They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Jan 21, 2009

So It's Good To See How The Other Half Lives...

So first of all let me say thanks to my pal, Spray on, for getting me on a chopper that only made one stop prior to hitting Bagram. That was a beautiful thing. I left on the 19th and I made it to Bagram on the 19th. Which for anyone even remotely familiar with travel in this country knows that is lightning speed. Now I am sitting here waiting for the "death by power point" briefing that we all have to go through prior to being allowed on R&R or leave. I am so looking forward to that.

However, it is the 21st now and I am getting to see Bagram in all its glory. The first question that comes to my mind is this. How many troops are here? And do any of them have jobs? I am being serious. Now up here I have no job, my job is to wait and attend this briefing and then leave. Now I am one of about 200 or so soldiers that are waiting for leave or R&R and yet the post is always full of soldiers and sailors, and airmen, and marines that are just wandering around killing time. Doing absolutely nothing. Going back and forth to the PX (post exchange, the Army's version of Wal-Mart) Going to the MWR to monopolize the computers and phones, and doing this that and the other, but none of them ever seem to work. This concerns me. And for a deeper reason than the fact that I am jealous as all hell that they can sit around doing jack shit while I have to work my balls off down at my FOB.

If you take a scant look at Afghanistan's military and political history you see a very disturbing trend that I am not quite certain the American military is paying adequate attention to. In this country, political power does not necessarily reside in the major urban centers such as Bagram, Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad. For the most part the real power in this country is found in the countryside, in the mountains, and in the farmlands. The local tribal elders and the warlords and militiamen out there hold that power. The Taliban is now slowly and steadily retaking these areas. Why does this concern me so much? Well it is simple self-preservation. My FOB lies right in the middle of the countryside in between the mountains, and next to the farmlands where the fucking Taliban are slowly but surely reasserting themselves and in some cases going so far as to install the aptly named "shadow governments". Don't worry all of this stuff is things I have read in Stars & Stripes so I can't get into any trouble for saying it.

So what is my problem anyways? I want to know what the hell all these people are doing here. I have seen vehicles that could be put to good use in the outlying FOB's in the borderland, I have seen a shit ton of soldiers who are unoccupied by anything other than shopping and eating. I have seen a myriad of other resources being squandered up here. And I wonder why? Why do we have to spend so many resources, human and otherwise to secure this place? Why does this place have to be the size of a major state university when the FOB's where shit actually happens are roughly the size of football field?

I understand that Bagram is a major installation and airfield but really whom are we kidding? There is no way that all these soldiers are needed here. The Soviets made the exact same mistake when they invaded this country. They were able to secure the urban centers but were unable to ever subdue the countryside. Well guess what happened to the Soviets? They ended up getting their asses handed to them and running back to mother Russia with their tails between their legs. So hopefully there are some sorts of plans to get this thing changed. Whenever this "surge" of troops that is coming gets here I hope they send these guys straight out into the boondocks which is where I live. Oh wait, I don't think the commanders of those units would go for that they wouldn't want to be too far from their cell phones just in case their girlfriend calls wanting to cry about them being gone. (Also, my advice to any girl who doesn't like to be alone, DO NOT DATE AND/OR MARRY A SOLDIER...EVER!!!)

Where did that little aside come from? While we are here we have to sleep in a transient tent (which makes me feel homeless, but I digress) and the guy next to me was whining about his girlfriend at home who was crying about him being gone. Now I guess I could deal with that well enough, but I asked the dude how long he had been gone, and he said he has only been gone for about three weeks. Really? Three weeks and she is already cracking. Sorry to tell you this brother, but you are going to have a Jody keeping your bed warm in another month at the most. Don't worry I didn't say that to him.

So now while I am here I got to partake of all the wonderful things that the other half gets. Burger King, Pizza Hut, Popeye's Chicken, Dairy Queen, Orange Julius, Green Bean Coffee, and a cell phone shop coupled with satellite cable television. America goes off to war to liberate another country from religious tyranny and to stop the spread of terrorism and the first thing that we do is build a fucking mall! It truly makes me sick. But I suppose that while I am here there is no harm in joining in the fun. Like I said, I am still wrestling with the question of am I jealous of these guys here or am I contemptuous of them for what I have to do and they don't? I don't know, but who really cares? I don't because very soon I have to return to the suck, and they don't care because they are watching MTV and caring for their "deployment spouses".

I wish I had more to write about, but that's about it. The puppies are fine for those of you who are concerned. I am slowly but surely figuring out how I am going to do this. It's actually turning out to be a lot easier than I thought. I think I may go into smuggling when I get home. But I digress...and now I am going to DQ to get a blizzard. Why? Because I can.

I am done for now.


I love you mom...


  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 01/21/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  2. Don't get too angry at all of the soldiers stuck there.. My husband is one of the many guys who have been held there while the Army chose death by powerpoint as their torture method. Eventually they'll release him and his guys to their FOB.

    I think some of it has to do with Army bureaucracy operating at it's finest, extremely efficient speed..?

  3. it's so hard to believe that they have things like fast food in a war zone.
    if you hadn't written about it it would be hard to believe it's true.
    I have a question though..
    are all the MOS's represented at your FOB and are the other branches there as well?

  4. What good news, your heading home for some R&R. I'm so glad to hear that and glad to get a glimpse into how that works. :) I hope you get lots of rest and good meals and whatever else you may need to prepare you for the rest of your stay when you return to Afghan Land. Take care and enjoy your time stateside! :) We hope and pray your travels are safe and speedy.

    The better half of the head ghost.

  5. mudpuppy...try to enjoy your time away from the suck.
    Stay Strong!
    Pray Hard!

    ~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

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