Michael's Dispatches

Of Concern

231 Comments

Monday, 08 March 2010
Kandahar, Afghanistan

Yesterday, an American involved in the war effort handed me a document. It was an email from a Lieutenant Colonel in the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan. His unit is in combat seven days a week. To be clear, I did not get the email from the officer and I have never met him.

The email is about the abysmal, unsafe conditions which some of our most dedicated troops are living in, at a remote base run by the Spanish military in Afghanistan. All deletions [xxx] are by me. I have the entire email. The serious and disturbing allegations are found in the second and third paragraphs.

Please note, that the failure to support permanent US troops at this Spanish base constitutes real negligence about their ultimate safety. And that comes on top of a degree of harassment that is shocking among allies.

The message begins:

Gentlemen,
I just finished spending a couple days with TF [xxx] at [xxx] and visiting all of our sites that we have troopers located at. Great progress continues to be made in the [xxx], but several items need some help ASAP:

[Para 1 deleted]

2) Qal E Naw: The Spanish are not interested in helping in anyway, and are trying to make us decide to leave based on their unacceptable treatment of Americans. Our refuelers [soldiers who refuel helicopters] that are living there have to run out, unroll the hoses, pull security, and roll everything back up. They have asked for gravel along the FLS as it is currently calf deep mud, but the Spanish refuse to make any improvements. They asked for a T barrier (just one) to put at a 45 degree angle outside the fence where the FARP [Forward Arming and Refueling Point; where helicopters land for ammo and gas] has to be set up so they can run for cover in case there is small arms fire, the Spanish say no and refuse to make any improvements. They asked for a small gate where their billets are located so they can access the FARP directly rather than going a half mile loop to get out the gate, but the Spanish said no and refuse to make any improvements. They [sic] guys are living hard (we understand that) but have to do laundry by hand as all of their stuff is stolen if they turn it into the laundry, they discussed this with the Spanish, but they refuse to many any improvements.

USFOR-A needs to energize someone to develop a viable, enduring plan for this FARP that isn’t reliant on the Spanish. This is a key hub for fuel (since we can’t get trucks to [xxx] or [xxx]) so let’s improve this location to better support those guys living out there on the edge by themselves. They refused to allow a Marine detachment that was dropped there to come into the wire or feed them overnight. Our refuelers had to fight the Spanish to bring them in and squeeze them into the two small tents that they have and give them MREs as they [sic] Spanish wouldn’t feed them. Is this how we allow our Coalition partners to treat Americans?

3) BmG: Who ever briefed that they have gravel there has never been there. We arrived during a TIC [fighting] and a MEDEVAC mission. The aircraft have to land/park in a field that has no gravel and then they sink into the ground. They have to be moved everyday to pull them back out of the mud. If we can’t get gravel, how about putting some AM2 matting, stakes and a couple of Red Horse guys on a CH-47 and fly them in to build a couple of pads just big enough to park an individual UH-60 on? We’ve been pushing the gravel issues since last fall and are no closer to a solution. Those guys are living in fighting positions. When it begins to warm up in the next month, that field will be untenable without gravel or AM2 matting. We don’t want to lose MEDEVAC capability there because we couldn’t put in two pads. We did a MEDEVAC [troop(s) wounded] and Hero [troop(s) killed] mission while I was there and the next day as well, let’s not forget that they are on the tip of the spear, we owe them more.

I would like to discuss these Saturday to see what the way ahead is going to be.

ATW!

On that note, the email closes.

So, our soldiers and Marines, living in rough conditions at the far tip of the spear, apparently are being treated with contempt, with all basic support denied, from laundry to the conditions of the field on which our troops do their thankless job. If this report is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, the Spanish are endangering the lives of our warriors by failing to provide basic safety.

To the extent that there is an international dimension to this potential problem, requiring a diplomatic solution, it deserves the immediate attention of our civilian leadership. Our able Secretary of Defense will likely wish to investigate, and bring it up with our Spanish allies for any corrective measures that might be in order. I will personally see that this gets to Secretary Gates. When Secretary Gates gets wind, we can rest easy that proper attention is forthcoming.

Sincerely,
Michael Yon

 

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Anni G · 9 years ago
    If we buck the SOP onsite it's the USA. If we call home... we'll see. Michael, I'm sure this is one of many. Thank God you're reacting.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bob · 9 years ago
    "'It's little anecdotes that remind me that for even all of its faults, the American military is the most capable in the history of human civilization'
    I'm sorry but do you realise what a bizarre and sweeping statement that is?"

    Bizarre, eh? Do regale us with a list of possible competitors to the modern American military.

    As to "Spaniard," if Spain were to stand against the United States, it might deserve respect. The behaviour described by this article, though, is simply contemptible.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Alex · 9 years ago
    I read the email and, sincerely, cannot believe it. Someone has written you, someone whose name is not even appearing here. This person is telling a lot of Bravo Sierra about Spanish troops and we just have to believe it? Where are the names? You could just have invented all this story and should we have to believe it?

    Well, this sounds to me like American soldiers are stationed in a Spanish base where they have to be mainainted by Spanish resources. Perhaps Spanish military authority is tired of supplying free resources for this people, who should be equiped by American personel.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Alex · 9 years ago
    I read the email and, sincerely, cannot believe it. Someone has written you, someone whose name is not even appearing here. This person is telling a lot of Bravo Sierra about Spanish troops and we just have to believe it? Where are the names? You could just have invented all this story and should we have to believe it?

    Well, this sounds to me like American soldiers are stationed in a Spanish base where they have to be mainainted by Spanish resources. Perhaps Spanish military authority is tired of supplying free resources for this people, who should be equiped by American personel.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bubba · 9 years ago
    This story reeks of BS.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Nathaniel · 9 years ago
    Sent to both my senators and my congressman.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    andrew · 9 years ago
    So, can our guys take out the spics and requisition their billets? Then make the changes they want?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Cattley · 9 years ago
    I've had a love for the Canadian military forces since serving with them on a Reforger '86 as well as many visits up to Kingston. The Canadian soldiers are awesome and great fighters. Nothing but respect for them and what they bring to the fight. The far left of center government earns my contempt as does my own far left of center goverment.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rio · 9 years ago
    The reason the Spaniards are not getting involved is for the simple reason there is no GOLD to be stolen from Afghanistan and taken to the crown of Spain. Just ask Central and South American people. Here in Florida, there is a museum where treasure was taken out of a sunken Spanish ship and is displayed for all to see. The ship was called "Nuestra Senora de Atocha"...link: http://www.melfisher.com/ . If there was GOLD in Afghanistan, they'd be helpin'
    Rio
    Semper Fi!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jett · 9 years ago
    Real simple--anyone endangers or hinders our troops in a war zone, they're an enemy, subject to immediate arrest and/or execution as a saboteur. People who know there are immediate consequences make improvements immediately.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ken · 9 years ago
    I have just gotten back from a short tour in KAIA. The Spanish troops stationed there where very professional and dedicated to the task at hand. I find it hard to believe that one soldier would not extend a hand to another no matter what country he is from. This most be some political BS cooked up in Madrid. So lets not blast the Spanish troops here, as we are all in it together.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    DPI · 9 years ago
    For the site mentioned, and I note that site name is given, which breeches OPSEC.

    They are in the middle of relocation to a new, larger site and have been in the planning for this since the middle of last year. That may impact on some of the statements made in the email. Accomodation etc, has been an issue at the site both before and during the the relocation.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David · 9 years ago
    And do we have to believe this?
    I read the email and, sincerely, cannot believe it. Someone has written you, someone whose name is not even appearing here. This person is telling a lot of Bravo Sierra about Spanish troops and we just have to believe it? Where are the names? You could just have invented all this story and should we have to believe it?

    Well, this sounds to me like American soldiers are stationed in a Spanish base where they have to be mainainted by Spanish resources. Perhaps Spanish military authority is tired of supplying free resources for this people, who should be equiped by American personel.


    Sorry Alex, try reading comprehension. Michael made it very clear that the entirety of the email wasn't posted, and I sincerely doubt he would throw the LC under the bus by putting his name on the blog. If you believe Mr. Yon invented this story, perhaps you ought to read his prior dispatches then politely remove yourself from the comments section out of shame. He's a respected columnist for many reasons and has only ever had the best interests of soldiers (of every nation) in mind.

    The Spaniards and our other coalition partners are more than happy to take advantage of the many resources the American taxpayer paid for, all while sporting the same attitude you show here. No one has more invested more resources than America, justifiably, because we own this war. The medical resources alone cost millions of dollars, and save more than American and British lives. Yes, these soldiers should be taken care of by their own, and there's clearly been a failure on the US side of this issue. But, if we're partners in this conflict and the Spaniards are there, why would they not want to cooperate and offer BASIC resources.

