Ok, it may sound simplistic, but this Kabul photo captures the kind of Afghan Mill-Industrial Complex that we are up against--Bread Makers. With devilish accuracy, they toss a ball of dough into the furnace below, and with a pronged rake, retrieve unleavened flat bread, baked to perfection by red hot coals.
Why are these people a threat? Well, for one thing, there is not an ounce of fat among them!--They are not like us!--not one candidate for corporate over-consumption! Wonder Bread, Inc. could not garner a red cent from these bakers. G.E. could not meter their coals. Why don't they eat at Safeway, like Americans?
I am talking three generations, here!--Can anybody read their faces--laughter, pride, anger in the same picture. Give me a break! A marketing nightmare. Ok, I missed the top guy's head. But his arms are spread like airplane wings--like that Afghan, Bin Laden!--Oh, I forgot, he was a Saudi, like the rest of the 911 hijackers. Our mistake--Afghanistan never attacked us.
Wait! It doesn't matter! The photo above shows it doesn't matter! Afghanistan presents a clear and present danger--as these two up-armored Hump-vees show (ok, one has a stick shield; the other a driver with a stick). A turban and a hoodie--Danger everywhere. These people could be riding into downtown Des Moines, tomorrow. Innocent camel riders, you say?--Well, what about this scene south of Khandahar?
Afghan barbershop? Look closer.
Military buzz cut, if I ever saw one! Mostly, I remember, it was cold as hell, and for about fifty cents, I got to sleep behind one of those big doors, sleeping bag on floor, with about twenty Afghans. Ok, I guess I slept with the enemy, but I did not inhale, not that night, although it was pretty obvious, on the bus two days later, that some westerners did. About a mile before the Herat border, a Dutch guy was emptying his pockets in the back of the bus. He held out a marble-sized opium ball, and said something like "Kustoms eeze ahet," and like a good consumer, put it in his mouth and ate it. The sight of a westerner puking against the Afghan customs building only underscores the perils and shared culpabilities of a questionable import-export business. Nevertheless, I soon found myself on Iranian soil, where gleaming western-looking banks that lined the streets of Tehran loomed larger than the few back in dusty Kabul. Whatever trade the Afghans engaged in did not translate into bourgeois extravagance. Bread makers could be found in every city and village.
Fine!--so maybe Jesus would not kill the Bread Makers; maybe not lace up his sandals, all the way to his knees, and kick the bejezzus out of these battered jihadists. Maybe he would have mercy, and understand that suicide bombs are acts of desperation and despair, jacked up on junk or jihad, or whatever. Jesus would probably figure that the Afghans have had a good go of it, and are a courageous people, keeping their country intact after 5,000 years, more or less, against overwhelming odds, and brutal costs, that would make David's battle with Goliath seem like child's play, even if Uncle Sam is able to put his bronze foot down, and squash Afghanistan like flatbread. And mold these people into some sort of graven USA image.
I am running out of pictures. Here is one last one. Same neighborhood.