Wake up early in the morning, not relaxed but full of fear. Continue with the first fire fight. Having breakfast and instead of a relaxing after it the second fire fight is on. A short lunch and then the next fire fight. Up to seven fire fights a day is the usual day routine of a soldier based at a remote Afghan outpost. Those guys don’t have an easy live. But the war doesn’t really hurt the soldiers. The person that got hit by such a war are the civilians that live under the conditions of friends and family dying, soldiers controlling them every day. The sound of guns and war heard mainly all of the time. If you still think a soldiers life is harder, than think about that point. The soldiers chose to go into war and those civilians didn’t all they ever wanted is peace and wealth. They want their country like how it has used to be. Mothers and child are addicted of a drug called Opium, because they have no money and need to be stilled anyhow. They have a hard life and that’s just because they love their country. Why could that be like this  and what’s the only solution to that?

By Mick Segner

Sebastian Junger’s bestseller book War is one of the most popular and insightful books about the war fought by U.S. troops in remote Afghanistan. This book is trying to show the readers what war actually feels like, and tries to analyze every aspect of war. Junger’s story is a journey from the mental to the physical state of a soldier during open combat. It is a book that makes your heart beat as if you were on the middle of the fight, as well as it makes you reflect on the causes and damages of war on individuals.

For example, on the first chapters, Junger tries to explain and analyze the sense of fear. The fear that a soldier feels when they are in the middle of an ambush and adrenaline goes up so fast that their brain can almost operate, and your heart beats so fast you can’t even aim your rifle. The author also insists that being a soldier remains the ultimate challenge of character because it does not only need experience and strength, but also a strong personality and to stay focused.

Another example of strong personality and how a soldier gets so much into war that forgets his principles, is how a couple of soldiers start smoking due to stress. They say that even though they hate how cigarettes taste, they think it’s relaxing and drives the tension away for a while. This clearly shows how war can consume individuals up to the point where they have to break their own principles in order to survive.

Opium Poppy Plant
Aziza “unwraps [opium], breaking off a small chunk as if it were chocolate, and feeds it to four-year-old son, Omaidullah. It's his breakfast -- a lump of pure opium” (Damon).  The quote from the article we read about the civilian environment still gives me the chills.  Whole communities of people in Afghanistan have developed a culture that has led to generations of drug addiction.  Addicted mothers addict their children who start an already challenging life under the influence of drugs.  According to the article, this problem affects over one million Afghani’s.

When I read this article and discussed it with students, what struck me the most was the inability to foresee all consequences when planning a war.  No matter how well-trained or experienced war planners are, it’s impossible to think of everything.  Military resources and strategy often blind military planners to the social consequences of war.  This is understandable because one must win the war militarily before winning the peace.  When the U.S. and NATO committed to eliminating Al Qaeda and removing the Taliban from power, I wonder how much they considered issues they would have to address after accomplishing their military objectives like rampant drug abuse, addiction and trafficking.  Tackling this problem will be crucial to establish security and stability in Afghanistan’s future.

The U.S. and many NATO countries have drug problems of their own at home that they have struggled to confront.  How do you solve a terribly complex problem like this in someone else’s country?  When more than one million people are addicted to drugs and thousands more profit and gain power from the drug trade, it will take a generation to see significant progress in this area.  Will the international community endure a generation-long commitment to Afghanistan?  

James Brightman

Works Cited:

Damon, Arwa. "Afghan infants fed pure opium ." CNN.com . N.p., 24 Jan. 2011. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/01/20/afghan.opium.kids/index.html>.

In our final 9th grade English unit, Sergio, Mick and I will be blogging about the war in Afghanistan.  Each week, we will submit one or two posts reflecting on what we have read and discussed in class and challenging students and other visitors to the blog to share their views.  To keep our blog focused, we will always keep our MYP Unit Plan in mind:

Unit Question:  How do we justify war?

Significant Concept:  What are the consequences of war?

Area of Interaction: (Environments)  How do our Language A skills enable us to understand different environments?

During our unit,  we will be reading War by Sebastian Junger, watching the award-winning documentary Restrepo and examining current events media about the war in Afghanistan.  We welcome you to make comments, respond to our posts and suggest resources for us to consider.