Under A Helicopter Sky

I hear that jet noise is the sound of freedom.

I’ve been to enough airshows I’d probably agree with that.

Nothing says “we’re here to free the shit out of you” like American made steel hurtling through your skies.

Right before they level your school. Or burn your hospital.

That’s so unfair.

Most of the time when the Americans come with their bombs and their planes they get it right.

So long as all the bodies are of a certain age.

If jet noise is the sound of freedom, then what the fuck is rotor noise?

And I don’t mean the whirrings of your local traffic chopper as its pilot points out another traffic jam.

I mean the clattering cacophony of angry birds that populate Kabul’s skies several times a day.

I don’t know what that’s supposed to accomplish.

I do know it rattles a lot of windows.

I do know it does nothing to make us friends here.

I do know it makes it hard to sleep sometimes.

I watched a gray Huey hurtle toward the Embassy the other day.

If it were me, I’d have probably left the Hueys at home.

Optics can be a bitch.

NATO and the Americans put their headquarters in the middle of the city.

Right by the Presidential Palace.

I don’t know if they go to the Palace much anymore.

So to get there they flew their helicopters.

I guess that makes sense.

It’s the capital.

Great place for the LZ.

If jet noise is the sound of freedom, I guess rotors herald victory.

Tell us the might of America is behind you, Afghanistan.

Ready to take the fight to the enemy.

Except the choppers are just how we get around in the war after the war.

It’s the aftermath of the Great Surge.

The wave of reconstruction recedes.

What’s left is a sky full of foreigners afraid of Kabul’s streets.

Everything’s fine, except no one drives anywhere anymore.

They used to call for a taxi, now they dial up a Chinook.

They told us it would be better by now.

For an insurgency without watches, we sure seem to run on their clock.

The music’s nearly stopped here.

The only thing growing in Kabul’s streets are the IEDs.

They get to ride above all that.

The rest of us just get to watch them go.

We all live under a helicopter sky.


Originally published at Sunny In Kabul.