Pictures and Cigars

I got my hands on some nice cuban cigars yesterday.  It was really good.  By the time I finished one, the buzz was on par with a few beers!  Then I fell asleep, lol.

I also added a few new pictures to my flickr account (which is almost maxed out now).  Enjoy!

Pictures 015

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Happy Election Day!

Today is the Afghan Presidential Election!  This is what we have been here for so long for.  There are definitely still challenges, but the Afghan people today get to decide for themselves who is going to lead their country into the future.  Personally, I don’t give a damn who gets elected.  The only thing I care about is that they get to choose.  There is no doubt about the fact that there is a lot of terrorist activity trying to prevent people from voting, but I don’t think it will deter many.  I hope to see a lot of blue thumbs tomorrow.

Happy Election Day, Afghanistan!

In Hindsight

I’m what they call a “short-timer” around here now.  By this time next month, I’ll have returned to the land of the living.  Its been quite an experience here.  It’s not been at all what I expected.  I’m not even sure what I thought it was going to be like.  How can you even guess what something like this will be like?  I’m not sure.  Either way, I have learned a lot.

This has been the single biggest growing experience of my life.  I feel like I have learned a lot about being a soldier and an officer.  I believe (well, hope) that I’ve earned the respect of the seasoned NCOs around me.  I can only imagine what I looked like to them when I first came on board.  A young, green lieutenant added at the last minute who hasn’t even cut his teeth yet.  Its funny looking back.  I have to admit the learning curve has been pretty much vertical.  I was tossed into the thick of it and had to learn as I went. I’ve made a full lieutenant’s share of mistakes here but I’ve learned from them all.

I’m happy with the progress we have made here.  When we first arrived everyone told us not to get too ambitious and to have patience.  Afghans don’t learn really fast and changes seem to take decades.  Of course we thought we could do it better and change the world in our time.  Eventually you realize that you’re pushing boulders up hills.  Its been overwhelming and more than frustrating at times.  Sometimes you even want to throw your hands up in the air and quit.  I can say that I’ve done everything I can used all my skills and knowledge to try and help develop this army.  If anything I taught them sticks, I will never know.  But I’ve created something from nothing here, and that is something to be proud of.

War of the Flea

Anyone who has studied Vietnam or any of the present non-conventional wars/conflicts is probably familiar with this concept.  However, this is the first time I have ever heard the analogy “War of the Flea” before, so I wanted to share it with you.

To quote Robert Taber:

The guerrilla fights the war of the flea, and his military enemy suffers the dog’s disadvantages: too much to defend; too small, ubiquitous, and agile an enemy to come to grips with.

The ideas and principles are something we all know.  The enemy resorts to hit and run attacks, IEDs, and ambushes to wear away at the coalition forces.  They try to hurt public interest and wait us out.  The Taliban have a phrase, “The Americans may wear the watches, but we have the time,” is exactly right.  The Afghans have been fighting for most of their lifetime.  They have the will to fight forever and they know if they can whittle away at the US (big dog) they can slip back in when we bail out.

That’s the same way the flea defeats the dog: jumping, hopping and biting because the dog has too much to defend.  Eventually the dog tires and gives up.

I hope people understand the War of the Flea and are mentally prepared for a long road ahead.

Current news

Apparently to actually read any of the articles that load in my RSS reader to the right you have to register with that website.  That sucks, so I’ve changed them out for better quality Yahoo News and NY Times feeds.  Enjoy 🙂

Anyways, there has been a lot of activity in Afghanistan recently.  Recent attacks on French forces have cause more than 20 casualties.  Another attack on a major US base in the SE part of the country was haulted thanks to the help of the Air Cav, however the fact that they are increasingly more daring and attacks are more frequent, is not a good sign.

To top all that off, a long standing belief that Pakistan’s ISI (kind of like our CIA) has been aiding Al Qaeda and giving them information about coalition movement and plans.  This is possibly the cause of the recent attacks on the US and French.  source  Also, you may have heard that Pakistan President Musharraf stepped down earlier this week when it became clear that parliament meant to impeach him.  Although he gained power through a military coup, and did little to stomp out corruption, he was VERY anti-extremism, which is what led to the relationship between Pakistan and the US.  Now that he is gone, it will be very interesting to see how much bolder the ISI gets in providing intelligence support to Al Qaeda.

I cant really write much more now, so please check out some of the news.  I highly recommend Yahoo and NY Times.  Both have great coverage of Afghanistan.

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/afghanistan/index.html

http://news.yahoo.com/fc/World/Afghanistan

drilling

I’ve got drill this weekend again.  It seems that there is just enough time between drill weekend to kind of forget about the deployment and the military.  Its very different when I put the uniform on.  It’s kind of like having an alternate identity, and the switch is triggered by the uniform.  I know it happens to a lot of people in the guard.  We kind of do have to be able to switch it on and off.

Anyways, all this gets me thinking about the mobilization.  Its scary to think that there is less than 2 month before I leave.  I have a million things to do before that happens.  In a way I really just want to get there and start the deployment.  The anticipation causes so much worry and stress that it know it will be easier once I am there and can look forward to coming home instead of having it loom over my head.