Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thoughts On Blogging 21 September 2006

It is relatively early in the morning, and I have about 4 hours sleep this morning. That is a combination of events, and it’s not that unusual. I have some thoughts on blogging that I decided to share, as I think it is fair that people who read this know where I am coming from. And maybe equally what my intent is.

There are rules that cover bloggers in the military, they are relatively new, but they are designed to keep a guy like me from becoming a policy making Captain, or from endangering the lives of my fellow coalition soldiers. They make sense, I am not bitching about them, and it helps to keep people from willy nillying all over the written countryside. That's a good thing.

I have had this post up for about 10 days now, and it has been read in a lot of the states of the United States, and in the UK, Italy, off the coast of Africa, and in Karachi Pakistan. One other thing that you learn doing something like this is how un anonymous your internet anonymity really is, as well as how far flung the information you post may fly, so you have to be prepared to live with the spatter, you might get some on you.

I don't know if I am a typical Infantry Captain or not, but I believe that leaders need to be balanced in their approach to people and events. Not so balanced that it gets you killed, just balanced enough to allow people to understand that you do think about things prior to acting on them. Recently I explained to my two senior NCOs what I was trying to accomplish with our presence patrols in the area.

I want people here to view us either positively or neutrally, and I want them to be very reluctant to cause us to act in a negative manner towards them. For a couple of my soldiers that is interpreted as be as intimidating as possible. That is not the intent. Think of a Police Officer, and I have known a couple. They are great guys, with a wider than you might believe political spectrum, however to a person, I wouldn't want to cross them in the line of duty; they are trained, confident and professional. That competence in itself is intimidating to a segment of the population that is thinking about going astray, and that appearance or perception acts as much to police the population as does the officers actual physical actions, in fact it probably does more than what one officer individually can do.

My intent with this blog is to share as widely as possible with other people the things that we do, and go through here. It is not always safe or dangerous, it is pretty much never glamorous, I doubt seriously if I will ever meet the president of any country. It is often somewhat boring. The story here is about the people, both those who live here and those who serve here, that I will do my best to share on a somewhat regular basis. My personality does not really allow me to tell you all the minor annoyances that get blown up into political dust. The folks at the Government Accounting Office can tell you how we allocate assets between the locations we have the military active in the world, and it is beyond me. So I won't or I will try not to bitch and moan about things that will not change, and have been predetermined by someone with more information than I have.

I don't particularly like to kill things, I like to fish, and I like to eat fish, in fact on the whole I am a meat eater, I understand that some things must die to provide me food. I live in a building that is a prefab metal hut, it has holes in it that are big enough for field mice. As I am typing this right now, one is trying to decide if he can cross from the side of the room he is on to the door on my right. I have a snickers bar baited mouse trap in there. I both hope he gets caught, and think he is kind of cute at the same time. Regardless they are filthy animals who carry disease, and I will dispose of him as soon as he gets hungry enough to stop moving much.

I understand my mission here is to provide stability and support to this population. If that means I have to defend it with deadly force I will use the assets at hand to do that, but I don't intend to glory in that or probably do more than mention we got in a fight. Fortunately thus far that has not happened, no shots have been fired at, by or around me. For every guy like me who carries around loaded weapons and works with the Afghans in the field there are 3 or 4 who do things like work in a medical aid station, keeping track of appointments and treatments, or work in a supply warehouse ensuring the task force doesn't run out of 100 mile an hour tape, or 550 Cord, or post its. Some of the people in my previous company were truck drivers, male and female both. They are scattered across the country with different stories as well. Some of my female truck drivers have probably heard and seen more ordinance go off in the last three months than I ever will here. Life is strange, and you don't know what you don' t know.

1 comment:

Alice Widman said...

Hi Keith,
It sounds to me like you do really have a balanced perspective on things. That is very impressive, and good to know that, in your position, you are not about to suddenly "blow your stack" etc.
I was in Seattle for two weeks in August and visited my cousin, who lives right near Mt. Ranier, and my friends who live near the Cascades. It was beautiful the whole time I was there and we got around quite a bit. Even though my cousin's neighborhood view is of Mt. Ranier, and even though it was beautiful weather, Mt. Ranier didn't "come out" the whole time. That meant it was always surrounded by haze and looked like a mirage. I would have liked a real show, but that's okay.
Keep taking care and reporting!
Love, Alice