All God’s Children Have Shoes

May 6th, 2013

Click here for Afghanistan Central:, the portal to the Going to Afghanistan” series.

~ This is Post #5 in the Series “Leaving Afghanistan”.

All God’s Children Have Shoes

~ Growing up in the land of the free.

We seem to have some time to kill while we are waiting for the past to synchronize with the present – here, in Syria, in Afghanistan.   This is only the sixth or so, our last letter (meaning my mother’s) was written on the sixteenth.

So, a plane or two had been shot down over Russia (then).  Nobody knew who owned the plane (or why), or what it was really up to (before it came down).  At least that is what the western media said.  Russia said it looked like war.  It wasn’t until the seventh when Russia (then) broke the silence and said they had the plane and the pilot.   Reports are circulating that Syria has “the pilot”, a survivor from the bombing run on Damascus; maybe it’s like Japan capturing the pilot of the Enola Gay.

The difference of course is that America was not trying to keep it a secret that they had used a nuclear weapon, an atomic bomb, a new weapon that no one had ever seen before on the battlefields of the middle east, meaning west, not east Asia.  No, this time the secret was kept from America.   Only one or two of the agencies within the government knew it would happen and they did not tell the President – he had no “need to know”.  That’s how turf wars are; they are wars for turf and territory and the hearts and minds of men and women and all the children too.

Assuming that they really have him it makes sense that they are working him over like they work over the detainees at Guantanamo (Bay).  Fair’s fair in love and war, one side sets the standard and the other side is sure to follow.  I’m sure they’ve checked his teeth.  Secreted pills are so easy to swallow; it’s better “red line” than dead.

How much does a pilot need to know when flying a “weather plane” (that was the cover for the atomic bomb run).  The cover for the latest bomb run was “Hezbollah“.   Like if the Japanese had captured Paul Warfield Tibbetts Jr., it would soon come out that the pilot knew it was more than a weather plane, it was in the name, “War-field” – who would ever believe the ironic details in the script?  One never has to look to far.

It’s like the Boston bombings, or not unlike the Boston bombings.  Agencies don’t always communicate.  There is always something one or another branch of government wants to hide.  There is always something that no one wants to hide, or one that thinks something hidden should be revealed.   Do you think the first third Reich was one happy family that just worked well together?  No; there’s infighting, there’s outsourcing, there are differences in the way powerful people see things.  There is always a struggle for power if not the constant possibility of an outright coup.

While one person might see one flag, another person sees a field divided by those with opposing stripes.   While one person sees a field of blue; all another person sees is red.  It’s a matter of perspective (always).  It is never so much what you might be told; it is what one believes.

Every story needs a hero.  Every dark empire needs an underground or underpinnings that can be revealed that offers proof that there was always light, always hope, always the push for the possibility of change even in the confines of the darkest hell, or hell on earth.  Like Mr. Tzarnaev “singing like a canary” maybe the Israeli pilot is “singing like a canary” too.  He (like Tsarnaev) knows he has no rights, that he’s been conned, that only the truth and nothing but the truth “so help me God” will ever make one free and ready to meet ones maker.

The “back story” in the story from Afghanistan, meaning mine and my mother’s and my father’s, is of course “the diary”.  The diary has (as she has said) the details, the whole story, the things that one does not just drop in the Mail, or the Embassy mail, or even the American mail where even the stamps are stolen; where even whole letters might disappear.

To understand the diary and the why and how of how things work I must explain a few things, first.  It is clear from the past several posts that there were “enemies” everywhere, or potential enemies.  Go back and read things carefully if you don’t really understand.  There was Russia (the Soviet Union) of course.  There was the Afghan government, it had its own agenda, not necessarily just the American one.  Within the American community there was a real villain (meaning antagonist to Fred) in the form of a “pseudo” boss, the “acting” Director.  The Embassy did not always see eye-to-eye with USOM.  Things were so bad that plans were made to secure an “ark”.  My mother writes so glibly that the real danger that there was is not always entirely apparent, from my parent.

The diary was not really written in code.  If it were nobody could ever read it.  Anyway a pen, a pencil and a typewriter was all that was ever at hand.  The typewriter did not travel well, it was too valuable and too heavy.

My mother learned shorthand in high school.  She was very good.  She had a shorthand version of her own shorthand that really helped to speed things up.  She could record far more in less time than any man then alive in Afghanistan and not one other person alive could ever decipher her notes.  Even she could not decipher her own notes after the passage of too much time, hence her concern about “keeping up” with the diary.

She typed up her shorthand (shorthand) notes using lined paper.  The typed area was almost as wide as the paper itself.  The typing started very near the literal top of the page and ended only at the bottom of each literal bottom.  She typed on both sides “back to back”.  The idea was efficiency, to have the lightest, easiest to carry or conceal manuscript possible if it ever had to be secreted out of the country or had to be kept secret within the country.    But that was not all.

Everything she typed was typed without any capitalization or punctuation.  There was no spacing between words, or paragraphs or sentences.  Nothing was indented.   Everything was in English of course, but it was in an English that virtually no living soul would ever have the patience to read (as she mentioned to her mother, “you will perish trying to read it“).  I believe my grandmother took her warning seriously, and never did.

