Iraq and Afghanistan
A reader writes:
I just read the email you posted about Rambo at Camp Phoenix. Just wanted to add my confirmation of the incident that you posted. Rambo is a well known fixture at the Camp and one of the important things is that because he has been there for so long, he pretty much knows everyone who normally comes in and out. And I was actually at that Camp a few days after the incident. We had to come through a different gate as the old one had some damage to it.
And do you know who was back on the job 2 days later at the other gate? That's right, Rambo, doing his job once again, big stick in hand. No resting on laurels for him. Back to the grindstone, day after day. But one thing he does have is the admiration of all who work on that Camp and respect of all in Kabul.
As a person who just got done doing about a year in Baghdad, the difference I feel between the Afghans and the Iraqis is remarkable. Here, you get a sense that they want more for their country, they want progress, and bluntly, they want what we have in the West. A co-worker tried to come incountry with an expired visa and the local passport people tried to extort a bit of cash from him. He refused and then mentioned the name of the LN (local national) that we used to facilitate such issues. The official immediately dropped his price down to the official one and begged the co-worker not to mention what he had tried. This never would have happened in Baghdad.
In Iraq, you get the sense they are biding their time until we leave and then finally a blood debt will be repaid in full. Afghanistan wants to work with us and likes the use of the word 'Ally' and 'Friend'.
So let's focus on Afghanistan, can we? All is not lost. We can redeploy away from the civil war in Iraq, and re-engage when the blood-letting has died down.