And Safety Wonders Why Nobody Zero Hates It Anymore
Just when you thought safety could not get any sillier or desperate, this is what all-risk aversion comes up with…….. My only question, to who ever thought this was a good idea, is: “have you thought through the by-products?”
Us soldiers were first required to wear reflective belts when doing PT – it has since evolved into a compulsory requirement – except when in combat situations……for now. Most people , including those who have to wear them think its safety gone mad and someone has even set up a Facebook page to seek solace in humour and derision: https://www.facebook.com/PTbelt/
Unfortunately, once you do something like this it takes a lot of courage to undo it – imagine a true Leader who could step forward and do that and how much they would be admired!
This comment from a US Soldier reflects a sentiment similar to that which many express about Zero Harm in civilian workplaces:
And so as I see it, this is a symptom of why America can’t finish off its modern day wars. Its military is incredibly small minded. We have the brightest, shiniest toys any Soldier could hope for. We just have no idea what we’re doing strategically. As I once said to an analyst buddy of mine in Afghanistan: “Stupid people place equal importance on all things.”
Don’t get me wrong. The Army has some very smart people within its ranks. But it is an utterly broken culture, devoid of the agility, creativity and openness needed to fight today’s wars. We’re forced to rely on drone strikes in Pakistan and hope for the best. The only units in the Army that possess the needed qualities to fight are special operations forces, and they know how ponderously dumb Big Army can be. Many times, the special operators avoid working with regular military folk while deployed because they consider them amateurs.
As long as Soldiers know more about the regulations covering the proper wear of the reflective belt than they do Sun Tzu, expect America to continue making itself look foolish.
According to QUORA:
The reflective belt is universally hated by all soldiers below the rank of First Sergeant, and loved with an almost fetishistic perversity by soldiers in the top two enlisted ranks, apparently because it gives them something to do that is absolutely meaningless but is visible from a great distance. Troops exercising on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan are required to wear them, and a series of faux-news article on the satirical website “Duffel Blog” has lampooned the belts and their inflated importance.
I’m still lost for words but this article: http://taskandpurpose.com/the-reflective-belt-an-icon-of-the-global-war-on-terror/ by pretty well sums it up:
Still, the required wear of the reflective belt continued, almost as though some evil genie was controlling the process. The evil genie’s proteges were what we in the Army call “good idea fairies.” They did not disappoint. Some bases put out color-coded requirements for the wear of the reflective belt; not only would reflective belts be worn, but they would be color coded to match the individual’s rank. During the height of the Global War on Terror, reflective-belt use hit its nadir. It became required wear for entrance into a dining facility, even though dining facilities were well lit and significantly free of vehicles. Each branch of service adopted its own specific colors for reflective belts, adding to the bureaucratic mess that the Global War on Terror was rapidly devolving into. Some units even decided that colors wouldn’t cut it: they needed their troops to wear their rank and their unit crest on their reflective belts. It was truly a breathtaking time in military history.
Although the mysterious power of the reflective belt has greatly weakened, its memory still lives on, from a display in an Air Force Museum to the collective memory of hundreds of thousands of veterans. Where the poncho liner is universally loved, the reflective belt is scorned and hated. It is a symbol of decisions by committee and the larger risk aversion that seemed to take hold during the Global War on Terror. The reflective belt is so strong in the American military’s psyche that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan may as well be referred to as “The Reflective Belt Wars.”
And a few more articles on the subject: