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July 08, 2007

THE "GOOD WAR"

Afganmap2The “forgotten war” or the one that should have been remembered, Afghanistan is a place that looks suspiciously like Palm Springs despite the occasional IED and the lack of senior citizens. The craggy landscape is vast, mountainous and, from perspective of the aircraft, far beyond the view of my eyesight.  This is the “good war”, the legal and justified war, but like the sibling to the prodigal son, the son who did everything right,  Afghanistan is often neglected.   

From the C-17, I saw signs of life in the Afghani landscape, so many beige dominoes tossed between the countless valleys.  I have only a rudimentary understanding of Afghanistan, tribal communities, warlords, very isolated and somewhat mysterious, but I wanted to come here precisely because I know so little about this country, this indomitable nation that has belonged to so many empires, but tamed by none. 

Currently, Afghanistan is a part of Centcom, the military division that encompasses much of the Middle East.  Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is mountainous and the air is surprisingly pleasant.  As soon as I got off the plane, I felt there was far less tension.  The military seems much more relaxed.  The Marines themselves wear the bright green woodland “cammies” that would be entirely out of place in the Al Anbar province. 

My time in Afghanistan has just begun, but I am still thinking of all the experiences I had in Iraq and truly know that I will have to return there.

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