Jason Lawrence Bell
Stories
Search single story

07-16-20

07-16-20                                  AUDIO AVAILABLE SOON

‘Just as you mold a new recruit to follow protocol, a new directive comes down and all training becomes useless,’ complained the Special Forces Sergeant. This has become the norm for the frustrated trainer. He knows that new directives will require him to go back to the administration to have himself retrained so that he has the skills to teach the recruits. To him it is an endless circle of retraining. But he knew when he signed up for Special Forces training that there would be adjustments, he just didn’t realize how often.

The first day of his training brought the sergeant back to the administration but this was different from before. This time he was taken deep into the massive lower level. Security was highly vigilant and he found himself in a small group of other sergeants with armed guards standing outside of the conference room. Everyone seemed unusually serious. As the first meeting began, the sergeant noticed five executive looking men were leading the meeting. This seemed odd since there were only four sergeants present. More trainers than trainees. One of executives stood up and started the meeting.

‘Good morning, we’re developers from the Training Department,’ as he motioned to the other executives. ‘We are in the process of developing advanced training methods that require the highest levels of security and secrecy. What is said in this room by any of us is not to be mentioned or related to in any situation outside of this room. Is that understood?’ The developer paused to be certain that all in the room conquered.

‘We are not here to train you. We are in development and we believe that as sergeants of training, you may have valuable insights that can make our developments more accurate and affective. So, we are here to get your feedback, and ideas on how we can take the trainings to a new level.’ This surprised the sergeants. They are seldom asked their opinions, but are usually expected to follow orders from others and be obedient. They felt honored to be asked.

The executive continued. ‘We would like to first give a little history lesson. In World Wars we had many military leaders and political figures who carried poison pills with them at all times, so they could kill themselves rather than be captured and forced to give up secrets or be punished for perceived abuses. What was the mind set of these patriots in order to kill themselves for their cause? Then we looked at Japan’s WWII fighter pilots who flew their planes into battleships to their deaths. What was their mind set to make them willing to forfeit their lives? The common explanation for the pilots is humiliation. In Japanese culture honor and good name were supreme forces driving the average man. To be humiliated or dishonored was soul crushing and deserved alienation or death. This singular belief causes hundreds of kamikaze pilots to self-destruct. Now today we have the suicide bombers. Adults and children willing to turn themselves into a bomb and murder innocent victims. These are mostly Muslim extremists who believe in martyrdom. Martyrdom is a religious belief that dying for Gods cause is a certain avenue to sit next to God for eternity. Still Martyrs kill themselves for varied reasons. Some feel their lives are worthless and the temptation of being with God is more attractive. So, unhappiness with their life is a common reason. Also, Muslim young men are told a martyr receives 17 wives and high status in heaven with God. So young Muslim men born poor with few opportunities to succeed see Martyrdom as a direct path to sex and prestige. And we are seeing young women martyr themselves as an escape from forced marriages and a merciless patriarchy that abuses them.

So, in analyzing reasons why a person would forfeit their life, we see humiliation and shame work with some. Religious directives work incredibly well for others. The need to be with God, escaping hated lives, or sexy enticements create willing martyrs for certain cultures.’ The developer showed photos of Japanese pilots who later flew their planes into battleships. Then showed photos of Muslim martyrs who blew themselves up in markets and battle fields. They all looked so normal. Most were young and friendly looking. But they all met the same fate. Then the developer decided it was time to take a break.

The sergeants stood around the snack table discussing the meeting. One sergeant guessed, ‘I think the developers are developing a training to combat martyrs. They want to find a way to neutralize the reasons for martyrdom and stop suicide bombers completely.’ Then another sergeant spoke, ‘yes, but how to change the mind of a guy who thinks he will get 17 wives and gods approval? How do prove to him there won’t be wives and prestige?’ Then another sergeant adds, ‘I don’t think I know anything that would help change Muslim minds or Japanese humiliation.’ The others nodded with agreement.

Now back in the meeting another developer takes the lead. ‘Enemies of American who have martyrdom as a tool have a distinct advantage over our tools. The planes flown by a few martyrs did devastating damage to American lives and property. We have shown that culture and religion are instrumental in motivating martyrs, but American culture is different. Though Americans can be humiliated they usually turn that shame inward and become depressed and may harm themselves, but not others. Americans are typically Judeo-Christian and hold life too sacred to allow martyrdom as an alternative.’

‘So how do we beat them at their own game? There have seen American soldiers who threw the bodies on hand grenades or sacrificed themselves to save others. We think this is due to hero complex. Americans admire heroes. And a dead soldier is considered a hero. This was especially common during WWII. Plus, there were plenty of movies Romanizing hero soldiers who die. But today the hero image is not strong, and can’t be a useful motivation.’

The sergeants were confused and were looking strangely at the developers. One stood up and asked, ‘useful motivation? It’s beginning to sound like you are looking for motivations to create soldiers willing to die for their nation. Is that true?’ The developer answers, ‘America is at a dangerous disadvantage by not having an answer to suicide terrorists. We need our own response. In development we are hoping to create a small group of hero soldiers thru an organic system of training. That is where we need your help. Finding an organic system.’

One sergeant asks, ‘when you say ‘hero soldiers’, you mean American martyrs?’ The developer simple said, ‘yes.’ The sergeant stood quite in thought for a moment realizing what he just heard, then continued. ‘You say finding an organic system. What does that mean?’ The developer responses, ‘organic systems are like the cultural motivations where ideas, feelings and beliefs supply the motivations. They are convinced through thoughts and peer pressure. We want to find the American equivalent. Help us find that system of training.’ Another sergeant stood up, ‘the cultures are very different. What if we cannot find ‘organic training?’ The developer responded, ‘there are less-appealing alternatives. There are chemical and implant alternatives. But we want to exhaust ‘organic’ options first. So, let’s put our thinking caps on and firm up an organic system.

The sergeants then spent the next two days giving the developers every piece of information or ideas on how they motivate soldiers to assist with an organic system. At the end of the conference as the sergeants were preparing to leave, one sergeant states, ‘those developers seemed very determined to create American martyrs.’ Another sergeant responds, ‘after two days giving our ideas, do you think they can develop an ‘organic system’ from our help?’ He looked at the other sergeants, and they shook the heads, no. Then they mutually realized that the alternative will probably become the system. Chemicals and implants. Peace