Postmodern classic?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Regulations as a substitute for sound policy

Can't really get into the details, unfortunately. I don't want OPSEC/PERSEC info to be floating around the Google cache to haunt me at a later date, or whatever else could happen. However, I'll try to give a brief outline and you can make of it what you will.

Started last night- I had come back from dinner and we had a new Rules of Engagement (ROE) addendum to read. I wish I could tell you how absurd they are with some of these new requirements. Some politically appointed bureaucrat sitting at home in Washington DC trying to please his boss. Perfectly fine for operating in a stable, developed country that isn't a sectarian war-zone, like here. More hypocritical CYA regulation paper-fucking is all it is, so when someone fucks up they can blame it on someone else.

There was an incident that demonstrated something similar to this, happening earlier yesterday, which we found the details about today. To make a long story short, a convoy security company took some, uhh- poorly recommended choices in route navigation which took them through the nastiest parts of downtown. The first time they got ambushed, one person killed and another wounded, so they turned around and got ambushed again, resulting in a total of 3 dead and 7 wounded. And on the way, while they fought out of this contact they shot up a few cars killing 2 women and an Iraqi soldier. Kind of puts a bad light on it to be in the same league- ie: 'Security contractors'- as these guys. I know some good guys who have done convoys, but there is a lot of, for lack of a better word, 'cowboys' out there. But those stupid ROE wouldn't have done anything to save the civilians or the contractors. Law and order might have, but I digress.

Brings up the whole gray area of being here in a concrete way. I paraphrase Lenin when he said there were only two major questions- 'What is the problem and who is to blame.' We're really not responsible for the mess people have made of this country, and we provide services to assist those in charge. Do you take the structural argument and say it wasn't the contractors fault, they had to deal with the security here (ie US or Saddams fault for fucking up the country), even if they made poor choices? Or do you start clamping down on the 'cowboys', the poorly regulated and uncontrolled people (of, ahem, 'questionable' training and experience) making money escorting goods through the country?

I'm a firm believer in responsibility- a person must answer for their actions. Some are justifiable, such as mistaken shooting of civilians in a combat zone might turn out to be. But the ignoring of safety warnings and other considerations might reflect poorly for their case. We do our best to avoid those situations, with certain deliberate measures in particular, and hopefully won't have to deal with this. But the fact remains that these people are necessary- sometimes it's not even government convoys, local and multinational companies shipping goods in and out of the country must use these people to navigate through the country. People like me are regulated and controlled by the USG, though that shouldn't necessary be much more comforting.

All that mumbo-jumbo aside, a few more regulations won't do shit to help this country. It takes will and sacrifice. It is a delicate time right now, as the still unformed Iraqi government dances around these problems- I swear it seems no one wants to take any responsibility, the hint of it scares people more than any bomb ever will. In that vacuum of power, many other institutions arise to service the unmet needs of business, government and the people. Among them us- the security contractors, of whom many are expats. Sometimes American, British, African, Lebanese, whatever... but people not directly invested in the long-term good of this country. Not necessarily a bad thing... I have to repeat, bringing in outside expertise is mostly beneficial. But the more you have to do that, the less stable your national sovereignty will be.

I know I'm omitting some other fundamental questions that could be addressed. But I just wanted to show what it looks like from here. This isn't my negative Iraq war post, although it could be a part of it. Sometimes these things are just- embarrassing, especially in light of the sacrifices and efforts put forward by the people in the military.

Here's some other interesting things I found on the net:

Tigerhawk talks about the difference in coverage of Mubarak's comments about a withdrawal of Coalition troops from Iraq. Funny thing, the German paper was less 'nuanced', shall we say, than Al Jazeera. Hmmm....

Glenn Reynolds has his own look at Mexican immigration and an innovative alternative: Annex Mexico?

More gloom over Europe's future and prospects as witnessed in France and Italy.

Sage-like advice from the Shanghai taximan.


  • Greetings from San Antonio! Keep your head low and your powder dry!
    Hope to see you soon!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:52 PM  

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