Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spring In Shindand

Just a quick note, you ought to check out www.gwot.us. It is written by a talented Sergeant who has worked with me for the last 5 months. He is probably a better writer than I am; I enjoy reading what he writes.

I really miss spring in Oregon, but I will be home in time to catch all of summer, so I won’t whine too much. Spring in Shindand has arrived; I returned to Shindand from Herat a couple of days ago. I am sure glad to be back. Thousands of Grasshoppers have hatched this year and the Interpreters say they have never seen this many. Doesn’t seem like enough to have swarms of biblical proportions, but more than I have ever seen, it makes me wish I had a fly rod and a stream to fish with them. They lasted for a couple of days, then the ants began carrying them away, and they were replaced by butterflies, also in the hundreds, The grass is green where I am at, wheat fields are growing, trees and grapes are pushing out their leaves, the doves have returned in force and can be heard until midmorning and again in the evening. It is truly the most pleasant place I have seen in Afghanistan, although I am sure there are others that are as nice also.

SGT White, who writes gwot.us, pointed out that we all seem to do these, now that I am leaving posts, and I guess that is natural. Here is a brief thought from me on that, and I don’t believe this will be my last post, but I will try and keep the sappy reflections to a minimum.

I am glad that I came on this deployment. Leaving your family for 15 months is quite a price to pay, but I have volunteered for every step of what got me to this point, from enlisting, to ROTC, and back into the National Guard, I have to say I have always know this was possible, and I of course asked for what I got.

The people of Afghanistan have benefited greatly from our presence here. That is what leaders of villages, soldiers, and interpreters tell me. Of course folks who do not agree may not ever talk with me. Even taking the fighting into account these last 5 years have been peaceful for the bulk of Afghans. The children entering elementary school now, both boys and girls have not seen a battle in their lifetime. Their parents are able to concentrate on building a better life for their kids and grandkids. I am proud to serve beside such good people.

America can not in good consciousness leave Afghanistan to its own devices for many years to come. The time will need to be measured in decades, not in years. That is not a bad thing, South Korea has had a similar situation for over 50 years, and South Korea is among the dominant nations in its area. If we do leave Afghanistan, trouble will come again to this country, from Pakistan, Iran, and people without a country who are opportunistic.

I believe that with peace secured in Afghanistan, prosperity will increase, education will increase, and in this time of greater international commerce, Afghanistan will find a niche that allows it to be successful, and it won’t be opium.

Of course that does mean that either the US will station a division over here, as they have in South Korea, Germany, Japan, Italy, Bosnia, and the Sinai, or they will continue to have National Guard and Reserve units together with Active units rotate through. That is part of the price we need to bear. There will be ongoing debates as to how to skin that cat.

No cats were skinned in the publishing of this post. All cat skinning alluded to is fictional.

Good day…..


Anonymous said...

Don't worry: You're among dog people here. We're all cat-skinners.

-Mike F.

mike w. said...

I just heard about what's happening there. Sometimes I miss being there. Be safe and make it home. I also drank a beer for Glen. Ha, Ha.

Mike W. said...

I have just heard about what is happening there. Sometimes I miss being there. Be safe and make it home. Also, I drank several beers just for Glen. Ha, Ha.