In military jargon, staying "left of the bang" is critical to staying alive -- the farther left of the bang, the better. Right of the bang, meanwhile, typically leads to a memorial service.
In a blog posting on Thursday, freelance military writer Michael Yon says a main goal in staying left of bang is to disrupt enemy bomb-making cells in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"In the early days of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, if a bomb blew up our people, we would be apt to arrest every male in the village old enough to sport pubic hair," Yon wrote. "We paid for that with more blood and may or may not have gotten the right guys … In America, if a bomb hit the local National Guard headquarters and the Guard responded by flooding out and arresting the entire neighborhood, the Guard could be assured that any positive or neutral feelings would be toxified to the point where previously friendly eyes would become enemy spies. The formula is simple and works every time."
At some point, a CSI-like dedication to forensics by law enforcement experts became critically important, allowing officials to collect evidence to developing concepts to stay "left of bang," Yon wrote.
"Today, 'customers' such as military units will send evidence to experts such as these on Kandahar Airfield," the post continues. "When you meet the forensics team, they have that positive air that people get when they know they are doing good and valuable work. Importantly, they must be able to 'sell' themselves so that units understand their capabilities, and to keep the evidence coming."