T Nation

E-mail From Afghanistan

I think we’re going to be in Afghanistan for a long time, and I think we probably need to be, but this is an interesting read:

"What made things difficult was my state of mind. The letter I�??d received read, �??Dear mobilizing soldier,�?? and in all capital letters: �??REPORT NO LATER THAN 20MAY2007 AND NO EARLIER THAN 20MAY2007,�?? and �??NO LONGER THAN 545 DAYS UNLESS EXTENDED,�?? and �??IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.�?? (I later received an amendment shifting me to Afghanistan.)

I had a full beard, a pot-smoking girlfriend, and a profound, visceral distrust of my government. Since leaving the military after my 2003-2004 Iraq deployment, I�??d engaged in all sorts of anti-government activity like reading, seeking second opinions, and thinking critically about what Television told me.

The unpatriotic questions I struggled with suddenly swelled with significance. Is our military (and its presence in 130 of the world�??s 190 countries) making America more safe or less safe? Where does the money come from? Terrorism is a tactic. How can you have a war against a tactic? Who is threatening my liberties? If the threat of terrorism is so great that I�??m supposed to risk my life in Afghanistan, why isn�??t it so great that we do something about our completely porous borders? Why do they hate us? I had questions about our foreign policy and about the fire-induced collapse of three steel-framed structures."

"�??We are setting up a tyranny,�?? I said during one of my rants. �??It�??s a benevolent tyranny, by virtue of all the American tax money flowing through it, but it�??s still a tyranny. What�??s going to happen when donor money dries up, and they try to pull money in, instead of push it out?�??

I was like an atheist sitting in church. I�??d object to the statement that our provincial governor came to power on an anti-corruption platform, because governors are appointed, not elected. I�??d point out that our highly touted vocational school�??to which we take visiting generals, diplomats, U.N. dignitaries, USAID and Dept. of State big shots, and at which students earn a modest salary while learning masonry, plumbing, electric wiring, carpentry, rebar work, or painting�??costs America fifty thousand dollars a month. It has already put at least one privately-run for-profit carpentry school out of business, and has a moderate dropout rate because we recruit students for political reasons in contrast with the now-out-of-business for-profit school where students sacrificed a small fee in exchange for learning a trade.

It was like pointing out unrealities in a science fiction movie. Everybody becomes mildly irritated, then returns to watching the movie. In government bureaucracies�??and military members are among the 22 million Americans (1/7th of the labor force) employed directly by the Federal Government�??creating the perception of progress serves an individual�??s interest better than actual progress, and the vocational school lent itself to creating that impression."

"My prediction: I�??m fairly certain that so long as the illusionists in the Federal Reserve are able to forestall an implosion of the U.S. economy, American firepower and American wealth will prevail. The Deywagal Valley road will crest the ridge line and connect to the Korengal Valley road, to the great credit of whoever happens to be the PRT commander at the time. The sacrifice of the many good people who died will be invoked. The contractor will receive his last payment. The governor, escorted by the U.S. military, will give a speech. He will condemn the insurgents as agents of Pakistan. An approved Mullah will mention how even Mohammed worked with non-believers. Hopefully, the lives of Afghans along the roads will improve. A general will be in attendance. Then, the governor will return to his heavily guarded compound. He will meet with the PRT commander and ask for more projects. He will ask to be filled in on the PRT�??s plan for the upcoming months. The handful of contractors with whom the PRT does business will wait patiently in the wings. Of course, there will still be violence, but our enterprise in Kunar Province is vast enough, and the people in the PRT smart enough, that statistics indicating progress will be produced and broadly advertised. The insurgents will still be referred to as �??the bad guys,�?? Television will still resolutely confine itself to superficials, and young men will still like to fight.

My deal with the devil is finished. I’ve honored my commitment. I am back in my own country where the two main party candidates, despite all the cultural differences they represent, and despite the fervor with which red-team competes with blue-team, agree on Afghanistan, the bailout and everything else that matters to me.

When asked about my plans, I�??ve replied �??I�??m going to buy a bunch of guns and quit paying taxes.�?? This, of course, is a joke, but if had I less to lose, I�??d consider it."

Meh, another disgruntled involuntary recall bitches about being deployed. The newspapers and magazines love this stuff. I’ve heard better whining from my Marines and fellow officers, this guy is an amature.

[quote]BH6 wrote:
Meh, another disgruntled involuntary recall bitches about being deployed. The newspapers and magazines love this stuff. I’ve heard better whining from my Marines and fellow officers, this guy is an amature.[/quote]

Anything worth posting? let’s here some of it.

[quote]BH6 wrote:
Meh, another disgruntled involuntary recall bitches about being deployed. The newspapers and magazines love this stuff. I’ve heard better whining from my Marines and fellow officers, this guy is an amature.[/quote]

Fair enough, but as former infantry and a guy who served in both theaters he’s got some credibility. Worth reading for the PRT perspective alone, a few months ago I talked to a British officer who served on one, they’re a weird little mess.

“My prediction: I’m fairly certain that so long as the illusionists in the Federal Reserve are able to forestall an implosion of the U.S. economy, American firepower and American wealth will prevail.”

So, for couple more months, then. :stuck_out_tongue: