Tuesday, December 11, 2007

reality check

I've been avoiding my blog lately. Ahh, it feels good to admit it. I think part of the reason I was avoiding it is because that writing again would mean that yes, I am really back here in Iraq. This isn't a bad dream I'm having, and Chester isn't going to wake me up by licking my face. It took me a couple weeks to really come back into the mind-set that I need to be in, but, here I am!

This is going to come as a huge surprise to most people, so brace yourselves - but since I left, there has been almost NO change in any of the projects going on here. Shocker, I know. It's not my absence that fueled the complete and utter lack of progress, because let's be honest - there wasn't any forward progress when I was here! I guess I harbored some deep hope of returning to a plethora of construction projects underway, some nearing completion and others just beginning, and then I could hold hands with the Iraqi's and sing Koombya and we'd all be happy. Instead, the same set of warehouses being worked on when I left is still being worked on, and the two scheduled to begin, haven't yet begun. The Iraqi's aren't really to blame here, though. What's holding us back? We have the money allocated, we have the design plans approved, and we have bidders. Mostly what is holding us back is good old American bureaucracy. Paperwork. Miscommunication. Things that make me slap my forehead repeatedly like Homer Simpson with a big "D'Oh!"

One good sign is that we are starting the process for end-of-tour awards and evaluations. Yes, this is a process that will take up to 4 months, but just starting it at least signals the beginning of the end. Not that I am looking forward to going home or anything. I've already informed my chain of command that the only award I want is a DD214 (which is the document you get when you are discharged from the Army). They half believe me. I think there should be an IRR award. I continue to get reports from friends going through the process now who tell me about a 33% or less show rate for IRR recalls. I know we signed a contract and are obligated to report, but most of us who showed up when we got the call did so more as a sense of duty. As much as we deny that in our current state of bitterness, it was more of a moral obligation than anything. What happens to the 67% that don't show up? Nothing. Seriously. I have all but confirmed that there are more no shows than the Army can handle and so nothing of any consequence happens to those who don't report. Do I wish I didn't report? No. I am too much of moral nerd to have lived with myself for not showing. So here I am, again. It's almost over now anyway, so I better stop writing and start making an impact on this country. What - me, sarcastic? Never!

For slightly a slightly less sarcastic view of a current event in Iraq, read this post by Brendan B.

11 comments:

unhappycamper said...

Glad to see ya back online, Jason.

Tell ya what - come up to Boston when you get your DD-214 & we can compare notes, have a few beers, and see the city.

Bag Blog said...

I was once in a really bad job situation where the culture of the town, the social predjudices, and bad leadership were making me crazy. My dad gave me this advice, "Do your job, take your paycheck and go home." In other words, just do as your told and quit trying to do any thing else to make things better. I was not good at that advice and neither was my dad:)

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 12/11/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Meg said...

Thanks for watching the Eagles game this weekend. I'm assuming you did since they lost to my team! :) Take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

What some call "sarcasm" is actually "Real World - Iraq". It's quite disturbing some people still think Iraq will one day work as efficiently as Cleveland, but that is what happens to your brain when you watch Fox News.

Jason said...

camper - I Love Boston! and beer . . . mmmm, beer . . .

bag - I'm trying.

Meg - the jinx is obviously alive and well, 'cause I watched the last TWO weeks, both losses!

anon - Let's Go Browns!

Joe Donato said...

To Anonymous:
Comments like yours show arrogance while hiding. I suppose you feel very clever criticizing those who view things a little different then you do. “ GO FOX “

To Jason,
It was a pleasure to meet you again during your leave, God be with you! Thanks for helping your country to be safe.

Mrs. Exnicios said...

Jason,
As the wife of an IRR recall who reported, I share your frustration at the complete lack of action taken against those who don't show up. My husband is a "moral nerd" like yourself and could never have lived with himself if he didn't show up. And I am amazed at the people who did show up with him - people who were already stop-lossed for a second tour in Iraq, now recalled for a third tour. A Captain who was shot in an ambush of his convoy, only to be recalled and sent to Afghanistan. I am so very proud of my husband and all the others who made the decision to give it all up and go back to Active Duty - and yet the really angry side of me wishes that they would do something about those who just threw their HRC letter away.

HOT said...

Senior Executives and Former Entrepreneurs at Director, VP level or C-level with direct P&L or staff responsibility, or who have managed multi-plant or multi-service operations and who are looking for growth opportunities and commensurate financial rewards at $150,000 to $500,000+.

Register Now and be contacted 72 Hours . http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2752103-10485105

Steph said...

Whether you feel like it or not, I'm sure you ARE making a difference. Hang in there, sweets.

Jason said...

Mrs. E - I too have met some extraordinary people that answered the recall. and your husbands blog is great!

Hot - I dont understand - are you telling me there is SPAM on blogs?? What is this world coming too . . .

Steph - thanks for the vote of confidence!