CorpsStories January 2005
Before talking to him, not dreaming
he'd give me significant interview time, I perceived him as desperately wanting to
hibernate with his wife and children staying away from yet another journalist
wanting to talk about that state-side event. What I would discover to be an overshadowing,
non-life-threatening bordering on non-news all the same difficult, event.
All due to Duncan. An outraged Duncan. Who is Duncan? He's a retired
Marine author known for his blunt assessments, which can be wrenchingly accurate.
I can't recall how many conversations Dunk and I had about
the colonel. I'd call him with my questions or thoughts about some Marine-related
issue or another, but within minutes, Dunk would bring the conversation around to the Khan
story. The Khan tragedy. The vastly misconceived colonel.
That's probably because Duncan has the healthiest distain
for the press of any known Marine author (not to say there wouldn't be a raging
battle amongst scribes for that description).
But why was Duncan telling me? I am just a part-time devotee to
a very narrow aspect of journalism. With a non-commercial publication, I felt there was
little I could do to clarify the colonel in the media.
Duncan knew what the reader might learn about CorpsStories. This
editor really couldn't care less about the hiring and firing of officers. The
ascending and descending turns of Marine careers just does not matter to me.
I'm a spectator. An ordinary American journalist trying to
avert poverty and live a productive life for my Father, the Lord Jesus Christ. That's
it, it's not complicated.
But I have noticed something. Some Marines live incredibly
sacrificing lives. And I like to write. And the two conspire to introduce you to the depth
of LtCol Asad Khan.
Oh, Dunk and I have noticed another thing. Reality, what matters
in this life, is not what's read on the cover of many a newspaper.
If you're a parent, reality is whom you tuck in at night, and
whom you stay home from work for, to bring them back to health. If you're a wife,
reality is whom you sleep with at night, and whom you want to reconcile with because that
argument left you distracted all day.
And when that child, husband or otherwise loved one comes home
in a casket, your reality takes a sharp turn for the worse.
For Colonel Khan nothing takes precedence over the mission. But
he's invested years of strategizing, sacrificing and negotiating to bring his Marines
To date, CorpsStories has revealed to you the most positive news
available about the lives of more than 400 fine, but fallen, Marines.
One, and only one of these Marines belong to Asad Khan.
This matters to the world of anti-war individuals and nations, yet
mainstream journalism has yet to publish one story with the lead focusing on Khan's
amazing victory in Afghanistan last year.
From where I stand, the whole world should be rejoicing over his
success. This should be a model for warfare, not dismissed into the undocumented
battlefield wins of this life.
Despite his triumphs, his humility and realism were never far from the
front during our talks.
The most haunting remark lingers with me. He said of his son's
future commanders in a military career now budding at the Naval Academy, I hope they
won't throw his life away.
Meriwether Ball, Editor
LtCol Asad Khan -