The 8/27/21 dispatch.

America suffered a horrific attack in Afghanistan that killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of civilians. There are tons of places online that you can read more about this attack, and all its gruesome details, but the emotional pains I feel about this are too raw and real to dig deeply into it.

If you want to do so, I invite you to do so. I, however, cannot do so.

The service members that died were doing the exact same mission my unit did in 1997 in Albania. They are called NEO’s, or Noncombatant Evacuation Operations.

Missions such as these are brutal and dangerous, and not only do you have to tell some folks “no,” they can’t come, but you’re also in exposed positions from which you can rarely defend yourself.

Either from suicide bombers, as happened in this instance, or from multi-story buildings in densely populated areas. We took fire in several instances from crowded apartment complexes and were unable to precisely determine the point of fire in order to respond responsibly (without wounding far too many civilians in the process).

It’s a tense, scary situation, and it’s not fun to basically be a target and be unable to defend yourself (in most instances).

But that’s what the terrorists do. They use the civilians as shields and cover. And it’s horrific and despicable.

As I said, I’m too close to what’s happening there to talk much about it. But from a policy perspective, I don’t think much will change. I think we will exit on (or about) the August 31 timeline.

Prior to the attack, one vocal member of Congress, who had wanted to stay longer, had already changed his mind.

Representative Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), who recently visited Kabul on an unauthorized trip, said he had changed his views on Afghanistan. The Washington Post reported that Moulton “had hoped to press President Biden to extend the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.” But that idea changed completely after his trip on Tuesday reversed his thinking.

“There’s no way we can get everyone out, even by Sept. 11. So we need to have a working relationship with the Taliban after our departure. And the only way to achieve that is to leave by Aug. 31.”

The group that attacked us, ISIS-K, is actually an enemy of the Taliban. So in a weird turn of events, the U.S. could end up working (somewhat) with the Taliban to target ISIS-K members.

This is proof of the old proverb that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." 

The jockeying between China and America for allies continues. China pulled a sneaky move over the U.S. this week in Vietnam. (You have to give them props on this one.)

Learning that America planned to donate 1 million coronavirus vaccine doses as part of a visit from Vice President Harris, China topped America.

The Washington Post reported:

A three-hour delay in her schedule handed China a window of opportunity.

Beijing quickly sent its envoy in Hanoi to meet with Vietnam’s prime minister and pledged a donation of 2 million vaccine doses, undercutting the subsequent U.S. announcement. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, thanking the envoy, said Vietnam “does not ally with one country to fight against another,” according to state media.

An analyst in that story stated, “Beijing likes to remind Hanoi who of the two giants is closer to it,” said Huong Le Thu, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

This was another heavy post, so I wanted to end on something lighter. I love technology stories, such as the one below. I hope it helps give you some hope for a better world, as it did for me when I first saw it.

That’s it for this post. Stay safe and be kind. As always, please share this post if you enjoyed it.


And if you haven’t already, please sign up for email notifications. (It’s FREE. Unless you choose to subscribe and support what I’m doing. You can cancel at any time.) Every Tuesday and Friday, I write about conflicts and military matters that are happening throughout the world. Such as what’s happening in Afghanistan or Iraq. How we’re aligning ourselves to counter China’s growing influence. Updates on new military technology that we’re fielding.

I also post veteran interviews on Sundays.

And I do all of this from a moderate perspective that focuses on unity in our country. I also don’t believe in clickbait, over-the-top headlines, or other tactics to drive web traffic. You will always get the sober, mature view, with a slight bit of my optimism peering through. 

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Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

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