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June 6, 2011

Afghanistan: Field of Dreams II

<em>Marine combat engineer patrols through field in Afghanistan</em>
Marine combat engineer patrols through field in Afghanistan

These photos, taken in March and April, were recently posted on the Marine’s Flickr site. With Obama now considering a more drastic troop drawdown, perhaps removing the surge troops sent to Afghanistan after their commitment back in December ‘09, the first picture is notable for showing the Marjah region where the surge first started.  (The photo titles also come from Flickr.)

Marines patrol through poppy field

Marines set up perimeter before a controlled detonation

Marines maintain Afghan security


Understanding the Afghan culture

Poppies and opium fields have been favorite visual subject matter since the war began. In this case, the question is how much resonance there is between the dreamy pictures, the effect of the plants and the logic of the build up and now, potential drawdown?

This comment, from APaladinGuy, was posted with the first photo above.

I was Army almost 10 years active, but have to admit that I love the Marines. My son served in the first Gulf War, my daughter’s boyfriend is scheduled to report for training this August. Unfortunately this photo shows part of our mistaken war/foreign policies in that theater. That field is full of poppies, opium producing poppies. We thought we could strike a deal with the warlords that grow these fields to look the other way in exchange for their cooperation against the Taliban. We never got any more help than they would have given with no agreement, and it tarnishes the moral standing of our military. I do understand, we follow orders,.. carry on,.. do our duty. I just wish our soldiers had leadership with the clear understanding of mission.

(photo 1: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John M. McCall caption: MARJAH, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Corporal Mark Hickok, a 23-year-old combat engineer from North Olmstead, Ohio, patrols through a field during a clearing mission April 9. Marines with Company B, 1st Tank Battalion, learned basic route clearance techniques from engineers like Hickok, who are deployed with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion. ().)

(photo 2: Marine Corp photographer unidentified caption: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Anthony Duncan, a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon gunner with 2nd Platoon, Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3/8, Regimental Combat Team 8, picks a poppy flower while returning from a security patrol through a poppy field in Helmand province’s Green Zone, west of the Nahr-e Saraj canal, March 25. Elements of 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Afghanistan to provide regional security in Helmand province in support of the International Security Assistance Force.)

(photo 3: Marine Corp photographer unidentified caption: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew Dyke, left, and Lance Cpl. Zachary Brizio, both with 1st Platoon, Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3/8, Regimental Combat Team 8, set in their M240B machine gun during a security patrol through a poppy field from their patrol base in Helmand province’s Green Zone, west of the Nahr-e Saraj canal, March 27. Elements of 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Afghanistan to provide regional security in Helmand province in support of the International Security Assistance Force..)

(photo: Marine Corp photographer unidentified caption: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Brett Gibson and Lance Cpl. Justen Caris, both engineers attached to Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3/8, Regimental Combat Team 8, prepare to set off a controlled detonation to fell a tree blocking a gun position at their patrol base in Helmand province’s Green Zone, west of the Nahr-e Saraj canal, March 27. Elements of 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Afghanistan to provide regional security in Helmand province in support of the International Security Assistance Force..)

(photo 5: Marine Corp photographer unidentified caption: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Thomas Strickland, a squad leader with 1st Platoon, Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3/8, Regimental Combat Team 8, greets an Afghan farmer in a poppy field near the Marines’ patrol base in Helmand province’s Green Zone, west of the Nahr-e Saraj canal, March 27. Elements of 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Afghanistan to provide regional security in Helmand province in support of the International Security Assistance Force.)

  • black dog barking

    There is a definite element of “If you build it they will come” built into whatever it is that passes for our Afghanistan Policy.

    The top image also reminds us we not in Kansas anymore.

    • black dog barking

      “We’re” not in Kansas …

  • http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ Ralfast

    Poppy, which grew in Flanders and are used to mark the millions who died during WW1, also used to silence the pain (physical as well as mental) of many a veteran in many a war.

    The more things change….

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