Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Update from Kuwait

A couple of notes; I sometimes am guilty of free flowing thought while writing this, sometimes that is interesting (at least to me) and sometimes it results in not communicating effectively. The benefit of doing this in my own living space is that I can write, edit, reflect, reword and produce something that says what I want it to, instead of possibly something that is either close or not even what I intended.

I am in Kuwait, the bright side of this is that I am not digging a sleeping position, it is dusty and hot here, but that is fairly universal from what I can see. Lots of different services and nations here as well.

Previously in my perspective.... (you need to hear that in James Earl Jones voice to get the right flavor) I was talking about US Military culture. How I have had some difficulty connecting with people who serve in primarily the Navy and Airforce. I would like to say again, and I have proven it in the last day or so, that this is simply a limitation of mine. I have to work at it to have a discussion with these people, and the fact of life is, it is not the Navy or the Airforce that I have difficulty with, it is probably the multitude of other variations that come with living in a country as large and diverse as ours. In the USA the words may be the same from coast to coast, but there are nuances that change with states, and sections of the country. I had it nicely demonstrated to me in the last 24 hours that it simply takes more direct effort to have a conversation with folks you have almost nothing in common with, it isn't impossible.

That said, our military team would not be nearly as capable if we didn't possess the finest Airforce, Navy, Marine and Army forces on the face of the earth. (Wow doesn't that sound Jingoistic??? ) Regardless, it is true, not trying to sound brainwashed here. Each service brings a different skill set to the fight, be the fight a physical ground conflict, or winning the hearts and minds of the population, or being technologically more advanced than the next guy or gal.

Good news; chickens really do come home to roost. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a bad dude named Amnullah Khan, he was playing all ends against the middle, just prior to my leaving for pass, he put out a list of 42 people to kill in the area I live in. He was successful with the first man on the list and much of his family, (this is Afghanistan, not Columbia) fortunately for the rest of the free world, Mr. Bashir's family and friends did not appreciate that kind of attention, and provided him with a ticket to the next world. No news yet on if he has met Allah, or any of those 72 Catholic nuns with shotguns, but hey, what do you expect.

Anyway, with any luck I will be back in Shouz and busy again soon, I haven't really lost anything yet here in Kuwait, and the sooner they figure that out, the sooner they can have me stop looking for it.

All my best...



Pete Petersen said...

Hey Keith - Sounds interesting out there. I'm mindful of my Marine days 35 years past when there existed a esprit de corps the manifested itself like family; all for one against everyone else but not just a little bickering inside until you get to know one another.

It is hard to think about the breadth of the US while you're in it but when "away" as we were in Spain and France last year the vastness becomes more apparent. We have so much room, we take it for granted. It's certainly been the boon and bane of our existence in many ways, not just the sprawl we enjoy and yet makes us much more willing to expend large amounts of resources without a care or a glance to the future.

I've come to think about this more with the columns I've been writing for the Big O. I spend a fair amount of time playing with the fruit or veg of the moment. It makes me think about how to use as much of the product as possible, how it combines with other things and what I think of as "waste" can be useful or the subject of added value. Take the green topknow of the leek, ..... please. I've come to keep it rather than toss it because it can become the base for a great vegetable stock.

The column has remained more fun to write than I should admit. The 4 - 6 hours a week is mostly a joy. Of course, its hard to hear from an editor, such as Dianne who reads the last draft of most pieces before I send them off to the electronic dust bin, "So, what is it you're trying to say here?"

You probably have hundreds of so-called "editors" recomposing your every piece of work every day but as to your posts, I can't say I've ever thought you could have said anything better or more clearly. Great writing and thanks for giving me the chance to read it.

Back to Fennel, for now. Pete

Keith said...

Great to hear from you Pete, Thank you for the kind words. I look forward to seeing you soon.