Dispatches from the Front: 19 August 2012

Today ends Ramadan.  Previously, I experienced this month long Islamic holiday during the two years deployed in Saudi Arabia.  Back then, it was more of an annoyance than an igniter to increase our threat readiness level.   Not only do we have the Taliban to worry about, recently, there is an increase of Green (Afghan soldiers and police who were coalition trained and trusted “good guys”) on Blue (us, the coalition forces) killings.  In order to understand why such a change, I researched the significance of this religious event.  Before now, everything I needed to know about the Islamic faith, I learned on Sept 11, 2001.

The following four points have been synopsized from Wikipedia.  Ramadan:

A.            It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

B.            Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting.

C.            This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of

Islam.  (If you want to review your knowledge on the Five Pillars, see the attachment page of this Dispatch.)

D. The month lasts 29-30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon.  (more on the moon below)

That is enough from Wikipedia.   Now I understand.  The bastards are miserable because they realize they have not done enough for Allah.  They are hungry, thirsty and go without sex from sun up to sun down for a month.   So who do they take out their frustration besides their women who are indentured to a life of servitude?  Us!  Killing an Infidel has got to offset their warped human psyche as dehydration takes its toll in this excessive heat combined with the pains of hunger which only serves to piss them off.   I now see why this religious holiday causes strange things to happen to the people celebrating it.

Note:  I am not including all Muslims as bastards, just the ones who what to kill us; or enslave us by levying a heavy yearly tax of an amount they decide for payment for not accepting their faith.  I for one

will go to my death before I accept Islam.   Statistically, there has got to be a few of the 1.62 billion adherents that make up over 23% of the world population, who actually peacefully practice their militant religion of peace.  Let none misunderstand, Islam can be practiced as peacefully as Christianity and many do but that is not the way I have seen it.  Our Reformation worked, theirs failed.  Even the peaceful ones want all to convert to Islam.

That is enough of one man’s religious philosophy. Back to the subject of Ramadan and why crazy things are happening here.

In my opinion, dehydration coupled with heightened sensitivities, specifically cultural and religious, create conditions for bad decisions.  I’ve been here almost 3 months and I have not seen one drop of rain to reduce the 100+ degree daily temperatures.  Excessive draught as well as misery makes for an extremely combustible environment that takes only a whisper of a spark to ignite.  Those who do not share in a collective misery of a group, the Infidels, whether right or wrong, quickly become the center of the “group’s” frustration.

To counter this madness, we who are on the “inside” of the wire looking “out” and especially our Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and our Coalition Partners who routinely venture and remain in harm’s way; we must remain vigilant and apply special sensory awareness as we protect each other in the accomplishment of our mission.  Our enemy will continue to influence, impersonate, and intimidate the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) in an effort to create an environment with the intent to discredit the US/Combined Force mission; to turn the security of this Nation over to the Afghan peoples who seek a better future for themselves and their children.

All enemies are opportunistic.  The Taliban are no more or no less than those of our past.  I personally think they continue to miss great strides in subversion and terror due to limited scale of though and ability to execute.  However, he has brutality and technology on his side.  The brutality the world has had to witness for centuries.

Cutting off one villager’s head in front of his family speaks volumes and cancels out the good work or deeds accomplished by the coalition forces.  Why,  because in many districts throughout this miserable land where a trained military or police force does not exist or able to respond;  the coalition forces left behind only  new schools, stocked medical facilities, irrigation ditches, roads, improved farming practices, etc., all which provide hope but not protection.   For centuries, the unprotected are forced to watch their hopes quickly be washed away by the blood of their loved ones.  With the wealth produced from the opium trade that funds our enemy, they are provided unlimited access to “everyman’s” technology.  Although they have the funds and means to purchase multimillion dollar military widgets in small quantities, they are not needed to be successful.  Access to social networks, satellite phones, and basic explosion initiation devices are what they buy and what worries me.  I promise you, the Taliban will use every available means to discredit our efforts, while he attempts to remain relevant in the minds of the very people they desire to control.

Remember, we the coalition partners have to be right 100% of the time.

The Taliban has to be right just once.

So to me, I learned that Ramadan just sucks.  I have the increase in causality reports to prove it.  The Church on March 18, 1314 burned Jacques de Molay wrongly.  It is wise there are no Knights of Templar recruiting stations on Bagram.

My mother taught me to always at least try to look for something nice in things I do not like or approve.  The timing of Ramadan with the alignment of the crescent moon and Venus is spectacular.  One early morning prior to the end of Ramadan, against the foothills of the Himalayas, the crescent moon and Venus were perfectly captured as on the

National flag of Turkey.

Semper Fidelis,

Ken

CJTF-1, 1D, CJ Assessments

Task Force Defender

Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan

APO AE 09354

Attachment:  The Five Pillars of Islam:

  1. The Shahayda (Islamic creed).

The shahada means “to know and believe without suspicion, as if witnessed, testification”; it is the name of the Islamic creed.  The shahada is the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad as God’s prophet.  The declaration in its shortest form reads:

There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.

  1. Daily prayers (salah),

Salah is a ritual worship, having prescribed conditions, a prescribed procedure, and prescribed times. To perform valid Salah, Muslims must be in a state of ritual purity, which is mainly achieved by ritual washing or cleaning of the body, according to prescribed procedures.

For some of the Islamic sects, obligatory salah is prescribed at five periods of the day. These are measured according to the movement of the sun.

(1)    near dawn

(2)     After midday has passed and the sun starts to tilt downwards

(3)     Noon – in the afternoon

(4)    Just after sunset

(5)    Around nightfall

  1. Almsgiving

It is the giving of a fixed portion of one’s wealth to charity, generally to the poor and needy.

  1. Fasting during Ramadan

Ritual fasting is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan.  Muslims must abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk during this month, and are to be especially mindful of other sins. Fasting is necessary for every Muslim that has reached puberty (unless he/she suffers from a medical condition which prevents him/her from doing so.)

The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness to Allah, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy.During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, profane language, gossip and to try to get along with fellow Muslims better. In addition, all obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided.

Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory, but is forbidden for several groups for whom it would be very dangerous and excessively problematic. These include pre-pubescent children, those with a medical condition such as diabetes, elderly people, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Observing fasts is not permitted for menstruating women. Other individuals for whom it is considered acceptable not to fast are those who are ill or traveling. Missing fasts usually must be made up for soon afterward, although the exact requirements vary according to circumstance

  1. The pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.

Again, this information was synopsized from Wikipedia.  I highlighted and underlined “fellow Muslims”.  The rest of the world is damned in their eyes.

Ken