[aftermath] When Uncle Sam meets ‘Stan — another great report from Afghanistan …
‘In her book An Intimate History of Killing , the historian Joanna Bourke looks at the narratives men create to comprehend their own roles in war and, more specifically, in combat. Apparently, soldiers in each war look to the previous for a frame of reference. Those in the Pacific in the Second World War looked to the First World War. Those in Vietnam looked to the Pacific Theatre. No prizes for guessing where the men in Afghanistan were looking.
Thus the graffiti on the walls of the Portakabins where, if you got to them later than 9am, you’d be greeted by a 5ft-high pile of soldiers’ faeces:
Toilet 7: “I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds’; ‘I am become Bored, Destroyer of Motivation”
Toilet 3: “Though I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil, because I am the meanest motherfucker in the valley.”
Toilet 6: “MARINE – Muscles Are Required, Intelegance [sic] Not Essential”
Toilet 2 (women only): “I miss my cat.”‘