A Bellyful of War | PJ Media

Marlowe writes, “Ahmed could have decided to go back to school and devote his life to designing systems to improve car safety.” He could have persuaded “Libyans to use seatbelts” instead of blowing his revolutionary bonus on a jet-ski and dying in some ditch.  Sure he couldn’t have done it, but he didn’t, and Frederick Forsyth in his book the Dogs of War memorably explained why:

The real problem was being able to stick it out, to sit in an office under the orders of a wee man in a dark gray suit and look out of the window and recall the bush country, the waving palms, the smell of sweat and cordite, the grunts of men hauling the jeeps over the river crossings, the copper-tasting fears just before the attack, and the wild cruel joy of being alive afterward. To remember, and then to go back to the ledgers and the commuter train, that was what was impossible.
Despite his feeling of relief at being safe, the hard part, as Fred Derry in the movie Best Years of Our Lives discovered, was going back to being a soda jerk in Cincinnati Ohio after being a B-17 bombardier in Europe. But in MENA you can’t even be a soda jerk. It is a place where war confers more money, status and excitement than holding down a stupid day job, like some American inner cities. Under those circumstances you don’t expect people to willingly go into the seatbelt safety business unless they’ve first had Sherman’s proverbial “bellyful of war”.

via A Bellyful of War | PJ Media.


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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