Friday, September 26, 2008

My Other Car Is A Broom

It's been awhile since I thought about this story, but all the latest news about the regime change, and cross border operations in Pakistan reminded me of this conversation.

I had stopped to eat in one of the local seafood joints - had some boiled shrimp, a dozen oysters and a coupla beers.

Sitting next to me was a young clean-cut guy talking to his buddy. I couldn't help but overhear the conversation. As it happens, he was an Air Force C-130 crew chief, an E-4. He'd just gotten back from Afghanistan, Kandahar to be exact.

So, I struck up a conversation with him, and conducted a low-level interrogation. :-)

"Still suck over there?"

"Oh yeah, that's one fucked-up country. You never hear shit about it since Iraq, but there's a bomb or two going off almost every day."

Don't recall the rest of the conversation well enough to quote it, but he was of the opinion that it'd be a long damn time before anything like a democracy could work there, as most of the people can't read and write, don't know why we came over there to occupy the country, and don't have the faintest idea what a political party or a platform of ideas is - to them, it boils down to would you rather have your tribal chief be in charge, so your dad and uncles and stuff can get the best jobs, or let the other tribe's chief have the job, with all the pork and largesse flowing to his family and cronies?

Makes me think maybe they do have the democratic process distilled down to its finest essence, so far as it operates without the rule of law, a judiciary, and all the other checks and balances we use over here in the Republic, but that's a 'hol 'nother essay.

Finally, I got this tidbit from him - when Hillary was over there, she was shuttled around the region in a BlackHawk helicopter, which was known by the troops concerned with her transport and security as, get this...

"Broomstick One"


Funny thing, though, is this - had that chopper come under some sort of attack, those very same troops that used that term would, I've no doubt in my mind, fought like lions to defend it, and therein lies a tale about what makes America great.

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