    I have several relatives fighting in Afghanistan, and most say the Spaniards and Italians live up to their many stereotypes. Particularly when it comes to Italian pilots. Cultural differences aside, theft by Spaniards is a pretty consistent complaint.

    If even a small portion of this email is true, than the Spaniards owe those soldiers a very public apology.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    claudia · 9 years ago
    Mike if anyone can get help for our military men and women fighting hard to protect this country it is you. Don't let this one drop it is despicable what the Spanish are doing to our soldiers. They have to be accountable and the higher ups need to get on the ball and get those troops some very much needed help. What the h---- is going on over there? When I read these stories I am infuriated about our lack of leadership these days what is it going to take for everyone to see it!!

    Thanks Mike and god speed to all the men and women in harms way!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Nick · 9 years ago
    >> In twenty years USA will overcome by China...
    >>
    >>Bye "yankees"...

    If you think China is a better choice than the USA, then good grief.
    This is the same china that overran tibet, innumerable atrocities commited, threatens taiwan, parked tanks on their own people just 20 short years ago?

    Spend some time in China if you really want to learn about arrogance & racism...

    Que tonto...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jeff Stanley · 9 years ago
    ..."We don’t want to lose MEDEVAC capability there because we couldn’t put in two pads."

    So a Spanish soldier shows up on a stretcher, and we're gonna have to say, "No, we CANNOT make any improvements."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pedro Ball · 9 years ago
    Mike,

    I'm a former US Navy officer who served on an exchange tour with the Spanish Navy in Rota during the early 90's. I must say that I'm very surprised that the sort of behavior which your article highlights has not been exposed before. Not that this is modus operandi for the Spanish Armed Forces. To the contrary, my experience during my exchange tour is that I found Spain's Officer's & NCO's to be highly professional and skilled - unfortunately the troops were barely marginal on the bests of days. The reason why the behavior that you've highlighted should not come as a surprise to the US forces is due to the fact that myself, along with other US exchange officers that came before me, all reported to our US superiors that the Spanish Armed Forces had become highly politicized. I repeatedly emphasized such grave situation during my de-brief in the Pentagon at the end of my exchange tour. All they had to do in DC was open up the archives and read our reports.

    The reason for the behavior which you have brought to light is based upon reality, and not any allegations of anti-Spanish behavior to which you may find yourself accused, is that due to the ebb & tide of the political arena in Spanish politics, military postings and promotions have become entangled to the web weaved by parties & workers union. The Socialist Party and its attached union (UGT) are probably the worst promoters of this politicization. The Zapatero government came to power barely days after the horrific bombings in Madrid, swept to victory by a knee-jerk reaction of uncontrollable fear-hysteria by the Spanish population. This government is solely concerned with maintaining its grip on power, handing out spoils, and ensuring that its operatives and supporters move into career positions of authority and control within all the ministries and agencies of the Spanish government. Thus in the event of a victory by the opposition, the Socialist Party can order its embedded supporters to quickly create obstacles to the policies of the new government in the hopes of ensuring its short tenure.

    How does this affect Afghanistan? It is a well established joke in Spain that their troops in Afghanistan have more in common with social workers than a true fighting force. Without large number of volunteer recruits from Latin American nations (who are offered visas in exchange for enlistment) the Spanish Armed Forces, specially the Army, would find itself facing almost unsurmountable gaps in its manning requirements. The marginal skills demonstrated by the draftees that I served with has shrunk even more with the inclusion of this large body of barely illiterate immigrants. A cursory view to the Spanish casualty lists will demonstate the disproportionate number of deaths among this group within the Spanish Armed Forces. Furthermore, the Socialist government has repeatedly placed in the senior leaderships of the different units officers who openly advocate support for the Socialist government, not the nation or the Crown. The most important directive given by the government to the deployed units is not to suffer casualties and to avoid combat at all costs. But the Socialist government has also instructed the officers in those units to keep the active NATO forces (US/UK/DK/NL & Canada, Australia/NZ) at arms length, to refrain from all joint operations with them, and to avoid as much possible any interaction with them unless absolutely essential.

    The end result is exactly what you have reported and I commend you from bringing this grave behavior to the attention of the powers-to-be.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sean · 9 years ago
    I've written my members of Congress and y'all should do the same.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Another Dave · 9 years ago
    I agree with Nuno - I hoped you checked the report before outing the email. It's hard to believe that a Lt. Col. has such a poor command of English. It feels like a hoax. Not the first time it's happened.
    If it's true, I'm sure now that it's out it will be quickly dealt with. This will be something that the rest of the press gloms on to. Woo hoo. Of course then I'll be depressed at the writing skills of the Army officer corps.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marsh · 9 years ago
    Our Western allies seem to be cheering on their own destruction. America is the pillar on which all of Western Civilization rests on. I'm not saying that out of xenophobic patriotism or to brag; it's simply reality. Our Western have all embraced socialism and have kicked their feet up and just come to accept their slow gradual decline in global GDP and competitiveness while relying almost completely on America for security. And I can't say I really blame them. It's very tempting for us to do the same. Americans are becoming more and more war weary and fed up with serving as the world's police force. Pretty soon a lot of us will want to slash our defense spending and redirect those funds into domestic national projects such as infrastructure and overly generous welfare entitlements. And when that happens who then are our Western allies going to fall back on?

    I see dark times ahead for the West in the 21st century. When America becomes both more isolationist and slowly crumbles domestically it's going to create a huge power vaccum in the world. Our Western allies and many here on the left in America seem to be totally oblivious to these almost certain future challenges. They refuse to set aside enough enough funds for a prudent defence force and to top it off they constantly spit on their American Spartan-like body guards. And I say Spartan-like because we've sacrificed our own standard of living to a very real degree in order to fund THEIR national and regional security. They're a bit like the pampered Athenians who live it up like kings who look down on the Spartans as uncouth savages until they need their warrior talents when the Persians come to enslave them all.

    As far as I'm concerned our Western allies have burned their bridges with us long ago. It's time we kick them out of the nest and force them to take care of themselves again for their own good. They've simply become too reliant and dependent upon us. I don't have a problem with helping out friends. I don't want to see Japan invaded by China or Eastern Europe invaded by Russia or Southern Europe invaded by Turkey. But since they can't even seem to manage a simple "thank you" let alone treat us with mutual respect and gratitude for everything we've done for them for the last 50+ years I find it hard to justify allowing them to continually leech off us.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    82ndAirborneParatroo · 9 years ago
    I am an 82nd Airborne Paratrooper. I have passed this message up the chain-of-command, to higher. Be assured, action is being taken.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joe · 9 years ago
    Just a moment:
    You're presenting serious allegations as if they are fact, yet you yourself admit that the document was handed to you by a third party from someone you don't even know.
    So heres whats wrong:
    1. You have not verified anything here. You're just going with whatever the other guy said.
    2. Nobody seems to give a toss about what the Spanish have to say. "If this report is true, and I have no reason to doubt it " and yu have no reason to verify it either? You're taking one side of the story and presenting it as truth. And you, Mr Yon, know full well that this is going to have legs of its own, and before long this story will be gospel.

    It seems like Americans are pretty keen to slag off their allies, otherwise this document might have been withheld until it could be confirmed and the Spanish side of the story heard. But instead, serious, damaging allegations are made and everyone just buys into them unquestioningly. It appears as though Americans are keem to buy into the idea that their allies are useless, so checking of facts just becomes secondary. Sounds like a certain invasion of a certain middle eastern country.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Capt in ANG, Ci · 9 years ago
    I stopped in the NSE this morning to grab the day's copy of Stars and Stripes and overheard a person commenting on this very issue. I asked if she had heard of a "an email from a LtCol" to which she didn't have knowledge. I then asked how she came to hear of the issue with a FOB and the Spanish problems, and the person said, "I've been flying out of Kabul quite a bit over the last couple months and there's been issues." I then asked more detailed questions to get a feel for how authentic or "overheard" the information was, and she seemed to be credible. I won't post all of the cases mentioned for OPSEC reasons, but there were very specific examples.

    So, I don't know. There might very well be some validity to this report. To the Spaniards defence (and yes, it's a weak one), from what I've been told we use "leverage" in some cases to get some nations to help. I'm more practical. If they don't want to be here, they should go home. There are many brave men and women, of all nations that I won't list so no one gets offended again if I omit a single one, who will step forward.

    We can argue all day and night as far as who is responsible for what, but I don't see how it's useful.

