Letter from a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan

4th-recon-marine

Pic of an unnamed 4th Recon Marine

I received this essay, written by a Recon U.S. Marine in Afghanistan, as an email from FOTM reader Ken L.
I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the essay but, not only is it well- and colorfully-written, the essay has the ring of truth.
FORECONA “Recon Marine” is a member of the United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance (FORECON), a special operations “capable” force (SOC) that provides essential elements of military intelligence to the command element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
~Eowyn

Hindu KushThe Hindu Kush is a 500-mi long mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.

From a Recon Marine in Afghanistan

From the Sand Pit. It’s freezing here. I’m sitting on hard cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains, along the Dar’yoi Pomir River, watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave. Stake out, my friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles.
I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I’ve actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but the scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like a bastard. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.
The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat food and drink water. That requires couriers and that’s where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy. I track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage facilities, type the info into the handheld, shoot the coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air commanders where to drop the hardware. We bash some heads for a while, then I track and record the new movement.
It’s all about intelligence. We haven’t even brought in the snipers yet. These scurrying rats have no idea what they’re in for. We are but days away from cutting off supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin. But you know me, I’m a romantic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This country blows, man. It’s not even a country. There are no roads, there’s no infrastructure, there’s no government. This is an inhospitable, rock pit shit hole ruled by eleventh century warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs.
Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his family: join the opium trade or join the army. That’s it. Those are your options. Oh, I forgot, you can also live in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu, if that’s your idea of a party. But the smell alone of those ‘tent cities of the walking dead’ is enough to hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs for eighteen hours a day.
I’ve been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and Turkmen and even a couple of Pushtuns, for over a month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure: These guys, all of ’em, are Huns…actual, living Huns.. They LIVE to fight. It’s what they do. It’s ALL they do. They have no respect for anything, not for their families, nor for each other, nor for themselves. They claw at one another as a way of life. They play polo with dead calves and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend the family honor. Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless beasts who feed on each other’s barbarism. Cavemen with AK-47’s. Then again, maybe I’m just cranky.
I’m freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap warmer is running out of juice, and I can’t recharge it until the sun comes up in a few hours. Oh yeah! You like to write letters, right? Do me a favor, Bizarre. Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the Taliban ‘smart.’ They are not smart. I suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is ‘cunning.’ The Taliban are cunning, like jackals and hyenas and wolverines. They are sneaky and ruthless, and when confronted, cowardly. They are hateful, malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy everything else. Smart. Pfft. Yeah, they’re real smart.
They’ve spent their entire lives reading only one book (and not a very good one, as books go) and consider hygiene and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil. They’re still figuring out how to work a Bic lighter. Talking to a Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen; eventually he just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it. OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back to my hole. Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of practice, but I’m good at it.
Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with your lives. The story line you are getting from CNN and other news agencies is utter bullshit and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep you glued to the screen through the commercials. We’ve got this one under control The worst thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what we’re doing over here, because you have no idea what we’re doing, and really, you don’t want to know. We are your military, and we are doing what you sent us here to do.
-Saucy Jack Recon Marine in Afghanistan
Semper Fi
“Freedom is not free…but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your
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0 responses to “Letter from a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan

  1. The truth is as bizarre as the reason we are in that war with the Tribes in Afghanistan . There is more truth from this one letter written by a United States Marine than the total news media and Washington Politicians combined. If this letter is 100 percent legitimate the soldier may be in danger of discipline from his chain of command. In my opinion he should be on national news.

     
  2. What a hateful, bigoted piece of propaganda. The utter lack of self awareness and reflection tells the reader not to read the piece at face value. Whether written by an individual or an agency, we can only use this hollow appeal to our worst nature to think instead about the futility of war.

     
    • “the futility of war”
      Gosh, if it weren’t for the U.S. entering (and winning) the Second World War, the United Kingdom (where you live) would now be part of the Nazi Fourth Reich.

       
      • Not to mention WW1…

         
      • The men and women who find themselves in the unenviable circumstances of signing up to join their national military forces deserve great sympathy, the blame for wars lies mostly higher up. Society does not offer reasonable prospects in life to everyone, and probably on purpose, so that fresh conscripts remain available at all times. People who become soldiers face incredible challenges and deserve respect, but not for their contributions to the wars waged by the leaders our peoples continue to vote for.
        This film is unfortunately not so sympathetic to the personnel on the ground, but the anti-war message widens and balances the view of military intervention provided in Ken L.’s leading essay “Letter from a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan”:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ2VXJpQ2Uw
        or take a more considered look at why the above (genuine or fake) essay seeks to “dehumanise the enemy” at:
        http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2001/09/game-over-end-video-game-wars
        Which of us civilians are brave enough to conduct our lives so as to undermine the causes of war? Which of us can even have the courage to accept that we bear some of the responsibility for the wars? Leading a “model citizen” life does not meet that challenge. Petitioning our leaders doesn’t either. Each one of us has to be the change.

         
    • Never deployed to a war zone, I take it…

       
  3. Based upon this (alleged) Marine’s letter, it is no wonder why our nasty White House occupier has been reported to restrict Veterans’ gun ownership rights here back on our US homeland. Is Barry suffering from ultra paranoia? What is Obama afraid of?
    “Obama’s lies the State of the Union Address and Americans who love Obama’s lies:”
    http://moralmatters.org/2013/02/12/obamas-lies-the-state-of-the-union-address-and-americans-who-love-obamas-lies/

     
  4. Thank you Dr. Eowyn and Ken for this most educational and incredible post. I learned so much from this brave and holy Marine. All of us must pray for him and all of our Military, especially those in harm’s way. I will re-read his letter again.

     
  5. Outstanding Marine! Hoo-Ra! VN69, Semper-fi

     

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