So They Got Another One...
Another one what? Another blog. Another good blog. Popular one. So popular they make shirts about this guy, sold at Rangerup.com.
So why am I writing about this? Because I am pissed. Almost as pissed as when I took my blog private because I was warned in no uncertain terms that disciplinary action was imminent unless I either took it down all together or made it so that only a select few could read it.
Why was I warned? Disrespect. Plain and simple, I said some things about commissioned officers that the military doesn’t tolerate. I called them, or at least one of them a douche bag. So I guess that could be construed as disrespect, but I always figured that the truth was an absolute defense of whatever you wanted to say. And yes this guy was in fact a douche bag. But I was wrong.
Now I don’t know what BT said, I don’t really much care what he said, I am just glad he said it. It may have been stupid of him to write whatever he wrote, but I still like the fact that he wrote it. Whatever it was...
You see the military has a really difficult time dealing with this whole blog thing. I don’t really understand why. They have a real issue with information being released, regardless of form, without their prior written approval. Myself, I have a real problem getting approval for what I write. I don’t really care one way or the other what the military thinks of what I write. I call this war as I see it, and if they don’t like it, maybe they need to consider prosecuting this whole thing in a different manner. Then maybe we all wouldn’t have so much to write about.
If you ask me it all comes down to transparency. If there is a medium where literally everyone could report on the conditions, the actions, the triumphs, the failures, the stupidity, the brilliance, and the food of this war then there is really no way that the military and by default, the government cannot be transparent about the way they conduct this, and all wars. Now since that medium does exist, they have to control it. Because it is much more beneficial and pragmatic for the military to control the medium as opposed to changing their methods in the conduct of war.
If there had been blogs throughout history just think of the difference that might have made. The massacres in Vietnam may have been avoided had those men feared being exposed for the world to see on the internet. The Abu Ghraib scandal might have been prevented or exposed earlier if it had been blogged about. There are probably a million other examples of incidents that could’ve either been prevented, or at least brought to light quicker through the freedom of information that the internet provides.
Character is what a person will do when no one else is watching. Well, I think that might be a bit of a leap of faith when you are considering the military. Nope, in the military’s case, everyone needs to be watching! One of the ways to watch and understand what we go through is through these blogs. They are the words that drip directly from the lips of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. They write them right after patrols, they write them right after firefights, they write them right after an IED blast, they write them after they just finished running for lives from incoming mortars, they write them after they watched their buddy being carried off the field of battle on a stretcher, they write them right after they listened to taps and knelt before a pair of boots, a rifle, a helmet and a set of dog tags.
There is no better window into this, or any other war than the words of those who had to fight it. Its unfiltered, its brutal, its profane, its hard, but its the truth.
Do I think that soldiers should be given free reign to write whatever they wish? Well, there is certainly a part of me that does, but I also understand that there are certain things you can’t write. You can’t tell people how to defeat our tactics or equipment. You can’t tell how we move, you can’t say how many of us there are, you can’t tell when and where we are moving. I get all of that. So if it turns out that that is what BT did, then I’ll have to say he got what he had coming. But its just another hole in the info dam that the Army has managed to plug. I wonder how many blogs got shut down this month, or year, or since the beginning of the war?
Before I privatized my blog, I had about 50 followers, and was getting upwards of 15-20 comments per post, and I was just over 10,000 hits in just the few months that I was up. But then I gave them a reason. I gave them a reason to plug the hole that was me and my blog. And plug it they did.
Now for the sake of my own vanity, lets say that 10,000 different people came to my blog and read something, anything about the war in Afghanistan. Now that is 10,000 people who have a different perspective on this whole thing than the brain dead masses who get all their information from MSNBC and CNN, which if you ask me are sometimes nothing more than unpaid employees of the Department of Defense. Maybe there are 10,000 people out there who can look at the news and using their new perspective deduce what is really happening. Or at least they can chuckle when they hear the mountain of military approved bullshit that spills off the newswire everyday! Hell, if there was one person out there who could do that I would consider it well worth the trouble.
But they got him, plugged one more hole, eliminated another leak. Closed off one more source of information so that the only thing that gets through is exactly what they want to get through. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but think of the scene in “Good Morning, Vietnam” where Robin Williams reads the news off the wire without having taken it through the military censors prior. Everyone from the Sergeant Major on down had a baby in that scene. The military has a hard time dealing with any information getting out that they didn’t write, sanitize and approve.
