Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, February 18, 2008

Report From Afghanistan

My heroic brother-in-law Brian has just returned from Afghanistan. He was there to personally deliver police equipment donated to Brotherhood of the Badge to Afghani police personnel.

Here's his report, edited a bit:
I just returned from Afghanistan last Sunday, from our 5th Middle East Mission for Brotherhood of the Badge. Prior to this mission, we already have outfitted 21,000 Iraqi Police Officers. Be aware that each those police were personally recruited, trained and in operations directly under US Military Troops of the 4th Infantry, the 101st Airborne and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. The result is numerous reports of Iraqi Police Officers' lives saved by our vests, 46 to 47 to date.

Are there corrupt police, police leaders and even the Ministry of the Interior (M.O.I.) in charge of the police? Yes. Are we making progress in a nation ruled for 1 1/2 generations under Saddam? That answer is yes too.

There is 20% more population in Afghanistan than Iraq and it is a larger country geographically as well. The total GNP was only $870 million for over 31,000,000 people. Because the Provinces have no tax revenues, the Province Governors had their controlled police do illegal checkpoints to rob people and send the money to the Governor.

Now, instead of sending a few officer candidates to the academy and them returning under the control of the Governors, it has changed. Under the FDD Program, all of the city's police are taken in one group to the academy. The city is back-filled with National Police Swat Teams. Then when all are trained together, developed with Anti-corruption training and then given raises of $30 to $100 monthly upon completion, they are returned and deployed as a unit.

That police unit is then under the American Eye and no longer under any control of the Governors. This has cut down on corruption, creates trust among the citizens and creates an Espirit de Corps unknown before. They are proud, capable and have new authority. They are embraced by the locals and the program is working city by city, district by district, province by province.

Is it perfect? No. Is it improving toward the Thin Blue Line new democracies require to succeed? Yes it is.

We received intelligence briefings from a law enforcement liaison who has been in Baghdad and now is in the Green Zone of Kabul, Afghanistan. That gentlemen said, "We have been able to really move forward with our training and equipping directly due to the Brotherhood of the Badge program." The Afghan Minister of Police asked how many of their police we could equip and we asked how many will they have. We will have 82,000 police per the Minister, and our response was, "From the 850,000 police, sheriffs and law enforcement officers of the United States, we will equip 82,000 police officers from our officer's equipment donations."

We only require the US military provide us Space Available on transport airplanes, as we have spent over $120,000 in shipping expenses and cannot do more. We have supplied over $10.5 million worth of gear to Iraq, collecting the gear from law enforcement agencies from California to New York. We have received as few as five ballistic vests from a small eastern city, to Orange County (CA) Police agencies under the leadership of the Santa Ana Police Department Chief Paul Walters, with $2 million of gear donated from 19 cities.

This small group of volunteers, six of us total, in the Brotherhood of the Badge have worked tirelessly for four years to help our new Brothers in Blue. Meeting with our troops in the Middle East and the local police officers, who all express their need and appreciation, make every minute of that effort worth working. Freedom marches as a result of the officers we equip, one officer at a time.
Do consider contributing to Brotherhood of the Badge.

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