A Recon Marine in Afghanistan

Rich Engle

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I stripped the pictures and formatting and such, but here is the raw text.


From the Sand Pit..., Here's HIS Story.

It's freezing here. I'm sitting on hard, cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains, along the Dar 'yoi Pomir River, watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave. Stake out, my friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles.

I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I've actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but them scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like a bastard. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.

The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat food and drink water... That requires couriers and that's where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy. I track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage facilities, type the info into the handheld, shoot the coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air commanders where to drop the hardware. We bash some heads for a while, then I track and record the new movement...

It's all about intelligence. We haven't even brought in the snipers yet. These scurrying rats have no idea what they're in for. We are but days away from cutting off supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin.

I dream of bin Laden waking up to find me standing over him with my boot on his throat as I spit into his face and plunge my nickel-plated Bowie knife through his frontal lobe. But you know me, I'm a romantic. I've said it before and I'll say it again: This country blows, man. It's not even a country. There are no roads, there's no infrastructure, there's no government. This is an inhospitable, rock pit shit hole ruled by eleventh century warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs.

Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his family: join the opium trade or join the army. That's it. Those are your options. Oh, I forgot, you can also live in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu, if that's your idea of a party. But the smell alone of those 'tent cities of the walking dead' is enough to hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs for eighteen hours a day.

I've been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and Turkmen and even a couple of Pushtuns, for over a month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure: These guys, all of 'em, are Huns... Actual, living Huns. They LIVE to fight. It's what they do. It's ALL they do. They have no respect for anything, not for their families, nor for each other, nor for themselves. They claw at one another as a way of life. They play polo with dead calves and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend the family honor. Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless beasts who feed on each other's barbarism. Cavemen with AK-47's. Then again, maybe I'm just cranky.

I'm freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap warmer's running out of juice and I can't recharge it until the sun comes up in a few hours. Oh yeah! You like to write letters, right? Do me a favor, Bizarre. Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the Taliban 'smart.' They are not smart. I suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is 'cunning.' The Taliban are cunning like jackals and hyenas and wolverines.They are sneaky and ruthless, and when confronted, cowardly. They are hateful, malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy everything else. Smart..., Pfft. Yeah, they're real smart...!

They've spent their entire lives reading only one book (and not a very good one, as books go) and consider hygiene and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil. They're still figuring out how to work a Bic lighter. Talking to a Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen; eventually he just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it.

OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back to my hole. Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of practice, but I'm good at it.

Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with your lives. The story line you are getting from CNN and other news agencies is utter bullshit and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep you glued to the screen through commercials. We've got this one under control The worst thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what we're doing over here, because you have no idea what we're doing, and really, you don't want to know. We are your military, and we are doing what you sent us here to do.

You wanna help? Buy Bonds America.

Saucy Jack

Recon Marine in Afghanistan

Semper Fi

So much for the utter ignorance of America

as provided via our media's talking-heads...!

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Thanks Rich. I felt good reading that, and a bit happy and sad for the Marine. I would like to be there to push the button dropping munitions on the Taliban.

Now that is a way to raise revenue! For five grand you get to push the button, releasing a 500 pound bomb on a terrorist. For ten grand you get to send a hell-fire missle down Osama bin Ladin's throat. The remote control would be set up at a working class bar where guys could pool their money, and draw straws to push the button, while it is all caught on a television camera. If you think the Super Bowl might be tense when you have money on the game . . . damn. I bet you could hear a pin drop. Target acquired, steady, steady, FIRE~~~

Semper cogitans fidele,

Peter Taylor

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  • 4 weeks later...


This is a very treacherous time over in Afghanistan. I pray for these men and women whether there is a God or not.

New Model for Afghan War: 'Population Is the Prize'


"Now American and Afghan troops are poised to take Marja, a Taliban-held town in southern Helmand Province. It is not clear when the battle will begin, but this time commanders say they will do something they have never done before: bring in an Afghan government and police force behind them. American and British troops will stay on to support them.

'We've got a government in a box, ready to roll in,' said Gen. <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/stanley_a_mcchrystal/index.html?inline=nyt-per" title="More articles about Stanley A. McChrystal.">Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American commander here.

