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AN ETHICAL DILEMMA |

September 08, 2008

AN ETHICAL DILEMMA
Name: Rocinante
Posting date: 9/8/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Virginia
Milblog: Rocinante's Burdens   
Email: roci_burden@yahoo.com

Everyone agrees that you should always do the right thing. My dilemma springs from the right thing looking a lot like the wrong thing, depending on who you ask.

Here is the story:

I have a small sum of money, collected by force from US taxpayers, given to me for the expressed purpose of spending it on the Iraqi Army in order to improve their performance in some essential way. As General Petraus says, "Money is bullets in Counter-insurgency."

No problem. I am all over that. There are lots of things I can spend this money on to make my IA unit more effective. They need everything.

Here is the problem. Some of the things they need are on a list of things I am not allowed to buy. Bureaucrats and financial auditors don't want us to buy some things because it will look like fraud, waste and abuse -- something we all agree is bad.

But some of the things on the "do not buy" list are mission essential.

My units needs some digital cameras. Cheap effective ones. I have more than enough money in the budget to buy them, but they are on the no-no list. If my unit gets them, they would use them when they arrest bad people and take pictures of the evidence and the criminals so that the judge will convict the bad guys and punish them. No cameras = insufficient evidence = bad people back on the streets = insurgency goes on longer = US Army stays in Iraq longer.

The mission is pretty clear that these are not luxury items but directly lead to mission accomplishment. And they are cheap. And they are common enough in 21st century Iraq that they are not a huge temptation for thieves.

I am tempted to buy the darned things anyway. I will have to fabricate a receipt showing the purchase of something that is not on the no-no list. That will make me guilty of fraud. I will also need the cooperation of a few others, making them guilty of conspiracy.

A heck of a thing that I have to risk jail while already risking life and limb over little stuff like this.

I probably won't let you know what I decide. It's best that way.

You will be happy to know that I did not let the IA commander have a 50” plasma TV set with your money, like he wanted.

I am sure I am not the only one facing this dilemma. I am also sure I have not created a unique solution. I am sure others in my position have purchased lots of things on the no-no list and gotten away with it scot-free (is that a racially insensitive term?). Some of their motives were not as pure as mine. Yet I have a cloud of justice hanging above my head that ensures I will get caught and I will be the one they make an example of.

UPDATE: I have elected to not commit fraud. Instead I will use this as an opportunity to teach them about priorities and choices. They hate that.

UPDATE 2: Since he can't have the cameras, the Iraqi commander now wants a Shrubbery.

(Must...control...laughing....) My answer to him was NEH!

Comments

Are Monty Python dvds on the approved list? Cause if they are, buy them, leave them in piles on street corners and walk away. If these guys are sitting around snickering and doing Monty Python imitations for each other, who has time for blowing things up?

Ah what a messed up Bureaucratic nightmare that is. We US soldiers used our own digital cameras on missions. Let them do the same. We had one interpreter that would walk straight up to IED's and take photos of the device to show EOD when they rolled up. They loved the detail, helped them work much faster.

Wow! That's a tough decision! The cameras seem like a necessary item to me! Hopefully you taught them about the opportunities that could be if you had the cameras! And, Thank You so much for everything you are doing!!

why not petition to donate the money to charity? i am sure you don't have to search too hard for civilian victims in iraq or afghanistan. right? give them the money. you will be saving lives.

Fabulous depiction of our tax dollars at work - if only!!
I've love to see what a Shrubbery in Iraq looks like. And remember, Always look on the bright side...

Simple.

Buy something that is approved and trade with someone with less scruples.

Hey idea

"Donate to charity" --

WELL, I GUESS YOU MISSED THIS IN THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THE STORY --

"collected by force from the tax payers, given to me for the express purpose of spending it on the Iraqi Army in order to improve their preformace".

Okay, now come out of the clouds and enter reality. Maybe then you will actually get a clue as to what is truly going on.

Lord, protect our Warriors from FOOLS.

How many cameras do you need? How much do they cost? Where do they need to be shipped? Contact me via email at jsb_sandbox@360works.com or IM me at jesse360works

Thanks for the offer Jesse.

But the Iraqi Army has their own supply system. They also have a national government that makes their supply system almost impossible to use, intentionally. As long as the Americans (through private donations or tax money) fill the gap, there is no incentive for them to make their own system work.

The right answer is for them to decide what is important enough to spend THEIR money on and then do it.

It sounds like the Iraqi government is having some... dependency issues. I suppose that every baby bird has trouble separating, I just hope that the Iraqis can fly before we kick them out of the nest.

here we go (Miss Em)... as usual. this mission is from god, who talked to dubya, who sent your warriors, who are savings lives, and with better merchandise. what a prize idiot!

That's absolutely ridiculous that they can't see that a digital camera is a necessity. I'm not sure exactly what you would have to do to get it approved but I'm sure it would hell to try. There should not even BE a no-no list, all orders should go through who DOES manage the list and there would have to be an interview as to why the items were needed.

Can we civilians DONATE the cameras to you?

Excellent. It would have been very difficult to keep a straight face.

As long as he doesn't ask you to cut down the largest tree in the forest with a heron.

And that is ridiculous. I have a digital camera I don't use anyways, so I would be more than happy to give it away.

Excellent. It would have been very difficult to keep a straight face.

As long as he doesn't ask you to cut down the largest tree in the forest with a heron.

And that is ridiculous. I have a digital camera I don't use anyways, so I would be more than happy to give it away.

Excellent. It would have been very difficult to keep a straight face.

As long as he doesn't ask you to cut down the largest tree in the forest with a heron.

And that is ridiculous. I have a digital camera I don't use anyways, so I would be more than happy to give it away.

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