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Lone Survivor
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Duke Castile Offline
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Post: #1
Lone Survivor
I just read this book.

Jesus Christ, I thought I was going to break down and cry a few times.

It's the actual account of 4 SEALs that go into the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan to observe and possibly capture a top Taliban leader.

The four SEALs get into position on this mountain when 3 goat herders happen to stumble upon them.

There is a quick debate on what to do. Militarily speaking they know they should kill these three (one is a kid) because the risk of being compromised is so great. But they are too afraid of being tried as murderers back in the U.S. because of liberal laws.

They decide to let the 3 go and then the consequences of that plays out.

It's an amazing, heart wrenching story that really hit home.

It also takes you through SEAL training.

Finally, it was Army Rangers that saved this guy.

Rangers Lead The Way! (in all fairness SEALS are way more elite)

We were meant for far more than to suffer in our self created prisons only to die alone. It doesn't have to be that way. It never did.
(This post was last modified: 11-03-2013 04:05 PM by Duke Castile.)
11-03-2013 03:38 PM
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MHaes Offline
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RE: Lone Survivor



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11-03-2013 04:26 PM
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Duke Castile Offline
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RE: Lone Survivor
The SEAL that wrote the book worked extensively on the movie to make sure it was accurate.

I'd recommend the book first.

As I said. It's truly amazing. That firefight was something out of Thermopylae

We were meant for far more than to suffer in our self created prisons only to die alone. It doesn't have to be that way. It never did.
11-03-2013 04:45 PM
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samsamsam Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Lone Survivor
I have been looking forward to this movie. Might be a good idea to read the book first. Never served, so I hope I am not out of line in asking this. When I watched the trailer a few weeks ago, I sort of wondered why didn't they just tie them down and evac out of there. Maybe they didn't have the necessary equipment to do that? But I figure they are seals they can mcguyver anything.

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11-03-2013 05:18 PM
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Duke Castile Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Lone Survivor
SSS I wondered the same thing. Why not flex cuff them and tape their mouths shut. Leave them on the mountain and let someone find them.

Hell I was even thinking they should cut their Achilles' tendon.

I'm not sure why that happened.

We were meant for far more than to suffer in our self created prisons only to die alone. It doesn't have to be that way. It never did.
11-04-2013 10:01 AM
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renotime Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Lone Survivor
I think Marcus said in later interviews they didn't have any zip ties.

Also, in an after action report given by Marcus, he reported there were 50 enemy combatants, not 250 like he detailed in the book. Not sure why he would change his story there.

Murphy's father also called bullshit on them taking a vote whether or not to kill the herders. It goes against the rules of engagement, anyways. I guess no one will ever really know if that happened or not, except for Marcus. But if he said they took a vote, I guess I'll take his word for it.

Overall I really liked the story and I found it riveting and heartbreaking, although I found the prose a bit weak. I'm also not really a fan of military guys bringing politics into their books, no matter what they are, but Marcus has earned the right to do as he pleases.

But If I ever meet Marcus in a bar I'll be sure to buy him lots of beer.

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11-04-2013 12:53 PM
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MikeCF Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Lone Survivor
(11-03-2013 03:38 PM)Fisto Wrote:  Rangers Lead The Way! (in all fairness SEALS are way more elite)

Were you a Ranger?

I recently read Sua Sponte: The forging of a modern american ranger.

I had no idea about the difference between the Ranger tab and Ranger Battalion, among many other things.

Or how cool the missions are.

I'm not a mid-life crisis guy, but damn, I missed the boat on that one. If I were 22 again (or even 25), I'd sign up for the regiment.
11-04-2013 10:43 PM
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MikeCF Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Lone Survivor
(11-04-2013 12:53 PM)renotime Wrote:  Overall I really liked the story and I found it riveting and heartbreaking, although I found the prose a bit weak. I'm also not really a fan of military guys bringing politics into their books, no matter what they are, but Marcus has earned the right to do as he pleases.

Most of the SpecOps guys I know in real life and whose stuff I read online are pretty much in agreement that the War in Iraq is pointless or at the very best misguided.

It's interesting that most of the elite who served believe that now and yet we have chickenhawks who never served saying everyone who is against the war is some sort of pussy.
11-04-2013 10:45 PM
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renotime Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Lone Survivor
I think Rangers take guys up to the age of 34. You might be able to get a waiver if you are older than that.


Who's stuff do you read online? Ever read Andrew Exum?

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11-05-2013 04:01 PM
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Duke Castile Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Lone Survivor
MikeCF - yes I was. 2nd Batt

I think the accuracy of Marcus report is obviously going to be flawed. But I also read that the same guy who seems to take issue with his report says that there were closer to 8-10 Taliban.

4 SEALs would smoke 8-10 Taliban soldiers in minutes.

I do think the claim that 140-200 Taliban is high, but considering what this guy went through, I can see how that perspective may have evolved.

The guy is a hero in my book.

We were meant for far more than to suffer in our self created prisons only to die alone. It doesn't have to be that way. It never did.
11-05-2013 05:01 PM
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outhustleu Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Lone Survivor
Yeah this was an awesome book. Didn't know there was a movie comming out, I'll be sure to check that out. Thanks for the info
11-06-2013 12:26 PM
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Vicious Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Lone Survivor
Quote:But they are too afraid of being tried as murderers back in the U.S. because of liberal laws.

Those darn bleeding hearts that keep you from killing civilians!
11-06-2013 01:00 PM
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Icarus Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 01:00 PM)Vicious Wrote:  Those darn bleeding hearts that keep you from killing civilians!

If the shepherd kid informs the Taliban, is he really a civilian?

Of course he's a civilian. He does not wear a uniform, after all. He did not go to boot camp. He does not serve a country. But, is he a combatant? If he serves as a spotter, he's a combatant, period. If he's a combatant, he's fair game. Is killing him necessary? Probably not, if one could knock him out (in a non-lethal manner).

It's easy to be morally superior when one does not have to choose between the lesser of two evils. I am quite glad I was never put in a situation in which I had to contemplate such a decision.

"The great secret of happiness in love is to be glad that the other fellow married her." – H.L. Mencken
(This post was last modified: 11-06-2013 01:14 PM by Icarus.)
11-06-2013 01:13 PM
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samsamsam Offline
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RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 01:13 PM)Icarus Wrote:  
(11-06-2013 01:00 PM)Vicious Wrote:  Those darn bleeding hearts that keep you from killing civilians!

If the shepherd kid informs the Taliban, is he really a civilian?

Of course he's a civilian. He does not wear a uniform, after all. He did not go to boot camp. He does not serve a country. But, is he a combatant? If he serves as a spotter, he's a combatant, period. If he's a combatant, he's fair game. Is killing him necessary? Probably not, if one could knock him out (in a non-lethal manner).

It's easy to be morally superior when one does not have to choose between the lesser of two evils. I am quite glad I was never put in a situation in which I had to contemplate such a decision.

Good post. Same stuff happened in Vietnam and other wars. Such a tough spot to be in. I 100% agree with what you said that I bolded (and the other stuff also - but that last line was solid). And thanks to those who serve who are willing to be in that situation and make those decisions and deal with the aftermath.

Fate whispers to the warrior, "You cannot withstand the storm." And the warrior whispers back, "I am the storm."

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(This post was last modified: 11-06-2013 02:22 PM by samsamsam.)
11-06-2013 02:21 PM
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MikeCF Offline
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RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 01:00 PM)Vicious Wrote:  
Quote:But they are too afraid of being tried as murderers back in the U.S. because of liberal laws.

Those darn bleeding hearts that keep you from killing civilians!

They alerted the Taliban, so they are not neutral.

I am an American. If the choice between the life of a Navy SEAL or Afghani goat herder must be made, then the choice should be made to save American lives.

Every time.
11-06-2013 03:31 PM
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Magyarphile Offline
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RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 03:31 PM)MikeCF Wrote:  
(11-06-2013 01:00 PM)Vicious Wrote:  
Quote:But they are too afraid of being tried as murderers back in the U.S. because of liberal laws.

Those darn bleeding hearts that keep you from killing civilians!

They alerted the Taliban, so they are not neutral.

I am an American. If the choice between the life of a Navy SEAL or Afghani goat herder must be made, then the choice should be made to save American lives.

Every time.

How very patriotic of you! Patriotism...Frankly, I have never understood the concept. Nationality is a mere throw of the dice. I fail to understand why being born within the same invisible lines on a map should inspire such common devotion and disregard for those who weren't. Maybe the Afghani herder didn't like foreign invaders roaming around his pastures. Did you consider that? Perhaps one day you will see Chinese soldiers walking down your street. I would love to behold your reaction.
11-06-2013 05:41 PM
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RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 05:41 PM)Magyarphile Wrote:  How very patriotic of you! Patriotism...Frankly, I have never understood the concept. Nationality is a mere throw of the dice. I fail to understand why being born within the same invisible lines on a map should inspire such common devotion and disregard for those who weren't.

I can't speak for MikeCF, but if forced to choose between the life of someone from my tribe and the life of someone from other tribe, I would save the life of the one from my tribe. Yes, it's tribal and primitive.

If forced to choose between the life of your son / daughter and the life of a randomly chosen human being, you would choose your son / daughter. Why should lineage inspire such common devotion for those who share your genes and disregard those who don't share them?

Is nationalism bad? Sometimes. But it also serves as social glue, holding society together, yielding tangible desired results. If you have less nationalism, you have less social cohesion, and society slowly breaks apart. I would rather have more nationalism, so that people invest in improving their countries, even if that costs the lives of a few 1,000s of men every few years. Some men die, new men are born. The nation continues to exist, hopefully healthy. And, if the nation is healthy, those who survived will have the closest to paradise on Earth that is possible to achieve.

Think of rabid nationalism as an undesired effect of an ultra-aggressive immune system. It's bad. But the lack of an immune system is even worse for your health.

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(This post was last modified: 11-06-2013 05:59 PM by Icarus.)
11-06-2013 05:55 PM
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Vicious Offline
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RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 01:13 PM)Icarus Wrote:  
(11-06-2013 01:00 PM)Vicious Wrote:  Those darn bleeding hearts that keep you from killing civilians!

If the shepherd kid informs the Taliban, is he really a civilian?

Of course he's a civilian. He does not wear a uniform, after all. He did not go to boot camp. He does not serve a country. But, is he a combatant? If he serves as a spotter, he's a combatant, period. If he's a combatant, he's fair game. Is killing him necessary? Probably not, if one could knock him out (in a non-lethal manner).

It's easy to be morally superior when one does not have to choose between the lesser of two evils. I am quite glad I was never put in a situation in which I had to contemplate such a decision.

You're seriously making a case for judging someone prior to the fact?

That's the most dictatorial excuse I've heard.

With the same kind of reasoning you could justify any atrocity. Why not throw RVF members in jail since they are likely to rape someone?

Look. I perfectly understand the military doctrine and logic that goes behind this. But don't get cute with it.

In the end the guy who is going to suffer for either choice is the grunt in the field and not the guy in the office that sent him out there and who laid down the rules. Rules meant to protect him, not the soldier. Nothing tribal or nationalistic about it, just conduct that would provide the highest likely mission success rate. A mission in turn green lighted by someone that needs to be re-elected or as a return favour for some lobbyist.
(This post was last modified: 11-06-2013 06:13 PM by Vicious.)
11-06-2013 06:07 PM
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Post: #19
RE: Lone Survivor
Icarus, wielding the same passport and being a blood relative are night and day. It is absurd to compare the two. Most Americans don't share a common ancestry, political outlook or even language. In short, they have nothing in common. A legion of bureaucrats have determined that a WASP and a recent Guatemalan immigrant are countrymen and they owe loyalty to one another. Take a step back from it and you realize how utterly laughable it is. As for myself, I despise nationalism. It is one of the greatest evils to have walked on this Earth. Countless men, women and children have died because someone thought that his fellow citizens were more deserving of life. Nationalism is nothing more than weak men hiding under a collectivist banner. A true man lives by himself, looks after himself(and his family) and doesn't give in to the petty sentiments of the mob.
11-06-2013 06:13 PM
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Icarus Offline
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RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 06:07 PM)Vicious Wrote:  You're seriously making a case for judging someone prior to the fact? That's the most dictatorial excuse I've heard. (...) In the end the guy who is going to suffer for either choice is the grunt in the field and not the guy in the office that sent him out there and who laid down the rules. Rules meant to protect him, not the soldier.

It's not an excuse, and I am not talking about any rules.

It does not matter what the rules of engagement (ROE) are if people don't follow them. Rules can be broken at any time. Humans have that freedom. They only suffer consequences if there is evidence against them. Hard to collect forensic evidence in the middle of a war zone.

When the cost of choosing a certain course of action is extremely high (e.g., your life), you tend to go for zero probability events. Immoral? Maybe. But I am not going to be a hypocrite and claim that I would be incapable of performing such life-or-death calculations if put in a situation similar to the one those SEALs were in. Sometimes, the cost of making the wrong decision is really, really high.

The domesticated animal can go feral when cornered.

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11-06-2013 06:48 PM
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RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 06:13 PM)Magyarphile Wrote:  Icarus, wielding the same passport and being a blood relative are night and day.

Not if you come from an ethnically homogeneous society, like Scandinavian countries, or Japan.

(11-06-2013 06:13 PM)Magyarphile Wrote:  It is absurd to compare the two. Most Americans don't share a common ancestry, political outlook or even language.

Same with Brazilians. But there is a big world outside the American Continent.

(11-06-2013 06:13 PM)Magyarphile Wrote:  Take a step back from it and you realize how utterly laughable it is. As for myself, I despise nationalism. It is one of the greatest evils to have walked on this Earth.

It is laughable. But what isn't laughable about humans?

I think you despise the bad effects of nationalism more than nationalism itself. Why despise an idea? What about the good effects? What if you live in a society in which people actually care for one another at least a little bit? Where people view other people as distant relatives.

Compare the aftermath of Katrina 2005 with the aftermath of the earthquake / tsunami in Japan in 2011. New Orleans devolved to the law of the jungle. The xenophobic Japanese preserved civilization amidst the chaos. Why?

(11-06-2013 06:13 PM)Magyarphile Wrote:  Countless men, women and children have died because someone thought that his fellow citizens were more deserving of life.

It probably would not be too far-fetched to claim that most wars were fought for resources, not ideals. Interestingly, those capable of shaping public opinion find it easier to motivate men to fight wars by appealing to abstract ideas, rather than by appealing to their pragmatism.

Besides, if war does not control human populations, famine or disease will. War is almost an ecological necessity. It probably occurs with greater probability when the amount of resources per capita is dangerously low. It's horrible, but what can one do? A finite planet cannot sustain exponential growth.

"The great secret of happiness in love is to be glad that the other fellow married her." – H.L. Mencken
11-06-2013 07:05 PM
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MikeCF Offline
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Post: #22
RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 06:13 PM)Magyarphile Wrote:  As for myself, I despise nationalism. It is one of the greatest evils to have walked on this Earth. Countless men, women and children have died because someone thought that his fellow citizens were more deserving of life. Nationalism is nothing more than weak men hiding under a collectivist banner. A true man lives by himself, looks after himself(and his family) and doesn't give in to the petty sentiments of the mob.

I used to say that kind of stuff, so I can't hate.

You're still in college and read a lot of Ayn Rand, huh? I was there once, too. I'd parrot her lines while smugly saying how rational and independent thinking I was. It's pretty funny now, but I was an insufferable dude.

Don't worry, you'll grow out of this phase after you meet enough people who believe in open borders and you start to understand that shared culture has great value.
11-06-2013 07:16 PM
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RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 07:16 PM)MikeCF Wrote:  I used to say that kind of stuff, so I can't hate.

You're still in college and read a lot of Ayn Rand, huh? I was there once, too. I'd parrot her lines while smugly saying how rational and independent thinking I was. It's pretty funny now, but I was an insufferable dude.

Don't worry, you'll grow out of this phase after you meet enough people who believe in open borders and you start to understand that shared culture has great value.

Behold, whenever someone espouses libertarian sentiments they are met with snide remarks that with enough life experience they will leave behind such childish ideas. I would venture to say that with age, principle becomes compromised. I do read Ayn Rand, but she is just one of a multitude of individualist writers and not the best one, imho. Many of her ideas are appealing though.

I agree with you on the value of shared culture but come on, you are American. What shared culture? Ask a redneck from Kentucky, a black from Harlem and a Cuban from Miami what it means to be American. Three very different answers. You mock Ayn Rand but what has your beloved Uncle Sam done to defend the border? I think a million people a year cross it. It might as well be open.
11-06-2013 08:43 PM
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Post: #24
RE: Lone Survivor
Let's not get out of hand and mock the US too much. Yes, we have our flaws, but we are built on some shared beliefs and principles, which maybe as of late have gotten a bit wrinkly around the edges. But this continues to be a country that many wish to be part of.

The issue with the US, is fewer and fewer people have actually sacrificed for the principles that built this country and therefore have a lower appreciation for this country. Because they don't know the sacrifice, they just know the rewards (well more like consumerism). At some point, we will reset and get to some sanity.

The redneck, the black and the Cuban all share common rights and freedoms among other things. But having some differences is also what makes America, America. You can be different and still feel strongly connected to all Americans.

Fate whispers to the warrior, "You cannot withstand the storm." And the warrior whispers back, "I am the storm."

Women and children can be careless, but not men - Don Corleone

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(This post was last modified: 11-06-2013 09:06 PM by samsamsam.)
11-06-2013 09:04 PM
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Post: #25
RE: Lone Survivor
(11-06-2013 08:43 PM)Magyarphile Wrote:  Behold, whenever someone espouses libertarian sentiments they are met with snide remarks that with enough life experience they will leave behind such childish ideas. I would venture to say that with age, principle becomes compromised. I do read Ayn Rand, but she is just one of a multitude of individualist writers and not the best one, imho. Many of her ideas are appealing though.

Except my comments weren't snide, they were insightful.

I basically nailed it, right? You're a Rand guy, probably still in college or a recent grad.

I could tell by the language you used as well as the diatribe/ranting style. The only people who use language like you use are college kids who read too much Rand or academics who have Aspergers.

I was president of the Objectivist Society in college. I went to talks and met other Objectivists. Then I got out in the real world and realized that shared experience and culture matters and that most people who read too much Rand later in life have serious emotional issues and high incidences of Asperger's.

So it's not hate. I was there.

It's kinda funny, actually, you're typing the same shit I typed as a 22 year old.

Some things don't change.
11-07-2013 02:07 PM
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