Today marks the fifth anniversary since a bomb attack at the front gate of Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan killed over 20 people, including an acquaintance of mine, a pleasant and friendly woman named Markie who had just celebrated her thirtieth birthday with fellow contractors and soldiers the night prior. I can’t believe it’s been five years already. Tempus fugit. Markie was a military contractor, and from what I've learned she had served in the Navy years earlier. I have already written about this awful event elsewhere. Someone decided to document this occurrence on Wikipedia, if you’d like to read more. I think about this tragedy from time to time, the snatching of a life so vibrant and beloved. I did not know her well, but we had talked a few times, most notably on the night before her death, and it turns out that her family went to my father-in-law's church. Recently I mentioned the Bagram attack in the course on terrorism that I’m currently teaching. I was discussing with students the difficulty of arriving at a satisfactory definition of terrorism. My purpose in bringing up the bombing was to show the problematic nature of such attacks, posing the question as to whether it qualifies as an act of terrorism (especially considering the killing of mostly Afghan civilians in the attack) or a legitimate act of asymmetrical warfare.
I must confess that another case of violence at Bagram during my deployment has occupied my thoughts even more: the possible murder of a female soldier (pictured above) by one or more fellow soldiers. I was hard-pressed to find any information on the internet about it. I won’t mention any names, in case someone investigating it arrives at my blog via a search engine thinking I know something. I don’t. I just remember driving from my compound to the main part of the cantonment in the middle of the night on September 28 (2007), 0nly a week or so after I had returned to Afghanistan from my two-week leave. Working the graveyard shift as an intelligence analyst, I would make coffee runs for me and my contractor buddy, Isaiah. On this particular night the military police had blocked the roads and I had to turn around.
Someone had discovered the woman’s body lying near the chapel with a gunshot wound to the head. The soldier was part of a National Guard finance unit from Massachusetts. She handled payroll. Investigators and the press deemed her death a suicide. There had been speculation that because she was a Lesbian foul play might have been involved. You would agree with me that this woman’s death was not a suicide, once you consider a couple of facts. First, she had evidently told family members to seek answers should something happen to her. Second, the recorded voicemail of her speaking to her brother on the day of her death does not suggest a disturbed person about to take her life. This is speculation on my part, and I’m certainly not a trained investigator. I don’t know if the audio recording is the voice of the victim; presumably the family or friends set up the website, but I can’t be sure about that. I’m operating under the assumption that the bits and pieces of circumstantial evidence that I’ve read in a few articles are fairly reliable. Accordingly, based on the soldier's comments to relatives, I believe her death had something to do with her job and not her sexual orientation. Only the killer knows the real reason. Moreover, there are others who know something, for it is almost impossible to murder someone on a small, fortified airbase in an open area without someone in your unit knowing about it. I smelled something rotten in Denmark then, and I still do. It was murder most foul.