The other 23 nations are not at war?

The other 23 nations are not at war?

This is a discussion on The other 23 nations are not at war? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Cultures collide at German-run camp near Mazar-e Sharif | | Cultures collide at German-run camp near Mazar-e Sharif By Joanne Kimberlin The Virginian-Pilot ...

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Thread: The other 23 nations are not at war?

  1. #1
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    The other 23 nations are not at war?

    Cultures collide at German-run camp near Mazar-e Sharif | |

    Cultures collide at German-run camp near Mazar-e Sharif

    By Joanne Kimberlin
    The Virginian-Pilot
    © June 1, 2010

    Americans are not used to taking orders from another country. That can be a problem in Afghanistan, where 23 nations have divvied up the battlespace, and American troops can find themselves subordinate to a foreign command.

    Germans call the shots at Camp Marmal, a base of about 5,000 soldiers outside the city of Mazar-e Sharif, in the northern part of the country. For the roughly 1,000 Americans stationed here, it's one of the few bases in Afghanistan where they are the minority. Instead of English, the sounds of German, Swedish, Norwegian, Turkish, Hungarian, Polish and so on fill the camp.

    Not a big deal, except when it comes to the rules - both big and small.

    Technically, only America is at "war" in Afghanistan. The rest of the coalition is providing "security assistance" - which means they aren't quite as aggressive about mixing it up with the bad guys.
    As one U.S. soldier put it: "Americans want to just go clean their clocks. But the rest of the coalition has to call back home before they can go to the bathroom."

    Politics is part of it. For many coalition partners, support is spotty back home, and casualties are enough to tip the scale. Resources are another issue. Countries with small armies and meager budgets simply can't sustain much risk.

    Which leaves Americans at Marmal chaffing at the reins, and mumbling about what some call "war by committee."

    Individually - soldier to soldier - relations seem friendly enough. Co-workers have earned each other's respect. Knots of soldiers pass each other with nods and the universal greeting of "Hallo."

    Language puts a cramp in the socializing. Most tend to stick to their own compounds and dine with their own countrymen.

    Cultural habits form other obstacles. Americans barge into an office and get right to the point; Europeans consider it rude to skip the pleasantries. Americans wince at the sight of dozens of soldiers sunbathing in tiny swim trunks; Europeans think it's healthy, and fully indulge.

    Fact is, Camp Marmal is a tiny Europe, and the Americans just have to adjust. They've learned not to wear their street shoes into the gym - a big no-no with Europeans. They've gotten used to the German fare at the chow hall. They've accepted the fact that euros are the only way to pay.

    It hasn't all been one way. Less than a year ago, when there were hardly any Americans at Marmal, the beer flowed freely. European soldiers could pretty much buy all they wanted.

    But as the troop surge slowly added more U.S. uniforms to Marmal, some new rules had to be adopted. American military in a war zone are forbidden to drink alcohol. In a nod to that, the taps were restricted.

    The Europeans now chafe at being rationed to two small beers a day.[emphasis added]
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  2. #2
    Ex Member Array F350's Avatar
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    American military in a war zone are forbidden to drink alcohol.
    Part of the pussification of the US military

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    Senior Member Array AlexHassin's Avatar
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    Why exactly?
    I think its beater policy not to have your troops when they are the most likely to face combat to be the imbibed ones. Also If I recall correctly this is not a new rule.

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    Member Array Deuce130's Avatar
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    I, for one, am in favor the no drinking policy. As aircrew, we could be tapped anytime to fly a mission, even though we are technically supposed to be notified prior to being placed in an alert status. Though I have imbibed on occasion in the AOR, I won't do it again and I wouldn't recommend the prohibition be lifted. Unfortunately, alcohol is a distraction that commanders simply do not need. Is it punishing the many for the transgressions of the few? Yep...but worth it not to have to deal with the alcohol incidents that would surely follow.

    As far as the other countries in Afghanistan...I'm surprised they're still there at all.

  6. #5
    Member Array 120mm's Avatar
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    I don't get alcohol prohibition, except Americans as a whole act like children around the issue.

    Alcohol can be a very useful tool for destressing: One generation ago, the Army had little problem with alcohol in combat zones. This is the first generation where alcohol use has been prohibited.

    Frankly, I'm sick of the infantile, knee jerk immature American attitudes toward alcohol and sex in a combat zone. Combined with the righteous, smug attitudes Americans typically take on justifying why it is so. It is, pure and simple, blaming an object for our lack of discipline and good leadership.

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