CLARITY OF CHAOS
March 30, 2003
Long ago and far away as a young Army officer at Fort Benning I recall sitting in classrooms in Infantry Hall and someone inevitably asking a series of 'what if' questions to instructors.
"What if…the weather is such and such? Or the terrain is such and such? Or such and such is used…or we deploy such and such?"
The answer to every single tactical variable was and remains the same: "It depends on the situation."
Those glued to the ubiquitous war coverage have no doubt heard the old bromide "No plan survives first contact with the enemy." Stuff happens!
The realities of Operation Iraqi Freedom are that coalition forces are performing remarkably. Precision-guided satellite/GPS munitions are surgically eviscerating the enemy.
The outcome, notwithstanding the ad nauseum second-guessing of an increasing punditry class, is a foregone conclusion.
Neil Cavuto on Fox News had a uniquely insightful commentary recently Operation Iraqi Freedom .
He talked about coalition forces within 50 miles of Baghdad and control of two thirds of the country. He noted observing "clarity over sandstorms and truth over treachery."
He talked about "second-guessing from wannabe generals who couldn't be more clueless and senseless name-calling from countries who couldn't be more hapless."
When he said, "I see people who've never known a day of battle pontificating on what we should do in battle." I spontaneously shouted "HOOAH!" at the television.
When he said, "I see past the sum of our fears, to the whole of our greatness." I experienced that same chill down my spine when I hear the National Anthem and the words "Duty, Honor, Country" articulated from those who are living it.
Americans have become jaded and lulled into some false sense of confidence that war is some kind of computer game and that the cost of hard necessary decisions can avoid the inevitable realities of war.
This war is not Desert Storm. The mission is significantly different even if the terrain is the same. Twelve years ago the objective was to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait after he invaded his neighbor. This time, the objective is the removal of the tyrant and regime change.
Last time we fought to return the Iraqi status quo. This time we seek to destroy the Iraqi status quo, remove Saddam Hussein from power, and replace the Baath Party leadership.
Hussein and his sycophant supporters are literally fighting for their lives. They cannot win, but the longer they postpone the inevitable the better for them.
Some have complained The Feydeeen is not fighting fair. Duh!?!?
· They are fighting out of uniform,
· In some cases donning US uniforms,
· And killing indigenous population that exhibit any support for coalition forces.
· They faked surrenders to lure our troops into ambushes.
· They are now using suicide bombers.
· Reportedly they have filled trenches surrounding Baghdad with oil.
· Chemical weapons (which they claimed not to posses) have reportedly been authorized.
The fight will be hard but the outcome remains inevitable.
President Bush said, "The fighting is fierce and we do not know its duration, yet we know the outcome of this battle….The Iraqi regime will be disarmed and removed from power." And THAT'S a fact Jack!
I heard one of the ubiquitous imbedded journalists pontificating about how 'weary' our troops were after a particularly arduous trek. It ticked me off. It is remarkable these journalists can live with, move with, and observe these troops and not yet realize that soldiers routinely and consistently bitch and moan about stuff…but that any perceived fatigue or dissatisfaction evaporates on contact when the imperative becomes protecting their buddies to the left and right, and killing anything that threatens them.
I have unbridled confidence in our troops and the men leading them. My only concerns are that politics will be insinuated into the war fighting. We have learned valuable lessons from past military actions. Presumably the administration is letting the war fighters fight the war. Victory is assured unless or until politics is allowed to muck up the war plan.
Let the soldiers and the real generals fight and win the war….THEN let the diplomats and politicians deal with the challenges of rebuilding and reorganizing.
Teddy Roosevelt once observed, ""It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."
There is clarity in the chaos of war that no analyst, pundit, or gilded elitist will ever perceive. Fortunately, it isn't necessary for the critic to taste the clarity of chaos…only those in the arena.
© 2003 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication. www.geoffmetcalf.com