Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Real Heat Of Battle

On my morning run It was sunny, 95 degrees (35C), 50% humidity & windless and I really suffered in just one hour. But in Baghdad it's almost 120 degrees (45C) & just as sunny. And our infantry are routinely putting in more than a 6 mile run. If ever you feel critical of them, think of that.

Our infantry in Iraq puts in hours of hard physical effort at 120 degrees, not in lightweight running kit, but dressed for combat and carrying 30 pounds of weapons & equipment. While sweating along, they have to operate complex and cranky equipment. And when they give battle, they must show perfect judgment, less some paunchy pol back home wrecks their lives and reputations for shooting too quickly, or too slowly, or at the wrong target, or for shooting at all. These soldiers are not all kids with the resilience of youth - some officers are closer my age, leading from the front.

Toynbee argues that civilizations grow from the skills their warriors develop fighting on frontiers, which suggests that after Iraq, the Anglosphere is due for another round of expansion.

Now I'm off to lie down under a ceiling fan...