Monday, August 08, 2005

Baghdad Rambo

Frequently, human males overdose on testosterone, especially the now ubiquitous Hollywood variety. That makes them susceptible to stupid, macho fantasies. They don't even have the intelligence of male tarantulas who know they should run away from the large, toothy shadow that DOESN'T have good (or amorous) intentions. The machismo stereotype has probably existed since time immemorial with groups of neolithic hunters bragging about their hunting prowess and the mastodon that got away, continuing through Greek warlords claiming to be the sons of Zeus, and finally arriving in blockbuster films with muscle-bound, steroid-swigging, action stars whose "stunts" are the product of CGI effects. These manly men conquer armies single-handed. The hero needs a suitable villain, one with equal proficiency. And if he doesn't exist, you gotta make him up. Have you heard about Juba, the Baghdad Sniper? He's killed or injured dozens of U.S. soldiers over the past year or so, becoming something of a legend for his skill. So, who is this highly trained expert marksman? A former Republican Guard soldier from Saddam's elite forces? Apparently, he's a former calligrapher and shepherd who deserted from the Iraqi Army several years ago. He picked up his expertise from web searches, playing video games and watching 'Enemy at the Gates', 'The Deer Hunter', and 'JFK'. This is hardly the first time the enemy has been romanticized. For example, the Viet Cong were acclaimed for their hit and run tactics, and the vast tunnel systems they built which enabled them to plan their operations. This elusive and deadly enemy was scared to death of the U.S. Marines who were viewed as gigantic, powerful and deadly fighters. Obviously, it is easy to inflate the abilities of your enemy; your allies are a different matter. During the siege of Tora Bora, the U.S. decided to pay Afghani warlords to capture al Qaeda fighters rather than risk U.S. troops. Afghan mercenaries were less than impressed by U.S. Special Forces who they considered to be cowardly for showing fear. I don't believe that U.S. Special Forces are inordinately fearful; the accusation of cowardice may be more a question of a cultural misunderstanding rather than courage. However, the Afghani people do have a 2300-year history of bravery in battle going back to Alexander the Great's invasion in 328 BC. So, to steal from Sun Tzu, understand your enemy, understand yourself and understand your allies. Since we did't understand the Iraqis or the Afghani people, we were at least half-way screwed from the moment we invaded their countries. Bush has completed the process by continuing our ignorance so now we're totally screwed.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jeff Huber said...

Bush has, however, simplified our task somewhat. We don't have any allies, so we don't have to waste any effort understanding them.

Jeff

8/09/2005 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Wait a sec, Jeff. Aren't there still a few Grand Fenwickians fighting on our side?

8/09/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Huber said...

No, they went home yesterday, Doug.

8/09/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Tarantula Lady said...

Jeff, lol.

8/09/2005 12:30:00 PM  

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