A retired Marine colonel in Ukraine — having fought in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan — has found a war he has been looking for, The New York Times reported.
"Our position was somewhat morally ambivalent; to many people there we were the invader," Andrew Milburn, 59, who founded The Mozart Group — an answer to Russia's mercenary company, the Wagner Group — told The Times. "But here we're repelling an invader. Here is something absolutely unambiguous. And how many wars in modern times are morally unambiguous?"
Milburn began his trek in Poland last winter as a freelance journalist, but he has now founded a private nongovernmental organization to help save those stranded in Ukraine, according to The Times.
He rescues civilians in war zones and is helping train those on the front lines.
Milburn has taken action, whereas the Biden administration has been reluctant in Ukraine.
"The alternative for me would be to be in the States just reading about this," he told The Times, "being frustrated and angry.
"I know we're not changing the course of the war, but for the individual people we're helping, like those we evacuate, it has a very direct impact.
"I feel far better than I did in the last deployments in Iraq."
Milburn told The Times he is not actively involved in fighting Russians; but he admits the adrenaline for action fuels him to risk his life, along with his staff of retired special military operatives.
"You're always looking for it, right?" asked one of Milburn's trainers, an American sniper named Rob. "You're always wanting to be where it is.
"I don't like oppression," Rob added. "If you've been in war, any war is interesting."
Ukrainian officer Alexsi Oleksiuk told The Times the training is invaluable amid a deadly war that has cost countless lives.
"All the Ukrainian instructors are on the front line, injured or dead," Oleksiuk said.
Rob is motivated to help save lives of Ukrainians brave enough to fight.
"When I think of these guys going to war, God help them," he told The Times.
"I mean, how do you want to go out: with a gun in your hands or a roll of toilet paper?"
Milburn is author of "When the Tempest Gathers: From Mogadishu to the Fight Against ISIS, a Marine Special Operations Commander at War."
"A primordial corner of our subconscious primes us to act aggressively in the face of danger," Milburn wrote in the memoir. "The knowledge that another human being threatens your survival will override, in an instant, years of parental guidance, education, religious observance and all the social trappings of civilized society.
"Shooting someone becomes shockingly easy."
Milburn retired in 2019 to write, but he admits post-traumatic stress disorder has left him "harder to deal with" and led to a life of war and drinking problems, he told The Times.
"If I didn't have an outlet, I'd be like everyone else, drinking a six pack of beer and yelling at the TV screen," he said.
Milburn's group has more than 50 staffers and spends $175,000 a month on food, fuel and stipends; and he does not expect the effort to end anytime soon.
"I don't share the optimism that the tide is turning," he told The Times. "Unless there's a game-changing factor, we're going to see a war of attrition for more than a year."
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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