Tom Clancy, courtesy of MGunz; wondered where you've been
Momz (no login) Posted Sep 23, 2001 5:24 PM
Didn't know you wuz hangin out in such high society!
(From The London Sunday Mail)
> We're Going to Get You - By Tom Clancy
Ed. Note: For Tom Clancy, the world's highest-paid fiction writer - whose thrillers have sold 60 million copies and been turned into blockbuster movies - the events of Tuesday hold a special poignancy. In his bestselling novel Debt Of Honour in 1994, he created a scenario chillingly similar to the attacks; a Japanese pilot crashes a 747 jet into the US Capitol buildings, killing the President and most of his Cabinet. Here, Clancy explains why the mood of his nation is now turning to revenge.
It was a friend of mine formerly of the Royal Navy who first pointed out that the casualty count on this incident exceeds that of Pearl Harbour. Yes, my country has taken a big and costly hit, and somewhere,perhaps in South Asia, some people are exchanging high-fives and having themselves a good laugh. And maybe they're entitled to it. Like Pearl Harbour, it was a well planned and well executed black operation. But, you know, they've made the same mistake that Japan made back in 1941.
It's remarkable to me that America is so hard for some people to understand. We are the most open of books, after all. Our values and customs are portrayed on TV and movie screens all over the world. Is the character of my country so hard to grasp?
Japan figured that they could defeat us not physically, but morally, that America was not tough enough to defeat their death-seeking warriors, that we would be unwilling to absorb the casualties. (In this they were right: we didn't absorb all the casualties they tried to inflict - but that was because we killed their samurai much more efficiently than they were able to kill our men.)
An enemy willing to die in the performance of his duty can indeed be a formidable adversary, but, you see, we've dealt with such people before. They die just like everyone else. Perhaps the American sort of patriotism, like the British sort, just isn't bombastic enough for our enemies to notice. We don't parade about thumping our chests and proclaiming how tough we are, whereas other people like that sort of display. But they don't seem to grasp the fact that they do it because they have to - they evidently need to prove to themselves how formidable they are.
Instead, our people, like yours, train and practise their craft every day, out in the field at places like Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Irwin, California. I've been to both places and seen our people and how they train. The difference between a civilian or a common ruffian and a soldier, you see, is training.
A professional soldier is as serious about his work as a surgeon is about his. Such people are not, in my
experience, boastful. If you ask what they can do, they will explain it to you, usually in quiet tones, because
they do not feel the need to prove anything. Off duty they are like everyone else, watching football on TV and enjoying a quiet beer with their pals. They read books, shop at the local supermarkets, and mow the grass at home. They all enjoy a good laugh. They make the best of friends. They look physically fit - and
indeed they are physically fit - because their job requires it, and every day they do something tiresome in the field, working at some more or less demanding field exercise, again and again and again until every aspect of their job is as automatic as
zipping one's zipper is for us people in civilian life.
But, you know, inside all of these people, such as the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, or the 75th Ranger
Regiment at Fort Steward, Georgia, there burns a little flame. Not a big one; instead like the pilot light in a
gas stove. And when you put more gas there, the flame gets bigger, enough to cook with.
Inside every one of these people is something else, something you have to look for - pride. They know that
they are good at their work, in the event they ever have to do it for real. This doesn't happen very often, and indeed they do not ordinarily lust to do it because it's a serious, nasty job. The job is the taking of life.
Military organisations exist for only one mission: killing people and breaking things. This is not something to be undertaken lightly, because life is a gift from God, and a lot of these people - kids, really - can be found in church on Sunday mornings. But their larger purpose - the reason these kids enlist, both in my country and in yours - is to preserve, protect, and defend their nations and the citizens who live there.
It's not an easy job, but someone has to do it, and typically the hardest jobs attract the best of us. Mostly they never have to kill anybody, and that's okay with them. It's knowing that they are able to do something difficult and dangerous that gives them their pride. This purpose, defending their country, is something they don't talk much about, but it's always there, and with it comes a quiet, steely look in the eyes. Especially when something like this happens. That's when their sense of self is insulted, and these are people who do not bear insults well.
They are protectors, and when those whom they are sworn to protect are hurt, then comes the desire - the
lust - to perform their mission. Even then it's quiet. They will not riot or pose before TV cameras or cry aloud for action, because that's not their way. They are the point of the lance,the very breath of the dragon, and at times like this they want to know the taste of blood.
Their adversaries just don't appreciate what they are capable of. It's something too divorced from their
experience. This isn't like hosing civilians with your machine-gun or setting off a bomb somewhere, or
killing unarmed people strapped and helpless inside a commercial aircraft. This means facing professional warriors at a time and place of their choosing, and that is something terrorists don't really prepare for. The day of Pearl Harbour, the commander of the Japanese navy told his staff not to exult too much, that all their beautifully executed operation had accomplished was to awaken a sleeping dragon and give it a dreadful purpose.
Perhaps alone in his country, Isoroku Yamamoto, who had lived briefly in America, knew what his enemy was capable of, and for that reason, perhaps he was not surprised when the .50-calibre bullet from a P-38
fighter entered his head and ended his life.
Whoever initiated last week's operation is probably not quite as appreciative of what he has begun as
Yamamoto was. Because the dragon is now fully awake, and its breath is too hot for men to bear. America
is now fully awake. Our quiet patriotism is a little louder now, but it will not get too loud. Why spoil the surprise?
Posting this message was a pogue job and does not imply endorsement of the contents...hehe