I read Eric Haney's book Inside Delta Force
, which faithful reader Patrick Moss was kind enough to have the author send me. It's the inspiration for The Unit
. Interesting to see how it differs from the show.
Haney joined Delta Force at its inception. Fully half the book is about how hard it was to make the cut; Delta Force rejects 95% of Rangers
who apply, and making the cut as a Ranger is an ordeal in itself. Then another quarter is about the training.
The rest of the story is mostly the missions that were scotched or screwed up by idiot commanding officers and politicians, along with a few successful ones which, it was apparent to the Delta guys, seemed to have extremely dodgy origins -- like the time he hunted down and destroyed a Honduran guerrilla group only to discover that one of his former Delta applicants was the leader.
I'm impressed with career soldiers -- anyone who puts themselves in harm's way for my sake gets my respect. What I find surprising is how much more career soldiers generally ponder and study the ramifications of the wars they fight than the politicians sending them in seem to do. Yes, they obey orders, because that's the job. But they know when they're being lied to or (literally) misled.
There's an interesting "Talk of the Town" piece
in this week's New Yorker
, about West Point cadets reading Johnny Got His Gun
and Eisenhower's farewell address warning about the military-industrial complex. The piece winds up tellingly:
"That's what we want. Critical thinking is not insubordination."
I wish that were a little clearer in civilian politics these days.