl. was fatally wounded in the attack. It was all caught in a photograph taken by Julie Jacobson, on assignment from the Associated Press, and published and distributed, IGNORING of the pleas of his father John Bernard and the rest of the Lance Cpl.’s family NOT to publish it. John Bernard’s letter follows:

Congressman Mike Michaud 7/09/2009 08:01 1724 Longworth HOBWashington, DC 20515-1902

Dear Sir;

I am writing to you today as an American citizen, 26 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, committed Christian, Husband, Father of two and a businessman. I am also writing to you as the Father of a Marine who is, as all of his brothers in arms are, in harms way. That by itself is not a cause for concern for me because as a Warrior I understand two things:(1) it is the very nature of the calling to which we have been called that we will be thrust into dangerous, even life threatening situations to fight the enemies of our country and (2) that there could not possibly be a safer place to be than in the company of fellow Marines. In any case, that is the nature of the business and those who serve in this capacity have long since dealt with the realities of life in uniform.

There are, however, certain expectations, an unspoken trust within the ranks of those of us who serve and have served in this capacity. One of those is that we have a belief that as Americans, our leadership will not frivolously spend our blood on unworthy pursuit. To those of us who serve, let me be very clear to those of you who hold our lives in your hands; this means that the reason we may die can ultimately be defined as protecting homeland, family and fellow American lives (spelled US citizens). We also assume we will not be used as pawns in some personal vendetta or worse some career building scheme; that we will not be asked to spill our blood in a foreign land to defend the indefensible. We expect we will be able to do that for which we were trained; export violence with ferocity and drive our enemies to their knees with the ultimate goal of ending the conflict by forcing them to do our will. Such are the dreams and aspirations of the Warrior. Men like this seek to serve side by side with like-minded men prepared to meet their destiny on the field of battle; living a life of honor while testing personal courage in the forge of combat. Our nations Warriors have no other expectations, no visions of grandeur, no careers to bolster, no kingdoms to lord over, no sovereignty to subvert. These men just seek to serve their country.

Now that you have ever so basic an understanding of the intrinsic nature of the Warrior; I hope to encourage you to show them at least the dignity of thoughtful and painstaking decision-making when considering when and where to thrust them into the fires of hell. My demand is that you emphatically understand that this decision will have eternal consequences for the men involved and their families. I also expect this decision to be for the simple reason of defense of country and countrymen (again spelled United States Citizens).

If any part of you still understands that you were sent to Washington DC for the sole purpose of defending these shores and to defend the ‘life, liberty and pursuit of happiness’ of the citizens of this nation; and if you still believe you are first a servant of all, then you yet may possess the ability to understand the immorality of what I am about to share with you and the necessity to change this policy NOW.

President Obama has seen fit to replace the sitting ISAF commander with a General McChrystal (see Bio at Suffice it to say that Gen McChrystal’s understanding of the Warrior ethos is somewhat askew from the mainstream. Also let us cut to the chase and identify him more as a political mouthpiece than a field commander. Add to this the dubious addition of General James L. Jones (see bio at, who unlike McChrystal has actual combat experience but still shares the same ultimate goals and one world vision as both McChrystal and Obama. What you have here is an unholy trinity injecting their shared philosophy of ‘spare the civilians at all cost’ – even though those civilians are not US citizens and are in fact complicit in their own misfortune. The new ROE presented by McChrystal and under which operation Khanjar was mounted is nothing less than disgraceful, immoral and fatal for our Marines, Sailors and Soldiers on the ground. The Marines and Soldiers that are ‘holding’ territories of dubious worth like Now Zad and Golestan without reinforcement, denial of fire-support and refusal to allow them to hunt and kill the very enemy we are there to confront are nothing more than sitting ducks. Denying them even the ability to fight, which is their only purpose for existing, to defend themselves in a foreign land that sees them first as agents of the devil is detestable to the secular world and immoral to the rest of us. And for those of us with ‘vested interests’ thrust into that foreign land; it angers us. The links I have provided will give you some indication of the insanity of the current situation and the suicidal position this administration has placed these Warriors in. I admonish this administration and all those currently in public office whom we have entrusted with our security, well-being and the very lives and well-being of the best of us, our Warriors to start acting like you actually care or even understand the consequences of ludicrous decisions like this one. I then hold you responsible to actively seek to change this immoral policy to one that allows our Warriors the opportunity to do what they were trained to do; destroy our enemies and protect our citizenry.

To those who would suggest that COIN (counter insurgency) is complicated I say hog-wash. This has become the mantra of the one-world ideologues. This has become complicated because leadership has lost its way. It is not the responsibility of the leaders (servants) of this country to re-build a country that has not been destroyed by us nor does the leadership of this country have any intrinsic right to spill the blood of this country’s finest for this cause. I’ll lay it out for you; bad guys entered this country, unannounced and unwelcome and killed Americans on American soil. Bad guys continue to harass and threaten to kill Americans here at home and abroad. Bad guys continue to train in foreign lands and continue to plan to carry out these plans against sovereign American citizens. They have no rights or guarantee of protection under the Constitution of the United States because they are not United States citizens. They are not protected by the Geneva Convention because they don’t fight under any Nation’s Flag. We however, have the right – and responsibility, with historical and Biblical precedent to export violence to crush these Bad guys, wherever they may live and in whatever lair they may hide – relentlessly! If the civilian populations in those areas lack the intestinal fortitude to expel them from their midst or they quietly support them or they actively support them; they are not innocent and may well suffer ill consequences for their cowardice and their complicities.

