Through this website and IGTNT, I have become an active supporter of our troops, sending one or sometimes even two packages a week to "Any Soldier" in Afghanistan and Iraq from the listings posted at AnySoldier. Although I am a dyed-in-the-wool progressive (or perhaps because of that fact), my opposition is to the Iraq war itself (and, heaven help us, to any war with Iran), not to the brave men and women who daily put themselves in harm’s way on the orders of this corrupt administration.
One of the units I have "adopted" through AnySoldier is a small, recently-built firebase in Konar (Kunar) Province in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan. The firebase "my guys" describe in their post sounds a lot like the base that was overrun by Taliban forces yesterday. I’m not much of a praying gal, but I’m praying now.
But, of course, if it isn’t "my guys" who got hit yesterday, then it’s someone else’s guys, and it is the same heart-rending loss.
Early in the Iraq war, the media did a good job of exposing the Bush Administration’s failure to adequately equip our troops. Unfortunately, that failure continues today, but it no longer makes the news. "My guys" in Konar Province have almost nothing at their bleak, isolated firebase. In the words of the Platoon Leader:
Our platoon is operating out of the smallest and most remote Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan. There is not a local village anywhere near us. We have 4 walls, a flag, and a gate. This is our castle. This is our home. This is our family.
We only have what is necessary, 1 duffel bag, and a ruck sack. Both are filled with mission essential gear and clothing. The comforts that most enjoy are not here. It is almost impossible to get anything out here that is not mission essential, beans and bullets.
The items they request from us, including the following, definitively establish this administration’s failure to give our soldiers, sailors and Marines the supplies they need to carry out their mission:
Bug nets, overhead battery operated sticky lights, pillows, AAA, AA, 9V, batteries, magazines, food other than MRE, candy, baby wipes, toiletries, cleaning supplies, junk food, laptops, cameras etc., mechanical tools, small folding seats, plastic food storage, small refrigerators, microwave, computer games and software, sports equipment footballs base balls/gloves golf etc., boots all sizes, mountain boots, small tents, camping gear individual metal mess kit, GPS.
They ask for batteries to power night vision goggles, gun oil and gun cleaning kits. One group asked for lights to put in their artillery bunkers so they could see at night. Everybody asks for Q-tips (used to clean guns and other equipment), baby wipes (for field "showers"), soap and food (even Ramen is preferred to MREs).
Other posts tell a story of love, sacrifice, honor, duty and patriotism that is moving beyond belief. Their humble, hurriedly-written requests are eloquent in their simplicity, like this:
Myself and my unit are Motivated and dedicated more than any other Marines ive seen but we have came upon some issues: our living conditions are ok but could need help improving like maybe mattress's if possible. We sleep on cots that are not so well ,not so comfortable either after a long days work in 100 degree weather. We have electricity yes but only for short hours due to lack of power. We Live in GP tents with no A/C units so it gets misserable sleeping at night and through the day as well. Food would be appreciated due to only being able to have 1 meat at chow and the piece can be very small.
We are currently in country in Afghanistan and we don't have much. We are sleeping outside, there are no tents or buildings. Supplies are limited. We currently eat MRE's mainly as our meals. No refrigerators or freezers. We can boil hot water out here so noodles or other foods are ok. At the moment anything that people send will be great and very appreciated. Thank you for taking the time in reading this. Everything is appreciated.
Its hard to describe our living conditions without sounding like its going overboard. However, if I may be honest for a minute we do not have the best living conditions out here. For instance, we may go 2-3 days without a shower or a hot meal. We have to @#$% in a bucket and burn it. It isn't exactly a fun thing to do. We live in a wooden shed at about 15 each room. The weather is pretty easy to describe, it is hot, very hot. We have learned that Little Debbie snacks help out quite a bit when we go on missions, we go on missions everyday and let me tell you that this place is pretty crazy. Canned goods such as ravioli, tuna lunches, and vienna sausages [non-pork only] are a life saver. Also because of the burning that we do it stinks pretty bad out here so air freshners will help out so much.
i am a squad leader for the scout platoon pennsylvania national guard.this is my 3rd tour but for most of my platoon they are still in collage and this is thier first tour and their best interest come first.we live in tents on a combate outpost with no ammenities like a px or chow hall.we do all are cooking over an open flame so cooking materials (ie.cooking knives,pots and pans,tupperware, ect.)are always a plus.we do have a 110 power source but no microwave or toaster oven.we do have a refridgerator and a freezer and we get enough food air dropped to us so that is never an issue.we also get alot of personal care items like babywipes and hygene items from mwr.the main things we need are the cooking items as well as weapons cleaning items like boresnakes for 9mm, 5.56, and, 7.62 weapons..thank you for taking he time to read this and i look forward to hearing from you.
Their posts provide glimpses of personal turmoil that go far beyond the battlefield. Some speak of individuals who no longer receive support (or mail) from their friends or relatives because of the increased opposition to war in this country. Others talk of more intimate matters:
The morale is pretty good and we help each other get through the days. There's the good days and there's the bad days. I hate to say it but the soldier's families need better protection from the snakes that are taking advantage of their loved ones back home and their fragile spirits. Adultery should be made a 1st degree felony against a soldier's loved one.
Some individuals no longer receive mail from their friends or family because of the increased opposition to the war in this country.
PleasePleasePlease do something this week to help our troops. They need us, and it’s important to let them know that we liberals and progressives support them every bit as much as the rabid right. Netroots For The Troops is putting together 101 care packages to send to our troops (more than 101 with your help). Donate here Netroots Donations For The Troops. Or, better yet, go to AnySoldier-Where To Send, pick out a unit and send a personal care package or a letter today. You can choose your unit by state, by branch of the service, by the country where they’re stationed, or by any number of other criteria. A small, flat rate Priority Mail box can be shipped for less than $10. Throw in a few cans of Chef Boyardee, a few packs of Ramen, a bag of Twizzlers, some hard candy (they give it to the kids), a black pen, a pad of paper and the magazines and paperbacks you’ve just finished reading. Add a brief personal note and you can do the whole thing for under $20, including postage. If you’re feeling flush, toss in a pack of AA batteries and some Gold Bond powder (both are like gold in both Afghanistan and Iraq). If you have kids, ask them to draw a picture and include that. Ask your friends to send one, too.
Do it for the nine brave souls we lost yesterday, and for all "my guys" in Konar (Kunar) Province.