Tulsi

for u.s. president

~

Behold

Laka

Standing

On

The

 Mountain

~

     With eyes closed he grew numb under the cold shower in the TAMC barracks, and pretended he was standing under an icy waterfall in the mountains.  The hot water was not working this Saturday morning ~ again.

     With a towel tied around his waist he was stepping across the hallway to his cave-like room when Pvt. 1 Tom Weasel stopped him and said, “Wanna smoke a joint, Duty?”

     “No no no no,” replied PFC Donald Duty, invigorated from the cold shower.  “I don’t smoke it no mo’.”

     “Well, how you gonna be mellow if you don’t smoke it no mo’?” said Weasel.

     “I chant,” said Duty ~ and he locked himself up in his room.  He put on some clothes, opened the curtain, twirled open the window, sat down in front of a most beautiful sky and let the trade winds kiss his cheek.  Sure enough, he began to chant:

     “Ku ana ‘o Laka i ka mauna,

     Noho ana ‘o Laka i ke po ‘o oka ‘ohu.

     ‘O Laka kumu hula,

     Nana i ‘a ‘eka waokele…”

     Outside, a misty cloud white and purple upon the hilltop, gently tumbled forward.  The cloud transformed into a pretty face with depthless eyes and a supple body with graceful moves.  It was obvious ~ Laka, the hula goddess, had arrived ~ and was dancing in the sky!

     From the colorful lei hanging from her neck and tossing to and fro, there fell a flower.  It landed on the window pane in front of Duty.  “Mahalo, my beloved,” said Duty.

     He reached for the flower.  As soon as he touched it, the flower turned into a diving mask and snorkel.  Duty whispered to the suddenly clear blue sky, “Ah, I know what I’m going to do today!”

     With swimming trunks rolled up in a towel and Laka’s gift in his hand, Duty darted out of the barracks.  Sp4 Joe Honor and Sp4 John Country were about to drive away in Country’s automobile.  Duty flagged them down.

     “What’s up?” said Duty.

     “We’re going snorkeling!” replied Honor and Country in baritoned chorus.

     “Oh, can I go?  Oh, please, guys, please!”

     “Hop in,” smirked Country.

     In a cove about a half mile on the other side of Waimea Falls, located on the North Shore, the three off-duty TAMC soldiers floated around above another world ~ Fish World ~ and occasionally dove deeply into it ~ all day long.  The surface of the sea was smooth as glass and you could see forever ~ even underwater.  The many colored fishes were sassy as could be.

     Later back at the barracks, played out and cleansed of worry, Duty stepped around two MPs and a drug detection dog ~ German Shepherd type ~ in the hallway.  The dog was howling in front of Weasel’s barracks-room door.

~

https://www.tulsi2020.com

~

from

her

secret agent

bred in

DUTY WORLD

~

U.S. Troops Heading For Helmand

~~~

by David Jolly

New York Times

February 9, 2016

~~~

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States Army will deploy hundreds of soldiers to the southern Afghan province of Helmand, where government forces have been pushed to the brink by Taliban militants, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

It will be the largest deployment of American troops outside major bases in Afghanistan since the end of the NATO combat mission in 2014. Though the military insists that the soldiers will not take active combat roles, American Special Operations forces have increasingly been drawn into the fighting in Helmand as one important district after another has fallen or been threatened by Taliban insurgents.

Col. Michael T. Lawhorn, a spokesman for the United States military in Afghanistan, said in a statement that the new deployment would provide protection for the current Special Operations troops in Helmand and give extra support and training for the 215th Corps of the Afghan National Army. Afghan forces in Helmand have taken heavy casualties in recent months and have been cut off by the Taliban in many places.

“Our mission,” Colonel Lawhorn said, “remains the same: to train, advise, and assist our Afghan counterparts, and not to participate in combat operations.”

He would not detail the number of troops or the unit involved in the deployment, citing Pentagon policy. But a senior American military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational matters, said the unit being sent to Helmand, the Second Battalion, 87th Infantry, was slightly smaller than the usual battalion size of 700 to 800 soldiers. On Monday, The Guardian reported that up to a battalion would be sent to Helmand.

The new troops will replace another unit that was already in Afghanistan, the official said, and will not add to the total number of American troops in the country, which stands at roughly 9,800.

The official could not say where the deployment would be based within Helmand but said that the problems in the province demanded the attention of American and Afghan commanders.

“Certainly Helmand is the diciest place in Afghanistan right now, the place where A.N.S.F. have had the most setbacks from without and within,” the official said, using the abbreviation for the Afghan National Security Forces, meaning the army and the police. “It’s part of what matters most right now for the future of the country.”

The additional American soldiers would be “doing some retraining, re-equipping and advising” for the troubled Afghan 215th Army Corps, the official added.

Alarm has risen in Kabul and Washington as a resurgent Taliban insurgency has pushed government forces to the edge. Faced with the possible collapse of the Afghan Army and police in Helmand, the Pentagon began ratcheting up the role of American Special Operations forces there last autumn, stepping up air attacks and putting more advisers on the ground. One American was killed and two were wounded there in early January as Afghan and American troops sought to break a Taliban encirclement of the Marja district.

Some Afghan officials have advocated a bigger role for American troops for months.

The numbers being discussed “aren’t enough; 700 or so troops cannot solve such a big problem,” as Helmand is a very big province, said Lt. Gen. Rahmatullah Raufi, a former Afghan Army general who now commands the Afghan Border Police.

He nonetheless welcomed the Americans’ decision to support the Afghan Army and police in the south, saying, “They’ll be equipped with advanced weaponry, they’ll have better air support and they can fight well alongside the A.N.S.F. They’ll inflict extensive pressure on the enemy.”

“If similar action were taken in other volatile provinces,” he said, “it would be a blow to the enemy and terrorists.”

Under the current security agreement with Afghanistan, American forces are mostly in the country to provide training and logistical support, and as part of a counterterrorism mission targeting Al Qaeda and a splinter group of Islamic State militants. But the American command has interpreted the rules broadly, joining the fight against Taliban insurgents when Afghan forces have broken down, as when the northern city of Kunduz was taken over by the militants last September.

“American forces in Afghanistan, and in this specific case in Helmand, are in the role of train, advise and assist,” said Sayed Zafar Hashemi, a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani. “The Afghan forces are on the lead, carrying out the combat mission.”

Helmand has been besieged by Taliban militants since the NATO and United States combat mission ended in 2014, and it has long been one of the most contested parts of the country. The Helmand opium fields are also among the most productive in the world, making the province an economic prize disputed by the insurgents, criminal gangs and corrupt government officials alike. It shares a porous border with Pakistan, where the Taliban’s leaders are based, adding to its strategic value.

The Helmand police and the 215th Army Corps have been ground down, with morale plummeting and desertions increasing as underfed, undertrained and underequipped units fight on without rest. In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee last week, Gen. John F. Campbell, the outgoing chief of NATO and United States forces in Afghanistan, expressed concern about the Afghan military. “Ultimately,” he said, “Afghanistan has not achieved an enduring level of security and stability that justifies reduction in our support in 2016.”

The number of American troops in Afghanistan was supposed to fall to 5,500 by the end of 2016. That drawdown now appears to be in doubt, as Lt. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., who will replace General Campbell, told senators in January that he wanted to “re-look” at the military’s needs in the country, considering “what is necessary, what amount of capability is necessary given the current conditions.”

Aimal Faizi, who was a spokesman for former President Hamid Karzai, said that sending more American troops to Helmand again would be a return to an “ill-advised” military strategy that failed to “fight the roots of terrorism.”

Mr. Faizi added: “After 15 years of failed military operations, killings and destruction in Helmand, it is also right to worry that the local people in Helmand will no more see the Americans as a liberating force but an occupying force this time. It is all very unfortunate.”

~~~

Matthew Rosenberg contributed reporting from Washington, and Jawad Sukhanyar from Kabul.

~~~

The Colonel’s Teepee

~

by Rawclyde!

~

Col. Sheena Johnson

U.S. Army legend

Sets-up a teepee above Pluckame

High on the mountain ridge

~

Here she hones her arrowheads

& prays to St. Joan of Arizona

Her ex-Taliban husband Habibullah

Assists

~

Young enchantress Mamoodia

The other Sufi archer of Pluckame

Patrols

Her bow vibrant & arrows a quiver

~

Life in a Sufi bubble

Has it’s ups & downs

But mostly it floats

Miracles often occur

~

~

Sheena becomes so angelic

She sprouts wings

Every curve of her body

Softens

~

And Habibullah swears

He’s

Gone

To heaven 

~

Afghaneeland Adventure Series | Old Timer Chronicle II

~

American Spartan

THE PROMISE, THE MISSION, AND THE BETRAYAL

OF SPECIAL FORCES MAJOR JIM GANT

by Ann Scott Tyson

copyright 2014

( excerpts as book review )

~

Jim fell hard for the desert civilization code and its ethos of Pashtunwali in 2003, while living with the Mohmand tribe and fighting the Taliban alongside them in Konar Province.  He related to their warrior creed as parallel to the life he’d embraced himself as a Green Beret and one he preached to lead his small band of men into battle.  It resonated with the ancient laws abided by the obedient three hundred Spartans at Thermopylae in 480 BCE.  Honor, strength, and loyalty were not empty platitudes to Afghanistan’s tribes; they were as important to tribal members as were water and wheat.  As important as they were to Jim.  As important as Jim assumed they were to the U.S. military establishment.

