Half-Head Bob is locked up! Are you sleeping better? - Page 2 - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-30-2002, 05:05 AM   #16
Blue Crack Supplier
Popmartijn's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 32,365
Local Time: 01:33 AM
Originally posted by STING2
Most people have so far just been detained, not convicted of a crime.
True, but they also haven't been charged with a crime. In fact, they're not allowed to have any legal representation at all. They're held captive, without any reason. You can argue that there is a reason, information gathering. But why are they then denied legal representation, or even constant care by the Red Cross? And why does this already occur for over a year?

Many of them may very well be released in the future.
When? In a year, 2 years, 15 years? Fact is, almost nobody is looking after them. Nobody knows their name. I assume their families think they're dead or something like that. They don't exist anymore for a large part of the world. If nobody is paying attention, they might sit the rest of their lives in captivity.

Again you have to look at the cost. Who ever wrote that passage of the bible might have a different view in light of the context in which the release of those that may be guilty could lead to thousands of INNOCENT dead people. Take the number of innocent people that may have been detained and compare that to the number of people that could be killed in a 9/11 attack or something much worse, if the government is not aggressive in detaining and catching terrorist. Current government action means that some innocent people may have been detained. IF the government does not do what it is doing now, thousands of innocent people could be killed. Which government action harms innocent people more?
Could you please explain what your government is doing now? You mean willfully detaining innocent people? Because that's what the article is about, they are still holding people captive that they know are innocent and they know who those people are. It's not just some statistics or probability game ("if we detain 600 people then 20% of them will be innocent, but we don't know which one"), but here is a situation where they have individual cases where they know the person is innocent. And still they will not let them go.

More and more I consider myself lucky not to live in the USA, but in a country with more freedom. Some reason from the thought "what if a guilty terrorist comes free and start attacking us?" I reason from the thought "what if the government does this to me?" You might say, "hey, you don't have to fear if you've got nothing to hide," but that currently doesn't matter as even innocent people are detained so it could happen to you or me. And if it does, nobody will know or even care about it.


Popmartijn is offline  
Old 12-30-2002, 08:40 AM   #17
love, blood, life
melon's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 11,763
Local Time: 07:33 PM
Originally posted by STING2
Who ever wrote that passage of the bible might have a different view in light of the context in which the release of those that may be guilty could lead to thousands of INNOCENT dead people. Take the number of innocent people that may have been
Ah yes..."context." Although I usually get derided when I start applying context...

If this is a war on "potentials"--which, so far, with the exception of 9/11/2001 is all that this "war" has been--we're in for a long ride. I think we've all seen science fiction films--"potential" is infinite. Our smallpox fears, for instance, have been invented by us; there is no evidence, nor has there ever been any talk of smallpox even being considered as a biological weapon. But it is the "potential." In essence, people keep on talking about us being the "freest" nation in the world; I guess if you say it enough, you'll learn to believe it yourself, right?

We've become prisoners of our own fear, and this is the legacy our descendents will inherit from us--the war on "potentials" that will never end, not even when bin Laden is ancient history. Not even when Al-Qaeda is nothing more than disparate rubble. There will always be that proverbial "Other" and all the imprisonment in the world will not eliminate the "Other."

But we're supposedly the "freest" nation in the world. Keep on telling yourself that.


melon is offline  
Old 12-30-2002, 05:55 PM   #18
love, blood, life
pax's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Ewen's new American home
Posts: 11,412
Local Time: 07:33 PM
Originally posted by diamond

canucks do not understand sexiness.
good ppl..? yes.
sexy, i dont think so..
Canadians unsexy? Hell-looooo? There are few men on Earth who are even remotely as sexy as Curtis Joseph.

and you hunger for the time
time to heal, desire, time

Join Amnesty.
pax is offline  
Old 12-30-2002, 08:00 PM   #19
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 8,876
Local Time: 11:33 PM

How many innocent people has the US government targeted and murdered since 9/11? How many innocent people did terrorist target and kill on 9/11? If you can't see the difference there then it will be rather difficult to discuss this.

Why do you scrutinize security measures that save peoples lives? Why are you so concerned about the living conditions of people that are committed to killing you and everyone in the western world? Most of those detained in Afghanistan have better living conditions here in captivity then they did when they were Al Quada or Taliban soldiers back in Afghanistan!

3,025 people were murdered on 9/11. Its amazing to see people here giving lip service to that fact and expending their time and energy on the living conditions for terrorist most of whom have it better than they ever did in Afghanistan. How about preventing the next terrorist attack. You don't like what the government is doing. Its changed its policy since 9/11 in order to catch terrorist who are hiding within civilian society. Obviously you don't think thats a good idea. Instead of critizesing the government and worrying about the living standard of terrorist, how about coming up with your own alternative solutions that would catch terrorist that are out and prevent thousands or millions of people from being murdered in the next attack.

The Criminal Justice system of every country makes mistakes. The fact that a few innocent people have been detained is a tiny concern compared to a potential terrorist attack killing millions of people. Far better to have to experience the detention of some innocent people than to have a catastrophic event in which millions of people are killed. Or would you prefer to have things the other way around? I don't think you would.
STING2 is offline  
Old 12-30-2002, 08:05 PM   #20
love, blood, life
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 10,876
Local Time: 07:33 PM
Well said Sting!

I am thoroughly dismayed at the number of people who would see us do nothing! Eventually all of the "detainees" in Guantanamo will be freed.

Dreadsox is offline  
Old 12-31-2002, 12:37 AM   #21
you are what you is
Salome's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: last fm
Posts: 21,854
Local Time: 01:33 AM
Originally posted by Dreadsox
Eventually all of the "detainees" in Guantanamo will be freed.
wow, even the innocent ones?
“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.”
~Frank Zappa
Salome is offline  
Old 12-31-2002, 03:15 AM   #22
Blue Crack Supplier
Popmartijn's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 32,365
Local Time: 01:33 AM
Originally posted by STING2
Why do you scrutinize security measures that save peoples lives? Why are you so concerned about the living conditions of people that are committed to killing you and everyone in the western world?
Are they that committed. The article talks about innocent people (some who have even never had a weapon in their hands) being detained, people who are not committed to murdering anyone. Those are the people the article and I are talking about.

The Criminal Justice system of every country makes mistakes. The fact that a few innocent people have been detained is a tiny concern compared to a potential terrorist attack killing millions of people. Far better to have to experience the detention of some innocent people than to have a catastrophic event in which millions of people are killed.
True, every country makes mistakes. It's not nice, but it can always happen that an innocent person is detained. But it seems that in this case the system is unwilling to correct that mistake. They know which persons are innocent, but still they don't do anything to correct it. As I said, it's not a case about some general statistics, but of specific situations.

C ya!

Popmartijn is offline  
Old 12-31-2002, 02:00 PM   #23
The Original
Rock n' Roll Doggie
SkeeK's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Hamilton, ON
Posts: 4,163
Local Time: 06:33 PM
Originally posted by diamond

canucks do not understand sexiness.
good ppl..? yes.
sexy, i dont think so..
There may be more sexy people in the good ole US of A, but there's also way more unsexy people. I'm pretty sure that on a per capita basis Canada has a higher number of sexy people.. I mean have you ever been here? just walk around and you will be seeing a lot of that! and for the record pam anderson isn't really all that sexy.

There. I thought it was time I made a meaningful contribution to a thread in FYM
SkeeK is offline  
Old 12-31-2002, 10:42 PM   #24
love, blood, life
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Tempe, Az USA
Posts: 12,856
Local Time: 04:33 PM

u silly canuck.
shania is sexier than pam

diamond is offline  
Old 01-01-2003, 06:06 PM   #25
New Yorker
sharky's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,616
Local Time: 06:33 PM
Originally posted by STING2

Why do you scrutinize security measures that save peoples lives? Why are you so concerned about the living conditions of people that are committed to killing you and everyone in the western world? Most of those detained in Afghanistan have better living conditions here in captivity then they did when they were Al Quada or Taliban soldiers back in Afghanistan!

3,025 people were murdered on 9/11. Its amazing to see people here giving lip service to that fact and expending their time and energy on the living conditions for terrorist most of whom have it better than they ever did in Afghanistan.

Why do you think people become involved with al Qaeda? Its not just because of their cause. Its because of the money. How well off do you think the families of those terrorists are now? And at least in Afghanistan Taliban soliders had enclosed shelter and doctors to take care of them -- albeit Taliban doctors.

As for your second argument, get off your "America is great" trip and see the reality of what happened. Human is human regardless of nationality and its about time some so-called "Americans" realize that the attack was bigger than America -- this was an attack on humanity. An innocent person is an innocent person regardless of nationality.

