Being an ex-soldier, he thought to himself, gave him a far better insight into the workings of the military minds that determined strategy, than those pseudo-analysts who thought that just by reading Sun Tzu, or Rommel’s ‘Infantry Attacks’, or Michail Dragomirov, or some other treatise on war and strategy, they were experts. He remembered the forecasts by one of those self-proclaimed specialists whose weekly column (before he ascended to higher stations in the international orbit) included numerous theoretical scenarios of what Prabhakaran would do, complete with his descriptive ‘pincer movements’ and other forecasts of how the war would turn out. Turned out to be a crock of shit! He wondered at the mindsets of those who took these idiots seriously. But then that was the way of the masses – just consider the US’ misadventures in Iraq that brought terror and untold suffering to thousands – both at home, as well as in Iraq, whilst the corporate entities included in the deal minted lucre, with the benefits flowing down all the tributaries of distribution to those chosen few, selected by their benefactors on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Not much different here – the grunts bore the brunt – and their families back home, whilst the powers continued with their ‘not-so-hidden’ agendas. But for how long could the masses be fooled?

He remembered the axiom – All warfare is based on deception

He knew the war at home couldn’t really settle the issues that created the conditions for its escalation, but also knew that Prabhakaran needed to be defeated, if not destroyed, to make whatever settlement was possible to come about. All those bleeding heart do-gooders who had no idea of the drivel they put out, not having, as he did, a first hand experience of the terrors and tribulations the grunt faced out there in the dry heat during most of the year, and in the humid conditions brought about by the monsoon where they often had to wade through slush and scrub, ever careful to avoid reptiles and other creatures, in spite of the painful cracks between the toes where the constant dampness caused fungal infections and that made life even more difficult. The enemy was resourceful and crafty, and he harboured a secret admiration for their dedication and courage in the face of so many disadvantages and lack of more sophisticated weaponry. Most of them, mere kids, were fanatical in their missions – quite unlike a lot of the soldiers who were in it due to their social circumstances and not to do with anything even resembling ‘patriotism’ or ‘commitment’ to a cause. He often wondered what the hell he was doing there until, as usual, he remembered the circumstances that led to him enlisting and that seemed like ages and ages, so long ago.

He had got out in time – for innumerable reasons – not least being the fact that he had had it. The wound started the thought process going until he thought to himself – enough of the bullshit from the top, enough of being commanded by some who were not worthy of his respect. There were the officers that he admired for the various characteristics they displayed that made them in his eyes, worthy – the ones that led from the front being chief amongst them. And once he had made his mind up about the futility of how the war was being fought, it was easy to move on. He had better things to do with his life.

Now it was all so different. And although the marriage hadn’t worked out, he would always find the ultimate joy in the hours he spent with his only child – whenever that was possible. The post-war job was satisfying and he was more successful than he imagined he would be when he lay in hospital recovering from what was fortunately not such a serious condition. He now also regretted the direction the war was going in on the ground in the south. When the stories of abductions and white vans started, he viewed them with skepticism and defended the government’s position to its critics, but this view had gradually disintegrated as he got inside information that contradicted his views. The beatings, disappearances and murder of the journalists brought the gravity of the situation up front, especially when one of those who was severely beaten up and threatened happened to be a friend he knew to be objective and not, as some other journalists were known to be, sympathizers of opposition politicians or who had other agendas to work on. His friend was in critical physical condition and his mental state was also cruelly altered, resulting in his nearly unrecognizable state.

The final straw was when he heard the news that his ex-wife and child had been caught up in a mob running amok trying to disperse a peace rally they were not even a part of – just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were injuries, he heard, although he wasn’t aware of the exact situation until he reached the hospital. And that was when he cracked.

He had made his mind up. Enough of the killing of innocents – no matter what ‘side’ of the country they were in. There were other parents with heavy hearts – and will be many more. Maybe his action would make a difference. He knew what he was about and knew how to achieve his object. He was familiar with the procedures.

As he prepared for his mission his mind was still. He had been a good student and knew that seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful – only in this instance there would be no ‘seizing’.

Termination’ was the name of his game.