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Thursday, January 27, 2005

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If only....

....we weren't human, maybe things would work better. TJ talks about some of the frustrations of working in a war zone and dealing with a bureaucracy (which every military is, no matter what anyone says.)

Some things are shortsighted.
I was driving a senior Iraqi general home this evening. When we got to his apartment complex it was barred by American soldiers. No one could come in or out. After a lengthy and somewhat heated discussion with the soldiers, they finally caved and let me drive him in. But think about that. American soldiers are blocking an entire little neighborhood of Baghdad, guilty of nothing worse than living in a sensitive area, from leaving their homes between 6pm to 6am. Again, I see the point. But I don't see the justice or sense in holding people prisoner in their own homes, especially not when those people include the leadership we expect to work with us and take over from us on security issues.
Some things are just plain stupid.
I was driving recently in the Green Zone, when I saw ahead of me a convoy of HMMWVs (unfairly maligned vehicles for technical reasons I'm glad to discuss). There was a sign on the back of the rear HMMWV, but I couldn't read it, so I kept accelerating to overtake them. It was only when I was about 25 yards behind the tail vehicle that I could finally read the bilingual sign. It said "STAY BACK 300 METERS OR DEADLY FORCE WILL BE USED"

We were in the Green Zone so I was ok, but I felt a flash of great anger on behalf of the innocent Iraqi civilians who could so easily fall afoul of such a shortsighted (literally!) message.
Bureaucracies are always a pain to deal with. It's just too easy for people to say, "I have my orders", and let common sense fly out the window. Sometimes the consequences are extreme frustration, like TJ is feeling right now.

Sometimes the consequences are deadly.