Please excuse the profanity, but that is FUCKED UP!
I mean think of one of the military’s rules about blogging. One of them actually prohibits the use of profanity. Are you kidding me? Anyone who has ever spent more than 5 minutes around the military knows that it is about the most profane organization on earth.
So what to do about this. Well there is pretty much nothing that I can do about it, other than write this under a pseudonym, like a chicken shit. But that’s the nature of the beast here in Uncle Sam’s Mean Green Machine. They’ve got you by the balls. Disobey them and they can ruin your career, take away your income, take away your status/rank, give a discharge that will be stapled to every job application you will ever fill out for the rest of your life. So unless you are independently wealthy or an idiot, you quietly toe the line. Always wondering what sort of world we live in, that the truth can get you in so much damn trouble?
I love you Mom...
The Shit List...
Alright, so in a testament to my complete inability to mature, and in an attempt to alleviate at least a little bit of the boredom that is FOB Sharana I have composed the following. It is a list, a list of all the different types of shits you take in a combat zone. Each shit is named, with an explanation immediately following.
It is unfortunate but each and every one of these shits has been taken by this GI at one time or another. These disgusting situations are due to several factors, most important is the quality of the food that they feed us, but also due to the quality of our water, the amazing amount of foreign non-mind altering substances that we imbibe, and just the basic unhealthiness of this entire situation.
This is intended to be not only instructive but also humorous, and a thinly veiled plea for Pepto-Bismol or if you are cheap...Pink Bismuth.
Without further adieu, I present for your examination, THE SHIT LIST.
1.The Bubble Guts Shit: Normally a shit that happens about 3-5 hours after Mexican night in the chow hall. Characterized by a sort of bubbling in your guts prior to an explosive shit. Somewhat akin to the bubbling of a boiling pan of water, right before it comes flying out your ass in the most relieving of waves!
2.The Ambush: Simply put, a shit that sneaks up on you. You may be standing there doing this or that when your body tells you, “Hey We have to shit!” Prior to your brain even registering the 4th syllable of that sentence your bowels begin to vacate themselves. Normally this shit is preceded by some sort of either natural or man made laxative or a healthy helping of enchiladas.
3.Combat Shit: Any and all shits taken outside the wire. (We’ll get to the ones you have while being shot at!)
4.The Ghost: A shit where you visit the crapper and you go through the motions, you feel all the feelings and then when you go to wipe you are greeted by none other than clean paper. On the first swipe, no less. Then when you examine the receptacle you find...NOTHING. Creepy.
5.Blowback: This is when you have a particularly large shit that is taken in a freshly cleaned and emptied port-a-shitter. Which has also been freshly filled with whatever the hell that liquid shit is that they put in there. You drop trou, pop a squat, shit, and the splash from the liquid flies up and gives you a little kiss on the ass. Blowing back, right on your butt.
6.The Mountain: These are rare, have only seen them in Sharana. They have really bad shitters here. Sometimes they are without water, which doesn’t stop the GI’s from dropping a deuce. Sometimes these nasty pricks shit in one that already has a load sitting in it, left by some undiscerning GI who couldn’t care less that he couldn’t flush. Anyway, another GI will sit down and drop his present off right on top of the other one which creates a pile somewhat similar to a mountain. Note: Some of these piles have been known to exceed the threshold of the toilet seat. That guy, whoever he is, is one nasty fucker.
7.The Two-Fer: These are hilarious. As I said previously, the military shitters are notoriously bad and they also are notorious for not being able to handle the bombs we drop. Given the caliber of food we eat here you would think that someone would figure out we need like industrial shitters made to handle a 2000 pound bull, but I digress. So as a courtesy you flush at least once mid-shit just to make the room tolerable to the other nasty GI’s in the room. When you do that, you promptly clog the toilet making the continuation of your task an impossibility. So you have to pull up your pants, and carefully, move the operation to another stall. This is especially funny if, at the time, all the other stalls are full. Yet, due to the low quality of the shitters, when you get to the next one you clog that one too. Hence, the two-fer!
8.Torpedo in the door: This is the name given to your shit, after an ambush between where you are ambushed and where you are going to shit. It is basically a synonym for the Frankenstein. Used also by some to describe a particularly large shit. The only way to characterize these is to say this. When you are done with one of these, you ask yourself what women are bitching about with the childbirth thing. Because you are fairly certain that no child has ever been born bigger than that turd you just dropped.
9.Shittus Interruptus: A shit that interrupts anything you really want to be doing. Perhaps you are courting your own personal “desert rose” and you have an uncontrollable urge to make a B-line for the shitters and take care of business, during which time your “desert rose” is yanked for some detail that needs to be done, or perhaps even worse she is surrounded by four guys from another unit and is enjoying the attention. Making her of absolutely no use to you.
10.The Marathon: Fairly self explanatory. Any shit that takes an inordinately long time. This can be used as either the descriptor of a particular shit, or it can be used to modify another type of shit. For example, “I just had a marathon bubble guts shit!”
11.The Gotcha: These are especially funny to watch. This is a shit where the GI in question thinks he or she is finished with their business, has cleaned up, and is walking away from the shitters when their body informs them that they are so very, very wrong and they have to quickly face about and move back to the shitters posthaste. Basically, this is your colon playing with you. “Ha Ha, you thought you were done! I gotcha!” (That’s what would be said if your colon could talk. Which after a year or so of Army food is not beyond the realm of possibility.)
12.Whistling Ass Piss: Everyone has heard the phrase, pissing out your ass. Which is when you have a particularly watery shit somewhat similar to what comes out the other end. The only difference between that and this is, in this you add a nice long bit of flatulence that whistles out along side of it.
13.Midnight Prowler: Any shit that wakes you up and forces you out of bed. Every GI knows that in a combat zone, shitting is a process that will take you far from your bed. So even if a shit wakes you up, you have to decide whether you have to go and get it taken care of. If it can wait till the morning it will. There is no reason to get out of bed for a non-emergency.
14.The Tease: This is a real pain in the ass...literally. This is when you feel all the tell tale signs that it is time to visit the shitters. You get there, you may even drop trou and sit down. And you get nothing! Basically, you colon is teasing you. “I got to shit!” then you get there, “Oh wait, I was only kidding.”
15.A.M.M.R.E.: A military acronym for the After Mission Meal Ready To Eat Shit. Anyone who has ever eaten an MRE or even better subsisted on them for any length of time exceeding 1 day knows this utter joy. It is a commonly held belief amongst GI’s that MRE’s are laced with a constipation producing chemical. After having eaten these things for any length of time you become about as clogged up as a Polynesian whore after a long weekend. Which has led to another bit of slang, “Popping the cork”. In our case it has nothing to do with wine. But you will be whining when it happens. So you have to get back, and you know you have to shit because you have about 27 pounds of MRE shit waiting behind the blockade that has now taken over your booty. So its time to pop the cork. You sit down, and you push, and you push, and you push and finally the dam breaks and every MRE, along with a burger you had in 1985 comes spilling out your hind end.
16.The Frankenstein: This is a bi-product of the ambush. First you are ambushed, then the dump in question sets up residence half way out your butt so you are forced to clench your butt cheeks together so hard that you can no longer bend your knees when you walk because you need all those muscles to keep the beast at bay. So now you are relegated to walking from wherever you are to the shitters with your legs straight and unbending making you look like a camouflage Frankenstein.
17.Radio Watch Shit: You have radio watch. Maybe you are on the Quick Reaction Force for your FOB. You proceed to the shitters to do your thing. You are sitting there mid-poop and the radio screams to life. Something bad is happening, the Taliban is coming over the wall, there are mortars falling everywhere, the Sergeant Major just showed up. (All these things are equally horrible.) So you have to either force the rest of this out in about a nano-second or you have to stop, and return when you have available the time that this beast requires. Whatever you do your life will suck.
18.The Taliban Assisted Shit: Some GI’s may refer to this as a combat shit. Possibly you have been out on mission for several days and either you don’t want to shit out there or because of your MRE consumption you have been unable to do so. Either way there is quite a back up in the pipes. Then the Taliban decides to do something, whether it be shoot at you, drop a few mortars on your head, launch an RPG right at your face, or maybe you just drive over an IED. Promptly after which your bowels vacate and you are all better. Except for the rather unfortunate mess in your pants.
19.The god Hates You Shit: This is a shit where everything goes wrong for you. First, this is a bubble guts shit, but you didn’t feel it because you were asleep at the time. The trip to the shitters reveals that this beast is also a “Frankenstein” And the fact that you were asleep also makes it a midnight prowler, you get to the shitters and find out that it has now become a “blowback marathon” and finally you are confronted with the fact that there is no TP in the shitter and you forgot your baby wipes. Not to mention even if you did have them you wouldn’t know if you were clean anyway because you forgot your headlamp. Everything comes at you at once, everything goes totally wrong because god hates you!
