We’re Your Worst Nightmare

By | February 19, 2021

[February 19, 2021]  Fear – absolute fear – is what you want your enemies to experience.  Why?  Because overwhelming fear will be their downfall.  Armies, across time, make every effort to instill fear; it works.  Ordinary people give up, competitors surrender without a fight, and enemies retreat from the battlefield.  Their message … we’re your worst nightmare.

The BBC teleplay Quatermass and the Pit (1967)1 is one of my favorite SciFi horror films.  That glowing giant devil head rising in the sky stuck with me since I saw the movie as a teenager.  It scared the willies out of me.  Just imagine if we could harness such technology to induce fear into our enemies today.2

For the past 50 years, the U.S. military possessed technology, allowing our troops to operate at night with impunity.  In Iraq and Afghanistan and the world of Special Forces operations, our enemies fear us because they can’t see us in the dark. An average person fears what they cannot see.  I say this from direct experience.  Captured insurgents told me their greatest fear was being attacked by U.S. forces at night.

In a 2017 interview by CBS’s John Dickerson on Face the Nation, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was asked what kept him awake at night.  His response was spot-on.  He said, “Nothing keeps me awake at night. I keep other people awake at night.3  That is exactly right.  Project strength, let your enemies know that they fear you.  His message was clear, mess with us, and you will die.

By instilling fear in our enemies, we conquer them easily.  Sun Tzu, the famous ancient Chinese general, recognized this centuries ago when he said, “Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” He was referring to fear.

Modern militaries today use what is called psychological warfare.  Through the use of propaganda and other psychological operations, we influence our enemies’ opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior.  Little has changed since Sun Tzu’s time.

Fear still dominates as a human emotion.  We spend time teaching, mentoring, and coaching our military members to reduce the effects of fear in combat.  This is not easy but a worthy cause.  Those who keep their heads in combat are more likely to come out on top.

Exactly how we will learn to control fear or better methods to instill fear in our enemies is the next frontier in military research.


  1. U.S. movie release name was Five Million Years to Earth.
  2. The storyline of the movie centers on the discovery of a mysterious object buried at the site of a proposed London Underground extension. Realizing the object is an ancient Martina spacecraft, Professor Quatermass deduces that the aliens have influenced human evolution.  The spacecraft exerts a malign influence, resurrecting Martian memories and instincts buried deep in the human psyche.
  3. Defense Secretary Mattis: ‘I keep other people awake at night’ | TheHill
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “We’re Your Worst Nightmare

  1. Colleen Ramirez

    The US Military is about kicking some serious butt. And, as long as our enemies fear us, those bad guys will go elsewhere to bother the weak. Too bad for the weak. If the weak are our allies, we will help you. God forgive those who are against the United States.

    1. Jeff Blackwater

      Yeah, I remember seeing this film on tv many years ago and thinking, wow, they sure know how to induce fear in dweebs like me. LOL, watch the movie for kicks some night. You will have nightmares. Gen. Satterfield, you’ve done it again.

    2. Jerry in Exile

      Same here, scary. To Gen. Satterfield… thx, we are praying for more blog posts. Many many fans reading here.

  2. Kenny Foster

    Thanks, Gen. Satterfield. I enjoyed today’s article mostly, I think, because I like to think I know a lot about fear and its effects on humans.

  3. Jerome Smith

    “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” from Psalms 23:4. Oh, we pronounce Psalms with a silent “P” and not like Slo Joe Biden who pronounces it “P’ Salms.” What a wuss he is.

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      Ouch, you got that right about cheatin’ joe. Thanks for the reminder. Does he even know where he is? Or what day it is? If you like Joe Biden, you are a sucker and blind to reality.

      1. Orson Wells

        Dementia-patient Joe occasionally comes out of the White House basement. Will winter last longer if he sees his shadow? Or will he scare himself and run back to his basement?

  4. Max Foster

    Gen. Satterfield … spot-on article. Your enemies should always fear you. Else, you will be steamrolled in everything. The US and its allies are feared. This should not surprise any one that China and their ilk steal as much as they can and avoid direct confrontation with the US and its allies. The Chinese Communist Party (the party of China Joe Biden) can only get where they want to go by cheating, stealing, and intimidatingly others. Nothing else works for communists.

    1. Eduardo Sanchez

      You got that right, Max. Hey, great comment BTW. China stomps all over its people. People don’t matter in communism, only the communist party matters and a few thugs that run it. Look at any socialist or communist nation anywhere at anytime and this is what you will see as a clear pattern.

      1. Rowen Tabernackle

        Hey Eduardo, I too agree with both you and Max. Socialism/Communism are the worst human political systems ever since the invention of democracy.

  5. Wendy Holmes

    USMC Gen. Mattis is a good guy. Too bad his ego took over his loyalty to the country and thus his attacking Donald Trump. Mattis, once you’re gone, you’re gone. Don’t sully the name of democratically elected representatives. Trump did great things for the nation, what did you do other than whine?

    1. Deplorable John

      Great comment on Gen. Mattis. I liked much of what he did for us as a US Marine and as SecDef under Trump. But as soon as he started complaining, I lost all respect for the man. Gen. Mattis, go retire to the porch and let’s not hear your crybaby tears again!

    2. rjsmithers

      I’m with you guys on this one. Mattis is no longer any body’s worse nightmare because he is a pussy cat. 👎

      1. Army Captain

        Are any of you surprised? I was! But now I know better. Gen. Mattis is a NO GO in my book….

  6. Audrey

    I remember this movie as Five Million Years to Earth. I was very young when I saw it. I think I still have nightmares about it. Good movie with a twist. There are still scientists, to use that term loosely, that believe that this is how humans got kick started. Anyway, enjoy the movie if you can find it.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Yes, indeed, excellent film, esp. for the times. It is in color but I saw it on an old b&w tv many years ago. Powerful.

    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      Yeah, I heard about the movie but now will try to find it on YouTube or somewhere else.


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