Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Month 2 Day 31

The text for today has been lost, but I took a picture of my prison-year gym.  It worked great.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Month 2 Day 30

Notebook entry
Major Omar [the Afghan Battalion S2] may try to undermine legacy effort [the name of the Afghan human intelligence training program], Gafer (G-2) continues to work with HET [Human Intelligence Exploitation Teams], daily meetings critical, security shura OCC-D [the Afghan-US combined operations center] critical, map reading, plain clothes recon

Monday, October 29, 2012

Month 2 Day 29

Notebook Entry
Shek Laqor needs better sandbags and defense, fuel from Dwyer, generators but no fuel, USMC says you can’t buy it from town, Meeting with Afghan S2, recon platoon, 12 people, spread out, not debriefing recon unit, has PIR list

Journal Entry
Today and yesterday were interesting. We flew from [Forward Operating Base] Dwyer to [Forward Operating Base] Geronimo on a VIP flight because that is what the ANA [Afghan National Army] general rates, supposedly. The stupid helicopter only had 5 people on it, really, the most inefficient and heaviest helicopter in the USMC [US Marine Corps] used to carry 5 people. I can only imagine how much that stupid little trip cost. So we get here. I meet with the ANA S2 [Intelligence Officer] and I have to tell him that my counterpart isn’t here because he decided that 3 weeks worth of work after 3 months of leave was just about enough and darn it, he was going back on leave. That bastard. So the S2 complains that he has no cash to pay his sources. He could well be lying to me, and probably was, but here is the thing, MoD [Ministry of Defense] gives the Corps money to give to the Brigade then to the kandaks, somehow the kandaks say they get nothing. In reality the money was probably disbursed, but everybody down the line took a cut and then gave a pittance to the kandak, he wasn’t going to go without his cut just [because] he was the last in line, so he said he got nothing. I ask the kandak [Afghan Battalion theoretically 1000 men] commander what we should do about the problem and first he wants Marines to supervise, when I bring up that we won’t be there to supervise forever he says well maybe MoD should just give the kandaks the cash. Maybe he is right, but that is beside the point. How can everyone be so stinking corrupt in this country? It is just beyond me. Don’t they see that they are shooting themselves in the feet. It is just stupid. The rest of the trip went fine.

Edited to Add:
Most of what I was discovering at this stage would be perennial throughout my deployment. The fraud waste and abuse in the Afghan National Army was truly amazing. It was difficult to convince them that there is another way to do things. They believed that we were doing exactly the same thing but that we were just particularly proficient at hiding it.

Everyone's a comedian

This is the shower variant of the MRAP
The brand new police compound America paid for.

Our fat little General (with the helmet and bulging flak vest) motivating his troops, note the inspiration.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Month 2 Day 28

Notebook entry
Talk to kandak [battlion~1000 in theory] intelligence officer, no money ever offered for sources, thinks the [Afghan] Brigade intelligence officer stole it. Happy with Marines, see every day, 18 people come for class with Marine Intelligence Officer, Legacy-good relationship, Meeting with the Colonel-General want to meet provincial governor, Colonel want to meet General Petraus on Monday, missing aircraft transport Leatherneck to Kabul. Legacy needs Requests for information.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Month 2 Day 27

Notebook entry
Captain Samir meeting, one report given regarding an IED in Marjeh, one verbal report 18 fighters in Garmsir, worked on plotting map points.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Month 2 Day 26

Notebook Entry
Capt Samir Drinks non-potable H2O

Journal Entry
We are down to three linguist for the team. Two on leave and the other one departed for attacking on of his fellow linguists. It is difficult to get things done without them. Few [members of the team] have made a consistent effort to learn Dari, really just me and SSgt [Staff Sergeant] Young, so doing without is not really an option just yet. I had Combined COC [Combat Operations Center] watch yesterday morning and did the BATing [basically fingerprinting] of the ANA [Afghan National Army]. The first iteration was all screw[e]d up by the terp [interpreter] who was booted, he said we had a Lt [Lieutenant] in charge of first kandak [Afghan battalion, theoretically about 1000 personnel], and the LCpl [Lance corporal, young Marine with about 18 months in the Marine Corps] I had writing everything down didn’t know that was unreasonable. I managed to get out to see my S2A [Assistant intelligence officer] despite my terp shortage, I rolled into his tent and he was laying down with an IV in his arm, apparently he drank some of the water that was non-potable and got sick. As so frequently happens. The Afghans have a weird way of dealing with the Dr as well, they just tell him what they need, they don’t ask him what they need and trust his judgment. As a result just about everything is treated by ‘serum’ as they call it. As best as I can tell this is just a saline solution. I also spent a couple of hours working on the Mission Essential Tasks that the Afghans must complete to move from one phase to another. There lots of problems with this. It is driven my Maj Valquist, and to a man, the staff is confused by its purpose. The Division put out basic guidance for the tasks that we are supposed to accomplish to move the Afghans from one phase to another, we broke those into subtasks. The problem is twofold, first, no one has bothered to ask themselves if these are the tasks that the Afghan’s really need to know how to do. Every one of the tasks is about conventional maneuver warfare, not counterinsurgency. Why the hell do the Afghan’s need to know about how to conduct a Brigade-size (5 thousand man) defense. It just doesn’t make sense for them. They are never going to project power abroad. Second, there is a major opportunity cost in teaching them this stuff, first we done have time to teach them counterinsurgency doctrine and second we just may run out of time to teach them entirely. This is all a bunch of heat and noise so that we can quantify the Afghan’s progress. This is what the Major is used to seeing and this is what he wants, so he will get it, but it is the wrong goal.

Edited to Add:
A lieutenant would never be a battalion commander. If a lieutenant were filling the job of a Captain, about as high as you could expect them to go, then they would be in charge of just over 100 people.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Month 2 Day 25

Notebook Entry
Major Gone to Shorabak, check for circular reporting, three reports given.

Edited To Add:
The Intelligence officer left in a huff. I chided him the day prior for not showing up for our guest speaker. He claimed he was in the hospital on the camp and that he could not send word, he inexplicably sent his Assistant Intelligence Officer to town. I screwed up. I should not have dressed him down. I was younger than him, outranked by him, and though I asked off of his soldiers to leave the room, I must have embarrassed him.  Though I am sure he was in no hurry to return of his own accord, my actions did not help.  I would not see him for nearly six months.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Month 2 Day 24

Notebook Entry
Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace Unauthorized Absence. Map Lies. In and out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Month 2 Day 23

Notebook Entry
Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace from Sergeant Robert Burns, Coordinated with Naval Criminal Investigative Services. One report from the Afghan National Army. Gave all Afghan Intelligence reports

Edited to Add:
I brought over a couple of the Marines from the other side of the base to show the Afghans how to presents a good Intelligence Preparation of the Battle space.   I would spend months trying to teach them how to do the same. On our way back we stopped to see the broken fuselage of a Russian bomber-cum-cargo plane that crash-landed at our base because the pilot and copilot were drunk.  

Some of the Afghan Intelligence Soldiers watch the presentation, Kharullah (left) was never really part of the section, Najib (Center) would later leave and return, Mohammad (Right) would later be sent to the kandaks to do nothing related to intelligence.

Mansour (later fired for being a terrible linguist) attempts to translate.