Anorak News | Action Men

Action Men

by | 9th, January 2007

TIRED of the War On Terror?

If you are, It is understandable. This war, as with all wars, was supposed to be over Christmas. But that has been and gone. And the boys and girls are still fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Or are they?

Look again at that sentry on duty at the Grenadier Guards at the Shaibah Logistics base in Iraq. This is the single biggest garrison in southern Iraq.

See the watchman’s steely gaze. Admire his firm jaw and stoicism. See how remarkably still he stands. Vigilance is his byword. He never flinches. He never blinks. He never complains. His life is a pregnant pause between shallow breaths.

You want to shake his hand. But if you did it might come off in your grip. As the Sun reports, this guard is a mannequin, a dummy, a stooge.

Says a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence: “Deception techniques have played a major role in military operations for thousands of years.”

All warfare is based on deception. Sun Tzu said that in The Art of War. Niccolo Machiavelli adds: “Though fraud in other activities may be detestable, in the management of war it is laudable and glorious, and he who overcomes the enemy by fraud is as much to be praised as he who does by force.”

The phrase to note is “force multiplier”. Examples include Gideon and the Midianites, and the Greeks and that Trojan Horse. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said: “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Of course, the trick is to keep a grip on what is real and what is not. When does deception become a lie? Is Iraq now 45-minutes away? Taking into account the tilt of the Earth and the angle of the Miami sun, was it ever so close?

So look again at the plastic British reservists on duty as their mates rest. The Sun says the MoD must be “DUMMIES” to allow such frippery.

But no not worry. The Sun also hears the MoD say that when some watchtowers are unmanned, their “arcs of vision were covered by real sentries being extra vigilant in neighbouring towers”.

Extra vigilant. Surely vigilant needs no qualifier. You are either vigilant or you are not vigilant. Which is it?

In any case, it all might be an untruth. That’s the thing with deception, you don’t know what to believe. Until you see the whites of their eyes…

Posted: 9th, January 2007 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink