- It was 0600 as I boarded the plane. Laura did this on purpose, and it shows just how astonishingly competent that she truly is. I mean, come the fuck on. If she gets me a flight out of McLaren in Vegas at any time past 0900 and I’m either in a strip club or on the casino floor until 0400 night prior. This way, she KNOWS I’ll be in bed at the steamingly shitty hotel that I booked for myself by 2300 at the latest.
The hotel. That’s a fucking chapter all of its own. It is an establishment known as The Wild West Gambling Hall. It’s off the strip, barely, and rightly so. It is cheaper than death and seedier than my prom date. I checked in about 2000 and was interested to see that the woman checking me: 1) was the reason for the weight capacity signs in elevators; and 2) had AT LEAST ten pieces of metal inserted into her head. Piercing, my ass, this lady had lost a fight with a fucking staple gun.
Anywho, as I checked in, I asked the rotund pin-cushion where the closest place that I could find a bottle was. She directed me across the gambling floor to the sundries vendor. As I walked across the floor, I was laughing my ass off…OH MY GOD. Where in the fuck did they get these people from? Everyone in that joint, (and that is a PERFECT term for that place), was well past their warranty. HIGH MILEAGE. Truckers, young burnouts, druggies, inveterate gamblers with too much aggression and absolutely zero judgment, and dealers assigned by name to this place from Sauron himself. These fucking dealers made the ones at the Remo look like Mother Teresa. Most had degenerated to the point where they only existed in a spectral fashion and you could only see them if you looked to one side and picked up motion out of your periphery. I truly think it was like gamblers’ hell. Fuck up enough in the big casinos and they send you here. To make an incredibly long story short, I purchased a bottle and a six pack from a woman, A WOMAN, who was a spot-on match for Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstien, and went back to my room.
[Twelve hours later] So there I was, on a plane bound for Washington D.C., by way of Baltimore/Washington International. I had a stop somewhere in-between that I can’t bring to mind, except for the fact that the bartender at the Chili’s airport bar wore a “Kerry/Edwards 2004” button on his apron, and that I can never go back there. But that’s not important. What is important is that it occurred to me right then, on the plane, as we entered the atmosphere at several hundred miles per hour on a Friday morning that I would not be expected to operate heavy equipment or a motor vehicle until sometime Sunday evening. Just then, on cue, the stewardess asked me if I would care for a beverage.
“Yes,” I respond, “I’ll have a bloody Mary. Keep ‘em coming.”
And while I suspected it at the time, this was the beginning of one of the most legendary benders of all time.
For my Birthday, you see, Laura had purchased me air travel to D.C. in order to meet with a buncha former Marines, respected executives, and a few other friends of Michael C Cochran, male prostitute. The Group, which was formed by a number of officers from the finest Division in the Marine Corps back in the late 90’s (1st Marine Division, By God), was formerly known as SCAM-D (Southern California Association of Marines-Drunken…or some shit, I honestly can’t remember. And don’t fill up my inbox pissed about it either, we don’t even go by that name anymore anyhow.) This august body had met yearly for the past four or five years at such places as Vegas, New Orleans, Toronto (or Montreal…I can’t keep them straight. It’s Canada, so who the fuck cares.), and Chicago, in order to drink, have a respectable meal, and enjoy watching Eric Martin morph into a drunken pig. In 2003, they wandered into Chicago during the end of one of the few pennant races that the Cubby Bears have been in over the past 25 years. I was in Career level school (fat fucking good it did me) in Fort Sill, Oklahoma when Mike called me from Wrigley hours before the Cubs would clinch the NL Central for the first time since World War II, while I watched on television. I really wanted to attend one of this….things.
So, this year Mike talked to the boss. Laura, happy at the prospect of having me around the house forever, decided to get me the fuck outta the house for the first time since I went on terminal leave and sent me to see St. Michael of Ann Arbor, et al.
After the stewardess delivered the Bloody Mary to me at 0732 on Friday morning, I did not draw another sober breath for the next sixty hours. I did not put down my glass for the next 48 hours. I wandered through taxi cabs, shopping malls, city streets, and hotel lobbies with a drink in my hand. The only person to actually correct me was a young waitress in a sports bar in Old Town, and she just wanted me to order something from the bar. (After drinking the rest of the can of Bud Light that I was carrying, in a single draught, I politely apologized and asked for a Sam Adams.)
The fact that I’m still alive, and not in jail or working in some kitchen is a tribute to Mike’s circumspection, Eric Martin’s guile, and my own skills at talking the Devil into setting himself on fire.
But I’ll get to all that as we go. Tonight I want to personally thank the editorial board from the Los Angeles Times, because they sent me. The fuck Off.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it ain’t the fucking destination, it’s the goddamn trip. Stand the fuck by.
BILEVol. XXXIXAn Honest Appraisal and Counter-Insurgency
1) “Somebody get Elanor Roosevelt’s biographer on the phone…” I was at the office the other day, checking out the editorial tripe pushed out like so much fecal discharge from the respected media sources, when something got my attention. The Los Angeles Times had actually done something intelligent for a change. They went to academia, you see, and asked various respected muck-a-mucks how they thought various historical individuals would handle the problem of Iraq. They asked these individuals who were smart about Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Julius Caesar, and Genghis Khan to write 1000-1500 words on this topic. It was interesting, I will grant you that, and I don’t doubt the conclusions that those individuals drew. All entries were well thought out, logical, and realistic. I enjoyed reading these pieces.
(I won’t put in a link here because I caught it on The Early Bird, which is a DoD news compendium and is accessible only through DoD validation. However, I encourage reading these pieces. Go to the Times online and check ‘em out.)
