Masada Tactical Blog

Mon, 01/13/2014 - 5:25pm
Last weekend many of our members and staff went to see Lone Survivor, the remarkable story of Marcus Luttrell and his SEAL team members battling the Taliban in A-Stan.  For those who did not read the book or saw the movie, it is highly recommended.

A short spoiler alert: the battle is the result of the four SEALs allowing capture shepherds to go loose.  Once compromised the SEALs had three options: kill the shepherds, tie them up and risk them dying over night in the mountains, or releasing them and aborting the mission.  The choice was made to let them go.

Many discussions have ensued since about whether or not the decision was the right one to make.  Knowing now that three of the four would perish, people argue that they shouldn't have let them go.  Killing or tying them (which could possibly result in them dying as well) seems to be the preferred way to go by many.

Being Israeli, and a soldier, I find myself disagreeing with most.  I say Israeli because popular media is often twisting our actions to portray the poor Palestinians as victims, when in reality the IDF exercises one of the highest commands they have, known simply as the Purity of the Weapon (in Hebrew: Tohar Ha-Neshek) when executing any mission.  This simple term basically states that a soldier's arm will only be used against another combatant.  It was drilled into us over and over again, and often times Israeli soldiers put themselves in life-risking situations just to avoid violating this cardinal rule.

Hindsight twenty-twenty is a wrong way to evaluate the story of Luttrell.  Being a Monday morning quarterback is pointless.  Being at the time, in the moment, having to make this life or death decision, the soldiers had limited information, and had to base their decisions on the facts known to them right there and then, and...their moral compass.

Could they have gone the other way?  Sure.  And most would probably not judge them.  However, they would have to live with that decision.  And at the end of the day, maintaining the purity of the weapon is what separates us from them.

Few militaries have exercised the type of humanitarian approach to war as the Israelis do (click on Link to find out more). From providing medical aid to the enemy, to allowing civilians know when the next attack will take place just to avoid innocent casualties. Israel take whatever means necessary to do the right thing.  These SEALs did the same.  There is no higher virtue than protecting innocent lives...even when the chance of it coming back to bite you in the a$$ exists.

And ultimately, to all of those who say they would have done something different: I bet you that you wouldn't have.  I surround myself with good people.  Each and every one of my friends is like family to me.  I trust that their morality and ethical behavior is above reproach.  And if they ever did take the easy and less human way, then they are not worthy of being a friend of mine.

As always stay safe,

Tzviel BK Blankchtein
Masada Tactical