Sunday, March 06, 2011

A Surfeit of Stoopid

I finally got to see the big guy in person the other day.  I was helping to prepare the conference room for an infrastructure briefing:  AID and ACE were there to tell him about all the wonderful things they are doing.  I was given the names of seven people who would be there.

So the preparations went like this:

Quick, there are more people coming.  You forgot generals X, Y, and Z!  Go make more name tents to put around the table.

YOU FOOL!  You didn’t sufficiently trim the paper around the name tents!  Go get some scissors stat!

OMIGOD, the name tents are in the wrong order!  You put general X closer to P4 than general Y!  We’ve got to move them around!!!

At least 40 people showed up to the briefing.

In the end P4 showed up 15 minutes late.  He had in tow this guy*, whom he cryptically suggested was looking for investment opportunities.  Better his money than mine, I suppose, although pity the poor Afghanis who wind up working for him.

I was surprised how frail P4 looked, hunched over like an old man.  I remembered that he had had surgery for something.  Was it prostrate cancer?

Of course, there is no shortage of AID money flowing into the country.  But I surprised when, after reading the assessment of Kajaki Dam and googling the hardware, all the spec sheets turned out to be in Chinese.

Do you have any translations?  I asked the AID guy.

Nope, sorry.  But don’t worry, the prime contractor will hire Chinese speakers.

So let’s review:

  • No jobs for American manufacturers.
  • No jobs for American technicians.
  • Lots of U.S. tax dollars headed for China, with a nice rake-off for BV shareholders.

Stoopid war!

Stoopid name tents!

I want to go home.

* Sorry for being so oblique, but I really don’t want people googling around for these people to come here, especially people doing vanity searches, IYKWIMAITYD.

4 comments:

Professor Hale said...

Welcome to my life. I took a job in Iraq to escape it. But they made me come back. There is no escape. They have you now. I recommend alcohol and internet diversions.

I have a full set of tent cards and the phone numbers for most of the Pentagon conference rooms on speed dial.

Φ said...

Except it's a DRY war -- thank you, General Order 1B!

Six months to retirement . . .

Elusive Wapiti said...

"Lots of U.S. tax dollars headed for China, with a nice rake-off for BV shareholders."

Don't fret, it's just the Chinese's money going back home.

"Except it's a DRY war"

Only for us. I'm reliably informed that our coalition partners drink like fishes.

Apparently Americans can't be expected to consume alcohol, while the French, Czechs, Germans, and Italians go to town.

Φ said...

I'm reliably informed that our coalition partners drink like fishes.

Quite. And USAID and embassy people. But not, alas, ISAF Americans.

Don't fret, it's just the Chinese's money going back home.

I don't think it works like that. In practice, it's a lot more U.S. treasuries going to China's existing $1T stock.