Saturday, January 3, 2009 1218 hrs.
So I got my first taste of what it feels like to be truly helpless. Or a better word might be useless.
Let me explain. The military has a million and one rules about everything. I have said it before that they probably have a training manual on how to brush your teeth properly. Now a lot of these rules are stupid, but some of them have a point.
Some of these rules prevent movement. Movement of any kind, vehicle, helicopter, plane or LPC is prohibited. (LPC=leather personnel carrier AKA Boots) Usually these rules about movement work out in our favor. If the rules say we cannot move for whatever reason then we don't have anything to do and we get to go back to sleep, any day when you get to go back to sleep is a glorious day in the military.
Sometimes, like today, these rules really bite you in the ass. Sometimes your buddies are outside the wire and you can't go and get them and bring them home. So there will be no sleep had today, probably none tonight, maybe none tomorrow. No one will ever understand the bond that you develop with your fellow soldiers. I am sitting here in my room with the heater blasting, and I am still shivering knowing that my boys are out there freezing in the snow, and the rain and the cold.
So here I sit like an impotent jerk with no recourse and nothing to do. While they sit out there in Taliban land and wait. Wait for us. Wait for me. We should be out there with them. We all go home, or nobody goes home. However, sometimes the Army makes a rule that prevents you from doing that. Now don't get me wrong, the rule is actually in place for our protection and it is probably a good rule. Save for the fact that right now it sucks major balls.
Here I will sit, until someone lifts the movement prohibition and then it will be on. My boys and I will fly out that gate like there is no tomorrow and God help anyone or anything that gets in our way because we have some buddies to bring home. But for now we sit...and wait...and watch. I hope that someone up there is watching out for us, because if we ever needed a little help from above it's right now.
Ah, I don't know what to think. Sometimes I see these military rules as good things that will keep soldiers out of trouble and other times they seem like apron strings attaching us all to our big green mother. Still other times I see them as unnecessary constraints that prevent us from actually taking the fight to the enemy, getting our asses out there and killing these bastards.
They (the Taliban) attacked another school the other day. They are dropping IED's all over this country; they are instilling a sense of dread and terror in the people of this nation. And what are we doing? Sitting here behind our nice walls, and our big guns, and watching the whole spectacle. Let me tell you something about the people we are fighting here. Something that every peace loving American should understand, and it might be just a tad hard to swallow, but it's true. There are people in this world that deserve to die. They deserve to be hunted down like dogs throughout the countryside to the ends of the earth and when they are caught they should be shot right in the fucking face. The Taliban and their boys are just such a group of people. Now whether or not that is the United States' job I don't know I am not that smart, but I always was taught (by my dear old mother) that the strong should stand up for the weak. With that as a guiding principle, then we absolutely should be here for these people. Me personally, I don't give a shit about Afghanistan, its just land, I care about these people.
With that being said, so much of what is happening here is playing out like so many other conflicts in our recent history. The fucking politicians have gotten a hold of this war and are fighting it politically. They have taken over, both from within and from without. Hamstringing military commanders to the point where they won't make any decision that could get them into any sort of trouble. Well sorry folks that just won't cut it. War is a messy business. People die, shit is going to explode, and mistakes will be made. You cannot have a military function properly if they are absolutely terrified of fucking up. Now by all means, place all the safeguards you possibly can into the machine but then turn it loose. You have an ever more emboldened enemy because of the fact that some of our rules of engagement are so open-ended that you could drive a tank through them. Whereas the punishment prescribed is so severe, and draconian that no one in their right mind would want to engage the enemy unless they could actually see the whites of their eyes. (An exaggeration of course)
Could you even begin to imagine what some of the wars of our past would've been like had the military of that time been under the same constraints that we have now? Could you imagine what WWI, or WWII would've been had the commanders of that day been under the same "minimize collateral damage" mandate that is out there now. Be advised however, that the word "minimize" is the key one in that sentence. However, the word should be read as "eliminate" because that is how commanders view the directive now. Or what it would've been like had they had to get prior approval from their commanders in order to wipe their asses. Or how it would've turned out if... Well shit, there is no way they could've functioned under the rules we have now, and if they could have then the outcome may very well have been different.
Well holy o' shit man, that was quite a mouthful. Sometimes I wish I could turn my brain off and kind of zombie walk my way through this war. I can tell you for absolute certain that my chain of command would appreciate that greatly. A whole lot fewer headaches for them. In any case, I cannot do that so I will probably continue to spew things such as this for the remainder of my time here. But, fear not, faithful readers, my sense of humor has not been damaged by such things. In fact it has only been sharpened. However, my talent lies in words, whereas a pal of mine, his lies in pictures. He is a great photographer and an even better editor. So I would like to share two of his photographs with you and get a vote on which one you like better. The two pictures are edited versions of the same photo. Please let me know which one you like better, and suggest any changes. With the wonder of modern computing I could probably put a dunce cap on at least one of us. (Just not the handsome fella on the left!)
Anyways, I am done for now.
I love you mom...