Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Food for thought on War

"Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult. These difficulties accumulate and produce a friction, which no man can imagine exactly who has not seen war." ---Carl Von Clausewitz, On War

"But CENTCOM had not developed a plan for conventional ground operations in Afghanistan. Nor had diplomatic arrangements for basing, staging, overflight and access been made with Afghanistan's neighbors. There simply had been no stomach in Washington for sustained face-to-face combat in this remote primitive, landlocked country halfway around the world-no stomach since at least 1993.

From Hugh Shelton's tone, it was clear that this was about to change. America's military was going to war in a country where twenty-some years earlier the Soviet Union had invested 620,000 men over the course of eleven years, at a cost of more than 15,000 killed and almost 55,000 wounded." ---General Tommy Franks, American Soldier

"Bobby soon learns the trick that his father and his uncles and his grandfather all knew, which is that you never talk about the specifics of what happened over there. No one wants to hear about how you dug half of your buddy's molars out of your leg with the point of a bayonet." ---Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

"...they have been getting bombed a lot. Even if the shrapnel misses you, the bomb's shock wave is like a stone wall moving at seven hundred miles an hour. Unlike a stone wall, it passes through your body, like a burst of light through a glass figurine. On its way through your flesh, it rearranges every part of you down to the mitochondrial level, disrupting every process in every cell, including whatever enables your brain to keep track of time and experience the world. A few of these detonations are enough to break the thread of consciousness into a snarl of tangled and chopped filaments. These men are not as human as they were when they left home; they cannot be expected to think clearly or do things for good reasons." ---Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

"The trail was perhaps a hundred meters from the woodline, and in a matter of minutes we found the bodies. The first dink's brains were sticking out from the side of his head; now I knew why the brain is referred to as gray matter. I wondered what would happen if the skull was hit with a blunt object and the brain wasn't there to absorb the impact. With the butt of my M-16 I smacked the dink's head. The skull cracked like the head of a plastic doll. That was so neat that I gave him one more. As I looked down on the now grotesque face, I thought it would be neat to reach down and grab the brain to show the guys back at the compound, but on second thought I decided not to.

What would ever possess me to do something like that to a corpse? God only knows. I felt no remorse for the gook. He was dead and I was alive, that's the way it was." ---John L. Rotundo, Charlie Rangers

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