“who wishes to fight must first count the cost”
― Sun Tzu
I feel I have some relevant knowledge on the topic of war. I have a master’s degree, but I don’t think of college as my education. It was a project I did as an adult, not where I learned the things that define me. I went to a very different school. We majored in insurrection and rebellion, with minors in sabotage and violence. We learned diplomacy, language, and technology too, but all of it was intended to enable us to master our trade.
Our trade, our calling, our profession was war. We were intended to be used to topple regimes and end bloodlines, and we did. In deserts and among mountains far from home we did just those things. We were the masters of our craft, and found fierce joy and a strange fulfillment in the chaos. We loved war like a dark bride, and she loved us back.
Our battles were won at a great cost though. We all paid that cost, with our bodies and our souls. Many of the finest men I’ve ever known paid that price with their very lives, and no one who danced with war remained unchanged. For better or worse we will never again be who we were before war’s seductive embrace. As high a price as we paid, it pales next to the cost of war for the people of those far off lands. Countless lives lost, not just through death, but shattered by poverty and despair as well.
When we were done we journeyed home, seeking peace. We struggled, all of us, with the beast that war had woken inside of us. Most of us found ways in time to lull the beast to slumber and turn our hearts to peaceful pursuits. The beast sleeps fitfully, but sleep it does, only occasionally reminding us with random dreams and errant thoughts that it still lives within us.
We are in a dangerous time as a nation. We have never been so divided as a people, nor had the level of organized public violence we have now. I fear for our country. If we aren’t very careful, a war at home is possible, maybe even probable. And those of us who loved war know her far too well to ever want a war at home. Make no mistake, the beast we put to bed when we came home seeking peace should never be woken, and it sleeps lightly at best.
No one who has been to war, even those of us like me who loved war and reveled in her embrace, wants her dark desires to follow them home. We want to hang our swords above the fireplace and be at peace. But the beast sleeps lightly at best, and without caution it may soon wake…
Originally posted here with permission from author Matt Little.
Matthew Little, is a US Army Special Forces combat veteran who has extensive law enforcement experience, including serving as training coordinator and an operational supervisor on a major metropolitan SWAT team, and has worked as a government contractor in non-permissive environments. Additionally, Matt is a lifelong martial artist and former national level competitor. He is also ranked as a master class shooter with pistol and carbine by both the US Practical Shooting Association and the International Defensive Pistol Association. Matt has also received numerous tactical shooting skill awards, including Turbo Pin #14, Three Sevens Coin #33, and the Refactor Tactical Kill Card patch. He has instructed foreign and US military personnel and police officers, martial artists, and civilians. This instructional experience was not solely academic, as he was usually then leading his students operationally either in combat or in arguably the most violent major city in North America. Along with his operational, competitive, and instructional experience, Matt is passionate about his own training. He has completed numerous military and law enforcement training courses and continues to train with many of the industry’s top instructors as often as possible.
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