INSTAPUNDIT’S AFGHANISTAN PHOTO-CORRESPONDENT, Major John Tammes, sends these photos: “Charikar (population 130,000ish) is the capital of Parwan Province. I happen to like the place and the people there have always been good to us. Here are some scenes of daily life.” He also reports: “On the way to Kabul, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld came through our humble base yesterday. The VP had a bunch of highly…er, protective…Secret Service folks, but he was nice enough to those that did manage to get to meet him. Rumsfeld seems totally at ease with the troops – and they like him. Really it is a mixture of respect and liking. He really conveys that liking and respect back to everyone. There might be things on which to take issue with both men, but you cannot get away from the fact that they respect us and value what we are doing here.”

Somewhat at odds with this portrayal by The Guardian’s Steve Bell. But then Major Tammes was there, and Bell wasn’t. (Via Clive Davis)

And I like this line from Cheney, which is also at odds with Bell’s portrayal:

Earlier, Mr Cheney rallied American troops in a speech at Bagram airbase, north of Kabul. “Freedom still has enemies here in Afghanistan, and you are here to make those enemies miserable,” he said.

Actually, judging by Bell’s cartoon, it’s working . . . .

UPDATE: People wonder what kind of camera Maj. Tammes is using. It’s an Olympus C-750. He sends me the full-sized images, and I resize ’em, usually (but not always) adding a bit of color correction and unsharp-mask. And for those of you doing digital photography, I want to stress that unsharp mask is your friend. Nearly all digital images benefit from a judicious application. Depending on your photo editing program, it’s probably under either “filters” or “effects,” and it can really add sharpness and impact to photos that are a bit soft, especially after resizing. Just don’t overdo it.