Sunday, July 1, 2007

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right...

We had the Iraqi Foreign Minister show up yesterday to do a live shot at the villa. I made my way down to the front gates in order to observe his arrival into our compound. I get a kick out of watching other security teams work, and since the Foreign Minister is a pretty highly placed in the Iraqi Government I assumed that he would have a very well-trained team looking him. This was not the case.

His advance team arrived ten minutes prior in an SUV, and did absolutely nothing other than stand at the front gate; one guy in an ill-fitting suit and three semi-uniformed thugs with dusty AKs. No coordination with us; where to park the cars, how many people will be allowed in the villa, routes in and out of the villa, our security posture, nothing, nada, zip. I was almost embarrassed for them.

The Minister showed up and came through the gate. This went smoothly, simply because that’s where his entire advance team was stacked up like baby birds waiting to be fed. After that, his arrival went south. His SUV tried to force it’s way into our driveway but was block by our parked vehicles. Someone “told” us to move them. No, that’s not going to happen. The Minister got out of his SUV and was immediately surrounded by 12 thugs with guns. They had no earthly idea what they were doing. Allah forbid that there was an incident; surely these clowns would have opened up on everything that moved, including their Minister.

I watched in absolute awe. One of these AK-toting pirates walked past me and inadvertently ran the muzzle of his AK across my chest, something that we call “flagging”. A fast check as to where his finger was and I grabbed the muzzle with my hand, jerking it away from my chest, and sent it and him into the concrete wall. He looked up at me in complete shock while I mumbled something unpleasant under my breath. I'm still not sure he knew what he did wrong.

There are hundreds of security details in country right now; some are good, and others are just a bunch of clowns. The Minister’s was the latter. It’s not because they were Iraqis, because I’ve seen plenty of western teams that were just as bad. When it comes to security, caveat emptor.

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