In the Times OnLine piece Patriot Missiles: Iraq Veterans Against the War that ran in early March, IVAW's Jason Washburn got some focused attention from Robin Boyd at Chickenhawk Express and also from Dave Allender and Nat Helms at Defend Our Marines. Perry O'Brien also got some attention for "heart touching", but I have to admit to having overlooked this:
On a February morning at a cafe in Brooklyn, New York, Perry O’Brien is explaining the difference between the “book way” and the “real way”, and the significance of the “three-stomp signal” that is used to differentiate between the two.O'Brien was a medic in Afghanistan. From all that I've read from him, I have never seen where he has given any indication that he ever went on a combat mission or was engaged in any fighting. I am not sure how many, if any, briefings like the ones he describes he may ever have personally attended.
“If someone is giving a briefing and they stomp their foot three times after what they are saying, it means ‘disregard what I just said’. For instance, ‘Make every effort to avoid civilian property damage,’ stomp stomp stomp – [means] ignore that. The idea is that when you get back [from combat], anything that you did the book way can be spoken about – but not what was done the real way.”
It isn’t just between the book way and the real way, he says; it’s become between the honourable way and the immoral way...
“The book way was we treat everyone the same…” Perry smiles and taps his foot three times. “You are ordered to do things that are clear violations of our conscience and what we know to be moral. It’s not even what’s prescribed by the Geneva conventions. It’s what every human being knows to be right and wrong. We’re asked to do things that violate that and told it’s about the war, but you can never tell anyone because we need to protect them from that."
That alone would not have so effectively triggered my olfactory senses, but that "three stomp signal" certainly has! O'Brien describes it as something routine, ordinary, even well known among military personnel. Yet a Google search of "three stomp signal" returns O'Brien as the only source for such a concept! The only other remotely close return was from a software patent:
...protocol in which a stomp signal is propagated to cancel a prior request...I cannot even find where Geoff Millard, who graduated from advancing the slides in a PowerPoint presentation to giving briefings to generals and colonels spoke of the three stomp signal!
So I am throwing this one out there: anyone ever heard of "Perry O'Brien's Three Stomp Signal"? At this point, I am naming it after him as he seems to be, at this time, something like the sole owner of the concept.