“Four years on, thinking I should settle down, I returned to the United States.
It felt quite a lot like stepping back into that other violent, impoverished world, where anxiety runs high and people are quarrelsome.
I had, in fact, come back to the flip side of Afghanistan and Iraq: to what America’s wars have done to America.
Where I live now, in the homeland, there are not enough shelters for the homeless. Most people are either overworked or hurting for jobs; the housing is overpriced, the hospitals crowded and understaffed, the schools largely segregated and not so good. Opioid or heroin overdose is a popular form of death, and men in the street threaten women wearing hijabs.
Did the American soldiers I covered in Afghanistan know they were fighting for this.”