Monday, June 13, 2005
Rules of War
A memorable first-season episode of M*A*S*H had Lt. Col. Henry Blake talking intensely to a demoralized Capt. Hawkeye Pierce, who had just lost a patient (and a dear friend) on the operating table. Blake said: "All I know is what I learned at command school. There are rules in war. And rule number one is that good men die. And rule number two is: good doctors can't change rule number one."
Back in the real world, Col. Brett Wyrick, a surgeon currently serving in Iraq with the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group, has a postscript to that story, and suggests that there should be a third rule.
Go ahead and read it. It's not an easy story, but it's an important one. And it includes such gems as this:
I wish there was not a war, and I wish our young people did not have to fight and die. But I cannot wish away evil men like Bin Laden and al-Zarqawi. These men are not wayward children who have gone astray; they are not great men who are simply misunderstood.Amen.
These are cold-blooded killers and they will kill you, me, and everyone we love and hold dear if we do not kill them first. You cannot reason with these people, you cannot negotiate with these people, and this war will not be over until they are dead. That is the ugly, awful, and brutal truth.