To demonstrate how this works I shall borrow from a paragraph above:

Now imagine trying to read this entire post without paragraphs and with paragraphs written like that.  Then recreate nine pages and without any numbers (meaning page numbers) that verify what really is “back to back”.  Nobody in America today, or at least very few, are willing to go to the lengths my mother did to make sure that her message and the truth would get through.

There is a lesson here.  My only comment at this time is that when I get through with all of her letters then I might try to upload the diary.

So, reading between the lines is easy when you get used to reading lines that are hard.  The only question is what to do when the message gets through.  The truth always has the potential to change everything.  And the truth always comes out in the end, so that means that in the end EVERYTHING will change; you can bet every bank that there ever was or that will be on it.  And I do believe you will see.

So do all God’s children really have shoes?  Is the Pope really Polish?  Does what was once written really hold water now?   Is it just a letter we’re reading or is it a diary?  What will be said if the pilot stays alive and is allowed to speak up; as if Tibbitts were shot down and was captured and tortured and was tortured about the mission and the death and the destruction that his “success” in life would really mean, really bring?

Every sentence, every chapter, every page of history can always be easily rewritten.  Some times history is just copied.  Sometimes it is rewritten because of the finding and identification of a new source, or a better source.  Keep looking.  Keep searching.  The truth really is out there and the truth will make even the most downtrodden prisoner eternally free if he or she is not guilty as charged after EVERY affidavit is in.  And EVERY affidavit is NOW coming in.

2013.05.06 – 23:10

A road trip and a parade.

May 2nd, 2013


Click here for Afghanistan Central:, the portal to the Going to Afghanistan” series.

~ This is Post #4 in the Series “Leaving Afghanistan”.

A road trip and a parade.

The parade of events continues, and will continue just as the posting of the letters to and from Afghanistan continues.  There is no respite until one actually leaves, ventures forth and seeks new lands if one cannot make sense of or a life in the old.

Fifty-three years ago my family was facing just such a dilemma.  But things (then as now) were happening fast.  The letter below reviews a parade, a parade of construction equipment of all means.  Now we watch the parade of deconstruction equipment.  America seems to be always equipped.

The really important thing about this letter is not the parade, but the road trip.  It was real.  It was perhaps the most unforgettable trip of my life.  It was at the time probably the most incredible, impossible road trip available anywhere in Asia.  In a sense it made “Exodus” (or the next exodus) look like a walk in the park.  Do I exaggerate?  Perhaps.  But you were not there.

You don’t know the meaning of the word dust until you’ve eaten it from the back of a 3/4 ton truck with not even a seat (just a slab of hard metal) for almost exactly 1,000 miles of dirt and washboard roads on the ultimate road-trip (think challenge) from Kandahar to Herat and back again to Lashkar Gah (the brand new Little America) and then on to Kandahar and Kabul and do it all in less than five days.  I’m not kidding, even though I was (I guess) still a “kid”.  You couldn’t do the same trip today in that time.  Then it was safe, circa 1960.  Today the chances of doing this road-trip and staying alive are like “going to hell” and returning again to tell about it.  There is just No way.

So let’s put aside all the stories and nonsense about what women can do and have done in Afghanistan and elsewhere.  My mother was one, she was with me.  She too did the Afghanistan trip and the road-trip.  Sure, she didn’t wear a Chadri, the word Burka is so North African, so Arab, so foreign to every Afghan that I know or have ever known.  No, lots of Afghan women in 1960 didn’t wear Chadris, it wasn’t always the norm, one size didn’t ever fit all.

What was totally amazing about this trip was to be able to travel 1,000 miles through fields and farms and valleys, to cross a dozen rivers, to go through villages and cities and never once see a fence, to never see a barrier in sight, to never be stopped at a checkpoint, to never be asked for even a simple I.D.  THAT is freedom.  Say it out loud and you know what real freedom sounds like.   It’s not the roar of a jet.  Its a thousand miles of highway without ever seeing one sign of a jet.

Look at the video of Bagram today.  All you see, if you see, is the fences – 12 or 20 feet tall; they are there to keep the Americans in and the Afghans out, out of their own country, out of the airport that the Russians gave them.  Others give, the new America always takes it away; takes away peace; takes away freedom; puts up fences and barbed wire and razor wire like the nation had a plan to make the whole world into one just big camp.

OK, honestly I saw a few walls.  They were mud walls, not mostly mud walls; all the walls I ever saw were made out of mud. I often walked on top of these walls when in Kabul; they were like a pedestrian road way if ones balance were sure.  One could go this way or that way where properties met, every house was an intersection of sorts, choices in the back and on every side – where to turn, where to turn.

Walls are not fences.  I was well under six feet, but I could scale walls that were ten (10 feet high) and walk on the top.  No glass was used to keep out intruders, Afghanistan was not Mexico (so near the U.S.), it was not Europe with a history of class struggle.  It was AFGHANISTAN, equal, class-free, tax-free, strong and proud as only a people that live off or close to the land can ever say they are or will be.  And again they will be free, like in 1960.

Take me back.  I could take you with me (maybe), to there.  But first read the letter below.  There it is, a report from the wilderness, the wilds, one place in the world that tyranny will never “get”.  Why can’t we say the same thing about here.?

