0_61_totten1_320_3    An interesting story on Fox News:

FALLUJAH — A sign on the door leading out of India Company’s Combat Operations Center says “Have a Plan to Kill Everyone You Meet.” For a fraction of second I thought it might be some kind of joke. But I was with the Marine Corps in Fallujah, and it wasn’t a joke.

I asked Captain Stewart Glenn if he could explain and perhaps elaborate a bit on what, exactly, that sign is about. “It’s pretty straightforward,” he said rather bluntly. “It means exactly what it says.” Welcome to counterinsurgency.


A sign outside Lieutenant Nathan Bibler’s Joint Security Station in the slums of Fallujah makes the point a little more clearly, and delicately. “Look at everyone as though they are trying to kill you, but you cannot treat them that way.”

“The threat’s always there,” Sergeant Chuck Balley told me as he looked blankly at nothing in particular. “Everybody is sketchy.”

Maybe they are. But very few people in Fallujah try to kill Americans – or other Iraqis – anymore. It has been months since a single Marine in Fallujah has been even wounded, let alone killed. But at least a handful of disorganized insurgents still lurk in the city. Once a week or so somebody takes a shot at the Americans.

“Do you have plates in that Kevlar?” one Marine sergeant said to me as I donned my body armor on our way into the city. He was referring to steel SAPI plates that fit inside Kevlar vests that can stop even a sniper round.

“No,” I said, and I didn’t care. The odds that I, personally, would be the first person shot in Fallujah for months were microscopic.

“Look,” he said. “You are not gonna get shot. But you should still carry some plates.”

One lieutenant forced me to wear Marine-issue body armor – which weighs almost 80 pounds – before he would let me go out on patrol with him. I felt like Godzilla lumbering around with all the extra bulk and weight, and I didn’t really feel safer. Running while carrying those extra pounds all of a sudden wasn’t much of an option. Sacrificing most of my speed and agility to make myself a little more bullet-proof might not be worth it. But perhaps that’s just what I told myself so I could justify wearing lighter and more comfortable armor. It’s hard to say. What I do know for certain is that Fallujah at the end of 2007 was neither scary nor stressful. No one can go there right now without feeling what is perhaps a dangerous sense of complacency.

But complacency kills. The Marines are reminded of this fact every day, as was I when I traveled and worked with them.

The day I arrived at India Company’s Forward Operating Base, which had been converted from an old train station, all the Marines had to attend readiness training classes designed to offset complacency.

“Too many Marines are getting complacent and lax,” Captain Glenn said. “Complacency is as potentially deadly as an IED at this point.”

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 2, 2008

Full story herehttp://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2008/01/a-plan-to-kill.php


  1. Don’t you DARE get too complacent!!!! I know you’ll stay on top of your Marines and keep them attentive — we want ALL of you to come home in one piece!

  2. Hey keep a sharp eye out there, Maj. Expect the Unexpected, eh? I must say, that bumper sticker is just about the greatest one I’ve seen. 🙂 Complacency kills, well, yea, so do our Marines when you try and pull the wool over their eyes. Semper Fi, and get your behinds back here in one piece, ya hear?

  3. I’ll remember, “Have a Plan to Kill Everyone You Meet.” Sounds like happy thoughts, and puppy dreams. I agree with their posting, totally sane. I have a few years working as a pysche nurse, have a plan to escape or take down anyone that is wanting to pull your eyes out — literally. It has happened, but not to me. I think that is only a part of my PTSD….
    God put angels at your backside, and those you work with.
    Godspeed Major

  4. I think that is a great reminder sign. Back when I was in college and lifeguarded for a summer job, one of my bosses told us to have a plan to rescue anyone from any situation we might encounter. I will admit to sitting there day dreaming of all the possible ways I could rescue a drowning person – – luckily no one ever drowned while I was day dreaming. Leave it to a journalist to not want to wear his body armor. Good grief. That’s not macho, that’s just stupid.

  5. “Fail to plan, is a plan to fail”. I’ve heard that my entire life. It sounds to me those guys are squared away and keeping their people that way. I’m related to and have worked with a lot of Viet Nam veterans and they tell me the first month and the last month of their tours were the times likely to have something bad happen to you. The first month you were a cherry and didn’t know which way was up, and the last you lost your focus because the freedom bird was all you could think about. Keep your boys tight and on top of each other. Y’all are too short to lose your edge. Thanks, you are always in our prayers. Semper Fi!

  6. I know what you mean about all the body armor. It makes me feel like a cripple when I wear it, and doesn’t make me feel safer. I suppose it would save me if I got shot but I probably wouldn’t get shot in the first place if I was able to move and run properly…

  7. The world can be changed by man’s endeavor, and that this endeavor can lead to something new and better .No man can sever the bonds that unite him to his society simply by averting his eyes . He must ever be receptive and sensitive to the new ; and have sufficient courage and skill to novel facts and to deal with them . (Franklin Roosevelt , American President )

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