JAG-ged Edge
Trial Defense Services (TDS) Deployed
By: Andrew Efaw

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Saturday, 11-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

SPC Ellis--High Speed, Low Drag 27D
"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
- John Stuart Mill

Late night working today. Left the office at 2130.

Someone asked me what a 27D is. Pictured is a 27D in the form of SPC Ellis. A 27D is a legal specialist or paralegal. SPC Ellis is new to the Army and is fresh out of Basis and AIT. He's 19 years old, from Richmond, VA, single, and has just finished his freshman year at George Mason University. He very well read, speaks French, plays electric violin, and likes Jazz and the Blues (which I think is a definite plus). He's going to do well in the Army because he's a natural at "acquiring" stuff that our office needs and at finding misplaced witnesses and clients. Iniative is what it takes to be a good soldier, and Ellis has that.

Friday, 10-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
A Blast from the Past

10 December 2004:

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
- George Orwell

So check this out. I was in this warehouse of a mess hall today. And this female major walks by, and I know that I know her. I suddenly realized that she had been one of my plebes at West Point 15 years ago and that her name had been Prager but now was probably something different. But she was walking away so I just said, "Prager" in kind of a loud voice like an upper classman. She stopped and turned—I could swear it was facing movement and kind of stood there at attention and said, "Good Afternoon, Sir." It was so bizarre--”like stepping back in time 15 years. I explained to her that she didn't need to use formalities like "sir" any more. Long story short, she's now Major Joanne Moore. She's here as part of 3rd Army's G-5 shop. Very Bizarre.

I’ve kind of settled into a routine here at Arijan. I get up at about 6, do PT, go or not go to breakfast. Then I work until about 8, eating lunch and dinner at some point in the process. I'm starting meet with court-martial clients and starting try to deal some cases. This, of course, involves quite a bit of back and forth negotiation with the Government prosecutors. That's the part I like the best. I wish I could write about my cases, but I can't bec. of confidentiality issues. But they consist of little of everything.

Our new 27D, SPC Ellis, tells me I need to get a life and tried to get ne to go to an MWR Salsa Nite tonight. I laughed and reminded him that we get lots of clients out of Salsa Nite type gatherings. Instead, I called home. Amy and I got to talk for quite a while before the line went dead.

Today was the day that I decided to try and disinfect my Squat. Let me tell you that was job for better soldier than myself. There were enough dust bunnies to form a large posse. And the bathroom, I doubt has ever been cleaned. I'd have given a lot for pair of rubber gloves. Fortunately, lots of cleaning supplies had been left. It's now cleaner than it was. I won't bore you with the details. But it was Gross. I really can't complain and I won't. I'm living the good life compared to the vast majority of the thousands of soldiers here.

I think every former occupant has left something here. I mean there were nearly a hundred item left by former soldiers--like a TV & VCR (both operational); a toaster, an ironing board and Iron; a giant sized container of GNC Whey, packets of miso soup (a good find); Q-tips; a copy of Muscle magazine, 4 pillows (two with pillow cases); 5 towels, multivitamins etc. You get the idea.

Cleaning this place you get an idea of how shoddy the workmanship is. The hardstand buildings are apparently funded and built by the Kuwaiti government. It's so new that the sinks and bathtubs still have the stickers on them. But all the doorstops rip out of the floor, the bathtub is cracked and rusting, the light fixtures have holes cut for them that are too big and a gap shows, the toilet wobbles precariously. . . . . I really can't complain and I won't. I'm living the good life compared to the vast majority of the thousands of soldiers here. I'll enjoy it while I can.

