Last December C.J. Chivers wrote a very classy piece on one of my fellow milbloggers, Joshua Foust, from Registan.net. C.J. noted that Joshua has softened some of his pointed criticism while growing as a writer. I see the same thing in his Registan posts and know that I too have tried to tone down my rhetoric while sharpening up the content. So as I sit in the Emirates lounge at the Singapore Airport, nursing both an injured shoulder (The Boss sent me here for treatment) and a vodka tonic, it has occurred to me that it is time for a multi subject rant. I have not done this in a while for good reason and am now going to let loose for no good damn reason.
Recently yet another hit piece came out in the press about security contractors. As expected from the lame stream press, the entire premise of the piece was BS and pictures accompanying the article are around 7 to 8 years old and irrelevant to the subject they supposedly amplify.
The picture above came from an article in the Mail Online by Nadene Ghouri, titled How To Make a Killing in Kabul. The article covers the same old tired ground that all legacy media articles cover and contains the usual talking points, all of which are total bullshit. Allow me to make a professional observation concerning the picture above before deconstructing the Ghouri hit piece. Let me start by saying the actions of this clown would get you shot (by Afghan security forces) if you tried them today in Kabul. The same bone head move would have got you shot by the Afghans five years ago if you tried them in Kabul. I note the flash suppressor on the rifle and would bet that it is an M4, not a Bushmaster which only a lucky few PSC guys get to carry. I note the biceps and think immediately this idiot is on steroids. I note the harness, lack of high speed rails or optics on the rifle, the Berretta in a drop holster, and the fact that the picture was taken in Wazir Akbar Khan and am left with one conclusion. The idiot pictured above was a member of the Karzai Protective Detail around 2003 or 2004 (before they got the high speed gun store commando gear on their rifles). Which means that he was under the direct supervision and control of U.S. Department of State Regional Security Officers.
Every security contract in Afghanistan contains specific rules of engagement covering when you can use or present (one presents weapons to a target and one “draws” with pen or pencil) firearms. Under no circumstance could a contractor present a weapon to people in a car in order to encourage them to move. What is this idiot going to do? Shoot someone who doesn’t move fast enough? That is a firing offense in every firm operating in Afghanistan and I have never, in six years, seen anything like it. But I did see the old American Karzai Protective Detail and have to say they were the biggest group of delusion retards on the planet who, given the nature of their mission, had their own unique rules of engagement. They came into being after the SEAL’s protecting Karzai shot one of his Afghan security guards who had just jumped on another Afghan who tried to shoot Karzai.
I’m not saying the SEAL’s were in the wrong; a Taliban shooter started blasting away at Karzai, the closest Afghan security officer jumped on him at the same time the SEAL’s returned fire. These things happen but it pissed President Karzai off enough to demand a different body guard force and thus was born the Karzi Protective Detail. They are long gone – Karzai grew to hate them, because of antics like threatening innocent drivers, but again I stress no private security team could get away with that kind of conduct.
The Karzai detail had a checkered history but they were paid top dollar; back then everyone was paid top dollar. However, the days when security details received anything resembling high pay were over years ago. But not according to Nadene Ghouri who recycles the old 1000 dollar a day urban legend; to wit:
His British and other ex-pat colleagues are paid up to $1,000 a day. He says he was fired after being shot in the hand, which has damaged his ability to use a gun. The company paid his medical bill in an Afghan hospital, paid him off until the end of the month and that was it. He is, understandably, bitter.
Let me put the “lavish pay” of security contractors in perspective. I make around the industry average for Afghanistan contractors; if I take all the leave I’m authorized in a 12 month period I’ll clear around $120,000. That is less than an Army or Marine Corps Colonel will make on a year long combat tour. It is less than Department of State or USAID field service officers make in a year long Afghan deployment. It is much less than a Madison Wisconsin bus driver, and about 1/5 of what the Syosset New York school superintendent makes annually.
I am eligible for an end of contract bonus which might boost my earnings above that of a mid level State Department employee after a year in country, BUT, the size of that bonus depends on the quality of my performance and the amount of profit my company makes. I am getting tired of seeing the main stream media whinge on and on over “evil rich security contractors” while ignoring union thugs and the politically connected who are robbing the American taxpayer blind. I work overseas because it is almost impossible for guys like me to earn 120k per year in America. I would not do well in a public sector union job because I don’t believe in public sector unions or lavishly supporting thug union bosses. None of my immediate family has political connections so that route to riches is closed to me. Our national debt, our social security system, our medicare system and almost every public sector retirement program in the country are insolvent and unsustainable, yet the MSM, the democrats and the Stupid Party (who, led by “smoking indoors for me but not for thee” John Bohner, just extended the continuing resolution thus voting to entrench Obama Care that much deeper while making repealing it that much harder) ignore the disaster they created while focusing the public attention on fictitious boogymen like “private security contractors”.
The specter of nuclear disaster has been the focus of all international news outlets since the disaster that hit Japan on the 20th of March. I am no expert on nuclear facilities but I am a self proclaimed expert on the main stream media (MSM). If the MSM is stoking the flames of panic with reports of possible disaster you can take one thing to the bank; they are dead wrong. Sowing panic about things they don’t understand in order to promote their liberal agenda is what the MSM does for a living. Remember the global cooling scare? Which became the global warming scare and is now climate change scare? How about the specter of AIDS crossing over into the heterosexual population and rampaging through the population killing millions scare? Each of these story lines turned out to be dead wrong but were useful in promoting the world view of idiot liberals thus they were repeated over and over in the echo chamber of the MSM.
I have not seen one report of a breach in the containment buildings at any of the Japanese reactors that were damaged in the earthquake. If the containment buildings have not been breached then the worst that can happen is a Three Mile Island and not a Chernobyl (the old Soviet Union did not include containment buildings in their nuclear power plant design). As one would expect on such an important topic the place to go for is straight forward, clear headed reporting is Herschel Smith at The Captains Journal.
Having finished the important task of taping his March Madness picks and getting in yet another game of golf the President slipped out of the country to Brazil, leaving the Libyan crisis for Hillary to deal with. Now under the leadership of French President Nicolas Sarkozy we have become part of ”a broad coalition” and attacked Libya with 112 cruise missiles. I am always up for attacking rouge states who threaten the functioning core of nation states with massive disruption to the world economic system. But here is the thing; it is not important how wars start, what is critical is how they finish. Once you cross the Rubicon it is imperative that the enemy you are fighting be defeated decisively or disaster is what is waiting around the corner. Muammar Gaddafi and all his forces need to be destroyed; that means killing – lots of killing. If he surrounds himself with “human shields” that is his call, we cannot waiver and must accept the hand we are dealt. Which in plain talk means we kill them too, all of them. We have to continue the killing until every survivor of the forces opposing the collective will of the “broad coalition” know and acknowledge that they were beaten, or the war is not over.
In late 2001 American Special Forces, American air power and the functional portion (the direct action boys) of the CIA orchestrated a campaign which delivered a serious beating to the Taliban and the Al Qaeda. By December 2001 the worthless mandarins of the CIA had realized that they were missing out of the glory and started arriving in Afghanistan in great numbers where they pulled rank and sidelined the gunfighters (according to the book The Human Factor). The Big Army too suddenly realized that things were going much better than predicted, so senior staff officers arrived by the plane load to micro-manage the SF teams in the field explicitly preventing them from closing with and killing Osama Bin Laden (according to the book Kill Bin Laden). The men on the ground wanted to finish the mission; the men in the rear wanted to avoid mistakes which might adversely affect their careers. The result is that thousands of young boys who were in elementary school at the time from Canada to Australia, Britain to America, Estonia to Poland would grow up to fight and die or become crippled for life battling a resurgent Taliban. Not one, NOT ONE, of the senior officials who let Bin Laden get away would ever be held to account. We didn’t finish the war in 2001 due to inexplicable moral cowardice on the part of senior bureaucrats who jumped in to claim the glory of their subordinates. That same lack of accountability on the part of our political class and their handmaidens in the MSM has resulted in our country heading down the slippery slope of financial insolvency.
I have a dream that someday the people who feast off our tax money, who have steered us into financial insolvency, who start our wars but don’t finish them, will exhibit the morale and courage required to fix what they have broken. I know my hopes of seeing a leader who can do this rise to national prominence and then take on the sisyphean task of righting the ship of state are certain to be dashed. But a man can dream.