Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his family: join the opium trade or join 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 Pushtins 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 or for each other or 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 savages, heartless beasts who feed on each other's barbarism. Cavemen with AK47's.
Then again, 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 jackals and 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. Snuffie 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 your military and we are doing what you sent us here to do.
Recon Marine in Afghanistan
Stories Gleaned From the Internet
The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that 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. These scurrying rats have no idea what they're in for. We are but days away from cutting off supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin.
I dream of bin Laden waking up to find me standing over him with my boot on his throat as I spit into his face and plunge my nickel plated Bowie knife through his frontal lobe. I've said it before and I'll say it again: This country blows. 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.
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 butt 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.
Merry Christmas, My Friend
Twas the night before Christmas; he lived all alone
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sobering thought soon came to my mind
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.
I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan
I soon understood, this was more than a man
For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.
Soon around the Nation, the children would play
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year
Because of Marines like this one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."
With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep
I watched him for hours, so silent and still
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red
And covered this Marine from his toes to his head
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold
With an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride
And for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside
I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure
Said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.
James M. Schmidt, who was a Lance Corporal stationed in Washington, DC wrote this poem in December, 1986. While serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I in Washington, DC under Commandant P.X. Kelly and Battalion Commander D.J. Myers, Schmidt wrote this poem to hang on the door of the Gym in the BEQ. When Colonel Myers came upon it, he read it and immediately had copies sent to each department at the Barracks and promptly dismissed the entire Battalion early for Christmas leave. The poem was placed that day in the Marine Corps Gazette, distributed worldwide and later submitted to Leatherneck Magazine and was published in December, 1991. There have been many other versions, but this is the original version.