Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Watch your 6

The sign seems stupid.  If it were in your neighborhood, it would be guilded and a little overbearing.  It has amazing power here.   Very simple, it states, alone on the side of the road: "Complacency Kills." 

Unfortunately/fortunately, there is no conventionality to this war.  The evil hajis just launch rockets into the air and run--for they certainly cannot maintain any position and have hopes to continue breathing--hoping they land on someone's head.  Most of the time, they miss the heads and just make a bang.  Once in a while they reach the statistically inevitability, as that room of chimpanzees typing Shakespeare, and someone walks under a falling ordinance.  The bastards do this to the good hajis, and they do this to us.  There are well-fortified, usually permanent structure bases, like here.  And there are easy targets; isolated, undermanned FOBs (forward operating bases).  This is entirely a guess, as I have no official knowledge of this either way, but I gather these are lower-yield, easier targets lacking much of the high-tech capacity to quickly hunt down the would-be murderer(s).

We get trauma triplets flown in here at a steady, but random pace.  Always 3.  Your guess is as good as mine as to the consistency of this phenomenon.  One patient either dead, or near dead with fatal injuries, the next with completely recoverable soft tissue shrapnel injuries, and a third, perhaps with a concussion, otherwise, esssentially, untouched, but suffering from PTSD, regret and denial, and most poignantly, a sense of responsibility failed.  What do you say to the 19 yo kid who in the midst of a chuckle, took a bite out of his burrito, while, in great non sequitur, the exploding fragment ripped through the neck of his dining companion; and who then, futilely, but determinedly, held this young carotid together with his hands, as he became soaked with the fleeting life of the other?  We had another RPG meal-time attack come in the other night.  The surgeons spent all night repairing the mascerated young sargeant as his 2 comrades waited in angst.  And after expending the reserves of the blood bank, and satisfied with establishing normal blood pressure and heart rate, they then declared him stable enough to have a CT scan of his brain.  Unfortunately, the talking and purposeful movements the patient made prior to the surgery belied the nonrecoverable fatal brain injury which only now became evident on film. 

This is the only way the terrorists can operate, as we whip them on every "conventional" level, but it is cowardly nonetheless.  Cowardice and desperation go hand-in-hand and lead to these essentially unpredictable, and unpreventable actions.  We have safeguards to prevent all that we can:  mortar shields, communication systems, air defense and surveillance.  All of this is what limits the effectiveness of their cowardly cunning.  Any target cannot prevent all that is viciously random in this nature, however, so we must remain vigilant.  Analagously, in the US:  wear your seatbelt, and watch where go at night.  Complacency kills, so watching my 6, best as I can.

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