Gumshoe is pretty sure that you, my gentle readers have heard this often used hackneyed idiom, “This isn’t the hill I (or you) want to die on”.
This expression is related to the military term about making the tactical decision (weighing the advantage and the human cost) in taking the “high ground” from a determined and entrenched enemy. Now, unless you were an army “grunt” or an “0311” (Marine infantryman); you won’t be acquainted with “SMEAC” and that’s okay.
In Gumshoe’s old-tattered USMC pocket guide, there is the enumerated “five-paragraph combat order”. The acronym—“SMEAC” (Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration/Logistics, and Command/Signal)
“SMEAC” neatly outlined how to plan on how to take that hill or any other objective. It was a battle-tested and effective tool for planning.
Now from the civilian point of view on planning. Is it worth it? What’s the buy-in? Are all participants fully committed? Are there sufficient resources? Can it be successfully taken? What is the ultimate result? Are there unforeseen consequences? Who has our support (our collective backsides) in the event of a failure?
(Think of the “CYA” syndrome and the proverb, “Success has many fathers while failure is an orphan”.)
Now let’s go back to some military history. “The hill you don’t want to die on” expression gave Gumshoe the immediate thoughts of “Hamburger Hill” and “Khe Sanh” (during the Vietnam War era). In both of these costly won and bloody battles prosecuted by the US Army Infantry “grunts”(Hamburger Hill), and by the USMC “0311’s”(Khe Sanh). Each of these battles was won at the horrendous cost of casualties and by the undaunted courage and the firm commitment displayed by the soldiers and by the Marines. God bless them all! The sad fact is both of these proclaimed hard-won military “victories” were ultimately “hollow” in that each of these hills were soon abandoned after the battles.
“SMEAC” does not cover the aftermath; “just the how-to”— “not the what now?”
No tactical advantage retained—bragging rights by the brass; one too many KIA letters for the loved ones at home. Mournful echoes of taps fade away as tricorne-folded flags are presented.
Why is Gumshoe relating this sad narrative of waste you may wonder. Well, take a pause my readers; let’s all of us Individually consider on what hill we would be prepared to die on, regardless of the cost?
What is our “SMEAC” and our hoped outcomes and even beyond that?
Would it be for our faith? Our loved ones? Our home? Our livelihood? Our neighbor? Our principles? Our legacy? Our country? Our freedom? Our safety and security? Or, just maybe even for a stranger?
Think hard about it now in which you can take your sweet time and without facing any immediate threat. Make your decision now before these turbulent times perhaps overwhelm you. Our military and our law enforcement folks have already made their dedicated decisions and they have already taken their oaths to affirm their commitments for all of us.
No more “hollow” victories and let’s not abandon them! Have their “6” because they have our “6”.
Always remember to love the ones who love you and try to love the ones who don’t.