I just read The Sun News article on how Michael Haley -- our good governor's hubby -- has been representing the great state of South Carolina by being part of 43-person detachment sent to a combat zone in Afghanistan in January of this year.
But as I read, and then reread, the article a number of times, I was left with several questions and concerns about this particular National Guard activity, and was immediately reminded of the old oxymoron -- military intelligence.
For openers, just how qualified is the governor's husband, Capt. Haley -- or for that matter any of the members of the team -- as agriculture-training experts? Whatever that is.
It's no doubt naive of me, but if, as a country, we wanted to improve agricultural practices in Afghanistan, why not let the specialists from the U.S Department of Agriculture manage it? And what exactly is the mission of the South Carolina National Guard? Do they want to teach farmers over there to grow tobacco instead of opium producing poppies?
Sure, it usually takes longer for tobacco to kill people than opium, but it still wouldn't add much to the sterling reputation of our fine state.
As a taxpayer, I also wondered what it has, and will cost us, to train/prepare this detachment, ship them and their equipment to Afghanistan, maintain and support them while they are there, and then bring them home? Another little expense for us is providing a two-week furlough -- no doubt with airfare both ways for Capt. Haley and/or his team members - halfway through their one year deployment.
Men and women serving in the military during WWII didn't have such a swell fringe-benefit, and even when I was shipped to Korea in 1951, my only trip home was when I rotated after almost a year in a combat engineer outfit.
History has confirmed that after Afghanistan was invaded, first by the British and later by the Russians, the Afghans generally reverted back to their usual approaches and practices soon after the invaders have pulled out. My guess is that -- unfortunately -- in spite of any and all efforts on the part of our National Guard Agricultural Training Group, the Afghan farmers will go right back to raising the cash-crop they have turned to for centuries ….poppies!
The writer lives in Pawleys Island