So I just finished reading, “Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan,” by Sean Parnell with John R. Bruning. An outstanding book on combat near and along the Afghan Pakistan border. It’s refreshing in the fact that it’s both deeply personal, well versed in the tactics, the horror and the brutality of modern combat without feeling the need to dress it all up in God and country. It aslso covers the complicity of the Pakistani Military in collusion with the Taliban and Al Qaeda much like Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War. The Americans were well advised not to tell the Pakistani govt. about their raid to kill Bin Laden.
But one of the most poignant scenes in the book (SPOILER ALERT) revolves around the very end of the tour when the Unit has literally just been sent home from the front. The Army decided to extend their time in Theater 120 days. Some men who had literally just made it back to US soil are met by MPs and stuck back on the next fight back to Afghanistan. Other’s are turned around at Baghrahm AFB. I can not imagine a bigger dick move than this. There you are and your heads out of the game, you’ve survived the tour, it’s your turn to go home and then the rug is pulled out from under you. Now the army might be, “The Big Green Machine,” but its a simple fact of preventative maintenance that when you run a machine too hard and too long, parts get worn out and fail.
But to a man, every one of those men went back. They knew what they were facing, they knew the odds and they went anyway.
And that is the true definition of courage.
Check out the book. It’s worth a read.
On a personal note. Girding my loins to tackle rewriting another script is a bigger struggle than I’d anticipated but then again, nobody’s shooting at me, so what have I got to bitch about?