ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Todays Attack Brought to You By The Taliban

The idea of the Taliban didn't seem so bad when I was sitting on couch watching television, my beverage of choice in my left hand, the remote in my right hand, me deftly flipping between the news and a cooking program with that guy with the cool car and the spiky hair.

"The Taliban hates America. News at eleven."

"The Taliban condemns the U.S. Army."

The Taliban outlaws everything."

The Taliban demands all Afghanistan return to its thirteenth century values."

The headlines are ludicrous. Ten thousand miles removed, it's hard to believe. But it's true.

There are a group of men who hate me and my entire family because we exist. It was an esoteric idea that I never really understood-- that I couldn't understand-- until I was here.

Another idea which I thought I understood was the concept of' 'the fighting season.' I think I thought of it like a 'football season' or a 'planting season' or a 'rainy season.' I treated it like it was a holistic period of time, rather than something begins with a Taliban commander shouting, "ready, set, go kill them all!"

So I've been in Afghanistan a month now. There's fighting all over the place, especially in the south. There are provinces where the people are fleeing. There are places where the Afghan military are holding their own. And there are a slew of attacks on innocent civilians. I'm sort of removed from it where I am. I read about these events, I hear about them, they are the topic of conversation, but like you sitting at home, unless the badness comes knocking at your front door, it seems like someone else's problem.

Then came the VBIED attack last week which claimed the life of Americans. The attack was only a few kilometers from me. I didn't hear it, but only because I was still asleep.

Then there was the attack yesterday at a UN compound near (but not in) the Green Zone. I heard the suicide bomber explode himself. I heard the gunshots. I heard the grenades. I was in a bazaar buying a pair of lapis lazuli bowls for my wife and I. I hurriedly packed up my stuff, and headed back. Soon, we were on lockdown. I'm sure the entrances to the compound bristled with weapons, prepared for any sort of attack. All the while, we heard the sounds of battle.

Child Running From Yesterdays Attack - NY TIMES
The NY Times has a great summation of the attack, which you can read here. For me, it was inconvenient  For people like this family and the kids in the picture above, it was a traumatic event that they will never forget. They probably lost loved ones. When I see this kid, I see my own son, and it makes me mad.

Where are the days when we could square off across a battlefield, slap our shields, then run at each other?

I thought of posting some funny, anti-Taliban demotivational posters here because it's so easy to laugh at the Taliban. I even thought of ending the essay with a picture of the most awesome Christopher Walken demanding more cowbell. But as I began to write this, I started to become angry at the Taliban and the other organizations of their ilk Do you want to see what outrage is? Look at this Pulitzer Prize winning photo of a girl standing amidst the dead after an attack (Warning -- GRAPHIC).


So here I am.

I'm not on my couch any longer.

No more beverages of preference and no more remote controls for my TV.

I'm going to do something about the Taliban. I'm going to make their lives miserable. I am good at my job... no, I am great at my job. America has always been called a sleeping lion and these asshats have woken me up.

I have five months left and I'm going work as hard as I can to bring as many of these cowardly fighters down. I thought about this as I sat listening to the sound of gunfire and grenades last night. I woke up thinking about it this morning.

My country sent me to do a job.

And I'm going to do it.

*     *     *

So I went to lunch and came back. It's raining outside now, a veritable downpour. I had time to rethink my stance on making fun of the Taliban and their ilk.

I think they're fair game.

So I will make fun of them. I know. I know. It's too easy. There's so much I can say or do. But I'll limit my jocular attitude to one picture.

Today's You're Stupid if you join the Taliban picture brought to you by Weston Ochse.

If offended, please call your local ISAF security force who will come to your home to hear your complaint.

Thank you.

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