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John Wendle

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The Koran-Burning Riots: Can U.S. and Afghan Soldiers Work Together?

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By John Wendle / Kabul
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012

As the anger over the Koran-burning controversy continued to convulse Afghanistan, another violent incident disrupted how the Kabul government interacts with its Western allies. On Saturday afternoon, a member of the Afghan Interior Ministry opened fire on two U.S. advisers — a lieutenant colonel and a major — at the ministry’s command-and-control center in the capital. The Americans were shot in the back of their heads as they sat at their desks, news reports said. “A countrywide manhunt is underway for the fugitive,” Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi told TIME. Since the news broke, speculation has raged over whether the killer was an insurgent infiltrator or simply motivated by the Koran burnings at the Bagram Airbase earlier this week. Sediqi denied the idea of infiltration, saying it is “clear that insurgent groups are not able to have such connections as this. The ministry is very secure, and we have not had any such incidents in the past. It cannot be suggested that he has links with some groups. But we will have to investigate.”

After reading the initial reports, one Afghanistan-based security expert does not believe the killer was a Taliban plant — as the militant group has claimed. However, Paddy Smith, a security analyst and former British soldier, says, “Given the nature of where the killer was, it is definitely interesting that he was able to holster his weapon and walk away. It is an indication of either confusion or collusion. That’s some feat — unless some other people knew about it — to just walk into the control center and head-chop them.” But Smith also says the attack underlines huge structural problems facing foreign forces in training a viable Afghan army and security force large enough and strong enough to defend the country from internal and external enemies — one of the requirements the U.S. and NATO have set in order to withdraw by 2014 and still be able to declare a kind of victory.

The growing divide between Afghan soldiers and their mentors has already been stretched to the breaking point after six days of violent and deadly protests over the Koran burning that have left around 30 dead, including four U.S. soldiers previously killed by Afghan soldiers or men in Afghan-security-force uniforms. The burning of Korans by foreign soldiers on one side and the killing of foreign soldiers by Afghan soldiers on the other have pushed the level of alienation between the two sides to what could be an all-time high.

The Saturday murders were only the latest of at least 22 similar killings that have occurred since April last year. Smith says there have been at least 35 in the past 12 months, though NATO spokesman Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson refused to confirm that number. The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 77 coalition soldiers have been killed in the past five years in “green on blue” incidents, with around 57 of those having taken place since early 2010. Smith is not sanguine about improving the situation, even as the allies pour more money and effort into training ever more locals. Says he: “You only ever rent an Afghan, you can’t buy one.”

“Language and culture barriers always remain,” says Smith. “These Americans [killed on Saturday] probably didn’t have the first clue of what was about to hit them. Even if the Afghans had been sitting around talking about the murder in Dari [a local language], these guys wouldn’t have known about it. Very seldom do we actually connect with each other,” Smith says, adding, “These guys are loyal because we pay them. You only start to develop a bond over months and years, and British soldiers only have six months before they go home.”

Smith says that NATO soldiers “get on a plane at a NATO base in the U.S. or Europe and fly to a NATO base in Afghanistan, and they never really engage with the Afghan population. Also — and this is the chicken-and-the-egg question — because of force-protection measures, soldiers can’t get out there and win hearts and minds, and because of this, more soldiers die, and the more that soldiers die, the more force-protection measures there are — and they interact even less. We’ve just driven a wedge between ourselves,” Smith says, echoing feelings and observations expressed in numerous conversations TIME has had with analysts, observers, soldiers, officers and security contractors over more than two years in Afghanistan.

The Saturday attacks seem to verify the findings of a declassified — then reclassified — U.S. Army study entitled “A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility,” which was released in May 2011. Through hundreds of interviews with both Afghan and American soldiers, it found that the murders of NATO soldiers by Afghan soldiers “do not represent ‘rare and isolated events’ as [is] currently being proclaimed.” Afghan soldiers cited night raids and home searches by foreign soldiers, the lack of respect for women, indiscriminate shooting, constant cursing and arrogance as top complaints against their foreign “partners.” They also said failure to prosecute foreign soldiers for war crimes, disrespect for Afghan soldiers, poor logistical support and a failure to share information led to divisions between the two forces — among numerous other complaints that included entering mosques, eating in front of fasting Afghan soldiers during Ramadan and other episodes of the desecration of the Koran.

At the same time, the report noted that U.S. soldiers have an extremely low regard for their Afghan counterparts. The soldiers’ top complaints were that the Afghans were drug abusers, thieves, traitorous, unstable, incompetent and had poor officers and noncommissioned officers. The soldiers also said Afghan recruits lacked discipline, were dangerous in firefights, were cowardly, lazy and had poor hygiene.

The report concludes that “the rapidly growing fratricide-murder trend committed by Afghan national security force [ANSF] personnel against NATO members” confirms the “ineffectiveness [of] our efforts in stabilizing Afghanistan, developing a legitimate and effective government, battling the insurgency, gaining the loyalty, respect and friendship of the Afghans [and] building the ANSFs into legitimate and functional organizations.” The report says that these complaints and murders challenge the usefulness of the “partnering” concept. “This is all the more a paradox given [NATO’s] assumption of and planned reliance [on] the [ANSF] to be able to take over the security burden before it can disengage from this grossly prolonged conflict.”

Despite that, the U.S. and NATO have always painted the partnership in positive terms. In a message issued on Saturday, NATO commander in Afghanistan General John Allen thanked the Afghan military “for the sacrifices they have made this week to minimize violence throughout the country,” and added that “for many years, these brave ANSF soldiers and policemen have stood together alongside us, shoulder to shoulder, shohna ba shohna, in dutifully seeking to protect the Afghan population from a merciless insurgency.” That message was released before the two U.S. soldiers were killed. On Saturday NATO pulled back all of its soldiers from their mentoring roles in Afghan government ministries, a significant move NATO spokesman Brigadier General Jacobson described to TIME as “temporary” — but one that is bound to have far-reaching ramifications over the coming year.

This story originally appeared at The Koran-Burning Riots: Can U.S. and Afghan Soldiers Work Together? at


Written by johnwendle

February 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Anger over Koran Burning Simmers As Afghan Riots Subside

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The Afghan landlord urgently banged on the flimsy steel gate topped with barbwire. As he entered the small compound adjacent to his own, he told the aid worker renting the house, “If anything happens, I will hide you in my house. And if anyone comes looking for you, I will tell them there are no foreigners here, just my family.” Such statements may sound melodramatic — like something out of a World War II movie — but there was real fear in Kabul on Friday on the part of both Afghans and foreigners that demonstrations would get wildly out of hand and lead to horrific bloodshed on a fourth day of protests over the burning of Korans by the U.S. military at Bagram Airbase earlier this week.

“Today was quite crucial because [the Koran burning and protests] are still fresh. You had frustration and outrage, and you had people manipulating those feelings. So the big question was: who was going to capture that outrage and frustration and how bad was it going to get,” says Martine van Bijlert, a founder of the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

But as the sun began to set and temperatures again dropped below freezing, fears of more extreme violence and chaos have proven unfounded. Death tolls ranged from four to 12 across the country, the higher number pushing the fatalities into the 20s for the duration of the protests. While tragic, the numbers did not approach what some observers had feared. And though embassies and international aid agencies around Kabul remain on lockdown, and many shops remain shuttered, foreigners, security providers, ordinary Afghans and the Afghan government are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief. “The protests are fizzling out,” one security contractor with years of experience in Afghanistan tells TIME. But it remains unclear whether this is because protesters were disorganized or because calls for calm were heeded.

For their part, most Afghans interviewed by TIME today said they are simply tired of violence. “We want peace, not violence, not war. Afghans are tired of war and killing each other,” says Elyas, 23. “The protests today were small because the protests over the last few days did notghing but kill and injure Afghans.”

“Today was a test case, since it’s Friday [when worshippers gather at mosques] and things were much more likely to get out of hand today. Since they haven’t, we know that the worst has passed,” van Biljert tells TIME. “The worst case scenario was that the whole city would erupt in violence. With the mosques emptying all at once, it could have created a volatile situation. If you want to stir up a mob, you do it during a sermon. If you want to organize violence, you get as many mullahs to stir up their people as possible and set them on fire,” van Bijlert says of Afghanistan, a country that is still much more dependent on word of mouth than on the internet, television, radio or mobile phones.

“The government has had days to get ready and the Civil Order Police are better trained than they were,” says the Western security expert. Yet, even aside from better preparedness on the part of the police and disorganization among the protesters, “several local journalists say that mullahs’ sermons were moderate,” van Bijlert tells TIME.

Friday saw multiple small protests across Kabul and in provincial capitals across the country. The news reports on casualties were not consistent. Four people were killed (including a police officer) and around 10 were wounded in Herat, local television reports. Reuters said 12 killed throughout the country today. Other counts have seven killed in Herat and one dead in Kabul. News that 500 people had stormed the U.S. consulate in Herat were later denied by the consulate. The anger behind the protests is “beginning to fizzle,” as one foreign security contractor put it. Sediq Sediqi, Interior Ministry spokesman says there was, “no major violence today,” adding that three civilians and two policemen were wounded.

Late in the afternoon, protests did flare up around the Pul-e-Charkhi Prison — along Jalalabad Road, the site of the first big protest in Kabul on Wednesday. Observers reported between 300 and 400 people at the gates. Earlier in the day Reuters reported crowds throwing stones and shouting, “Death to America!” and “Long live Islam!” after leaving a city mosque. But, for the most part, protests across the country were relatively peaceful and the mood in the capital was subdued — with a heavy police presence on the streets. “I think this is really it. This one on Jalalabad Road is the only one that had any violence to it and today’s protest was massively smaller than anyone thought it would be,” says a Western security expert.

It will be surprising if the protests prove to last only a few days because Afghans have a lot to be angry about — a sentiment the Taliban has cashed in on, calling for, “all the youth in the security apparatus of the Kabul regime to fulfill their religious and national duty … by turning their guns on the foreign infidel invaders instead of their own people as part of their Islamic conscience, brotherhood and as part of their national honor in order to take revenge for the decade old oppression of our nation by the infidel occupiers and to record their names in the ranks of warriors of Islam.”

The Taliban’s mood was echoed at a mosque in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood, an enclave of embassies and aid organizations. “The Afghan government should ask President Obama if he supports the Americans who committed this crime,” says Imam Mawlawee Ayaaz Niazai. “If he says ‘yes’ then no questions asked and all of America is our enenmy. If he says ‘no’ then hand over those Americans to the Afghan government and the government should deal with them using Islamic law.”

Feeding on the anger, on Wednesday, members of the lower house of parliament called for the punishment of the U.S. soldiers who burned the copies of the Koran. Overcome by emotion, parliamentarian Abdul Sattar Khawasi, demanded harsh punishment for the soldiers and proclaimed, “death to America and the people who allowed them in,” according to reports in the Afghan media.

At the same time, NATO and the U.S. military have been quick to apologize and call for calm. In a statement on Friday, General John Allen, Commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force called on “everyone throughout the country — International Security Assistance Force members and Afghans — to exercise patience and restraint as we continue to gather the facts surrounding Sunday night’s incident.” Allen said an investigation by a joint NATO-Afghan commission was continuing. On Thursday, in a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, President Barack Obama expressed “regret and apologies” over the incident. (Obama’s remarks were criticized by Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, after two NATO soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier on Thursday.)

Regardless of apologies and requests for patience, anger remained high Friday evening — even if it was not manifested through extreme violence. But it  could have been a lot worse. Van Bijlert cannot say conclusively what contained the outrage and frustration on Friday but she says that the fact that the violence did not spiral completely out of control, “tells us something about where Afghan society is heading, particularly in regards to the willingness to release violence. You have politicians who are willing to unleash violence versus politicians who are trying to mitigate violence.” Today, for the most part, at least, leaders with cooler heads prevailed. “If it stays quiet, we’ll see which voice has won out.”

With reporting by Walid Fazly

This story originally appeared at,8599,2107607,00.html

Written by johnwendle

February 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Afghanistan’s Freezing Temperatures Could Mean Trouble After the Thaw

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By John Wendle

The mud walled hut in which four-month-old Khair Mohammad froze to death was covered by an emergency aid tarp sagging under the weight of the snow that was also blanketing similar dwellings throughout the internally displaced persons camp in Kabul. The snow fell in heavy, wet flakes and stuck to the bare heads and thin shoulders of the camp’s children – many wearing only shirts and rubber flip-flops. The children were running to collect blankets and clothes haphazardly dropped off by a disorganized jumble of foreign aid agencies, Afghan NGOs and businessmen and sympathetic foreigners reacting to the news that around two dozen children had frozen to death in the past month in camps around Kabul.

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“Maybe tonight everything will be okay or maybe more children will die. It’s the same thing, day in, day out,” says Sayed Mohammad, Khair’s father, struggling with frozen hands to secure a tent rope to a stake outside his dirt-floored house. “Sometimes we have food. Sometimes there is no food. Sometimes we don’t have any heat. Sometimes it’s snowing. We have no control. If we have one thing, then we don’t have another,” Sayed tells TIME. “We have no choice. Some days we have no dinner and we just sit and look at each others faces,” says Sayed.

“When it snows, I get tears in my eyes thinking about how many more dead there will be,” says Julie Bara, a water, sanitation and hygiene program coordinator for Solidarités International, a French group that has been working at the camps in Kabul. “The future for these children is the most uncertain.”

Khair died late last week, making him the 17th child to freeze to death in the Nasaji Bagrami IDP camp in just 30 days. Though numbers remain vague because of deaths left unrecorded by families and officials, Kargar Nuragli, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Health, told TIME that at least 24 children had died from the unusual cold snap and snow that has hit Kabul in the past month. But Khair’s death is only the latest tragedy to befall Sayed Mohammad’s family. “We moved to this camp because of the war. Two of my children died in Helmand province and my father and brother were killed there. We had to. We didn’t come here out of luxury,” Sayed tells TIME.

Indeed, Kabul is a fragile bubble of safety and relative economic prosperity – along with other large Afghan cities like Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar – in comparison to an impoverished countryside ravaged by a decade-long war, or to an unstable existence in Pakistan or Iran as a refugee. And the plight of these refugees will not get better when it gets warmer – and there are other, larger problems that the problems in the camps only highlight.

Over more than ten years of war these bubbles have seen their populations of IDPs and returnee refugees ebb and flow with the violence in the surrounding countryside. The numbers tell the story – one that is not giving Afghan government officials any sleep at night. The IDP and refugee population in Kabul increased by just a little more than 5 percent in 2009, by 10 percent in 2010 and by more than 23 percent in 2011 – an exponential explosion that has put a human face on a UN report released last week saying that civilian casualties had risen for the fifth consecutive year in Afghan conflict.

“The IDP population has been increasing exponentially since 2009. Just looking at the math, there could be a greater than 35 percent increase for 2012, taking the population to around 40,000,” says Bara. Right now there are 43 “informal settlements” around Kabul, totaling between 20,000 and 30,000 people according to two different censuses. And there are another 5,000 around the city limits.

And though recent media coverage of the wave of deaths of children under age five has spurred an increase in the amount of aid – organized or not – the government does not seem to have a solid, long-term plan to take care of “the poorest of the poor.” What is more, the Afghan government fears that aid will only draw a wave of impoverished farmers to the relative safety of Kabul – a fear founded on the experience of other humanitarian crises around the world.

“The government is afraid,” Dr. Mohammad Diam Kakar, director general of the Disaster Assistance Agency, tells TIME. “Abdul Karim Khalili, second vice president and director of the National Disaster Management Committee said at a meeting a few days ago that if we cannot find a solution and the IDPs will not go home, then, with the help they have received recently – which has been broadcast all over the world by the media – maybe we will receive more IDPs,” Dr. Kakar says.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees says that with international support, the government will provide people with land in any province and a two-room house. But where the money and land would come from – a sorely contested issue in a country with few documented land titles – is unclear. But the people at the camps know the score if they leave the bubbles of security and relative abundance of social services. “I went to the camps yesterday and they said they don’t want to leave Kabul for any place,” says Dr. Kakar. “They told me, ‘we will not receive the support we are getting now from the government, the NGOs and the president if we go home. We will stay here,’” he tells TIME.

But even the support the people get is not enough. “Their future of these children will not be any different from how we live now. There are no schools. There are no clinics. They will be illiterate. They will be uneducated. They will have the same condition as us,” says Wali Khan, an elder from Helmand who moved to the camp three years ago. And, observers agree, such a situation creates an opportunity for radical elements to gain a foothold in an already aggravated population – the exact situation that led to the rise of the Taliban during this country’s civil war.

For their part, the Taliban made the point on a Twitter post that the recent deaths are, “a sample of things which happen in areas ruled by ISAF.” A spokesman for the group, Zabiullah Mujahed, says that, “if we come back into the power we will definitely have systems and programs to take care of people in any season,” adding that, “We will take care of the needs of people very honestly without cheating or lying. We will not do as the current government is doing.” But again, without having the infrastructure to collect taxes, the claims of both the government and the Taliban seem flimsy.

Back at the whitewashed mud walled mosque a group of men huddled inside, their breath fogging the air. Most were visibly shivering. The Pashtuns are incredibly hospitable to guests and they apologized repeatedly for not offering a seat and a cup of tea, since the floor was only covered in a thin plastic prayer mat and there was no tea and no wood to make a fire. Shivering children stared in the door.

Standing in a huddle of shawls and turbans flecked in snow, the men told story after story of heartbreak, sorrow and death. Finally, a camp leader, Wakhil Mohammad Ibrahim, had had enough of the talk and issued a frustrated ultimatum to Afghan President Hamid Karzai – a challenge that illuminates the precarious knife-edge Afghanistan straddles just a few years from a international military withdrawal – a withdrawal that could be accompanied by an exodus of aid agencies.

“Under the Taliban we always got help. But now, we are here in Kabul and we are getting aid and we are getting help from a lot of countries and this son-of-a-bitch Karzai doesn’t even care about us,” Ibrahim says. “This is my message, this is my warning to Karzai: if you recognize us as Afghans, give us any job. We will do anything for our country, just provide us with the same condition the Taliban did when we were in Kandahar. If not, this country is yours. We will go to Pakistan, we will go to Iran and we will forget you.”

A version of this story ran at,8599,2106906,00.html at

Taxing the rich won’t stop their investing; it’s how they make money

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By Jack Wendle

February 5, 2012

We’ve been told that Mitt Romney is worth $250 million.

He made $22 million last year and paid $3 million in federal taxes

Let’s do some math.

All but a small part of Mr. Romney’s income came from investing his money and not from wages for work. If all of his money was invested, he made 8.8 percent on these investments. If not all was invested, he made an even greater percentage return on the smaller amount invested.

His federal tax rate paid was 13.64 percent.

For the sake of argument let’s say he uses $1 million for living expenses and not investing. Along with the $3 million in taxes, his net income for reinvestment would be $18 million. Were this rate of return and reinvestment to be the case for this year and for eight more years, his total worth would have doubled to $501 million. In other words if Mitt Romney were to serve as president for two terms, his “blind trust” will have doubled in 10 years — even if the economy remains the same as last year.

Here’s what’s meant to mislead us (put less politely, to deceive us) by today’s political rhetoric. Republican leaders are trying to convince American citizens that taxes on this kind of wealth cannot be raised because the rich will just quit investing their money and the nation’s economy will decline even further. That’s nuts. Fortunes cannot be stuffed into mattresses. That money will be invested somewhere. It might find its way into banks which pay only very small rates of interest. But it will go out the door to find its way to a profit (or loss). Big money has to be invested somewhere, even crazy places, but it will not sit idle.

Scaring voters into believing tax rate increases on the very wealthy to the levels of just a few years ago will lead to disinvestment and further economic decline is a lie meant to mislead.

Consider this: What if tax rates for the wealthy were to go back to the 28 percent rate under President Reagan (which Mr. Reagan proposed and supported)? Even if the economy were to remain as bad as last year and Mr. Romney’s rate on return of investment were to remain at 8.8 percent and his annual living expenses as president were to drop to $840,000 (which allows me to use a round number for the rest of this exercise and, it should be remembered, we do pick up most of the president’s living expenses) Mr. Romney would still net $15 million from his blind trust investments, a 6 percent net return. Even with this higher rate, at the end of his second term Mitt Romney’s $250 million would still have grown to $457.9 million — only slightly short of doubling.

It is disingenuous if not deceitful to suggest that wealthy Americans will cease or reduce investing if rates return to levels used during President Reagan’s administration.

