Report from Afghanistan

We just received the following message from a Minneapolis reservist serving as an Army Major in Afghanistan. As you will see below, he has asked us not to disclose his name. We are grateful for his report and ask that you keep him in your prayers until he is safe at home.
“Dear Powerline: I’ve been following your web site for over a year now. It has been especially important to me this last year having been deployed as an Army reservist to Afghanistan. With limited computer time, I can keep up with what is going on back home by reading Powerline and Realclearpolitics. I was called up from my home in south Minneapolis this past February to go to Iraq, but ended up here. We are scheduled to go home in late March. I am the engineer responsible for building a ‘facility’ for my unit – the 327th Military Police Battalion. We were suppose to operate a 10,000 person Enemy Prisoner of War camp in Iraq, but received a new, similar mission in Afghanistan.
“I have included two attachments. The first is a very interesting article [by David Gergen] on the leadership style of GWB from the Harvard Business School. I think it is interesting and somewhat fair. It seems there is still a propensity among many to treat him as not very bright, even though I think he continually shows otherwise.
“The second attachment is a digital photo I took this morning (15 Nov.). It is a photo of a funeral procession for one of three Romanian soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan. The photo shows American soldiers saluting the fallen soldier while his Romanian comrades straddle the vehicle. The three Romanians got shot by an AMF (Afghan Military Force) soldier at an AMF check point. Apparently the AMF soldier unloaded his rifle on them and took off for the hills. I don’t think this type of thing is typically happening with the AMF, but it is very hard to know who your enemy is some times.
romanian.jpg
“The above scene stands in contrast to my visit to Germany the last two weeks in October for Army training. I visited my old landlord whose house I lived in for four years. His advice to me was get out of the military. There was no cause worth dying for. He would not fight anyone unless they came to his house and tried to hurt him or his family. I think this is typical of all of the other Germans that I know. After listening to him go on like this for twenty minutes, I told him that there were ideals worth fighting for and that in a time of need I would not let my country down – at which point he held up his arm in a ‘Heil Hitler’ fashion and said that this is how his country use to be as well. I said there was no comparison and left the house – I will never go back.
“Also during my visit, I watched a lot of German news TV and CNN International. The reporters seemed to me to be gleeful at every attack on the Americans – especially the attack on Wolfowitz and the downing of the 18 soldiers in the chopper. The one interesting thing that I can note is that Gerhard Schoreder, in an attempt to cut taxes, is pointing to the success of the US tax cuts as evidence that it will grow the economy (of course he is not attributing the tax cuts to Bush).
“I would like to make one more observation if I may. Since I have been in Afghanistan, I would say that, on average, I know of about one U.S. or coalition soldier getting killed every week. However, I see almost no news reports on these deaths – and my wife at home does not either. My point is that per capita (with 10 – 15k soldiers in country), we are taking as many, or more hits than Iraq, yet no press coverage. Given this fact, it seems to me that the mainstream media are controlling public opinion by which information they cover. The liberals have a difficult time saying they are against the war in Afghanistan, but can oppose Iraq because the decision to attack wasn’t as clearly obvious – thus only report the bad stuff in Iraq – at least this is my take.
“That is all I have time to write for now. If you found some of this information interesting, please feel free to use it on your site (but please keep my name out). I have some other areas I can go into about what I see over here as I get to see some interesting things. I will write back some more if you would like some ‘man on the street’ observations from a structural engineer from Minneapolis deployed to Afghanistan.”
“Once again, thanks for putting together such a great web site that keeps me informed. Sorry for all of my poor writing and grammar. I do not have very much time.”

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