Father Finian's Vignettes In The Ugly American

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The Ugly American is a novel, which takes place in the 1950’s in a fictional Asian country. There are multiple vignettes within the story line that either apply one of the twelve SOF imperatives or display a lack thereof. For the purposes of this essay I have chosen to reference the vignettes including Father Finian and Thomas Knox. I chose Father Finian because of the way he displayed an understanding of his operational environment, his working with and through others and the lack of providing sufficient intelligence. I chose Thomas Knox because of his ability to understand his operational environment and implied desire to ensure long-term engagement. The SOF imperative of working through and with others involves applying capabilities indirectly.…show more content…
Whether it is for the benefit of an SF mission, attending a military course, or being at a sales meeting, understanding one’s operational environment (OE) is a cannot be discounted. While this is a SOF imperative, it is not exclusive to military use. Understanding one’s OE, takes place in many aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, it is not something that is practiced at the most opportune times. While in the Marine Corps, I was serving a tour in South America visiting several countries for a military exchange program known as TCA. Embassy personnel throughout the region consistently displayed a lack of understanding for their operational environment. In Buenos Aires, a US Navy officer was robbed at gunpoint while waiting in his personal vehicle at a stoplight. His vehicle was a late model American SUV. He was dressed in his uniform, which included a short sleeve shirt, and a gold Rolex watch on his left wrist. At the time, Argentina was experiencing an economic crisis. The local news reports were often reporting stories of robberies and assaults. In spite of these conditions, the Navy Officer repeatedly commented about how surprised he was that he had been victimized. During meetings with the local government officials, and his interactions with embassy employees, he consistently confirmed the impressions of many; that he was completely deficient of any resemblance of understanding for his operational environment. Unlike Father Finian and Thomas Knox, the Navy Commander acted in such a way that lacked understanding of the effects of interconnected influences. Fortunately for the US Mission within that Area of Operation, any adverse effects he had on relationships were minimal. However, I suspect that he certainly helped to solidify negative perceptions of

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