(My dad originally published this editorial at

Written by johnwendle

February 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm

On the Ground in Afghanistan, a Taliban Whose Momentum Seems Anything but Broken

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By John Wendle / COP Monti, Kunar province Monday, Jan. 30, 2012

The hundreds of bullets, mortar shells and rockets that slammed into the boulders behind which they were taking cover peppered the men of 1st Platoon with high-velocity rock shards and jagged bits of shrapnel. Just below Outpost (OP) Shal, a newly constructed mountaintop aerie in Afghanistan’s violent Kunar province on the Pakistani border, insurgent fighters were moaning and screaming from wounds suffered over eight days of heavy fighting. That scene, just three months ago, of the outnumbered American platoon fighting to maintain its foothold offered a sobering contrast to President Barack Obama’s statement, in last week’s State of the Union address: “The Taliban’s momentum has been broken.”

Photos from OP Shal can be seen at

Like the battle scene witnessed by TIME, the recent National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan reportedly also casts doubt on the confidence expressed by President Obama on the state of the Taliban’s war effort. The top-secret assessment “takes a dim view of possible futures in Afghanistan,” Reuters was told last week by a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity. The report, which represents the consensus view of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, warns that the Taliban has not given up on its aim of retaking full control of Afghanistan and concludes that the gains made by the troop surge ordered by President Obama two years ago may be unsustainable, according to McClatchy Newspapers.

The soldiers eventually won their battle at OP Shal, securing the Kunar River Valley from infiltration, eliminating insurgent roadblocks and opening it to civilian and military traffic. But the Taliban’s weeklong attack highlighted the many military problems facing Afghanistan, and it made clear that the outcome of the conflict remains far from certain.

Throughout the intense fighting, the besieged defending force of 36 U.S. and Afghan army soldiers fought off multiple suicide bombers and at least four overrun attempts by between 400 and 500 heavily armed insurgents, who had been trucked in from Pakistan and who managed to advance to within 5 m of U.S. positions. Afterward, the soldiers said they confirmed 115 kills but estimated at least 200 deaths. “It was the most coordinated thing any of us had ever seen, but just the sheer number of forces they had massing on that position was ridiculous,” Staff Sergeant Everett Bracey, of 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2-27 Infantry Battalion, told TIME.

The attackers were reinforced and resupplied throughout the fight from bases and depots in the safe haven provided by Pakistan. “We saw 60 vehicles come out of Pakistan — just drive in,” said Staff Sergeant Anthony Fuentes, looking at a topographical map a few days after the battle. “This whole route, it goes all the way up into Pakistan. It’s a two-hour trafficable route from the border.” Added company commander Captain Michael Kolton: “It was Pashtuns and Arabs and Chechens and Punjabis — everyone and their sister joined in on this one.”

The defenders of OP Shal also recognized that their attackers had been well trained. “They used the standard operating procedures that the U.S. Army uses,” explained Fuentes. “We expected contact, but we didn’t expect that. Their fire was so heavy and precise that to get up and look at their near sector, the joes just had to say, ‘O.K., I’m just going to eat one in the face just to get up and see if somebody is moving on me.’ And every time they lifted their head up, there was somebody there.”

Sitting in his squad bay at Combat Outpost Monti, Sergeant Brandon Goodell told TIME, “They are motivated, they are trained, and they are proficient.” But what most surprised the Americans was the insurgents’ determination to regain this strategic mountaintop commanding a 6-km section of road in the main Kunar River Valley. “They were relentless. They were all over us. I’ve never seen them come that hard at anybody,” said Fuentes. The numbers, skill and determination of the insurgents repelled at OP Shal seem quite at odds with President Obama’s suggestion that the Taliban’s momentum has been broken.

“You’d kill 15 or 20 of them, and then five minutes later, there was another 15 or 20 of them trying to attack you again. I mean, we’d kill so many that we went black on ammo, pretty much, and we just had to stop and wait,” said Goodell. “They’re motivated. I tell my soldiers this exact same thing: If they were to come into our country, into the United States of America, and they were walking in your front yard, what would you do? Damn right I would fight you, and then I’d find all my friends and we’d fight you, and then I’d find their friends, and then we’d come and fight you. And after I died, my son and their sons and their friends’ sons would all come fight you. Of course. We’re in their backyard.”

This story was originally published at,8599,2105703,00.html

Written by johnwendle

February 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm