Monday, August 26, 2013
As we get ready for another bullshit war
Let us not forget the troops still fighting our last one out there in Shitholeistan. No doubt the corporate interests would be happy to forget them, but they still face incoming fire every day.
COMBAT OUTPOST WILDERNESS, Afghanistan — For weeks, the fierce duel playing out in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan between U.S. and insurgent artillery crews had been decidedly one-sided – deadly only for the Taliban."Lucky so far" is no way to fight a war but it will have to do until they are brought home. Until then everybody is concentrating on the sexier possibilities in Syria.
With better training and high-tech equipment, the Americans were so fast and accurate with return fire that shooting a mortar or rocket at them from the mountainsides overlooking their camp was practically suicidal.
The U.S. artillery platoon at Camp Wilderness killed 27 enemy fighters in the weeks before Aug. 11, while suffering no casualties of its own.
But a seemingly endless supply of insurgents replaced those they killed. The incoming fire continued. Finally a Taliban rocket found its mark.
Combat Outpost Wilderness sits in Paktia province in the heart of what the American military has dubbed the K-G Pass. It’s a gap in the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan that eases travel between Khost province and the Paktia capital, Gardez.
The area is home to several dozen U.S. soldiers of Gunfighter Company of the 1st Battalion of the 506th Regiment and a platoon of the 320th Field Artillery Regiment, all members of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky.
The pass has a dark history for foreign troops.
It was one of the most frequent sites of mujahedeen attacks on Soviet convoys during the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s. One of the most famous fights of that conflict, the Battle for Hill 3234, took place just a few miles away from Wilderness. All but five of the 39 men in a Soviet airborne unit were killed or wounded, though they held off an estimated 200-plus attackers, reputedly including Pakistani troops.
The spot is dangerous in the current war for some of the same reasons it was for the Soviets. It’s so close to the border that the Taliban can easily send in replacement fighters from refuges in nearby Pakistani cities and villages, making for a seemingly endless supply of reinforcements.
During a re-enlistment and awards ceremony Aug. 10, battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Franklin Velez warned the company what such a drawn-out duel could mean.
“You have been lucky so far,” he said. “But remember, it only takes one lucky round.”
That’s what every soldier in Afghanistan thinks about while dashing for a bunker at the whistle of an incoming mortar round or the sizzle of a rocket.
Will my luck hold? What are my odds? Are the bad guys lucky this time?
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