What have we done?

I think it was five beers in total. Not much when I was in college, perhaps, but I'm older now and out of practice.

We talked about the Army, and Afghanistan, and the people we brought over, brought back, and left behind. We ate some excellent steaks. We heard the stories again, and we told the stories again, and we didn't interrupt when we heard one we'd heard before, because we know that the secret is in the telling, not the hearing. We asked the questions that shouldn't be asked, and we left unvoiced the questions that others ask, because they've been asked and answered before--water under the bridge.

I saw the valleys and the mountains, and I smelled the gun smoke and I heard the zipzipzip of incoming rounds and I felt the Humvee rock on its springs as the F-18s released their concussive payloads, and I saw again the local nationals who have bet it all on our notoriously fickle public policies, and I felt the SAW hammer at my hands, the ratatatatatatatatataPING as the casings ricocheted off the roof of the truck and then off the front glacis plate. I felt the frustration of 11 time zones of separation from my beloved. I heard the haunted tones from comrades who were seeing their own visions from OEF VII.

And I wondered whether we are draining painful blisters when we reminisce about the defining moments in our lives, or whether we are merely picking half-healed scabs...


American soldiers murdering a helpless local national

Warning--this video is not for the faint of stomach. This is SGT (now SSG) Smallville's finest hour, when he single-handedly bludgeoned an Afghan rattus to death in our temporary barracks while the other American soldiers present laughed and took pictures. In addition to the graphic carnage, there is some soldierly language.

[Video embedded in full entry.]

Blackhawk leaving the scene

I'm playing with YouTube. You know me--I like to stay comfortably two years behind the power curve.


Tidbit from the archives

I'm cleaning out my AKO account and I found some e-mail exchanges from various people, including some laudatory words from SSG Smallville upon discovering that I was not going to be switching teams after all:

I was hoping I wouldn't lose you. You're my rock. Your discipline and understanding of the way things sometimes have to be is precious to me. Sure, you're a ticking time bomb, but nobody's purfekt.

I should go through these some more. It's amazing how much insanely stupid and stressful stuff you can forget after just a year and a half.


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