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By Stewart Nusbaumer

Surviving in Mosul Stuggling to survive after a horrific explosion.

Street Without Joy
Will Bush’s surge secure Baghdad’s bloodiest block?

Good Morning, al-Adhamiya
In one of Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhoods.

Squiring Out Of Baghdad
Is the surge ending or dispersing the insurgency?

With PTT in Heet
A Marine unit training and equipping the Iraq Police.

Embed in Trouble
What is a journalist to do with attacked by a U.S. Army biggie? Go to the bigger?

Four Days in Dulab
In a small, dangerous town in the most violent province in Iraq.


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  Dispatch: The Kabul Rumble

With a brutal history and nasty war, Afghanistan is one dangerous country. But one danger has escaped our attention -- until now!
By Stewart Nusbaumer

It began with some nasty talk in the belly, compounded by a strange queasiness. For one week I was locked in an odd limbo of not feeling too bad, feeling somewhat worse, probably better, definitely worse.... Finally the crash and I was a vicious rocket racing to the nearest toilet.

In China it's called the Beijing Bomb. The Chinese are an aggressive people, so they don't mess around. On the other hand, the Philippine Squirts reflect a crafty people who enjoy throwing you little surprises. The Bolivian Duo roars from both ends and has you screaming "give me constipation or give me death." Here in Afghanistan it's the Kabul Rumble.

"No problem," I said at first, "just a little upset stomach." But I was clueless, clueless that the Kabul Rumble was hanging around my back door. After centuries of continuous warfare in rugged terrain, with no central government to liquidate the bad guys, it's dangerous to underestimate the underhandedness of these Afghans. They're a motley assortment of calculating guerrillas who don't take crap from anyone. What Afghans do, they do well -- and without our bothersome scruples.

Intuitively they understand their greatest weapon against Westerners -- who they dislike immensely, actually Afghans dislike everyone immensely, especially Afghans -- is time. This is because time is highly valued by Westerners and hardly valued by Afghans. Slowly, methodically, and sadistically the cutthroat locals worked me over good using the primitive strategy of the slippery guerrilla: advance slowly and retreat quickly, deceive and confuse, chip away at the opponent's spirit, inflate his dimwitted ego, and then unleash the final assault -- a massive brown tidal wave.

But Internet Journalists know how to survive in this sick world. When the going gets rough, we read a book. So I used my three days of toilet occupation to read the history of this stinking place. Hang with me a few minutes as I decimate their national story. One is not generous, not even straight thinking, when a victim of the Kabul Rumble.

The History of Afghanistan

A Busy Beginning:

In 6th century BC the Persian army marched east and stomped a concoction of local tribes and ethnic groups, who since the beginning of time, had been mass murderers and women stealers. Fast forward several centuries to Alexander the Great, who in the name of greatness, invaded and re-stomped the murderers-stealers. This led to a rush of bloodthirsty foreign riff-raff -- Scythians, Parthians, Kushans, Hephthalites -- stomping and being stomped. Then the 7th century and the Arab enlightenment, who in the name of Islam, stomped and were stomped.

All of this stomping irritated the Mongols; convinced that raping and pillaging was their exclusive domain, they invaded and simply flattened the whole place. Impressed with their flattening, they chose Kabul as the Mongol capital for raping and pillaging and flattening.

The land that would later be called Afghanistan did not get off to a great start. On the other hand, there was always work: killing foreign invaders or next door neighbors.

Some Western Enlightenment:

Fast forward to the 19th century and with the arrival of the British, a group of pub-crawling thugs. To block Tsar Russia from expanding south to acquire beach front property, the British set out to stomp the local Afghan tribes and ethnics. (Don’t try to understand British bar stool logic.) In the first Anglo-Afghan War the Brits were trounced at Kabul and slaughtered as they ran for British India. In the Second Anglo-Afghan War the Brits were trounced at Kandahar and slaughtered as they ran for British India. In the Third Anglo-Afghan War the Brits declared victory and ran for British India.

The state of Afghanistan was finally hatched in 1919, which precipitated a nationwide celebration of mass killing and women stealing. Someone called himself king, he quickly split to avoid being royal barbecue. Someone called himself prime minister; when it was learned what prime minister means, he ran to avoid being prime barbecue. Another king popped up, and he was shot down. Someone decided Afghanistan should be a Republic -- his reeducation program is too gruesome to describe. Eventually things settled down and the local tribes and ethnics returned to murdering and stealing -- but now as proud citizens of the state of Afghanistan.

In a blunder rivaling the Americans blundering into Vietnam, the Soviet Union looked at these homicidal savages and wife swappers and envisioned a workers paradise. Communist thinking was different. The Soviets invaded and leveled the country, convinced that winning hearts and minds came from stomping bodies and buildings. The Mongols were impressed.

Those Afghans not stomped into martyrdom formed the Mujaheddin and for a decade leveled the Soviet Army, which segued into leveling the entire Soviet Union. The local tribes and ethnics celebrated in their normal fashion, and after four years the only group still killing and stealing was the Taliban. Being a vicious group of flaky Islamists they set out to create the 20th century's first 12th century society. The Mongols were impressed.

A New Afghanistan?

September 11, 2001 and the Taliban, whose good buddy was Osama bin Laden, became ground zero for American outrage. But Afghanistan is oil devoid, so the Bush Administration quickly moved on to a more profitable country to fry -- and we ended up with our own soldiers in the frying pan.

The Afghans have now returned to killing and stealing but -- and this is important -- with a difference. Some Afghans have learned that mass killing and women stealing are only the sideshow, the main event is stomping and stealing for money! Forget Mongol values, today it's Enron ethics. Throughout Afghanistan, agriculture production has shot up with cut-throat businessmen reaping huge profits. The country is now supplying 90 percent of the heroin for the world's smack addicts. Certainly an impressive capitalistic achievement!

If anything can wean Afghans from their heavy habit of mass killing and women stealing, it just might be heroin. The milky juice of the poppy plant could become Afghanistan's black gold, its ticket to economic development, eventually to national respect. America's royal family, the whacked-out Kennedy clan, got rich off illegal booze and then became respectable alcoholics and drug addicts.

I'm not an economist and certainly not a moralist, so I don't know how this drug economy -- which currently accounts for half of Afghanistan's national economy -- will play out. But I do know this. Historically foreigners did a lot of nasty stomping in Afghanistan, so it seems to me that these little poppy plants -- which are very pretty when blooming -- can't be any worse than the foreigners.

My New Start

After swallowing a few dozen Afghan cement pills -- rough translation of ad copy: "You want bomb, you contact Taliban; you want cement plug, you take our medicine." And I'm free of toilet occupation! So, what now?

After writing my last dispatch about the charming atmosphere here in the Le Monde Guesthouse, I received this stimulating email from a devoted fan:

Hey dipshit,

You're not a real reporter and you're not really in Afghanistan if you're having your meals cooked for you, holed up behind a wall with a bunch of mercenary and Jewnalists. Did it ever occur to you that the Afghan women value their decency and wouldn't want to dance around half nude in a nightclub to the music of the occupying rapists and airborne murderers? How about getting out and living with an Afghan family whose children were blown away by our smart bombs? Why don't you report some real news you Zionist coward.

Don't you know the Unocal pipeline deal and the Taliban's restrictions on global Heroin profits were the ONLY reasons Afghanistan was invaded?

Osama is a convenient little bogeyman and 9-11 the inside-job excuse for imperislist war. Don't you know Isreal is just a fuckin excuse for a huge military base in the middle of the Arab world to STEAL OIL. Report the truth and GET EDUCATED. Have some balls and get out there and report some real news...

Steve Gehlbach

Taking Steve's encouragement, I'm now preparing to leave the walled compound of Le Monde Guesthouse. My recent messy bonding with Afghan culture and my acquired historical understanding of the people, along with Steve's eloquent insights, have armed me with a steely determination to venture out amongst the mass killers and women stealers and dope fiends. As Steve said, it's time for me to report the truth.

This is my plan. First dig up a sizeable mass grave of slaughtered Afghans -- hey, there might even be a few gold fillings! Find a brothel of stolen sex slaves, which should not be a problem in this town. And finally locate an opium den. Then write some lively, penetrating, eye-opening accounts of this intriguing country. Stay tuned, this just might turn out to be educational.

Postcript from Stewart

I would like to apologize if I insulted anyone -- well, actually the entire nation -- with remarks that were unbecoming for an Internet Journalist. My only excuse is that the Kabul Rumble had my mind in a vice grip and twisted my sense of balance. Anyway, I sincerely apologize to all those offended. This should make all those death threats void, right?

Now I'm off to the Afghanistan National Museum, if this country has one.

Stewart Nusbaumer is based in Kabul, Afghanistan. You can email him at


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  Live from China

By Stewart Nusbaumer


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China’s development is stunning and its power is growing quickly; will America become a lapdog for the Asian dragon?

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Sexpots Galore
When sex merges with politics, the Big Dog authorities never win.




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