Thursday, 9-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Dangerous Men and Their Laundry

December 9, 2004:

"Man has learned, over the course of 4000 years in which organized armies have existed, to identify in that minority those who will make soldiers, to train and equip them, to supply the funds they need for their support, and to endorse and applaud their behaviour at those time when the majority feel at threat." ~John Keegan

Normal day. Lots of article 15s and a couple Summary Courts Martial. Have a few other cases that I am trying to work deals on. Today was laundry day for me. There are two options here. First, they have a place that will take your laundry away and wash it for you. I started to do that, but the idea of waiting in line to get up to a counter to count out my dirty underwear together with a Third Country National worker just didn't do it for me. So I went with the second option which is to go to a trailer out behind the barracks. There are two face to face, and they are full of free washers and dryers. You just provide the soap.

Wednesday, 8-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Loose on the Kuwaiti Freeway

8 December 2004: I got a few pics on the fotopage, but then I couldn’t get any else on. I think it has to do with the internet speed. When all cylinders are firing, it is pretty good. But often it’s not moving fast at all. I may be just reduced to blogging text. The phones are about the same. Every call that I have made home has terminated bec. the line went dead. No goodbyes. Today the internet went down at about 1500 and was down the rest of the day.

It poured rain today, buckets. I wish I could say that the desert bloomed into a colorful palette of flowers and plants. But I can’t bec. it didn’t. But still it was nice to have some cool rain. I and a driver took CPT Emery to Pod 2 at the Kuwaiti Airport to fly to Baghdad today for a 32 hearing. One has to always travel in groups of two—with weapon and rounds. And it requires a memorandum from a commander to get out the gate. You are checked as you leave to ensure you have each of these things. When you take someone to the airport, you have to take three so there are two left for the ride back. The military part of the airport is separated from the rest of the airport. The Kuwaiti air force owns the part we go on. It’s very 3rd world looking. They make/let you drive right on the flight line to the hangar where one flies Space A to place like Baghdad and Afghanistan. Lots of reporters fly this way. That looked like most of the passengers today. Then I got to find my way back to Arifjan. It was the first time I’ve had to navigate over here on my own. When you get back to a camp, you have to got through three separate check points of varying degrees of scrutiny before they let you back into the camp. The rest of the day was taken up wrangling a new 27D—which I procured in the form of SPC Ellis from Richmond. We supposedly get to keep him a year. 27D’s, like most commodities, come from the government side of the house. They, obviously, have very little reason to help TDS, their nemesis. So we get treated like the proverbial redheaded stepchild most of the time. But we have independence and get to travel. Most soldiers here—there’s about 16,000—never get to leave the camp at all.

There was a sign on the outside of everyone’s doors today that said the NCOIC and bldg manager would be coming through to inventory furniture at some random point in the next week. A fellow JAG friend, CPT Curry, says that’s how they catch squatters like myself. So here’s hoping . . .

Tuesday, 7-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Arifjan to Doha Pics

These are pics I took on the way from Camp Arifjan to Doha.

December 7, 2004:

Happy Pearl Harbor Day. I feel like I am now back in the groove with criminal justice, fielding random calls with bizarre questions that come in every ten minutes; arguing with commanders regarding rights; and going on the offensive to get cases to trial. I hear from my boss, LTC Taylor, in Baghdad that he wants me to stay in place here in Kuwait until the end of January. Then I will replace another attorney that is rotating out.

One of the things that is hard to get used to is this-after getting off of active duty, I had to get really used to not saying, "Out" at the end of conversations. I finally got used to saying "bye-bye" or something to civilian clients--thus softening my otherwise abrasive personality. Now that I am back on active duty, I keep saying "bye-bye" which is met with a awkward pause and then "yeah. . .out."

My stomach's still not quite used to the food. After eating, I get this sort of queasy feeling like I've eaten something not quite right. They have wash points at the door of the messhall. Right after the barrels of sand where you have to clear your weapon (in other words, visually inspect for a round and then point into the barrel and pull the trigger). In the bathrooms and at the wash points, they provide you with rolls of paper towels that have the thickness of but a slightly tougher consistency of toilet paper. Great for drying hands. During in Christmas we have three whole days off. Not sure what one would do for three days in this God forsaken place. Maybe I can catch a hop somewhere exciting.

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