Where ever you are you are here.


Addressed to:
Hemme Martin
149 No. Forest Street
Gilroy, California

[Stamps removed:  Typed message underneath: Please send this letter on.  Important.]

Senders name and address:
(rubber stamp)
c/o American Embassy / USOM-Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.
(letter) #10


Kabul, Afghanistan
May 16, 1960

Dear Family,

If you want letters, this time you are going to have to have some carbons, or I shall never catch up on my writing again for a while.  Everyone here is well, including three humans, two ducks, one cat, and three dogs of assorted sizes; and, I suppose, I should add three bachas {Pharsi for “boys”*}, but, by doing that I imply they are not in the human class and that would be an error.  Well, anyway, this is remarkable mostly because the first three mentioned items were missing for eight days.

Before last week there was a hint from my husband that he might go to Herat by road to check it for equipment transport even though he was sure the acting mission director might highly disapprove.   Thus he started off by Dodge Personnel Carrier (this is just like a jeep almost, but 3/4 ton instead of 1/2 ton – it is quite the bright yellow vehicle – capable of a considerable number of wonders, like traveling under water, etc.) for Kandahar leaving me with secret instructions to get consular permission for me and Donald to go to Herat if it became possible, but not to let the secret slip to ICA {International Cooperation Administration*}.  The consul has to notify the foreign office of RGA {Royal Government of Afghanistan}, and Fred did not even have permission and this upset the consul a great deal.  On the 7th I finally flew to Kandahar with Donald after several radio exchanges in a form of code with father* to verify the fact that I could come.   All of this produced enough tension for me to make a whodunit – plus some other information I had acquired in my little hollow head that was very critical.  It took 2/3 of the way to Kandahar on a bumpy flight before my cares started to roll away.  When father* met us at the airport, I felt better.  The new Ariana DC-6 had come in that same day from Europe with Amanullah’s body.  In Kabul we saw the other five of Ariana’s planes, so it was quite a day.  The airport {in Kandahar} is longer than Mingaladon*, although not quite as wide strips.

For two days Donald and I just loafed around in the summer climate while father* finished unexpected business.  It was very relaxing.  On Tuesday {at 3:00 A.M.} we three started out for Herat in company with another vehicle the same.  We did the full 400 miles that day, in some cases going up and down as mich as we went horizontally.  A little over 15 hours got us there, beat but unbowed.  Father* was happy because the road would support the heaviest equipment, and he could move Herat ahead.  {the} (air project)  We gulped choi and fell into bed and I never knew the beds in Herat could be so easily slept in, big full pillows, saggy springs and all.  The next morning we were up early and toured the bazaars looking for motor oil, and by ten had oil, had checked the airport and were on our way back to Lash Kar Gah {Lashkar Gah}.  This time we did not have to wait and check up on our companion car and we had no fuel pump troubles and it was about fifty miles shorter so we didn’t take quite twelve hours for the trip.  If I had had time to take pictures, make notes, etc. I could have had a nice article for the {National} geographic about our motor trip across the southern part of the least known country in south Asia.  The plains are terrific, the mountains are magnificent and one looks like it is made of solid white marble.  One village only had date palms and looked like an oasis.  Farah is in a very rich valley.  I suppose one might find that about 10 cars a day use the road on an average.  If I ever get caught up on 9 days of diary, that will be the closest I come to writing the article.  This was one of father’s* quicker trips.

We stayed overnight at the welcome staff house in Lash Kar Gah; the next morning father* did business in Girish {now: Gereshkmap}, and Changiers {now: Char e Anjirs}, running around with Donald, but letting me rest.  In the afternoon we went to Kandahar through the two mile wide swarm of big yellow locusts which is beginning to worry a lot of people.  There are some other groups too.  By dinner time we were there, but not ready for the planned Friday departure because we had a broken shock absorber and a few other minor troubles.  Friday, even father* rested a considerable portion of the day and began to relax.  He did have to get out of bed in the afternoon to receive a radio call from Mr. Hyde.  Hyde wanted to report that the equipment father* had ordered moved from Kandahar to Kabul had finally arrived in Kabul.  The orders had been given in defiance of the impossible “let’s wait a while” attitude that Washington and the mission have been delaying father’s* projects with.  We have to DO SOMETHING in this country.  The procession of clean, bright yellow equipment with USA and Afghan flags ahead of it reached on Jody Ma Wand {Road: also: Jad-i-Maiwand Avenue} from the Chaman {River, in Kart-i-Char, Kabul} and clear back to the Ariana offices before our usual turn {See Parade: below}.  The rock crushers were huge and so were the graders and 10 ton trucks and other things I can’t name.  Seldom has such a wonderful sensation been created in Kabul.  It took days to get steel to reinforce the Logar River bridge, but it was safe and the crossing made and the whole enterprise seems to have been worth while.  The rest of Friday father* really relaxed.  We had a barbecue with Goos and went to bed relaxed.

Saturday morning we really did not get up early compared to the three A.M. of Tuesday, but we were on our way at seven as planned to drive to Kabul.  We had finished our 315 miles by 7:30 that night, including time out for our flat tire.  Fortunately every where we traveled we had good weather and especially dry roads.  The trip from Kandahar to Kabul was beautiful as our very wet spring has made everything particularly green and the road goes through lots of nice valleys.  The south was hot, but not to hot.  We kept our car windows down and the air and dust whisked through my hair until I looked and felt like a witch when I got here, but most of the damage has been repaired now and I can go ahead with the routines.

In this country there are no routines.  Today Wollmar returned from his call to Washington and we all want to know why he was called there anyway – the bets are he is to be replaced.  In a few days the Ambassador returns from his consultation there.  Today the new Transportation Officer got to Bangkok and gets here at an indefinite time in the future, but is on his way.  It still is not clear whether he will take over the transportation projects or if father’s* position continues as is.  Anyway, a cable says the Assignment Board is considering father’s* request for a reassignment based on the assumption the Division is to be reorganized into two as Washington has suggested.  When the new FWC gets here, we have to give him a big party anyway.  So, I say there is no routine to this place.

I had better sit down and write the nine missing days of diary so I can add the rest of the story.  It is better than a novel and none of us looks the worse for wear.  Father and I are both at good weight levels, looking young and sassy, and Donald is suddenly becoming a lot huskier.

Lots of love to everyone.

Lloydine & Fred & Donald

{Father*  is Fred W. Clayton, Lloydine’s husband and father of Donald (in Afghanistan), Kenneth (in Reno, Nevada) and “Freddie” (Frederick Martin Clayton in Redlands, California).  Lloydine has adopted the use of father to avoid referencing Fred in letters that may be intercepted by parties unknown.

boys“  (Persian: bachas) refers to the “household help” (the “servants”).  In our case there were three: Gulam, the cook; Abdul, the houseboy and Agbar, the gardener.  They slept in unattached quarters near the back door of the house.

Mingaladon*  is the airport that Fred W. Clayton “built” in Rangoon, Burma circa 1951 and 1952.  During three very intense and critical months of construction he was the Chief Engineer, leaving Burma just after the first passenger jet service by BOAC Comet reached Asia.  The Mingaladon (aerodrome) concrete runway was the longest in Asia at the time of completion in 1951. 

Parade:  Fred Clayton always liked parades.  He was always impressed by what could be learned from them, how they captured people’s imagination, how they often got everyone on the same page.  The only parades at that time in Kabul were the annual military parade and the occasional motorcade parades that attended a visiting foreign dignitary, usually a head of state.  There were no marathons.

There were very few pieces of heavy construction equipment in the country.  Most roadwork had always been done by hand in Afghanistan, little changed in method from the days of Rome and the building of the Appian Way.  The Americans did things differently.  The secret was in the construction equipment, most of which nobody in Afghanistan had ever seen.  Fred wanted the average person in the street, on the streets of Kabul the capital, to see it.

The history of foreign aid to Afghanistan was that the Russians provided aid in the cities, where it was easily seen.  In Kabul they gave Afghanistan municipal buses.  They built a large and impressive grain silo and attendant bakery, “the Russian Bakery” where the wheat that America gave during a famine naturally went – there was no other place to put it.  The Russians were credited with feeding the people.  The Russians always “won” the peace in Afghanistan.  The Americans spent (gave Afghanistan) far more money; but it was spent on building “dams in the desert”, canals in the back country, seemingly unnecessary “roads to nowhere, through nowhere” and then there was the occasional airport (too) that just served to remind most Afghans that only the rich and the rulers could ever afford to fly.

Fred’s idea was that one parade might help change it, meaning the image of America that the Afghans had.  The Ambassador was away, the Mission Director was away and Fred and his family were enroute from Kandahar when Fred’s parade happened; although it had been carefully planned.

It was a hit of course.  It helped take people’s minds off the U-2 incident and the American prisoner of war Francis Gary Powers held in Russia.  The U-2 had been downed on the 1st.  The “NASA denial” was on the 5th.  On the 7th Khrushchev revealed that he had the plane, the cameras, the pilot.  Fred’s parade of American construction equipment through the center of Kabul was on the 14th.  The immediate crisis then passed.

The Chaman River passes through Kart-i-Char Kabul about a mile west and southwest of where the Mariwand Road begins near the Kabul River.  The road from Kandahar (then) came in near the southern end of Daruleman Avenue, the equipment may have gone north on Alibad Road (now: Pul-e-Surkh Road) until it reached Sher Shar Mina Avenue that runs east-west toward the center of Kabul to the east.  The equipment may have just gone straight down Duruleman (meaning north) to the gates of the prison before it turned east.  I don’t know.  I wasn’t there that day until after the parade was over.

What I do know is that it was a mile long stream (perhaps more) of some of the best construction equipment of the time painted in a very bright yellow, the Morrison Knudsen colors of the time.}

2013.05.03 – 03.35.

The Bangladesh Marathon

May 1st, 2013

Click here for Afghanistan Central:, the portal to the Going to Afghanistan” series.

~ This is Post #3 in the Series “Leaving Afghanistan”.

The Bangladesh Marathon

It’s May Day in America.  It’s MayDay in Europe too, and in NATO countries and in all the countries where we have partners.  It’s May Day too in Afghanistan where I was on that real May day in 1960 when Francis Gary Powers and his U-2 flying from Peshawar (Pakistan) took off, but never landed.

