Rich Galen

When voters came in they presented their card to be marked using a simple one-hole punch. However, the "punch machines" did not work so poll personnel used either a knife to cut an approximation of a triangle or, more frequently, simply cut off a corner of the card.

At one place we asked the woman in charge how the punch system was working. She said with a twinkle in her shockingly blue eyes, "Accidentally, our punch machine works."

Of course I could not be in a place like Afghanistan for the better part of a week without having a MULLINGS moment.

One day we were having lunch at the military base up here which is largely populated by German soldiers. It is an ISAF base which stands for "International Security Assistance Forces," although in that dark humor which soldiers worldwide are likely to adopt I came across a gag ISAF badge in the PX which was subtitled: I Saw Americans Fighting.

Anyway, we were sitting in the dining hall surrounded by some 800 or so German soldiers and got to talking about where we had gone for our undergraduate degrees such as (to pick one out of thin air) Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio 45750.

One of our number said he went to Middlebury College in Vermont, and that he had run the College Republican club there. Some of us giggled and to the others I explained, quite innocently: Middlebury? They're so far to the Left they think Liberals are … Nazis.

Actually, I don't think any Germans heard me, but there was a small group of American Air Force members sitting at a nearby table, so I slid in and visited with them while my colleagues beat a stealthy, but rapid, retreat.

One more report from overseas, then home.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at