Thursday, June 24, 2010

Smile for the Cameras

Volcanogate ended, and the cumulative Iraq-Afghanistan trauma melange ceased to exist in my ICU.  After the subsequent VBIED from the Iranian border, we still had the less common Iraq traumas come through several times a week, and an assortment of contractors and active duty patients with new heart attacks and strokes.  The unit had been more sparse, though, and this had afforded me a chance to take a deep breath and relax a little. 

Then we had a high level Iraqi minister coming for a visit, so there the brass wanted to fill up the hospital with Iraqis.  Thus, the policies which have taken been molded over the past several years on which host country nationals we see - and which we don't - were put to the screws.  Somehow, the reins loosened, and we had a ward full of host country nationals, just so the Iraqi minister could see a ward full of Iraqis.  There are still 8 HCNs (host country nationals) here.

We recently had the surgeon general, and then the chief of the air force stopping by as well.  There were several announcements about the incoming visits, biographies circulated, and then the requisite instruction to "clean up your area" followed by a command inspection. 

With a culture so well suited and steeped in the punative, I don't suppose I can blame commanders for wanting to avoid hearing about unsatisfactory behavior or demeanor of those under their command, by those higher up the food chain than themselves.  By the same token, however, it seems antithetical that the highest leaders of any organization the size of the military would have any concern or time with pedantry, but, rather, instead hope to discover a sense of the true uncensored sentiment of those in their charge.

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