Thursday, April 16, 2009

Opium Joe

Days like yesterday I hate being a civilian. One of our local workers was out assisting in the recovery of a military vehicle when he was hit by a roadside bomb, and almost killed. He was contracted to operate a crane on base, but he was always willing to go and do anything that was asked of him.

Now I'm not big on bashing the US Army. At least not in public. Here in Afghanistan there are a lot of rules and it's tough to operate. CNN is always watching and ready to report even the slightest incident in a manner that brings them the most ratings. Truth has taken a backseat to the dollar, but that's another issue. So I understand the pressures they're operating under, and I understand some of the questionable decisions that are made here. But this was a different story.

Let me give you a brief background on the situation here. With IED's (roadside bombs) it's been a constant game of adaptation. The enemy creates a bomb, we create better armor. When the IED's started to become more prevalent, they were using detonation systems where the truck would have to drive over a set of contacts that would set off the bomb. After a while the US military figured out what to look for and how to avoid it. So the enemy adapted, and started using IED's detonated by electronic commands. Someone would hide nearby and press the button at the right time. It allowed for higher casualties due to the ability to target soft targets and civilian vehicles. So the military developed jamming systems which would block the electronic signals from reaching the detonator. So the enemy went back to primarily using the contact detonators. The military response was to build stronger trucks, and that's where we're at now. The unit I am with now has been hit multiple times with little to no injuries due to the new trucks.

Now here's where the incompetence comes in. They let the crane, the unarmored, civilian vehicle lead the convoy. If an assault had come from the front, how would the convoy protected itself, since they had placed a civilian between them and the enemy? The insurgents here have no problem killing civilians, so why did they put him there? He was putting his life on the line to help them and they didn't even try to protect him.

The worst part is that there is there is nothing I can do about it. When I was active I could have asked questions, forced people to answer them, and gotten things changed. But that's not my job now. So I just sit here and hope that in the next two months their incompetence doesn't get anyone killed.

1 comment:

Jen - The Secret Keeper said...

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