18 June 2008

More thoughts from school

It wasn’t until I noticed that my Mom was telling stories about my youthful misbehavior that I even thought of seeing if I could access the blog through the Army computer system here in the classroom. Lo and behold, I can! The system doesn’t seem to jive with Haloscan, but I can post without trudging through the groundhog ambush site to the club.

Anyway...since I don't want to pay attention in any more classes, I have plenty of time to put together long, rambling posts.

We’re getting close to the end of the classroom portion of this, which is A Good Thing. We’ve pretty firmly established at this point that Civil Affairs NCOs, more than any other group in the military, have zero tolerance for foreign civilians.

We wish refugees would get real jobs and move out of camps, we loathe handing out humanitarian assistance supplies, we firmly believe that willful stupidity is an insurmountable barrier to conducting population and resource control operations with any level of force below tanks.

I’ve previously said we have only one soldier in our group who hasn’t deployed. We have a couple others who deployed as something other than CA. But among those of us who have, there is not a single one who has not had an HA (humanitarian assistance) drop that:

A – turned into a no-holds-barred brawl

B – involved handing out some asinine and truly useless item that came from some level of “Higher”

The Afghanistan folks cornered the market on B. That operation gets more international support, and so they get a wider variety of stuff. Including children’s underwear with celebrity images emblazoned on them, courtesy of (wait for it, it won’t be a surprise), the people of Japan.

We agreed that the concept of targeted HA drops almost entirely escapes maneuver unit commanders, who seem to be big fans of just handing crap out because Iraqis (and Afghans) like crap. We’d prefer they consider our input on issues like which populations need stuff, which populations deserve stuff, and which populations might be bought for our side with stuff. Our mission is really, really, really not to put a smile on a child’s face. It really, really, really is to wean the people of these countries off their dependence on American handouts.

But of course, soldiers like children and, since the current policy on war trophies sucks, it seems that the one thing everyone wants to take home is a picture of them handing a Beanie Baby to an urchin. We have had no luck convincing any of them that Beanie Babies are not Humanitarian Assistance items, and, thus, CA should not be responsible for them.

[sigh] I thought it was just us, but I was wrong. At least I know I’m not alone.