Ten truths


I was motivated to write something this morning by this item from Tom Ricks  10 truths from the last decade that you could tattoo on an arm — or maybe a leg, based in turn on an article in the August issue of Marine Corps Gazette.  I’ll get to them in a minute.

As you all know, I like to head up each post with a picture (adding, of course, considerably to the drafting burden but a that’s a sacrifice I’m happy to make for you the reader!). In searching for a truth-themed image that was neither religious nor X Files in nature, I stumbled across Tip Top Tens, specifically it’s take on 10 Truths10 Truths That Will Change Your Life:

01 : The full name of Donald Duck: Donald Fauntleroy Duck.

02 : A giraffe can clean its own ears with its tongue.

03 : Millions of trees in the world are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts and do not remember where they were hiding them.

04 : Eating an apple is more effective than drinking coffee to stay awake.

05 : blue tooth brushes are used more than the red.

06 : Nobody can lick his own elbow, it is impossible to touch it with his tongue.

07 : The pig is the only animal that burns with the sun more than man.

08 : Right-handers live, on average, nine years longer than lefties.

09 : Laughing during the day makes you sleep better at night.

10 : Approximately 75% of people who read this article try to lick your elbow.

And, no, I neither attempted 02 nor 06! I take no issue with any of these truths however I can not quite say the same with the ones summarised by Tom Ricks:

— Take the high ground at night so you own it in the morning.

Yep…an oldie but a goodie…

— It may be counterintuitive, but you are probably safer dismounted than in your vehicles, preferably before contact.

Situational – depends on the vehicle and the war; also very land-centric thinking (shame, Marines!) aviators and sailors would probably not agree…except for the old Iraqi doctrine of flying with one hand on the stick and the other on the little yellow handle.

— The bait and ambush is a classic from the ancient Greeks up to today.

Yep…because people STILL keep falling for it.

— Why do we keep using the column formation in what is clearly an advance to contact, rather than using wedges and echelons?

Because we are fixated on staying on the roads? Or…the roads are the only places our vehicles will go? Every in the J, there is an overwhelming temptation to follow tracks and trails – never a good idea…

— Every Marine a rifleman, and every NCO a leader and fire support coordinator.

Marine/soldier/sailor/airman when on the ground ‘someone else’ will not bail you out…!

— These are seasoned fighters with a wealth of experience fighting against Jomini-type tactics and a sense of personal honor and bravery that means they are looking to close and kill, not snipe and run.

The difference between a war and peace support…don’t go to either seeking to do the other…

— If you are not using Small Wars Journal and Company Command, you should be.

If no one is giving you PME, then DIY…only you can make you smarter…

— Afghanistan is a battle for the provision of governance from the ground up, from the outside in, not from the top down, Kabul out.

True, but not really a ‘truth’ per se…fight the war you’re in, not the war you want…

— The Taliban, while at some level perhaps associated with al Qaeda, is not al Qaeda.

As above…fight the war you’re in, not the war you want…

— Is this the right war?

The squiggly bit on the end (?) makes this not a truth at all but a question – clearly not enough attention paid (nor wooden ruler applied) during Miss Brown’s Year 2 English classes…

So only five truths really and five elements of political grandstanding that aren’t really that useful at the tactical level…the first five though are well worth picking up and running with as they are proven, if not learned or applied…

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