10 March 2010

This is real

A few soldiers died recently in my province at a combat outpost. There was a major gunfight a few miles from my base. My war has been relatively quiet, meeting with contractors and traveling to villages to look at schools. How real the war truly is, but how blind we are sometimes to it. I hope that I can make the most of my tour here, and make a real difference, but the fighting seems like it is another world away. And yet it is so close. The contracts and the killing are interrelated, a massive struggle to gain popular support, like an election campaign where the other side likes to blow people up. And the stakes are huge. This country is the crossroads of almost every unstable region in the world except for Africa. Iran to one side, India/Pakistan to another, China getting interested in expanding its influence. The stability of these regions depends on the stability of a country that most people didn't care about before 9/11, mostly because it was stable (though brutal). The stakes are high and it is me more than the door-kickers who can win the war, win by supporting the government long enough and hard enough so that it can finally stand on its own two feet when the acceptable time comes. But I must stay alive to win, and the war, though it seems distant at times, is all around me.

That's all from the wall


  1. I remember when I first heard enemy gunfire. It did have an eerie, it's not where I am, quality. Then a while later it got closer; a VC rocket over behind the chapel, about 100 meters away. We didn't wear helmets all the time; but you probably should. You normally know about the beginning of an attack after it has started.

  2. Eddie, care package is inbound, cleared hot, TOT hopefully a couple of weeks. It's fairly basic, let us know if there's anything AO-specific you need.

    Was it Churchill who said nothing in life is so exhilarating as being shot at without effect? Not sure if exhilarating is the right feeling; I recall the first time my crew chief told me someone was taking pot shots at our aircraft. It was night and it was obvious whoever it was was aiming at our sound and couldn't see us since he wasn't even close (that or he just didn't know how to lead). My first reaction was, of all things, annoyance, since I'd now have to send in a report to higher from the air and then do more paperwork on the ground. I don't really know why that was my first instinct, especially when one terrorist TTP was to use small arms to drive aircraft in a certain direction for a missile shot. But that was it: annoyance and feeling mildly offended that anyone had dared raised their AK at me. It was only well after landing that it registered that a total stranger, regardless of how inept his tactics, made a concerted effort to take my life and that of my crew. It certainly made me thankful that he missed wide