Abu Muqawama is back. He thanks Charlie for picking up the slack while he was away and apologizes to the readership for being out of loop this past week. He had a great visit to the United States and saw both lots of friends in Washington as well as some old Army buddies at a ceremony earlier this week.
With all the news coming out of Lebanon and Algeria, there will be plenty of pixels devoted to current affairs later today and tomorrow. Afghanistan, though, has been on this blogger's mind for much of the past week, and it was Afghanistan he was thinking of when he read this passage from Bing West's The Village:
Hit by one of the artillery rounds, a thatched hut was blazing. Of the family of five, three had survived, although wounded. The mother and her daughter had been killed. Beebe called in a helicopter to evacuate the father and his two boys. Lam told the villagers that he had been standing next to the Americans when they had called for artillery, and that he would have done the same. The error had not been made at the fort. But two women were dead because of firepower gone awry, and the black ashes of the house could be seen by patrols coming and going from the fort, a constant reminder which for seventeen months affected, if it did not actually determine, the American style of fighting in the village of Binh Nghia. The Marines saw too much of the villagers, and lived too closely with them, not to be affected by their personal grief. Besides, the Americans had to patrol with the PFs, whose own families were scattered throughout the hamlets and who were naturally concerned about the use of any weapon which might injure their relatives. The rifle -- not the cannon or the jet -- was to be the primary weapon of the Americans in Binh Nghia.
Just last week, Abu Muqawama and Charlie sat slack-jawed as a senior commander said, "No, we don't use airstrikes because we don't have enough troops. We use airstrikes because they're in our repertoire."
Time to get a new repertoire, then.