Eisenhower was President, Nikita Khrushchev was Premier, in Afghanistan there was a King.  I’ve posted about this day before, when our servants in Afghanistan (meaning our cook and our houseboy) got all excited because they had just heard “it” on the news.

It was just after school, I had just come home.  My father was at work.  My mother was working with the Afghan government preparing an exhibit for a South Asian trade fair that had just started or was soon coming.

The news coming in on the radio, the only media of the time, was from Radio Tashkent (in “Russia”).  “The United States had sent a plane or planes over Russia.  The United States had dropped a bomb.  The situation certainly looked like war.  The Premier of the Soviet Union (and all their partners) would soon respond.

Our household help “partners” in Afghanistan were rather upset with me (and my family).  We were Americans, by our actions we had brought the world to the brink of thermonuclear war.  (Then) neither Kabul nor anywhere else in Afghanistan would probably be nuked (Afghanistan then was so far off the radar), but even the “servants” knew it looked like the end of the world as they would know it.

The world is still struggling with whether to turn to, or to turn off, the media as it pertains to “news”.  The latest word out of Boston (and the “bombing”) is like listening to Radio Tashkent.  One keeps hoping for another side to the story, for a change in slant, for a reason for hope and not just misery and despair.  One (in ones mind) secretly hopes that there really was no real bombing.

On this note, I first put up and then took down (yesterday) my link to the footage of “an aeroplane” that fell out of the sky at Bagram.  The “load” had shifted.  The hercules aircraft (really a 747) had become like the Hercules (the nation-God) whose weight of the world had become (or is very rapidly becoming) too much to hold.  “The weight shifted,” so I dropped it (maybe).

Most Americans are so busy reliving and replaying the images of Boston that they aren’t paying attention to the “falling out of the sky” situation in Syria.  Like a bolt out of the blue (from Thor) the catchy “Syria Sarin” connection is like the Radio Tashkent report of the American bombing; it gets people all excited, but if the only thing the plane dropped was the pilot then the only question is, “Did he explode?”

The reason that I took down the link (to the Bagram “bomb” disaster) was that seven of the reportedly eight people on board really died.  The eighth person (I guess) just went AWOL or missing.  Anyway, families are grieving, and lovers who lost their playmates are looking for new ones.

Seven Americans (or eight) are dead in Afghanistan; three Americans (or four) are dead in Boston.  In Bangladesh the number of dead today passed the number 400!  So why isn’t America and aren’t Americans grieving and wailing and demanding answers and clamoring for house to house searches and the arrest and seizing and torture (or do I mean just “questioningwithout rights) of those responsible; of those fellow Americans and their NATO and European partners who are responsible for the 400 DEAD?  It TOO was in the news.  Don’t we care?

In 1960 when the U-2 “fell out of the air”, it “was raining” the U.S. President said, “It was a weather plane from NASA”, was the retort, the media report.  The reports (all lies), this time came from the Voice of America (in America), not from the Rushkies in Russia; not from Radio Tashkent and the clear channel stations covering the world like Sherwin Williams red paint.

In 1960 (too) the Bangladesh of today was then known as East Pakistan.  Like West Pakistan on the Afghanistan border the East Pakistan country was (with West Pakistan) one country, one country under God, one Moslem nation that was (then) an American partner and that is why we had all those airmen and secret airplanes carrying secret cameras and stuff sitting in Peshawar (West Pakistan) flying west and not east.

So, Afghanistan (then, and also now) was not too close to their Pakistan neighbor.  The border was close (sure) – the two sides even touched (sure) – but it was like the U.S. border with Mexico; maybe neighbors, but not always friends.  “Keep your citizens home,” and your aircraft too, maybe.

The U-2 flew over Afghanistan to bomb the base or bases or basis of Russia, the U.S.S.R.   The base of support for doing this was the base in Pakistan (West), the cave north of Karachi, the Pakistan airport that did not exist as an American airport according to both the Pakistan and American side.

To “respond, to retort” to the American / Pakistan bombing the Russians would have to fly over Afghanistan (Afghan territory) to blast the smithereens out of the base in Peshawar and that would look like Pakistan and the Soviet Union were really at war – Afghanistan would be forced to take sides (meaning one side or the other).

What was worse was that America could not take a side unless they admitted that they had lied and owned (or owed up) to owning the planes flying from the base cave in Peshawar and now you can easily see how the whole “Bin Laden cave in Afghanistan” meme thing got started; it WAS May Day and MAY-DAY and why not do it again (and again and again) if people are so easily confused about all the lies and the original story the first time?

Are you following this?  Probably not (maybe).  It’s hard to stay focused when the story is really about East Pakistan, not West.  The story is about the “servants”, not the house and the home.  The story is about the life that real people who live and work for 10 CENTS an hour live or don’t live (when they die, as in death, an early death) for nothing, working marathon hours in the Bangladesh Marathon that has no finishing line and won’t ever end.

Where (really) are all the “Happy Wal-Mart Shoppers” with the happy faces and the prices beginning to fall?  Where are they now?  Is it because (Wal-Mart shoppers) think that Muslim people are sub-human, should just work as slaves, that they feel so good about saving all the money, and saving America too?

