The Battle for Marjah

Originally aired on HBO, this Documentary follows Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division during Operation Moshtarak. The main target of the offensive was widely considered to be Marjah, which had been controlled for years by Taliban militants as well as drug traffickers.

Marines who were part of the operation reunited in February to look back on the mission.

Here also is an article on Marjah, five years later, by James Clark:

It was heralded as being a great many things; the next Fallujah, the answer to the “Afghanistan problem,” — there was a palpable sense of tension and pressure tied to the mission. In his book “No Worse Enemy,” journalist Ben Anderson, who was with Bravo Company during the insert, wrote: “The world — and America’s enemies — were to be shown that the new policy could work; the Taliban could be removed, the population could be won over, the Afghans could secure their country themselves and we could leave.”

As a military and as a nation, that’s where we fucked up. We decided that Marjah was the solution, that it would provide a road-map to success, and just like that, out went the press releases, and in came the media.

The mission was supposed to be Afghan-led, with the grand architects going so far as to name it Operation Moshtarak, meaning togetherness. The plan was that after the battle was won, representatives from the Afghan government would move in to restore some measure of order.

Bing West wrote (yet another) great book that includes several chapters on Marjah called The Wrong War.

Last of all, here is a site dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives in the operation.


  1. The hubris of thinking that we could succeed where Rome (some say the Parthians were from this area), England and Russia failed and failed utterly…

    That, kids, is what leadership amounts to in these grand old latter and declining days of the United States.

    Hurrah for our side.


  2. Broderick Barker says

    Well, Happy Memorial Day to everyone. At dinner last night, Third Son related a time when he asked Grandpa if he had killed anyone during his military experience. Grandpa told him not to ask people that question. Third Son asked me why. I replied that war in general and killing people in particular is often traumatic, and mentioned the ol’ statistic: 22 veterans a day commit suicide. Third Son said he would rather die in battle, dying for his country, than commit suicide, which was cowardly. I told him that it wasn’t simply cowardly, that war breaks people. It wasn’t quite the Memorial Day dinner chat I had envisioned.

    • Broderick Barker says

      Of note to Percy enthusiasts: that article about veteran suicide notes that it is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Walker Percy Saved My Life: What Can He Do For You? may be more needed than we knew. Rally, ex-suicides, rally!

  3. Big Jon Bully says

    That was great documentary filmmaking, thanks for posting. It’s amazing how patient the marines were with those clowns. The only thing missing on the ass-pain scale is the presence of women. Maybe they could also have the grunts pack out their MRE and water can trash while being surrounded with motivated, accurate shooting Taliban.

    We’ve been fighting political butt-fuck style since Vietnam. Even Bush wasn’t immune. Calling General Sherman.

    • And per usual when Big Jon comes back he comes back in a big BIG WAY!

      Welcome back, sir – you’ve been sorely missed!


  4. Big Jon Bully says

    You’re an all-time great.

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