For those not in the know the SOF community calls the recovery of personnel from hostile territory Special Recovery Operations or SRO. SRO jobs are usually conducted by a nation’s most highly trained personnel. Why? Because they involve a lot of complex parts: long range comms, isolated recon teams, sophisticated intel gathering, high-end aviation assets and highly trained door kickers. Millions of dollars of assets and the nation’s finest are all focused on this one type of very ‘special’ operation.
The recent recovery in Afghanistan of a bunch of UK NGO workers by UK and US SOF has got me thinking. Do stupid fuckers really deserve to be rescued? I mean, dumb arses that venture -with no security- into areas that allow them to be captured by bad guys. The prime candidates are usually journos but NGO’s and battlefield tourists are also serial offenders. Yeah I get executing a SRO for a downed pilot, or even a kidnapped government worker, but what about the people who really don’t need to be in harms way? Are the lives of SOF operators worth risking just to keep one more self-righteous idiot in the gene pool? I know what Charles Darwin would say…
Operators will follow orders, they’ll put their lives on the line time and time again without question. They’ll argue that everyone needs to be rescued, that the kidnappers need to be found, fixed and finished. It’s a moral dilemma; put soldiers in harms way to recover some self-absorbed dick head gallivanting around in a high risk area or let him have his head hacked off on the internet. The default response is usually to bring it back to the bad guys, bang in, shoot the fuckers in the face and send a message to all potential hostage takers – you will be slotted if you try this shit! But we also need to think about the risk associated with sending men deep into hostile territory to pull someone out who’s own stupidity resulted in their capture.
Hopefully a few journos, NGOs and the like read this little diatribe and pause in thought. You may think you’re a bit of a hero for chasing the story or visiting the war zone but also spare a thought for the families of the men sent in to recover the retards. Don’t take risks that might end up claiming the lives of our nation’s finest.