Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"We're the ones paying the price, and we're telling you it's worthwhile," - a grunt's eye view of the battle for Afghanistan

This is what it is all with most things, you trust the man who has skin in the game....

It is easy for the "Arm Chair Generals" to pontificate about what the War in Afghanistan means, and if the fight is worth it......

Tell you what, I'll take the word of those who have made a real sacrifice for the cause, and see what they say...I'm with the a grunt's eye view of the battle....

Are Marines Giving Up too Much in Afghanistan?
Four Marines Who Lost Limbs in Afghanistan Talk About the Afghan People, Their Time in Afghanistan and the Price They Paid

(CBS) If ever Marines earned the right to speak their minds about the war, it is a group of four men who were all gravely wounded by roadside bombs in Afghanistan, reports CBS News National Security correspondent David Martin

"We're the ones paying the price, and we're telling you it's worthwhile," said Sgt. Johnny Jones. "We are the price. The price is right here. That's where it's at."

CBS News was there in Southern Afghanistan when Sgt. Jones got hit and was rushed to a helicopter on a stretcher.

"The first thing I saw was my legs and I knew they were gone," said Sergeant Jones.

He was part of a team that had cleared nearly 50 roadside bombs in five days. But the Taliban were watching and learning.

"We're sweeping the ground," said Sergeant Jones. "Eventually they figure out that's to find metal, so they come up with components that are non-metallic."

"For what they have, they're very smart and they can make some very high-tech or low-tech stuff that we just can't find," said Lance Corporal Mike Martinez.

Lance Corporal Martinez was a dog handler playing a deadly game of hide and seek against the Taliban.

"Everything is on their terms and how they want to do everything," said Lance Corporal Martinez.

"People who haven't been there don't understand it, but you get in there and talk to the villagers, you see progress and a day-in and day-out basis," said Captain Timothy Cooper. "It's getting better."

Captain Cooper was thrown 180 feet when his vehicle hit a mine, leaving his legs mangled and paralyzed. For him and the others, this is how the progress is measured:

People came over to their side.

"It takes courage to come up and talk to me and tell me about IEDs when they know they're putting their own family at risk by doing that," said Sergeant Jones.

"We'll burn down your house," the Taliban told the Villagers. "We'll kill your livestock. We'll kill your family."

It's a grunt's eye view of a war which has changed dramatically since it began.

"My first tour was strictly, strictly combat," said Sergeant Major Raymond Mackay. "Search out and close with and destroy the enemy."

Sergeant Major Mackay was one of the first marines into Afghanistan in 2001.

"The second time over there I realized that not everybody's the enemy," said Sergeant Major Mackay. "They're good people, the Afghans. They want to make a living on their terms, not the Taliban's, not our terms. But their terms."

But is opening a market in Southern Afghanistan worth this?

Most people who would look at four men in the prime of their lives, not one with a good leg, and say, "Is the U.S. asking too much of our Marines?"

All four men disagree.

"If I could go back I would," said Sergeant Major Mackay. "I'd go back in a heartbeat."

Their only doubt about the price they paid - and continue to pay each day is this:

"Are we going to let it be in vain? Just pick up and leave? Let the country go back to where it was before or worse? Or are we going to stick it out?" asked Captain Cooper.

Four wounded marines are not the final word on whether the U.S. can succeed in Afghanistan. But one thing's for certain: If the U.S. fails, it won't be because they weren't tough enough.

SEMPER FI to these Marines.....


Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Middleboro Jones said...

Thanks Steve....Glad you were able to read US Navy Jeep...Always relied on the 91st Psalm when things got rough out there...

Ron Snyder said...

Sorry MJ, but I do not think I will take a grunts opinion as to what our National Policy should be.

No disrespect, I've done my time decades ago and support the troops still, but saying that the frontline troops should formulate NP? I think not.

Middleboro Jones said...

Ron, I guess we will agree to disagree as I feel that we should not allow the grunts to formulate National Policy, we should trust them to state if the mission has VALUE.....

They are stating that in no uncertain the mission fits in politically with the rest of the world, I agree and support your for if the sacrifice is worthy, I'll stand with the Grunts, each & every time and twice on Sunday...

Ron Snyder said...

Mr. Jones, totally agree with the grunts having THE opinion as to the mission's value.

Though we dishonored ourselves by the way we pulled out of SEA (that was when I wore the uniform), we should have left a lot earlier.

Certainly we could have won the war in a military sense, but not politically unless we were willing to have umpteen (I think that is a technical term) thousands of GI's left there for decades.

I have hopes for Iraq, not much, but some hopes, especially for the Kurds -as long as we do not abandon them.

As for AF, no friggin way are we going to change the fundamental nature of that country. Flintstones with rifles whose selective allegiance we can rent IMO.

I confess to SEA syndrome, but I just see us throwing our best and brightest away without any hope for victory.

Pull out and go medieval on any area of the country that exports, or supports those who do export, evil into the civilized world.

Middleboro Jones said...

Roger that sir....thanks for the perspective.....always valued those who had to deal with the conflict in SEA as the jungle was your foe as well as the NVA.....

Liked being a " Desert Warrior " as it offered less places for the idjits to hide.....heat sux but like that the deserts I served in were flat & wide place for the cockroaches to hide.....and by the way, where possible and practical, I am a big advocate for MORE IS BETTER when it comes to the use of HE dropped from drones, planes and all other vehicle we can send over the battlefield...

Ron Snyder said...

MJ, I would say that I wished I had the honor of serving in combat, though from my Dad who did in WWII (ETO and bless Mr. Truman for dropping the bomb as Dad was on his way to Japan) and others who have are combat vets, I am content that I did my part by building bombs and putting them on planes in Guam and Okinawa to service our pajama clad friends.

Just don't want to take undue credit. Serving is one level, in combat, at least to me, is on another level entirely.

I truly does warm my heart to see our troops treated so well in airports and other public areas. Not quite so much the case when I was in.