Nature (Human and Otherwise) in Afghanistan
By Captain Graham Kallos
9 July 2009
Herodotus, sage of the ages and considered by many to be the first true Historian, described the lands of Sparta as a harsh, unforgiving environment. He was one of the first scholars to credit the environs of a people as the forge from which their basic psychology and, more specifically, the ferocity of their warriors would be tempered. If we were to extrapolate this basic theory about behaviour and conditioning as being a necessary element for the level of warrior attributes, then Afghanistan would be an excellent example of this “naturing through nature” model.
Afghanistan is a land wherein the very rocks and plants try at every turn to leech the blood from any animal that happens to tread upon her. Given the extreme nature of this arid and dangerous land, it should follow that those beings forced to live off of her have to earn every second of their existence. It can also be surmised that any species at the top of the food chain would need to be an animal with a lethality matched only by its cunning and tenacity for predation.
The Afghanistan Death-Stalker Scorpion is a predator that has earned a reputation as being the most lethal insect in the region. Armed with razor-sharp pincers, a virtually impregnable exoskeleton and a lethal blend of neurotoxins administered from its lightning-quick pronged-tail, this sand-coloured assassin has long-enjoyed a well-deserved reign at the top of its food chain. Until the boys from Admin-Troop unwittingly caught one.
Having cornered what was considered to be a ‘neat-looking bug’, Tpr Tom ‘Underpants’ Underwood unceremoniously placed his catch into an incongruous plastic container. ‘Pinchey’ (as the boys lovingly call him) has been made the central figure of bi-nightly bouts in the “Battle-Dome”. Thusfar, the little scorpion has defeated all challengers, including a camel-spider over five times its size, and a small toad. Not ever thinking about why ‘Pinchey’ was such a good killer, some of the Troopers had taken to provoking the small scorpion with such actions as ‘Scorpion-Tickling’, ‘Stick-Poking’ and the ever-popular ‘Moustache-Feeding’.
Last Month, MCpl Jason “Jimmy” Oliver took it upon himself to discover the true nature of the enslaved scorpion. Once the words “EXTREMELY POISONOUS” and “POTENTIALLY LETHAL NEUROTOXINS”, followed by “ONLY TO BE HANDLED BY EXPERT HANDLERS” popped up, a new level of respect was given to ‘Pinchey’. As a result, two changes took place. First, the regularity of ‘Scorpion-Tickling’ dropped off significantly. Second, a frantic search for ‘more stuff to kill’ began.
Upon close examination of this scenario, it can be concluded that, despite Herodotus and his “naturing through nature” theory, despite a million years of natural selection-induced lethality, one species will invariably conquer and humiliate all that it encounters— the Young Strathcona Trooper.