Of course America needs to wage war on “Islam”.   How else can one expand the slave population in (America’s partner Egypt), with (America’s partners) in Bangladesh and make “new partnerships” in the new slave-state of Syria, and “slave-state” of Iran when the “nuclear” (weather type “plane” lie) is put to rest and America has everyone in Iran working for the “new lower prices” rate of just 6 CENTS an hour.  The stock market will soar; until dry lightening strikes or the “load” shifts and then everything crashes (like in Bagram, maybe).

So, when there is no place to go and no place to turn and everything that one tries to do, say or think just turns all the mud into blood and blood on the streets and blood in the factories and in the air and on the floor is there anything one really can do to turn it all around, to stop it, to try and start over?

Turn up the volume on this one.  Wooden ships.  It’s not only a possibility, it is the only answer as we go forward on the road that we (meaning mainstream America) seems so determined to go on, on and on.  So, let lightning strike, I’ve been struck before (literally – but I can’t seem to find the post).  I’ve heard about the bombs falling and going off and about how they might go off.  It’s tiring.  It’s just old news and is not good news.  The good news is to KEEP CARING; to never let “all human feelings die”, to not become so numbed out about the news that the truth about human misery, death, suffering, injustice, pain is like (in ones mind) another commercial – one second it’s there – then it’s gone, it goes.

Are there any human beings left in America; and if so, where?  How many of us are beginning to feel like we may be The Last Man or Woman on Earth.  Now the Zombie meme is getting traction.  It is not the night of the living dead, it is the day of the dead that still wallow around as if they were living; grateful or flag waving or not, they are still dead, are still the silent majority that (like in Nazi Germany) saw (or knew about) the slave-labor camps and never spoke up, that just enjoyed the good life while the bombs fell on other places and not on the homeland, the fatherland, you know the drill.

So THOR please help us.  I don’t mean the coming movie.  I mean the natural power of the skies, a convergence of the heavens, a weather plane without cameras, a new set of rules because it is so totally obvious that the old rules, the old rulers, just haven’t worked and certainly don’t work today and will never work in the future so why “carry on”?

I wrote a few posts about the north of Korea, North Korea.  I made it clear that the message was “they’ve had it”, they’re “up to here”, “It’s not business as usual” – the old order is “so over”, at least over there.

Now in Guantanamo the message is the same.  The hunger strike and strikers are growing.  Death is the only way out when there are NO RIGHTS, NO HOPE, just torture forever and never a trial, charges; much less a judge or a jury.  Obama said he would close it.  How many times has he lied?  Mengele is a Saint when compared to Obama, he’s the real angel of death just repackaged to look like he’s human, like he has a heart and a soul when his sole purpose is to stress us and divide us and take all of us down; meaning to turn all of us into Zombies, all of one kind, like the kind that he is.

I would love to go back.  I would love to see Kabul again like it was when I left it.  I would love to live again in Carson City with a population of two thousand five hundred.  I would love to live again in a world where “Union Made” was not just a label, but meant that the products we used were made by those with a hope of a future and by people who could afford to buy food.  Now America is a nightmare on main street happening with far more soon to happen.  We paid for the movies, now we wait while all of them come true.  It’s no Love Story, meaning NO Love, the story.  This time it’s new, you’ve never seen it before, it’s never happened before.  It’s an original; a designer’s original with a no money back guarantee – ALL SALES ARE FINAL, finally.

So welcome to May.  I am sure (like this post) the month will be a long one.  Keep the faith.  Love (or at least really like) your neighbor.  Pay a fair wage, demand a fair wage where you work.  Nothing worthwhile in life is ever even “half” free so free yourself from the temptation of ever so low prices.  The GMO corn and canola and soy beans will kill you one bite at a time, so if you want to die get a gun – it will probably be so much quicker.

Yes, the wooden ships really are sailing.  You pass by them each day.  They are there in the water, they are there in the rain, they are there for anyone to see them if one will just see the pain.  Hercules may have dropped the ball, but all that that means is that he can’t carry us off to where we never wanted to go.

Be happy.  Hoist your sail, it’s all up to the wind now.

2013.05.01 – 21:37.

Getting out: Dodge and Bagram

April 30th, 2013

Click here for Afghanistan Central:, the portal to the Going to Afghanistan” series.

~ This is Post #2 in the Series “Leaving Afghanistan”.

Getting out: Dodge and Bagram

When the letter below was written Bagram was a very new military airfield built for the Afghan government by the Soviet Union as a place to land the Soviet Migs that the Russians had given to Afghanistan.  Just about exactly 53 years ago most of the American supplied planes that comprised the Ariana Afghan Airlines air fleet were stuck on the ground at Bagram as the letter will tell.

Fred is stuck in Kandahar, again.  Everyone (meaning a bunch of Americans) are stuck trying to get in or out of the country.  It’s not exactly chaos, but tensions are rising.

The road from Kandahar to Kabul was still mostly dirt in the spring of 1960 – the “Kabul – Kandahar Highway” was still a dream, but my father was working on it, working on making it much better, with asphalt and all.  The Mission Director (of USOM) had different ideas, he wanted just slurry seal or something cheap and similar.  It took Fred 13 hours to go the 325 miles.  Now the old caravan route is about 25 miles shorter.  In 1960 there were still as many camels as trucks; now there are just trucks.  And the journey is faster: six hours, not thirteen.  But as you can read, in 1960 the journey was safer.