Meanwhile, the Taliban are taking over Afghanistan again because our president is too interested in trying to finish a war his daddy started. If these "guilty" people are locked up at Gitmo, how has the Taliban been able to regain a foothold in a country where we lost American lives?
sharky is offline  
Old 01-02-2003, 02:25 PM   #26
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 8,876
Local Time: 11:33 PM

I do not know what liberal media outlet you have been listening to but I can confirm for you that the Taliban are not retaking Afghanistan! I have a good friend that is a Captain in the US Marine Corp who just got back from being in Afghanistan for 6 months. He is a combat Engineer and was responsible for setting up temporary basis for special forces soldiers all over the country in addition to performing interrogations on Al Quada and Taliban prisoners at several of the basis. He has been all over the country from Kabul to Kandahar. This country has a history of Warlords for the past 5,000 years. The fact that some warlord in the mountains or countryside is being difficult or that warlords fight from time to time with each other cannot be taken as the Taliban and Al Quada are back. Far, Far from it. Ask my friend who was in the thick of the military action for the past 6 months and he'll tell the biggest problem in Afghanistan is the currency, not Al Quada or the Taliban!

This myth that the President is overfocused on Iraq is just that. Even if there is a military operation in Iraq, it will at most require 250,000 troops. Thats less than 20% of the total number of troops that we have on active duty which is 1.4 million. In addition we have 1.2 million in the reserve which makes that number less than 10%.

Why don't you get off your anti-American stool and have some respect for the country where 9/11 took place. There is no one here claiming that someone is less human than someone else. Accept the fact that actions often have to be taken that put many people at risk but are necessary to save thousands or millions of lives.

The medical teams that were working with my friend who is a Marine Captain were often the first Doctors many Al Quada and Taliban had ever been treated by. I'm sorry you have read romantic stories about the living conditions of the Taliban and Al Quada, but take it from someone that has been there, their not true. Think more of the surface of the moon and small caves with well below freezing temperatures every night. Think about going for days without food as well. Thats the reality of life in the Taliban and Al Quada. Many interrogations were accomplished simply by giving one hot chocolate. The conditions the prisoners have in capitivity for exceed what they were like in Al Quada and the Taliban.
STING2 is offline  
Old 01-02-2003, 05:47 PM   #27
Blue Crack Addict
deep's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: A far distance down.
Posts: 28,010
Local Time: 04:33 PM
sting-this makes some of sharky's point and some of yours.


Chasing Phantoms Across Afghanistan
A year after the fall of the Taliban, U.S. Special Forces face a war in which the enemy won't fight and victory is undefinable.

By David Zucchino
Times Staff Writer

December 29 2002

CHAGHCHARAN, Afghanistan -- CHAGHCHARAN, Afghanistan -- With machine guns rocking in their turrets, a convoy of Special Forces soldiers plowed into this mountain town in pursuit of enemy fighters one cold winter afternoon. What they found instead was a knot of rumors and contradictions.

The local police intelligence chief, squatting on the dirt floor of his compound, told the Americans intriguing tales of armed Taliban and Al Qaeda supporters massed in a nearby valley. The soldiers braced for battle.

But in a rooftop redoubt across the street, the provincial governor sat on a cushion with an automatic rifle tucked beneath his hip and assured them that all enemy forces had been driven from the area.

Later, the local militia general, presiding over this grimy provincial outpost from a hilltop fortress, offered yet another scenario: There were no enemy fighters left, but some armed men in the area sympathized with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The 10-man "A" team from the Army's 20th Special Forces group had just stumbled upon what soldiers call "ground truth" -- the complex and often confounding reality of the combat zone. Their bruising 17-day mission through the wilderness of western and central Afghanistan this month produced no hard truths, only versions.

More than a year after U.S. forces and their Afghan allies toppled the Taliban regime, Special Forces teams are chasing ghosts. The specially trained soldiers are primed for combat but frustrated by a war in which the enemy refuses to fight and victory is not clearly defined.

With the American public and U.S. policymakers fixated on Iraq, the Special Forces are locked in an unseen war here. A year ago, the teams tracked and targeted the enemy for devastating airstrikes, working closely with commanders of the Northern Alliance militia. Today, their mission is radically different -- an ungainly mixture of combat patrols, intelligence-gathering, nation-building and efforts to win hearts and minds.

Three-quarters of the Special Forces personnel in Afghanistan today are citizen-soldiers from the National Guard and Reserves. Their presence frees active-duty Special Forces to train for a possible war in Iraq. For the first time in a combat zone, Special Forces here are commanded by a National Guard officer.

The 20th Special Forces team came to Chaghcharan, the capital of remote Ghowr province, to purge the area of any lingering enemy fighters. Because no U.S. forces had been to the region, the team was ordered to report on the presence of armed militiamen, their loyalties and their weapons, and to divine the intentions of warlords and commanders who ostensibly backed the government of President Hamid Karzai.

