Friends, Relationships and Changes

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 5 months ago

Tim Lynch gives us some bad news.

This will be my last post.  I’m afraid the blog has become too popular raising my personal profile too high.  We have had to change everything in order to continue working.  How we move, how we live, our security methodology;  all of it has been fine tuned.   Part of that change is allowing the FRI blog to go dark.  I have no choice; my colleagues and I signed contracts, gave our word, and have thousands of Afghan families who have bet their futures on our promises.  If we are going to remain on the job we have to maintain a low profile and that is hard to do with this blog.

This is hard news for me to hear.  While I understand the decision, I sincerely regret that Tim has come to this fork in the road.  Tim’s honesty, integrity, wisdom, insight, experience and knowledge of the situation makes his web site one of the very few must reads for those who follow Afghanistan.  Tim continues:

As is always the case the outside the wire internationals are catching it from all sides.  In Kabul the Afghans have jailed the country manager of Global Security over having four unregistered weapons in the company armory.   When the endemic corruption in Afghanistan makes the news or the pressure about it is applied diplomatically the Afghans always respond by throwing a few Expat security contractors in jail.  Remember that the next time our legacy media tries to spin a yarn about “unaccountable” security companies and the “1000 dollar a day” security contractor business both of which are now fictions of the liberal media imagination.

With time comes progress; especially on the big box FOB’s; but progress has served us quiet the dilemma.  We depend on our two fixed wing planes for transportation around the country.  Sometimes we are forced to overnight on one of the big box FOB’s where random searches for contraband in contractor billeting is routine.  All electronic recording equipment; cell phones, PDA’s laptops, cameras, etc… are all supposed to be registered in base with the security departments. But we aren’t assigned to these bases and cannot register our equipment.  Being caught with it means it could confiscated, being caught with a weapon would result in arrest by base MP’s.  Weapons license’s from the Government of Afghanistan aren’t recognized by ISAF; at least not on the big bases.

I’m not bitching because I understand why things are the way they are.  The military has had serious problems with shootings in secure areas.  Not one of those has been committed by an armed Expat but that fact is irrelevant.  Both the British and Americans have armed contractors working for them who have gone through specified pre-deployment  training and have official “arming authority”.  Afghan based international security types may or may not have any training and they certainly do not have DoD or MoD arming authority.  A legally licensed and registered weapon is no more welcomed on a military base in Afghanistan then it would be on a base in America.  Try walking around one with a legally concealed weapon and see what happens if you’re detected.  Just because you have a concealed carry permit doesn’t mean you’re welcomed to carry a loaded weapon onto a military installation in America.

But it should.  Having a concealed weapon permit should in fact mean that you can legally carry on military installations in the U.S.  If concealed carry was allowed Major Hasan might not have been able to pull off the carnage that he did.  Furthermore, regular readers know that I have advocated that Marines and Soldiers (other than just SAW gunners) carry side arms.  But even if I disagree with the policy, Tim is working within the system.  Continuing:

So it is time for me to go from blogsphere. After this contract it will be time for me to physically go.  I have a childlike faith in the ability of Gen Allen to come in and make the best of the situation he finds on the ground.  Maybe I’ll stick around to see it for myself – we have a long summer ahead and much can change.  But staying here means going back to Ghost Team mode.

I want to thank all of the folks who have participated in the comments section, bloggers Matt from Feral Jundi, Old Blue from Afghan Quest, Michael Yon, Joshua Foust from Registan.net, Herschel Smith from The Captains Journal and Kanani from The Kitchen Dispatch for their support and kind email exchanges.  Baba Ken of the Synergy Strike Force for hosting me, Jules who recently stepped in to provide much needed editing, and Amy Sun from the MIT Fab Lab for getting me started and encouraging me along the way.  Your support meant an awful lot to me; I’m going to miss not being part of the conversation.

This is an interesting list of journalists, analysts and bloggers.  There are other admirable and prolific journalists whom I follow, e.g., Sebastian Junger and C. J. Chivers.  But none of the other journalists have contacted me, nor have any others answered my e-mails (Bing West, Tony Perry, David Wood, etc.) .  Many journalists make themselves highly inaccessible.

Not so for analyst and blogger Joshua Foust, and certainly not so for Michael Yon.  I have developed a relationship with both Michael Yon and Tim Lynch that means a lot to me, and it isn’t necessarily I who have contributed most of the work.  That’s what’s so significant about this.  Tim and those on his list are genuinely good guys.

I truly want Tim not to be a stranger, and I am honored that he made mention of me in his last post.  I will cherish that.  Take note that Michael Yon begins another embed on June 2 or thereabouts.  But there is one more person whom I want to mention.  I am embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until well into his captivity that I learned that James Foley (who writes for the Global Post) had been kidnapped in Libya.  Jim has now been released, and I am thankful for his safe return.  Jim is also a genuinely good guy, and I used his work in The Five Hundred Meter War (as well as other work by Jim in other posts).  Jim was eager to strike up a relationship with me via e-mail, and offered up kind words to me from day one.

I expect (and hope) that my friends stay in touch with me, and I also appreciate my readers.  I believe that I have some of the best on the web.  I appreciate your following my musings and analysis even as I evolve the web site into coverage and commentary on firearms and second amendment rights, as well as political observations.  But I will always cover and analyze military affairs, and especially the Marine Corps.  Ten years from now, when others have forgotten about Iraq and Afghanistan, I will still be following them, God willing, and if I’m still alive and writing.  And the Lance Corporal in the field under fire will always have an advocate in me.

  • Mezzoduomo

    I’m going to keep my FRI bookmark in place on my browser…just in case. I will miss Tim’s commentary.

  • Tintin

    Sir, as a longtime reader and young reporter who’s tried to contact you recently, I had a hard time with your email submission form – the security question did not load, and it gave me what looked like some kind of error message. Do you know whether it is having any maintenance issues?

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Yes, and I’m sorry for that problem. I am having maintenance issues with the site. I will drop you a note from the e-mail you left. Again, I find it difficult to keep up with the various issues associated with maintenance of the site, especially since I have someone help me with that.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • Tintin

    Thanks, sir.

  • http://www.feraljundi.com Matt

    Herschel,

    You have a fantastic blog here and Tim speaks highly of you. I too share the same thoughts about Tim and his excellent website going away. It sucks, and I will miss his ground truth and honesty. Take care and Semper Fi. -matt


You are currently reading "Friends, Relationships and Changes", entry #7021 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Michael Yon,Military Blogging,Military Contractors and was published June 1st, 2011 by Herschel Smith.

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