The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Sunday, May 25, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, May 25, 2014

Taliban free 24 of 27 police they had taken prisoner following capture of Yamgan district in Badakshan province last week. However, they continue to hold 3 police commanders. Local authorities say government forces recaptured the district on Friday, however, 200 to 300 Taliban fighters remain nearby.

Two men are killed in southern Kandahar province attempting to plant a roadside bomb when it exploded prematurely.

According to a police spokesman, 10 Taliban and 1 police officer are killed in fighting in Baghlan province. No statement from the Taliban so far.

Interior Ministry fires up the Wurlitzer to claim 47 insurgents killed in past 24 hours. As usual, zero government or civilian casualties. Whatever.

This Memorial Day weekend, Yonkers remembers Lance Cpl. John Malone, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, killed in action Sept. 24, 2009.

Air Force Reserve technical Sergeant Davielle Rogers of Brunswick Maine  reflects on 4 deployments to Afghanistan and the Middle East, including 6 months with the Fallen Warriors program, preparing bodies for return home.

“It was tough to swallow,” Rodgers said, her gaze fixed on a corner tile on the floor. “I was at church a lot and spoke to a chaplain. The first time I had to remove myself, and I threw up. I couldn’t process the reality of what I was doing.”

During her six months working in the morgue, Rodgers “processed and boarded” 65 to 70 U.S. military personnel and “host nationals,” or Afghan fighters, she said. She and her colleagues would open body bags, wipe down the bodies, ice them and then place them in a casket. “Sometime we only saw them from the neck up,” she said. “Sometimes we’d know it was just a body bag of parts.”
Then they’d load the casket onto a van before a priest or chaplain said a prayer. They’d carry the casket to a loader, which rises 100 feet to place the casket in the back of a C5 transport plane for the final voyage toward burial and grieving loved ones at home.
“We have to be really, really respectful,” she said. “We’re making sure these people get home to their loved ones. Not everybody gets to have that … after that I looked at things differently.”