Thursday, March 27, 2008

The handoff

Steve, my replacement, got to Iraq on my birthday much earlier this month. But our transportation is such that he couldn't get a flight down until just under 2 weeks ago.

But he got here, and we've been working at the hand-off since then. He's probably been pretty disappointed at the mess I'm leaving him, and I feel a bit sheepish about it, too. No excuses. I could have done a number of things differently to make his life a little bit easier.

Even had I done everything right, though, there is a lot that is not under my control. The biggest pieces of what we do here at the Training Center have now been put squarely in the hands of the National Police. So we can advise and counsel, but we're not running the show anymore. We don't pay for it. We don't provide the manpower. He'll have a very different experience than I had.

Because of various reasons, my handoff has happened well before I was to redeploy- which means I'm around far longer than most are for their handoffs. This is probably both an advantage and disadvantage for Steve. I'm still around to help out, answer questions, etc. But I fear I also get in the way. The NPs have a working level of trust with me, and everyone knows me, so they tend to keep coming to me for issues and discussion rather than going to Steve.

And frankly, I've gotten quite detached from the whole thing since we shut down the training center back on 28 Jan. Since then I've been watching over the ghost town that was a training center. And I expect it will still be a ghost town when it comes time for me to leave.

The success of the training center is now in the hands of the NPs and Ministry of Interior. Either they will provide the necessary resources or they won't. And there's not much I can do about it either way. Given the recent excitement and activity in Baghdad, Basra, and elsewhere, I am not confident that the training center will get the time and attention necessary to kick off the next course before I leave.

We shall see.

I'm tired. My work here is through, but my time isn't. So I try to stay busy helping Steve, but he's unfortunately not getting me at my best. It is in many ways reminiscent of my last few days of my LDS mission way back in 1991. I was just spent, and while I'd go through the motions, I mentally wasn't there like I felt I should have been.

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