Sunday, May 10, 2009

Afghanistan in Retrospect: a List of Quotes

This morning I was digging through the little notebook I've been carrying around with me for the past nine months or so and re-reading a whole bunch of little quotes I've written down during my mobilization, to include the training beforehand, the travel there, and all of my running around. I failed to write down who was saying them, but they're all fun for their pointedness or ridiculousness.

Because I'm in a sharing mood, here's some of my favorites:

"Remember: no battle is won until the checklist is done"

"The barracks are fairly comfortable and there's wireless internet access available. Just don't harass the roaches. They live here, we're guests, and they outnumber us."

"While you're here you'll have plenty of time to bond. A little bondage never hurt anyone."

"The only thing left to say is: go forth, do good things, and play nice with your new green friends."

"Welcome aboard flight 695. Please place your rifles behind your feet and your pistols in the seat-back pockets in front of you."

"Those who destroy cannot defeat those who create in the long term. Shock and awe failed this test."

"This chart shows a breakdown of IED activity by month. As you can see from the chart, there's no good time to be in Kabul."

"If toilet paper were made of nails, there'd be a lot more assholes in the world."

"Why can't I use my Visa card here? It's supposed to be everywhere I want to be." "Did you want to be in Afghanistan?" "Good point."

"So what if it was on the floor? I'll eat it. You call it 'filth,' I call it 'fiber.'"

"I'm glad we were able to help you make your conference a success. In the future, if you need any support at all, please don't hesitate to look elsewhere."

"Really, we're building the plane while we fly it."

"We need unity of command, but we'd settle for unity of effort."

"I'm sorry sir, but I'm going to need you to explain that to me. I'm sure you made sense, it's just that I'm learning to speak Army as a second language."

"We're trying to sort out a common definition of the problem. So far we've only managed to agree that there is actually a problem."

"We can't measure all of the subjective factors involved. It's like tracking little kids shoveling clouds. It just doesn't make sense."

"It takes all kinds. I just wish it took fewer of this kind."

"We like to keep our budget small and closely restrict out reconstruction efforts. This is unlike the American model which is more like filling potholes with $100 bills."

"I demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty."

"You can't boil the ocean."


  1. These are oh so to the many, many points that I am flashing back to my own activation reading them and about to fall outta my chair laughing! Thank you for posting them.

  2. Just found your page... Loving it. 16 years active duty and got 4 left to still figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I'm a self proclaimed JOAT, MON and find inspiration from your work :)