It soon became evident that Ghowr, like virtually every other province outside Kabul, the capital, was beyond government control. It was one more example of the obstacles facing the U.S. military in its long-term strategy of training a new Afghan national army to replace warlords and militias.

Long Road to Capital

Just getting to Chaghcharan from Herat, 320 miles to the west along the ancient Silk Road, was an ordeal. Vehicles got stuck in mud, slid down icy ravines and were slowed by dust storms and snowdrifts.

The men navigated by hand-held global-positioning devices and detailed Pentagon maps, yet they still needed help from shepherds and old men on muleback to find their way. They carried the U.S. military's most lethal weapons, but the only enemy they shot was a dog that threatened their campsite.

Even in the most innocuous situations, the soldiers never let down their guard.

"We've got a bounty on our heads -- and they'd love to get a Special Forces guy," said Mike, a medical sergeant, referring to reports that Al Qaeda has offered $50,000 for an American soldier, dead or alive.

(Under ground rules governing media access to Special Forces personnel, they can be identified by rank and first name only.)

In Chaghcharan, a trading center made up of flimsy huts and muddy streets, the men set up a safe house in a dilapidated former Taliban guesthouse near a dirt airstrip, where they had a clear field of fire out the front. But they worried about a hilltop behind them that offered anyone with a weapon a clean shot. Every day, a long row of men squatted, like crows on a line, and stared down at them from the hilltop from dawn to dusk.

The Americans spoke neither Dari nor Pashto -- trained for Latin America, they speak Spanish -- so they relied heavily on their civilian interpreter, Shafiq, an Afghan American bank manager from Virginia. Shafiq, 33, was born in Kabul and raised in the U.S. from age 14.

Attempts to sort out who supported the Taliban and who did not -- and whether any Taliban or Al Qaeda holdouts remained -- were frustrated by wildly divergent claims and counterclaims. Particularly maddening were sessions with the police intelligence chief, a gaunt, hollow-eyed former communist named Arafi.

At their first meeting, Arafi made a show of ordering his bodyguards out of his command post, saying he had something confidential to share with the Americans. He told them that the nearby Badgah Valley held 1,000 armed Taliban supporters. The valley was "a mousetrap," he said. "They will let you in, then close off your escape and kill you all."

The soldiers retreated to their safe house to discuss the chief's claims. The prospect of actually fighting and killing the enemy seemed to energize them.

John, 40, the team's intelligence sergeant, pointed out that Arafi had refused to lead them to the valley unless American warplanes bombed it and hundreds of U.S. troops went in. John didn't trust the man, he said.

"Right now," Mike told his comrades, "the only people I trust are standing in this room."

The team commander, a soft-spoken captain named Dave, announced his decision: They would drive into the heart of the valley in two days' time.

On the 10th day of the mission, the soldiers took two Humvees and a modified Chevrolet Blazer, bolstered by thick blast blankets and loaded with weapons, deep into the Badgah Valley. Dave stayed behind with four Afghan guards to protect the safe house.

At each village along the way, Shafiq questioned peasants, who told an intriguing story: There had indeed been Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters in the valley, enough to fill 40 to 50 vehicles. But they had left three months earlier for new hideaways in Helmand province to the south.

The convoy pushed on. At a village near the far end of the valley, where the intelligence chief reported that the Taliban had recently attacked and killed several people, a few men sat idly in the shuttered bazaar. Tumbleweeds blew through the dirt.

Villagers said there had been no battle and no Taliban.

"Forget it," said Ed, an Atlanta police lieutenant who serves as the team sergeant. "There's nothing here."

They drove back through the peaceful valley to Chaghcharan, where they planned to have another talk with the intelligence chief.

Dealing With the 'Muj'

The Special Forces men had begun their mission 10 days earlier, pulling out of Herat in a freezing rain. Their orders ran on for 10 pages: "Destroy Taliban and Al Qaeda forces and deny them sanctuary.... Aggressively ID target(s) and destroy enemy forces.... Pursue survivors and establish U.S. presence."

The enemy MLCOA (most likely course of action) was listed as hit-and-run attacks, indirect fire and drive-by shootings. The MDCOA (most dangerous course of action) was suicide bombings and "improvised explosive devices."

The convoy included a Toyota pickup carrying four young Afghan gunmen supplied by Ismail Khan, the warlord who rules Herat and four surrounding provinces. Supplied with American cash and weapons in the war that dislodged the Taliban, Khan and other warlords now provide the only measure of stability and security outside Kabul, often through corrupt and brutal methods.

