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The Unit I.1-5

theunit11
An introduction to the War on Terror

This story means to teach Americans &, by extension, democrats, what men wage war & in what way. Each episode is a mission, showing the protagonists’ knack for survival. But the there is never a happy end. So we will look at the meaning of the failures, expecting to learn from them. &, given that we see so much of the soldiers’ wives, reflect on the society that gives birth to these men.

In the beginning, a new man joins the Special Forces unit whose story we are unfolding. He is supposed to go into training, but a plane hijacking calls on his unusual skills. Maybe training cannot replace this kind of surprise. At any rate, training cannot change the fact that special forces come in after the disaster has been set up. Later, training reappears; it cannot remove danger, but it teaches about danger. Training is an imitation of necessity.

The obvious point about introducing this new man in the unit is that the army has to cause suffering to prepare people for war. So intelligence is useless without endurance. Knowledge about pain & suffering is essential to war. This is an education about man’s position in the world. War means knowing fear of death. Knowing people means knowing what they fear, because that is what moves them. War does not mean resisting motion.

The War on Terror has strange requirements that make it educational. The American people do not know who will kill what enemies to return them to peace. In principle, the war is eternal. In reality, these are small wars. But they recall total war: They admit war is terror. America did not cause this war, but it must wage war or perish. These warriors obey orders; America obeys necessity; hateful necessity is the teacher.

Fear & pain are more obvious in the case of the warriors’ wives. They mother children they love; they are not killers; & they have never seen chaos. In a comedy, the war wives would somehow end the war. The War on Terror strains American politics: People do not know what is happening, or why, & the politicians do not know whether they can lead the people to war. There is no victory on the horizon.

This puts the soldiers in the middle; they share the civilians’ love of peace, but serve political orders to wage a war they cannot understand. They complete missions. In Special Forces, that is always already true. These men only have their profession. It goes beyond patriotism, toward philosophy: War orders chaos. The wives, law-abiding Americans, do not understand that. They believe war creates chaos. They cannot help their husbands if they hope war will end.

A must see for young men