From a Recon Marine in Afghan and a counter from Little Norway

From a Recon Marine in Afghanistan

From the Sand Pit. It’s freezing here. I’m sitting on hard cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains, along the Dar’yoi Pomir River, watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave. Stake out, my friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles.

I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I’ve actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas,but the scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like a bastard. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat food and drink water. That requires couriers and that’s where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy. I track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage facilities, type the info into the handheld, shoot the coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air commanders where to drop the hardware. We bash some heads for a while, then I track and record the new movement.

It’s all about intelligence. We haven’t even brought in the snipers yet. Thesescurrying rats have no idea what they’re in for. We are but days away from cuttin off supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin. But you know me, I’m aromantic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This country blows, man. It’s not even a country. There are no roads, there’s no infrastructure, there’s no government. This is an inhospitable, rock pit shit hole ruled by eleventh century.

warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs. Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his family: join the opium trade orjoin the army. That’s it. Those are your options. Oh, I forgot, you can also live in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu, if that’s your idea of a party. But the smell alone of those ‘tent cities of the walking dead’ is enough to hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs for eighteen hours a day. I’ve been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and Turkmen and even a couple of Pushtuns, for over a month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure: These guys, all of ’em, are Huns…actual, living Huns.. They LIVE to fight. It’s what they do. It’s ALL they do. They have no respect for anything, not for their families, nor for each other, nor for themselves. They claw at one another as a way of life. They play polo with dead calves and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend the family honor. Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless beasts who feed on each other’s barbarism. Cavemen with AK-47’s. Thenagain, maybe I’m just cranky. I’m freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap warmer is running out of juice, and I can’t recharge it until the sun comes up in a few hours. Oh yeah! You like to write letters, right? Do me a favor, Bizarre. Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the Taliban ‘smart.’ They are not smart. I suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is ‘cunning.’ The Taliban are cunning, like jackalsand hyenas and wolverines. They are sneaky and ruthless, and when confronted,cowardly. They are hateful, malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy everything else. Smart. Pfft. Yeah, they’re real smart. They’ve spent their entire lives reading only one book (and not a very good one, as books go) and consider hygiene and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil. They’re still figuring out how to work a Bic lighter. Talking to a Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen; eventually he just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it. OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back to my hole. Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of practice, but I’m good at it. Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with your lives. The story line you are getting from CNN and other news agencies is utter bullshit and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep you glued to the screen through the commercials. We’ve got this one under control The worst thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what we’re doing over here, because you have no idea what we’re doing, and really, you don’t want to know. We are yourmilitary, and we are doing what you sent us here to do.Saucy Jack Recon Marine in Afghanistan Semper Fi “Freedom is not free…but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share”. Send this to YOUR FRIENDS so that peoplehere will really know what is going on over there

and no for a different reality, possibly worse: From an ex -recce way back in time:

A kind Pliceman

Inspired by the dejected yet gung ho of a personal account written by a recon Marine in Afghan I am about to present him with a horror story of my own, very much the opposite of his experience.
Here in Oslo Norway, possibly the richest city on earth, their are no bugs and no retarded aghans and the insfrastructure works like a miracle. Everything is clean and functions, for a price.
Thats about as good as it gets.
The people do not partake of the riches and the eaverage Joe who’s salary would be the envy of every spaniard of greek barely gets you by. Not only that but one has to endure four months of deep darkness and bitter cold and another three with snow where the term endless hell takes on a new meaning especially as no one speaks to each other and all crawl into a version of themselves that is cut off from the rest of the world and their i-pods.

ON week ends everyone goes out and gets slam dunk pissed out of their skulls. Its a way of dealing with the empty horror of the week days. If one can get the hangover to last until Thursday you have mastered the art of living in Norway.
The gypsey beggars from eastern europe have taken over the streets and how THEY survive in this climate mystifies me. Sitting dormant in minus 15 degrees all day waiting for the clink of the reluctant coin in the paper coffee cup. Shades of old ladies sitting in the entrance halls of the high rise concrete monstrosities in Gorky counting who comes in and who coms out.

All my old Norwegian druggies from years back have died. They at least made a noise and caused trouble and hung around outside bars and accosted lawyers. Rich in foul repartee. My favourite smoked his hash outside the houses of parliament and sieved his red spirits through a loaf of bread. Despite the constant haze in which he lived in he always recognized me and pushed a handful of his daily beggings into mine. We had a deal. I tossed away his poisonous drink and bought him a bottle of vodka, mostly at my expence. He was not allowed into the Vinmonopolet. I like to think I extended his life by a few months or even a year, although why I have no idea.His life was hell from alpha to omega although at times when he had smoked enough has or managed a heroin jab he fixed a steel grip on my hand and  a tranquility came over him for a few hours and he could be coherant about his violent youth in the North of Norway, his body covered in scars between the needle jabs. Olav was his name. He has a Marine Jæger tatoo, and wings. The police left him in peace, if thats what one can call it, and when he was so toxic and in danger of freezing to death, they warmed him and dried him out before putting him back on his favourite bench outide the National Gallery.

The Gucci and Armani crowd don’t have a much better life of it (I know as I was once one of them) rushing about stuffed with their own importance and fragile relationships to the world and each other as fragile as Olav’s, just on another level.The difference existing between a bottle of stolich and a bottle of Chateaux Margaux.

©Howard Gamble
27.02.2013

 

 

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