It’s interesting the questions people ask when they hear you’ve just been in Afghanistan performing comedy shows for our troops.
“Were you scared?” No.
“Did you get shot at?” Umm, no.
“Was it hot?” Freezing actually.
“Did you get a chance to have a look around?” Umm, yeh sure. There’s an open top bus tour from Kandahar to Kabul. It’s called “15 warlords in 15 days”. David Hicks is the tour guide and the final night party is in Bagram Prison. It’s great – you can book it at Flight Centres.
What’s interesting about these questions? None of them enquire as to the welfare of our troops, the job they are doing or the conditions in which they are doing it.
The problem is fatigue. This war has been hard work. We’ve been grinding away for nine years. Can you name one thing in your life that you’ve liked after nine years? School? No. Marriage? Be honest! Your job? C’mon, the boss isn’t watching. Seinfeld? Yes, but Seinfeld ended after nine years. Just in the nick of time.
This fatigue causes us to care less about the detail and more about the simple question – IN or OUT? Every few weeks it seems newspaper websites survey their readers “should we pull out of Afghanistan?” The overwhelming response is nearly always “YES”.
I’d like these websites to also ask the question “do you support our troops?” They are the ‘detail’ we’ve lost sight of when we comment on the war. Let’s reserve a little love for our men and women in uniform.
Whatever your opinion of the war effort in Afghanistan our troops deserve your respect and need your support. Our troops in the Middle East are dedicated, committed, smart, brave and loyal to this country and a chain of command that sees them serving in a far off land.
When you travel to the front lines you look into the eyes of our men and women working 14 hours a day in the toughest of Middle Eastern conditions this war becomes very real. They work in the choking fine unbearable dust of Tarin Kowt, the freezing cold of Kabul and the utter madness of the often attacked 30,000 strong coalition base in Kandahar. They do it for 6 months at a time without alcohol, in shared sleeping quarters, without any home comforts (think porta-loos) and with an enemy sleeping just over the hill. They do it well, without complaint and in good spirits.
Do you struggle spending 2 weeks away from your partner and your kids? Try 6 months!!
So over these holidays spare a thought for the Australian men and women who are serving abroad and their wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends and children who will be holidaying without them.
You don’t have to support the war but we should always support our troops. Unfortunately Jerry Seinfeld’s not in charge. Otherwise it would have ended happily on the last day of ratings in November instead of dragging into an annoying season 10.
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