In the Army, every new commander had an irrestible compulsion to make his own, unique mark on the unit. The purpose of these new changes was to show he was in charge.
However, sometimes the ideas new officers generated made one wonder if there was a mischievous pixie, whispering in their ears – a capricious mistress soldiers called the Great F****** Idea (GFI) Fairy.
For instance, every time a new commander took over a cavalry squadron, without fail, he always seemed to want to repaint the tanks. Whether it was a beige desert pattern or aggressive tiger stripe, every one had a revolutionary new idea about how to paint the tanks. Every time we repainted these damn things, there was also a ton of administrative work that went along with the job. For instance, one lucky junior officer would get the wonderful privilege of writing a manual for the proper application of the stencil on the freshly painted tanks.
I mean, these were matters of life and death. How many centimeters away from the end of the gun tube should the name of the tank begin? What font was required? Was it Courier 72? Garamond 48? And, by God, you better get these dimensions right, or else the Stencil Hit Team (S.H.I.T.) would report deviations to the squadron commander.
Your tax dollars at work.
Today, it seems our President has had his own GFI. What is it? Let’s give weapons to the rebels fighting Qaddafi! Sometimes this has worked with our allies, but in the Middle East and Central Asia, it has often failed. Here’s a not-so-comprehensive list of whom we’ve armed in the past that resulted in these weapons ultimately being used against the United States:
1. Saddam Hussein: No need to repeat an account of American arms sales during the Iran-Iraq war as the left has beaten this one to death.
2. Pre-Revolutionay Iran: We supplied the Iranians with American tanks, F-4s, and F-14s, in addition to any number of other weapons. After the Revolution, the Iranians used them against American forces in the 1987-88 phase of the Tanker War in the Persian Gulf.
3. The Taliban: In addition to run-of-the-mill small calibre weapons, the United States provided them with advanced, hand-held, surface-to-air, Stinger missiles, some of which ended up in Iranian hands. The Iranians then used these advanced weapons against American aircraft during the aforementioned Tanker War.
I consider President Obama’s idea of arming an amorphous rebel force with “flickers” of al Qaeda and Hizbullah, to be, to put it mildly, a horribly bad idea. True, the President should never take options off the table. I just hope that what he proposed in public, is not what he is planning in private.
Now is the time to declare victory and let the rebels and Qaddafi fight their civil war.
And please, Mr. President, it is time for you to swat that GFI Fairy.