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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….”

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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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Democrats

Kyrsten Sinema’s socialist thoughts now exemplify over half of Arizona

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Kyrsten Sinema's socialist thoughts now exemplify over half of Arizona

Arizona can no longer be considered a red state. As the Senate election vote counts finish up, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema appears poised to win. It isn’t that a Democrat won that makes me move Arizona from red to purple. It’s that a socialist in moderate clothing was able to pull the wool over the eyes of Arizona voters so easily.

Just an hour of research is enough to break through the Arizona mainstream media’s false narrative that Sinema is a moderate. She is anti-capitalism, in favor of open borders, and had the lowest Liberty Score of anyone in the House representing Arizona.

Then, there’s this:

“A huge dollar bill is the most accurate way to teach children the real motto of the United States: In the Almighty Dollar We Trust… Until the average American realizes that capitalism damages her livelihood while augmenting the livelihoods of the wealthy, the Almighty Dollar will continue to rule. It certainly is not ruling in our favor.”

Arizona chose poorly.

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Guns and Crime

Trust in Chicago area police was already low. Then they killed Jemel Roberson.

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Trust in Chicago area police was already low Then they killed Jemel Roberson

An armed security guard prevented anyone from getting killed when gunmen returned to his bar after getting thrown out. He subdued them without using deadly force and was restraining one of the alleged assailants when police arrived. That’s when a resolved situation turned ugly.

A Midlothian police officer shot and killed Jemel Roberson, 26, while responding to a shooting inside Manny’s Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Illinois, about 4 a.m. Sunday. Roberson was pronounced dead at the scene.

This appears to be a case of a truly decent person doing his job and losing his life as a result.

Security guard killed by police in Robbins bar wanted to be a cop, friends say

https://wgntv.com/2018/11/12/officer-responds-to-gunfire-fatally-shoots-security-guard-at-robbins-bar/Friends said Roberson was an upstanding guy who had plans to become a police officer. He was also a musician, playing keyboard and drums at several Chicago-area churches.

“Every artist he’s ever played for, every musician he’s ever sat beside, we’re all just broken because we have no answers,” the Rev. Patricia Hill from Purposed Church said. “He was getting ready to train and do all that stuff, so the very people he wanted to be family with, took his life.”

“Once again, it’s the continued narrative that we see of shoot first, ask questions later,” the Rev. LeAundre Hill said.

My Take

Chicago area residents have had many reasons to not trust the men and women charged with keeping them safe. Controversial police-involved shootings, rising crime rates, and tone deaf leadership in city, county, and state governments have been pushing people in the area to give up on law enforcement.

This will make matters much worse.

The optics on this couldn’t get much uglier, especially if the unnamed police officer who shot Roberson turns out to be Caucasian. Roberson, an African-American, was able to detain four assailants without anyone getting fatally wounded. The fact that he was then fatally shot by police adds a new dimension to the rift between police and the people.

In most incidents where police are believed to have used deadly force unnecessarily, it’s a matter of them shooting an alleged criminal when other means of subduing them could have been used. Such is the case with Jason Van Dyke who fatally shot Laquan McDonald. Nobody argued that McDonald wasn’t dangerous. He was high on PCP, had a knife, and was walking in the middle of the street despite police warnings for him to drop the weapon and get on the ground.

Roberson’s situation is the opposite. He was doing his duty as a security guard and very likely saved lives in the process. His death is almost certainly going to start another round of racial tensions and anti-police protests that could cause tremendous turmoil throughout the Chicagoland area.

There is usual gray area in police shootings, but this seems pretty black and white to me. Jemel Roberson acted heroically. Instead of a happy ending for the day and a bright future in law enforcement ahead, he’s gone.

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Entertainment and Sports

Stan Lee’s 10 greatest comics

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Stan Lees 10 greatest comics

Stan Lee has died. While modern audiences probably know much more about the Marvel movies and televisions shows that dominate our viewing pleasures, it was his genius in creating so many beloved comic book characters decades ago that fuels Hollywood today.

Looper put out a video with his greatest comics. These subjective lists are usually fodder for debate, but I was so pleasantly surprised by their choices I decided to post it here. It may be the first time I agree with nearly everything in a video top 10 list. Fitting that it surrounds an icon like Lee.

From his quirky cameos in every Marvel movie to his down-to-earth perspectives present in every interview, there’s plenty to love about Stan Lee. But it was his comic book creations that have made a permanent mark on American culture.

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