Jeffery Goldberg makes some great observations about how lousy Americans are about trying to blend in while traveling, all lectures to do so to the contrary:
It became instantly obvious that this flight was going to carry a large number of Afghanistan-based American contractors and active-duty military personnel back home. It wasn’t that the soldiers were in uniform — American soldiers don’t travel in uniform on international flights, for security reasons — but they may as well have been. One small example: I was sitting, at one point, next to an American man of obvious military bearing, a real barrel-chested freedom fighter sort, who wore a polo shirt inscribed with the words, “Army Aviation Association.” He was also carrying a camouflage tactical rucksack with his last name stitched on the back. He seemed like a senior-enough guy to have a Google profile, so I typed into my iPhone his last name, plus Afghanistan, plus “army aviation” and came up with his exact identity in 20 seconds. He is one of the key leaders of the military’s drone programs in Afghanistan. Now if I weren’t a patriot, but instead an anti-American jihadist, I might have seen this as an opportunity to do some damage.
Now of course, we were in an airport, a good airport with what I think is good security, but still, it seemed as if these people were inadvertently making themselves into obvious targets. I counted, in the crowd waiting to board the flight, five different guys wearing “Dyncorp” hats or shirts; Dyncorp is one of the biggest military contractors. I saw others wearing shirts labeled “General Dynamics” and “Iomax” and still others were wearing “Bagram Air Base” t-shirts, and almost all of these men — dozens and dozens of them — were wearing khaki tactical pants, Caterpillar boots, the whole non-uniform uniform. (And fanny-packs and those ridiculous wallet-on-a-string-around-your-neck things, but that is a separate fashion conversation.)
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