On the Homefront

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Returned to Washington, DC, yesterday.

It’s been an incredible month in Afghanistan. I’ve had the honor to meet, live, and work with some of the finest people in the world. Marines, Afghans, NATO soldiers and even the occasional UK government employee. These are people whose stories are riddled with courage, resilience, and faith, in the face of great danger and great privation. They make sacrifices on a daily basis that we in the ‘real’ world (as it is often called over there) never hear about, sometimes overwhelming ones, just to budge the tide of the war that little bit towards the better.

I haven’t made my mind up about the war in Afghanistan. If anything, I’ve decided it’s dangerous  to ‘make your mind up’ about something of this sort–there are so many things going on, pushing in so many directions, changing so rapidly and unpredictably, that settling into any one viewpoint can only mean blinding yourself to a significant part of what is really happening. But I do believe that a lot of very good people are doing the best they can in very difficult circumstances, and that is always admirable, especially when they do it in the face of a lot of complete assholes doing everything they can to make everyone else’s life miserable.

I have a small mountain of unused material from my expedition still with me. What I’ve published so far barely scratches the surface of what I collected while I was there; most of the biggest, most interesting stories I simply didn’t have time to sit down and write up in the field. I will continue to publish articles and entries here about Afghanistan for at least the next couple of months, while I transition into reporting on the foreign policy scene in Washington.

I will return to Afghanistan sometime in the fall of 2012. Currently percolating on what other fieldwork to try and set up. First step: learning Arabic. Thank you, guy selling pirate copies of Rosetta Stone for twenty-five bucks at Camp Leatherneck.

Thank you, everyone, for all your support. It’s good to be home (but I’m already chafing to get back out).

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