A brief reflection on leadership, humility, and staying grounded in what’s in front of you. Don’t lose the battle before you even leave the drawing board.
Republished from the author’s blog, readingjunkie.com – check it out here.
You will never see grown men power trip harder than in an imaginary operation commanding armies that don’t exist.
There are many examples of this little mantra in my head (If someone copyrighted it already, excuse me, but I don’t really care), but there is one story in particular that sticks out.
A simulated headquarters.
I write a simulated press release.
“Explosions rocked the densely packed buildings in Kabul,” I wrote frantically.
Indeed a disaster for the fictitious citizenry of the fictional Kabul.
A good press release that no doubt caught the attention of many alarmed citizens, American and international alike, in this fictional universe. I was pleased with myself. But someone else was not quite so pleased.
The portly sergeant, the “commander” who is respected in this pretend world of make-believe. He objected quite intensely.
“You are editorializing,” He claimed, referring to my colorful language.
I Googled “editorializing right there. “To make comments or express opinions rather than just report the news.”
“No!” The portly sergeant persisted. “Hard news is supposed to be boring!”
Yes, a cognitively functioning human actually said this.
I told him that, boring or not, that’s not what “editorializing” means.
The portly sergeant never forgave me for that one.
My reinforcements have arrived.
I’m not sure what books I’d recommend for this particular topic, so I’ll go with a couple of examples of people with a proper understanding of warfare – books that I enjoyed when I first read them and enjoyed more as I grew to understand these topics better. The first is Patton’s autobiography, the classic War As I Knew It. The second is The Soldier’s Load and the Mobility of a Nation, George Marshall’s book that is essentially a novella-length Cliff Notes version of his studies of World War II and the Korean War. An excellent book that is actually on the Marine Corps Commandant’s reading list… not that anyone pays the slightest bit of attention to it. Lastly, I recommend Platoon, widely considered to be the definitive Vietnam War movie. Platoon is the brainchild of Oliver Stone, an infantryman who deployed to Vietnam – his screenplay is a brutal rebuttal of John Wayne’s 1968 propaganda film The Green Berets.
About the Author
I worked in the Army’s Public Affairs program as a multi-media “correspondent,” if you will, for eight years, producing news articles, video, and photography in around the United States as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait.
My current creative endeavors include Tales From Venus, the Night Witches Project, and The Man With No Heart. A full list of my published work on Fabius Maximus can be found here. My portfolio of military work and publications is located here. I have the attention span of a squirrel, so none of these are quite finished yet. I’m excited to have launched Reading Junkie, and hope it is a platform that other creators enjoy and find useful. See my full bio here.
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2 thoughts on “War Games”
“You will never see grown men power trip harder than in an imaginary operation commanding armies that don’t exist.
There are many examples of this little mantra in my head (If someone copyrighted it already, excuse me, but I don’t really care)”
I’m not aware of anyone having copyrighted this, but from long wargaming (Commercial variety) experience truer words was never spoke. I never had to worry about press coverage in any of my simulated battles, but by now I would think that press coverage would be viewed as one more form of friction. But I’m very familiar with the reactions of players when things don’t go the way they think they should. I even learned to make use of it a few times.
I always thought of The Green Berets as a World War II commando movie that somehow ended up using the wrong costumes.
Hey Man Who Laughs! I’m sorry for missing this comment – I got wrapped up so must have must overlooked it.
I’m not aware of a copyright either. Oh dear God I certainly hope not. I have a “journal” – actually it’s just a little notebook I scribble random nonsense that comes up in my head. That sentiment was one of them.
And I also feel you on the wargaming… I’ve participated in it in all shapes and sizes, and egos inflate to the point it’s ridiculous.
This story I put up as a standalone, though I kind of should have included it in the “Madman” series I’m currently running (You can see several episodes on the main page now).