Saturday, October 13, 2012

Month 2 Day 13

Yesterday was productive. Met with the S2A [Assistant Intelligence Officer] twice. He seems to behave better when he is running the show. He gave me the forms that showed how intel funding moves, a real boon. He also confirmed what we already knew, that officer promotion is almost entirely based on who you know/pay off. He did assent to receiving and giving some presentations. That was good

The thing that sticks in my mind about yesterday is the conversation I had with the CLB [Combat Logistics Battalion] S-2 [Intelligence Officer]. I sent him a report a while back about one of the officers in his battalion, this guy did some immoral and criminal acts. The BnCO [Marine Battalion Commander] wanted to get a report from the S2 [Intelligence Officer] about what they are doing about this. I told them first off, the USMC [US Marine Corps] can’t do anything, we can try to get the Afghans to do it, but if they are as well connected as this guy, then they just might not do it. Add that to the fact that it could be a false report, because everyone here has an angle. Finally and most pointedly, are we going to be Kantian or Utilitarian about this? We can ride in on our Marine-issued moral high-horse, but is that really going to be the best thing? Every Afghan officer is corrupt, everyone is connected, that is how they become officers, all of them are immoral by our standards. If we tried to weed out everyone we wouldn’t have any officers left. At some point you have to deal with the people you have not the ones you wished you had. Also, since no one ever gets fired, they only get transferred all this would lead to is a shifting of the problem to someone else who probably has no idea what a bad-actor this guy is. Hmmm, the system is so broken it is hard to fix.

Edited to Add:

In the first paragraph I describe the forms about how funding moves as a boon. This is worth further explanation. We Americans told the Afghans that they were a sovereign country long before they were really ready to take over. We did not build their government and spin off portions as they were ready, we just declared it 'ready to go.' My team was trying to train a group of men who were already ostensibly independent who had their own nascent system in place. This was troublesome because we did not know the details of the system that we were supposed to train them on. There was no doctrine, no rules, no slew of forms that we had access to. I had to obtain the forms from the Afghans and then teach them how to use them. This would not be so bad if the Afghans were willing students, but when it came to pilfering money they had an incentive to obscure their forms so that I could not hold them accountable.

Regarding the second paragraph, it may seem like I have become negative very rapidly, but unfortunately, there are several weeks of posts missing, lost in the ether. Also omitted are the classified reports that I am reading which undoubtedly color my views.

Also regarding the second paragraph it is important to note that my position as an adviser was very similar to that of a consultant. I could not command my Afghans to do anything. More accurately, I could command them as much as I wanted to, but they were not legally bound to do as I said. All I could do was appeal to them and on the basis of moral, personal or monetary suasion, get them to make the decision that I believed needed to be made. It seems odd that we had all of the power, money, fuel, and equipment, but we were unwilling to use it to force the Afghan's hands. This would cause conflict later in the deployment.

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