Some Poor Dude Has Always Got It Worse….

Just a friendly reminder that there is some poor dude, someplace, who has it worse today than you do. 🙂

Some poor kid burning a field head (latrine) in Haditha, Anbar Province, Iraq. Dec 2006
Some poor kid burning a field head (latrine) in Haditha, Anbar Province, Iraq. Dec 2006

And, in years time, he’ll probably be a victim of cancer, terminal respiratory illness or organ failure due to the inhalation of burning feces. I doubt very much the government will ever own up to the cause.

So, both in the short term and the long term, you are probably better off than your current job makes you feel.


2 thoughts on “Some Poor Dude Has Always Got It Worse….

  1. Hi Matt,

    (just to start this off you if you can’t answer this question I completely understand)

    I know a little bit about your history of resigning your position in protest over President Obama’s Afghanistan policy, so I thought you might be able to shed some light on a story I haven’t seen discussed in the media very much. It has to do with President Obama’s Afghanistan policy.

    Let me start this off by admitting I did vote for President Obama twice. Ironically when I was 20 I barely voted for him because I had grown up as a republican with republican parents, and in 2012 I voted for him even though I had become much more liberal and thought he was basically a republican with a d next to his name. But the main reason I voted for him was because it drove me insane that Romney had all ex-Bush foreign policy advisers and after studying Bush’s FP it was the main reason I had started to drift to the left.

    Now to my question. If it was up to me we would be out of Afghanistan right now. Everything about this war pisses me off. From the waste of lives, to the waste of money, to the fact that no one seems to know what victory looks like or if victory is possible. But what pisses me off more is the idea that we handicapping our troops that we are placing in a no win situation. I read this weekend a story in the Washington Times( ) about President Obama’s rules of engagement in Afghanistan. It states that this is getting our troops killed and they cited the increase in troop deaths as proof. Now as a civilian sitting in a heated apartment in Minneapolis, I can make an educated guess that the increase in casualties had to do with the surge and the fact that we took back cities that were held by the Taliban. But then again that is just a guess and I could be way off and I admit that the people writing these columns know a lot more than I will ever know.

    I was just wondering if this was talked about in the veteran community, and what your thoughts on this were. I hate seeing civilians die in the name of the United States, but I have to admit it makes me more mad if we are just sending our troops over to no win situations and making it more dangerous for them then it has to be.

    I haven’t seen this talked about at all in mainstream media websites, only on websites where 90% of the comments are about how Obama is a secret Muslim trying to destroy the military. So I was hoping to get your opinion.

    PS What started to get my attention about these new rules of engagement was the 20 year sentence Lt Clint Lorance got for what was described as shooting a Taliban spotter. Again this was a story that had no reasonable coverage only the typical comment of Obama is trying to weaken our military columns by people who have a huge bias..

    Thank you,



    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your note. This is a very difficult and complicated topic. It’s perhaps easiest for me to answer by looking at it from the big picture. War is savage, brutal and, most importantly, uncontrollable. Horrible events will occur to combatants and civilians. That is the way war has always been and that is the way it will be forever. Hence, my understanding now, that war is not a solution and only leads to greater suffering. There are rare cases where I believe war is justified, fighting Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan certainly makes that mark. But even then there are caveats; for example you can look at WWII and see that it was a cataclysm put in motion by the events of WWI, a militarized European society and reparations and punishments placed on Germany that allowed for the ascent of the Nazi party. There are many instances of wars of resistance that meet a just war concept, but, unfortunately, I don’t see the US having played a part in the “good side” really in any of those. So, my belief is that war should only be engaged if it is of the absolute necessity for both practical and moral reasons. For there should be no mistake about it. When you enter into war there is no controlling it, there is no way to make it smarter, cleaner or more gentle. That was one of the biggest mistakes of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and is why the “science” of counter-insurgency as promoted by many experts and retired military officers is a sham.

      With regards to the notion that we have had more causalities because of tighter rules of engagement (ROE). Yes, there are probably some instances of US troops getting killed or wounded because of restrictive ROE, but the notions that that is the reason why US casualties escalated in Afghanistan is absurd. James Russell who is quoted at the end of the article (placing him in the last two paragraphs of the article is really shoddy or agenda driven journalism) is right on. Anyone who claims that we lost the war in Afghanistan because of restrictive ROEs is a fool. I really can’t think of any other way to say that.

      As regards for Allen West’s comments, I’m not familiar with Lieutenant Lorance’s case, but everybody rides motorcycles in Afghanistan, and to shoot two men just because they are on a motorcycle is a crime. Like I said above, murder and other crimes are bound to happen in war, it’s part of war’s nature, but punishment should occur for such crimes.

      I have a feeling that Lieutenant Lorance is cut from the same cloth as West. Both men were officers that did things that are not uncommon in war, but they were punished for it. When such crimes or accidents occur, typically, if the officer is a good officer and is well respected by his men, the incident is covered up and forgotten. But if the officer is not good and is not respected by his men, then he is turned in or not protected. That is my understanding of West. He did something stupid and his men didn’t protect him. Rather it seems they through him under the bus. The same might have been true of Lieutenant Lorance, but then again my knowledge on his situation is limited and, most importantly, I was not there.

      I hope this helps. Please feel free to respond back if you want.

      My best to you and your family in Minneapolis.



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