Unplugged; as in unplugged from the Matrix. I completed my last unofficial duty the other day by holding a conference on the regional governance and economic issues that confront the military and Department of State reconstruction teams. It was a great vehicle to bring the new guys into the current state of the issues in Iraq and hand off the reins to them for their tour. At the end I thanked my team and everyone for coming to the sound of applause.
And then there was nothing.
My relevance diminished along with my purpose and place on the team as someone else became the “belly button” to press for questions regarding civil military operations. Actually, my relevance is acting as the resource for my replacement to go to for questions. Everything else is fluff.
There are a few more formalities; sign over equipment, conduct a short transfer of authority ceremony, one or two final meetings (as an observer) but, for the most part, I am done. The big machine of the war/reconstruction/withdrawal of Iraq is continuing without me.
It’s an odd feeling made odder still by the fact that I still have over a week to go here. If I’m not needed then why stay around? Of course I know the answer is that I need to remain available for my replacement and, oh-by-the-way, our flight is a fixed date that can’t be moved.
Staying unplugged won’t last forever; soon we’ll all be back on US soil and I will plug back in to the Matrix to get all of my folks through demobilization and home to people who love them.
Until then, I’m okay.