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The following is a letter from a Marine serving in Afghanistan to his friend stateside. It is written exactly as he himself wrote and punctuated it. I first published this letter in a November 26, 2009 column. I thought this Memorial Day would be a good time to re-print it. I hope you enjoy it.

From the Sand Pit. It’s freezing here. I’m sitting on hard, cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains along the Dar ‘yoi Pomir River, watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave. Stake out my friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles.

I also glance at the area around my ass every ten or fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I’ve actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but them scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like hell. The antidote takes like transmission fluid, but God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.

The truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat food and drink water. That requires couriers and that’s where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy. I track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage facilities, type the info into the handheld, shoot the coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air commanders where to drop the hardware. We bash some heads for a while, then I track and record the movement.

It’s all about intelligence. We haven’t even brought in the snipers yet. These scurrying rats have no idea what they’re in for. We are but days away from cutting off supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin.

I dream of bin Laden waking up to find me standing over him with my boot on his throat as I spit into his face and plunge my nickel-plated Bowie knife through his frontal lobe. But you know me, I’m a romantic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This country blows, man. It’s not even a country. There are no roads, there’s no infrastructure, there’s no government. This is an inhospitable rock pit shit hole ruled by eleventh century warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs.

Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his family: Join the opium trade or join the army. That’s it. Those are your options. Oh, I forgot. You can live in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu, if that’s your idea of a party. But the smell alone of those “tent cities of the walking dead” is enough to hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerily scrape bulbs for eighteen hours a day.

I’ve been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and Turkmen and even a couple of Pushtuns, for over a month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure: These guys, all of ‘em, are Huns … Actual living Huns. They LIVE to fight. It’s what they do. It’s ALL they do. They have no respect for anything, not for their families, nor for each other, nor for themselves. They claw at one another as a way of life. They play polo with dead calves and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend family honor. Huns, roaming packs of savages, heartless beasts who feed on each other’s barbarism. Cavemen with AK-47’s. Then again, maybe I’m just cranky.

I’m freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap warmer is running out of juice, and I can’t recharge it until the sun comes up in a few hours. Oh yeah! You like to write letters, right? Do me a favor, Bizarre. Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the Taliban “smart”. They are not smart. I suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is “cunning. The Taliban are cunning. Like jackals and hyenas and wolverines. They are sneaky and ruthless, and when confronted, cowardly. They are hateful, malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy everything else. Pffft. Yeah, they’re real smart.

They’ve spent their entire lives reading only one book (and not a very good one, as books go) and consider hygiene and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil. They’re still figuring out how to work a Bic lighter. Talking to a Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen; eventually he just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it.

OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back in my hole. Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of practice, but I’m good at it.

Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with your lives. The story line you are getting from CNN and the other news agencies is utter bs and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep you glued to the screen through the commercials. We’ve got this one under control. The worst thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what we’ve been doing over here, because you have no idea what we’re doing, and really, you don’t want to know, We are your military, and we are doing what you sent us here to do.

You wanna help? Buy Bonds America

Saucy Jack
Recon Marine in Afghanistan
Semper Fi

“Freedom is not free … but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share”.

Readers: This Memorial Day, take a moment to say a prayer for all the brave men and women serving all over this planet protecting our freedom and way of life.

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