Sunday, October 28, 2007

SASO and COIN...

We have started a new block of instruction: Stability and Support Ops and Counter-Insurgency Ops. The gentleman who is the main teacher is a prior service Special Ops Officer and he is backed by another prior officer and a former Scottish officer who has served...pretty much everywhere the British have served in the last twenty years (which is...everywhere).

The main instructor has annoyingly long hair that kind of looks like a flock of seagulls flashback and wears cargo pants and army boots all the time, but tops it all off with a counter-culture (well, counter military culture) bowling shirt or other a-typical button up. He likes to think of himself as being "edgy" and normally starts the day off with some news articles to push our buttons. This means, in general, the articles either make the US look bad, the military look bad, or the war in Iraq look un-winnable. I understand why he does it, and I even respect his efforts, but knowing my classmates, I doubt such articles would really surprise us much as most of us are fairly well read and well thought out individuals. Maybe if we were the mindless automatons most people expect of soldiers, he would garner a reaction, but that's simply not the case.

What he did say that sparked some though was on the first day, when he asked, "If a problem that has no possible solution is really a problem?" I thought about it for a minute and he elaborated--if a problem, as you understand it, has no solution, then why bother thinking about how to "solve" it. For example, there is no "solution" to global warming (no amount of me doing anything will stop the globe from heating), however, there are solutions to smaller problems that may contribute to global warming (I can do something to stop myself from contributing. So, the real "problem" there wasn't global warming, but my actions. Make sense? Anyway, he went on from there to pose the question to us, Is there a solution to Iraq, or are we looking at the wrong problem?

It's was definitely nice to be challenged in a way I haven't since I left West Point a few months ago...I was beginning to feel my brain atrophy and I have exercise again!


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