    **Side note: Good catch on my misuse of acronyms. For some reason in my mind, when I think KAIA, I think Kandahar, which is incorrect. I didn't catch that mistake when I proofed before hitting "Add Comment". Also, there isn't "an abundance of free time", as I've lost count of the people who have said, "I've been working 12-14 hours a day, every day for the last couple months, without a day off." In my opinion, quite a few people are putting in very long days, for months at a time, non-stop.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Yon · 9 years ago
    A number of commanders brought this up this morning. Including the Commander of the 82nd Aviation "Pegasus" from which the email originated. (The document did not originate from the commander, but from another officer in Pegasus.) Commander said he had emails yesterday asking if the email was authentic. Yes, it's authentic.

    All is good. The matter is being handled. I posted more details on Facebook:

    http://www.facebook.com/MichaelYonFanPage
  • This commment is unpublished.
    NoahWilly · 9 years ago
    >If you think China is a better choice than the USA, then good grief.
    >This is the same china that overran tibet, innumerable atrocities commited, threatens taiwan, parked tanks on their own people just 20 short years ago?

    >Spend some time in China if you really want to learn about arrogance & racism...

    >Que tonto...

    Hi, nick.

    I don´t think that China is a better choice than the USA, i don´t like any dictatorship.
    I only put an eye on the fact that USA isn´t yet the number 1 of the world but today USA politics are the same since II World War.
    It´s a mistake. USA must to try alliances with other countries not only requirements (like this "problem" with Spain forces).
    The problem is the point of view, USA has one, Europe other.
    We(Spain) have thousand of soldiers in a countries that has been invaded by USA not united nations.
    If USA don´t want our support we don´t need help USA.
    The last thing... "Que tonto", i think this is an example of my opinion.
    I we don´t have your point of view we are "tontos"...well, maybe you can look for where is Spain and the we can talk, sure you not have any idea that where is.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jack E. Hammond · 9 years ago
    Folks,

    You can say what ever you wish about this situation (ie a lot the problem started with GWB asking for NATO support for just a security mission against "bandits and then pulling all the important support stuff out for Iraq, leaving NATO to hold just small firebases). But I think everyone had better read more about the Spanish military. At one time Spain sent one of its Spanish Legion units to Afghanistan, and their reputation resulted in them being left alone.

    Finally, remember our country has a reputation unfortunately of being Rha-Rha then good by. Vietnam is the worst example. Then came Somalia. A lot of those nations that came to support us in Somalia were ready to kick some butt after the Ranger battle then suddenly the rug got pulled out.

    Jack E. Hammond

    NOTE> I think the US would be better to have other nations send forces to Afghanistan, who "really" want to and are not being forces with promises (a lot of former Eastern European nations have forces in Afghanistan only for quid pro quo on NATO and weapons upgrades) and some threats (ie why in the world would Mongolia have sent 45 guys to Iraq!!!).
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gismo Fly · 9 years ago
    Trusting the Spaniards appears to be a bloody tragedy. Lesson learned. Bypass them. Pay the locals to deliver gravel but make sure you get them to rake it and then have sura followed by a footstomping barn dance. Invite the Spaniards of course......if you can get them out of their bunkers.

    With every good wish to those brave Yankees refuelling the 'choppers'.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Henry IX · 9 years ago
    Thinking of this, and of the efforts made to save a wounded British soldier last July, initiated by Michael and Soldiers Angels, it occurred to me that those Americans who are so shabbily treated by the Spanish would make the same efforts to help an injured Spanish soldier from that very area.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paco · 9 years ago
    America ( is a continent you are USA) is not the the pillar of the western. Europa dont want more wars, USA and Great Britain never have a war on his ground this is the reason because the people from this country, go to the wars happy. We dont need your help maybe Israel
  • This commment is unpublished.
    USMC Steve · 9 years ago
    The Spani's blow. I did two years in Rota Spain and was singularly unimpressed with their military. We did a fam fire with their "marines" and their Cetme rifles would not fire three rounds without jamming, due to the RUST in the bores and chambers.

    These scumbags are actively hindering our war efforts. Additional riflemen need to be sent in there, and the Spani CO needs to be told to keep his dirtball halfassed troops away from the US area. Then the US forces there need to just walk over the Spani and do what needs to be done to operate effectively. And make it clear to them that if they need anything from us, screw off, they ain't getting it. Then just ignore them.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paco · 9 years ago
    70% world weapons markt is from USA. You need to use them
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    Paco · 9 years ago
    Spanish Army have since 1999 the rifle HK G3 (Germany).
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    bill · 9 years ago
    well, at least france now has a partner. They deserve each other.
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    Bill Smith · 9 years ago
    Marsh:
    You are an ignorant moron. WWI and WWII were started by Europeans in Europe, but were both finished with major help from The United States of America. You seem to forget that. Spain was "neutral" in WWII, but gave major help to the nazis. Do NOT lecture me on what to call my country.

    I once had a citizen of another country on one of the North or South American continents try that little game of yours. So, I asked him: Suppose you are on an airplane that is hijacked. The terrorists tell "all the Americans to come forward." You'd stand up and go forward, RIGHT?!

    He kept quiet, and I suggest you do the same.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Smith · 9 years ago
    Marsh:
    Sorry. My comment was directed at "Paco."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bob Beers · 9 years ago
    "They refused to allow a Marine detachment that was dropped there to come into the wire or feed them overnight. Our refuelers had to fight the Spanish to bring them in and squeeze them into the two small tents that they have and give them MREs as they [sic] Spanish wouldn’t feed them."

    Spain is no ally. There are working both sides as they have always done in order to profit in any way they can. If the Taliban or any other Islamic group find out that Spain has actually helped the US in any functional way the Spanish lose the middle east money. What the US needs to do is drive the Spanish out of the fort, ignore the whimpering diplomats and put in a proper facility. It was proven long ago that we could win any war we fought if we really wanted to. My question is this, do we really want to?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    dan · 9 years ago
    The Spanish hate Americans...I believe they have a national low self esteem problem. I went the Madrid on business to my company's office there and they were amazingly ignorant and rude. They would barley speak with me. Took breaks and left me sitting in the conference room, even left for lunch and never included me. Strange, smelly (that's right: bathing there seems to be optional) losers... check history, always losers, were ruled by Muslims for a long time... Losers.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Midknight · 9 years ago
    Zapatero is a ****ing coward, and believe ir or not, he is deeply anti-american,
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    SPANISH · 9 years ago
    lance, you're talking about an army that has maintained the largest empire in the history of mankind for 4 centuries. Your army is known to lose all wars in which it participates. When you had that have helped us, after the Spanish Civil War, came out running in Europe.
    Respect for this army of all time by courageous men invincible. The war is won with courage and not with technology.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SPANISH · 9 years ago
    "The Spanish hate Americans...I believe they have a national low self esteem problem. I went the Madrid on business to my company's office there and they were amazingly ignorant and rude. They would barley speak with me. Took breaks and left me sitting in the conference room, even left for lunch and never included me. Strange, smelly (that's right: bathing there seems to be optional) losers... check history, always losers, were ruled by Muslims for a long time... Losers."

    Perhaps you were smelling bad. That's why you never invited to dine with them. Who lost in Vietnam and who loses in Afghanistan and therefore help you run crying to lose the Spanish? American LOSER and WEEPING.
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    USMC Steve · 9 years ago
    Awful lot of outraged Spani's coming out of the woodwork to snivel and moan here. Maybe you should not have voted for a fucking COMMUNIST who immediately surrendered to terrorism in the hopes that they would save Spain for last. Borderline third world hole that it is.
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    Arlene Cali girl · 9 years ago
    Wow, Michael,
    You really lit a firestorm with this one! I am SO glad it is being taken care of. I enjoyed the comments from John (Capt in ANG Civilian in Aghanistan) and from the 82nd Airborne Paratrooper. Too many other commentors got off topic and downright nasty.
    The problem is being addressed and that is ALL I care about. God Bless the troops!
    All the troops!
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    Greg · 9 years ago
    Well the coalition is bound to have these kind of problems .... but overall the effort seems to be well controled and organized. Are the Spanish anti American ? ... well they are Europeans and the overwhelming sentiment is anti american among them. So I could see how this would happen. Although among soldiers I would beleive that this would be less prevalant.

    Last I heard the Spanish have less than 1500 soldiers in country .... I cant imagine that they are effecting our operations that drasticaly. My hopes are that they are fighting the enemy and upholding the proud tradition of the Ejército de Tierra.....

