It seems that a US Army Colonel at ISAF Joint Command (IJC) in Kabul has had an “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” moment (cultural video reference for the young ones). And luckily for us it has been put out on the internet for your reading pleasure, sort of…. You could read it on the UPI news service website, but it has disappeared. Thankfully, it has been published here.
Colonel Lawrence Sellin opens with this:
Throughout my career I have been known to walk that fine line between good taste and unemployment. I see no reason to change that now.
Consider the following therapeutic.
I have been assigned as a staff officer to a headquarters in Afghanistan for about two months. During that time, I have not done anything productive. Fortunately little of substance is really done here, but that is a task we do well.
Well, that was candid. It sounds like the French civil service. But it gets even better/worse, depending on your perspective:
Officially, IJC was founded in late 2009 to coordinate operations among all the regional commands in Afghanistan. More likely it was founded to provide some general a three-star command. Starting with a small group of dedicated and intelligent officers, IJC has successfully grown into a stove-piped and bloated organization, top-heavy in rank. Around here you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a colonel.
For headquarters staff, war consists largely of the endless tinkering with PowerPoint slides to conform with the idiosyncrasies of cognitively challenged generals in order to spoon-feed them information. Even one tiny flaw in a slide can halt a general’s thought processes as abruptly as a computer system’s blue screen of death.
My God, the next morning at work must have been so awkward.
But really, this guy is on a roll:
Next month IJC will attempt a giant leap for mankind. In a first-of-its-kind effort, IJC will embed a new stovepipe into an already existing stovepipe. The rationale for this bold move resides in the fact that an officer, who is currently without one, needs a staff of 35 people to create a big splash before his promotion board.
Like most military organizations, structure always trumps function.
Anyways, everybody at ISAF should be able to provide a satisfactory answer to this five second long question: