A Veteran’s Reflection–The Pashtun in Me

The headline is a bit misleading as I am not a Pashtun. I am an American with an Irish Catholic foundation. I’m just a guy who traveled the world on Uncle Sam’s dime while serving in and out of uniform.

But, something in me changed over the years.

After traveling the world over, I learned more about America and our social construct then I ever imagined. I learned this by seeing so many different world social constructs only to later return state-side and reflect on not only who we are as a nation but, more importantly, who I am as a man.

Reflection of observations is powerful and a great tool to understand oneself.

Through this past election cycle, I observed America as a chaotic and horrifyingly divided nation.

I witnessed hate-filled protests from all political spectrums.

I watched citizens demean law enforcement and violently attack others simply for the clothing worn in support of one candidate over the other.

I have seen highways blocked, cars trapped in the madness, and people at risk.

But the worse thing I witnessed is the pacification of America among those who failed to stand up for themselves, their families, and their honor.

The legal classes who rule America wish nothing more than for us to be mere sheep willing to helplessly be attacked by a pack of wolves.

The media wishes nothing more than to blast every sheep willing to actually fight back.

And, our academic institutions want nothing more than for us to believe in this false concept of social justice—a concept created by the Catholic Church upon being infiltrated by Eastern European Communists which inevitably created the Second Vatican Council.

The last thing these institutions above want is knowing many Americans are no longer willing to stand down, be pacified, and worse, accept this new America of cowardice.

Like it or not, there is a reason why Donald Trump was elected to be our new President—people were tired of being led by sheep.

People are tired of the Islamic Threat. People are tired of America not winning actual wars. People are tired of always being held back due to government overreach.

People are simply tired of weakness.

Donald Trump was voted as our new President largely in the belief that the alternative would have continued the downward spiral of America—at least the perceived downward spiral.

Of course, everything written above is only based off a perception. An opinion built off observed reflections.

But how does one come to such perception?

Travel the world and observe different cultures. In those cultures, understand the various honor systems in place. Then, look back at America and compare everything you found abroad.

Do a compare and contrast.

Of course, I do not condone vigilante justice. But I do understand it. And understanding is the critical component.

Maybe, deep down inside, I wish young boys were allowed to fist fight as my generation and generations before mine did.

Maybe deep down inside, I wish we went back to the days where if you said something bad about another’s mother, you could get punched in your face without fear an attorney will take every last penny away from the person who clocked you.

Yes, I wish we could go back to a time when two grown men could walk onto the street and actually duel if you inappropriately touched a child or wife.

Many will immediately believe my “wishes’ to be completely absurd. Of note, I fully understand why such individuals may feel that way.

I have seen Afghans eat, sleep, and go about their daily routines. I was privileged enough to not only get introduced to their honor system called Pashtunwali but actually, live it.

I respect that when a man sincerely (honestly) asks for forgiveness, he shall be forgiven. He shall be forgiven, but that does not mean he will not pay for his wrongdoings. He shall pay however matters will be reconciled. This is called Nanewatei.

I believe there are times when a truce must be created between two parties because, during a period of greater mayhem, we must come together to fight a common evil. This is called Teega. (Pay attention Congress)

Wrong me, and believe you had gotten away with your action without any justice, yes, I believe I have the right to defend my honor and seek revenge or as they say in Pashtun, implement Badal.

18254639_10155217261697482_650868525_nInterestingly, the Pashtuns are incredibly hospitable, and that is because they believe in Melmastia. Seek asylum, ask for shelter, and the Pashtun will grant it. Marcus Luttrell knows this too well.

But should you become one who seeks harm to my wife or child, touch them inappropriately, commit adultery, etc. be prepared as I also believe in Tor.

There is so much more to Pashtunwali than that written here. The point being is the Pashtun embraces Pashtunwali as it is part of their DNA.

Pashtuns have laughed at our sensitive side on more than one occasion.

When our troops were shot at by Taliban hiding in a Mosque, and we refused to annihilate their place of worship, many failed to understand our mindset. In fact, many saw our lack of action as weak.

I have heard stories of a unique intelligence team conducting operations in a specific village that was very cooperative.

The team realized that inside the village was a rat. The team went to the village elders and explained how they were all compromised.

The rat was never seen again as the elders ordered him dead—an execution conducted by the tribe.

When the team realized what had happened, the elders informed them that they knew we as Americans would never implement the justice the rat deserved.

Think about that for a moment.

Think about one of the only ethnic tribes in the world in which not one standing army was capable of defeating–a third world rag-tag group of fighters no one could beat– Not the Russians, not the British, not the USA. No one.


You cannot defeat a group of people who cherish the one thing most cherishable in life—honor.

Many, me included, believe America has been on the wrong track for a very long time. Slowly, we have had our honor as individuals, and worse, as a nation, taken from us.

For many, the time has come to take a stand and take our honor back. Maybe, for many, it is time for us to embrace the Pashtun inside us.

Even as I write, I question if what I am suggesting to be appropriate.

Like the majority, I too have been socially conditioned to have faith in those appointed above me, to have confidence in our government institutions, and to to have confidence in the “system.”

I have written so many thoughts since I returned from Afghanistan in 2008.

I have consistently reflected on my observations abroad and here stateside.

Hell, I even created a movie called Dark of Light on the subject of “justice” and “honor.”

18317998_10155217261097482_311866869_oUnfortunately, I remain confused and perplexed on both subjects (justice and honor)–Possibly more so today than yesterday.

To conform and be a sheep or to refuse any sort of conformity and be the outcast? That is the question I constantly ask myself.

I may have no Pashtun in my DNA but I left a part of my soul in Afghanistan. I also took a part of the Pashtun soul with me—it’s a part I never want to let go of, the part that taught me most about forgiveness, righteousness, hospitality, and honor.


The Pashtun lives inside me.

If you want to learn more about the movie Dark of Light, a suspense thriller surrounding the perplexed concept of justice and honor, you can check the movie via the following online streaming sites.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/dark-of-light/id1228973136

Vimeo on Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/darkoflight

VHX: https://darkoflight.vhx.tv/

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