Jonathan Griswold

Letter from Afghanistan -- "Don't Step on Anything Pointy"

Most victims survive landmine explosions thanks to the gruesome calculus of weapons designers. A dead solider might be left or buried on the spot. A wounded solider would need at least two others to help him to safety, further weakening the enemy. So many anti-personnel mines were designed to maim. The popular butterfly mine jumps to waist height before releasing its small charge into the groin and limbs. Their small size and green color make them particular deadly for children who mistake them for toys.

Carpet Smuggling in Azerbaijan

The official looked troubled but also reluctant to jump start his brain with such a dilemma so early in the morning. Why would a foreigner have gone to the trouble of getting an export certificate for one carpet and not the other? Why had he been so eager to show off the silk carpet yet so absent-minded about the wool one? How could he strictly observe the caviar export limit yet so brazenly ignore the rule on carpets? Foreigners were liable to the most curious and inexplicable behavior.