Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Tip O’Neill used to say, “All politics is local.” Meaning a politician’s success is directly tied to his/her ability to address those issues that are closest to the people they represent. Well, the same is true in Afghanistan. In Afghan culture the tribe is designed to manage the affairs of families and sects. The tribal system has worked for centuries here. As our team moves around the Kabul area we go out of our way to properly build relations with the real power brokers of Afghanistan — the elders of the different tribes. They know first hand the needs and concerns of the people. In my opinion the key to the national government’s ability to earn the trust and support of the people rest in the hands of the tribal leaders scattered throughout the villages of Afghanistan. All politics is local — both here and in America.
Today at 4:40 p.m. Eastern Time I will be on the radio with Keven Cohen on WVOC. I invite you to tune at 560 AM in Columbia or online at Keven Cohen Live. I look forward to hearing your feedback!
Today is Mujahideen Victory Day (MVD) in Afghanistan. MVD is a nationwide celebration in remembrance of the defeat and withdrawal of Russian forces in 1989 and the eventual fall of the communist government in Afghanistan in 1992. The vehicle on the left is a destroyed Russian personnel carrier left over from the invasion. When I saw this I couldn’t help but think of the irony of this vehicle and it’s occupants being destroyed right next to a cemetery. It was the death of the Russians in AFG and the beginning of the end for communism in the USSR.
My primary job in Afghanistan is Public Affairs Officer for the 1-178th Field Artillery Battalion. I spend a lot of time capturing photos of our soldiers in the field. I love what I do. Recently I was able to get an account on DVIDS, the online system the military uses to distribute images, videos and stories to media outlets around the world. I invite you check out my page on DVIDS for a first hand look at the photos I am marketing to the papers and TV stations back home. Maybe one day you will see one of my pictures in a paper near you!
Last year I was selected to participate in Leadership South Carolina (LSC) at Clemson University. Leadership South Carolina is the premier leadership program for our state’s top business, education, military and government leaders. Last week my class held its graduation ceremony at Clemson. One of my classmates and a Walmart market manager, Rob Green, represented me at the ceremony. Although I was unable to participate in LSC the last couple of months, it was a wonderful learning experience. I consider all of the members of the Class of 2010 my life long friends — partners in making South Carolina a better place to live, work and raise a family. Oh yeah, my boss asked how it felt to receive a graduation certificate from Clemson. Honestly, after all I’ve been through this year, I can’t wait to get home and hang it on my office wall. BTW, this is the one and only time you will ever hear me say this: “Go Tigers!”
Please pray for the family of Soldier from the 1-101 FA BN. He was killed in action last Monday by a suicide bomber here in Kabul. Although the Soldiers in our Battalion did not know the young hero, we work with many of Soldiers in his Battalion here at Camp Phoenix. His former Platoon leader works with our team on a number of civil affairs projects. His death was a shock to us all. It’s a tough reminder of the tragedies of war. His bravery is a great example of John 15:13 — “greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Please pray that the Lord will comfort and strengthen his family in the days, weeks and months ahead.
The volunteer Soldiers of Operation Outreach Afghanistan held its second conex work day yesterday at Camp Phoenix. I am pleased to report that 40 Soldiers took time out of their busy schedules to spend an hour sorting and organizing all the donated shoes, clothes and school supplies our friends and family back home have shipped over to us. I am overwhelmed by all the support we’ve received so far. Please don’t stop sending your gifts! The children in the villages around us need so much. Operation Outreach is here to serve as your local link to the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. Thanks so much for helping us help them!