Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh no, I am "Them"

I have had the most terrible realization in the whole time I have been here in Iraq. Since I moved up to Baghdad and began working for MNSTC-I, I have become one of the people at the "Puzzle Palace". I'm one of the guys at the Head Shed. I'm part of the "they" as in "they @#$%ed things up, back there in Baghdad" as spoken by people in the field (I know, I was one of 'em).

Oh no, I might become one of "THEM"!

I swear I will do everything I can to not become one of the faceless bureaucrats at the "flagpole". I don't want to be Them.


Blogger RTO Trainer said...

Bravo. That's the first step, Sir.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Major John
RE: Heh

"I am 'Them'!" -- Major John

Into each life some horror must fall. Especially if you're a field-grade working for Them.

So what are you doing for Them? As I understand it, never having had this form of horror in MY mil-life, brigadiers fetch coffee around there. Meanwhile full colonels make the coffee. I suspect that the lieutenant colonels there would be responsible for flushing the grounds down the toilet.

I can imagine how that chain-of-command works for a lowly major.


P.S. Look upon it as a rite of passage experience. Sort of like getting Prop-Blasted. Only you're not allowed to be drunk.

P.P.S. Get lots of Lysol and deoderizers.

12:58 PM  
Blogger RebeccaH said...

Major John, I wouldn't worry. I have been one of "them" (in a different context), Mr H has been one in both your context (although without the combat), and in the government bureaucracy. We are individual human beings, we have ideas and opinions, and while we may not agree with certain directives and those things fondly known as "rules and regulations", someone higher than us put those in place according some kind of information we didn't have access to (or, sometimes, according to information we ourselves passed upward). The saving grace in a workable society like ours is, when we see that the rules and regulations are not (or no longer) working, we have the ability and the capacity to work to change them. I admit that's sometimes a hard, slow process, and I'm one of the guiltiest of resistance to change, but when I can be persuaded the change would work, I change.

There are a whole lot of my prejudices and preconceptions that have fallen to new information and new processes. Not without pain, but with much interest and joy of discovery.

1:02 PM  
Blogger RebeccaH said...

I admit that's sometimes a hard, slow process, and I'm one of the guiltiest of resistance to change, but when I can be persuaded the change would work, I change.

Let me amend this statement, sir, if you will. ...when I can be persuaded the change would work for me, I change.

1:05 PM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 07/29/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have no fear, Major Tammes. You are who you have been waiting for.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't beat yourself up too badly, sir. It's officer dharma. No getting around it.

Just think on all the wonderful perspective you'll be able to spread around, once you get back to the honest end of things.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Grimmey
RE: Why....

"Just think on all the wonderful perspective you'll be able to spread around, once you get back to the honest end of things." -- Grimmey I suddenly reminded of a Dilbertism? The one where when he is transfered to the Marketing department he is required to put his soul in a sealed vault....

....or was it to turn it over to some character in red tights with horns on his head and a pointy tail?


[The soul refuses limits and always affirms an Optimism, never a Pessimism. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson]

P.S. Obviously Ralph never was in the military....let alone the Puzzle Palace.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Good luck! I know you'll do the right thing. Most of the time. ;)

This post reminds me of one of those old Bill Mauldin cartoons, which depicted Willy and Joe, the two archetypal Everyman privates from World War Two, griping about "those bastards up at Platoon."

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is always easier to be an Indian than a Chief, isn't it?

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last should have been signed 'Mikey NTH'.

Consider it signed, sir.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can be them I think for awhile, just a little anyway. Someone has to be them, and it sounds safe. You be the best them you can be and you will be a big help I bet.

5:55 PM  
Blogger richard mcenroe said...

There must be another mine-strewn path SOMEWHERE you can climb up to reestablish your street cred. Meanwhile, don't worry; we knew yuh when and we'll take yez on faith...

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side, Them is way better than Being Madam Pelosi.

Sending lots of love and kisses!

7:13 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Look on the brighter side, Them is way better than Being Mister Murtha.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really are one of THEM.
I'm guessing in just a short while you'll be all ticked off at the morons at MND-B.
Just see if you can keep the FRAGOs down to ten/day.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Major John, worry not, sooner or later, we all become "Them". I just did it more often than not, alas.

BTW, on that movie "THEM", last time I saw it, I thought I spotted the shoulder patch of the 33rd Brigade. Kinda odd, them fighting THEM, no?

11:21 PM  
Blogger LTC John said...

Real Jeff S,

I deliberatley chose the movie poster for several reasons...I had noticed (and I had deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 33rd ASG - they are now back to being an Infantry BCT), heh heh.


I am going to look for that one - maybe I'll post it as an update. Thanks for that.


Basically everyone here is one grade too high. We have BGs where a COL would be fine, COLs where LTCs would do, and MAJ where CPTs would do...


We tend to complain about "Corps"..MNC-I. Heh.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


THEM! is the name of my car club....

1:16 AM  
Blogger DAVE BONES said...

good luck

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All that is needed to keep you grounded in reality is a good NCO. Find one, draft one, or get one by any means necessary and you will get through this.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Citizen Deux said...

I recommend rereading Field Marshall Slim's address of 1952 to the Army war college on command.

12:19 AM  
Blogger LTC John said...


We have a good NCO - but he is alone and gets it even worse than the rest of us...


I am nowhere near command...well, let me rephrase that, nowhere near BEING in command, heh heh.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Major John
RE: The Rank Structure There

"Basically everyone here is one grade too high. We have BGs where a COL would be fine, COLs where LTCs would do, and MAJ where CPTs would do..." -- Major John

What can we do to reduce this nefarious tax burden on the country?


P.S. Don't feel like the 'Lone Ranger'....

After SCOTUS Reynolds v. Simms (1964)—which turned every state senate into nothing more than an overpaid version of the state house of reps—we've got 'overpaid' people in more places than where YOU are.

By the by....

....if you think about it, Reynolds v. Simms was the most insidious attack on the Constitution we've experienced. We're witnessing the effects here in Southern Colorado as Denver, with 17 out of 35 state senators, sucks up ALL the resources in the state. That includes highway funding, grant monies and NOW water itself.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask yourself two questions.

1. You're an ops guy, analyze decisions from their point of view, is it good or bad? also don't generate any paperwork for them.

2. What would my mother do? I know your Mom Maj John, she is an outstanding lady with wisdom beyond our years.

3:21 PM  

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