By now you may have heard of the suicide bombing attack that occurred in Tarin Kowt. No coalition forces were hurt. Sadly that is not the case with the local nationals. Included in the dead and wounded are children.

According to the Wahington Post, ten were killed and fifty wounded. I can tell you without reservation that some of the wounded eventually died. I know this because the PRT I am assigned to tried to save them. The same article mentioned that a Taliban spokesman called the Associated Press right after the attack claiming responsibility.

I wish I can tell you all the gritty details because the article I mentioned got some key points WRONG but I can’t due to operational security. It is true that the US Ambassador was visiting. I was with the entourage and he “wasn’t whisked into a small room for security” like the article said. Except for a last minute change in the morning, we carried on with our scheduled stops, met all the people that he wanted to meet, had lunch at the governor’s compound, and returned to the PRT without incident.

Those of us who were with the Ambassador missed all the excitement at the PRT. Some of the soldiers that were involved were a little emotionally tattered because of the sight of hurt kids. The medical team did their best to save who they could. Some of the wounded were airlifted to Kandahar.

After any big event the army likes to conduct an AAR (After Action Review) to try to improve how we do business. We conducted an AAR of how the PRT reacted to the influx of casualties. Overall the commander said everyone did a great job. We did come up with some ways to improve the process which will be implemented immediately. It was very evident to me during the AAR that emotions were still very raw.

We are American Soldiers. It hurts to see one of your buddies messed up or dead but we understand that in the profession of arms good people will die. What really gets us is seeing kids all mangled up. It gets us because the kids are innocent and because the killer was a coward, taking the easy way out and not living to deal with the consequences.

Some have argued that these suicide bombers are brave and courageous because they are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice. I disagree. Killing yourself in order to kill defenseless people is cowardly and reprehensible. When an American Soldier sacrifices his life, it is to save his buddies by jumping on a grenade or by standing his ground manning his position to the very end because his buddies counted on him.

The big difference between us and the enemy is that when we fight, we fight to live and so that others may live. We may die in the process, but we are living our fullest up to the very end. The enemy has a nihilistic mindset where ones life and the lives of others are cheap and without meaning.

It’s a helluva thing to see a hardcore infantryman with his emotions barely in check describing the day’s events. Later that night I received via e-mail pictures of my sons opening their Christmas presents. I about lost it right then and there. If those vile pieces of human excrement wanna fight, here I am, let’s leave the kids out of it.

CPT NightHawk


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