This week has been very busy. It started with another covert radio show interview. Brett Winterable had Bill Roggio from the Long War Journal and I on for the opening segment. Bill is an old friend who visited with us back in 2006. He and I took a run to Qalat where he got some good footage of Taliban outriders stalking a large convoy of civilian trucks. You can find the video here. Bill is also the most knowledgeable person I know on what is happening in Pakistan, the second most knowledgeable on Afghanistan and the third most knowledgeable on Iraq. I’m kidding of course, he may well be the most knowledgeable on all three – you can find a link to the podcast here.
Also on Monday Michael Yon released a post on his web site about the French Army ambush in the Uzbin valley last August. We set up his interviews and took him out to the meetings. The back story can be found in the “talking with the AOG” post I made shortly after our trip into the Uzbin. You can find the Michael Yon article here it was also linked at Fox News. Michael has moved on for now but I hope to run into him again in the future he is really a great guy doing important work.
Proving once again that things happen in three’s on Monday night we had a huge wind storm blow through which took the transponder right off our Gatr ball thus bringing to an end (for now) our fat pipe internet. Mehrab and the Jalalabad Geek Squad from Synergy Strike Force have been trying to super glue the mounts in and get it back on line but it is still “Nishta” which in Pashto means something like “no have.” Canadian Dan and I have the day off tomorrow and will try to fix that bad boy up our ownselves but that is probably a waste of time. The Jbad geek squad is a proficient crew, if it was going to work they would have probably got it up by now.
Here is something really cool – the young boys from the village behind our guesthouse who are learning how to build battle bots. They are in the MIT sponsored FabLab which we host in our compound.
There is a web page for the Jalalabad Fab Lab which can be found here and it contains links to the San Diego Sister Cities Foundation which is where the Jbad Geek Squad got its start and meager funding. For those of you who want to read about the brave men and woman who come here at their own expense to coordinate the delivery of aid directly to the people of Afghanistan you should take the time to look through those blogs. Much of the aid they bring comes from donations and charitable contributions. None of it comes from the billions of dollars being spent by US AID and our hapless Department of State. This is the story of American generosity and compassion which every American should know and be proud of.
There are other organizations from other lands doing the same; Rory Stewart’s Turquoise Mountain Foundation jumps immediately to mind and he should be the pride of England for all the good work and good will he had brought to this blighted land. No doubt there are others here too which I do not know about. What I do know is people like Amy Sun of MIT, Ken Kraushaar and Dr. Dave Warner of the Synergy Strike Force make me proud to be an American. The most effective aid programs come from non government organizations and these people who risk so much to help with the goal of developing even more effective methodologies for aiding the poorest of the poor in the future deserve at the very least our thanks, respect and admiration.
Please spend a little time reading about what these talented, motivated, and very bright people are doing it will make you proud too. Plus you will be flat out amazed at what a FabLab is and what it can do.
If you are a wealthy person or heading up something like…..oh let’s say the Annenberg Foundation this is where you should leave a grant or two. You would then actually get a return on that investment rather than watching it go down some Chicago rat hole.