Old Blue | Friday, February 17th, 2012
Most probably know this, but Friday in Afghanistan is like Sunday in the United States. It’s the day when shops and businesses are closed, when many people go to the Mosque to worship. We on the team use Fridays for getting caught up on planning, administrative details, logistical issues and so on. It’s a light day, but we usually schedule some sort of training for sometime in the day. This week was unusually light because of an Afghan holiday celebrating the day in 1989 that the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan.
The Soviets had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and 15,000 Soviet troops lost their lives.
I have stood on ground walked upon by Soviets before me. Not by Brezhnev or Gorbachev, but by soldiers who were doing their jobs. I have seen sites where some of them suffered the worst days of their lives. I have seen the sites where some of them experienced their last moments on earth. Even now, some of them remain, having deserted to melt into Afghan society.
Others in Russia and the former Soviet Socialist Republics that are now independent states suffer the ignominy of having fought a losing war. They sacrificed and lost friends for nothing.
My feet crunch on the gravel of the base and I shift my gaze to the mountains to the south. Seven thousand miles from home, I’ve given years to this effort. I’ve missed half of my youngest son’s birthdays. I’ve lost friends here. I’ve seen things and done things that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I haven’t had it as bad as a lot of men who’ve been here, but I ask; is this all for nothing?...
If you read nothing else this weekend, read ALL of this here, and be sure to also bookmark Old Blue.