20.The Glorious: This is where everything goes right. The polar opposite of #19. Not to mention it should alleviate some deep seated stomach problems that you had been having. The sense of relief cannot be described in words.
Yes, ladies and gents this is how bored I am here. So bored that I actually took the time to name and describe all the different sorts of shits I have taken while here in country. I just want all of you to remember that I did this during working hours, so all of you paid for this. So I hope you enjoyed it, it is the end result of your tax dollars at work. I hope the President will remember that the next war he decides to start!
I love you Mom...
So I Was Thinking...
Which we all know is a bad thing. But at least this time I was thinking about someone else and not so much about myself. I was thinking about the mom.
Why? Because I got to talk to her the other day and she was supposed to go to some seminar or class or some shit that was supposed to teach them how to deal with me when I come home all screwed up on the head.
But she didn’t go because she had a pretty bad cough. So we talked for a while. Unfortunately, she had recently caught up with all her reading in the blog. And she got to the posts about all the fun I have had recently with Mr. Taliban Man. Oh joy.
Well, given the fact that I lack the required equipment and disposition, I have never been nor will I ever be a mother. So I have never quite understood just how much moms worry. I never could feel what she feels when she reads that sort of shit. So unless there are some cosmic changes in biology and/or evolution in the next few years I’ll never completely understand the next sentence that came out of her mouth.
“I think I am going to wait until you get home to read anymore.”
Now to me this doesn’t make any sense. Mostly because I am male and by default a bit of a moron. My mother has always been the nosiest person I know. Which, regardless of how much strife it caused me as a younger man, was a good thing because her nosiness led to her finding out about many of the evil and/or ridiculously dangerous things I was doing and promptly stopping me. So I figured that this blog, given the fact that it would tell her everything that was going on with me over here would appeal to her, and her almost pathological need to know everything!
Then I started to think about how well the mom knows me. This is a woman that can formulate my sentences in her head before I do. This is a woman who can call my reaction to any given situation without so much as a second thought. This is a woman who knows exactly what to say to me regardless of how I have fucked up my life at the time. Mothers. Anyone who says that they aren’t all witches. I will tell, that they haven’t been paying attention.
Then I thought about my dog. My little pain in the ass Mutt/Chow Katie. Now by no means am I comparing my mom to the dog. That would end badly for me. I have had that dog forever, or what seems like forever. I got that dog when I was still married, which seems about a lifetime and a half ago. She has been with me through all the trials and tribulations of marriage, and divorce. She has ridden cross country with me. She used to fit in the palm of my hand. I used to help her up onto the couch when she was a puppy. She would stand on her hind legs, and put her front legs on the couch and try to pull herself up onto the couch. But she wasn’t strong enough, so I would put my foot under her ass and lift her up until she could walk onto the couch. She used to sleep with me every night. I taught her how to walk up and down stairs and not a whole lot else, just because she was born house broken and on top of that she is a willful little bitch and is not about to sit for anything less that a piece of bacon.
And I wondered to myself, if she were in danger and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it, would I want to know or hear about it? Answer: Probably not.
So I guess I can understand why the mom wouldn’t want to hear about all this shit.
Which brings me to an apology, any mothers that read this, I’m sorry. Mrs. Ghost, sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you. Mom, please don’t kill me when I come home. Airman Mom, hopefully your son is in a plane and doesn’t have to put you through this kind of shit.
Anyone who has read this blog knows that there is a special place in my heart for mothers. Regardless of how witch-like I may think they are. There is something very special about a woman who carries you in her body for nine-months (or in my case, 8 months and a couple weeks.) And even after you cause her all that pain she still takes you home with her. Then she feeds you, clothes you, puts up with and cleans up all your shit (literally and figuratively). Only to rewarded with a lifetime of worry and heartbreaking goodbyes. At least that is the case for my mother. If there is one thing that I have done quite a bit of in my life, its leave. But don’t worry I always come home. Normally when I need money or am homeless.
So maybe I should try to make it not such a thankless job for her. Maybe I should have figured that out a long time ago. But hey, am a guy, moron by default, remember?
Thanks Ma, (she hates it when I call her that.) You’re the best, whether you read this now or after I get home. You’re the best at either time.
Alright, I’m done.
I love you Mom...