Friday, February 11, 2011

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

Next stop Jalalabad...
It doesn't look nearly as desolate as the Nowa district of Helmand Province. There is grass and trees.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Afghanistan Through My Eyes

Close your eyes and what do you hear?

When was the last time you did this?

The sounds of Afghanistan were the cries of the call to prayer. Of course I didn't know what he was saying, but in his sing song voice you knew he was calling not only to the worshiper, but to God. It was if he was calling out to God and saying we are about to pray, listen to our prayers, they are for you.

The helicopters reverbaration of the rotors against the air. It's like no other sound and once you hear it, it stays inside you. You can feel the air rushing in through the gunners windows and sweep out the back into the desert sky. Your head filled with sound so loud your heart beats to it.

The boom of an IED. Quick, explosive, deadly in its simplicity.

The popcorn of rapid fire.

The buzz of insurgents on their motor cycles, zooming around the desert countryside.

The laugh of children as they play their childlike games like all children throughout all the ages in all countries.

Photos taken by Douglas Lindner

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - photos - D. Linder

Next time I'm getting out of the LATV!
Douglas Linder a Soldier in Afghanistan just sent out the most amazing pictures of Marjah, in Afghanistan. When you see the people of Afghanistan you can understand a lot. That is why it is difficult to make any judgements without being there.

It's like anything in life. Do you trust third person reporting? Things get distorted from one person to another. Reporters are doing a job, they work for a publication that has a slant. Their words are crafted to get published. Often the reporter is at the bureau office and getting his information from a feed.

There are very few journalists who go on their own dime. While it would have been wonderful to have backing for my trip. I was only obligated to write the facts that I saw clearly with my eyes through my words.

Douglas is heading back home to SF at the end of April. If I'm lucky maybe I'll get to see him before he goes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - red tape

I've been in contact with ISAF for my return trip to Afghanistan. It seems I have to follow the same exact procedure. I thought since my pass from ISAF is good for an entire year I could skip some of the process.

This time I'll request to be with the Army 25th Division. I have an Angel, Captain John of the 25th Division Bobcats, who has set me up with CSM Spano of the 25th Division that's being deployed sometime in spring.

I know a little more about what to expect, but there's always the element of the unknown. I just really, really hope there are NO camel spiders where I'm going this time. I think I can handle the Crates, but I will freak out if one of those spiders comes anywhere near me. I will have to make some kind of blow torch with a lighter an my organic hand sanitizer spray which I discovered is flamable...

I am not particularly looking forward to the 3 days it takes to get there. I'm not sure how I'm going to travel. I don't think I want to risk Dubai unless I know for sure it's safe to travel through with my vest and helmet.

I'm eager to put them on again and eager to get back.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Star Spangled Banner - Shame

Super Bowl Sunday earned it's name last night. It was a great game. I think it's interesting how sports figures have become such icons in the fabric of America.

From my last post you know how much I was looking forward to the "Star Spangled Banner". It was setting up to be a great night. The troops they chose to represent in Afghanistan were from Camp Leatherneck! I felt so proud of them and wondered if I had met any of the few that were quickly on the screen.

Next up was Lea Michele singing "America the Beautiful". It was beautiful. I thought it sad that it took a moment at the Super Bowl party I was at for some to realize...that 'no' she wasn't singing the national anthem. Christina Aguilera sang our Anthem. I was excited because she's an icon in her own right and has an amazing voice and range, which you need...for what ever reason, she botched the words.

This to me is just another indication of our loss of pride and integrity for our country. I remember when I was in grammar school we said the "Pledge of Allegiance" and then sang "America the Beautiful" or the "Star Spangled Banner". Nothing sounds sweeter than a group of ten-year olds who just plain can't reach the right note or sing in the correct key.

Maybe next year instead of getting a celebrity who obviously could care less about singing the correct words we could get a group of people who hold our patriotism in their hearts to sing. It would be a great contest to have a class selected from a public school somewhere in our Nation. Plus it would be introducing an entire generation to the "Star Spangled Banner".