8 Years in Afghanistan: A Look at Fort Carson, Colo.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

All this week we will be marking eight years since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001. Today we look at the conflict as seen through the eyes of one community whose sacrifices are difficult to fathom. The 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade is based out of Fort Carson, Colo., near Colorado Springs. The combat unit that lost eight men on Saturday after an attack by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan came from Fort Carson. In both Iraq and Afghanistan the post has lost more than 270 soldiers.

We speak to Sgt. Maj. Terrance McWilliams, who was the highest-ranking enlisted man at Fort Carson. He served as Commander there for five-and-a-half years before retiring in 2007. And he spent 31 years in the Army.  He’s now Director of Military Support for the El Pomar Foundation — a private foundation that supports community programs in Colorado. We also speak to Tom Roeder, military correspondent for The Gazette in Colorado Springs.

Guests:

Sergeant Major(Ret.) Terrance McWilliams and Tom Roeder

Produced by:

Abbie Fentress Swanson

Comments [5]

Adrianne CD Kadzinski

PS - I know 1LT Rouse; we never served together (I went to Afghanistan in an earlier wave of military officers). While I will not be disrespectful of my chain of command and enumerate all of my problems with DOD policies and actions (there is not enough time in the day), you can rest assured neither of us is a shill for DOD.

Respectfully, peace, out here, ACDK

Oct. 06 2009 11:35 PM
Adrianne CD KAdzinski

Let me say again: poverty->desperation ->corruption->instability->gladly incited/exacerbated by violent religious extremists and financed by amoral criminals in a region with nukes. What is good about such a status quo?

Before someone calls Afghanistan the graveyard of empires again, please note: other than the Taliban, Afghans welcome US presence. The majority do not view us as invaders - yet. We can squander this good will by limiting our activities to a few "precision" strikes where the public can debate endlessly whether we hit a real high value target or some hapless wedding. Or we can commit to turning this country around and stabilizing this region. We did it in Korea. We could do it again. Please don’t make our children have to return here for another round of bloodshed.

Oct. 06 2009 11:34 PM
Adrianne CD KAdzinski

I realize that many Americans feel uninspired by the past 8 years of US leadership overseas. I fervently believe the US must ensure a secure, stable Afghanistan firmly planted on the road to peace and prosperity in the global community.

We are confronting a "state" of Afghanistan on the brink of disaster:
• Situated between an unstable Pakistan with a formidable nuclear arsenal and a volatile Iranian leadership with disturbing nuclear weaponry ambitions;
• With a current history of harboring a motley crew of violent extremists hell-bent on exporting their nihilist vision worldwide; and
• Whose economy and society are on the verge of becoming a narco-slave state where billions of dollars flow to criminals and terrorists, and most of the population is effectively enslaved to illicit goods trafficking; thereby depriving Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the region of desperately needed licit tax revenues to serve their people.

Oct. 06 2009 11:31 PM
Adrianne CD Kadzinski

Over the past few years, I have been struck by the difference in views primarily between people who have never been to Afghanistan and have only marginal involvement if any with that country, and those people who have traveled, lived and fought (either as soldiers or civilians) for Afghanistan in the past 8 years. Those of us who have actual current experience of that country tend to be much more optimistic about the future of Afghanistan, than those whose knowledge is primarily academic or is outdated by ten years. I say that with a caveat – provided, however, that we the US lead by example, by resourcing sufficiently Afghanistan’s stabilization and reconstruction. This will be a long term commitment. It need not be a never-ending cycle of blood as many Americans fear.

Oct. 06 2009 11:26 PM
Richard Johnston

Will we never undertand we can no more pacify this country than Alexander the Great, the Mongols, the British or the Russians could? Is it really in the United States' national interest to secure Afghanistan? Does anyone seriously think American voters have the patience and persistence to sacrifice their soldiers and treasure for countless years to come? Never mind the shameless corruption of the government we are supporting there, we need to cut our losses now and make an honorable withdrawal before it looks even worse later.

Oct. 06 2009 08:47 AM

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