In 2010, as Jim prepared to return to Afghanistan, he increasingly realized that the only way to stabilize the country was to empower the desert civilizations, the Pashtuns still living in the rugged lands bordering and inside Pakistan.  It was the pursuit of this honor, through physical courage and battling a common enemy, that Jim believed would allow him to become close to the Pashtuns.  To ally with these proud fighters, to befriend them and help them recover their economies while also giving them the power to defend themselves, would not only take the fight to the Taiban but also draw disgruntled Taliban foot soldiers back to their villages…

~

Jim viewed the Taliban’s top leaders ~ Islamic extremists such as the one-eyed Mullah Omar ~ as championing a dogmatic, tyrannical movement that by its very nature threatened to dismantle the millennia-old rule by tribal elders.  If the U.S. military were to convincingly help village elders take back their clans, defend their honor and traditions, and return their tribes to the authority of these egalitarian peer councils, the Taliban would be hollowed out and ultimately destroyed.  The men who left the villages to join the Taliban in the turmoil of the civil wars would come back and take their rightful places inside their tribes.  With no foot soldiers, the Taliban would lose power.  The best way to empower the rough-hewn tribes, Jim believed, was with small teams of Special Forces such as his ODA 316, living among them one warrior to another.  Once one tribe was secure, the team would leave and knock on the qalat of the tribe next door and start all over.  It required little manpower or money, but could help Afghanistan begin to change from a war-torn terrorist haven to a more stable U.S. ally…

~

“Why are you Americans here in Afghanistan?” he asked.

“Our country was attacked.  We came here to fight the Taliban and others responsible for this,” Jim replied.  Then he pulled out a laptop and showed Noor Afzhal video footage of the Twin Towers crumbling to the ground on September 11.  “My men and I are warriors.  But we are not here to fight you,” Jim said.  “We want to help you.”

Noor Afzhal was visibly moved.  He was silent for a moment, and took a sip of tea.  Then he spoke again to the young American.  “If you can come all the way to Afghanistan from the United States to help us, then why should I not help you?” Noor Afzhal said.  “We don’t want the Taliban here.”  …

~

“If they were doing this all over Afghanistan, the war would be over,” said Drew, the machine gunner.  “This works.  It’s something you have to see to believe.  It’s a different kind of warfare.  Sometimes you use bombs and bullets, and sometimes you need another method ~ relationships.”  …

~

Petraeus had championed the initiative at the top levels of the U.S. and Afghan governments for the past year and a half.  The program had taken off rapidly since Petraeus and his subordinate commanders, Brig. Gen. Miller and Col. Bolduc, launched it in the summer of 2010.  With the U.S. military initially choosing the locations, distributing the weapons, and controlling the pay, U.S. Special Forces teams quickly recruited, armed, and trained thousands of local police around the country by early 2011…

~

Hard-core insurgent commander Maulawi Basir… was associated with the strict and violent Salafist strain of Islam…

~

The tribe’s influence on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border held major appeal for Jim.  One of the primary goals of his one-tribe-at-a-time strategy was to leverage the tribes to help uproot the insurgent safe havens in Pakistan that were vital to sustaining the Taliban’s war in Afghanistan.  The Mohmand, Safi, and Mushwani tribes all had large populations on either side of the border…

~

But his main message, driven home by his deepening ties with the Safi and Mushwani leaders, was that the tribes held the only key to victory.  He knew it, and the Taliban knew it…

~

Often families contained some adult males who were serving in the Taliban and others who worked for the government…

~

Afghans living in the high rugged valleys were isolated from the settled towns below.  With no forces to protect them, they had little choice but to provide Taliban fighters with food, water, shelter, and refuge if they needed it, or face beatings or other retribution, and Jalil’s family was no different…

~

“When I am up in the Shalay, they say I am working for the government.  When I am down here, they say I am Taliban!” Jalil fumed.  “I just want my family to live safely with no one bothering us.” …

~

Buried in the fine print was an abrupt change of mission for Jim’s team:  Tribe 33 was to close down its base in Mangwel no later than January 15, 2012…

~

It described the move as part of the overarching U.S. military transition to the Afghan government and security forces in preparation for the withdrawal of most American forces by 2014…

~

We agreed that as a strategy, pulling out of the Mohmand tribal area and leaving behind the Afghans who had most steadfastly supported the arbakai program from the very first ~ when the risk was greatest ~ made no sense.  It reflected a catastrophic misunderstanding of the importance of the hard-won relationship with the tribe and the advantages of maintaining that tie.  The Mohmands and Manqwel had set the example that other areas and tribes wanted to follow.  The arbakai in Mangwel and the rest of the district were the most powerful security force in the area.  Jim’s bond with the tribe was what created the potential for expanding the arbakai into other areas and winning over former Taliban.  Reaping those benefits required a long-term commitment.   He knew he could not remain in Mangwel forever, but his team had been in the village just ten months.

Jim and I worked together on a memo that urged Wilson to postpone shutting down the Mangwel base, arguing that it could undermine security in the area and pointing out that the district government was ineffective and corrupt…

~

The Safis had dominated the oft-contested Konar Province for centuries.  An uncompromising and war-driven tribe, they were at the center of the last major tribal uprising against the central government in 1947, the first to fight the Soviets in the Konar in the 1980s and the first to stand up to the Taliban there in the 1990s.  It had taken years, dating back to 2003, for Jim to build his relationship with the Safi elder, Haji Jan Dahd…

~

The U.S. command could not have devised a better way to sabotage the Chowkay mission and alliance with the Safi tribe than by pulling Jim out in this way…

~

“They can think whatever they want,” Dan said of his commanders.  “But you know, and I know, and the people we worked with know, we have been honest with our country and tried our level best to win this war that has gone on for eleven years…”

~

Linn advised Jim again of the allegations against him: alcohol and drug use, misappropriation of fuel, misuse of government funds, and an inapropriate relationship with me…

~

In April, Jim obtained a copy of Lt. Col. Kirila’s complete Article 15-6 investigation into the alleged misconduct by him, Dan, and the rest of his team…

~

The investigation contained facts but also many false or inaccurate statements.  It recognized the achievements of Jim and his team, but also created a sensationalized, tabloid picture of Jim’s misdeeds…

~

As charges mounted against Jim, Dan and others who had served under him were being drawn into a widening witch hunt by the command in Afghanistan…

~

1st Lt. Thomas Roberts… meanwhile, was hailed by the chain of command as a whistle-blower and paragon of moral courage…

~

We learned that the qalat in Chowkay had been abandoned by Capt. Fleming and his team about a month after Jim and Dan were pulled out.  After the team alienated the arbakai, who in turn stopped manning the observation points in the high ground, Taliban attacks intensified again on the qalat.  The team lost critical intelligence on the Taliban that Jim had gained through his relationships with arbakai commander Sadiq and others.  Fleming decided occupying the qalat was untenable, and blamed it on Jim by claiming it was in a poor location…

~

One of the documents, found in bin Laden’s quarters, was an English copy of Jim’s paper, “One Tribe at a Time,” with notes in the margins…

~

Another document uncovered was a directive from Osama bin Laden to his intelligence chief.  The directive mentioned Jim by name, and said he was an impediment to Al Qaeda’s operational objectives for eastern Afghanistan and needed to be removed from the battlefield…

~

editor

Rawclyde

!

Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention

Atalanta, a sidekick of Hercules

~~~

As Written by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter
Washington, D.C.
April 02, 2015
.
~~~
.

This April, the Department of Defense observes Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. While we must spread awareness and prevent these crimes each and every day, this is an important opportunity to remind ourselves why ridding our ranks of sexual assault and sexual harassment is so critical.

The values of honor and trust are the lifeblood of our military, and every act of sexual assault directly undermines those values. So too does every act of retaliation against those who report these crimes.

This year’s theme, “Eliminate Sexual Assault: Know Your Part. Do Your Part.” reminds us that we all have a responsibility to prevent these crimes and support the survivors – not only to live our core values and protect one another, but also to ensure our people can focus on the mission. This is an issue our force, both of today and tomorrow, cares deeply about. When I spoke at my high school earlier this week, a young student asked me about the issue of sexual assault and wanted to know what we were doing to ensure our military is “a safe and welcome place.”

That is why it is the responsibility of every servicemember to help make our military the last place a sexual offender wants to be. Together, we must assure an environment where sexual assault is neither condoned nor ignored; we must reinforce a culture of prevention, accountability, dignity, and respect throughout our ranks; and we must advocate for and staunchly support all who courageously report this crime.

Our nation looks to us to lead boldly on this front – and to care for our fellow men and women who bravely serve. Every single one of us must know our part, do our part, and keep doing whatever it takes to eliminate sexual assault in the military.

~~~

Atalanta & her charioteer in the midst of battle

~~~

http://www.defense.gov/Speeches/Speech.aspx?SpeechID=1928

~~~