Stories such as the nearly unbelievable bravery and pride of the soldiers who threw themselves willingly to fight a war they weren’t prepared for. While they had experience in the jungles and mountains they weren’t ready to fight in the close quartered urban scenario. Stories of the extreme strategies they had to use, such as blowing up thick building walls to get to other buildings, sometimes starting from the higher floors to get to terrorists or their captives at the bottom. Just like one of their officers said, ‘it’s not like ‘CounterStrike’, which features face to face combat. Rather it’s fighting for corner after corner, throwing grenades and smoke to feel out the enemy while avoiding improvised explosive devices and many enemy snipers who almost always had the higher ground.
I have to admit I have had a low opinion of the Philippine Armed Forces. Simply because for every high level story of corruption, whether it be a poorly run government unit or outright fraud and theft there’s always a Philippine Military Academy General or Colonel directly running it or involved in it. Whenever there’s a fight in a bar or some entitled guy driving a Ferrari it’s the child of some Colonel, General or Congressman. It’s gotten so when we went to the PMA grounds last year, I looked around wondering why such a place that teaches professional stealing, thieving and misconduct exists.
So this book thankfully puts them in good light for once, as it details the great drama that leaders have to go through when they’re putting their men in grave danger, and during this war, many of them resulting in death.
And finally there is the utter senselessness of ISIS, or all wars for that matter, pervasive as you read it from start to finish. There are just no words that can possibly make sense of why they’ve come to believe in what they do, and how they could decide to be so incredibly ruthless. They tick every box as to what monsters should be. They are about as valid a reason why an Armed Forces should not only exist, but should be given every armory, every training, every weapon they need to destroy them and their ideology.
Then there’s of course the ever suffering Mindanao. I will bucket list my way to go there soon. #marawi#MarawiCity#marawiwar