Monday, November 17, 2008
Masks: A PSYACT Themselves
Having discussed interpreters in the previous post, let me turn my attention to the issues of masks themselves. The quote below reminds me of a 1929 line from then Secretary of State Henry Stimson, “Gentlemen don’t read other people’s mail.”
"We are a professional Army and professional units don't conceal their identity by wearing masks," Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a spokesman for the U.S. military, wrote in an e-mail. He expressed appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the interpreters but said those dissatisfied with the new policy "can seek alternative employment."
Strikes me that LTC Stover may be a little short sighted here. We are not wearing bright red coats marching down a road. The nature of urban warfare and insurgency is that thinking ‘out of the box’ should be the norm, not the exception. Edicts from on high often have unforeseen and severetly detrimental effects at the local level.
While in fact there may not be an issue with the supply of interpreters today (which I’m not quite ready to concede), the global supply and demand for interpreters and individuals able to carry USG messages in their native language needs all the help it can get.
And as for masks being unprofessional – I don’t think my two friends here would agree.