Tuesday, December 12, 2006

JAG Conference

I've been in Kabul the last two days at an ANA JAG Conference. The first two days were conducted by BG Shir, the ANA Judge Advocate General. The training on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are being conducted by DIILS (Defense Institute of International Legal Studies). It's a military agency out of Newport Rhode Island. They send instructors all over the world to conduct training. A LCDR is here and he brought with him two military judges.

The training has been good but the best part has been the questions being asked and the dialogue that is going on. A lot of the questions are ones I've already heard and answered and it's nice to hear the same answers being given that I already gave. Some of the questions and scenarios are dealing with the procedural problems the Afghans have with their system and it's nice to see them deal with the issues and try to find solutions.

We as mentors, and even they as the legal corps of the ANA, have to realize that their system of military of justice is not even a year old. Their military justice system was passed into las last December and it wasn't until around June of this year that it really went into effect. I was told that since June they've done about 50 court martials in the 5 corps. That may seem like a lot or a little, depending on your point of view, but it's been a tremendous success for the ANA to get this far. One of the judges said that it's taken our system of justive over 200 years to develop so the great strides they've made in less than a year are commendable.

It's also been fun to see who it is that's asking the questions. For some reason I take a lot of satisfaction that they're guys from the 201st Corps, my Corps, that are asking the questions. One of the legal officers sometimes asks silly questions and I wish he'd sit down and not ask so many, but at least he and the others are getting the discussion going.

This one in particular that I'm talking about, Wais has a hard time with. The first time we met him he kept putting his hand on Wais' knee. He wasn't really rubbing it, but he would leave it there for a minute or two. He also straightened out his colar and a few other things that made Wais feel uncomfortable. The second time we met him, he did the same things. Now whenever Wais refers to him, the calls him "the guy who likes to rub my knee." I keep teasing him it's because this guy has a thing for Wais. He hates that!

The conference continues through tomorrow. After that we're having a US JAG dinner. I'm looking forward to that as it will give us an opportunity to sit down, relax and enjoy each others company. I'll head "home" sometime after that.

I'm so gald that I don't live here. It's crowded. You have to salute which means I get saluted a lot and I have to salute - not that I mind, it's just a constant stream of saluting. It's also crowded. The offices the JAGs up here have are tiny and crowded. It makes me miss my spacious office. And then I like being able to walk less than 200 steps to my room. There's something comforting about being able to "get away from it all" even though it's just a corner of a shared room, at least it's my room.

Anyway, I just got a phone call and need to go meet with a full-Colonel. He's actually a friend of mine I met in Japan last year. The fact that he's the Number 1 JAG on this compound makes me sort of special!!

OK, it doesn't but it's pretty cool to meet with him and "feel" important.

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