These young ladies understand that through the FETs, they are being given the opportunity to make a connection and make a difference with Afghan women. Many times I see male Marines come to the Middle East with the attitude that everyone here is an enemy, and killing is the only answer. The FET volunteers care about the people of Afghanistan, and Iraq, as individuals, on a human level, with no preformed prejudice. That is why the program works so well. FETs go in with the right attitude, and the people know this. They are instantly welcoming, and we can see the difference we make among the women and children of Afghanistan firsthand - and we know that, in turn, they are making a difference among the nation's men through their family connections.
The powers that be are calling for more troops in Afghanistan. I agree, wholeheartedly. But let them be the right kind of troops. What we need, more than just bodies, are EOD technicians, able-bodied interpreters, counterintelligence specialists, and FET volunteers. Lots and lots of FET volunteers.
The topic is now receiving coverage elsewhere. On October 13th, The Takeaway discussed women in counterinsurgency with Army Reserve Maj. Paula Broadwell, researcher at the Center for Public Leadership; and retired Army Sgt. Genevieve Chase, founder of American Women Veterans, and today the New York Times ran an opinion piece by Paula Broadwell.
Those last two items found via Akinoluna’s blog on military women. She adds her own comments on the New York Times article.
Meanwhile, over on The Helmand Blog, there was a recent story on Sergeant Isabella McManus, MoD police, and her successful work mentoring policewomen in Afghanistan. Which leads to another thought. Last spring it was reported that Iran’s national police chief had stated his force’s readiness to help in training police in Afghanistan. Could he perhaps be persuaded to send these women officers?