See all evil, hear all evil, speak all evil – modern warfare Imagine this: you are in the middle of a place to which no road leads to. There are no signals on your mobile phone; you’re living in a tent and the toilet is a hole in the ground which isn’t always vacant but not solely by human beings. Your best air conditioning is what Mother Nature deems fit. Every man around you is armed to the teeth and your bed is a simple mat. Welcome to warfare 101. There are two things that will save your life, save your country and save your brothers in arms: your eyes and your ears. Don’t trust your senses By the time you hear a cannon battery fire the ball of fire is already on you. The same is for true for a jet. By the time you hear it, it is already too late. What do you do in such a situation? You trust your ears but not from the sounds around you but from a small wonder of technology snuggling with you on your belt: the Motorola; this will save your life and win your battles for you. Trust me, on the field it’s always buzzing in a language you best learn. A common exchange: ‘Delta control, Delta One. Movement detected at 0930. Copy? Over.’ ‘Delta One, Delta control. Copy. Advice. Over.’ ‘Delta Control, Delta One. Secure positions. Over.’ ‘Delta One, Delta Control. Roger. Over and out.’ ‘Delta Control, Delta One. Copied. Update, periodically. Over and out.’ Here Delta one is the detachment which can be a section or a platoon or a quick response force or even a single sniper. Delta control is the field commander which is monitoring information from all its detachments and informing timely the most forward facing position. Every line spoken here is tainted with blood. The first line is to identify yourself and then who you’re talking to. Why? In case you’re hit and communications go out they would know who was it and take actions accordingly. Each line spoken here has been drilled into the man who speaks it. Crisp communications are the key. The exact way in which each position talks to one another is a secret this format is just what I wanted to explain as an example. Everything is BVR! Trust your instincts ‘Be aware of an old man in a profession where the young die.’ I read this online a few years ago and I saw it make a huge impact on the field. On the road is that just a shopping bag dropped by an uncaring or hurried housewife or child or is it an IED? The answer to that will mean life or death; however, if you keep checking every nook and cranny you’re never going to move forward! Where to check and where to move forward? It’s the men hardened by war who are usually the key here. No technology has been able to circumvent the keen eye of a survivor and I don’t think it will for the long foreseeable future. A comment I recall fondly from a battle-hardened Havaldar, ‘Sir, ankhon se na dekhien, kanon se na sunien, zehan se dekhien, zehan se sunien.’ (sir, don’t see with your eyes, don’t listen with your ears; see with your mind (and) listen with your mind.) Brain switch You’re on a hill, fortified, there’s a section under you (9-12 armed men); it’s in the middle of the night and you hear a small noise at the periphery and a few rocks drop down. You get up to check if the sentry has noticed something. You get a frantic call, ‘Station, station, station!’ You’re under attack. You grab the motorolla transmitter and update your superiors but for now you need to take action. You see in barely any light a movement; bullets follow, they can be 17, they can be 70, you do not know. In this situation the brain goes haywire. You’ll think of the last bad thing you did and feel guilty, your mom would come over in your brain crying over your dead body, you’ll smell your mother’s cooking, you’ll miss the girl you like, you’ll miss the cousin your mother wants you to marry and be glad you’re dead. In essence, you’ll start to feel your stomach disappear, your mind race, your heart pump, your body sweats whether cold or hot, you’ll breathe shallow and panic would begin to set in. This happens in a flash of a second but it lasts for an eternity. It’ll stay for a few moments but it’ll go away. In one of two ways: either you’ll run or you’ll stay and this is life or death. If you run death is certain because your rational brain knows you’re on the position of strength as you’ve the higher defendable position but the self-preservation in your veins the parts of your brain dedicated to keeping you alive will scream at you to run for your life! Most would but only a select few will stay because they’ll switch off their brains and become what can be called insane. You grab the G-3 nearby, scream the motivation of your regiment: Death or victory! And unleash hell with the squeezing a small piece of metal. Your ears will ring. You will breathe with the gun as you move it moves and if you’ve had the honor of being drilled by excellent drill sergeants you’ll know to keep the aim a little lower than the target as the pullback will make it come on spot with deadly accuracy hitting the areas from where there is no return. It’s no mercy. This experience makes for a brotherhood that’s deeper than your blood and there is no substitute for it. Hold your soul It’s true that killing someone kills a little bit of you. Yet, when it needs to be done it needs to be done. The killing impulse can hold you permanently, some people become wounded in the soul: PTSD, suicide, nihilism are some ways in which you can see those who are haunted. Yet, most come out fine because they forge brotherhood and hold their soul; the essence of this is the meaning behind their actions. This is why, personally, I think that the fiber of being good is to see, hear and speak evil because you’re not held by it anymore, you’re not afraid of it anymore and it’s not something that can hold you in power.