Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bagram 17 October 2006

In two days I will be in Qatar, during Ramadan, enjoying the sun, (Like I haven’t seen it in a while LOL); I will swim in the morning and evening when the sun isn’t directly above, and I will issue a warning for those who forgot their sunglasses, to buy some prior to sharing the pool with me.

I am actually authorized to drink a beer or two in Qatar. This may be somewhat anticlimactic but it is certainly an option. Do you know that the only country present in Afghanistan that outlaws alcohol consumption is the United States? Very interesting, I am not sure if I agree or disagree on the premise; mostly because I don’t know the original premise. It could be that we don’t want to offend the Afghans as Alcohol consumption is proscribed by the Quran; if that is the case, I am pretty sure there are far more Afghans drinking than Americans in this country. It could be because the powers that be think it better to eliminate that demon rum, rather than require soldiers to also act as adults and monitor their own consumption. And additionally it could just be that in a stressful time, providing a drug that can be used as a coping mechanism is just not the preferred technique. In any case; there is no Swamp, you can’t have a Martini, and so it really doesn’t matter if it is shaken, stirred, olived or onioned. Also no Hawk Eye, but I have met a Pierce.

We won’t cover the prohibition on sex except to say it is prohibited, unless you are married to the person you are engaged in sex with. That pretty much cuts out all but maybe a couple or so. This again is to improve discipline, reduce legal issues, and keep morale in line. The results are that people are counseled informally (but often) for talking with someone. The fact of life is that healthy men and women, who are proximate, may tend to develop an attraction. (As opposed to those un-proximate people). I again, don’t know the right answer, but I can tell you I have certainly heard about the issue at camps where there are both sexes. I personally don’t have much to worry about, as last I checked, there were no women in my area.

Mail people here at Bagram work hard. That is a fact. They have to act as customs personnel as well as mail handlers. They work from about 0900 until 16:30 or so, might be later. There is always a line at the post office. I am pretty sure it is a stressful job, in that there is just no let up. The flip side of that is that it is much protected, and they could be doing their job in any state in the United States. The biggest danger might be a pulled muscle, or a bad attitude. Our mail person in _Herat Province handles mail for an area the size of Rhode Island roughly. Of course the amount of personnel is not nearly as great but the geography adds to the level of difficulty.

Things that go on while you are on deployment probably cause equal or greater stress for all involved than going outside the wire. It is really pretty simple to go out, you use an armored vehicle, wear much protective equipment, follow approved procedures to maintain security, be prepared to respond to any confrontation or assault of what ever variety they might have for you. Turn on Vehicle, Drive to destination in confusing manner, conduct mission, Return to Base. Simple.

Dealing with dogs, cars, grades, dollars, worries, loneliness, concern, vacuums, dentists, doctors, insurance, tuition, illness, trips, vacations, water pipes, and other neat day to day things is hard. Not because individually they are difficult, just because collectively I am not there to do my part. Other people (my wife for example) have to pick up the slack and do things that I would do. This is one of those, “there is no easy answer” things, I want to know what is going on. It ain’t always pretty. I have a method of dealing with it, it isn’t always the method chosen. Since I am not there, I have no business judging the technique. Thank goodness my wife who is stressed and dealing with all of the above and more is a patient, strong, good person. There are many soldiers spouses who choose this time as a time to break up the marriage or family. I have spent a lot of time with them, there is always a back story, it isn’t just a deployment, but that is when the strains of a deployment truly take their toll.

Okay, that is enough random thought for a day or two, I will write from Qatar, I will have pictures I hope, and if the internet is up there, I will post from there as well.

All my best



Jeff said...

Hey, I found your blog and needed some extra nookie, so I sent money to an armless prophet in Bastwana who sent me a goat but I didn't want a goat. If you go to this website and send the owner One MILLION dollars, then I won't send you the goat!

Keith said...

In order to understand Jeff's Comment you would have have to have seen the previous four spam comments promising fast cash for easy or no work. So now of course, I have deleted them, and you have to do a person verification in order to post, hope you post, hope you can handle the verification.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Rose says, Keith I hope you are keeping all your notes. You can write a book when you get home. All of them are interesting and done very well.. God Keep you , young friend.