Image courtesy: Pfc. David Hauk, U.S. Army. Kandahar, Afghanistan, November 12, 2009

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Faraway places

Images courtesy: Sgt. Brian Kester

While the above photo is clouded by blowing sand, one fact is crystal clear. Conditions are far from ideal for Marines in Badghis province, Afghanistan, which is in the northwest part of the country not far from the border with Turkmenistan. While temperatures and terrain vary around Afghanistan, which is roughly the size of Texas, troops serving in the country must adjust to a primitive environment that would shock some Americans who take things like running water, toilets, and heat for granted.

Soon, more Marines will join their thousands of brothers and sisters in arms in Afghanistan. The Wall Street Journal reports that 1,400 additional Marine warriors will deploy to the post-9/11 war zone as early as mid-January. For each Marine that takes this dangerous journey, there are dozens of loved ones, friends, and fellow troops worried about their safety. The impact of these types of deployments on the military community cannot be overstated.

I have watched several hours of cable news coverage in the past two days and heard next to nothing about events on the ground in Afghanistan or Iraq. From the death and capture, respectively, of two senior terrorist leaders, to the life-saving measures Polish troops used to rescue a pregnant Afghan woman and help deliver her baby, there is plenty of fascinating news to report. Instead, cable news is obsessing over the new Congress, which is an important political development, but something everyone knew would happen for months.

For the thousands of coalition troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, life is intensely unpredictable and immeasurably different than home. While the national media isn't particularly interested in their personal sacrifices, I strongly believe that the majority of the American public deeply appreciates what these brave men and women do every day. As we go about our lives at home, our fellow Americans are attacking the enemy where it murders, plots, and plans. To our brave service members: Thank you for standing guard in faraway places.

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