I’m doing an extensive interview with Newsmax regarding this topic later this month with John Bachman. In the meantime I wanted to comment on the recent NY Times article about US Officials, none of whom have served in direct combat action, I suspect, who are condemning photos of US Warfighters posing with dead body parts.
Are we at war or aren’t we?
An Adult Version of Lord of the Flies
First let me state that I’m not a fan of War, it’s an ugly business. Unfortunately War is still very necessary in the adult world of Lord of the Flies we live in.
Until we can affect major cultural change in the environments that produce radicals at home and abroad we are stuck with waging War via violence. And yes, we have extremists at home. Remember Awlaki? He’s the US Citizen turned Al Qaeda leader that my good friend Geo-tagged and tracked so US SOCOM could put a missile up his ass (no pictures unfortunately). A good US SOCOM operation and one less bad guy in the world.
Root causes need to be dealt with, I cannot say this enough. We continue to focus on treating symptoms of radicalism and are blind to building strong ethical foundations. The social environments that produce the Bin Laden’s and Awlaki’s of the world need to be studied and addressed. Until this happens we will continually enjoy our own adult version of Lord of the Flies. That and US politicians will continue to send young men and women into war, and expect them to kill in the name of. And then, the same politicians sit in comfort half a world a way and pass judgement without a real understanding of the issues; unless you count what a twenty two year-old political intern has briefed them on with their worldly understanding of things as real understanding….
War is Hell
When guys snap and kill civilians, as did the Army soldier in Afghanistan recently, our leaders scream for blood of a different kind. They want to string up a guy that obviously has serious psychological trauma (what do you expect will happen?) and put him in Leavenworth.
Waging War is tough and there’s a thin line to walk that’s for sure. However, if you’re going to play war then release the fucking hounds and don’t get mad if they take a few extra bites of flesh. If you’ve been to war then you know that it’s a state-of-mind and the moment you start second guessing yourself in combat you’re dead.
I doubt Alexander the Great or General Patton would’ve have cared less that his men (or women today) pissed on the dead corpses of their enemy or drew funny pictures (they didn’t have iPhones back then). These leaders wanted their Warfighters mad and hungry for the blood of their enemy. When you’re in the arena then “embrace the hate” and let the killing begin.
Us or Them
When I was down range it was game on and a “it’s me or them” mentality, I would kill anything or anyone to ensure the safety of my teammates. I enjoyed serving my country and defending our freedom, and FYI, I sleep soundly at night. War is nasty business but if you are going to play the game then play for keeps.
The platoon patch I designed for SEAL Team 3 ECHO platoon (Featured in my book The Red Circle) says”Embrace The Hate”. It features a white Devil and the words “Embrace the Hate”, which stood for the intense feeling all US citizens (and us SEALs) had towards the terrorists after 9-11.
The white Devil came from the nickname the terrorists/smugglers ships crew gave us SEALs in the Persian Gulf. They said, “the white Devils come in the night unannounced and cause terror.” “Ready or not, here we come” was not shouted out by my SEAL platoon or the “6” guys that smoked UBL. Typically we have ships taken down in less than 5 minutes with bad guys face down on wet steel with flex cuffs tight on their hands. They often didn’t know what hit them or how, and that’s the way we like to keep it.
A Note to Washington Politicians
Be careful when you let the hounds of war off the leash Washington Bureaucrat. You just might not like what they bring back in their teeth, or the smell of their bloody breath panting on you. But remember, most importantly, it was YOU who sent them and they whom have to shoulder the ultimate burden. Would you scold a hunting dog for doing his job too well?
In the mean time you sleep soundly at night because the US Warfighter has your back…even though it apparent that you don’t have theirs, unless it becomes popular again.