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

Jul 22, 2009

Everyone Thinks War is Exciting, In Truth It Is...

Probably about the most boring thing I have ever done. I’ve said it before, and someone else said it before me. War is about 99% sheer boredom, coupled with 1% unadulterated terror. We are definitely in boredom mode right now. But I guess boredom is good...if there is one thing I know for sure its that if I am bored then there is no one trying to kill me. Which is certainly a good thing.

So what’s been going on? You already know that we finally made it to our new place and our running missions every other day out of here. We go out to a local district center and help train the police and get the district ready for the upcoming elections. Which I am still hoping to God we are out of this country for because when that shit rolls around there are definitely going to be some bullets, bombs and what not flying around. It would suck to get all the way to now just to have somebody...

The best thing about this new mission is the fact that we get to interact with the police and teach them what we know. I gotta admit when you teach these guys something you can at least fool yourself into believing that they’ll remember it and apply it on the street. Maybe we’ll actually make a difference here after all.

We got to eat a traditional Afghani meal the other day with the police chief, the police commander and a few of their lackeys. Which was fun, and surprisingly the food was fantastic. They gave us some rice, beef and meat sauce, and some bread. The bread kinda looks like pita bread and the meat was from a cow that was offed that morning. So it was fresh. And the rice was good.

But the way that they eat is something that threw me off a little bit. So there’s about 10 people eating lunch in this room with us. 5 GI’s and 5 Afghani’s. So we all sit indian style around a blanket on the floor. They laid about 5 bowls of rice, 5 bowls of beef and meat sauce, and 20 pieces of bread on the blanket. Then they gave us each a coffee cup. They poured us some 7-UP and we got to eating.

Here’s where it threw me off a little bit, but when in Rome am I right? Everyone eats out of the same bowls. You just pick up the bread, tear a piece off, then stick it in the rice, push as much rice as you can onto the bread with your fingers and then shove that in your trap. If you wanted the meat you could either tear off a separate piece of bread for that or you could dump some of the meat and sauce on top of the rice and roll it up that way. Regardless of how you had to eat there is no way around the fact that this was some good shit. I am going to have to get the recipe and get the mom or somebody to make this stuff when I get home. Its still a little disconcerting that everyone had their fingers in the same bowls, but whatever.

So we sat around and ate, went through a couple of bottles of 7-UP (not actually 7-UP, just some haji shit that tasted like it.) and bullshitted.

It was funny though. Don’t know if I ever told you this story but its becoming a fairly common thing for me whenever I come into contact with Afghani’s. I told you all that I am a BIG boy. That being said, every time we interact with the Afghans they always think that I am in charge. Apparently, in Afghanistan (like so many poor countries) if you are BIG then you must either be rich or important.

There was the time that all the jingle trucks came into Waza Khwa to drop off some stuff and we had to deal with about 100 drivers and all the shit that they needed. So I am there with about 10 other soldiers, and 2 NCO’s. The Afghani’s wouldn’t believe that the NCO’s were in charge. They thought I was the damn General. One of them actually said to the terp, “Look at the size of him, he’s gotta be the boss!”

So finally, the NCO’s got sick of dicking around and just told me to give the Afghanis all their instructions so that they didn’t have to explain to them who was in charge.

I guess they just figured that I must be in charge, I know where the food is! We told the chief this story and he thought it was hilarious.

Then we went around taking pictures with the Afghani cops. We even got some of our females in on the act. Which is really something to see. Afghanis aren’t used to females that do anything other than breed, so they are fascinated with our females. They are especially intrigued by not only by how they are, but also by what we make them do. Now since I got bumped up from gunner to truck commander I got a female gunner. So as a gunner she has a load of shit to carry around. Its not like I’m being a dick, its just thats what gunners have to carry. She’s gotta haul around a big machine gun (20 lbs or so.), all the ammunition for it, (another 30 or so pounds), armor (50-60 pounds) and on and on...

So they couldn’t believe it when she got out of the truck with all this shit on, and started walking to the police station and then when we got there I told her to climb her ass up on the roof and take an overwatch position up there, with all her shit. They even asked if I was going to make her carry all that stuff up there. Hell yes I am, this is the Army, she’s a soldier, she is going to pull her own weight, and the weight of all the rest of that shit too. I had to do it, every other gunner has to do it, why shouldn’t she?

But as soon as I turned around they raced to help her with all her stuff up to the top. Whatever, no biggie. At least I didn’t have to do it!

However, as soon as they lugged all her shit up to the roof they started pestering her for pictures. Which they took with their cell phones. Yes, cell phones. They don’t have running water here but dammit they’ve got cell phones.

So I went up there to check on her and that’s where I met...


Another dog for me! Now this little guy doesn’t know it yet but he is about to become the most spoiled dog in all of Afghanistan. He lives on the roof of the police station. Kind of an unofficial mascot. I already found a bunch of shit I am going to take out there for him. I still figure that at least the dogs won’t grow up to be Taliban so giving them stuff won’t hurt.

But that definitely made my day!

Alright, now I’m done. We’re going back out there tomorrow so maybe I’ll have another story or two.


I love you Mom...


  1. I thought I had mailed my last box to you (mushy letter and all) more will have to be packaged up for your new buddy! Raju is adorable! Take good care of each other.
    Please post more pictures!!!!
    Stay STrong!
    Pray Hard!

  2. What an excellent post. Thanks so much for introducing us to Raju the most about to be spoiled dog in Afghanistan! Stay as safe as you can.

  3. Hey Dan;

    Yes - please post more pictures.

  4. And I thought the last boxes went out last night! But I can't resist that cute little face and those big eyes! You don't look so bad either after having spent a year in the sandbox :) See you soon.

  5. A good dog make everything else bearable.

  6. Raju is adorable! My mutt is sitting here vibrating because he hears a thunder storm!!