Thursday, January 31, 2013

Month 5 Day 31

Notebook Entry
Ten Reports to ANA [Afghan National Army], Watch Morning, Map Class, Commanders Unit Assessment Tool, RMAsia Parts truck arrived, Improvised Explosive Devise Lane Expanded.

Journal Entry
Covered a shift at the new CCoC [Combined Combat Operations Center] in the morning. Capt Arthur and GySgt Young are still not back. I don’t imagine that they are in any rush to get here, but it is getting a bit silly how long they have been gone for. I had to come out a couple of times and remind Maj Valquist that you desire to get something done does not make it possible. LtCol John Walcott came into the CCoC in the morning and wanted to translate several hundred slides. We have 4 terps with security clearances on the entire base. Two of them were in there. I got them started on it, and by about 1500 they had translated about 12 slides. LtCol Walcott went to spazcon-5 and sent the tasker to Maj Valquist. I’m like these are classified slides, we don’t have terps with clearances. I have been saying we need them all along, but they have not been produced. Maj Valquist is like, well can we put the stuff on the NIPR and translate it. I’m like, really, sir? There are so many things that are wrong about that that it is difficult for me to list them all

1. Burning classified information onto a disk
2. Moving it to an unsecure medium
3. Having a person without a clearance work on it
4. It can’t even be completed in the time allotted.

Then he asks me, deuce, you can speak Dari, why don’t you just translate it. I’m like, Sir, it took me two hours to do two pages. I can’t do this.

Holy shit the regiment can’t order its way out of a problem and they might need to plan ahead a bit more. Wow, I thought that is what staff officers were supposed to do, plan ahead. That doesn’t happen here, it is just omnidirectional taskers, just like the Afghans do. We are more like them than we would like to admit.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Month 5 Day 30

Notebook Entry
11 Reports, watch morning, class with Samir afternoon Rafi to Videoteleconference.

Journal Entry
Did watch at the CCoC [Combined Combat Operations Center Watch] this morning. I discovered how little the RCT [Marine Regimental Combat Team] CoC want to play ball. I asked them to provide one marine to watch the CCoC for 20 minutes because we only had one Marine and wanted to keep the Afghans up on communication. The MGySgt [Master Gunnery Sergeant] said, ‘sir, not during the day, I can’t do that.’ I’m like really, some people take that long to take a crap in the morning, you mean to tell me that the 20 or so guys that you have in there are all so pivotal that they can’t stand in the doorway next to their desk, rather than sit at their desk for 20 minutes. It just shows what a farce the whole thing is and how important it is for commanders to quit[sp] commanding and start getting buy-in.

Came back and did some work, I was supposed to do a Video teleconference in the afternoon but I let myself get sucked into some supply stuff because I knew it was going to be absolutely useless, from what I hear, it was. I taught a class on mapping to Sgt Salim and did a little more work.

Some of the Afghan Soldiers Unloading a plywood shipment.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Month 5 Day 29

Notebook Entry
16 Reports to ANA, Class morning Regarding Priority Intelligence Requirements and Report Formats, Afternoon, Mapping

Journal Entry:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Month 5 Day 28

Notebook Entry
No reports, Combat Operations Center in the morning, no contact afternoon.

Journal Entry
Did the combined CoC watch in the morning. Groundhog day. I had to teach map reading again. Maj Valquist was so impressed that I did it in Dari that he said I was going to be the lead instructor. This is retarded. The CoC has a completely different Afghan staff every day. They are never going to advance. It would be like sending an 8th grader to a college class once a month and expecting them to pick up and learn it themselves. This is going to be a drain on manpower. I told Major Valquist that the more we fucked with it the more that we are going to own it. He said “there is more to it than that.” I am firmly convinced there is not. The CO [Commanding Officer] wants this so he can tell his Bns [Battalions] to get it and look good when Generals come. The Afghans don’t want it. The ETT [Embedded Training Team] don’t want it and the Marine CoC just looks at it with contempt. Oh well.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Month 5 Day 27

Notebook entry
26 reports to ANA [Afghan National Army], morning meetings, weather class, Salim, wipe ass with rocks.

Journal Entry
Meetings all morning. Combined Staff meeting. Gave a class to Salim and Rafi in the afternoon about how to read Afghan intelligence reports, just what they mean and how to divine information from them.

In the staff meeting SSgt Tom Peter brought up that Unity [a contracting company] is having trouble servicing Afghan port-a-johns. They keep sucking up rocks and it ruins there pumps. Apparently some guys here are from the hinterland and wiping your ass with rocks is the thing to do.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Month 5 Day 26

Notebook entry
29 reports to the ANA [Afghan National Army], Basic PowerPoint, Basic Excel, Samir Left

Journal Entry
Samir Left with the Opium, all 172kg reportedly arrived. Taught the Sgts basic powerpoint and Excel. Rafi was being a turd, but I got the XO [Executive Officer] to straighten him out. Maj Valquist came back in the middle of the night.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Month 5 Day 25

Notebook Entry
BAT [Biometric Automated Toolset-e.g. fingerprint], 172kg of opium arrived, Intel Shura [Meeting] announced.

Journal Entry
BATed all day. Lekic is getting pretty well trained and should be able to take over when I am gone. Samir went to Garmsir and returned with 172 Kg of Opium (I hope it was that much when he returned). MGen Malouk wants to be a big hero and make a big show of burning it at his HQ in Shorabak, or so he says. Maj Kraus announced that he had been tasked by the Colonel to do an ANA [Afghan National Army]-led intel shura. Am I the only one who finds that a contradiction in terms? Also Samir is not even going to be here during that time. We should worry about putting an ANA face one this, this is not a single-agency thing. When I reminded Maj Kraus that there were other folks operating the the AO [Area of Operations] than just the ANA and ANP [Afghan National Police], such as the ABP [Afghan Border Police] and ANCOP [Afghan National Civil Order Police] he was like, oh yah, maybe we should invite them too. I don’t imagine many of them will show up given that we don’t have tasking authority over them and the folks in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital won’t give a shit. Oh well.

Edited to Add:
Lashkar Gah was the provincial capital, they tasked many of the Afghan forces in our area of operations.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Month 5 Day 24

Notebook Entry
Duty in morning, taught plotting of sigacts , Samir gave IPB [Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace] later, Chaplin and Walter Pincus up Muslim Conference, Ammunition Supply Point finished, Selective Sins,

Journal Entry
Went to the RCT [Marine Regimental Combat Team] in the morning for CoC [Combat Operations Center] duty. It is clear that no one in the CoC actually has any intention of partnering with the ANA [Afghan National Army]. They just kind of look in at them and occasionally peek their heads in. They don’t actually work with them in any way. That is frustrating. I had Samir give the IPB in the afternoon to his new Sgts [sergeants], that worked out well. One of his Sgts didn’t show up on time and I managed to get him to use his subordinate leaders to make things happen.

What kind of struck me last night with respect to the Hash thing with Felbab-Brown is how selective we are about our transgressions in the USMC, it is not unlike the church. You can be stupid, not proficient at you job, and that is somewhat ok as long as you are a ‘good Marine’ nice uniform, not fat, work hard, neglect your family. More specifically I am talking about General Order 1 this is the one that states you can’t have drugs or alcohol here, no porn either. I bet every man on this team has porn with him. We just kind of ignore that one and prosecute the drugs section. We treat the ANA like that to[o] the XO [executive officer] has basically been blacklisted by Maj Hesco for railing some dude in the ass and drinking. The Afghans would admit that smoking hash, drinking, and gay sex are all not good things, but they almost all do one or more of the above. They selectively enforce their sins when it serves their interest, there does not seem to be one most hated sin except for perhaps apostasy. How similar we are.

Edited to Add:
The episode I mention about Felbab-Brown was an incident where one of our young Marines bought Marijuana from the Afghan soldiers and then smoked it while he was supposed to be on watch.  He later failed a urine screening.