It’s been a minute since my last post. The time hasn’t gone by without ample thinking and reflection about the world I have been seeing but I have honestly just been too busy to get my thoughts down into any kind of half coherent piece of writing. In the past week or so I have been steadily trying to settle into my new job in my new home at wonderful FOB Sharana near the provincial capital of Paktika. The new gig involves serving as the night liaison officer for my battalion in our brigade tactical operations center. It is essentially my job to just track everything my unit does on the ground and then report to the commander every morning in the battlefield update brief. Despite working a 12 hour shift every night, I still have a decent amount of time for reading and personal self-study so at least I will be somewhat abreast of things going on in the world outside as well as in eastern Paktika Province, Afghanistan and hopefully I can find the freedom and time to write down some of my thoughts in the future during my precious hours off shift. No promises though of course…this is Afghanistan.
Probably the hardest part of the adjusting to the new gig has been simply accepting the fact that I am no longer actively engaged in the fight over here. I remember wanting to be a soldier my whole life and definitely feel a sense of disappointment at no longer being able to use and perfect the skills I have spent so many years developing. Still, in this army and this life we must take what we are given and make the best of it. As a broker of information for my battalion I will still have an active role in seeing and understanding all the missions we are undertaking and even though I am miles removed from the actual fight over here, I hope to still be able to make some kind of sense of it and maybe develop a few ideas for how to move this organization forward into the future. And I hope that the fact that I am no longer physically and emotionally involved in the conflict over here may allow me to see things with a clearer, more analytical lens than would be possible if I was constantly concerned for the safety of my soldiers and myself. Ultimately, this gig just is what it is and there isn’t much I can do about it except continue to do my job, think a lot, keep up the reading, question everything, and try to cleans both mind and body as I prepare myself for the challenges ahead.
Don’t expect much of what I write in the coming months to really be too focused on the fight over here in Paktika or Afghanistan in general. While I will try to develop a few broad ideas and overarching themes, I don’t feel the need to go into specifics and am cautious about publishing open dissent in a public forum which could be construed as impeding the mission effectiveness of my unit. Still, the thoughts are there and some of them may manifest themselves in other writing and reflections which I will continue to post openly and without any type of self-censorship. In meantime, I will try to focus on the challenges of our world and our generation as we look to move into the future and create the society our children deserve. I can’t say that any of my ideas will be right, really intelligent, or even coherent but I will continue to post them nonetheless as a snapshot of where my mind is at a given time and place. We certainly live in interesting times so I predict I will have no shortage of material to cover, of thoughts to share. For those of you who actually follow this blog, I thank you for your attention and hope to debate some of these issues with you at some point whether it be over email or beer sometime in the future. Keep living your lives to the absolute fullest, take full advantage of the opportunities you are given in this live, never stop evolving, and never stop believing. We truly have the power to change or world for the better. It’s just a matter of putting ourselves out there, giving it our best shot, and learning from our failures. Good luck and God Speed.
29 OCT 2011, 2000 AST, Sharana, Paktika, Afghanistan