From a former jar-head friend now working in Afghanistan as a contractor:
About the only thing you really need to stockpile is patience because it’s a military/government project, where the sad but common saying is “f–k up, move up”. You’d be astounded at the incompetence and how deep and swift it can flow through here sometimes. You remember.
I want to make an anti-Ken Burns documentary someday, for our decade’s Iraq/AfPak project: over stills of soldiers in the field, accompanied by a soundtrack of melodramatic strings, a voice-over (is James Earl Jones still doing voice work?) reads letters and emails home; but instead of co-opting the chivalrous eloquence of the nineteenth century to romanticise the massacre from the comfort of our temporal remove, we get the contemporary voice and the gruesome comedy. Plain, unsentimental, profane, resigned. And a thousand times truer.
Oh, wait. It’s been done: