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Once more unto the breach

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Once more unto the breach, dear friends.

– Henry V, Act III, Scene I

There is nothing there worth even one more American life.

I’m sure some if not all of those who advised President Trump to send more troops to Afghanistan have read these words, and consciously or unconsciously had them in their heads when they did so. It’s a great line. A warrior king, rallying his men for war.

The only problem is, Henry V actually led his troops into battle. He didn’t send them halfway around the world to do it on his behalf without ever having been to war himself. President Bush served in the military but never went to war. Presidents Obama and Trump have never served in the military. All 3 of them have now gotten us into or continued us along the path of a protracted ground war with an objective that is not obtainable.

How do you know?” some might ask. Fair question. I spent a year there as commander of a forward surgical team, like a modern day MASH unit. We cared for not only wounded US and NATO troops, but also for Afghan military and police forces, civilians, and even a fair number of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. I got to spend a lot of time with local politicians, ordinary citizens, military officers, and the enemy. From all of these experiences I can give you my take:

There is nothing there worth even one more American life.

After the horror of September 11, 2001, we had every right to take out the Al Qaeda terror camps that littered Afghanistan. We certainly had every right to topple the evil Taliban regime that supported them. However, right from the start, we made it clear we weren’t going to fight total war, but rather the kind of “winning hearts and minds” campaign that failed so miserably in Vietnam. I’m here to tell you, there is no way to win hearts and minds over there.

I’ll give you an example:

At one point we got a patient, a local boy of about 12 who had been shot by our troops. Why had he been shot? He was planting a roadside bomb. His grandfather was brought to our Forward Operating Base (FOB) to see him while my surgeons and nurses worked on him. It was just a flesh wound and we kept him overnight. We told the grandfather we’d bring him back the next day before we moved the boy to Bagram Air Base to be turned over to Afghan authorities. One of my Soldiers and a translator escorted him off the FOB.

When they returned they gave me a disturbing report. The grandfather had been counting his paces on the way out. He wanted to know the distance from the FOB gate to our facility. Yes. I was angry. We were taking care of the enemy, something they would never do, even nice enough to let the grandfather see his grandson, and by way of thanks he was lining us up for a mortar attack. I had no real concerns it would actually harm us. Anyone who served in Afghanistan knows the safest place to be is where the enemy is aiming. The point is that their mentality is so warped that we can’t ever win hearts and minds over there.

Here’s another:

Special Ops never gave us more than 2 minutes warning when they were coming in with a patient. That made things difficult in the middle of the night when you have to wake your team. One night they brought in a 15-month-old girl. She had been shot laterally through the chest. She was dead. We knew it. We worked on her anyway. When my docs finally called it, one of my nurses wrapped her in a blanket and laid her in her mother’s arms.

Her mother was escorted by a neighbor they had to collect because Allah forbid she get her daughter emergency medical treatment without a male escort. As soon as the baby was laid in the mother’s arms, both she and the neighbor started speaking to us about monetary compensation. I stared at the ground, not trusting myself to speak. I could feel 3 pairs of eyes boring into the back of my head. I glanced back and confirmed my 3 surgeons were staring at me in shock. I looked at the ODA operator who had brought them in and asked, “Did you find whatever it was you were looking for?” He just nodded. Good. I was done with that conversation.

We seem to think if we just hold out long enough they will come around to our way of thinking. It’s not going to happen. Most 3rd world nations in general and Afghanistan in particular are never going to be ready to fight for truth, justice, and the American way. The sooner we get that through our heads, the better off we all will be.

We definitely need to keep terrorist bases from forming, but we can do that without large numbers of troops on the ground. Troops on the grounds are targets the enemy can actually get to and kill. Fighters and bombers at 30,000 feet are not, at least in Afghanistan.

I personally carried my fair share of dead American Soliders, and they were always 19 years old it seemed, not even old enough to buy a beer most places in the US. Those people over there are not worth it. I’ve actually been there, which is more than many of the hawks in the GOP can say.

We’ve been there for TWO 2-term Presidents and are now on President number 3. If we haven’t finished what we need to do by now we never will. It’s quicksand, and so enough is enough. Some have already argued that “we have to finish the job.” I ask, “for how long? Another five years? Ten? FIFTY?!”

