We worked from a place called Bagram Airfield. People seem to have heard of it. I asked someone what he thought it was. He said, “It’s an airport, isn’t it?” It’s like a city. It goes on for miles. You can go out and get fast-food, like a hamburger. There are Afghan civilians on it. You walk down the street and they chatter at you, in their shreds of English, trying to sell you things you could take back home, if you ever get out. There’s a prison there somewhere, someone told me. Someone told me the name comes from an ancient city that is somewhere nearby, but I never saw anything ancient, except fake stuff the guys on the street were trying to sell. If there was an ancient town there, it’s been forgotten now. Now everyone knows “Bagram” is this big place where all the Americans come and go, where the army works from.
Someone told me it was first built in the 1950s, during the Cold War. President Eisenhower came there once. People like to remember when the presidents visited. I guess because you can’t believe anyone would ever choose to fly out to such a godforsaken place.
So we built it, and then I guess during the 80s the Soviets used it, too. And then when we started up the war again after 9/11, we took it back over. All the big foreign countries have used it, and none of them have ever been able to get control of the country. Nobody seemed to like it when I pointed that out. You don’t want anyone noting the fact that your whole mission might be wrong and stupid.