Thursday, February 28, 2013

Month 6 Day 28

Notebook Entry
62 reports to Rafi, Combat Operation Center morning-working, MoD-14, Afternoon Video teleconference, Division of Labor, Weather with Salim

Journal Entry
Had a confrontation with Rafi in the combined CoC [Combat Operations Center]. I didn’t yell at him, but his issues came to a head. He didn’t want to do anything else because he said he knows he is leaving. I told him that when I see the paperwork, then I will stop training him. Until then I will continue to work with him at 1500 every day if he is at Camp Garmsir and at a time of my choosing if he is in the combined CoC. If he didn’t show up or doesn’t want to work, then I will not give him any reports or weather. I will also write in my weekly report to the General that he willfully did not attend or pay attention in class. Maj Hesco came in the midst of our conversation, and as he normally does, he wants to get involved and put his own swing on things, so he started talking to Rafi instead of me. At first this annoyed me, then it was good. Maj Hesco poignantly asked him “do you want the Lt [referring to me] to say that you are doing well, that you are learning and coming to class when you are not? Do you want him to lie?” Rafi said “yes”, then thought about it and corrected himself and said no. Sigh. In the afternoon we had a VTC in the S3 conference room. It was basically a glorified radio traffic session. It was not a real conference. The kandaks are saying, we got this many detainees, this many PKMs, etc. Maj Kraus wants them to keep coming to the table and maybe make it more fruitful than it is. I came back and worked with Salim on the weather. He is getting better at typing, reading and putting things in the right boxes, but the analysis is still not there. When give the following information

Windspeed: 6 MPH
High temp: 72
Low Temp: 50
Windchill: 0
Sunrise/Set: 0500/1800
Moonrise/Set: 1100/0100
Moon illumination: 15%
General Weather: Thunderstorms and rain

When asked what is the most important thing to friendly and enemy ops he selected lunar illum and wind direction…really…really you can’t even see the moon because of the giant fucking thunderstorm. It took me 45 Min to explain why those had no effect on our operations.

I nearly got backed into by Jamal who did get backed into by one of the Afghan soldiers. He just decided he wanted to go backward, no rearview mirrors, or turning around necessary. Fucktard.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Month 6 Day 27

Notebook Entry
Presentation to the Afghan National army staff, Rafi Sleep-in, Rafi not at class, Salim resistant to five Ws.

Journal Entry
The morning was overcast and my mood also lacked even a hint of sunshine. I presented an example of what an intelligence update should look like to the entirety of the ANA [Afghan National Army] staff. Because making it with Marine tools would not prove anything, I restricted myself to using only the tools that the ANA S2 had at their disposal. The presentation went pretty well, but one of the things that I typed in Dari was messed up and the General got confused, I had to apologize for that. Rafi refused to roust himself out of bed to go to the CCOC [Combined Combat Operations Center]. Salim went in his stead. Rafi did not get out of bed to go to the meeting either. The SgtMaj went to retrieve him, and was unable to do so, the General’s aide, a tall, princely Hazara Lt had to kick him out of bed. He came in, poignantly, when I was giving the intelligence update. The General stopped and yelled at him for about 5 minutes saying that if he has these issues again that he will be kicked off of the base. Rafi’s position is in an interregnum, he knows he will be transferred, but the time is unclear, his behavior reflect his belief that the General cannot make his life hell for too long and his generally bad attitude. I tried to find him in the morning and afternoon to teach him a class, but he was nowhere to be found, this happened the last time the General yelled at him too. I went to the Combined COC to work with Salim. He was watching a movie on one of the linguists computers when I came in. We sat down to work on the SIGact tracker/database. All this requires is verbatim copying (not even typing most of the time as I have created drop-down menus for most of the cells) of information posted on the wall and looking at the tacks in the wall. He started saying, yah I know how to do it. I said ok, well show me how you do it, when he started typing the events in it became clear that he did not understand, but he quickly remembered what we worked on before we left. He seemed to want to rush to get through it, accuracy be damned. He seemed particularly distressed by the fact that he had to get out of his seat, look at the numbered pin in the map 7 feet away and then return. He basically quit after about 25 minutes of actual activity. He complained of the reports he had to write the briefs he needed to prepare. In truth he has no such duties while on CCOC watch, that is why he was watching a movie when I came in.

Finding peoples motivations for things and helping them reach them can be a powerful tool. Some people want money, prestige, power, influence, to be correct, but some people are only motivated by a life of ease, devoid or work, full of sleep and food, how do you motivate them? They don’t care about their country, their people, their army, their pay remains the same.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Month 6 Day 26

Notebook Entry
Morning Salim no-show meeting, Video teleconference, made presentation with Salim, fight with Rafi.

Journal Entry
Salim missed the Meeting this morning because Rafi told him that one of the Property book officer Sergeants was going to do it. The Brigade SgtMaj came up to me and asked me why I didn’t make sure that he was there, I’m like dude ‘you’re the Sgt Maj!’ I guess Rafi gave Salim bum scoop because the general de facto fired Rafi while we were gone and told him not to do any more briefs, a fact that Rafi selectively forgot to mention to Salim. I told Salim to prep for the Video Teleconference and type his ciphers and be ready by 1245. He didn’t even know that was going on. We went to the VTC, again, I am not sure of the purpose of these things, are we trying to give them a capability that they will never have, and then yank it away. It was the same bullshit, I did this number of patrols, my area is this long…

I walked into the CoC after the meeting with Salim. I spoke with a couple of the Marines for a few moment then turned around to see Salim crouched next to Zaqriullah, an otherwise upstanding Sergeant. They were speaking in muted tones, and Salim reached in the same pocket that he said he had hash in the day prior and handed Zaqriullah something white, literally under the table while smiling and making the elongated throat sounds possible in Dari. I told Zaqriullah to give it to me, he played coy, what are you talking about…then pulled out a cigarette as though that was what I was talking about. I started to search his pocket and then the General Walked in and we all stood up and I lost sight of him. Searching was then pointless because I am sure that he stashed it. I told them no hash in the Combined COC. We’ve got to draw a line somewhere.

I wanted to sit down and do a class with Salim, had been tasked with creating a daily brief off of the information that they had so that I could show the General what is possible. I wanted Salim to watch for his one hour daily class. Rafi tried to send Salim back to Camp Garmsir. Rafi said that as the senior man in intel all training had to go through him. Salim was happy to listen because it meant less work for him. Salim ran out to the truck and tried to hop in the back. I ran out to the truck and told him to get out, he did after I spoke to the driver and made it clear they were not going anywhere with him. Salim walked back into the Combined COC and Rafi sat there crestfallen. Salim then bitched while I was making the presentation and having Neckpai translate all that I was doing saying that he had a lot of work to do back at the Camp. On the ride back Salim wanted to know who he should listen to, me, Rafi, what, and I told him that he should use his head. They don’t even listen to their officers, so he shouldn’t pretend that Rafi’s one extra stripe actually makes a difference to him. All he wants is to do as little work as possible. I felt a bit up in arms about the whole thing because I felt like I had just cashed my dost del chip and I am not sure that this was the right battle to fight it in. I am not sure what they think we are trying to do here, if they think that we are just trying to create more work for ourselves and them by having them do bullshit. I’m like, dude, I am trying to teach you how to do your job.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Month 6 Day 25

Notebook Entry
To bastion, Salim has hash on him, struggles with US Air Force, Salim Rip It

Journal Entry
Back from Geronimo to Dwyer. I had to fly north to Bastion/LNK/Shorabak first, then back down. The ‘joint/Combined’ passenger terminal is bullshit. I tried to get on an earlier USAF [US Air Force] flight. They were throwing up walls of red tape about bringing Neckpai and Salim along. They said they needed a letter of Authorization to get him on, but the order they were looking at was from 2009 and didn’t even mention the ANA [Afghan National Army]. It seems the farther that you get from the front lines the more bureaucratized the war gets these two USAF SSgts and Tec Sgts (incidentally the billets that these two E-6 and E-7s were filling are exactly the same as those that the E-3 Marines immediately adjacent to them were filling). At the platoon level there are two separate tents for ANA and Marines, Company, tents separated by HESCO, Battalion/Regiment, two separate Camps, Division, to separate bases. Only the guys on the ground are actually partnered with the Afghans. Part of this has to do with the fact that we have no intel sharing agreement with the Afghans, so they can’t do everything with us. Part of it is just laziness/difficulty, if you legitimately worked out of the same office as your Afghan you would need to learn about him, his language, culture etc.

Salim was a bit funny. He brought some Hashish with him on the trip and only decided to tell me about it then. I’m like, ‘dude there are a shit ton of drug dogs around here, you need to get rid of that’ on the topic of selective sins I asked him why he was so concerned about eating pork, but not smoking hash. He says ‘it’s medicine.’ I asked him what sickness he was afflicted with and he couldn’t give me an answer. He was also a bit funny because he drank a Rip-It ennerjy (energy) drink the night before, he wasn’t able to go to sleep and instead started passing out on the way back.

A view of some of the mountains from Bastion.  It was amazing to see anything more than a hill.