I'm not in the army and I've only known a couple of people who were/are. But I've seen a lot of war movies, so I think I've got this thing down pretty well. If I'm correct the basic idea is:
1. somebody tells you to do something
2. you do it
3. kung-fu kick a mirror (optional)
Yeah, you have to learn how to do whatever it is someone tells you to do, but that's pretty much the alpha and omega. So at first you might be thinking, "Hey I could be an instructor, what's the big deal? It's like teaching a class anywhere, just different subject matter." Yeah, sort of, except when it got down to it you'd have to answer some pretty non-standard questions.
"So what if the enemy is firing at me from all sides and the only way out is to blow up the orphanage that's crawling with snipers and unwanted children?"
"I don't know, are they killing the orphans?"
"Why'd you even ask that? Why would they be shooting orphans? No, no man, the snipers aren't shooting orphans point blank."
"Oh I was thinking maybe you could hide among them and sort of, you know, skate through."
But that's too obvious, the enemy is trained to be on the lookout for that sort of thing. The correct response would be:
"Request support and have them blow up the orphanage, that way you don't feel so bad about it. And this brings me to a good point: watch out for orphans. They make great little enemy soldiers because they've got nothing to lose. When you asked your question, Mr Montez, who did you assume was the danger: the snipers or the orphans?"
"The snipers, orphans actually aren't-"
"Exactly. You see class, this is why I'm here. I need you to get to see everyone, not just enemy soldiers, as the enemy. Remember that scene in Apocalypse Now when the little girl runs up to the soldier with what seems like a gift, but it turns out to be a grenade? That was based on what's happening right now."
"Uh, Mr Graham, we can't just go running around shooting innocent men, women and children just because they might have a grenade."
"Might? Try 'do'. Has no one seen the beginning of The Untouchables where the little girl blows up the bar with a bomb concealed in a suitcase?"
"Mr Graham, Frank Nitti left that bomb in there and the little girl was just trying to give it back to him. She was innocent. Plus, that wasn't a war movie."
"See?! You're still stuck in this 'must be a war in order to shoot people' mentality. You gotta learn to kill outside the box, Mr Montez. I didn't see that scene the way you did at all. The way I saw it, Nitti was just the middle man, providing arms and intel to a member of the Littlest Loyalist Army."
"The Littlest Loyalist Army? That wasn't in The Untouchables."
"Do you have the DVD?"
"It's on the DVD."
And that is no way to teach a class full of soldiers. Did you notice how Mr Montez never called me "sir"? He was calling me by my first name, for chrissakes. On top of that, he questioned everything I said.
By not instilling a sense of respect for my knowledge and position, I failed before I even began. No matter how useful or lifesaving the information I gave was, chances are when the soldiers in that classroom hit the battlefield they won't remember word one. And I take that fault fully upon myself.
Update! I am saddened to inform you that shortly after this article went live, Mr Montez was killed in Afganistan by an IED (Infant in Exploding Diaper). Tragic, indeed. I send my condolences to his family and friends.
Perhaps this isn't the right time to bring it up, but really, if he'd listened to me he'd still be alive today. That's it, don't want to get into it. Just had to put that out there.