Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kismet, Karma, Fate and Firepower

The bullet that has your name on it will get you, regardless. Most of the bullets zipping across the battlefield, however, are addressed “To Whom It May Concern”. It is those address “To Whom It May Concern” that training, equipment, and leadership will defeat. Trusting in God, Allah, The Fuhrer, or the Cause instead is a central issue the Warrior needs to know about those who are about to die. Including one’s own.

Knowing what Fate is is a personal issue. Knowing how the others see it is one of the big four aspects of Family Decision Values (looking for a better term here) of Face, Fate, Fame, and Fortune that guide the decision making process in allocating resources.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Iraq-Iran war sacrificed hundred of thousands of lives whose courage was greater than their competence. Those that survived were the fittest and most dedicated. And now there is a well trained force accustomed to hardship.

The Iraqi Revolutionary Guard, however better trained, were no match for American firepower, and eventually decided that disappearance was the greater virtue to fight another day….and have, to our chagrin.

The Al Qaeda franchise emphasizes the suicide attack, which we often and foolishly attempt to dismiss. They combine sufficient technical and tactical proficiency to launch a suicide attack or campaign combined with the ability to disappear to fight again. Al Qaeda depends upon a cloak of legitimacy amongst the faithful, and acceptance of death by the attacker as a virtue. This is a values based strategy.

Face and Fate are often closely linked. One insulted, some feel it is an obligation, and honor which Fate requires a response. Action and reaction, and consequence. The Warrior who seeks the acquiescence or acceptance of her troops by locals, need to know what constitutes Face issues and the Fate that follows. There are parts of Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington DC, and East LA where one shouldn’t display the Stars and Bars of the Confederate Battle Flag from one’s pickup. Likewise, and ACLU bumper sticker won’t ft well where the Stars and Bars are prominently display.

Fate is consequence tied to circumstance, real and imagined. Fate is not to be tempted without acceptance of the consequences. The Presidential Unit Citation for Taffy 3 reads:

For extraordinary heroism in action against powerful units of the Japanese Fleet during the Battle off Samar, Philippines, October 25, 1944. ...the gallant ships of the Task Unit waged battle fiercely against the superior speed and fire power of the advancing enemy ...two of the Unit's valiant destroyers and one destroyer escort charged the battleships point-blank and, expending their last torpedoes in desperate defense of the entire group, went down under the enemy's heavy shells ... The courageous determination and the superb teamwork of the officers and men who fought the embarked planes and who manned the ships of Task Unit 77.4.3 were instrumental in effecting the retirement of a hostile force threatening our Leyte invasion operations and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.[19

Both the Germans and Japanese dismissed the capacity of Americans for sacrifice thinking that our dismissal of wanton disregard of our own lives was a weakness. In matters of Face and Fate, there is often a really big gap between words and actions. Santa Anna made the same mistake at the Alamo, and got his just rewards at San Jacinto.

We should do no less in fighting terrorism, and make a serious effort to find out what makes the other guy tick.

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