Sunday, June 14, 2009

Free-write, excerpts bits and pieces from upcoming book

The first thing you notice that tells you you're not in Topeka anymore is the automatic weapons everywhere. If you and I were standing talking on a street corner I'd be able to point to a guy over there, an army guy on the corner, one across the street shooting the shit with some kids with the banana clip resting in his lap as he sits on a lawn chair by a fruit stand, one down about 50 yards away just hanging out in front of a hotel and looking bored. Woekay. So could someone tell me why all these guys need machine guns, and what's going on here? Twenty-four hours ago it was just cops with pistols in Grand Central Station. The relaxed atmosphere makes it more unreal, the normalcy with which people go about their business. When I get home will I ask, so where are all the AK-47s? Maybe that's how I know I was too long in Kabul.

What they don't tell you is what happened last year, when they hit the Serena Hotel, just to show rich foreigners that they can get it too. The luxury Serena looked like a collapsed layer cake along one side, and the city was locked down for a week. What they don't tell you is when that happens, all these guys with AKs don't matter. They are just the first to get swept aside. A car rolls up and they open fire, 9 times out of ten the guy doesn't even get the chance to raise his rifle. Then the real wave hits, the car with the bomb crashing through the iron gate that made you feel pretty safe.

Ooh, so that's why all these machine guns are around. Is it time to go home now?

Kind of like America: all the guns and checkpoints during terror alerts are just to make you feel better, like someone is trying to do something. But when they want to hit, those popguns make no difference. When Mr. Talib or whoever wants to hit, he'll hit. The war on terror is the same everywhere. When people are willing to blow themselves up, they have the advantage. Time to get to the root of the problem.

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