I know why I sing

I now know the ropes here. I have settled into my pattern of daily activities just fine. The only exception to the rule is a bazaar, massage, funeral, or nearby attack here and there. We are really in kind of a funny place here, where we hear stories of loss, and hard fought battles, and we sometimes even here them or see their remains yet, for whatever reason, we are typically untouched here. My friends come in and go, and the stories come in with them. Just a few days one of my super friends (that’s Special Forces to you non-military types) was in a heavily contested battle that was responsible for more UN deaths in one fight than any battle since 2005, and more total deaths than any since the operation began. He and his buddies were okay as they were kind of out of the game for a while, and by the time the insurgents found and surrounded them it was time to call in the air strike. Apparently the conversation went something like this”

Pilot: “Jesus you guys are surrounded. You want me to just drop them now?”
Super Friend: “Uh, yeah that would be nice thanks.”

All in all I believe we lost 13 or 14 allies in that battle. The French were hit very hard losing ten soldiers. It was a day of mourning for many people here on base. The whole battle occurred about 25 miles from here.

Me? I just pass time by playing volleyball, working out, doing schoolwork, watching movies, reading books, or growing out my mustache.

I had my first experience outside the wire recently as my job required me to take a two hour round trip. At first I was pretty nervous and looked at every passing truck with cautious eyes. After a while I was desensitized to it all and even found myself getting pretty pissed off that one of our gunners found it necessary to point his rifle at every truck driver he thought was too close. I can assure you if one of those Jingle trucks (see my Afghanistan/Random gallery for pics) was filled with explosives, it would not matter if the damn thing detonated 10, 25, or even 50 feet away, even in an up-armored Humvee. See that’s the thing here, that’s the depressing part. Yes there are insurgents, yes, they are killing more of us daily, but the battle we are losing is with ourselves. We have won over about 20% of the country and about 30% loath us. That means that 50% are somewhere in between. Pointing weapons at everyone you fear on the road will not go far in winning the undecided over. It is just plain stupidity. If we pull out and Afghanistan collapses in our wake it will be mostly due to the thoughtlessness of some of our heroes here. It is sad but it is true. It really screws with my head sometimes. I’m reminded of the flight over here from Ireland. We were flying over Kyrgyzstan and a few people noticed some villages down below. All of the sudden there were cries of “towel heads”, and “those little f’ers are laying bombs down there”. We were nowhere near hostile territory. That is the issue here too. Everyone is Bruce Willis from Die Hard, everyone is a bonafied badass, and every Afghani is our enemy. I have alienated myself a bit from many of the army people here because of my open thoughts on the matter. In a nutshell, we don’t have qualified people here. We need educated people that can flip the switch from kill mode to ambassador mode and back without anything in between. We may have bitten off more than we can chew here.

I got fitted for a suit today. Some of the Afghani locals can make amazing suits from scratch for about 60 bucks. I printed out a picture of an Armani I was drooling over and took it to the tailor. I am anxious to see how that comes out. School will be out for me soon. I can’t believe I am finishing my masters. The time came and went so fast. Unfortunately I may be forced with the epic decision of playing on the Navy Volleyball team, or attending my graduating ceremony, which is only held once a year, and which I missed this last year. I cannot wait for the cold weather to come roaring in here. Many people think I am crazy or retarded or both, partially because the mustache, but I feel alive, and happy during the winter. I think it is partly from memories of being at Texas State University on some November Saturday lying around in my dorm room when a beautiful mid day storm blasts through. The downbursts are chilling to the bone; the entire sky is gray and dark blue. I think to date that feeling is one of the best I have ever had. I think that is why I like Halloween so much. Anyways, winter should be a doozy here. Apparently the huts get down to about 30 degrees so I should be nice and hunkered down in my cold weather gear and zero degree-rated sleeping bag.

If any of you are interested check out my Afghanistan Gallery. It is password protected for obvious reasons. If you feel like checking out some of my pictures, including a crazy (blurry) picture of an Afghani riding between the grill and engine of a Jingle truck going 60mph, then call my wife or mother and ask for the password.

I should be able to post regularly now that I am all settled in. Keep all of us in your thoughts. There are a lot of young people here in Afghanistan that are in more danger than you care to know.

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