i'm gonna tell the teacher on youMagazines arrive late, here, so I just got the Dec. 17 issue of The Economist. And here's the old familiar theme in a story on the U.S. Army's efforts to adapt -- cough, cough -- to the challenges presented by its current enemy:
In Afghanistan's violent Helmand province, an American special forces captain -- with broad experience of counter-insurgency -- analysed his furtive Taliban enemies thus: "They're cowards. Why don't they step up and fight like men?" Apparently, he had not considered how he might fight if he had no armour, no radio, an ancient rifle and the sure knowledge that if he fought like a man, he would be obliterated in minutes.I'm repeating myself -- gasp! -- but this thinking makes me want to slam my fucking head against the wall. Our enemies are highly proficient at escaping our efforts to kill them...So they must be unmanly. The nerve of these limp-wristed girlies, not holding still to be killed at our convenience! In the army battle drills that we ran and ran and ran in our pre-deployment training, the enemy is fixed in place by one element's suppressing fire while a second element flanks their position and assaults through, finishing them off; the enemy by god sits there and waits to be killed on schedule. Uh, like men. (Manly men. Who are really into chicks.) Our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan are not playing the role assigned to them in our battle drills, so they're cowards. Of questionable masculinity. Stop for a few moments and linger over the towering fucking dumbness of the United States Army.
What's especially bizarre here is that our (girlish) enemy is doing something not unlike what we're trained to do; American soldiers are taught to break contact if they can't achieve fire superiority in a fight. When the odds are against you in a prolonged firefight -- well, then, dumbass, don't stick around for a prolonged firefight. Somehow it doesn't cost us points off our testicles when we elect to use cover and concealment, or to break off an engagement and live to fight another day. But when our enemy declines to expose his chest for the bullet...Small penis! Small penis! Neener neener neener!
Perhaps someone could convince a certain Special Forces captain -- and a million others just like him -- that war is not primarily about validating his masculinity, and that certain other things are at stake.