Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Catching up on May, Big doings this month

To begin with, I believe every male relative I have from marrying my wife has a birthday this month. One could possibly draw from that point that relations in the August / September time frame result in boy children. Or you could decide that was hogwash, so many options are available.... In any case:

Happy Birthdays to Charlie, Bill, Steven, and Troy. Steven gets in because while he is technically a June birthday, it is so close you just have to include him, they range in ages from 13 to 71, and I will let them own up to that one.

I haven't written anything for a couple of days as we have had a VIP in our area scheduled, and I didn't want to give anything away. President Karzai came to town to talk with the elders of the area about the recent fight in Zirco Valley. I was not present for the discussion, but he addressed well over a thousand people, and he asked them if they wanted the US / ISAF forces to be withdrawn from the area. They as a group said that they did not want that. They do want schools and hospitals, which we were in the process of building prior to the fight in April. Ironically, one of the buildings that were used as a firing point was the school that we built last August to the tune of 100k. It has some cosmetic damage, but is still serviceable.

About the fight, a couple of points: Mud Hut, as I have stated earlier in the year is a misnomer. These are Adobe construction, with 18" to 2 feet thick walls, with 12 inches of mud brick domed over head. Dogs, Men and donkeys have all been personally observed standing on the roofs of these buildings; I point this out because a rifleman in a building like that is impervious to most weapons carried by any infantry type force on the battlefield. Mortars are not effective against buildings like these. Well placed grenade rounds are effective, but that is about it. Conversely an uparmored HMMWV is not all the protection you might like when RPG's are being used, particularly if you are the gunner.

Regardless of the justification or right or wrong of the April fight, one by product is that the fight out here has taken on a hugely political facet. That means right now that military actions are approved by civilians in Kabul. That eliminates rapid response to threats. In essence it cedes the battlefield to the antigovernment forces for the time being, when this changes, and it will, it will be necessary to regain influence in the area.

Today two of my good friends and brothers in arms have departed for the first step in their journey home. It marks the beginning of the end here really, and I will begin packing my bags in earnest here shortly.

I received a copy of an article by retired Admiral James Lyons, and I have to say I think it is worth reading, so here it is.

I hope you enjoy it; I have a complete article in my head about the role of the military, but so do a hundred other folks.

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