The Special Forces team regarded Khan's men as a necessary evil. The "muj," as they called them (though these gunmen were infants during the Afghan moujahedeen's war against the Soviets), were kept on a tight leash. The Americans knew they would report everything they saw or heard to Khan.

The men on this mission are from a National Guard unit based in Auburn, Ala. Called up in August, they left behind wives and families who know they are in Afghanistan but not what they are doing, or where.

The team commander, Dave, 38, owns a small computer company in Atlanta. He relies heavily on the leadership of three veteran police officers from the Atlanta area: Ed, 40, a master sergeant adept at logistics and planning, and two streetwise staff sergeants, Dan, 43, and Mike, 41.

As they rolled toward Chaghcharan, they were on a "special reconnaissance mission" with "direct action" potential. In other words, they were looking for trouble.

Canine Attack

On the first night, they shot a dog. Frank, 35, the communications sergeant, was on guard duty when a huge dog, growling and snarling, bounded into the campsite.

Frank threw rocks, but the animal kept charging. Finally, Frank tagged him with a laser on his M-4 rifle, then squeezed off two rounds. The dog yelped and fled, trailing blood.

"Just a dog! Just a dog!" Frank hollered as the soldiers rolled out of their sleeping bags, reaching for their weapons.

As the men were breaking camp the next morning, a woman from a nearby village approached. She said her husband had been smashed in the forehead with a rock in a dispute over wheat.

The medics, Mike and Dan K., 34, an emergency medical technician from Alabama, hiked down into the village and found a man named Baitulla, 45, with a glob of animal fat plastered on his forehead, a home remedy. They peeled off the dried fat, cleaned the wound and closed it with five stitches.

"Hey, Dan," Mike said as they left. "Make a note to include some Crisco in the medical kit."

Providing medical care is part of the team's work. The visit allowed John, the intelligence sergeant, to question villagers about enemy activity. The team also handed out leaflets urging Afghans to support the central government and report any Taliban or Al Qaeda members.

During the six days it took to drive to Chaghcharan, the team had stopped at remote mountain villages to question village headmen on military matters and assess humanitarian needs.

It was like traveling back to the Middle Ages. The area has no electricity, no running water, no telephones. Even in winter, some people are barefoot and wrapped in ragged wool blankets. Many had never seen an American and were only vaguely aware of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Special Forces convoy might as well have been from another planet. At the sight of it, men and boys stopped in their tracks and stared blankly.

Every hour, the soldiers radioed their position to their commanders. Every night, they sent an encrypted "sit rep" -- situation report -- via satellite phone.

Late each afternoon, Ed, the team sergeant, began searching for a "RON site," a place to remain overnight. The muj were dispatched to a ridge line for perimeter security. The vehicles were parked inside a triangle formed by the Humvees, their machine guns and grenade launcher pointed outward.

As the long trip wore on, the crowds of curious men and boys waiting to greet the convoy grew larger. The team began to suspect that the muj were using a radio, supplied by Khan, to notify gunmen at upcoming checkpoints so they could cease any illegal activity -- such as demanding bribes or intimidating villagers. Ed ordered the radio confiscated.

The four muj turned sullen. Their pickup began to develop mysterious engine ailments, delaying the convoy.

After one delay dragged on for nearly an hour, Frank confronted one of the muj, who told him, "It's in Allah's hands."

"No," Frank said. "It's in our hands. We're leaving in 30 minutes -- with you or without you."

Minutes after Frank stalked back to his Humvee, the Toyota was magically repaired and the convoy was on its way.

On the fifth night, the convoy reached its highest point -- a mountain pass at nearly 10,000 feet. The team decided to continue, partly to hone night driving skills and partly because there was no place to camp along the icy escarpments.

Frank was at the wheel of the convoy's rear Humvee. Cameron, 30, an engineering sergeant, was in the turret, manning a .50-caliber machine gun.

As Frank tried to negotiate a narrow curve, the edge of the roadway collapsed. The Humvee, 12,000 pounds with armor and gear, toppled over an embankment. Frank and Cameron tumbled inside, banging their heads against flying ammo and equipment.

Frank fumbled in the dark for his radio and said: "We flipped over. Come on back." His voice was so faint that he had to repeat the message three times before it got through.

The men below gunned their engines and sped back up the mountain. Dan K., the medic, suspected Frank had suffered a mild concussion. Cameron was in worse shape. The soldiers strapped him to a backboard and secured his neck in a brace. They wrapped him in blankets and placed him onto the hood of a Humvee, the engine heat warming him as the vehicle slowly rumbled down into a clearing.

