Thursday, 19 May 2011

the fog of war

More Raven. This pair make particularly good reading as a counter to lots of the stuff you read about Irag/Afghanistan. We are a profoundly demilitarised generation and I think many people don't think sensibly about what war might be like when they criticise its conduct.*

'Listen my cadets,' he said. 'Officer Cader Strange has spoken what I wished to hear. In battle there is a right way and a wrong way, a near way and a far way, a fast way and a slow way; but a safe way there can never be except for the way home, and that way, my children, we do not take.'


'I've not seen much action myself,' he told them, 'because I kept out of it whenever possible; but I've seen a bit, and of course it's not at all like this. On this exercise we have a plan and we're following it. In action, the plan has to be changed every five minutes, and anyhow everyone's too frightened to remember what it is, even supposing they ever knew in the first place. So you just muddle on and hope for the best.'

After hearing this, they executed several more precisely ordained movements, until Captain Detterling announced that the enemy was defeated and that it was time for lunch.

* Please do not think this means I advocate that soldiers are not scrutinised.

1 comment:

The Milk Tray Man said...

"* Please do not think this means I advocate that soldiers are not scrutinised."

They can be the most horrible and wonderful of people on the same day. Purposeful, directed aggression is taught and rehearsed, ad nauseum. Tenderness is, strangely, a bi-product.