RANGER AGAINST WAR: The $35 Billion Mud Hut <

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The $35 Billion Mud Hut

--U.S. soldier outside of Afghan mud hut

They can beg and they can plead

But they can't see the light, that's right

'Cause the boy with the cold hard cash

Is always Mister Right, 'cause we are

Living in a material world

And I am a material girl

--Material Girl
, Madonna

Foreman says these jobs are going boys

and they ain't coming back to your hometown

Your hometown

Your hometown

--My Hometown
, Bruce Springsteen

Ranger Observation of the Day:

Visualize an Army that used to invade Continents,
is now assaulting mud brick huts

There is finally good news from the Afghanistan front, or should we say, the OST Front?

"NATO said it hoped to secure the area in days, set up a local government and rush in development aid in a first test of the new U.S. strategy for turning the tide of the eight-year war" (Bombs Slow Advance in Marjah).

So, after eight+ years of warfare, we are finally getting around to securing the mud brick town of Marjah, which is a step to securing the Afghan nation, one mud brick at a time. Whew, that's a load off.
Baby steps, dontcha know.

If one adds up enough mud bricks one will end up with a whole bunch of mud bricks. Then add in Mr. Karzai (he of the dashing silk scarves and lamb cap), and it will miraculously add up to ... a bigger bunch of mud bricks! Enormous progress, and one must wonder why eight years needed to pass before Marjah became a blessed integrated part of the Free World?

"The Taliban appeared to have scattered in the face of overwhelming force, possibly waiting to regroup and stage attacks later to foil the alliance's plan to stabilize the area and expand Afghan government control in the volatile south.

"NATO said two of its soldiers were killed in the first day of the operation — one American and one Briton, according to military officials in their countries. Afghan authorities said at least 20 insurgents were killed."

This news release is confusing to an old Ranger: Are we fighting Taliban, or insurgents? Why is there no mention of al-Qaeda killed in this action? Are we killing off Taliban fighters before they are amnestied by Karzai, or before we can buy them off with bribes and cash bonuses?

Why are we killing Taliban members when both Petraeus and McChrystal are mouthing the catechism
that the Taliban must be reintegrated via negotiations? If they are dead, they cannot be reintegrated.

In addition, who will occupy all those desirable mud brick huts that are so essential to the freedom and safety of our homeland? They need window dressing and other things from Target and maybe even IKEA to make them habitable, per Western standards.

Now that Marjah is a beacon of light in an endless war, Ranger will suggest that the mentality of our ownership society be earnestly transplanted in Helmand province. It has worked so well here in our neighborhood.

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Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Jim and Lisa,
Good news, indeed! Perhaps when the reconstruction money starts flowing to Marjah, there'll be some work for unemployed carpenters there. Bound to be a need for kitchen remodels and patio covers. There sure isn't any work here. Maybe I should build some mud huts in Arizona, and then "drop a dime" about the "Al Kadies" living in them.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 7:13:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

if they would start sending me some cash, lots of cash, i would gladly promise not to set off any roadside bombs....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 10:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I just can't figgur what goes on in our leaders heads.
Is it possible that they're insane.With a large I.
But light is on the horizon-Sarah.Oh boy.Doncha know.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 12:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

If your in Fla i'll pay you to stay away from the roads that i use.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 12:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"mud huts?..mud huts?"..
hard to torch with a zippo..

I'm confused..I thought this whole Afghani thing was about some kinda oil pipeline..

or something.
What happened to Iraq?

Can somebody hep me?

there it is,


Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 1:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Your problem is that you forgot how to think like a lifer.
Also you need to think like a infy lifer-you have too much artillery mojo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 1:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iraq was all about the oil. The Taliban's been making money off of heroin. That's it - this is all about the war on drugs. Who can't get behind a war on drugs?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 3:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm getting good info here, I know, but I"m still a bit murky.
To wit:
I thought Mexico was about drugs and private prisons-their drugs, our private prisons. Are there Mexican soldiers in Afghanistan now? Does Mexico have diplomatic relations with Afghanistan? Cause if they do, that's a tip-off right there.

And I swear I read something the other day lamenting on the lack of action with the Iraqi oil..like maybe they don't have it anymore.
Or something.
Or we didn't get it, after all that effort and death and money.

I do, however, have an answer to Jim's question regarding the goings-on in our po-litico's heads, courtesy of the Grandmaster Flash:

"It's all about money/ain't a damn thing funny.
Gotta have a con in the land of milk and honey.
Don't push me
I'm on the edge."

On another tangent:
As I've alluded to on several occasions here, I'm working on a film about Vietnam and the impact of the war after all these years--personally, politically, spiritually.
A VietVet friend told me the other day that maybe we should just move on, implying getting over it--whatever the fuck (sorry Lisa) that means.
I'd be interested in hearing y'all comment on "getting over it"
How's getting over it gone with you?
How did you accomplish said move?
Should we, or not, just get over it and "move on?"

School me up. I'm still curious...
and probably, won't ever get over it.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 5:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


No problem; you are a gent.

As someone diagnosed with PTSD (mine, not yours), I would say that certain traces remain: The startle reflex, vigilance, etc. But, I don't want to stay a victim, see, and I don't get no gov't funds for earning this designation.

So I chose a path out, best I could. I know that love is part of it, fruity as it may sound. There are just some really ugly things in life -- really inhumane behaviors. While I acknowledge that, my strength is when I can reject it. "No" is pretty strong, and there aren't too many things that hit you upside the head, if one is really honest about it.

I mean, brutality -- it'll bring you down, fer sure. But I choose a different path. The only time I get into trouble is when I knowingly waller with pigs.

The first time, shame on you, and, well, Geo. Bush explained the rest ...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 5:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I personally do not believe that PTSD is ever "healed".
I've personally had a VA psychiatrist tell me that I had to forget -all that stuff.
My reply was that this concept was intrinsically unhealthy.I asked what key events of his life that he had forgotten. This is such a bullshit thing for a mental health professional to say.
I think that the best we can do is blunt the sharp edges.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 7:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

with my ptsd (the usual shit, nightmares, quick startle, tendancy to go on autopilot when physically threatened, hypervigilance, all of the regular crap) i wasn't ever really able to diminish the symptoms. they kind of choose the wheres and whens.

like with chronic pain, i was able to diminish the impact they were having on my life. that was done with time, lots of fucking time, and the help of some very dedicated, and very talented psychotherapists.

i didn't get much into group. that's just me. i wasn't ready to hang out with a bunch of other vets in a circle going "they was mean to me," but, i have heard and understand that a group setting is beneficial for some folks.

another thing i did that was available to me, and not to folks outside the apache nation was to go through the three day ceremony called "the enemy way." it's long, involved, but it can be a great foundation for returning oneself to civilization.

if you can find yourself an apache who knows that one, i think the navajo also have that ceremony, i would recommend going through the time, effort and expense (the expense will be nominal because traditional healers only accept blankets, tobacco and food in return for performing a ceremony)

what ever you do, no matter how desperate it gets, stay away from white people who wear feathers, call themselves "shaman" and want to charge you a lot of money.

those motherfuckers are all over sedona.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 7:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

genuine comments on PTSD. don't want to derail the topic. this article made me immediately think of RAW, however.... link. personally think we have become over-reliant on indirect fires, especially in these counterinsurgency arenas. But, hey.... some interesting thoughts about the nature of war in general. answer probably lies somewhere between war Rusky-style (level eve;rything in sight... scortched earth), and gently knocking on doors selling Avon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 4:58:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks y'all for the reply.
Well, I know there's at least five of us out there..

Remembering what Ovid once said: "We two, form a multitude" might even be enough to stir a little hope..err..uh--hold on there, big boy, don't get all gooey now...no rookies here.

Jim..right on about blunting the sharp edges...save for that Case knife in me pocket...fingernails, you know?

Lisa..right on bout the love.
Used to be a great 'riter for the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News name of John Coit..he daid now,bless his soul (that's Southern, as you know)..once said:
"Life is short, and it hurts. Love is the only drug that works."

MB..thanks for your comment. Ain't much for group grope either.
You got any music on CD baby?

there it is,

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I was kicked out of group at the VA Outreach centers by the Counselor,1each VA employee,non veteran type.
I was kicked b/c i was too hostile ,and unfit for the group stting. Imagine that-kicking a guy out of group b/c he has the expression of what he's in counseling for,in the 1st place.
In addition I caught him in several lies and called him in front of the group.His claim to fame was that his girlfriend was raped -so therefore he could identify with we vets. I explained to him that she was only raped once and we were done on a daily basis.
That's why i'm so anti-VA when it comes to this topic.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 12:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

whiter shade of pale by the box tops.....

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 5:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Term paper said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 2:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

That comment by "Term Paper" might be from the same source that is spamming us with comments over at the Big Brass Blog.

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 8:39:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

There's not much to be done about this. Stupid id as stupid does.
We'll have to get him a mud hut.

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 9:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

I'm not sure it relates directly to mud huts but I just read a good article by Lt. Colonel William J. Astore(USAF-Ret.) about the use of 'Blitzkrieg' and other wonderful theories of war by the Germans who got their asses handed to them in 1918 and 1945.


Friday, February 19, 2010 at 11:23:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

Hey MB, didn't I suggest just that a week or so ago? Not saying you can't get in on it too but I want the first check!

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 11:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's quite hilarious that you think this one picture of a mud hut seems to define what is going on in Afghanistan. From a previous blog I posted on, your "operation red wings failure" blog, you say you THINK you know what is going on over there and what the Afghani people think. Then you say that "the Afghani people fear us." Did they tell you that? Did you ask them?

You accused me of buying into propaganda and we all know that you are the one who's buying into it. You were never deployed to Afghanistan, nor did you ever try to "see for yourself" what it is that is actually happening over there.
You have conformed to assuming that you know what's going on over there and you are spreading propaganda.
You might as well start a blog on a Taliban website so you can recruit more "anti-war" people to your blogs. I'm sure the Taliban would love to hear from you. You should hit them up.

Sergeant/USMC/Infantry Squad Leader

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 2:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Anonymous Sergeant/USMC/Infantry Squad Leader,
Ranger's boots seem firmly grounded to me. You, however, are clearly just looking to pick a fight. Did you even read the post?


Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 6:39:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 10:36:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I get it .You are a hero and i'm scum b/c i am opposed to useless/pointless wars.
OK. Now we're past the fun stuff.
You are on my blog and in my living room,and you should act accordingly. I have not entered your space nor do i desire to fight with your position,but you are way off base and your cmts are most offensive and indicative of your worldview ,which is somewhat limited.
I am not a taliban supporter and your comments are low and abusive.
I usually don't delete cmts from my readers,but for you i will make an exception, unless you learn to be repectful and appropriate with your responses.
I find it interesting that you can speak for the Taliban,i always assumed that they were much smarter.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 10:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh boy,

If I may--even at risk of upsetting my dead Mom who always admonished me not to reply to idioicy, and Brother Dick Gregory, who said "telling the truth to the ignorant only makes a lie of the truth" --my nickel on the Sergeant,USMC/infantry squad leader type type:

So, get off the computer and get to with all that Taliban-butt kicking. That's a real war you got there.
You ain't got no time for typing, go find Ben Laden--or something. Money's burning.

there it is,

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 3:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

I'm with Deryle. Why the hell am I busting my ass to pay a salary for an alleged Marine to sit on his ass playing on a computer when he should be out fighting the "war to save civilization" from a handful of farmers. I'd like to see this clown do what I do year after year after year for less money then he makes. that I'd really like to see. And when I see it I might give 2 shits what he thinks.

Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 9:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Terrible and Deryl and Dave,

It's really comforting having you all out on the flank.
Our young USMC sqd ldr is actually a PFC which is proud fucking civilian.He's a graduate of CC and has a AA degree courtesy of our tax dollars. Go team!!!
I find this mildly disconcerting since his arguments are emotional and lizard brained ,which appears to be an attribute in ann coulter world. I must wonder if he is so in favor of it all then why no longer toting his trusty rifle? This is not a attack, but rather a reasonable response to his vitriol.
I wonder what is being taught in AA degree programs these days-are not the degree req. not social studies/math/science/?? Do these not teach critical thinking ?
Oh well, if this dude can't be house broken and act like a big boy then i'll ban his participation.
We act civilly in our blog and will not tolerate rude behavior.WE do accept and encourage dialogue but will rip the lips off of fucks doing personal attacks as we've seen here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 1:18:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

Just reading an interesting article at Common Dreams about Barg-e Matal. Ranger and Lisa know that I only served '80-'83. So obviously I never went to Nam. I'd like to hear some opinions of you older vets that were there about this article because it reminds me a LOT of what I've read from grunts and SF types that were there. The top commanders not listening to field commanders and the 'aid' materials not going where they were supposed to, etc.

Here's the opening paragraph:
Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, kept a remote U.S. base in the country manned last year at the local governor's request despite warnings from his field commanders that it should be closed because it was vulnerable and had no tactical or strategic value.

And the closing one with everything in between about the same - FUBAR.
It could be supplied only by dangerous nighttime helicopter missions, and the nearly constant fire made the reconstruction projects on which American counterinsurgency strategy hinges all but impossible. Local officials distributed some U.S. aid to the few locals who remained there, but they hoarded most of it, the American troops said.
Two Afghan soldiers shot and wounded themselves in September so they could be evacuated, U.S. troops said.


I do seem to recall Ranger posting about this incident some months ago so when I get back from work tonight I'll try to dig that up to reread too. I'm just so damn sick of seeing countless lives lost both US and Afghan for absolutely no good reason.

Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 3:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ban my comments if you want. Would not affect my life either way. Understand one thing,...My frustration and emotion comes from Jim stating things about the operations I participated in as being failures, when it was in fact successful. As well as his comments made towards what the Afghan locals feel and how they fear us...not true.

If we pull out of Afghanistan now, the past will repeat itself, and millions of civilians lives will be lost, just like in the withdrawal of troops in Vietnam. Civilians will be murdered simply due to helping out the 'U.S. infidels.'

Sergeant/USMC/Squad Leader

P.S. my wife is going into the Army recruiting office monday morning :)

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Anon Sgt/USMC/SL,
How long do we have to stay in Afghanistan? How many "top leaders" do we have to kill? What determines whether any operation is a success or a failure--body count? Just exactly what must happen before we can all slap eachother on the back, pass out cigars, and bring all the troops home? Why do you talk about saving lives when your job is just the opposite?
If you want to stay there, knock yourself out and Godspeed. But do it on your own nickel. These pointless wars have drained the U.S. and ignited global hatred against us.


Monday, February 22, 2010 at 6:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I have no intention of banning you unless you continue in ad hominem atks.
We welcome all discussion that is civil.We need not all be in the same choir.
I was in a unit that rec'd a Presidential Unit Citation and during it's operations had a 150 to 1 kill ratio.I saw a whole lotta success,but the last time i checked my underwear were made in Communist Viet nam.
Success is useless unless it has a meaningful way to be translated into well ,lets say -success.
Meade won at Gettysburg but he was not successful in destroying Lee's Army. He lacked the sense of the importance of doing so.
Simply having an eyewash/dog and pony show is not the same thing as democracy.
As for your concern with women and acid-why don't you do some research,as we have at RAW on this topic?
As for your wife going to the Army recruiter, at least 1 person in that marriage has a brain.

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 10:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ex-Marine grunt/door gunner bro of mine asked me one time why I was so down on all the young ones signing off to war when I'd done the same thing?

Highly untypically of me, I held my tongue. I thought my look would be answer enough.
He broke the silence:"oh, because you did, eh?

Just like Vietnam never happened. Young and ahistorical, bought all the same propaganda I did.

Sandberg, speaking as Lincoln surveying the field before the battle, to anyone who would listen:
"And what will happen to all these young men after the war"?

"Same as it ever was, SAME AS IT EVER WAS," David Byrne said.

Sergeant Squad Leader--you can't get by with sending your wife off to the Army by herself what with your righteous position and all that efficient experience in killing Afghanis.
Nossir, get on down there and sign up with her. Y'all could be the first husband/wife pair to go to combat.
First couple to try to "hustle the East."

there it is.


Monday, February 22, 2010 at 11:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

That's history-there have been husband wife teams in these wars.
This puts a whole new meaning to -ROLL YOUR OWN.
I've decided to lighten up on SL unless he proves to be a troll.I think he's simply gropping and may come around.How many years did it take for us to do so.? Wait till he's had a few rounds with the DVA.
Only time will tell who has fell and who'se been left behind.-Dylan.
As always-nice hearing from you.

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

There's some good stuff pubbed over at milpub.
I think you may be interested.

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


My wife is going into the Army on her own accord. At first, I was against it, and she rebutted with the fact it has been her dream to be in the military since the age of 8. I didn't sit there and continue to tear down what it is she calls her dream.

Say what you want about the life my wife and I have, even tell me that I am a PFC, it doesn't bother me. Would be kind of cool to roll as a husband and wife team, however, i don't believe there should be women on the front lines next to the men in the infantry. The wife wants to be Military police.

I am proud of her.

Sergeant/USMC/Infantry Squad Leader

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 1:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I called you a PFC.
Don't put it on Deryle.

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 1:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't putting the PFC comment towards Deryle.

Was just making a statement.

Sergeant/USMC/Infantry Squad Leader

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 4:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What rank of officer did you make it to?

Sergeant/USMC/Squad Leader

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 5:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Monday, February 22, 2010 at 6:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Some clarification.
I retd as an O5 ,but always felt like a company grade.

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 6:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roger, thanks

Sergeant/USMC/Squad Leader

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 7:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

Field Grade - Company Grade. Oddly enough in neither of the 2 units I served in did we have a company grade officer as company commander. My first assignment had a Major as company commander and the second one had an LT. Colonel who was promoted to full bird while I was there. Got himself a Silver Star too for being Army liason with NORAD previous to getting stuck at Ft. Benning. Good thing was that with a field grade CO we got away with a lot we normally wouldn't have. Bad thing was the punishment when we didn't get away with things was twice as bad.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 10:31:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What is your current occupation?

Sergeant/USMC/Squad Leader

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 3:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Sqd. Ldr.,

FYI: Terrible is a very hard-working farmer.

Monday, March 1, 2010 at 7:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa or Terrible,

What kind of farmer?

Sergeant/USMC/Squad Leader

Monday, March 1, 2010 at 9:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

It doesn't matter what terrible does for a living , nor does it affect anything that he has to say.
The only thing that i look at is that he WAS Army so we know his head is screwed on with a proper torque.
The other thing that is pertinent is that he's not growing opium poppies.And also he's not related to Karzai.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 11:33:00 AM GMT-5  

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