Sunday, February 15, 2009

If They Set the Bar Any Lower, I'd Hit My Head...

The other day Taliban insurgents conducted a number of simultaneous, coordinated attacks at a few government buildings in and around Kabul. If you haven't heard anything about this, you can read more by clicking HERE. A lot of folks in the States started calling it the "Tet Offensive of the War in Afghanistan" or a "Mumbai-style attack," but from what I've seen: not so much. In fact, after a few hours the Afghan security forces were able to kill all of the attackers (at least the attackers that didn't kill themselves anyway) and save the day. Good for them.

Since it wasn't initially clear how many attacks there would be, we went into lockdown. Platoons of armed and armored soldiers took up fighting positions all around the perimeter and patrolled the streets and checked the buildings inside. Nobody was allowed outside without their weapons, armor, and helmet.

I was in the gym at the time and didn't hear any of the warning alarms when they went off. So I was understandably surprised when I walked outside in my shorts and t-shirt to be confronted by no less than four soldiers in full combat rig trying frantically to explain to me in broken English that there was an attack and I must go back inside. For a few minutes it actually seemed like a problem. After running to my barracks where I showered, got back into uniform, and strapped on my sidearm, I snuck back into my office to get into my armor.

One of the guys in the office, our new US Air Force officer, hadnt' actually put on all of the extra parts of his armor before. So we got to kill then next couple of hours by rigging up his body armor with every bit of extra crap we could think to add on. By the time we'd finished, he couldn't stretch his arms far enough across his chest to hold his M4, nor could he reach any of his ammo pouches. Here's a shot of him when we were done:
The spork and the "McLovin" nametape are mine. And no, we did not leave him strapped with all of that crap like some sort of overweight, retarded, teenage mutant ninja turtle.

The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting in the office with little or nothing to do but wait. We were supposed to be making a trip across town to take care of a bunch of logistical problems I'll talk about later, but that's a subject for another day.

While all of this was going on, we didn't get to go anywhere because there was no vehicle traffic allowed on the base. Since he couldn't drive back to the parking lot, Greg was stuck parking our office's vehicle across the street from our building. When the all-clear was finally sounded, we went out to find it like so:

This amazes me. Even though the base was locked down, the MPs were still able to go out and put a boot on the truck. This easily qualified as the dumbest thing I'd seen all day.

As near as I can figure, the whole point of booting the car is to cause a pain in the ass. Since they can't take away your driver's license (driving is not a privilege here so much as a chore) and trying to seek some sort of disciplinary in the mix of all of the different nations' militaries stationed here is daunting at best, the MPs have decided to settle for making parking violations a nuisance for the violator.

So if you park your car in the wrong place and the MPs notice or, more likely, someone complains, they come around and put the boot on. Which means that while you're currently parked where you don't belong, the only way to make it right is to hike across the compound to the MP office, hope someone is actually in there, then get them to call whoever has the key to come over and pull the boot. In short, the problem would be fixed faster if they did nothing.

The slightly better answer would be to tow the vehicle away somewhere so it's no longer a problem for everyone, just the person with the vehicle.

Unfortunately, I am not in charge of the Making Sense Department here.

1 comment:

  1. Your in a war zone, and they boot your car. How hard would it have been to find a short section of det cord and cut the boot off with a bang ?