For those of us who have served in uniform and for those of us who have family forced to serve under these immoral conditions the time to quietly observe and pray has ended. There is a new activist emerging; not like the cannabis induced flailing of the sixties and seventies but one with the discipline, training and tenacity of a Warrior. Those of us who have a history in this Warrior culture and a vested interest on the battlefield will be a lot more vocal from this point on. Those in this culture who do not yet know about this immoral ROE change will soon all know as well as the families of those who are imperiled by it. Those who have actively supported this policy of immorality or are not engaged enough to know of it; they will be re-introduced to your constituencies for their failings. Public service is precisely what it portends to be; service. If there are those among your number who have failed to remember that I can promise you we will make that known within our spheres of influence.

This letter is making its way through the halls of every national news agency as well as the local ones in Maine, as you read this. I have contacted your office by phone, e-mail and now letter to give you a chance to get out in front of it. Consider this a wake-up call.

John J. Bernard 1stSgt USMC ret

10 posted on 10/24/2009 5:07:46 PM PDT by 444Flyer ("Permission to engage enemy Sir! " " Permission denied." (Under CIC Obamao.))
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To: 444Flyer


11 posted on 10/24/2009 5:08:45 PM PDT by 444Flyer ("Permission to engage enemy Sir! " " Permission denied." (Under CIC Obamao.))
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To: Saije

> Richardson, 24, said his men had achieved much. “You can see we are making progress, slowly. But when we leave, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda will surely return.” <<<

Surely return? They never left, Afghanis are the taliban and al qaeda, they’re MUSLIMS. Read the quran! What part of “KILL THE INFADELS” is so hard to comprehend?

We need to get our people out of there and nuke the whole middle east starting with mecca and medina. Bring them home and put them on our southern border now!

Wake up folks.

12 posted on 10/24/2009 5:15:19 PM PDT by DirtyHarryY2K (The Tree of Liberty is long overdue for its natural manure)
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To: Gay State Conservative

13 posted on 10/24/2009 5:18:11 PM PDT by BenLurkin (Brave amateurs....they do their part.)
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To: 444Flyer

Outstanding picture. OOORAHHH.
Love the tag line as well.
Semper Fi
Good night Uncle Chesty

14 posted on 10/24/2009 5:20:31 PM PDT by Texas resident ( Doing my part to piss off the heathen left.)
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To: 444Flyer

“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.”
This is the heartbreaker,,,

O’Bammy and McChrystal care more about the poppy farmers

than they do the Troops!!!

The proof is in the ROE,,,

Kill the poppy farmers and destroy the crops,,,

No Dope,,,No Money,,,No Arms for moozzi,,,

Prayers Up For The Troops...

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16 posted on 10/24/2009 7:32:07 PM PDT by 444Flyer ("Permission to engage enemy Sir! " " Permission denied." (Under CIC Obamao.))
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To: 444Flyer; All

I read this article early yesterday and couldn’t take the time to post. Our Soldiers are becoming so demoralized over there, it can’t help but affect the entire Military except for maybe a few politically driven generals over here.

There has got to be trepidation among the ranks about the changing status of the Military and FEAR of what they might be asked to do in the very near future. I went back and retrieved the article below, because the Israeli Military WAS used to round up its own citizens and they have lived to regret it.

Better late than never. Soldiers in the Israeli Army are standing up and being counted. Israel has one of the most disciplined militaries in the world. It seems as if some of them have had enough of taking orders to go against their own citizens and are saying NO MORE.
Unprecedented IDF Mutiny at Kotel

by Gil Ronen

( An unprecedented mutiny took place at the swearing-in ceremony of Shimshon Battalion soldiers at the Kotel Thursday evening. Immediately after being sworn in, some of the soldiers raised large signs which said “Shimshon Battalion does not carry out evictions at Homesh.”

Parents of soldiers also raised similar signs at the same moment.
The anger and frustration within the ranks of the Shimshon soldiers and their families reached a boiling point after the battalion carried out numerous evictions at Homesh – a Shomron (Samaria) community that was razed in the “Disengagement”.

Just as the Kfir Regiment Commander began his speech at the ceremony, soldiers from the battalion and raised two large signs against the evictions. Similar signs were raised by the soldiers’ relatives in the audience.

The “Disengagement” carried out in 2005 by the government of now-comatose Ariel Sharon included the destruction of all Jewish communities in Gaza. It was carried out in the hope of bringing about peace with the Arabs. However, no peace has materialized, and Jewish activists have been persistent in their attempts to return to Homesh. The military, on its side, has been evicting these Jews from the ruins time and time again – sometimes in a violent manner, and often on the Jewish Sabbath.

IDF officials warned Friday that the soldiers could face expulsion from Shimshon for their actions. “This was a shameful and anomalous breach of IDF discipline,” a spokesman said. “Kfir Regiment Commander Colonel Oren Abman will consider terminating their service in the regiment.”

17 posted on 10/25/2009 1:23:23 AM PDT by MestaMachine (One if by land, 2 if by sea, 3 if by Air Force 1, 4 if by Thread.)
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To: Saije

My morale started to plummett right after the elction results were announced.

18 posted on 10/25/2009 8:06:56 AM PDT by rfreedom4u (Diversity causes division and resentment.)
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To: 444Flyer; Nachum; sushiman; hoosiermama


19 posted on 10/25/2009 9:15:53 AM PDT by Dubya-M-DeesWent2SyriaStupid!
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To: 444Flyer

oh you are already here. LOL sorry.

20 posted on 10/25/2009 9:16:35 AM PDT by Dubya-M-DeesWent2SyriaStupid!
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