The Hubris of Technology in War

I’ve been extremely busy with work as of late and have been distracted and therefore have not had either the opportunity or the urge to write. 
That aside, I have also taken up doing some ghillie suit sewing and have begun embroidering Arctic Specter patches (they will be offered for a marginal price soon). I was even working on them during the field
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As I am currently in the process of returning from an 18 day field op on a boring and painstakingly cold drive I am using the time I have to write about a topic that we encountered during training – the reliance upon technology to keep us safe during combat at the expense of being effective.

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The mission was a raid on a village.  The plan was to assault with Strykers and dismount troops to begin clearing building to building.  Simple enough.  Nothing I haven’t done countless times with Humm -v’s in Iraq.  The hangup on the planning was that one of the Strykers had a downed remote weapon system, causing the gunner to have to hang out of his hatch and actually use the weapon system himself.  Apparently, to a bunch of people reliant on their vehicles and technology, this was just an absurd concept that a gunner, may actually have to leave the safe confines of his armored truck to shoot enemy combatants.  So much to the point that vehicles had to be completely swapped from another platoon to accommodate the mission.  I, despite my rebuttals, was left appalled by the cowardice the came through in the end.

I have never fired an RWS before.  Having had three deployments where I spent time gunning during each one, I only ever had a manual turret that you had to stand out of to be able to actively engage.  That was if I was lucky.  We rolled with soft skins at one point and even had a troop carrier humm-v with a walled box and no turret at all, that I still gunned out of.  And that was REAL combat.  The fact that we had to completely change our vehicles out because a gunner couldn’t hide safely in the truck during training was absolutely ridiculous to me. 

It proved one thing though.  We are so overconfident in the technology that we have invested in, it’s strengths and power, that when it isn’t there, we refuse to take the risk to continue mission.  We are able to rush in to making poor decisions because we feel this technology will keep us safe if errors are made.  Because we can’t accept that in war… people are sent to die. 

I was left wondering, “how did we ever fight wars before technology”?  The answer is simple.  With sticks and rocks and any other manner of debris which could be handheld. It was dirty, it was messy, it was bloody.  But that is war.  If you don’t want those things, don’t go to war.  It is the risk inherently associated with war.  It is the true price.
Our hubris in thinking that technology will prevent us from paying that price is a defeating trait.  In the end, when equipment fails, are we going to just quit fighting?  Go home because we don’t want to gamble the risks?  No!  You pick up a rock and bash your opponents face in!  Because THAT is fighting.  THAT is combat.  And in the end our goal is to win wars no matter the cost.  Regardless of whether the gunner had technology to rely on.  Despite the arrogance that we are going to have the most modern, functional vehicles and weapons.  We can’t be allowed to have our hands tied, and our assets stripped because we don’t want to take a chance. 

THAT is how you lose.

 

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