Patterico's Pontifications


Interviews with Teflon Don and Badger6

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 6:18 pm

Don’t miss Bill Roggio’s interview with Teflon Don of the excellent Acute Politics blog. Teflon Don’s real name is PFC Gordon Alanko, and he is “an engineer serving in the Fallujah region with Alpha Company, Task Force 321 Engineers (Task Force Pathfinder).” Quotable:

I would say that the biggest challenge I see is balancing operational concerns against humanitarian concerns. When we go looking for IEDs, we have a twofold mission: secure the route for coalition forces, and limit damage to Iraqi civilians and civilian infrastructure. If something goes wrong while we’re trying to neutralize an IED, it can damage our equipment, but it can also injure the ever-present gawkers, or damage roads, power lines, or canals. If we’re pushing hard to clear a route for an operation, we may have to make a decision on where we destroy the explosives to take as little time as possible, and yet avoid damaging infrastructure. I’ve posted a story on my blog, A Village Named Karma, which illustrates the type of things that can happen.

I linked that post when it came out, and it’s definitely worth a look if you haven’t already read it. As I noted here, it makes interesting reading in conjunction with Bill Ardolino’s post about hunting IEDs.

Also, I just realized that I never linked Roggio’s interview with Badger6 of the indispensable Badgers Forward blog. Capt. Coulson is “the commanding officer of Alpha Company, Task Force 321 Engineers (Task Force Pathfinder).” It is a great interview. Quotable:

On October 12, 1984 the PIRA [Provisional Irish Republican Army] set off two bombs in the Grand Hotel, in Brighton, England. Prime Minister Margret Thatcher was there along with her entire cabinet. None of them were killed although several high ranking Conservative MP’s were killed. When the PIRA claimed responsibility their statement said ‘Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.’ Such is the way with IED’s, I can take 5 IED’s off the street in one night, but if one IED in another part of the country hits the right vehicle the effectiveness can be rated as high, no one hears about the ones that did not go off. Since we are so cagey about what we have done to fight this battle one big IED hit can look bigger than it really is in the military picture. This war though is about Information Operations as much as anything.

Both Capt. Coulson and PFC Alanko are good friends of this blog, and I urge you to read both interviews if you haven’t already.

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