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(x-posted at Moon of Alabama)

While being totally against the U.S. war on Iraq, I still feel some empathy for the troops being send there. Having been a soldier myself, it is painful to see them wasted for no cause. It is outrages to see some hurt because they are led by fundamentalist officers.

In today's Washington Post, David Finkel writes about such a case:

Everything in the Army is supposed to have a task and a purpose, and this simple mission was no different. The task was to get 27 soldiers from Point A to Point B, from their neighborhood combat outpost to an Army base four miles away. The purpose was to attend a memorial service for one of their fellow soldiers, who had died eight days earlier while attempting to make the very same trip.

The platoon is supposed to do counter-insurgency work by caring for the security of Iraqi civilians. But it is ordered to take a dangerous trip to attend a memorial service.

Who is behind this?

On the early morning trip from A to B that platoon gets ambushed and hit by two IED's, RPG and gun fire. With helicopter support, they fight it off and escape. After two hours of mixed walking, driving and fighting they somehow all make it to the base camp with only minor injuries. In the evening of that day, they hold the memorial service.

Their mission had been a success.

Which meant that soon they would be on their next one: getting from Point B back to Point A.

The platoon and its company commander waste a whole day and make two very dangerous trips to remember someone who will not come back anyway. Who might have ordered such a stupid mission?

Earlier in the piece the reporter explains the dangerous surrounding and gives us a hint:

One explanation for such a surge in attacks: "We're winning. They wouldn't be fighting if we weren't winning. They wouldn't have a reason to," said Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, the battalion commander. "It's a measure of effectiveness."

That is of course an absolutly braindead statement in itself. But it is not surprising as Lt. Col. Kauzlarich has a record of being an kool-aid filled outer wingnut fundamentalist.

Three years ago he was involved in the coverup of the fractice that killed former football professional Pat Tillman in Afghanistan.

As ESPN reported:

Kauzlarich, now 40, was the Ranger regiment executive officer in Afghanistan, who played a role in writing the recommendation for Tillman's posthumous Silver Star. And finally, with his fingerprints already all over many of the hot-button issues, including the question of who ordered the platoon to be split as it dragged a disabled Humvee through the mountains, Kauzlarich conducted the first official Army investigation into Tillman's death.
In his interview with, Kauzlarich also said he was not driven to identify Tillman's killer. "You know what? I don't think it really matters," Kauzlarich said.

Tillman was just another soldier under his command. It doesn't really matter to Kauzlarich how that guy died.

Asked about the grief of Pat Tillman's parents:

Kauzlarich, now a battalion commanding officer at Fort Riley in Kansas, further suggested the Tillman family's unhappiness with the findings of past investigations might be because of the absence of a Christian faith in their lives.

In an interview with, Kauzlarich said: "When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more — that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don't know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough."

But for a Christian nut like Kauzlarich, risking the soldiers life by ordering them to take part in a memorial service while neglecting their basic task is obviously fine.

Why should he care? He just knows that any of those who get blown up and die will achieve a better life. Isn't that reason enough to die?

Kauzlarich makes sure his soldiers get a good chance to reach that state of better life by taking on a dangerous mission that doesn't make sense at all.

Because if they die, it only shows that "We're winning."

(x-posted at Moon of Alabama)

Originally posted to Bernhard on Mon Jul 09, 2007 at 04:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Take that quote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    and exchange the name with some Al-Quaida operative ... you even could leave the opener there: "One explanation for such a surge in attacks:...".

    While heartbreaking, there's a logic to both statements. The only difference being that the (real) American commander talks about "winning" on a tactical level, whereas the (hypothetical) Al-Quaida commander would talk about "winning" on a strategical level.

    In a word: Nothing new. They still don't learn.

    Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

    by RandomGuyFromGermany on Mon Jul 09, 2007 at 04:44:02 AM PDT

  •  I was a soldier also, dying from stupidity was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    not one of the reasons I cared to die for

    "A journey of a thousand miles begins with but one step"

    by testvet6778 on Mon Jul 09, 2007 at 04:50:35 AM PDT

  •  Mr. Finkel does not indicate who ordered the (0+ / 0-)

    soldiers to attend the memorial service.  We can't tell from the article whether it was the battalion commander, a superior officer, or a subordinate.  The conclusion that it was the battalion commander and that he gave the order because he is religious is not supported by the article.


    •  That's why I nowhere say he ordered it .. (0+ / 0-)

      Then again, The captain of the company also went from A to B to the memorial which can one lead to assume that it was ordered at the Batallion level.

      (Now please don't tell me grown up Captain will do such a stupid thing for the fun of it ...)

      That's the Lt.Col.'s responsibility then.

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