Indeed, Marja is intended to serve as a prototype for a new type of military operation, based on the counterinsurgency thinking propounded by General McChrystal in the prelude to President Obama's decision in December to increase the number of American troops here to nearly 100,000.

More than at any time since 2001, American and NATO soldiers will focus less on killing Taliban insurgents than on sparing Afghan civilians and building an Afghan state.

'The population is not the enemy,' Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, the commander of the Marines in southern Afghanistan, told a group of troops this week. 'The population is the prize — they are why we are going in.'"



Edited by Selene
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Subject: Logic Check

> Snopes rates this letter as "False": http://www.snopes.co...rs/freezing.asp [mikee]

This is the first time I've been to the snopes site, but I wouldn't trust it based on its illogical report on this marine's letter:

First, snopes brands it as 'false', then a few paragraphs later they say they don't know. They can't tell if it is or is not from a marine stationed over there.

Second, they say that the marine misstates the location of where he is located and so that casts doubt on the letter. Then, a bit later they mention that someone in recon might actually change some things to cover up where he is actually located. Duh!!

Finally, independent of Snopes attempt to clearly label it as false without actual evidence, this letter sounds like something a marine or someone stationed in tough duty would say, has the ring of truth in that sense.

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  • 3 weeks later...

When we triumph, the Afghanis are more optimistic. When they have jobs and electricity they are more optimistic. What bothers me is the percent that want an Islamic rather than a secular nation. You'd think they had learned their lesson.


Judith Evans

Afghans are far more optimistic about their future than they were a year ago and support the presence of US troops in their country, according to a poll released yesterday .

Some 70 per cent of Afghans think their country is “going in the right direction”, compared with 40 per cent a year earlier – the highest figure since 2005, according to the survey for the BBC, ABC news and ARD of Germany.

Of those polled, 68 per cent support the presence of US troops in the country and slightly fewer – 62 per cent – support the presence of British and other troops.

Despite claims to represent the Afghan people, the Taleban won little support: 69 per cent of Afghans said they presented the greatest danger to the country’s future.

The foreign secretary, David Miliband, said that the findings were “striking and significant”.

“The Afghan people don’t want to go back to Taleban misrule. This is a war of the mind as much as a war for ground. The important thing now is that we take advantage of the sense of optimism.”

However, 43 per cent of Afghans said they would prefer the country to be run as an Islamic state while 32 per cent favour continuing down the path of democracy.

Support has revived for President Hamid Karzai, with 72 per cent believing he is doing a good or excellent job, even though only 39 per cent believe his re-election last year was conducted honestly and 59 per cent think the vote counting was fraudulent.

The rise in optimism appeared linked with improvements in living conditions: 55 per cent of Afghans say they have an electricity supply, more than double the 19 per cent who did in 2009.

Some 41 per cent believe their job prospects are good or very good, and 59 per cent own a mobile phone.

However, the picture was gloomier in Helmand province, the Taleban stronghold where British troops are based. Only half of Helmand residents said they thought the country was going in the right direction and one in three believe the Taleban will defeat the government, against one in ten in the country as a whole.

Corruption was cited as a major problem by 76 per cent of respondents, and support for the US and the government dropped sharply in the Taleban-dominated south and east.

The results follow the bloodiest year for Nato forces in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion. More casualties are expected as western troop numbers increase in preparation for a planned surge against the Taleban.

The Afghan Centre for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research spoke to 1,534 Afghans in all 34 provinces in December for the poll, which has been carried out every year since 2005 apart from 2008.

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"You'd think they had learned their lesson."

You mean like people who learn not to post long lengthy posts that folks have asked be shorter?


See how confusing it is when folks do not lead by example?


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As Peter stated, I believe it has the ring of truth to it as well. Knowing that the letter might be published, Saucy Jack went to lengths to ensure no extensive details were given (other than snipers haven't been employed). We call this Operations Security (OPSEC). The writing gives him a constructive outlet to pass the time.

I like it a lot. Recon are astute observers. Hope he and his brethren make an impact and come home safe.

~ Shane

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