The Lataband Pass is the “high” road that is the A-1 that they now use; the Kabul Gorge route is the “low” road that was by far the better road back then.  So much of that nice road work shown in the first pictures I posted from Afghanistan was washed out by the flood pictured in the words below. 



Addressed to:
Hemme Martin
149 No. Forest Street
Gilroy, California

Senders name and address:
(rubber stamp)
c/o American Embassy / USOM-Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.
(letter) #9


Kabul, Afghanistan
April 19, 1960

Dear Family, – Kenneth, Freddie, Grandma,

Maybe someday you will get a letter from us and we shall get one from you if this interminable rain ever stops.  It has been raining here for so long that we have been thinking in terms of Noah and how to build an ark.  Actually we have our ark pretty well ready, but I will get to that later.  The facts seem to be that it has been raining for seven days and the clouds are very low this morning.  However, we think this might be a thick, rising fog as there is no rain falling.  A while back I wrote that they were allowing the use of Bagram airport with its paved runways for commercial flights now during the wet weather and during construction of the Kabul airport.  However, paving does not help if one cannot see the mountain tops around about as flying here is strictly on a visual basis.  Result is that there have been no planes coming or going for days.

Last Saturday father*, Hyde, and Sanger finally got off to Kandahar on his second try.  On Monday Bert Hyde got a plane back into Kabul, the only one that has flown since the 9th.  Father* was supposed to return on Thursday as we had a small, special dinner planned for them.   That morning the Delhi plane took off, but returned after an hour of flying because it could not get through the Ghazni pass.  Since the 11th people have been accumulating in Kandahar, Kabul, Amritsar and other places waiting to go someplace else.  I am glad it did not develop this way last year or we would still be sitting in Amritsar waiting for our “April 12″ arrival in Kabul.  There have been a lot of parties in Kabul either given without the guest of honor (in transit) or cancelled because he did not arrive.  I went to one, and of course our dinner on Thursday went on without father*.  I heard a few days ago that there were over fifty people accumulated in Kabul.  Then there is the mail and shipping, etc.  It will take Ariana a long time to get out from under this.  One of the sad things is that two or three of the planes are grounded at Bagram where there are no mechanical facilities or storage sheds.  Otherwise the time could have been in to do some much needed mechanical work.  One wonders how Ariana can survive even with subsidies, yet we need it so desperately.

Father* could not wait in Kandahar forever so on Thursday afternoon at one he took a “Dodge Personnel Carrier” – magnified jeep made for the navy so it can even go on lake bottoms, four wheel drive, extra gears, big wheels etc., brand new for one of the projects – and started to Kabul with a couple of other people.  86 miles out of Kandahar they picked up an Austrian trying to do it in a little Russian car taxi.  He had a three hour head start on them already.  So in about thirteen hours of travel time they got to Kabul.  They managed to average about 25 miles per hour, starting with 28 per hr. on the first stretch that was in relatively good condition.  This vehicle is our “ark”, and one could figure it would get through almost any place.

Sunday we took this vehicle down the gorge road a ways to see the busy river crashing its way through.  There is such a high silt content that the water does not exactly churn like clear water, but splinters into small droplets everywhere it meets obstacles.  It was busily chewing away at the road some places and we are sure that by now in some of the places where it was already working behind the retaining walls the road must be gone.  The Lataband Pass {map} was working for a while although rumors have it that it was closed by slides.  There were some bad ones in the gorge too.  So, if mail is slow, you see why.

We are all well although father* got very tired on his long drive in the rain and dark.  He has been busy documenting all of his problems for Mr. Cawlthorn who is supposedly due in Washington on the 18th of April.  I have been semi-retired working on patching the family clothes – and this is a big job since it has not been touched for the last year.  I enjoy it in the rain.  Half of my time is taken up with cleaning up after the dogs, but they are still cute.  Sheelah is supposed to be a long hair I have learned.

Boys, you will get a big kick out of this.  Kidston railroaded a commissary meeting into voting that this one should affiliate with the Karachi one.  Eve was not even told much about it and said the action was really crudely done.  Now the latest scope is that Karachi refuses to have us, saying it would take $60,000.00 to put into the order they want us in.  Also, the Embassy has taken the warehouse space so they have to operate out of ICA warehouses on this side of town.  Oh joy!

{Page #2}

Mother, I hope you got your desert trip.

To go back to the old questions.  I did not bother to pay Copenhavers again as it was done by then.  I had paid American express on Sept. 5, air mail.  I have never used your address on anything on any of the forms we have had except for the Carson City post office.  Anything you have forwarded to us we have changed to this address – this particularly would apply to American Express.  The one exception is the Grollier Society books.  I explained to you and to them carefully, that last year we received one book “Book of Knowledge Annual” before we left Carson and I sent them a check for that.  I never received any other and the billing you eventually forwarded showed the Harrison St. address, so I presume that is where the book went and it was probably returned by the P.O. to them.  There should be two books each spring, and they are very interesting to read them and save.  My letter to them was very clear after you finally sent me the report on it all.

I am glad to notice that my letters seem to be coming to you better now that I have complained to your post office and started putting my “guilty conscience” notes under the stamps.  Someone sure made a haul last fall on the stamps.

No gardens here yet, everything is drowned out.  Lots of the mud walls are down and much trouble for the people.

Much Love from all of us.

Fred & Lloydine & Donald

{Father* is Fred W. Clayton, Lloydine’s husband and father of Donald (in Afghanistan), Kenneth (in Reno, Nevada) and “Freddie” (Frederick Martin Clayton in Redlands, California).    The letter to Hemme (her mother; “Grandma”) is the original, Kenneth and Freddie receive carbon copies of Page #1 of the same letter.  Lloydine has adopted the use of father to avoid referencing Fred in letters that may be intercepted by parties unknown.  Ghazni Pass is also known as Batai Pass.}

2013.04.30 – 18:35.

Afghan Hounds & Commodity Losses

April 29th, 2013

Click here for Afghanistan Central:, the portal to the Going to Afghanistan” series.

~ This is Post #1 in the Series “Leaving Afghanistan”.

Afghan Hounds & Commodity Losses

It has been a long-long time since I have posted anything from Afghanistan or about Afghanistan.  My mind has been more on Korea.

When I was in Afghanistan the country had been at peace since long before the United States had fought in the First World War, the Second World War and in the “Police Action” in Korea, now known in the United States as the Korean War.

In those days the United States had only a handful of military men in Afghanistan.  The only ones there were Marines, the Embassy Guard that guarded the United States Embassy.  The Marines lived near the embassy at the “Marine House”.  They never worried about IED’s, hostile nationals, any enemy of any sort; they were stationed in Afghanistan, not Germany or Korea.

If you have read the letters in the “Going to Afghanistan” series you may have noticed that they were filled with enthusiasm and hope.  I stopped posting in the series as I “lost hope” that America’s endless war in Afghanistan would ever end, (then) like the never ending U.S. war in Korea.

Now there seems to be reason to believe that the U.S. excursion into Afghanistan may be ending, just as my tour and time in the country was approaching an end in April, fifty-three (53) long years ago.  For my father, for my mother, probably even for me what was once an adventure was becoming an ordeal.  The American plan (then as now) was not working.  Morale was low.  The writing was on the wall.

The only way out of Afghanistan (for us) was through Korea.  Korea was (then and now) a country with tens of thousands of U.S. troops and military people, men and women “manning” the lines of “freedoms frontier”, living in barracks and Quonset huts and the occasional tent, or for officers a life in the suburban setting of South Post, South Korea.

While Afghanistan was a nation at peace, Korea was (then) a nation recently destroyed by war and technically (meaning actually) still at war.  Where in Afghanistan efforts were promoted under the U.S. flag (meaning USOM), in Korea it would be the United Nations flag that was ubiquitous.

Below is the first letter in the “Leaving Afghanistan” series.  It is a transition to “Korea“.  It may or may not be (now) like the Korea situation following the Korean War, meaning troops stationed in Afghanistan for years and decades indefinitely.  Maybe the point is, it’s hard to leave Afghanistan once one has been there, one wants to stay, to always look back, to take another look, just one more look.  I know.  As you can plainly see, I know.



Addressed to:
Hemme Martin
149 N. Forest St.
Gilroy, California

Senders name and address:
c/o American Embassy / USOM-Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.
(letter) #8


April 9, 1960

Dear Mother,

This is to be a short letter, but just to say everyone is well.

The two puppies keep us busy but we really enjoy them.  They are such personalities.

Fred is off to Kandahar today after trying to get there yesterday.  The winds made landing visibility too little so they had to return after being more than half way there.

Spring is peaking around the corner here.  Thanks for the news on the dresses, etc.  I am glad you got your dress done.  I finally finished a wool housecoat I have been working on for about two weeks.  It is late, but I was determined to get it sewed even if I couldn’t wear it.  Mostly I have to sew things into different sizes and lengths, and now it is too late to rework my winter things.  I don’t need new things.  However, we all like to hear word about new styles.

Maybe you are in the desert now.  Bet it is hot.

Gilroy must be going arty now.  We shall bring back two originals from here, one is our  sketch (educated scribbling), the other an oil by Mme Choukour of Afghan mountains, a gift.

News of the Sly visit was all new.

Did you get my letter asking for a complete itemization of all things paid by you for us?  The records are mixed up and I must have this list.  I have sent letters that were poorly numbered, but in general they are as follows:  February 12, Feb. 27, Feb. 29, Mar 16, Mar. 29, Apr. 9.

My diary is a mixture of the frivolous and serious.  I’ll try to get it out with me if I ever have to leave in a hurry.  It is purposely written in a manner that is hard to seperate.  You’ll perish trying to read it.

Groceries are just terribly high by the time they get to this inland part of the world.  Commodity losses are almost 30% enroute, due to rain and other damages.

I have been doing tax report and owing them as usual.  Have been sewing and have neglected my other projects for almost a month.

Almost time to think about going home again, especially when it comes to selling things, and doing your own packing etc.

Will close to catch the mail now.  Much love from all of us.

Fred & Lloydine & Donald

2013.04.30 – 04:32.