Emails from Afghanistan
Well, a very dear friend of mine is in Afghanistan right now, having already been in Iraq twice in the past couple years. He didn't tell me he was leaving, but has sent a couple emails to friends and family since he arrived. He has given me permission to reprint what he writes here, though of course his privacy and security needs to be protected. In fact, I'm not even sure I can say who he works for. I'll leave that up to him. As soon as he comes up with some obscure literary or historical pseudonym, we can start calling him by it.
This email, received Tuesday, is how I learned he was over there.
June 26, 2007
Subj: Pckg Arrived-Mny Thnks, and Update
Hey guys, the box with the shaver et al arrived yesterday, and now I'm cleanly-shorn of my growth. The flag and mags were also well-received, and the flag is already hanging in the workspace; it means a lot to the guys out here to have it. Hopefully I won't have to bug you guys with any more requests; I'm almost half-way through, so I should be able to get it done :)
Other than that, things remain status quo. Hot as hell (over 115 today, and humid to boot), and the haze has closed in; when I arrived you could see over 40 KM to the mountains at Tora Bora, and now the mountains have dissapeared behind the haze. Had some rain the other day, which gave us mud, but not much cooling. I'm getting a farmer's tan--arms but not full body, as it really isn't safe to just bask in the oven. I experimented with my camera's movie function last night in an effort to capture heat lightning; we'll see how it came out (if at all). I also took a shot of me in full beard-foliage, so you can see the horrible effect. Will mail those out if I can stand the grief!
See you all in a month or so; miss ya!
First of all, of course, I was pissed that I didn't know he was going. But that's as may be. Here's yesterday's email:
June 27, 2007
Subj: Witty and Pithy Email Subj Line
Hi guys, going to do this as a mass-email since there's not much to tell. Things remain the same here; hot as blazes and dusty. Trying to keep busy and cool: when it's 115 in the shade walking around base can be like being on a griddle. I was out by the runway yesterday when a big Russian transport plane was taking off; I was about 30 yards away and it was like a mountain blasting by. I have some pics, but Hotmail is being its usual persnickety self and isn't allowing me to attach any of them. Probably operator error; I'll mess with them and see if I can turn them into smaller file sizes. Beyond those, not many to send--I could send out the ones of me with a beard, but that kind of pain y'all don't need.
I wish I could take some more showing the Tora Bora mountains south of here, but the air quality has gone to hell so you can't see them any more.I wish I could find the words to give you all the feel of this place; the blasting heat during the day and the wild beauty of the mountains around us--not green, but brown and black with rocks, and the clouds of gray-tan baby-powder consistency dust that every passing humvee and helicopter kick up; the quiet as I walk back to my bed at midnight or later in the dark. Seeing the stars so clearly since the only major light source, Jalalabad City, isn't so large it can overwhelm them. Seeing heat lightning flashing yellow in the clouds, or how young so many of the soldiers here seem to be. Or seeing Afghan locals working on base and Afghan Army soldiers and finding yourself caught between admiration for their courage in fighting the enemy and wondering how far they can be trusted.
I'm looking forward to getting back, and I hope I'm making a difference out here. I appreciate all the concern and kind words I've gotten from you all, even if I'm not sure I deserve them. I'll be home before you know it; take care of yourselves.
I'm not sure why it's so important to me to be able to reprint his emails, but I'm going to keep doing it. He has said he'll write some with this in mind. If you want to pass anything along, I'll forward your words.