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I had not seen Matty for many years — at least seven, if I was counting — just another regret in my life. We went to college together, went in the Army together and went to all of the same hard guy schools: Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces.
Matty never shied away from tough assignments, with nearly 30 years in the business of defending our freedoms. Matty, like all who've served, sacrificed his family, his health, and, at times, his soul to the “Green Machine” and to this nation. There is no other way of doing the job — and Matty did it better than most.
I recently completed a trip to Afghanistan with Bill O’Reilly, and when I stepped off the plane, guess who was there to say “Hey,” but Matty!
After a bunch of high fives and manly hugs, I discovered that my friend has been in Afghanistan for five straight years, training the Afghanistan Army for a private company called MPRI. MRPI, like Blackwater, fills the gaps when the U.S. government does not have the people to do the necessary things in far off and dangerous places — and, like Blackwater, MPRI gets it done.
So, Matty has, what we call in the trade, hands-on expertise. He is a superb military officer with extensive Special Forces experience, which means he is well versed in the art of counter insurgency operations … you know, the thing that Rummy refused to admit we were fighting. Couple Matt’s training and five straight years of everyday experience on the ground in Afghanistan makes him (he would never want this said or have this written) a full blown, died in the wool, no-holds-barred, can’t get around it EXPERT on the Afghanistan Army and counter insurgency operations in that country.
Care to guess how many active duty, reserve or National Guard generals coming through Afghanistan, or how many visiting senators and congressmen coming through Afghanistan, have stopped by or asked Matty to stop by and give his opinion or help? Come on you can guess … RIGHT! ZERO, NADA, NIL, NIET, NONE.
Not a single U.S. leader in or out of uniform has availed themselves of this great man’s experience. Now, this would be OK, I guess, if we had been getting it right in Afghanistan … but we have not.
As with Iraq, we had dumb policy decisions and even dumber military ones. Matty would say, “You have to immerse yourself in this culture to help them.” But, guess what we're doing? Rotating our guys every 15, or every six to eight months, depending on what service you are in, in and out of Afghanistan — and we're hardly immersing.
This all makes me think: the U.S. soldier continues to impress all with his efforts, his bravery and his capabilities. However, the U.S. soldier is not being allowed to his job in Afghanistan, just like he was not in Iraq until the "surge” happened. Moreover, the U.S. needs all its partners in this fight, all 44 countries that have pledged money and soldiers and stuff needed to step up and get in this fight with us. So, if it is not going well, if we are still not attacking the heroin trade, if we are still not pursuing the Taliban and Al Qaeda across the Pakistan border, then maybe talking to Matty and those like him might be a good idea?
Matty, and those like him, shame us all. He has a family that he sees twice a year — this after already serving for 30 years in the Army and being deployed an average of 276 days a year before 9/11. With all of this under his belt, he went back into the hell hole that is Afghanistan (there is a good reason Genghis Kahn did not occupy the place) and stays to make it better. He is a flat out great soldier, and even greater American because of the former. He is a true poet warrior, warrior priest, soldier, and he is right here amongst us. If we are not going to celebrate him and those like him how about we at least talk to him, he will not make any of this worse and he will, in my opinion, come up with answers and ideas to make this fight better.
Matty, thank you for serving this country so well for all these years, thank you giving up everything for us. May your journey help us understand and may we be worthy of your sacrifice.
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Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a FOX News military analyst and the author of the New York Times bestseller They Just Don’t Get It. He has extensive operational experience in counterterrorism, special operations, and intelligence operations. He has trained the FBI and Special Forces in counterterrorism tactics, served as the security adviser to six different Olympic Games, testified as an expert at many major terrorist trials, and lectured at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency. You can read his complete bio here.