Permissible Arms

Thursday’s Army Affair

Posted in afghanistan, us military by Karaka on 15 October 2009

Some quick hits from the Army News:

Preparing Afghan pupils with paper, pencils:

In a society where the literacy rate is less than 30 percent of the population, all Afghan citizens have the opportunity to attend school. Coalition forces continue to develop programs to improve the current education system.

“The program is very good for our [Afghanistan’s] future,” said Toor Jan. “Our people will one day have doctors, pilots and engineers. This will be our future. ”

Backpacks for Afghanistan allows everyone to participate in building a future for generations. Many organizations, churches and schools in the U.S. have already donated.

There is a positively adorable child photographed in that article.

Newly trained counter-IED teams deploy to Afghanistan:

The pilot training program ran Aug. 30 – Sept. 20 and was conducted by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization’s Joint Center of Excellence at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

“The goal of these teams is to be able to … learn about who might have built and placed the device and any other tell-tale things,” said Marine Corps Col. Christopher Mahoney, chief of staff of the JIEDDO JCOE. “That will enable us to go back in the process and prevent similar devices from similar people under similar circumstances from being emplaced in the first place.

“The long and short of it is, we don’t want the explosion to ever happen. These teams are going to be a great enabler to do that.”

That’s awesome, but–the pilot program only started this year? After seven-eight years of IED attacks? Lord have mercy.

‘Advise and Assist’ brigade helps bridge project

The 504th was the first infantry regiment in the Army to be designated airborne; now it is part of the newest tool in the Army’s arsenal developed for this kind of mission: the advise-and-assist brigade.

“[Local residents] are glad the Americans are here, because the Iraqi contractors were getting slowed by the old pontoons in the river,” Hamed said. “Our concern is to minimize the time this bridge is closed to the public while divers are in the water.”

A man pushing a bicycle nods in agreement. He works in construction, where time is money, and he has been waiting 30 minutes to cross the Euphrates.

Another man stops to voice his opinion. His name is Saaed Moshref, and he is a math teacher. He has lived in the area 30 of his 40 years, and he crosses the bridge to visit friends. “I want the bridge done tomorrow,” he said, smiling. “But at least it’s getting done, and at least it is safe to be here.”

I’ve been waiting for this news to pop up on my feeder! These brigades really interest me.

You know, it’s clear that there’s some handwaving going on; these are only three of the many, many articles that come up through the USA website, and they’re all pretty much stories of progress and positivity. Even so–these are interesting stories.

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4 Responses

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  1. onparkstreet said, on 15 October 2009 at 20:58

    Have you seen the Kunar-PRT blog? It’s the type of effort I’d like to see with regularity.

    I was thinking about the general public’s (or, parts of it, anyway) desire for news of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the context of changing media habits – web 2.0. I’m going to make my point through a little anecdote, so please bear with me!

    So, about a year ago I was reading Revolutionary Road, the Richard Yates novel? And, there is a scene where the two main characters, and the son of a third, talk about the radio serials they used to listen to as children. The novel is set in the 50s, so this is all very nostalgic – no one listens to the radio anymore, it’s all television. A shift. And, now, another shift is happening, away from television toward social media, text messaging, cell phone communications. Kindle.

    I know the military plays around with social media, and print media does too – that’s how people like you and I seem to get our info – we read it online, we talk about it online, we discuss it online. I hope I’m not being too presumptious by including you in this, but I get that sense from your very wonderful blog.

    A new way of obtaining information. Interactive. How to make use of this? How to process the information? Well, I don’t know where I am going with this, but your State department post and this post trying to filter through public information made me think of all of this. If we will go searching more and more pieces of information, how do we as members of the general public decide to integrate everything? It’s better, and yet harder, than the old days of only one or two sources.

    Again, this is all musing on my part……

    • karakapend said, on 16 October 2009 at 09:43

      I had not seen that blog! But I’ve added it to my ever-growing read list.

      So, it seems like there’s two things–on the one hand, there’s the production of material by primary-secondary sources to online/web 2.0 media; and on the other there’s the consumption of that media by, well, everyone else.

      In this instance, I’d say the consumption came unequivocally before the production (from military-state sources) and now the military/state producers are having to catch up with what their audience is utilizing, rather than providing a product that their audience would go to first.

      About two-third of what I read/review/look at is online, and then another 1/3 is available through print media. Almost none of what I consume is through television, unless it’s a podcast I’ve downloaded to watch on my own time. So for me, processing the information is the application of a filterset: what is important, what is particularly interesting to me, how are these articles/posts/whatever from ten or fifteen different sources speaking to the same thing, and what can I contribute to it?

      That’s more or less how I look at it. For the military perspective on how they are trying to produce media that’s in line not only with civilian/political consumers of their media, but also internal (military) consumers of their media, you only have to look at Army.ml or Defenselink.mil; and for more analysis, the DIME blog has been tackling those issues from a more military-academic point of view.

      Anyway, more points for discussion.

  2. […] 16, 2009 · Leave a Comment ….and post it below, too. I cleaned it up a bit to make it more ’sensical’ before […]

  3. onparkstreet said, on 17 October 2009 at 08:45

    Thanks for the link to the DIME blog.

    As my blog reading evolves, I think the communication aspect is the most interesting for me. I’m a civilian, who knows how I got into the milblog reading business, but I see that I’m not the only one confused by military terms. I see it in newspaper articles I read, radio stories I listen to, etc.

    If we are to retain a professional, all volunteer military, and the numbers rotating through are small compared to the general public, then communication – direct communication – becomes more and more important, I think. I dunno. Anyway, thanks for the link and off to explore.


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