The team radioed for a medevac helicopter. They were told it would take 40 minutes. But with each subsequent communication, it seemed to the soldiers that no one else felt any particular urgency about the situation. They thought it was because they had radioed Cameron's vital signs, which were in the normal range.

Special Forces commanders at three locations discussed by radio how to respond. The team listened in, realizing that a helicopter still had not been dispatched.

The men cursed the delays. To Dan, it seemed another example of "ground truth" -- that sharp discrepancy between what men on the ground know to be true versus what commanders in the rear believe.

Through the long night, Dan K. never left Cameron's side. He spoke gently to him, joking and teasing as Cameron lay shivering on the Humvee hood.

Finally, at 3 a.m., well over three hours after the initial call for help, two Chinook helicopters appeared over the mountaintops. The Special Forces men knew the pilots were risking their lives, but they wondered why, if the medevac was coming anyway, it had waited so long.

(Later, a military spokesman said it takes considerable time to safely organize an evacuation from such a remote area at such high elevations).

As one Chinook hovered behind a ridgeline, poised to open fire on attackers, the other landed with a jolt in the rocky clearing. Five minutes later, it lifted off, with Cameron, Frank and Dan K. aboard. The team was down to seven.

At dawn, with snow falling, two soldiers climbed onto the belly of the overturned Humvee and attached cables. A long-haul truck chugged up the track, and the driver agreed to try to haul the Humvee up onto the road.

The big truck revved its engines, spewing black smoke and tugging at the cable. A Humvee on the roadway pulled a second cable tight to provide support. From the crevice, the stricken Humvee was dragged backward up the incline and popped with a thud, right side up, on the road.

Everyone cheered -- even shepherds who had gathered to watch the rescue.

The Humvee was clogged with mud and ice, but its engine ran perfectly. Even the .50-caliber machine gun was still working.

Mike pointed out that the Humvee was Frank's second kill, including the dog.

"Yeah," John said. "But neither one was a confirmed kill."

The convoy continued down the mountain toward Chaghcharan. On the door of the battered Humvee, somebody had drawn an arrow pointing skyward and a message: "This Side Up."

Meeting With Arafi

The day after the uneventful mission into the Badgah Valley, Dan and Mike strode past a group of thugs milling outside Arafi's compound in Chaghcharan and sat cross-legged on the dirt floor inside, staring coldly at the spindly little intelligence chief. Through Shafiq, their interpreter, they told him they had seen no evidence of his thousand enemy fighters.

Arafi was sweating. His hands were trembling. He explained that the Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters were in hiding.

In that case, the Americans said, the chief should personally lead them to the enemy.

Arafi shook his head vigorously.

"We were willing to risk our lives, believing there were a thousand armed men waiting to kill us," Mike said. "And you're not willing to take us there?"


Dan turned to Mike and said, "We're wasting our time with this guy."

As they walked outside to their vehicles, past the assembled ruffians glaring at them, Shafiq noticed that something had been written on the dust-coated windows of one of the American vehicles.

He looked closer and read: "Death to America." "God is Great." "You are Infidels."

Back at the safe house, the entire team, plus the muj, carefully inspected the scrawled messages.

Ed was furious. He sent Mike and Dan up the hill to discuss the situation with Gen. Ahmad, the moon-faced militia commander who was nominally Arafi's boss. Mike showed the general the writing on the car.

"I want to beat the guy's ass who did this," Mike said. "Will you help me?"

Ahmad made an elaborate show of rolling up his sleeves, then grinned.

After more joking, Mike posed a serious question: "Are we safe here?"

The general looked him in the eye.

"As long as I'm here, nobody will touch you," he said. "If they try, they will die -- or I will die defending you."

Eventually, Mike and Dan coaxed from the general the real reason the intelligence chief had been so eager for them to bomb the valley. Members of his clan had been killed in a vendetta involving a rival clan there. He wanted revenge.

The Americans drove back to Arafi's compound. Ed confronted the little man. He forced him to read the messages aloud, then asked who had written them.

"Someone else," Arafi said. His henchmen had disappeared from the compound, and he was nearly alone. Across the street, the governor and his bodyguards watched from their rooftop redoubt.

"It happened in your compound," Ed said. "Don't you control who comes in and out of your compound?"

Arafi hesitated, then said that some people in town felt threatened by the Americans and their weapons. They wanted to create a rift between him and the Americans.

Dan cut in: "We consider this a direct threat. If we are attacked in any way, we will defend ourselves."

Arafi promised to find out who had written the messages. Ed assured him that the U.S. military still wanted good relations with everyone. The chief bowed and said, "I am embarrassed in front of my people."

Ed got back into the Humvee.

"I think we got our point across," he said.

That night, Ed ordered one of the Humvees parked in front of the safe house, its .50-caliber gun aimed directly at Arafi's compound.

'It's Like Police Work'

After more than a week in Chaghcharan, the team learned that the town had been scrubbed clean of weaponry in anticipation of their arrival. Their movements had been relayed by radio from the militia posts they had passed. Normally, residents said, militiamen dominated the town, demanding protection money from merchants and extorting "taxes" from passing trucks and taxis.

Nor was the governor, a sad-eyed warlord named Mohammed Ibrahim, as powerful as he had indicated in his meetings with Dave, the captain. Ibrahim had claimed to control 2,500 militiamen. And he'd said that although he had the support of the government in Kabul, his fighters and civil service workers were not paid regularly.

But in subsequent conversations with Gen. Ahmad, the Americans learned that he, not the governor, was the real power in the province. The general commanded several hundred militiamen, having disarmed, by his account, Ibrahim's 300 fighters.

And Ahmad's men didn't have to worry about getting paid by the Kabul government. They were paid regularly, he said, by Ismail Khan.

The Americans were careful not to be drawn into the power struggle.

"You have to sift through what people tell you, weigh it, evaluate it, check it out," Ed said. "It's like police work."

In that regard, the team's most important weapon was Shafiq, an innately curious man. His casual manner put villagers at ease. Like most Afghans in the region, he is an ethnic Tajik. And with his distinctive Kabul accent, he was warmly welcomed by displaced Kabulis.

Even with his desert combat fatigues and M-4 rifle, Shafiq was a reluctant warrior. Two weeks into the mission, he woke up in the dark one morning, filthy and freezing, and asked plaintively: "Why would a banker agree to become a Special Forces soldier?"

The soldiers had their own irritations. When they bought supplies in the bazaar, they were followed by men and boys who pushed and shoved to get a look at the strange Americans. When they stripped and bathed with buckets behind their safe house, a crowd gathered at the hilltop garrison to watch.

In the bazaar one day, the men encountered Baitulla, the Afghan whose head had been stitched on the mission's second day. He said he and his family had been banished from their village because his wife had brought in Americans without consulting village elders.

The Americans were not entirely welcome in Chaghcharan, either. Shafiq's network of Kabuli sources told him that local militiamen were desperate for the soldiers to leave so they could resume their extortions and shakedowns. The Americans were starting to get hostile looks. Ed ordered the Humvees started several times a night, so that they would be warm and ready if the team suddenly had to fight its way out.

Frustration Mounts

By now, the men had essentially completed the mission. But they were stranded because a Humvee had been disabled by a faulty power-steering pump. They were frustrated by the delay, but more by their futile attempts to flush out and attack Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters.

"It's the invisible enemy," Mike said. "It's the germ in the body. The body is sick, but how do you isolate the germ and kill it? It's frustrating."

Rich, 34, the team's weapons sergeant, considered Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks a direct threat to his wife and children back in Georgia.

"That's why we're here -- to get the people who did it. But we can't find them," he said.

The men were heartened by the news that Cameron had suffered only bruised ribs and a bruised spleen. Frank was fine; the soldiers' heavy combat vests had helped save them. Frank and Dan K. would rejoin the team via a resupply flight that would attempt to land at the Chaghcharan airstrip.

Late one night, a C-130 cargo plane arrived overhead, its engine roaring in the black sky. The Special Forces men had set up infrared strobes and beacons to mark the airstrip for the pilot, who wore night-vision goggles.

After three failed passes, the pilot complained by radio that he was blinded by the scattered lights in town. On the fourth pass, he landed safely, but he was unhappy about how the strobes and beacons had been set.

The Special Forces team pulled its vehicles to the end of the strip, behind the plane. The men expected the C-130 to pull forward slowly as the crew rolled the supplies off a pallet, then take off farther down the runway.

Instead, the crew abruptly tossed the boxes to the ground and the pilot gunned the engines and sped off. The blast from the propellers sent the men flying and blew out the windows on their two Blazers.

When the plane had gone, the men got up, brushed off the glass and dirt, laughed about it, then loaded up their gear and drove to the safe house with Frank and Dan K. aboard.

The next morning, the men unpacked mail from home and fresh supplies of three staples -- high-calorie field food called Long Range Patrol, Gatorade and Slim Jim processed meat. Missing was the power-steering pump for the disabled Humvee.

