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.
    Spaniard · 9 years ago
    En una carta fechada ayer mismo, el coronel Robert J. Ulses, responsable de la logística militar estadounidense en Afganistán, comunicaba al coronel Jesús de Miguel que el mando español en la base de Qala-i-Naw (uno de los tres destinos españoles en Afganistán) "ha atendido de forma adecuada las peticiones de ayuda solicitadas por las USFOR- A DET (las fuerzas estadounidenses en Afganistán) en la región oeste del país".

    http://www.lavanguardia.es/internacional/noticias/20100313/53898317670/espana-defiende-su-relacion-con-las-tropas-de-ee.uu.-afganistan-qala-carme-chacon-estado-mayor-rober.html
  • This commment is unpublished.
    another · 9 years ago
    It seems Americans have grown bored with this subject, but the Spaniards are still feeling offended. At least the latest Spanish messages are of a better tone and education than those initially seen. I would like to add my two cents:
    1. Michael Yon voices a complaint by US troops at a Spanish base in Afghanistan and I believe the petty behavior it reveals. It reveals envy (a trait even Spaniards concede is a mark of their national character) of a more professional army that is actually fighting. I can feel sympathy for some of the Spanish army professionals whose political masters treat them as social workers, but that's their problem mostly. If you don't care to fight, at least don't get in the way of those that do.
    2. chest-beating of the type "we invented the marines", is irrelevant. And "in any case, we have lost 80+ servicemen in Afghanistan": well, if we look at how they died, we see that 60+ did so when their cheap Ukrainian passenger plane flew into a hill in Turkey, another 20 died when their helicopter accidentally flew into the ground, one died of a heart attack after an excercise routine, another turned his vehicle over, etc. Nonetheless regretable, but certainly not much related to combat. Why have the latest deaths been mostly of Colombians enrolled in the Spanish army?: Spaniards don't want to be soldiers and if they do it's for UN peacekeeping episodes.
    3. Blas de Lezo has to go back to the early 1700s to find a suitable hero after whom to name himself. This says something about Spanish military history since then. The fact is there is little to commend it in terms of winning wars, other than that of 1936-1939 against itself, the war against Napoleon's occupation which required decisive British and Portuguese involvement and generalship, and a 19th Century naval expedition to the Pacific coast of South America to bombard the ports of the recently independent and mostly unarmed republics of Chile and Peru. Remember the Spanish-American War, about how Spain lost Spanish Morocco without firing a shot in the 50s, Spanish neutrality in both World Wars (but actively pro-nazi in WW2), etc? Not glorious. Please don't even attempt to make us believe otherwise.
    4. so, the US is an empire and it promotes wars in order to fund its arms industry. From where I see it, US taxpayers and soldiers are bearing most (although recognizing that the US has some true allies in this, some of them European) of the brunt of the defence of a war on Western civilization. You do not care to accept that you and certain other so-called Western allies are free-riding in defence terms. If Europe is going to really be a world power in more than social-spending and unemployment, then it is going to have to invest resources in defence and believe that there are causes worth fighting for. Alternatively, you will continue calling the US when things get out of hand, as of late in Yugoslavia or maybe even Spain one day when you finally deal with your regional nationalist-socialists or wake up to finding that Al-Andalus is not yours again. You can't just pay ransoms and desert your allies when you feel threatened, reality eventually comes home.
    5. you think the US should be worried if Spain were to leave NATO, I don't. Pardon me, but it is mostly irrelevant. Apart from the use of a small naval base at Rota, what's its value? What would Spain's armed forces be like without their connection to NATO?
    6. If you feel hurt by the fact that someone else complains, try to resolve the cause of the complaint, rather than insulting the complainer.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    R. Konkel · 9 years ago
    Whatever- EVERYONE'S morale is low. Maybe if Spain had offered any substantial contribution to a serious war in the last 50 years they would know what to expect, not leave their allies hanging out there. It's WAR for God's sake- not a vacation. They need to get their sh!t together.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    R. Konkel · 9 years ago
    Also- this war is not about funding the "Arms Industry" and wars in this country haven't been that way since the middle of the century. Sure, they are going to make money, but if you think the "Arms Industry" lobby has enough pull to start a war just to make money you are a fool.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pedro · 9 years ago
    In answer to the last post, which is unsigned.
    Sorry if there are errors but the "English" is not my language, so I write in Spanish and translate with Google.

    Do not go into criticisms that only get about tensions high and therefore will not use words like jealousy, smelly, cowardice etc ...

    1 Our army is certainly smaller than yours as it is easy to understand but is designed to cope with potential threats that surround us here, namely Morocco, Algeria, southern flank of NATO and according to our economic potential . That is why we invest more in naval means (AEGIS, aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, submarines etc ...) and air assets (F-18, EF Tiphon, A-400, Helicopter Tiger etc ... that of terrestrial (a matter of doctrine and strategy) . Anyway the current government is making significant efforts to provide the Army (Infantry, Legion, Regular, Special Operations Group etc ...) means that there are more modern today as anti-IED vehicles (RG-31 General Dynamics with external machine gun by remote control, shielded Wildcats FDI, new lightly armed German HK-G36 etc ..., and maintains several UN and NATO missions abroad as Lebanon (which you will remember well) and Afghanistan. In the latter we in ISAF, not in "Enduring Freedom". We also have F-100 AEGIS frigates with helicopters, Marines and P-3 Orion aircraft off the coast of Somalia (also remember this country) in the operation Atalanta against piracy the Indian Ocean.
    I remind you that the ISAF mission is focused on reconstruction (roads, hospitals, insurance ...), while "Enduring Freedom" is a purely military offensive. Thus our militates are not equipped with heavy weapons or other means (That if we have), but the ROE is changing and will send 500 more soldiers and the new Tiger attack helicopter (Apache type) as they become ready and well-trained crews.
    We have also put great effort in the bases (Herat and Qala i Naw (the latter still being finalized) with all possible means (medical helicopter transport of injured, decent housing, meals, in short, everything necessary for a good defense and running.
    Our army is composed of trained professionals and prestige, especially our Marines and elite legionnaires considered inside and outside our borders and with a long history of service to the Kingdom of Spain. The percentage of foreigners (only South American to accept the special ties that bind us to them and have common language) is less than 7% are illiterate as someone said we all have to pass entrance exams and related training. It is untrue that he killed a higher percentage of South American Spanish soldiers only have to look a bit on the Internet and newspaper archives to prove it. Besides, they are excellent soldiers, mostly Colombians and Salvadorans in our short but eventful stay in Najaf "Iraq" (political issue campaign promise) came to fight hand to hand with a knife. Our military are not politicized, but subject to the orders of the executive power as in any democratic country where there is separation of powers etc ...
    I think we know the European reality and Spanish in particular. The socialist parties here (Social-Democrats really) are not communists, I rather compare them with his Democratic party, ie emphasizes social and welfare issues but with laws and democratic norms within the rules of free markets and civil rights.
    We really have more in common with you than differences. The latter are mostly in foreign policy (eg weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is wrong, Palestine-Israel Problem Troubleshooting Cuban etc ... but we like with Iran, North Korea, Honduras, Venezuela, Terrorism. Otherwise compete commercially of course (this will not talk more)
    You can talk about the past, marshal plan 1st and Second World War etc ... and not us? We also have history, a long history full of facts more or less glorious. For 500 years or so (without looking further back) in military matters, we have been at war with all European countries that had at that time from Holland to France, from Britain to Russia through Sweden, Portugal, the Ottoman Empire Algeria or Morocco. Almost always won, sometimes lost and we had so many civil wars, uprisings and revolutions that maybe that's why, we were deeply etched in blood and fire the horror of war and all the ills associated with it. Throughout the centuries we have bled in the demographic and have ruined economically dying or migrating hundreds of thousands of Spanish. Only now after many years we are recovering a bit to our old selves and thriving (if we leave the current crisis).
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pedro · 9 years ago
    In answer to the last post, which is unsigned.
    Sorry if there are errors but the "English" is not my language, so I write in Spanish and translate with Google.

    Do not go into criticisms that only get about tensions high and therefore will not use words like jealousy, smelly, cowardice etc ...

    1 Our army is certainly smaller than yours as it is easy to understand but is designed to cope with potential threats that surround us here, namely Morocco, Algeria, southern flank of NATO and according to our economic potential . That is why we invest more in naval means (AEGIS, aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, submarines etc ...) and air assets (F-18, EF Tiphon, A-400, Helicopter Tiger etc ... that of terrestrial (a matter of doctrine and strategy) . Anyway the current government is making significant efforts to provide the Army (Infantry, Legion, Regular, Special Operations Group etc ...) means that there are more modern today as anti-IED vehicles (RG-31 General Dynamics with external machine gun by remote control, shielded Wildcats FDI, new lightly armed German HK-G36 etc ..., and maintains several UN and NATO missions abroad as Lebanon (which you will remember well) and Afghanistan. In the latter we in ISAF, not in "Enduring Freedom". We also have F-100 AEGIS frigates with helicopters, Marines and P-3 Orion aircraft off the coast of Somalia (also remember this country) in the operation Atalanta against piracy the Indian Ocean.
    I remind you that the ISAF mission is focused on reconstruction (roads, hospitals, insurance ...), while "Enduring Freedom" is a purely military offensive. Thus our militates are not equipped with heavy weapons or other means (That if we have), but the ROE is changing and will send 500 more soldiers and the new Tiger attack helicopter (Apache type) as they become ready and well-trained crews.
    We have also put great effort in the bases (Herat and Qala i Naw (the latter still being finalized) with all possible means (medical helicopter transport of injured, decent housing, meals, in short, everything necessary for a good defense and running.
    Our army is composed of trained professionals and prestige, especially our Marines and elite legionnaires considered inside and outside our borders and with a long history of service to the Kingdom of Spain. The percentage of foreigners (only South American to accept the special ties that bind us to them and have common language) is less than 7% are illiterate as someone said we all have to pass entrance exams and related training. It is untrue that he killed a higher percentage of South American Spanish soldiers only have to look a bit on the Internet and newspaper archives to prove it. Besides, they are excellent soldiers, mostly Colombians and Salvadorans in our short but eventful stay in Najaf "Iraq" (political issue campaign promise) came to fight hand to hand with a knife. Our military are not politicized, but subject to the orders of the executive power as in any democratic country where there is separation of powers etc ...
    I think we know the European reality and Spanish in particular. The socialist parties here (Social-Democrats really) are not communists, I rather compare them with his Democratic party, ie emphasizes social and welfare issues but with laws and democratic norms within the rules of free markets and civil rights.
    We really have more in common with you than differences. The latter are mostly in foreign policy (eg weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is wrong, Palestine-Israel Problem Troubleshooting Cuban etc ... but we like with Iran, North Korea, Honduras, Venezuela, Terrorism. Otherwise compete commercially of course (this will not talk more)
    You can talk about the past, marshal plan 1st and Second World War etc ... and not us? We also have history, a long history full of facts more or less glorious. For 500 years or so
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pedro · 9 years ago
    or think they are things of the past, now once and must look to the future. Who manages stereotypes or clichés are almost always wrong.
    Al-Andalus? Please read a little, you'll find abundant information on the Internet, (I get tired and not typing)
    What he says in paragraph 4 as Heisenhower also said in his final speech and Kennedy on TV. The lobbying power of military companies is excessive from my point of view. As for arms spending potential you'd be surprised if you add European. Maybe someday there posiblilidad to prove it. Read a little about it also. Although it is difficult to agree because there are several cases of collaboration for new aircraft (EF-Eurofigter Tiphon) (A-400 aircraft most modern and largest Milt and road transport) and some countries like Germany and France made excellent weapons (missile Taurus cruise almost all German) (German Leopard Tank) (French Rafale aircraft) (Swedish Gripen) (French Scorpene submarine) (New SSK-AIP submarine S-80 Spanish, the largest conventional) and there are bodies of elite and French Legionnaires Spanish and actually lethal if necessary. This proved even by U.S. military in exercises regularly does NATO.
    Yugoslavia not only participated in the U.S., also almost all of Europe-NATO countries were. Spain for example F-18 aircraft sent to the Aviano base in Italy and participated in real missions against Serbia to fulfill its obligation without any problems. The army sent soldiers to Mostar and noted for his role in defending the civilian population to risk their lives (there were still cases where a detachment with BMR's defending a group of civilians in heavily outnumbered and retreated not saved. Dutchmen fled in a similar situation and there was a slaughter of civilians will remember that this came out much on television.
    Spain's role in NATO irrelevant? Whoever has the mission to protect the southern flank and rear serve as support and logistics during the Cold War? And yet even under Franco was not integrated into NATO. Strategically speaking Spain is regarded as a major carrier of their geographical situation and you had bases in Zaragoza, Torrejon de Ardoz, Moron de la Frontera and Rota. Rota small? Use Google-map and read a little please. As for the size of our land army is true that is small compared to U.S. or even other European countries but is growing and fewer foreigners ever come. But our "Navy" or Armada as we say is very good, only Britain and France are better and Italy more or less equal. The Air Force is highly regarded even by the U.S., and our pilots (Navy Harrier also) participate in joint exercises of NATO and the U.S. as Red Flag, recently in the Mediterranean Sea in NATO naval maneuvers of two Harrier aircraft carrier Principe de Asturias "crossed the bow of an aircraft carrier escorted by his Task Force, ie, the" sunk ". It says so? Do you think that makes any driver?.

    Finally, there has been no official U.S. complaint, conversely, have sent a letter to current greeting command in Afghanistan. Anyway I think if something happened was for a lot of misunderstanding or timely performance of an individual and that is not the normal behavior of any Spanish military. If anything characterizes us today is the hospitality and generosity of our people. Spain stands out in the humanitarian and economic aid to countries and third world brothers in proportion to our size and "specific weight". A single example, our rate of organ donation for transplantation is the highest in the world and are perhaps the only country to meet the standard of donating 0.7 of GDP despite the economic crisis (non-financial, that our banks up until now have resisted even bought UK and U.S. banks)

    A greeting.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tom Curley · 9 years ago
    If this situation is not corrected by Gen. Mc Crystals staff quickly units down the line can have a lot different priorities than the Spaniards . Limit logistic support to the Spanish through out Afghanistan to emergency support only. Let them resupply that FOB and others by truck with their own security. If they don't play well with others let them play alone or go home, They can't be accomplishing much anyway.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Blas de Lezo · 9 years ago
    We spanish did not get bored of this yet because we got to know this new two days after you(that do not seem bored neither)...
    who created the firs marine corps? I feel sorry that most spanish don´t know it. But do you think I care to teach you something about a country that probably more of the 50% of your college students don´t know how to place it on a map? I´m not so pretentious like trying to improve your education system, I have enough with mine.
    I never stated about casualties because there are just a few in combat, and I think is not a question to brag about. The helicopter was attacked but our government forbid survivors to make any statement about the crash.
    Spanish people is told that we are in Afganisthan in a peace mission. Our government refuses to accept the world "war". Injured and killed have the same status as if they had a car accident in a Madrid´s base.

    About the war against Napoleon we were the first army that defeated the invincible(then) french army (and no, no english army, battalion or platoon were around). Yes, we suffered then defeat after defeat but the main thing is that spanish army never surrendered. They regrouped again and again http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peninsular_War even when there were no government to rule them. Look at how happy was Napoleon about that invasion and how he judged that mistake.

    About Portugal, a few years before (1801)Spanish army invaded Portugal and finished the war in 18 days. If you think Portugal and British army was then such a threat for french army I advise you to take a look of how big that armies were and if you think about it you´ll find something missing. As you seem to have a good knowledge about history I guess you´ll get some conclusions.

    And yes, thanks God Spain haven´t had to be in a war in the last 60 years. But it was at 1975 when we left spanish Sahara(not Morocco. Morocco invaded it and natives are still fighting Morocco´s army) and it was because Spanish people is against any war and less for a colony.
    At WWII we were neutral( Spain stated that in 1938!! which caused tensions with Germany) excepted against URSS because the government then was ferociously anti-communist.

    I don´t think that USA is acting as "Globocop" for just their pure heart or just to defend the freedom or western civilization. And at least by now Spain never had your uninterested help( for example we were out of Marshall Plan when we really need it)...it have been the other way and Spain have accepted to do it because our mutual interest.

    R. Konkel. I did not say at all that the arms lobby started any war. I just said that arms are one of the best business in the USA (am I lying? I hope not). I even recognize that it also affects positively in other economic fields. But still, even not affirming such thing, there are a lot of questions that arise and I wanted to stated as the old refrain..Quid prodest? Then, it easy to get some conclusions. Are mine the only truth? I would not dare to say so.

    Also, I never said that this problem in Afganisthan is Spain´s or USA´s fault. I just made a few questions and remarks because all this thing does not make any sense to me. Yes, I added some sarcasm but just to make it more fun. At least to me...


    My knickname is not because I had to desperately seek for an Spanish hero.In Spain not very much people knows his name and I did not expect that any american could know about him. Blas de Lezo is only remembered by the Spanish Navy and is difficult to find any reference in Spanish books about him. I like him because his story shows clearly how anglo-saxons historians write about their history, no self-critizism at all and how easily and often Spain had mistreated their best men.
    But anyway, our military heros can be old, but I assure you that we have lots more than you. It´s just a question of history and ours is much, much longer than yours. Don´t worry, your country will be tired of wars sooner or later as it happened with us. It´s a matter of time. Probably none of us will see it but I´m sure it will occur.
    About Nato...too many points of view and all very respectable. You think you can fight your wars alone. Why don´t you do it instead of being constantly disturbed for clumsy allies like us?

    And , I do not think we have a very good army, but as I reckon that fact I do not agree with the vision that anglo-saxon historians have written about Spanish history. It comes from biased viewpoints and the only thing I have to admit about it is that it was very intelligent from them to use history as another weapon to justify their politics. It´s against the truth and common sense but it helps to reach some goals.
    Ps: Even winning all wars, there is always lost battles and lot of terrible facts within them. As I said before, all empires have fell for the same reason...too many wars. Keep being proud about yours and forget the costs of victories...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    LarsenWhipsnade · 9 years ago
    I sent a link to this article to my two senators and representative, encouraging them to read it and do what they can to help the situation.
    Michael Yon provides us with the truth of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. It's our duty to act upon that in support of our troops.
    I urge other readers to do the same.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    another · 9 years ago
    Pedro and Blas continue to dribble about history, education, organ transplants and banks. What do you have to say about the despicable behavior of Spanish servicemen towards their "allies" at Qal E Naw?
    A few comments about your latest points:
    1. who invented the marines continues to be irrelevant to practically anything to do with this subject. Is this the reason your "soldiers" won't provide food to visiting US marines?
    2. if your government is pathetic that's your problem. Isn't it true that each country has the government that it deserves?
    3. Pedro, isn't it a Spanish saying that goes along the lines of "tell me what you boast about and I will know what you are lacking in"? Apply that to your last message. Try Scandinavian countries for aid percentages, try Spanish "solidarity" with dying Cuban dissidents, try Spanish cowardice in dealing with Morocco over the abandoned Saharauis and try the judicial cover-up over the train massacre in 2004.
    4. it is truly unfortunate US students know so little about World geography, but yours probably don't know where Malawi is, see the symmetry?
    5. the US has a shorter formal history than Spain: apart from the fact that Americans inherit the history of their European and other ancestors, I believe we are in great measure all shaped by our latest history, not that of many centuries ago. Need I really say anything more about Spanish history in the last two centuries? I suppose so.
    6. Blas, Bailen was not the end of the Napleonic war in Spain, it was pretty much at the beginning. It was Wellington who kicked the French back over the Pyrennees and, incidentally, once in France, sent the Spanish troops with him back to Spain because of their uselesness and misconduct. The size of the armies had little to do with their effectiveness. What is undeniable, is the value in that war of Spanish civilian guerrilla warfare: it itied in well with an innate bandolero spirit that lives on in the theft of US servicemens' clothes in the laundry at QEN.
    7. Yes Blas, Spain does not lately fight wars other than against itself and then shows how brave it is in the systematic massacres of prisoners. Spain was really neutral in WW2 because Hitler couldn't be bothered to accept the Caudillo's compensation demands to join the war and thought their armed forces incapable of being of much use. Please don't give me a speel on the huge value of the Blue Division in Russia and thus remind us all of whose side you were on.
    8. Yes Blas, all powers have their day and the same will occur with the US. But before the US is relegated to the dustbin of history, many in countries such as yours will long for the days when the West lived a period of unparalelled freedom and progress under your despised "Anglo-Saxon" benefactors. Start teaching your kids broken mandarin and forget about your very short-lived experience of democracy.
    8. Not that many "Anglo-Saxons" left in the US these days, but the term conforms to a permanent Spanish conspiratorial view of world affairs where Spain's rightful standing is belied by crafty foreign conspirators: Anglo-Saxons, Jews, bolsheviks, masons, whoever. Grow up. Much of objective Spanish written history of the last century has a great debt to "Anglo-Saxon" historians.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    santi · 9 years ago
    Tal vez el problema sea la arrojancia de los norteamericanos a la ora de pedir las cosas se cren el ombrigo del mundo y son una verdadera mierda tegnologia sin ningún hijo nada esto reconocido por sus propios mandos y DEMOSTRADO en muchos ejercicios y es de risa que MAYUSCULA intenten conparar su historia en muchos casos inventandola o exagerandola con la de España no nos Llegan ni a la suela del zapato, lo que hace la invidia de España y de lo español aparte de los ignorantes e incultos que son Creyendo que los españoles vivimos todavia en la Edad de piedra o Debajo de Méjico QUE SE PUEDE esperar de esta gentuza Verdaderamente lo que les jode es que no nos hemos dejado avasallar como lo han echo otros
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Avanter · 9 years ago
    We were posting about the blog, where the spanish troops seems to be a gipsy camp or a bandoleros cave.

    It has no sense to arguee if the spanish soldier are worst or better than the us soldier.

    I suggest to came back to the blog article.

    To be serious, the journalist need to add proves of the status of this base.

    Because this and other silly situations are due to our goverment, what about if the US help us to derogate our Zapatero's franc-massonic anti-christian goverment?

    :-D
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Avanter · 9 years ago
    We left Sahara because:

    Franco was "out of service"
    France banned us to use the french weapons
    US banned us to use the US weapons

    If the Sahara became a peaceful morocco region, they (los moros de mierda) will have their back secured, and then, they will think in us.

    With our goverment, if Morroco invade Ceuta, Melilla, or Canarias, nobody will help us to recover our territory (spanish territories since year 1200 more or less, several sicles before the existence of Morocco). And then,
    France and US will forbid us to use the fighters and missiles, etc.

    We must be a Nato ally, with a true occidental goverment, if we want to be well considered worldwide as a first world nation.

    Now we are ally of Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, Turquia, Siria, Palestina, Libia, ... countries without democracy.

    good night
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Blas de Lezo · 9 years ago
    1- i´m not mixing at all who invented marines with the alleged incident. It was a comment answering a mistake. You are the one who thinks there is a link.
    2- Yes, every country has the government that it deserves. It happens with you too. What I don´t get is what you are so proud of.
    3-
    4.- If you are able to make that analogy about Malawi vs Spain your ignorance is deeper than I thought. Spain is part and origin of your country. Do you think than even a 1% of your students know that Malawi is a country? Please.
    5- You are wrong. What makes the spirit and the soul and present of a country is its history, longer or shorter. Your melting pot is not the sum of all histories of the different countries that came to US. That would be unintelligible or a complete pandemonium. Don´t mix personal stories with History.
    6- Who said it was the end? It was the very beginning. Wellington army acted like a bunch of thieves and killers (even destroying Spanish industries in order that they could´t compete anymore with British manufactures) and even so they got help from Spanish governments in our own interests. The size doesn´t matter? Then you must explain that Wellington succeed against a much bigger and same skilled army just because he was just much better and a genius. Typical!
    Spanish army in France did less of what french army( or British) had done to Spain a few years before. But this time Wellington showed more scruples in France than what he showed in Spain. Obviously it was because we were just savages.
    And that bandolero spirit is exactly what made the germans stay out of our country during WWII. The same spirit probably that kicked you out from Vietnam.
    About the alleged thieving I insist on what I already said. Anyway, you keep believing in this quarrel when a responsible of your army already had praised the spanish help at Qal e Naw.
    7. For a country with racist laws until a few years ago, with a latent racism even now, responsible of innumerable indian´s massacres and even having a civil war( for that you should know better) you are incredible arrogant to judge the behavior of countries that you obviously know little. We were in a civil war but, what excuse do you have for instance at My Lai or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_crimes#United_States_perpetrated_crimes for example? How funny you are trying to believe you are so perfect. So little history for so many crimes. War is war no matter who fights...boy scout.
    If at 1938 that caudillo proclaimed Spain´s neutrality. Why are you so eager to believe, like red wing historians that Franco wanted so hard to get into the war? Blue Division (15.000 men) was sent under the command of not fight against allies but only against URSS. Of course they were not important in the course of war but it served three purposes: a) Put less pressure to Spain´s government. b) Return in part the help received during our civil war and c) To show German what Spanish could do in order to make them think carefully an invasion. They succeed in that. The so racist Germans considered them very valuable and they were the only foreign division (250) totally integered in Wehrmacht. Read hitler´s and other generals opinions about them or http://www.feldgrau.com/InfDiv.php?ID=163
    8- Nobody thought at late 80s that russian empire would fall apart in a few years. At 1946 British empire was at its best shape after winning WWII...This doesn´t ring any bells to you?
    And sorry, Anglo-saxons had never been our benefactors, they intended to destroy us since they started to count at international arena. And it wasn´t any conspiracy at all it was a normal course of history.
    British policy have been always to weaken any emergent power and it worked really well. Now they are just your faithful buddy in order to keep counting on international scenario. They do not like it very much but is better than the alternative. Aren´t pragmatical those smart bastards?
    Those anglo-saxons historians has their view, but is quite suspicious that they are always the heroes and spanish are nothing but a superstitious bunch of illiterate thieves that always lost war after war and only survived in history by anglo-saxon mercy. It´s quite notorious how the invincible armada is studied and continuously published by british but nobody knows about the counter-armada they sent a year after(1589)to destroy Spain ports and fleet in order to complete 1588 victory. Have you ever knew about it? British students neither.
    That is the difference ,Spanish historians seem to like to punish their own and Anglo-saxon don´t. Really I´d prefer second option but I try to find the balance.

    And last...are you serious about the " conspiranoia"? One of the America´s favorites entertainment are conspiracies. You are still looking for the second shooter of JFK, etc, etc..., and think that everybody in the world conspires to destroy you. This forum is a big proof of it. And you dare to blame us for that? You are very funny.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 9 years ago
    I really love all these folks who came in here to defend Spain. I'll bet NO one from Spain ever read this blog until this article came out then all of a sudden we have a whole legation here defending the despicable behavior of the Spanish troops. Not with any defensive facts mind you, only the typical leftist communist rhetoric of name calling, illogical references to past history, deflective pandering to political pansies in the Spanish government, and complete and unmitigated lying about WHO first tortured and murdered the residents of the Americas during the reign of terror under the tyrant Ferdinand and the equally greedy pathetic Isabella!
    Spain was never a great nation. It was just a another assemblage of pirates and thieves, like most of Europe at the time, who went around the world stealing and looting at the point of a sword or musket! So don't try to ply me with the liquor of past grandiose embellishments of Spanish history, I am NOT impressed! In fact I hold most of Europe in disdain as being nothing more than a morass of inbred juveniles still needing toilet training!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 9 years ago
    Now that i have excoriated the Spanish Inquisition, I would like to thank Michael for having the cojones to publish this letter in defiance of protocol (a polite excuse for cowardice). Michael has been and continues to be a vital part of our TRUTHFUL information coming out of the Middle Eastern conflicts. He has a unique unbiased on the the ground perspective that no other war time journalist has ever been able to come close to since Ernie Pyle!
    His hard hitting honest reporting has made things happen that four star generals and pitiful politicians could not get accomplished. If he puts out the call for underwear, the shelves at the local Walmart emptied in response!!! We need MORE Michaels in the field!!!
    Please keep yourself safe Michael, you have made an enemy of the Spanish and I for one do not trust them as far as I could throw one of their insipid terrorist pandering politicians. Watch your back around these cowards, Michael!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pedro · 9 years ago
    (without looking further back) in military matters, we have been at war with all European countries that had at that time from Holland to France, from Britain to Russia through Sweden, Portugal, the Ottoman Empire Algeria or Morocco. Almost always won, sometimes lost and we had so many civil wars, uprisings and revolutions that maybe that's why, we were deeply etched in blood and fire the horror of war and all the ills associated with it. Throughout the centuries we have bled in the demographic and have ruined economically dying or migrating hundreds of thousands of Spanish. Only now after many years we are recovering a bit to our old selves and thriving (if we leave the current crisis).
    The data that gives you about the latest conflict in which we played were incorrect. Napoleon? Buff, if it goes backwards, that if, without knowing the real story. Napo said the same thing my big mistake was the invasion of Spain, Spanish rose en masse on May 2 1808ganano his army battles (dance) and the `people made the mountain initiating what became known as guerrilla warfare word known around the world and that is Spanish, of course. More than 500,000 soldiers of the best army in those days were unable to subdue a peasant pcos and an army that yano was like before. Seems to have a very selective memory. We left Morocco for the UN so decided, like France and even then there were two conflicts, Sahara and Sidi Ifni. The sahara we left by the weakness of the government of the time (Franco was dying) and that what we faced was the "Green March" composed by civilians so he decided to leave the territory to prevent a slaughter. The Green March has become known after it was funded by the U.S.. In Sidi Ifni win was in 1957 I think (by the way that the latter had to use old aircraft that our "American Friend" vetoed the use of which they had bought. In Chile and Peru had a diplomatic and economic disputes from to many years and fleet admiral threatened you with Mendez Nunez was shot and when the Admiral said that about "The Queen and I prefer to honor without ships than ships without honor, of course, the fleet stood quite still you Like the English ships were there. You'll also recall that in its war of independence Mr. Galvez organized a small army to attack in Florida and the British navy of Spain (yet severe) collaborated with France in their struggle. King Carlos III gave several million reais to help and more than half of its territory was then the crown of the Kingdom of Spain. As you paid us?. Starting a war for Cuba under the false pretext the sinking of the battleship "Maine" thing you have recognized same time. Cuba for us it was a colony, if not a province, a darling, full of Spanish and Spanish children, was the pearl of the Caribbean. The first A railway built in Spain we did there as well as universities, cathedrals, schools ... yet we feel deep inside and our love for the Cubans still alive, even the dictator Castro is the son of Spanish, you know?. Besides, that war was lost because politicians of the time. The fleet was not bad but lacked resources, coal, ammunition, personnel and badly maintained. It was an ocean fleet with ironclad vessels with less firepower but quicker so the strategy was a mistake used. It would have been much more effective attack and block the Atlantic port exploiting the characteristics of the boats. you would have been forced to defend their ports and forget about Cuba. On land we also win, we have 300,000 troops there, equipped with rifles Mauser was the best at that time but politicians again adopted a defensive strategy to have the numerical advantage and be well armed. Our leaders were always exceptions except nefarious Emperor Charles V, Philip II, Charles III and in modern times Felipe Adolfo Suárez González and under King Juan Carlos I. Finally, in the Second World War did not participate by leaving a civil war, the country was devastated and the dictator Franco thought it best to remain neutral despite pressure from Hitler . must be all that Franco did well.
    Yet Franco allowed the formation of a division of volunteers to fight the Communists in the Russian front. Militarily speaking soldiers were considered excellent.
    It seems right that I said that about "with friends like these who needs enemies",
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Hemlock · 9 years ago
    Think I got lost.. What is this blog about?
    ...Is it about how terrible-masonic-communist-terrorist-antiamerican-islamic is the spanish government of spanish President Zapatero?
    or... Maybe is it about the situation and behaving of the allied troops in Afghan?
    Why, in the hell, do these lads not look for another anti-gov blog? They've got thousands of them
    Gosh, these patriotic spaniards, kind of chetniks, for them, everybody is red and love to kill each other, all day talking about who's got bigger cojones, maybe they don't realize that their caudillo is dead long time ago, by the way, Hitler and Mussolini as well are dead, ...they should wake up and take a look at the free world, come on, let's rock
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Graeme · 9 years ago
    Hola Francisco, le refiero a lo que escribí en inglés fechada 08.03.

    Antes del 11-M, a pesar que 90% (no 80 si me acuerdo bien) de los españoles se pusierorn en contra de la guerra de Irak, todos los sondeos enseñaban un ventaja de 7% a favor del Partido de José María Aznar. Cuando Al Qa'eda atentó en Atocha, España rindió y votó para el Partido de Zapatero como quería Al Qa'eda. Sin este 'ayuda externa' PSOE no hubiera ganado las elecciones de 14.03.04. Además, después, Zapatero se rectificó sobre la retirada de las tropas españoles de Irak. Pero todo era un engaño. Declaró que si ciertos condiciones se cumplieron con el ONU por EEUU llega cierta fecha, se quedarían. Pués, que pasó Francisco? Una semana así antes de la fecha tope de Zapatero, cuando EEUU estaba a borde de llegar a dicho acuerdo con el UNO reclamado por Zapatero, él anunció la retirada unilateral de sus tropas. Que mala fe. Que malvado. Que deshonradez.

    Mira Francisco, soy Britanico. Llevo más de 7 años aquí en España. Gracias a José María Aznar España es un país ejemplar en tratar con el terrorismo domestico - a verguenza nuestra que nos entregamos a PIRA (imaginatelo Otegi en el gobierno del País Vasco a cambio de 'la paz'!) - pero cuando se trata del Estados Unidos y la guerra contra el terrorism islamico, el español por medio tiene una intolerancia patalógico. Los comentarios 'anti-yanqui' aquí no son atipicos de la intolerancia horripilante anti-estadounidense aquí. Seguro que bastante de los 'anglo' aquí se enfadan con España por este asunto, pero no es exactamente sin provocación, no?

    Claro que el ejercíto de la tierra de España es una fuerza militar con gran tradición y hazañas de valentía, pero si lo que ha puesto Michael Yon es de verdad, y no hay razón para dudarlo, parece que el mando do las fuerzas militares españoles en este base Afgano es de la misma indolé de sus jefes politicos Zapatero y Blanco.

    Lo que va mano a mano en España con el anti-'norte'americanismo siempre es el anti-semitismo. Nos acordemos del libelo de sangre de Blanco cuando Israel lanzó un ataque defensivo contra Hizbollah en el libano "civiles son blancos buscados". Ni olvidemos de las palabras delatados de Zapatero en una cena de la Moncloa privada "se puede entender el Holocuasto".

    Bajo Aznar España tuvo mucho honor. Con Zapatero tiene verguenza.

    Saludos de Barcelona
  • This commment is unpublished.
    another · 9 years ago
    Blas
    1. it's called sarcasm and an attempt to make you return to the subject of this blog issue.
    2. do you really want to compare Obama with Zapatero? Calling the latter pathetic is being kind.
    4. I'm beginning to think Malawi would make a better ally
    5. we disagree. Also, you contadict yourself: for you US history begins on the 4th of July, as if a bunch of innate beings without values, ideals and concerns set out to create a new country that day, yet in 4. above the US is really descended from Spain. Heaven forbid!
    6. in a previous mail: "About the war against Napoleon we were the first army that defeated the invincible(then) french army" You weren't referring to Bailen, to what then? So, Wellington and his Anglo-Portuguese army were really the enemy together with the French. I can now add crass historical ingratitude to your list of attributes.
    Yes, I believe what I have read about the Spanish treatment of US servicemen at QEN.
    7. Yes Blas, My Lai existed, but you have to relate to a small and punished massacre as comparison to the 200,000 or so murdered prisoners in your civil war.
    You're a great Wikipedia scholar, but should try other sources. Your defence of the Blue Division and attempt to make us believe the Nazis were frightened of you is contemptible. Do you have a blue shirt in your closet, how often do you face the sun with your arm in the air?
    8. As said, start learning mandarin and forget about democracy. However, seeing the rest of your message, you evidence fascist views, so democracy is not something you'll miss.
    So I'm funny, I wish I could say something positive about what I have read of yours. This episode in QEN is also now part of history and once again your country's image has been sullied by the perfidious Anglo-Saxons. Get a life. Bye
  • This commment is unpublished.
    another · 9 years ago
    I have now read Michael Yon's latest blog article (dated March 15) and it is no longer clear that Spanish troops treated US servicemen in the way initially described.
    There will be suspicion that what we are now witnessing is a politically-motivated whitewash aimed at smoothing feathers within the Coalition and it should be interesting to read Michael's blog over the next few weeks on this subject. Nevertheless, I now feel two things are warranted:
    1. someone in the US army has made a mistake in either exaggerating incidents or providing a whitewash for them and should be accountable for this. Let's hope we actually find out which of the two it is.
    2. in the meantime, I for one feel the necessity to apologize for my criticism of those specific and now questionable actions. It goes to show that a journalist has to double-check sources. Unfortunately, much of what has been written here, by myself included, evidences discrepancies between "allies" that go far beyond this incident and those won't go away anytime soon.
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    Magellan4441 · 9 years ago
    I can only laugh at all this...So much injuried Spanish pride and so much US bravado...
    I ask again Mr Yon if he confirms or not the alleged rude treatment by the spaniards. If you do not want to answer here, send me an email. I do not belive it. If it is true I´ll start sending mails to whoever in Spain to try to change it, but, honestly, I do not believe it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Big Time · 9 years ago
    There are many nations who claim to be 'allies' of the US, primarily for the foreign aid we pay them to be our 'allies'. But in all honesty, we have only a very few true 'allies'. Spain isn't one of them. Canada, UK, Australia, Italy, perhaps South Korea and Japan, and a few other northern European nations are. For that we thank you. But really, aside from these countries, what do the others have to offer, especially in the way of military capability in theater? Not much. As mentioned many times on this thread, they are merely 'coat-tail' allies.

    -break-

    As unfortunate as the situaiton is, and I'm sure there are other in the AOR just as bad, it is exactly these types of situations in which the US miitary men and women thrive and excel. They'll figure out a way to get it done or work around it. Adapt and overcome is the mantra. It's what we do best. Hoo-aah!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JmDt · 9 years ago
    I'm 1 Lt in the Spanish military (light infantry) and I have been deployed in Qala-I-Naw as Platoon Leader.
    The Spanish soldiers are no responsable of their chain of command or the government decisions as happens today in Afghanistan or few years ago in Iraq.
    We have more restrictive ROES and Cavetas and all the operational decisions involving the deliberate use of force are ordered directly from madrid.

    I am in the infantry and me and my soldiers are doing their best.


  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Benish · 9 years ago
    JmDT. Speaks the truth. I am back at Qala-E-Naw as I write this. I visit both bases on a daily basis. The Spanish have been nothing but professional, cooperative and supportive of everything we do here. We needed EOD support and got it. No questions. I speak with both 82nd and Spanish soldiers on a daily basis. They have an excellent relationship. I do consider the Spanish allies.

    US Army
    Special Forces Retired.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tyler Wallis · 9 years ago
    i see a couple problems here. first of all no one knows if the email was even real. second more people are concerned with name calling and history lessons then actually fixing the problem. i may not know much about this particular battle but i know damn well what it takes to win. morale and cooperation from allies. im not dissing spain because im not really sure if this negligence was intended or not. but stop the immature squabbling alright? you know things are sad when a 17 year old boy (me) has a better head on his shoulders then most of the soldiers on this blog.
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    Retired SFC · 8 years ago
    I worked with the Spanish Army in Germany and the NCO corps was a shell wishing for better days. The officers were often wealthy and titled and lacked interoperability. The NCOs were willing but limited in their scope of allowed duties. If the Spanish dislike us it is a leadership and political problem, most Spanish soldiers I met just needed leadership and direction and to make sure someone had their back. Many other countries in Afghanistan take this for granted because they are more evolved. I have worked with German, Canadian and British and I always worked things out at a soldier level because we had resources. This LTC does not have this because of remoteness and unwilling leadership souring the possible solutions, but it will get worse as soldiers with weak leadership point fingers for their reduced circumstances
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Smithd199 · 4 years ago
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  • This commment is unpublished.
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  • This commment is unpublished.
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