Daily Archives: November 11, 2010

You heard it here first…

I have a longer post on this coming out tomorrow but just allow me to take a moment to enjoy this minor ‘coup’ (and trust me, I know this is very bad form).  From today’s NYTimes:

The Obama administration is increasingly emphasizing the idea that the United States will have forces in Afghanistan until at least the end of 2014…

And last May in this little corner of the interwebs:

…my impression was that all of the speakers (British, Canadian and U.S.) were operating under the assumption that forces would be in place well beyond 2011.  I heard no discussion about how to conduct any sort of hand off to the Afghans within 18 months, alterations to COIN theory or doctrine or trains of thought about alternate ways militaries could support/conduct COIN without significant numbers of forces on the ground.  I would interpret that to mean that the military has been given the word (explicitly or implicitly) that that 2011 deadline is NOT set in stone.  I would, in fact, go further and predict that barring some unforeseen change in the operating environment we will almost definitely have a significant presence in Afghanistan for some time.

I think the idea of a 2011 end date died almost as soon as the words were uttered and there was plenty of evidence for that for some time now.

Music Monday (Veterans Day edition)

Tom Ricks asked around for people’s combat soundtracks a couple of days ago.  I consider myself lucky that for all my time outside the wire I never found myself in a firefight and I’m too much of a stuffed shirt to have allowed music on a mission as I’d be concerned it was distracting soldiers from paying attention to what was going on around them but…music certainly can play a role in getting one mentally prepared for potential missions.

In Afghanistan I tended to use music to relax rather than heighten my emotions and so I have to admit no particular songs leap to mind (other than the fact that my hatred for Dire Straits reached maniacal levels) as particularly connected with my time in country.  Commenters on Ricks’ blog point to a number of old standbys (from Drowning Pool, Rammstein,  or Metallica) and they’re ok but I’d like to submit a few songs that I’d have ready in my queue if I were deployed again.

Disturbed – Indestructible (really cool video)

Lost Prophets -DSTRYR/DSTRYR

And let’s not forget that before it was Veterans Day, November 11th was Armistice Day and memorialized the end of the First World War.  One of my favorite war-themed songs is about that war and by the band Magnum.  For some reason it chokes me up every time as, in my humble opinion, it really captures the tragedy of the whole endeavor of warfare…(this video has about 45 seconds of an intro to the song by the band’s guitarist but stick with it).

Magnum – Les Morts Dansant

Cannons roared in the valley they thundered
While the guns lit up the night
Then it rained and both sides wondered
Who is wrong and who is right

On the wire like a ragged old scarecrow
Bloody hands and broken back
When they fire see him pirouette solo
Jump in time to the rat a tat

What a night though it’s one of seven
What a night for the dancing dead
What a night to be called to heaven
What a picture to fill your head

By the wall in a silouette standing
Through a flash of sudden light
Cigarette from his mouth just hanging
Paper square to his heart pinned tight

Gather round reluctant marksmen
One of them to take his life
With a smile he gives them pardon
Leaves the dark and takes the light


They dispatch their precious cargo
Knock him back right off his feet
And they pray may no one follow
Better still to face the beast

When the field has become a garden
And the wall has stood the test
Children play and the dogs run barking
Who would think or who would guess

SGT. Christopher P. Geiger - 9 July 2003 - Bagram, Afghanistan