Soldier sees good in work in Afghanistan

Tour strengthens resolve

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James "Danny" Lifsey is in a foreign country, searching for explosives, dodging bullets and missing home.

U.S. Army Pfc. James Lifsey, of Augusta, hops over a wall as Ranger, a stray dog, follows along on patrol in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Soldiers in Lifsey's platoon say many of the strays that wander onto the outpost follow the patrols.   Associated Press
Associated Press
U.S. Army Pfc. James Lifsey, of Augusta, hops over a wall as Ranger, a stray dog, follows along on patrol in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Soldiers in Lifsey's platoon say many of the strays that wander onto the outpost follow the patrols.

He couldn't be happier.

Pfc. Lifsey, 19, of Augusta, has had 10 months to adjust to life in Afghanistan, where he is stationed with the U.S. Army. But he still remembers the culture shock the night he first arrived in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city.

"It smelled really bad, and it was really hot," Lifsey said by e-mail Wednesday.

More surprises were in store as he set out with his Stryker unit for their first mission. Strykers are versatile, all-terrain, eight-wheeled armored vehicles; Lifsey's job was to provide protection with a grenade launcher.

Lifsey first was struck by the mud homes and the primitive tools the Afghans use. But the locals' kindness knew no cultural boundaries, he said, and they were quick to offer the patrolling soldiers tea and bread. The Afghan National Army was also supportive, he said.

The combination sealed Lifsey's resolve to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban.

"We are doing (what) needs to be done so these people can one day be free of the Taliban and free to go about their day without fear," Lifsey said.

Their mission at this point is to interrupt enemy movement and provide security for Highway 1. Lifsey is now a Stryker driver, although he still spends much of his time dismounted. His calls his time behind the wheel both "fun" and "extremely stressful."

There have been several close calls with improvised explosive devices, but "someone up their (sic) must have been looking out for us," Lifsey wrote.

Lifsey's platoon goes back and forth between two company operations bases. The Taliban attacks the bases regularly, and contact with the enemy is almost guaranteed every time the platoon sets out for the three- to seven-hour patrols.

President Obama met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House on Wednesday and cautioned that the war in Afghanistan will get worse before it improves.

"What I've tried to emphasize is the fact that there is going to be some hard fighting over the next several months," Obama said in an Associated Press report.

There are good days and bad days. Lifsey said he enjoys doing humanitarian work with his company, giving out school supplies, balls and candy to children.

Phone calls are a mixed blessing for Lifsey. They give him a chance to catch up on the news back home, but they only emphasize the distance between him and family in Augusta.

A recent Associated Press photo of Lifsey captures him climbing over a wall with a dog named Ranger behind him. Lifsey said Ranger was a pup with the Afghan army, but "I think the dog liked us better."

Ranger sets out on patrols with the rest of Lifsey's platoon and walks up and down the line to make sure everyone is OK.

"He never runs away from a fight, just like us," Lifsey said.

Obama: U.S. on track to bring troops home

WASHINGTON --- President Obama says the U.S. is still on track to begin bringing troops home from Afghanistan in July of next year.

Obama says there have been steady signs of progress since he increased the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan late last year. But he said progress takes time and cautioned that the U.S. must commit to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan.

Speaking during a joint news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama said he is in constant discussions with his commanders in Afghanistan about how to execute the troop withdrawal. Karzai is in Washington for a series of meetings this week.

-- Associated Press

Afghan war will get worse before it gets better/5A

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JayJay
29
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JayJay 05/13/10 - 05:14 am
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God Bless Pfc. Lifsey and his

God Bless Pfc. Lifsey and his platoon.

justus4
107
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justus4 05/13/10 - 05:15 am
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The sad reality is that the
Unpublished

The sad reality is that the US military will not solve the problems in Afghanistan and can NEVER "get rid" of the Taliban. This was a costly and foolish mistake to invade that country and the CINC's plan to withdraw combat forces in 2011 is spot on. Declare so-called "victory" and stop wasting taxpayer dollars and those constantly yapping about deficits and "ruining our children's future" and government spending, should welcome the planned withdrawal, but something tells me that they will find fault with the plan. Oh, and the Pfc who wants the Afghan people to "be rid of the Taliban" does not exactly have the time & grade to offer such insight on the mission. He should keep his head down and try to get back home in one piece.

cristinadh
6
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cristinadh 05/13/10 - 06:45 am
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May god watch over them and

May god watch over them and my little brother.. I want him back!!!

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 05/13/10 - 07:46 am
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Nice piece of war propaganda.

Nice piece of war propaganda. How much does a gung-ho 19 y.o. high school graduate on his first combat tour know about Afghanistan, its people, geopolitics, or the true nature of war? I hope this kid comes home in one piece without mental or physical scars.

The Augusta Chronicle owes us follow up reports on Pfc. Lifsey as his time in the Army and combat experience increase. Should he leave the Army, The Chronicle may be able to better access all of his true feelings when he no longer wears a uniform or is subject to military rules and regulations which no doubt put limits on his freedom of speech.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 05/13/10 - 08:11 am
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JRHC, Pfc. Lifsey is not a

JRHC, Pfc. Lifsey is not a gung-ho 19 y.o. high school kid, he is a man who is serving his country. I'm sure that in the 10 months he has spent in Afghanistan and it's people, he can tell more about the people and the true nature of war, more so than you sir. God Bless Pfc. Lifsey and our men and women in uniform.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 05/13/10 - 08:56 am
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InChristLove, what an ironic

InChristLove, what an ironic screen name you have. I did not write that Pfc. Lifsey is a gung-ho 19 y.o. high school kid. I wrote "How much does a gung-ho 19 y.o. high school graduate on his first combat tour know about Afghanistan, its people, geopolitics, or the true nature of war? I further wrote "I hope this kid comes home in one piece without mental or physical scars.

InChristLove, it is a physiological fact that the frontal lobe of the brain does not fully develop in males until age 25. This is the area of the brain that has to do with making executive decisions that call for judgment.

I understand that societies have sent their young people off to war for eons. Kids this age fought valiantly in WWII. However, the U.S. neocolonial war in Afghanistan is a war of choice and a political war just like the the U.S. neocolonial, political war in Vietnam. United States has occupied Afghanistan for 9 years. The era of colonialism has passed.

If you did any research whatsoever, InChristLove, you would understand that the U.S. war in Afghanistan is doomed. Pfc. Lindsey is serving his country but in a lost cause.

Hamid Karzai is corrupt. The people in the north of Afghanistan as well as in the Taliban stronghold of southern Afghanistan hate his guts and hate his government. They do not fear the Taliban because they have nothing to lose. They fear U.S. bombs meant for the Taliban.

InChristLove, neither you not Pfc. Lifsey has a clue about the nature of the war in Afghanistan. Pfc. Lifsey is doing his duty. You and people like you are offering him up on the alter as a potential sacrifice to the god of war.

Anna Bodkin (I'm not sure of the spelling of her name) just returned from northern Afghanistan. She writes for Foreign Policy magazine. She was on PRI's "The World" yesterday (May 12). Listen to what she says about the nature of the war in northern Afghanistan. It is nothing like the looking-through-a-straw perspective of Army grunts or the propaganda issuing from the Obama-Karzai meeting in Washington. If you want the truth, InChristLove, you have to look for it.

Bodkin's scathing report comes after Katy Clark's obligatory coverage of the Obama-Karzai meeting. You can listen to the mp3 audio of Marko Werman's interview of Ms. Bodkin.

http://www.theworld.org/2010/05/12/afghan-leader-karzai-in-washington/

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 05/13/10 - 08:59 am
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JRHC, you don't know me or

JRHC, you don't know me or anything about me so how can you make an assessment on what I need to research or whether I know anything about the nature of war in Afghanistan. You wrote "How much does a gung-ho 19 y.o. high school graduate on his first combat tour know about Afghanistan, its people, geopolitics, or the true nature of war? Is that not the same thing as I said "Pfc. Lifsey is not a gung-ho 19 y.o. high school kid, he is a man who is serving his country." You can word it how you like but the fact is you are calling a serviceman, a gung-ho 19 year old kid. And what is so ironic about my screen name? Please explain.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 05/13/10 - 09:07 am
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Also JRHC, how am I or people

Also JRHC, how am I or people like me offering Pfc. Lifsey up on the alter as a potential sacrifice to the god of war. I've neither said whether I agree or disagree with the war in Afghanistan, I simply do not approve of someone here at home, enjoying all the comforts of home, criticizing our men and women in the armed services who put their lives on the line every day for you, belittling their character.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 05/13/10 - 09:45 am
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I did not write that Pfc.

I did not write that Pfc. Lifsey is a 19 y.o. high school kid. I wrote that he is a 19 y.o. high school graduate, but he is still mentally a kid because his brain has not yet matured. That is a physiological fact. Check it out.

I did not criticize this young man. He is serving his country, but neither he nor you have yet realized that this is a lost cause. United States has no right to occupy Afghanistan. What right do we have to be there? We had the right to invade in 2001 in hot pursuit of the planners of 9/11. They fled. Less than 200 Al Qaeda are in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is no threat to this country. We are backing a corrupt government that the people of Afghanistan do not support.

I care more about the life of Pfc. Lifsey and others like him than you do, InChristLove. You are not supporting him. You are supporting a 9 year old failed and doomed military mission just like the U.S. war in Afghanistan failed. I have the facts to back it up. This mission is costing $75 billion a year - more than the U.S. war in Iraq. NATO fatalities, US fatalities, and Afghan civilian fatalities are at a record pace. I did not belittle Pfc. Lifsey's character, but I do belittle yours, InChristLove. Your claim that he is putting his life on the line everyday for me is hogwash. That is just the political correct lie that is used to justify an unnecessary war. Afghanistan does not threaten me or this country. United States is try to establish long term hegemony in Iraq and if Afghanistan and is trying to force the entire Middle East and South Asia under the U.S. national security umbrella. Anybody who knows anything about history knows that mission is a pipe dream. Lots of Pfcs will die as a result of our nation trying to remain the militarily dominant force in what is now a multipolar world. This war is about the resources of the region including oil and natural gas and about beating China and Russia in the control and exploitation of those resources.

"Distrust of Afghan Leaders Threatens U.S. War Strategy" By ALISSA J. RUBIN | The New York Times | Published: May 12, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/13/world/asia/13afghan.html?ref=global-home

"JALALABAD, Afghanistan - The fate of the new U.S. strategy may well depend on whether Afghans can overcome their corrosive distrust of President Hamid Karzai’s government."

brimisjoshan
2
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brimisjoshan 05/13/10 - 09:42 am
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I am going to post this once

I am going to post this once more: Don't know really where to post this. So I will post this on a few places. My husband known to you as brimjoshan died 3 days ago and will not be making anymore posts. He used to laugh and go on about the people who posted on here. He always hoped he was able to make some stand for God on these forums and he enjoyed chatting with several of you and prayed for many of you by name for your salvation. He didn't know your real names but prayed for you just the same. He said that there was always some passionate discussions to be found and since he was homebound for the last 6 months it really kind of helped him feel in touch with people. Well, he is with the Lord now and I will sign out for him just like he used to sign his letters. Making Him Known, Brimishjoshan

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 05/13/10 - 09:50 am
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God resolves all human

God resolves all human dichotomies. Love abides. May be peace that exceeds all human understanding be with you and your family, Ms. Brimishjohan.

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 05/13/10 - 10:09 am
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InChristLove wrote; "JRHC,

InChristLove wrote; "JRHC, you don't know me or anything about me so how can you make an assessment on what I need to research or whether I know anything about the nature of war in Afghanistan. You wrote "How much does a gung-ho 19 y.o. high school graduate on his first combat tour know about Afghanistan, its people, geopolitics, or the true nature of war?"
____________________________

ICL, please allow me to try and answer this. Before any Soldier, of any branch of service sets foot on foreign ground, they are given training to acclimate them to the area they will be on operational status in. This training thoroughly indoctrinates them to the cultures, habits, safety, and dangers to the specific area they will be assigned in. The Military does NOT just throw a "greenhorn" young troop, into a completely unknown situation. JRHC doesn't know about this, because he has never served in the Military.

Gothamist
26
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Gothamist 05/13/10 - 10:43 am
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Pfc. Lifsey, thank you for

Pfc. Lifsey, thank you for your service and God Speed Sir. Cain; you just never give up do you. Please give this act a rest already. Personally I’m looking forward to this weekend; ARMED FORCES DAY IS THIS SATURDAY. Come on down Cain and say thanks to those who protect us from harm’s way. I'll be there to say thanks. See y’all at the commons.
http://www.thunderoveraugusta.com/maps.php

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 05/13/10 - 10:48 am
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Ms. Brimishjoshan, I am so

Ms. Brimishjoshan, I am so sorry to hear about your husband going home. I have had many discussions with your husband and look forward to the day when I can meet him face to face in our heavenly home. My prayer is that God will give you comfort and strength during this time of grieving. I will miss his comments on here.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 05/13/10 - 10:52 am
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JHRC posted, "I did not

JHRC posted, "I did not belittle Pfc. Lifsey's character, but I do belittle yours, InChristLove." Why? but thank you. Must have hit a nerve to bring out such ugly character in a person.

Sargebaby, thanks...JHRC assumes much and knows nothing about me.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 05/13/10 - 11:16 am
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PRI's "The World" does not

PRI's "The World" does not seem to have yesterday's interview with Anna Badkhen that followed Katy Clark's report that I linked above.

Here is Anna Badkhen's report from northern Afghanistan filed on April 28, 2010. She does not paint the picture of a U.S. mission that is succeeding in northern Afghanistan. Her report yesterday we equally stark and discouraging.

"Afghanistan’s government" By PRI's The World ⋅ April 28, 2010

http://www.theworld.org/2010/04/28/afghanistans-government/

"Anchor Marco Werman talks to reporter Anna Badkhen, who has been travelling through Northern Afghanistan, about conditions there under the current government. Critics say the defeat of the Taliban depends on a more effective and less corrupt government."

augustalawyer
0
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augustalawyer 05/13/10 - 11:23 am
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So I see that Cain is

So I see that Cain is slithering out from underneath his rock, yet again, to denigrate the nobility of the American soldier. Since he has never accepted the challenge to go over himself to see what Afghanistan and Iraq are really like, it is apparent that his opinions are based in cowardice and ignorance which lack all credibility.
It is all too easy to sit on your sofa spewing hate towards your own country and the American combat soldier, as Cain has over the past several years, but what has he ever contributed to society?
The current mission in Afghanistan exemplifies the true nobility of the American people and the American soldier. We are not there for any “imperialistic” goals, but simply to help a people protect themselves and their children from a common enemy. Our soldiers put their lives at risk every day by walking the streets, roads and trails in the towns, villages and country side of this country simply to provide protections to a people who just want to be free from tyranny.
Regardless of why you think the American soldier is overseas, why is it so difficult to put your politics aside and just respect their sacrifices?
I respect and applaud the efforts of the fine soldier in this article.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 05/13/10 - 12:03 pm
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Sargebaby fancies himself a

Sargebaby fancies himself a military expert. That is highly contestable, but I know this to be a fact: Sargebaby repeatedly denigrates Islam and its prophet Muhammad. He claims to have read and comprehended the Koran but nevertheless tells the lie that Muslims are sworn to kill infidels.

I guarantee that U.S. Army soldiers on their first combat tour in Afghanistan do not have a working understanding of Islam, the history of Afghanistan, its customs, its languages, its tribes, or the feeling of ordinary Afghans towards the corrupt puppet government of Hamid Karzai that the U.S. backs.

Furthermore, the relationship between the American occupation soldiers who carry guns and unarmed Afghan civilians is not a coequal relationship. Afghans' words and actions towards occupation troops has to be seen through that filter.

Relying of U.S. occupation soldiers who are on active duty for an unbiased, objective view of Afghanistan is absurd. Reporters like Anna Badkehn are not armed and are not a threat to Afghan civilians. Also she is able to get women's perspectives on the U.S. war and occupation of Afghanistan and on other issues that are important to Afghan women.

"The Crossing" - reports on Anna Badkhen's journey across Afghanistan | Foreign Policy Magazine

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/category/section/the_crossing

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 05/13/10 - 12:03 pm
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augustalawyer falsely writes:

augustalawyer falsely writes: "The current mission in Afghanistan exemplifies the true nobility of the American people and the American soldier. We are not there for any “imperialistic” goals, but simply to help a people protect themselves and their children from a common enemy."

I respond to augustalawyer by saying this is how invading crusaders always justify their wars. From the reports I hear, the Afghan people do want help, but they do not trust the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai who has done absolutely NOTHING for them in 9 years. Now the Obama administration is busy making nice with Karzai who clearly stole the recent election. United States has killed lots of Afghan civilians in its 9 year long effort to eradicate the Taliban which is an indigenous Afghan force. Nevertheless the Taliban are now stronger than ever. The population of Kandahar supports the Taliban, not the Afghan gov't and not the U.S. occupation forces.

I have been posting here in Reader Comments as regularly as anyone - certainly more regularly than you, augustalawyer. Maybe it's you who has been hiding under a rock. What legal right does United States have to occupy Afghanistan 9 years after the Taliban were toppled and Al Qaeda's leadership fled that impoverished country? What threat does this country with a GDP of less than $14 billion pose to the great and mighty United States? The answer to both questions is NONE, augustalawyer.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 05/13/10 - 12:52 pm
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"Pentagon rethinking value of

"Pentagon rethinking value of major counterinsurgencies" By Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy Newspapers | Wednesday, May 12, 2010

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/05/12/94058/pentagon-rethinking-value-of...

"Nearly a decade after the United States began to focus its military training and equipment purchases almost exclusively on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. military strategists are quietly shifting gears, saying that large-scale counterinsurgency efforts cost too much and last too long."

mary dits
2
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mary dits 05/13/10 - 11:55 pm
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brimisjoshan's wife. i'm

brimisjoshan's wife. i'm sorry for your loss.

sdowydar
0
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sdowydar 05/14/10 - 09:49 am
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To everyone who supported our

To everyone who supported our son Pfc Danny Lifsey, I want to thank you for understanding of what it takes to become a man and to give more and not take.

Pfc. Lifsey does what he believes in.. no matter other think!. Simply as parents we love, honor and support him in every step of the way. Don't you think if the good people of Afghanistan has found the kindness in their hearts to support our troupe don't you think that we owe it to them and not much less. As Mr. In Christ Love said "I do not approve of someone here at home, enjoying all the comforts of home, criticizing our men and women in the armed services who put their lives on the line every day for you, belittling their character". Just wondering for all of those who criticizing our army families and call them names-what are you doing to change the war and the next time you feel fear or un-safe just remember that those type of army men and women may be saving your life one day. God bless our son Pfc James Lifsey and everyone with him.
Shahnaz Dowydar.( Proud Army MOM )

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 05/15/10 - 08:25 am
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The same picture of U.S. Army

The same picture of U.S. Army Pfc. James Lifsey of Augusta, Ga. advancing over a low wall in Afghanistan is found in another Associated Press story titled "Dodging ambushes in a terrain made for them" in the Saturday, May 15, 2010 online edition of the Dallas Morning News. The picture really has little or nothing to do with the news story filed by reporter Sebastian Abbot as Lifsey is not mentioned in the body of the story. I guess reporter Abbot or the Associated Press editors did not deem Lifsey's input on this operation to be essential or particularly relevant to this report from Afghanistan.

Back in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia, The Augusta Chronicle editorial staff thinks Pfc. Lifsey has important first hand insight into the nature of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. That's hogwash. The day before this editorial ran, The Chronicle ran a story in the Metro section titled "Soldier sees good in work in Afghanistan: Tour strengthens resolve" by Staff Writer Kyle Martin. The story wasn't filed from Afghanistan. This human interest story was written at a desk in Augusta. Maybe The Chronicle wishes to explain if it conducted a telephone interview with Pfc. Lifsey or whether its staff gleaned the information from The Associated Press. Or maybe The Chronicle wishes that information about this human interest story to remain ambiguous. They did not make it clear in the story that Staff Writer Kyle Martin wrote on Thursday, May 13, 2010.

Pfc. James "Danny" Lifsey is a 19 y.o. rifle toter sent by his Great Power government to try to impose its will on Afghanistan. Lifsey and those like him understand little if anything about the war's origins, its overall strategy, the feeling of ordinary Afghans, the motivations of the Taliban, the conduct of the war at the highest levels, or the various outcomes that are acceptable to his government, or possible outcomes his government may be forced to accept. Lifsey's mission like almost all soldiers in almost all wars is the adage: "Ours is not to question why. Ours is but to do and die."

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/stories/DN-terrai...

JayJay
29
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JayJay 05/16/10 - 07:05 pm
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I'll say it again, God Bless

I'll say it again, God Bless Pfc. Lifsey and his entire platoon. I am so thankful for their efforts, regardless of the outcome. God bless their families during their absence. Families and the troops alike are more than deserving of my respect.

johnalifsey
27
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johnalifsey 07/21/10 - 10:03 am
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Our son is home! He was proud

Our son is home! He was proud to say no one in his platoon was killed on this tour of duty. Thank you for all of your support during his tour. He was promoted to Specialist. Congratulations Danny.

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