May 02, 2011

Name: 1SGT (retired) Troy Steward
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog: Bouhammer's Afghan Blog

The video below is about a funeral that happened just the other day. As you will see, many in western New York turned out to honor SSG Michael Lammerts, a soldier/husband/son/father who lost his life to a murderous act. An entire school stopped classes and came out to the road to honor this soldier. This is what living in a small community is all about.

SSG Lammerts was on his third combat tour (first one to Afghanistan) and was mentoring Afghan border police when one of them turned on the Americans and killed SSG Lammerts and one other soldier. It is tough enough to lose a loved one to an enemy, but somewhat anticipated. It is much tougher when one of those we are trying to train and mentor and empower turns on us and slays our soldiers.



The simple facts as I see them include that (1) Afghanis are too "wild" (unsocialized beyond the family/tribe) to want to be united in a "nation" and (2) they are too fiercely independent to allow ANYONE to "organize," much less control, them, and (3) foreign occupiers--Russian and now American/Allied--are foreign occupiers regardless of their stated intentions. Now that bin Laden is gone, maybe we can QUICKLY reassess our "duties" there. Yeah, fuckin' W destroyed the place--what the Russians and the Taliban had left!--but honestly, left to themselves, they will, eventually, (re)achieve the kind of "nation" they're comfortable with: raising their poppies and cannabis, holding up the cars of foreigners brave/stupid enough to drive through (from Iran to Pakistan? What's to SEE there, now?), and keeping their females ignorant and in slavery. Is this "a life"? Not for you or me. But they're where WE were a millennium ago-which is pretty much where they are: a millennium behind the West. And oh yeah--(4) corruption is part of their way of life, alas. As it is in the US, but differently: we allow our wealthy/leaders (too often one and the same) to bilk us by controlling all real wealth, and preventing its being taxed fairly, and depriving us ordinary folk of basic RIGHTS [national health care, good education]. I write all this as someone who lived in Iran 1967-77, four of those years within spittin' distance (figuratively, barely) from the Afghan/Iran border, and traveled through Afghanistan a couple of beautiful times. But if they WANT, or can be persuaded or compelled, to live in the Middle Ages, is it REALLY our business?

In light of the events of 5/1/11, the death of OBL and others at his location, it is tempting to use any opportunity to put forth personal politics and rhetoric, no matter how many may agree, and how vociferously (no disrepect, D. Spencer). But in this case, I would just like to say that my thoughts and heart are with the family and friends of SSG Michael Lammerts, as with the survivors of all fallen combatants in this bloody nonsense.

Requiasit in pace, Michael.

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