"The Soldier, The General"
Charnel stench misted the battlefield.
In the center of this battlefield lay, pinned down in a foxhole by friendly fire, a foot soldier. As poorly aimed mortars exploded on the ragged ground above his head, he hunkered down in his hole and wished fervently he were somewhere else.
Then, while the soldier enjoyed a respite from the shelling and waited for his squad to catch up to his position, into the foxhole dove his army division's top commander -- a brigadier general, his shrapnel-riddled coat adorned with single stars on its epaulets, his fists carrying a pistol and a walkie-talkie.
As the soldier involuntarily started to leap to attention, the general swept out a leg and knocked him back down.
"Don't even think about it, soldier. At ease."
"Sir! What in flaming hell are you doing here?!" the soldier yelled over sporadic small arms fire.
"This is a war, isn't it, son? Let's get the lay of the land." The general crawled backwards up the east side of the hole and just below its edge stared with a handheld periscope at the field of battle, then hunkered down and radioed in precise map coordinates to his artillery.
"I knew you all were a bit close to enemy lines, soldier. And I don't intend to bomb the troops under my own command. Now we'll see just how much starch in the britches my gunners have, now that I'm right here with you."
As the friendly mortar fire passed overhead and landed fifty meters east, right on top of the enemy's front line, the general looked at his grateful soldier and grinned.
"You see, I was once a foot soldier too."
Thus, what bravery conquers, strategy enlarges.
May 7, 2011, excerpt from The Parables of Reason (Chapter 3, "Emotion's Mastery"), Copyright © 2011 by Frank H. Burton, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, The Circle of Reason, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dedicated to U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 and their Commander-In-Chief for their circumspect persistence and ultimate success in removing the head of the global terrorist network, Al Qaeda.