Scorpions, Chiggers & Sand Fleas
From a Recon Marine in Afghanistan

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 to fifteen seconds to
avoid another scorpion sting. I’ve actually given up battling the
chiggers and sand fleas, but the scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts
like a bastard.. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but God bless
the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.

The one 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 new 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 also 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 cheerfully 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 the
family honor. Huns, roaming packs of savage, 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. Smart. Pfft. 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
OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back to 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 other
news agencies is utter bullshit 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’re 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.

Saucy Jack
Recon Marine in Afghanistan
Semper Fi!

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

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check
made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to
and including my life.’ That is Honor, and there are way too many people
in this country who no longer understand it. ‘From a Recon Marine in