Our convoy pulls into Forward Operating Base Lagman at 1200 hours. After three embeds in Iraq, I'm finally visiting "the forgotten war," fought in a truly exotic land rich with history. In fact, I've just seen The Castle, an amazing fortress the locals claim Alexander the Great built....
FOB Lagman is not a fun place, although at least there's no rule requiring constant body armor, as was the case where I stayed in Ramadi, Iraq. Lagman doesn't get shelled. I'm squeezed in with two AP video reporters from Spain in a room meant for one munchkin. There is a tiny PX, but it periodically closes to make supply runs to Kandahar. There are all of four male showers here, two with curtains missing. The water is hot, though. There is only one computer with an Internet connection. Parts of the camp are made of mud.
Apparently they have cobras here--by which I do not mean Marine AH-1 gunship helicopters so nicknamed, but the kind that slither, hiss, and, if you're unfortunate, bite. The doctor across the way from me, Capt. Richard Slusher, assures me we have no antivenin. On the upside, it's good incentive to keep the place clean, because trash brings rodents and rodents bring snakes. They also have the ugliest, nastiest beetles I've ever seen. The little monsters fly and bite. I'm pretty sure they report directly to Osama himself.
One of the AP reporters says he believes 9/11 was a Bush administration conspiracy hung on al Qaeda. [Captain Richard] Slusher gives him hell about it — albeit in a good-natured way. I don't hear the other reporter sound out on the subject, but he never takes off his Che Guevara T-shirt. Maybe these two will provide unbiased footage and commentary notwithstanding their personal views — maybe not.
I'm guessing "not."