Monday, February 28, 2011

Sink or Swim

There is much I cannot write about the missions my team went out on this week. Three patrols and an arrest. All in the name of training. Hands on training. Sink or swim.

I cannot write about the mud. Despite the similarities to the mud that swamps us during lengthy navigation treks, this mud is suddenly something far more consequential. This mud is weighing and slowing us down, reducing us to zombie speed, during an actual mission. When guns are loaded and a flicked square of muck means that soldier no one trusted to begin with will likely lose it and drop a magazine on a shadowy nothing.

I cannot write about the tension in the air, the masks of fear that shield the teenage face. Our fears are only overshadowed by the audible fears of the men we come to arrest. We may as well set our gear and guns aside. The arrest comes down to two opposing fears, ours and theirs facing off above our shadows in the real battle that determines whether they will come quietly or force a far grimmer outcome.

I cannot spare more than a few words on the strange strategic angle placed on this week. To wit: despite the tremendous amount of work units like my own do in the West Bank, carrying out patrols and arrests just like those we employed this week, our officers still tried to derive lessons from everything we did to Lebanon.

I will not write about the way we were thrust into a real arrest way before we are honestly prepared for anything like this. At least, I would like to think there is a level of greater training waiting in the wings before units like ours are marshaled out periodically on missions like these. Think? Pray is the more apt term.

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