When in Afghanistan, everyone I met had seen countless people die. In that country, war has been a constant visitor for three generations: first the Soviet occupation, then the civil war, then the Taliban rule (a brief time of brutally administered peace), and most recently, the American offensive.
A sixteen-year-old boy named Rafi, was my guide for my entire stay in Afghanistan. One day while walking through the mined hills of Kabul, looking out onto entire neighborhoods leveled by civil war and American bombs, I asked Rafi if he had witnessed bloodshed. "Sure," was his response. I then asked Rafi how many people he had seen die. After a few long moments of staring at the ground rafi said, "More than I can count. All my life people have been dying."
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General Staff Meeting, CENTCOM (Tampa, FL)
I gained access to CENTCOM (Central Command, US Forces) while on assignment for MIT Technology Review in 2005. Being a veteran was never so beneficial as when at MacDill Air Force Base. Being referred to as, "sir", by a general was a special treat to this former sergeant. On one of my three days there, a general staff meeting was made available to be photographed. I had roughly five minutes while waiting for General Abizaid to arrive. The generals assembled in Tampa would be video-conferencing with their collaborators in Doha, who were ceding control of the theater to the officers in Florida, who would run the war for the evening.