Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mont 6 Day 2

Notebook Entry
No reports to Afghan National Army, Qais Map morning, Rafi database development and shura plan.

Journal Entry
I sent one of my Sgts to a map class in the morning. He stayed for about half of it and then bounced. Sounds about like him. I tried to work in the afternoon with Rafi. My linguist totally understood what I needed him to translate, but I just couldn’t get through to Rafi. My linguist, Bashir, came out and told me that ‘we have a saying about Uzbeks: their [they're] stupid.’ While not much of a saying, it may be true about Rafi. Even he was admitting that what I was saying was going over his head. I just don’t know how to get through, I drew pictures, gave examples, repeated myself, gave him the answers and expected him to parrot them back and he still couldn’t get it.

It is kind of funny how the perspective around here has changed. Originally the ETT [Embedded Training Team] tried to act just like the RCT [Regimental Combat Team] did, Maj Valquist would order us to do the Afghan’s jobs for them. There were a couple of us, like Capt Arthur and myself who thought our success should be measured by how much we could get our Afghans to do. Now it seems like the bulk of the ETT has swung to that position while the Regiment, in its new effort at partnering, is trying to do what we did at first. The trouble is that their tangential contact with the Afghans will not show them the game that they Afghans are playing. ‘oh we are helpless, come help us’ bullshit, you are lazy and you don’t want to do the work, so you want the Marines to do it for you. The Marines all have a low enough opinion of the Afghans that they believe the ‘I’m helpless’ bit and the Afghans get what they want.

I think I have a 1st Chapter title, ‘the few, the proud’ I could delve into the bios of a few of the guys on the team in that. And it would be in keeping with all of the other chapter headings

I went to the classes in the morning about how to go on leave. Turned in my pistol, my rifle and my Ammo, its easier to move now. I went to the MWR [Morale Welfare and Recreation tent] to update my computer and finish the budget. 5k surpluses are nice, but I don’t think that the American public is really getting value-for-money by having me here. Went to the CCOC [Combined Combat Operations Centiner] to teach Sgt Salim how to do the daily brief. He broke me. He doesn’t understand how to summarize. I kept telling him that he didn’t need the Grid coordinate, nor did he need the event type for every event. He just needed to drag the symbol onto the map and at the end of the day write a summary. I had him draw me a map from the COC to Camp Garmsir so I could drive there and then asked him why he didn’t include the rocks on the footpath. He’s like they’re not important. I said-exactly right, and he seemed to understand then sat back down and tried to verbatim copy the SigActs. I also tried to explain to him the we can predict human behavior based on past experience. This was anathema to him. I asked what happens at 0500 every day-prayer, 0730-chow, 0800-meeting. ‘So what time is the meeting going to be tomorrow’ 0800, ‘how do you know?’ because that’s the time it happens every day-ding-ding, I think he’s got it, and then we try to apply the same logic to the enemy and we lose it. I don’t know what the problem is. It might be the language, the translations are always a bit off, and spoken Dari lacks the precision of English. They don’t use prepositions. Rather than saying someone is going to the chair, next to the chair on the chair, they would just say-literal translation ‘he is chair.’ This leave a lot to context. We even see it in the letters we translate from the Taliban. These guys don’t know how to write their own language. It could also be the pattern [of] thought of these guys, there is something rigorous about education that teaches you action-reaction. For them there are plenty of causal examples, but a great portion of the world, the weather, gravity, human behavior, is enshallah ‘if God wills it.’ I can’t reeducate these guys.

I worked with Rafi on a Mod-14 I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it would never get filled.

Our troop of linguists.

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