Monday, October 22, 2007

Not another post about frustration!

The stark contrast was almost a thing of beauty: the long, desolate stretch of desert slamming into a rushing, winding river; on the other side, green everywhere. It was my first trip outside of the Baghdad area and the change of scenery was nice. The goal of my trip was to tour the marine logistics operation out in TQ and fine tune some ideas to implement in the Iraqi logistic system. My problem lately is that I have been so bogged down in the daily grind that I found myself thinking solely inside the confines of what I have become accustomed to. This trip was much needed as it gave me a good refresher of what "right" looks like, and also gave me several ideas for use with the Iraqi's. Once I returned I put those ideas into a picture show for our counterparts who seemed really receptive, and even excited. My counterpart, and Iraqi Colonel, told me it made him happy that I was thinking about ideas to help them. Uh - isn't that what I've been doing for the past 5 months here?

While I was in Baghdad last week though, I saw the signs of frustration everywhere, especially within the IRR mafia. This was really the 1st time I have seen our group as a whole with just a complete lack of morale. It's the same reasoning, almost across the board: frustration caused by bureaucracy, progress measured with a microscope, and the Groundhog Day effect. In a weird reversal of roles and for probably the first time ever, my morale might be higher then the group's. Of course, I am at an unfair advantage - I will be home on leave in less then three weeks.

This brings to mind a question asked over and over again about our occupancy and the current wars - what is the ideal deployment time? Each service has a different rotation length, ranging anywhere from 3 months to 18 months. The standard for just about every service except for the Army is 6 months. The Army standard? 12-18 months. I'm pretty sure I think this is asinine. Your motivation and morale starts to plummet at the 6 month mark, as I have experienced two times now. I know the arguments for the longer deployments. 1st, if we had short deployments, we'd just deploy more often. But I'm pretty sure we deploy alot now. 2nd, we don’t have the manpower to sustain shorter, more frequent rotations. 3rd - we are just starting to learn what to do at the 5-6 month mark, therefore making our latter months here that much more effective. That one is laughable. This is the Army - you can learn your job in less then a month and be effective at it. Those latter months are spent more thinking about how many ways you hate this place then in ways to improve your job.

Regardless, with R&R approaching my morale is climbing. I think, and hope, that upon returning I will be able to sustain a higher level of motivation and use it to make an actual difference before I leave this place. That, however, remains to be seen. . . . .


One more note: This article by Michael Yon is a must read. In one article he gives a far better depiction of the current situation in Iraq than I could manage to get across in a hundred meaningless posts!



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would like to hear what your Iraqi counterparts have to say about the possible Turkey attack on the Kurdish PKK terrorists in the north part of Iraq.

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/23/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Iraqi Drama Queen said...

amazing pictures! thanks for suggesting that weblink

Steph said...

So once you're home, how long before you get deployed again?

Jason said...

Steph - home for 2 weeks, then back here for another 4-6 months . . .