Michael's Dispatches

Afghanistan & Mexico

2011-09-10-234955cc1000Mission in Afghanistan with 4-4 Cav

02 December 2011

A groundswell continues within the Dustoff community to have Red Crosses removed from MEDEVAC helicopters in Afghanistan.  There is much behind the scenes work on this.  We’ve also set up a private forum to exchange information and ideas.  Numerous encouraging messages have come from loved ones of troops who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was honored when the mother of Chazray Clark contacted me.  I nearly missed it but someone saw her message posted.  Chazray’s loss inspired me to do something about the Dustoff.

I had seen Chazray’s Mom and wife on television while in the tent in Afghanistan.  It was the same tent Chazray had just moved into before the mission.  Chazray was gone now, and I watched on the computer his Mom and wife back in America.  Their courage was inspiring to Chazray’s buddies and to me.

And so it was a great honor when Chazray’s mom posted a couple of days ago, “Thank you for reporting the truth and not letting the military scare you into silence.”

Don’t worry Mam.  I’m not scared.  And a whole heap of Soldiers and Airmen are helping behind the scenes.  We are just getting warmed up.  Thank you for the note.  It is important to me.

I got traffic today from Afghanistan that 4-4 Cav had more serious injuries.  Next of kin was notified.  They are fighting hard.  Chazray also was in 4-4.

On Afghanistan, an invitation has come in to return to Afghanistan in about January.  This would mean more direct combat.  I have powerful opponents in the Army and so it is unclear if the embed would be approved.  My bets are that the Army will do everything possible to avert my coming.  In any case, I’ll return to combat work pending approval.  But I won’t stop on the Dustoff issue and so they surely don’t want me around.

Our withdrawal from Afghanistan has begun in earnest.  Key decisions have been made and the ball is in motion. There are areas of real progress in Afghanistan.  The surge of troops clearly has helped but the general trajectory is not good.  We are pulling out too soon, but by staying in we are at the mercy of Pakistan and others.  If we become engaged with Iran, Pakistan will leverage every ounce against us.  We are not allies.  We need our assets at home.  More attention to Mexico is crucial.

Soon our military departure from Iraq will be complete.  That was a bloody war that many people never will forget.  Our troops are not yet out of harm’s way, but nearly so.

Thousands were lost in combat and we are leaving one behind: Ahmed Altaie is Missing in Action.  All hope is not lost but we know the nature of the war in Iraq.  The pit of my stomach says we will never see Ahmed again.  I will not say Rest in Peace.  There remains a chance.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan combat continues but our trajectory is toward the door.  We can see the ball is dropping and today we are only guessing where it will first bounce.

For me, this means a transition to something more pressing and proximate to the United States: Mexico.  Just today there is a report of yet another tunnel found, and 32 tons of marijuana.  Mexico is has a war on.

I’ve been talking with key people about Mexico and have meetings arranged this month in California, Arizona, and Washington DC.  The schedule of exploratory meetings is jammed.

Insofar as potential for Mexico coverage, I am in with both feet provided reader support is sufficient.  At this time, I do not believe it will be sufficient.  Clearly there is heavy interest, but not enough people have shown enough interest to put down.

If the interest is not there for Mexico, I’ll step back from wars and write books.

And so the plan for the next few months: Continue to explore the possibility of Mexico work.  Return to Afghanistan if approved.  Transition to Mexico, or books, depending on funding.

Bottom line: The war in Mexico is growing.   We are going to have to face it, one way or another.

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