Even if the peace deal falls through, the war in Afghanistan is over

As some of you may have heard, the U.S. is getting closer to a peace deal in Afghanistan. The news has been mostly buried by the presidential race and the fears of the Coronavirus, but President Trump first announced a potential treaty with the Taliban roughly a week ago.

It was pretty big news because it would end our war in Afghanistan, after nearly two decades of war.

But today, that entire process hit a pretty big snag because the Taliban launched 43 attacks on checkpoints across Helmand yesterday. That, in turn, prompted America to launch its first airstrike since announcing the agreement. (See article about all this here.)

All of this has caused mixed feelings for me, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it. And also see how you guys are feeling about it.

Clearly, the Taliban see weakness, and they’re not holding back. Why else launch 43 attacks after getting some pretty good terms from us.

And obviously, we essentially have no leverage. We want out. The Taliban knows we want out.

No one can negotiate when one side isn’t as passionate as the other about holding strong to their position.

As James LaPorta, a prior Marine and journalist who covers the military said, America is willing to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners as a part of this peace deal. And yet, it’s still not enough. The Taliban is still pushing.

Lest we forget, less than eight years ago, releasing even five prisoners was enough to cause nation-wide outrage. Now, we’re ready to release 5,000, and I’ve barely heard any criticism.

All of this brings up a couple of major points. First, we all know that if Obama were doing this, the screaming from those on the right would be deafening. (Or maybe not after twenty years.)

But the fact is that Trump has the base on his side and could probably negotiate anything with the Taliban and not face much criticism. Folks just want out. And maybe Trump, or at least a Republican, is the perfect person to negotiate our exit. (I’m not saying I’m a Trump supporter; I’m not saying I’m a Trump enemy. Just saying he might be the perfect person to negotiate this since he’s had a more isolationist-type stance on foreign policy, which is pretty rare in the Republican Party.)

The second major point is the country is tired. Very tired. (At least of this war; probably Iraq/Syria, too. And a true victory seems as far away now as 10+ years ago.

It might not happen immediately, but in the grand scheme of things, this war is over. That’s clear.

We’re done, and the Taliban isn’t.

And maybe that’s a good thing.

Personally, I would have preferred to maintain a base for special ops guys to launch attacks from, but probably this will happen from Afghan bases from time-to-time anyway, and we’ll never even hear about it unless it goes dreadfully wrong.

At any rate, those are my thoughts on the matter. What say you guys? Are you ready for it to be over, no matter the terms of the peace deal? Or do you think we hang in there longer, until the country is more stable? (Let’s have a civil, non-political discussion in the comments, if you’re game. Please limit attacks to the other side. Over-the-top comments will be deleted.)

So, fire away below. I’d love to hear your all’s thoughts.

Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

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About me: I write fast-paced books, with no fat. Ten books penned. 70,000+ sold. I’m trying to be the next Vince Flynn. (He has no peers.) I also try to only write about positive things on my blog, so please consider subscribing (see upper right corner, where it says, “FOLLOW SITE VIA EMAIL.” Or, you can sign up for my new release mailing list. And obviously, if you’re looking for a quick, fun read, then please check out my books. #MitchRapp #USMC

This one hits too close to home…

Hey guys,

I wanted to share a message from a veteran that I came across the other day on Twitter. To me, no one has better described what most of us deal with after we depart service.

I know I didn’t see a ton of action, but I saw enough, and I didn’t kill anyone, but I nearly did, and all of that changed me. And yet, after I exited active duty following four years of service in the infantry — only to later voluntarily rejoin the Reserves after 9/11, where I expected to be called up — I’d often feel guilty because I didn’t think I should be feeling the way I did.

And I for damn sure wouldn’t let anyone tell me it was PTSD. No, not at all. Not me. I didn’t have it. I was certain of that, and I wasn’t going to hear anything differently about the subject.

But my friends and family would tell you I was different. Way different.

And I couldn’t really understand it at the time. The hyper vigilance. The terrible nightmares. The irrational fear, even while back in the safety of the States.

Anyway, I hope the message I read the other day means as much to you and it did me. And if it does, please share it with others.

The following message is written by Jason Kander, a veteran of Afghanistan.

Jason Kander: “I’ve had something on my mind lately, and I want to share it. If you’ve ever been part of a group of people that went through something difficult together, don’t lose touch with each other. You may not realize how crucial those relationships are until it’s too late. A story:

“In Afghanistan, I was an Army Lieutenant in military intelligence. My main responsibility was to provide intelligence reports on Afghan officials suspected of corruption, narco-trafficking, and espionage.

“In layman’s terms: Figuring out which good guys were actually bad guys or working for the bad guys. This meant operating “outside the wire” about 4 days/week, in an unarmored, midsize SUV. Usually just me and my interpreter. Sometimes I wore street clothes instead of a uniform.

“We drove around and met with people whose allegiances we could never know for sure. Usually armed only with a pistol, I was almost always outgunned and outnumbered in these meetings, and that can be frightening to say the least.

“I sometimes got to work as part of a team alongside a couple other guys – let’s call them Mike and Jake – who did jobs very similar to mine. To my knowledge, Mike and Jake were the only two guys at my camp doing the type of job I was doing. Meeting with potential bad guys, etc.

“I’m certain there were others, because I’d sometimes see other guys in street clothes in the chow hall, but Mike and Jake were the only ones I got to know personally who I felt were out there experiencing Afghanistan in the unique way I was experiencing it.

“Mike was big, tall, and soft-spoken. He had a realistic respect for the dangers we confronted. Jake was the most enthusiastic about the work. Unlike Mike and myself, Jake always dressed like an Afghan, and he grew the best beard among us.

“It’s funny the things I remember, like Mike getting irritated when Jake would use his turn signal, because no one in Kabul ever did, or the day toward the end of my deployment when a clean-shaven officer in uniform greeted me warmly and it took me a beat to recognize Jake.

“Mike had a real sense for how insane this all was. One time, at a USO show, he turned to me and said, “An hour ago I was at the site of a suicide bombing and now I’m at a Darryl Worley concert. War is weird, man.”

“I was the youngest and greenest, and I really looked up to Mike and Jake. I never really thought about the fact that we were the only three people I knew who were experiencing Afghanistan in this odd way.

“When I came home and started having nightmares, hyper-vigilance, and other symptoms, I refused to allow for the possibility that it was post-traumatic stress, because I felt as though my deployment didn’t warrant it. I’d not been blown up or shot at and I hadn’t had to kill.

“Over there, I’d been in meetings where I feared I’d be kidnapped or killed. Sometimes tension ran high enough that I mentally prepared myself to take a life out of self-defense. Thankfully, I never had to shoot my way out of a meeting, but I had certainly come close.

“That said, I spent ten years enduring symptoms of post-traumatic stress and telling myself I had no right to them, because I was just some jerk who went to meetings, unlike the “real soldiers” who’d been in firefights.

“It never occurred to me to reach out to Jake and Mike to see how they were doing. Now, I look back and wonder if they were going through the same things and — just like me — denying themselves help because they didn’t see their combat experience as worthy.

“Were they racked with nightmares about being taken? Unable to turn their back to the door for long periods? Unable to be present in the moment with their family? Convinced they “hadn’t done enough” to warrant such problems?

“If the three of us had stayed in touch, would I have gotten help sooner? Would they? Since coming home, both Mike and Jake got into serious accidents. Both were one-vehicle accidents. Given what I know now, I doubt either accident was “accidental.” Mike survived. Jake did not.

“My point is this: If you’ve been through something traumatic, stay in touch with the other people who were there with you. For your sake and for theirs. I’m going to reach out to Mike and I hope you’ll stay in touch with your people. As we say in the Army, check your buddy.”

Again, please consider checking with those you served with. Or with those you know who served, if you never served.

And don’t forget to share the article if you think it’ll help.

Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

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I write exciting, fast-paced thrillers. Both military action and mystery whodunnits. Ten books penned. 70,000+ sold. I also try to only write about positive things on my blog, so please consider subscribing. And obviously, if you’re looking for a quick, fun read, then click the link to check out my books. #USMC #SemperFidelis

Hill 406 gets a new foreword

Hey guys!

Hope everyone is doing well!

I’m writing because I wanted to share the new foreword that I recently wrote for Hill 406.

The book has been doing well — thankfully! — but I’d been wrestling with a foreword for the book for some time. (It originally published without one, because I didn’t’ want to hold up publication any longer while waiting on it.)

But it was one of those situations where I was too close to it, and there was so much to say, and so little space to say it. Plus, most readers — including myself!! — are like, “Just let me get to the story!” when they’re reading most forewords.

So, with all those thoughts in mind, I finally came up with something that I think works. And as I said, I finally completed it last night, so here it is:

Author’s Note

This book is dedicated to all of those who have served. Especially those who did their hard time in Afghanistan. To date, nearly 800,000 have served there. Of that number, nearly 30,000 have served more than five tours there. 

Also to date, almost 2,500 have died, and 20,000 have been wounded; many losing limbs or worse.

Finally, over 100,000 have reported having PTSD problems. 

A few things about this book…

I’ve obviously written a work of fiction about the Marine Corps and the war in Afghanistan. It’s (hopefully) both enjoyable and fast moving, and also real and harsh, like coarse sandpaper rubbed across your skin. 

It should be a lot of fun; a fast read. But it should also seem deeper and more real than a lot of those light military fiction books, where the good guys kick ass and go home unscarred.

With that being said, a few quick details about the book.

Camp Leatherneck is real.

The stats on deaths and the state of danger in Helmand Province are real. The terrain in that province is real. The tactics and weapons are real. 

On the other hand, the towns of “Alim Nuaz” and “Gorahumbira” are completely made up. Also, there is no Hill 406. All characters are made up. And all Marine Corps units are made up. I felt I needed to use these fictional elements because I wanted the freedom to have a little flexibility with the story. 

And with all of this out of the way, I sincerely hope you enjoy the story. Oh, and if you do, please spread the word.

 Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

SGT, USMC

A/1/8,1995-99

Hopefully, that foreword helps capture what I felt needed to be said about the book. For those who’ve already read it, and reviewed it, THANK YOU!!

And if you haven’t taken a look at it yet, please consider giving it a try. You can read the short book description and even a long sample on Amazon at this link: Hill 406. (Or click the book cover at right.)

Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

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I write exciting, fast-paced thrillers. Both military action and mystery whodunnits. Ten books penned. 70,000+ sold. I try to only write about positive things. If you’re looking for a quick, fun read, then click the link to check out my books. #USMC

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