Embedded in Reality
Because of the ongoing unit rotations I had to get a “letter of input” for my evaluation before the Patricia’s redeployed back to Canada. I had a sit down with my rater for the first time today (I should have met my rater as soon as I arrived at Kandahar Airfield. I didn’t because I went straight to work for the Patricia’s). During our sit down we talked about our backgrounds, how we ended up in Afghanistan, the work we are doing here, and observations of our coalition brethren.
The focus of my observations are those who “get it” and those who don’t. By “get it” I mean those who understand what Information Operations is all about and when properly conducted and managed will facilitate the killing of Taliban in large numbers. Information Operations doesn’t work by itself, it is the velvet glove wrapped around the iron fist. The words only are effective when you back them up with deeds.
The Canadians: My new boss, a Canadian Major who is the number two Info Ops officer at brigade (I am the number three), commented that we should start calling the Canadian battle group the “Kinetic Canucks”. Most of the Canadian staff officers at brigade and the commander of the battle group “get it”. It’s in the news that the Canadians are piling on the Taliban which makes it easier for me as an Info Ops bubba to get my message out.
The Romanians: They “get it” also. Their equipment isn’t as good as ours but they are trying hard.
The Estonians: Nice guys, excellent English, but they don’t have any combat troops here so I can’t comment on whether they get it.
The Danes: See Estonians.
The French: No, they don’t get it. They were more concerned about having parties at their compound and scoring chicks (easy to do when you have free booze). Plus, they seriously underestimated some situations and it cost them.
The Dutch: They just took over the province I was at for six months. Boy, are they in for a treat. THEY DON’T GET IT!!! Austin Powers said it best, “there are two kinds of people I hate, those who are intolerant and the Dutch!” One of the first things they did on Kandahar Airfield was build a bloody nightclub (no booze though) that’s invitation only. Way to prioritize your efforts guys. Idiots.
Staff Weenies from NATO/ISAF: They don’t get it. Yesterday, the Canadians were raising hell with the Taliban and we didn’t hear a peep from NATO/ISAF. Well, it was Sunday after all and when you work for an organization that is called NATO (short for Not After Two O’clock), we shouldn’t have expected them to raise any interest in the boisterous activities in Regional Command South! The Canadians did NATO/ISAF a favor. The local Kandaharis are starting to think that NATO/ISAF can actually fight so instead of “I Suck At Fighting”, ISAF will only stand for “I Should Ask First”.
The Brits: They get it. They are kicking the snot out of the Taliban in Helmand Province. Today I was watching BBC World with a couple of our interpreters and I noticed that the Brits had fixed bayonets! I thought that was too funny! (Anyone who has seen Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Eddie Izzard’s comedy special Dress to Kill, or has spent some time around Brits will know of what I speak). Here is how I think they were driven to fix bayonets:
Subaltern: Sir, the men are irritated that we have run out of water. I am afraid that they may get a bit cross if we have no afternoon tea.
Commander: Right, will the water from the Helmand River make good tea?
Subaltern: If we boil the water and not use chemicals, the tea should be fine.
Commander: Very well, we must have tea so organize a detail.
Subaltern: Right sir, and oh, here comes a runner. My God man! Why on earth are you running in this dreadful heat?
Runner: Sir, we have spotted movement about and the platoon commander believes the Taliban are attempting to encircle our position.
Subaltern: Sir, I believe that we may not be able to send the water detail to the Helmand River.
Commander: That’s dash cunning of them! Interfering with our afternoon tea. What a bloody nuisance they have become. Color Sergeant!
Color Sergeant: Yes sir!
Commander: Kindly have the men fix bayonets and sort out this bloody nuisance the Taliban have become. We must have afternoon tea.
Color Sergeant: Very good sir! COMPANY!! FIX!! BAYONETS!!
Flag Gazer commented on my last post that she appreciates humor imbedded in reality. I have a lot of reality and I have to see the humor or I would go postal.