And so you see, when fools like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are thinking “Once more unto the breach” I’m actually thinking of a line from that same play, but from Act IV, Scene I:

“..If these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king, who led them to it….”

Benjamin Wilhelm served as a commissioned officer in the United States military for 10 years, serving one combat tour in Afghanistan. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge among other military awards. Ben has worked in a variety of private sector businesses both large and small. He is a former military and civilian firearms instructor and an advocate for veterans issues. Ben is a strict Constitutionalist who sees the Federal government as an out of control leviathan, and the federal debt as a burden that will break the country. Ben is a divorced father of two boys.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. renadee

    August 22, 2017 at 8:00 am

    This story proves just how out of touch our so called leaders are. Our generals should know but they just want to be generals. Not sure how much they care when that 19 year old goes home in a flag draped casket.

  2. drewb04

    August 22, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I’m with you enough is enough we have done all we can this nation building has to stop.

  3. Jon

    August 22, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Excellent article! I honestly think that Hillary Clinton or Jen Bush could have given this speech. However, this is not the message Trump gave on the campaign trail. I feel that after 16 years of the same war we surely ought to have learned something that would lead us to a different approach. I want Trump to clearly explain why it is necessary for us to be there. I would like Trump to define clear and concise objectives. I would like the Commander in Chief to tell the American people in uncertain terms exactly what victory looks like. We deserve to know these things if we are expected to send our sons and daughters into harms way.

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Culture and Religion

21-year-old with Down Syndrome speaks out to the United Nations

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21-year-old with Down Syndrome speaks out to the United Nations

Charlotte Helene Fien loves golf. She’s been golfing since she was 6-years-old and would love a job with which she can teach children how to play. Just like so many young adults venturing forth into the world, she has ambitions, dreams, and goals. Some people don’t think she should have had the opportunity to pursue those things. Fein has Down Syndrome.

In response to a Tunisian attorney’s comments during a United Nations Human Rights Committee meeting, Fein has made a video. The lawyer reportedly claimed that abortion is a viable means to prevent a life-long “handicap” like Down Syndrome. As with most “tolerant” leftist arguments on the topic, he felt his superior sense of humanity dictated he needed to do whatever he could to prevent people like Fein from every leaving the womb and becoming part of his world.

Watch the video and share it with anyone who needs to be reminded that people are people regardless of how the United Nations wishes to classify their existence.

Source: Faithwire

‘I’m a Human Being Just Like You’: 21-Year-Old Woman With Down Syndrome Delivers Powerful Rebuke to the UN

http://www.faithwire.com/2017/11/24/im-a-human-being-just-like-you-21-year-old-woman-with-down-syndrome-delivers-powerful-rebuke-to-the-un/Fien responded with a powerful open letter hitting back at these statements and at people who believe that those like her should be “aborted up to birth.” In addition to proclaiming that she is “deeply offended” and feels attacked for who she is, she affirmed her humanity and asked that the attorney think deeper about his proclamations.

“I’m a human being just like you. Our only difference is an extra chromosome,” she wrote. “My extra chromosome makes me far more tolerant than you, sir.”

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Guns and Crime

Did Joe Arpaio target Jeff Flake’s son with animal cruelty charges?

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Did Joe Arpaio target Jeff Flakes son with animal cruelty charges

Joe Arpaio doesn’t shy away from controversy and isn’t averse to causing a little mayhem. The latest incident may be even bigger than just whether or not he did wrong as he’s considering running for a Senate seat. The source of his troubles: the son of the man he may hope to replace, Senator Jeff Flake.

In 2014, Arpaio’s Sheriff’s Department looked into Austin Flake’s and his wife’s involvement in the deaths of 21 dogs. It was in a kennel operated by his in-laws. The Flakes were watching the dogs while the proprietors of the kennel were out of town.

Their deaths were due to an air conditioning unit that failed in a small room where the dogs spent the nights. Based on this information, the case against the Flakes was dismissed.

The lawsuit they’ve filed against Arpaio says they were targeted for political reasons to embarrass the Senator. They were put under surveillance and every effort was made to prove they were to blame for the deaths. The lawsuit goes to trial December 5.

Further Reading

Joe Arpaio accused of charging Jeff Flake’s son with animal cruelty to embarrass Arizona senator

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/joe-arpaio-accused-of-charging-jeff-flakes-son-with-animal-cruelty-to-embarrass-arizona-senator/article/2641649Sen. Jeff Flake was a vocal opponent of Arpaio’s handling of immigration issues in Maricopa County, the couple’s legal team said.

Arpaio and Jeffrey Leonard, an attorney representing the county and the former sheriff, declined to comment to the AP on the matter.

The couple previously sought $4 million in a notice of claim document for the suit, according to the AP.

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Foreign Affairs

Saudi Crown Prince calls Iran’s leader “The new Hitler of the Middle East”

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By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

 

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, who is also their defense minister, dramatically escalated war tensions with Iran this last week in an interview with the New York Times. He called the Supreme Leader of Iran “the new Hitler of the Middle East.” The two countries have been edging towards military confrontation with an Iranian jet from Yemen attempting to bomb Saudi Arabia. It was shot down, but the tensions escalated precipitously afterward. It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia which is Sunni Muslim and the Shi’ite Muslims of Iran are bitter rivals militarily and politically.

The Prince is now suggesting that Iran’s alleged expansion under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needs to be confronted and dealt with once and for all. He told the New York Times, “But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East.” Iran slapped back immediately at the Prince, saying that he was discredited internationally by his “immature” behavior. “No one in the world and in the international arena gives credit to him because of his immature and weak-minded behavior and remarks,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying.

Qasemi followed up that insult with a threat, “I strongly advise him to think and ponder upon the fate of the famous dictators of the region in the past few years now that he is thinking of considering their policies and behavior as a role model.” And the dance to war continues. Tensions rocketed earlier this month when Lebanon’s Saudi-allied Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in a television broadcast from Riyadh, citing the influence of Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and risks to his life. Hezbollah retaliated by calling the move an act of war that was orchestrated by the Saudis. The Saudis denied it. Hariri has since returned to Lebanon and suspended his resignation.

Amid a consolidation of power in Saudi Arabia, with a so-called crackdown on corruption, a purge of the Royal Family and Salman’s ascension to the throne, war is looming with Iran. The prince, who is expected to succeed his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, 81, compared Iran and Saudi Arabia’s power struggle in the region to those fighting for Europe in World War II. The Saudis have launched thousands of air strikes in a 2 1/2-year-old war in neighboring Yemen to defeat the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement that seized broad swaths of the country. Everyone knows the Iranians are behind it and are using the Houthis as a proxy in the war. Salman claims that Saudi Arabia is winning the war and 85 percent of Yemen’s territory is now controlled by their allies.

While this may or may not be the case, the Houthis control the major population centers in the country still. The Saudi-led military coalition waging war on them is receiving intelligence and refueling for its warplanes by the United States. Over 10,000 people have died in the fighting to date. The group launched a ballistic missile toward Riyadh’s main airport on Nov. 4th, which Saudi Arabia decried as an act of war by Tehran. Salman proclaimed in May that the kingdom would ensure that future struggles would be waged in Iran.

For his part, Khamenei has referred to the House of Saud as an “accursed tree, ” and Iranian officials have accused the kingdom of spreading terrorism, an accusation it denies. For the record, Iran is the largest sponsor of terror on the planet, but Saudi Arabia is guilty of terrorism as well. Iran is working with Russia to take over Syria. They also basically control Iraq. A stepped-up war involving Saudi Arabia would no doubt draw in the United States on the side of Saudi Arabia and Russia and China on the side of Iran. China is offering to help rebuild Syria. If you were looking for Armageddon, this would suffice nicely.

The New York Times refers to this as the Saudi Arabian Arab Spring. This one is led from the top down and is militarily explosive. It is also a cultural revolution and a reformation of Islam. The Crown Prince stated to the New York Times: “Do not write that we are ‘reinterpreting’ Islam—we are ‘restoring’ Islam to its origins—and our biggest tools are the Prophet’s practices and (daily life in—ed) Saudi Arabia before 1979.” Bin Salman stressed that in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, there were theaters, Jews and Christians in Saudi Arabia and that the country’s first judge was a woman. “So the Prophet was not a Muslim?” asked bin Salman, rhetorically. World War III or reformation… it will be a conflict that eventually involves all major powers in a geopolitical conflict.

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