U.S. troops ‘depressed, disillusioned’ in Afghanistan

American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taliban.

Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.

“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion.

“They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,” said Captain Sam Rico, of the Division’s 4-25 Field Artillery Battalion. “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.” The chaplains said that they were speaking out because the men could not.

The base is not, it has to be said, obviously downcast, and many troops do not share the chaplains’ assessment. The soldiers are, by nature and training, upbeat, driven by a strong sense of duty, and they do their jobs as best they can. Re-enlistment rates are surprisingly good for the 2-87, though poor for the 4-25. Several men approached by The Times, however, readily admitted that their morale had slumped.

“We’re lost — that’s how I feel. I’m not exactly sure why we’re here,” said Specialist Raquime Mercer, 20, whose closest friend was shot dead by a renegade Afghan policeman last Friday. “I need a clear-cut purpose if I’m going to get hurt out here or if I’m going to die.”

Read the full story at the Times of London.


  1. Sandra Price

    Get us out of Afghanistan…

    It makes absolutely no sense to continue to send our best and brightest Americans to fight a war that has no end in sight. Even if by some odd chance we do kill off the Taliban, it leaves America with badly beaten and depressed men and women. Is this just another blood sacrifice in a religious war? Bring our American kids home now! On their way out of the AFghanistan pick up what is left of our troops in Iraq.

    This is not keeping America safe! We continue to kill Islam in the Middle East and they continue to plan wars against America. The Taliban has let the world know they will kill Christians and Jews. They got their wish when our own apathetic group in D.C. ignored the attacks and threats. Even changing the political powers in the White House has meant nothing to the American voters.

    We can make a move in 2010 and we can throw the war-loving bastards out of the House of Representatives. That effort of throwing out the Republicans and Democrats who continue to support these wars could be the only way to stop the madness. We can protect our nation through our National Guards and give our troops a rest and kudos for their efforts.

    We can and should hold President Obama’s feet to the fire for keeping the wars (both) going after his election win. Our efforts and dollars should be building Vet’s Hopitals all over America and give a hand up to our Soldiers. The rest of us can wait our turn for health care actions.

    One thing at a time with a concentrated focus to finish one item to bring our brave men and women home and take care of their bodies and minds. These are the next generation makers and our government should be ashamed to put them in jeopardy.

    The American people on the street are feeling the depression from our actions in the Middle East. Our government brings our guys and gals in, trains them to fight and then brings them home and drop them back into society. I’m really upset as these are our kids and grandkids who are being treated like slaves who volunteered to save America. We must act to save our Soldiers! Vote the bastards out of office next year!!!


  2. Sandra Price

    Denise, There are many here at CHB who want to debate the situation. How do we die for Israel? Why do you believe we are giving the country to Mexico? Are you in the armed forces?

  3. Carl Nemo

    Hi Sandra Price,

    You might care to read the material supplied in this link. It’s a short read, but should edify you as to why our troops are in effect dying to prop up the Israeli state. It should also bring you up to speed concerning the state of affairs between the U.S. and Israel at this point in time.


    Carl Nemo **==

  4. woody188

    Meanwhile Obama sits on his hands crying about being rushed to make a decision that’s not politically convenient to his party’s election plans.

    “Don’t rush me! I’ll send troops or not when I want to, not when my commanders tell me they need them! I’m the Decider!”

    Sorry, I’m suffering from Bush Administration PTSD. Getting harder to see any differences between Bush policy and Obama policy.

    Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain

  5. Sandra Price

    Carl. I refuse to try to blame American actions on anything other than crappy leaders. I remember when the U.N. gave the Jews their own nation and in my area of California we cheered. Take a look at a map of the Middle East and take a closer look at the size of Israel. It would be like looking at Rhode Island trying to influence the laws of the other American states.

    It is very sad that the nation of Israel is sitting in the middle of Muslim nations and of course a free nation like America would help them out. We have millions of American Jews who support this action. I’m very tired of the racism and bigotry that seem to influence many Americans.

    I may stand alone on this but I will never allow a small Nation to be the brunt of anything wrong on the earth. If I cannot express my own comments on this, it would be time for me to check out of CHB again.

    Our American troops are dying because of selfish and stupid leaders who wanted a One World Order Empire.

  6. Sandra Price

    Kent. Never has a subject been written about more than the Israeli nation. My best friend is a political writer and a devout Jew. I read such ugly comments about this Israeli nation and the power they assume from everyone and he just laughs. My son in law has Austrian Jewish roots and spent many weeks in a family reunion in Austria last summer. The atrocities suffered by just his family shows a different approach to their desire for freedom. I remember my own family on my mother’s side forbidding me to ever bring a Jewish boy home at any time.

    I ran away from this hypocrisy at 17 and even chose not to go to college because I had to spend my holidays in this seat of hell! I stopped it cold when I became an adult. I have a huge mental wall around me when it comes to bigotry of any human. I read everything I could get my hands on in 1948 on the subject of allowing an entire group of Jews to stop the slaughter and live in peace in their own land.

    I found so much anti-semitism on the internet that I simply split from discussions on this subject. The Jews are not the reason we are at war in the Middle East. The blame sits on American greed for oil and power. America has become so fixated on Christian doctrines that anti-semitism was a natural extension of their desire for world power.

    Back when Reader Rant first started I stated my opinions on this subject and was the first time I was banned on the internet.

    I will not debate the subject. I probably do more reading and research on this political stuff than you can ever imagine. My personal dreams are to stamp it out. Our American government is running our very culture, education and who we are allowed to love and hate. It is too damn big, and too inclusive in their power.

    I have many opinions that are not shared by CHB and I have been told not to discuss them. Okay! But I have chosen not to discuss a Jewish Conspiracy.