And so I'm off to Afghanistan. At the suggestion of many of those who know me well, I have decided to create a blog covering my experiences working in the private security industry in Kabul. For personal and professional reasons, this will be an anonymous endeavor, a place to put observations, discoveries and random musings (along with the occasional bit of critical thinking and punditry). I intend to keep the tone light and the style accessible; no claim is made to speak for the broader PSC community or of a monopoly on wisdom (I leave that for actual conversation). With a little luck, this might even be mildly entertaining, at least for me.
I'm new to this blogging thing, so there are likely to be numerous mistakes of content and style in what follows. In the interest of keeping up to date, I will sometimes be posting without the benefit of a thorough review. I hope to reduce the incidence of idiocy as time goes on. I think you'll find that I tend to be somewhat less than fully in compliance with tenents of political correctness. I assure you this is entirely intentional. Get over it.
In order to avoid any future unpleasantness, allow me to clarify a few things about the nature of the private security industry in Afghanistan. First, the people who do this job are most definitely not cowboys or borderline psychotics with automatic weapons. As in any business, there are a few who probably don't belong, but the vast majority of the operators are skilled professionals who try their utmost to perform their duties to their client without unwanted friction. Even the locals exhibit a high degree of dedication and are constantly trying to improve their abilities and their skills. Secondly, although money is a motivating factor for nearly everyone in this business (in any business for that matter - would you work for free?), most of the people I know, operators and management alike, are not getting rich off of this conflict. They do what they do for the same reasons anyone does a job: they take pleasure in doing something they're good at, they enjoy the challenge of a difficult task in a tricky environment and, at the end of the day, they make a living. Not so different from most people I know. So spare me (and them) your pop psychology and ill-founded condemnations. If you want to spew uninformed venom about the "evils of the military-industrial complex," go join the herd at MoveOn.org.
A note on operational security (OpSec): Some of what is written here will be intentionally vague and occasionally cryptic. This is necessary to protect not only the well-being of my own people, but also to eliminate the possibility of inadvertently revealing proprietary information about my own company or those clients and contractors with whom we do business. The often snarky tone of my posts notwithstanding, this is a serious business in which there are inherent risks. Nothing I could post here would be worth increasing that risk to anyone.