Over the radio, they were told that their request for the pump had been denied because the Humvee could be driven without it. The men were incredulous. Trying to drive icy mountain switchbacks at high altitudes without power steering or power brakes would be suicidal.

Again, they were running up against ground truth.

"They have no idea what the conditions are really like," Dan said. He paused and added: "Hell, we didn't know how difficult the conditions were till we got out here."

Finally, Dave, the captain, decided to repair the Humvee himself. Using parachute cord, he managed to connect engine fans to cool the engine and pump power-steering fluid.

On the mission's 15th day, the team finally left Chaghcharan. The first night, someone fired two shots at the convoy from a ridgeline. In the turrets, Rich, the weapons sergeant, and Len, a communications sergeant, swung their big guns, ready to fire. But there was nothing but darkness.

That night, they were forced to camp on an icy escarpment at 9,025 feet. They awoke to discover that a blizzard was approaching. They had to get off the mountain.

Halfway down, a radio call from headquarters ordered the men to halt so that they could receive a coded message. Frank hauled out his communications gear, set it up on the roadside and waited.

The team, from the captain down, resented the delay. They were squeezed between two high ridges, ripe for an ambush. When the message finally arrived an hour later, the men cursed. It was routine: an update on a B-52 bombing run south of Herat the day before, some prosaic daily business -- and a warning that a snowstorm was expected at their position.

The convoy roared to life. They drove all that day and far into the night. Some of the Blazer windows were covered with taped plastic that was now flapping in the wind. The ailing Humvee groaned and shuddered, but the captain's parachute cord held.

In the open turrets, Len and Rich turned a sickly greenish-gray in the biting winds and swirling dust. Inside his gloves, Rich's hands were raw and cracked, with bloody fissures along the nails.

In the dark, the men finally saw the twinkling lights of Herat. At last, they pulled up to their safe house, dirty, exhausted, coughing up dust. Each man collapsed into a deep, restless sleep interrupted by calls to guard duty.

The next day, they showered and unpacked their rucksacks. The captain felt a sense of satisfaction; they had collected fresh intelligence on a huge swath of what was previously unknown terrain.

U.S. commanders now knew where militiamen were, their weapons and whether they had radios. They knew the names of village headmen and local commanders. They knew who backed the central government and who was wavering. They knew who was paying whom.

Clean and warm inside the safe house, the men relaxed on a sofa, watching a World War II movie. They felt somehow unfulfilled; they had trained for war but had found no one to fight. They were like blind men struggling to touch obstacles in their path.

"You know how you look at something and it's blurry, and you have to turn it around and look at it from different angles to make it come into focus?" Frank asked. "That's what it's like. Things are still coming into focus."

They longed for feedback, which they defined in soldiers' terms.

"You know what feedback is?" Dan asked. "Feedback is having the bad guy pop up, and then you kill him. That's feedback -- and we don't have it."

The Special Forces men fell silent, lost in their thoughts. Soon they would be sent on another mission to another town in the frozen wilderness. In the bitter darkness outside, someone had scrawled a message on the repaired Humvee: "What's Next?"
deep is offline  
Old 01-02-2003, 09:03 PM   #28
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 8,876
Local Time: 11:33 PM
Of course it never occured that the "Staff Writer Zucchino" that in many such cases as this, the enemy has been eliminated. Afghaninstan outside the main cities has been a land of warlords for thousands of years. It will take years most likely decades, of economic development to change that. The Chief concern is not the political squables of various War Lords, but destroying Taliban and Al Quada through out the region. The Special Forces soldiers experience on their mission stands in stark contrast to what the Soviets experienced in the 1980s. Further proof of the massive success the USA has had in Afghanistan. Only more confirmation of what my good friend experienced while he was on the ground in Afghanistan for 6 months operating with Special Forces units. As he said, currency and other economic development needs are the main concern now.
STING2 is offline  
Old 01-02-2003, 10:21 PM   #29
Blue Crack Addict
anitram's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 15,471
Local Time: 07:33 PM
I think we're all very naive if we truly believe that there have been great changes in Afghanistan. And I think we're even more naive if we truly believe that Bush and Co. are interested at all in staying in Afghanistan for the long haul. I imagine the western participants in this 'war' will all eventually leave like a person walking away from a fart - quietly and discreetly, but leave they will.
anitram is online now  
Old 01-02-2003, 11:15 PM   #30
love, blood, life
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Tempe, Az USA
Posts: 12,856
Local Time: 04:33 PM

just bcuz bob lost half his head, we shouldnt call him names and have an online international global discussion.
plez leave bob alone

thank u

diamond is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:33 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com