'Not From Here,' stories by Nathan Deuel

You are not alone; we are all alone

Northwestern Afghanistan

Northwestern Afghanistan is both real and more real than you can imagine. (Image via Wikipedia)

Another dream. I’m at a crowded airline terminal, and all the other waiting passengers are American high schoolers: Rowdy, urban, multi-cultural, coiled with teen-aged energy.

Under the fluorescent lights, against the soft hush of the industrial carpet, a hefty boy with tanned skin, dark hair, and pimples stands to give a Heil Hilter salute.

He’s rooted there there, tall — is he Mexican, from Latin America? he’s a citizen, though — ramrod and with a blank face, giving this awful salute.

Catcalls ensue. “No he didn’t!” “Oooooh.” “Damn, that boy crazy!”

But he just stands there, rigid, unmoving, this real boy doing something real. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Afghanistan, U.S. Military, War, World, Writing, , , , ,

I dream of war

John McCain waits to deliver speech in Denver,...

Image via Wikipedia

Woke up early this morning with John McCain slapping me on the back. I was in fatigues, standing among fellow soldiers for some sort of honor guard ceremony. I leaned uninjured against crutches, trying to fake my way out of fighting. McCain, his big scarred face a plastic mask of fellowship, slapped me on my back again and nearly knocked me over. Then a towering, super-buff Latino General — of higher rank somehow than McCain — came over and laid his crushing, buff arm over my head. This Latino General regarded the field of soldiers, the gleaming guns, the spectators in the stands. How was I lucky/unlucky enough to have the two important guys on either side of me? Then I realized the Latino General thought McCain was a bullshit pussy, and I — with my glasses and touch-typing fingers — was someone just as bad.

“Nerds better be giving up on robots,” the Latino General said, crushing my head and making my fake crutches crumble. He looked at McCain and sneered. “This war is among men.”

***

Surrounded by war these days: Saudi with Yemen, America in Afghanistan, and maybe soon, Israel versus Lebanon, and my oldest friend heads to an Iraq FOB this summer. Feels like there’s no refuge, especially late at night.

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Filed under: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Military, War, World, Yemen, , , , , ,

Photos: Follow an American soldier for 27 very real months

soldier060

Dec. 2, 2008. 9:19 a.m. Iraqis stand in frustration as Ian and Sgt. Buthmann explain why a road is blocked: A vehicle was overturned, and the path needs to be clear for it to be flipped. (Courtesy Blogs.Denverpost.com)

Ian Fisher, barely 18 years old, grants access to Denver Post reporters and photographers, who follow him for the next two and plus years. Over dozens and dozens of images, we see Fisher:

* On his graduation day
* Nursing a wounded elbow on the second day of basic training
* Smoking cigarettes and going AWOL
* Pumping iron at the gym in Iraq
* Getting bigger and older
* Ripping up a picture of his girlfriend

Take a minute to scroll through the months. I guarantee you’ll come away from the experience a little shaken. It’s an all-volunteer Army — and it’s the only one we’ve got.

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via Captured Photo Collection ยป Ian Fisher : American Soldier Photos.

Filed under: Economy, Iraq, Photos, U.S. Military, War, , , , ,