    Thanks Mike ,.... and by the way the " Valnetines Day" photo made me tear up .... it was moving and unforgettable.
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    American Joe · 9 years ago
    Wow, I do not know what to say. I cannot believe that we would allow the spanish to treat our troops in such a manner. If we would pull the same stunt of them, it would make headlines around the world.

    www.blogs.chron.com/lettersfrombabylon
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    Maria · 9 years ago
    The problem is not our Spanish Army, the problem is our goverment, Zapatero is the problem. The order for all the troops around the world is "don't move, only shoot if they (terrorists) shoot first". If the commander, captains, liutenants, etc, want to be there and not be degraded, must obey the LEADER!. What have we got?. A weak army, dissapointed from their high command, low morale, they have a fame of cowards that they don't deserve, but their hands are tied.

    Our best generals, commanders, etc were sended to their retirement when Zapatero arrived and he puts officials close to his political ideas, easygoing, people who tell mr.president only the things he wants to listen to and now the army is very politiced and to the left part.

    You know?. Today my goverment say to us that Afganistán is not a war and we are there is a peace mission, like Red Cross, can you believe this?.

    Is like when the crisis arrived to my country?, Zapatero said we are in crisis two years after!!!. This man doesn't live in a real world, and sadly is our president since 11th march 2004.

    Another thing, Al Queda didn't put the bombs in the trains in Madrid, it's false. It was ETA with some help of maybe secret services who did want to influence in the votes days after and they won. Somebody didn't want a strong country, good ally of USA and they guessed.

    The last thing, Spain doesn't hate Americans, this is not true, maybe some of them yes, like not all Americans hate Germans, for example, it is not good to generalize.

    Un saludo from Spain.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Alex · 9 years ago
    Sorry Maria, but I must disagree with you. It is a common practice in this kind of operations that rules of engagement do not allow armed exchange with hostiles unless you are fired first. Perhaps I am wrong but similar ROE apply to US troops. I find this position quite coherent with the Spanish position in the area. We are there to help Afghanistan to rebuild and develop a democratic state and not shoot anything that may look like a hostile. You get more with "social work" (like it was defined by a previous commenter) than with bombardments. Operations like the attacks in the Afgan-Pakistan border only upset the civilian people, who joins Taliban troops.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Maria · 9 years ago
    I agree with you Alex. I didn't want that this sentence was taken so literal.

    I meant that they are doing like our Defense Minister expressed long time ago to some journalists, he said : "I'd rather be killed than kill", and this is the most stupid sentence that i've never heard, spoken by a demagogue who knows that he never won't be in the front line-the front row, another people will die for him and because of his misguided politics. All part of the same wrong decisions. Be fine, be quiet, don't move, another people will do the job for you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Senglar · 9 years ago
    Dear friends: This seems to have had some effect. See http://www.lavanguardia.es/internacional/noticias/20100311/53897487253/soldados-de-estados-unidos-se-quejan-de-la-tropa-espanola-afganistan-isaf-qala-jose-luis-rodriguez-z.html

    It's in Spanish, but run it through the Google translator and it will be readable.

    The Spanish command is "aware" of the problem, the article says.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Spaniard · 9 years ago
    Please, a respect for spanish soldiers, this issue is still on air and we don't know every detail, but remember we fight in the same side. Until today soldiers from US and from Spain have had a very strong and warm relationship in all international missions. Obviously here there's something missing, we have been working together for years in Afganisthan and Libano, without any problems of this kind. If there's any gap or misunderstanding in the commanding chain, an investigation will be open and everything fixed. If someone is deliberately doing this, he'll be corrected for his behavour. We're allies of the same coalition, and we have also lost good soldiers in battle. Spain, in general and with some exceptions (same as in US), respects warriors and brave men, doesn't matter if they are from Spain or from outside. Thank you for your understanding.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Arnau BAs · 9 years ago
    Good days to all.

    Forgive my Englishman's level, it is not my habitual language.

    I have been leyendos the commentaries here written.

    The attitude of the Spanish troops with an ally they are deplorable and must be solved.

    The fault(sin) is of the control, not of the soldiers.

    But I want remember(remind) that in Iraq not tape-worm that to go nothing to do, not habia terrorism, if habia a dictadura was thank you the support of USA.

    And if in Afghanistan, there are terrorists, also it is a responsibility of The United States.

    This way that now they know wherefrom the problems come.

    Do not stop reading books.

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