A young man's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...and apparently, back again.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

The details of my life are quite inconsequential, really. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

All for Nothing?

(Note: I debated starting a new blog to document my second deployment to Afghanistan, but was encouraged by friends to resume this one. I hope readers come was inspiring how many of you followed the last time, and that motivated me stay up all night posting photos on lousy connections.)

As I immerse myself in mandatory pre-deployment training in North Carolina, a good friend and fellow traveler of Afghan lands sent me this piece concerning the Korengal Valley -- the very one Operation Mountain Lion was focused on back in 2006. I covered in this blog our initial establishment of a forward operating base (the "lumber yard") there by 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines; the Afghan National Army commando kandak; and units of the US Army's 10th Mountain Division. They are the soldiers who continued to build the FOB and to conduct operations in the valley, coming soon under relentless enemy attack that never abated since that time. The friend who sent me this, an outstanding photographer who has been recognized many times over for his work, embedded initially as a freelancer and returned under contract work for major magazine features...and in the course of his work, survived a few firefights in the Korengal.

Please read the feature. I'm left with the feeling that although it's explained well why the operational shift is being made -- and although many of us were certain that the locals of such fierce regions as that one would NEVER accept an 'outsider' force of any nature in their valley -- the dry facts of it just don't tell the story. Soldiers bled there, died there, and endured yearlong deployments under constant close-range attack there over the past 4 years...and now we pull chocks to focus elsewhere. It may be the right decision...but it's hard to accept that all of that may well have been for nothing.

[Ed. note: I disagree with the use of "blunder" to describe the effort to stabilize the Korengal under Afghan gov't oversight. It could have turned out very differently, based on how the locals weighed the benefits versus the costs. An operation that fails to produce its intended fruits of labor does not necessarily a blunder make, Mr. Jaffe...try 'miscalculation'...which happens in warfare, especially in COIN.]

U.S. retreat from Afghan valley marks recognition of blunder


Blogger Puertorican girl in Brussels said...

Have a great deployment and send me your address so I can send you goodies from BE. Hugs!

April 30, 2010 at 6:09 AM  

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