April 11, 2008

Name: 1SG Troy Steward
Posting date: 4/11/08
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog url:

Two soldiers from the Polish Battle Group, which operates in the area I worked and operated in while serving in Afghanistan, were killed recently by an IED. There have been a number of Afghan Army and Police killed in that area, which is almost never reported. Since there is so little visibility, all we have to gauge the violence levels on are the numbers of coalition forces killed.

It is alarming that there were 21 coalition forces killed in the first two months of this year. It is alarming because this is the quietest time of the year, as the enemy is not adept at fighting in the cold winter months. They typically hibernate their operations in the winter time and wait until the spring-to-fall months, when they can move and operate more freely. To have this many killed already is an omen to me, and should be to the rest of the world as to what is coming.

Every year has gotten worse and worse, so I fully expect this trend to continue. I have written about this subject several times since I returned last year. I was also afforded the opportunity to spend a couple of minutes talking with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about this exact subject back in December.

I have a vested interest, since I spent a year away from my family living and fighting in Afghanistan. I have several friends over there now fighting, and soon my son and hundreds more friends and fellow soldiers from my state’s National Guard Brigade will be there. I know there is a lot of concern over the rising civilian casualties in Afghanistan, but I think this concern is directly attributable to a false sense of peace. We are still very heavily at war there and until the government of Afghanistan, our own government, and the people of our great country recognize and admit this fact, then our soldiers and the soldiers of our coalition forces will be held back in their ability to take the fight to the enemy with extreme prejudice.

So my question to the American people is: Are you ready for war?

Note: This piece originally appeared on


Well, of course I would say yes, but I don't think the Nation is prepared and the biggest part of the problem is the same for the last several real wars we have fought - the Nation hasn't gone to war since WWII, all those later military actions were designed not to cost the civilian population any price.

Am I ready for war? No. How can someone ever be "ready". Are we stuck with this astounding strategic blunder of two fronts? Absolutely. As William pointed out, until the wealthy 1 pct. give up their tax cuts and share in the price. And until the gov't returns to working of, by, and for the "people" this nation will stumble bindly into an increasingly dark future as our (still) volunteer soldiers pay the lions share of blood and the middle class pays it's treasure. (yeah, I know, poor structure but wth...)

No, and I am sure we won't have to be. To me, the worst thing about this war is the fact most people don't even notice it. I can't imagin what is like for soldiers to be there day after day and know your country really has forgotten what you are doing. You can barely find mention of Iraq on the news. I never hear about Afghanistan except when Prince Harry was there. I remember the blond on the View saying "I like John McCain, he won't raise our taxes!" Really, he wants to keep fighting a two front war, which she says she "supports", but not only doesn't she or her able-bodied husband volunteer to fight it, they don't even want to pay for. Exactly what does supporting the war even mean any more?

There are quite a few of us who rant on endlessly about how we should have concentrated on Afghanistan rather than get into the Iraqi tar pit.

You not only have the locals to deal with but have to contend with safe haven and other support provided by Pakistan.

And for some of us, the desire to get out of Iraq is motivated in part by the need to have enough resources to win again in Afghanistan.

Exactly, Fern. The real fight is in Afghanistan and always was there. We have never given this primary theater our full attention, and it may be too late. The fact that we tried to take Tora Bora by proxy was sadly revealing, and our unquestioning support of Musharraf in neighboring Pakistan was another blunder. Troy's pessimism is unfortunately well-founded

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