Bang, pause, bang.
I have family in the police, military and security services and those lines are necessarily blurred these days. One of them, a niece of mine, has done a number of tours into the war zones. She pushed hard to get those assignments, because from then on the salute isn’t to a girlie who happens to outrank you. Once a squaddie catches sight of those campaign ribbons, it’s to a vet who’s been out there where the metal meets the meat.
She told me a story about being part of an intelligence team coordinating three sections of snipers who were watching the fordable points of a river between Pakistan and Afghanistan. What’s called SIGINT and a few other assets had given strong indications that a major shipment of arms and munitions was on its way in.
The intelligence was good and the mule trains loaded with ordinance and their handlers duly started to arrive. Sniping with an automatic weapon isn’t an optimum choice for a number of reasons, hence all the specialist tools are bolt-action. That technical limitation means that the time between shots comes down to how long it takes to eject the brass from your first shot, ram another live one into the chamber and acquire a new target.
In the circumstances of that particular ambush, it meant letting the lead person nearly get to the other side of the river before dropping him with your first shot, giving time to reload and possibly take out at least another one who was mid way across the river and too far from safety – hence the bang, bang title of this article. Three bangs would be extremely good shooting, but the odds on that weren’t particularly good. By then, they’d all have scuttled to safety.
What amazed her was the savage’s reaction to getting hit. Instead of rethinking what was obviously a compromised operation, they’d wait fifteen minutes and attempt exactly the same river crossing at a not too distant point on the same river and the whole bang bang scenario would be rerun. It was as if they naturally assumed they were up against forgetful children who shared their same limited attention span, rather than well-motivated professionals who were not in the habit of losing focus. The snipers had a good day, Bisley would have been proud of them.
Like all fanatics, they were essentially stupid.
It’s a tactical story but the lessons to be learned from it are especially relevant after the last week’s catalogue of terrorist atrocities. The big one, because everything else flows from it, is that accurate intelligence is the only way of fighting terrorists. There is absolutely no other way, and that has certain implications we in the democratic countries around the world have to think about.
The snipers were that day the tip of the spear and did a great professional job, but it took a huge amount of effort by a lot of other people to place them that exact day, in precisely those locations and with accurate information about what was coming at them. If you can’t operate in a team, you’re no good to anyone on a big complex operation like that.
The mass media, who are overwhelmingly liberal, will stay quiet as the bodies of the Mums and Dads who were just ordinary folks on a package holiday and are Tunisia’s victims are flown home by the RAF, and will no doubt do their best not to snigger as the grim-faced troopers of the RAF regiment carry their coffins off the transports with full military reverence.
The BBC insists they have to give an impartial hearing to the fuckers who murdered them. They weren’t killed by terrorists, but by a nation and its name was Islam nation. My arse, they were killed by fucking terrorists. The Guardian will no doubt sneak out from under its slimy rock to help out after an indecently short period, right after they can get over a bit of I-told-you-so wanking over the corpses.
I really can’t find a way of conveying how much I truly despise, never mind hate such decadent enablers of the massacre of our ordinary folks. They live in a different world and I would so like them to have just five seconds of the sheer fucking terror on a beach in Tunisia our people suffered. So many of the victims were couples, and the unarmed men didn’t run. They couldn’t. Not one. They stayed with their woman all the way, took the bullets and the bastard still killed her anyway. Not uncommon valour, but men just loving their woman. Not Rambos, just ordinary decent blokes.
There are nicer ways of putting it, but we’re in a war. We didn’t go looking for it but that’s the reality, so get your head straight. If you think that’s too blunt a statement, then tell me what caused the body counts in New York, London, Madrid, Paris, Mumbai and this week Tunisia.
This article was supposed to be a lot more analytical, incisive and prescriptive but my anger got the better of me, so I’m going to skip straight to the executive summary.
We are going to win and it’ll be done by ordinary people. The vaguely Christian meek, with the help of some totally ruthless bastards who know what they’re fighting to protect, will inherit the Earth. Cowards that you are, you’ll kill a few more of our innocents but we’ll beat you in the end.
You can bet your new manky caliphate on that.
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