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“After a day or two of riding, our troops were terribly saddle sore, to the point of serious disability. To ease the friction, we sent in a hundred jars of Vaseline. But in Afghanistan the dirt is a fine dust and it’s everywhere; it lingers in the air and covers you from head to foot. This fine dust collected on the Vaseline; instead of helping, it converted the Vaseline into sandpaper. Now their legs were being cut up. What they really needed were chaps, like cowboys wear. But there wasn’t time to measure them for chaps. So we decided on pantyhose. We sent over two hundred pairs. If it worked for Joe Namath in Superbowl ’69, why not for our troops? Lo and behold, it worked like a charm. The pantyhose saved the day.”

Mike Delong, deputy commander of U.S. Central Command

The photo of the Bush gals is from the cover of a Ladies Home Journal. The quote is from “In the Graveyard of Empires” by Seth G Jones c. 2010 W.W. Norton & Co. Seth Jones found it in a book by DeLong called “Inside Centcom.” I have been doing some ‘light’ reading about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. One conclusion I have come to is that they were/are seriously underfunded and poorly planned, mostly due to a lack or consensus and resolve on the part of Washington. I have only managed to get through three or four books on the subject, so I won’t say more than that. Sebastian Unger’s “War” was riveting and informative, if a bit Hawkish. An equally well-executed book, “The Good Soldiers” by David Finkel, includes enough graphic detail about victims of IEDS to get you out of your house and marching in protest. The Bush ladies are certainly lovely, though, aren’t they? They did not start either war, or course. I just think they are lovely. There’s another one hiding back there, too, with just her arm showing. I cropped her, unthinkingly.