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Friday, 24 April 2009


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Awesome post. I just finished reading the USO entries. Very insightful, and I really feel for those out there, even if I disagree with the wars.

This is a great story. It's often hard to know what to do in times of great stress, grief and the other strong negative emotions that we experience relatively infrequently in the 'normal' safe world. This guy's approach is spot on - just continue to do what you do.

I'm travelling right now and have an MP and almost the same lenses with me, with a small bag full of Neopan. But I'm pretty glad i'm not in Iraq. Or kuwait for that matter.


That was fascinating to read. I appreciate the effort he put into the posts. Whatever your beliefs about war, it becomes very personal when you read first hand accounts of life in war zones.

Wow, that was awesome. For what it's worth, I DO understand the importance of discipline in the military. Without it, I don't think anyone would be able to do what they do.

Still, it does sound completely bizarre to hear a commander worrying about whether a commedian at a USO show will "keep it clean" or not. I mean, this is the one break, the one bit of amusement, these kids get on multi-year deployments in a war zone, and THAT is what they are worried about? You've got 18 and 19 year-olds shooting people and getting shot at and you're worried they might hear the F-word?

I'm reminded of a political cartoon I once saw: a young man is on death row, ordering his last meal. He tells the prison guard, "I'll have a double-bacon cheeseburger with relish, onions, the works. I'll have a large order of fries with ketchup and a dill pickle. And to drink I'll have a beer." To which the guard replies, "Sorry, kid. You're not old enough to drink."

Thanks for linking to those. I have to say, the bit I found most amusing was this part:

The gunners reached out into the open air and leveled their guns with a great slot and click sound. They trained them on the ground. I felt my hands tense up. I realized, for the first time, that both my hands were wrapped tightly around my Leica. Oh my god, my Leica! I have the greatest camera in the world in my fucking hands and I'm in the middle of this shit right here.

In that moment, ALL FEAR was gone.

Reading articles like that always make me wonder...What's it like to shoot a Leica?

"Reading articles like that always make me wonder...What's it like to shoot a Leica?"

Slow, ponderous, most of the photos are out-of-focus, but you really look cool while you're doing it. The cameras are small, but any fool can see, because of all the numbers on the lenses and stuff, that they're really uber-techy. Think of driving your $450,000 Ferrari convertible on a cold rainy day through heavy traffic with lots of stoplights, with Honda Civics outrunning you, and Toyota Corollas honking their horns at you. Like that.

I spent some time flying around Iraq in Blackhawks and have to say, I was never scared. I liked it, truth be told. Not exactly fun, but it was intense, and my life sometimes seems to lack intensity. I also understand that stuff about the f-word. The US military is not like the US in general -- people tend to be very earnest, well-intentioned, and responsible: they are *trained* in those qualities, and the training is constantly reinforced. If somebody sees a ice cream wrapper lying on the ground, somebody will pick it up and put it in trash can, etc. Officers will see that their men are fed, warm and asleep before they take care of themselves (usually.) Things are, of necessity, *controlled* -- there are just too many young men with machine guns and other explosive ordinance to have a loose, uncontrolled environment, and that's really what this kind of comedian represents -- a challenge to authority, and order, and control. It's good, probably even in the military, to give those kids a hint that a different kind of freedom still exists back in the states. But in Iraq, order is the critical thing.


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