Walt Nygard | “It is time to reclaim, not just our state, our country, but our very soul.”
Walt is the father of my childhood best friend. I grew up around Walt. He even coached my baseball team for a few years. here is an entry he sent out just yesterday. I thought it was important to share this.
GREEN ON BLUE
AND NEW JERSEY, TOO
By Walt Nygard
In the days before Memorial Day, I noticed the banner strung above Cedar Lane at
Palisades Avenue. Soon to be replaced by a banner advertising the Annual Teaneck
Street Fair, this one welcomed home U.S. troops. Presumably from Iraq, since President
Obama’d recently declared that war over.
I didn’t get it. Afghanistan is happening. At that point hitting 2000 KIAs. And
didn’t Teaneck, New Jersey know that our own 508th Military Police Company was
on orders to depart July 19th. Looped into a 45-day training cycle at Camp Shelby,
Mississippi, they’d fly out for 9 months in Afghanistan.
A July 19th Record article stated that about a quarter of the 146 soldiers in the 508th
have served previous deployments. The Company’s orders are for Camp Phoenix,
Afghanistan. About six miles from Kabul International Airport, the 508th MP’s have
been assigned to train and mentor Afghan National Police.
With their quarter strength of veteran soldiers the 508th is entering an Afghan cauldron
where every man, woman and child has been at war their entire life. Where we have
gone to fight Al Qaeda or the Taliban, we now find ourselves with a new enemy: our
Green on Blue violence is the new front in the Afghan War. This year over thirty
American, British and French soldiers have been killed by members of the Afghan
National Army or Police. Many others have been wounded. Green on Blue casaulty
totals already surpass the number of such killings in all of 2011.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, speaking of
Green on Blue, was quoted by the American Forces Press Service, “. . . where this will
finally be solved is when they have the same vetting as we do, because they know who
they are better than we do. And the same was true in Iraq”. Iraq? Poor salesmanship,
General. We never did figure out the difference between Shia and Sunni. Allegiances
and alliances were much touted back then. On the troop level they meant nothing. The
present state of that violent, ravaged and benighted land is no template for success.
General Dempsey added, “I’ll tell you definitively at this point that our national
security interests are such that we have to take the additional risk that this brings”.
Our “national security interests” have nothing to do with young Americans being
killed by Afghans fed up with foreign invaders occupying their land. Our “national
security interests” would have been better served if, at the time of the Soviet collapse,
we would have assumed the benevolent and diplomatic mantle of the sole world power.
Instead we have loosed barbaric invasions on country after country to feed the corporate
greed that has corrupted our government and the star-studded luminaries of the U.S.
military. We have made ourselves hated around the world and crippled our country in the
The “additional risk” now falls to an understrength MP Company from New Jersey.
146 soldiers: the two dozen female soldiers will have to be reassigned out of sight lest
they offend the religious sensibilities of Afghan mentorees. In Mississippi, the 508th
will shake off their part-time status and screw on their full-time courage. By month’s end
they’ll be bound for Afghanistan.
There are those however who are paying attention. Introduced May 14th, 2012,
Assembly Joint Resolution 66 calls upon the President of the United States and
the Secretary of Defense “to withdraw all New Jersey National Guard troops from
AJR 66 notes the one trillion dollar cost – so far – of the Afghan War. It does not
mention an earlier trillion squandered in Iraq or the on-going deluge of funds for the
shadow wars on Iran, Pakistan, Yemen. Doesn’t mention the secret wars in Honduras or
Colombia or the wars-in-the-works in Africa and Asia.
The Resolution further notes the potential vulnerability of the State of New Jersey
to “natural disaster or terrorist attack” and “the close proximity of the State to potential
terrorist targets”. New Jerseyans know we’ll bear a lot of grief for anything that
happens in New York City. The local disruption of lives, business and economy is noted
as military families, children, employers and co-workers deal with the absence of their
The untried soldiers of the 508th are about to become veterans. As the World War
II old-timers used to say, they have chosen to stand up and be counted. Unlike those
soldiers of yesteryear, the 508th is off to fight a country that never attacked us and was
once our ally, just like Iraq. Is it any wonder that our enemy wears the uniform of our
Thursday night I spoke to my son Joe. A veteran of sixteen months in Afghanistan
(10th Mountain Division) and a year in Iraq (256th Infantry Brigade), he is now a .50
caliber machinegunner assigned to the 508th MP Company.
He tells me training is good but Mississippi’s even hotter than Jersey. They have
Middle Eastern people role playing on the manuevers they go on. They know all about
Green on Blue.
Worried that the .50 caliber – a thunderous and effective weapon which I saw
employed, ironically, by a Marine MP Company south of the Danang airstrip a lifetime
ago – might be too large to be brought to bear against an up close target, I ask him if he
has a pistol. He knows what I’m asking and he answers in the affirmative. He tells me
he’s good to go. He’s got a 9mm pistol and an M4 carbine.
I am a veteran for peace and though I know he knows, I tell him anyway: keep that
pistol with you at all times.
As I write this, three more American soldiers have been killed: Green on Blue.
AJR 66 should be passed in the Legislature by acclamation. Every state should pass
an AJR 66. The silence of the American people throughout the prosecution of illegal and
disastrous war over the last decade, has been deafening. It is time to reclaim, not just our
state, our country, but our very soul.
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