But as “The Night Fox” said in Ocean’s Twelve: “I thought about that for like a really long time.” And the more I thought about it, the more pissed off I became. We see everyday in the media that we are losing this war in Iraq. Everyfuckingday. We hear and see and read everyday about what a travesty the Bush administration has been since the outset of hostilities. We’ve all heard the arguments: “The WMD was the false basis for initial hostilities”…”We should have concentrated on al Queda and left Sadaam alone”…”This is a quagmire that will hang around Bush’s neck like Vietnam has been hung about the neck of LBJ”…”GWB has gutted the constitution unlike any other war-time president before him”. I mean, for the love of Christ, Gerald Ford is telling the world that Bush shouldn’t be in Iraq, and that guy’s fucking dead. Enough already. STOP IT.
It won’t play.
Answer me a question real quick. When was the last time President Bush closed down a meeting of a State legislature anywhere in the country? Lincoln did it. In Maryland. In 1861.
How ‘bout this: When was the last time we interred hundreds of thousands of Muslims in concentration camp under the justification that we couldn’t verify whether or not they were spies? FDR did it.
Okay, when was the last time you heard someone arrested and sent to jail for ten years for “making a speech that obstructed recruiting” for military service? Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act of 1917 into law that had just that effect.
Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, it’s just this: We are at war with a people who want to kill you, and me, and everyone we know, as soon as they can. They are called Islamofascists and they are out there, right fucking now, planning something that will result in the violent death of Americans somewhere. They don’t have the sexy Hitlerian mustaches, and they don’t occupy a position of power other than what our media grants them. They are criminals, no better or worse than drug dealers or street thugs, but by virtue of the popularity granted them by CNN and FoxNews and every other Goddamn media outlet, they are granted a status that has been amplified by many orders of magnitude. In light of what they have done in the past, however, and what they MIGHT be capable of now, their causes have been given de facto legitimacy. And what has this President done in response to this? Has he interred an entire demographic? Has any government, local or federal, arrested someone for obstructing the recruitment of those who might fight for the Republic? Fuck No.
How ‘bout this, I was listening to that idiot fucking lawyer that FoxNews employs as a legal analyst the other day bitching about the fact that some Imam got thrown off a plane after vocally, and loudly, proclaiming al-Queda and bin-Laden as the saviors of Islam. In 1942, two large corn-fed individuals would’ve beaten that motherfucker within an inch of his life and been acquitted of it. Today, we hear from the conservatives in the media that throwing that ass-clown off a plane was unconstitutional. Whatthemotherfuck?
Think back to the national pulse on 12 September 2001. We wanted blood. We would not stand for the attack on our people, for the slaughtering of innocents, for the degradation of our Republic. No fucking way. What has happened since then? Are we asleep, again? Once, we had the courage of our convictions. Are those convictions any less worthy of our courage five years later? Three months after that attack, a man named Steven de Beste wrote a very good piece about the fact that our courage was commonly underestimated around the world, but they were wrong to think that we would lay down after 9/11:
“The historical pattern is that people who become comfortable also become complacent and decadent. It's happened many times in the past, and it's happened now in Europe. I think it was an easy mistake to assume it had also happened to us.
Indeed, since 9/11 there have been many in the world who have demonstrated that they still don't understand our national spirit, or understand that at the core we have not become European. In fact, when we began to demonstrate that fact, many tried to convince us we should, to no avail.”
Later in that same article, that I read hours after reading the Los Angeles Times pieces, I found this quote:
“About ten years ago I remember exchanging email with someone in New Zealand who made a comment to the effect that the US had once been willing to engage in serious war and to make real sacrifices to win, but no longer was because its people had changed. I responded, "Don't bet on it." I assured him rather coldly that we had not changed in that way, and that the fire and steel were still within us. I told him that if he had not seen any evidence of it recently, that was only because there wasn't anything going on we thought was that important. I told him that it took a great deal to rouse us and to cause us to commit to full-scale war. But if we were sufficiently provoked or if the issues were sufficiently important to us, we are just as willing to fight today as our predecessors had ever been in times past.”
Now, it seems to me that the only person in a position of leadership, who is in the public sector today, who continues to exemplify these hardened, realistic, strong characteristics is the very man who is in the position to fight this war. The current President of the United States, when compared with other war-time Presidents (to include his old man) is doing a fantastic job. Economically, we enjoy prosperity like no other nation in the world. (One in which the poorest among us must suffer with dial-up ISPs) Since 9/11, when was the last successful attack on American soil by the Mohammedan horde? In Iraq, we have lost fewer men than in any protracted war that we have ever fought. Like Jerry mentioned to me a minute ago, even when we pass 3000 killed in action, we will still be short, in the fourth year of this war (1,460 days) of the total casualties suffered IN ONE DAY on 6 June 1944. Is this war any less vital than that one? Is this cause not worthy of that sacrifice? I’ve tortured myself with the answer to that. I have come to the conclusion that this sacrifice is necessary. We have to stop these fuckers there, in Iraq, now. The alternative is that our word means nothing in the international community, and that we will forever be assailed by those who see no evidence that we are willing to act in a decisive manner to defend our own way of life. If we should shitcan this President and the ideals that he has professed since 2003, then we will never be trusted by anyone else…ever.
I will admit to doubting this course. Any who know me and have spoken with me about the domestic policy carried out by this administration knows that I have doubted it. I was wrong to have done so. We need to be more vigilant and more unaccepting of those who would have us crawling senselessly about the floor like a dog. We are in a fight, and we must continue that fight until we win. Because, if we quit, those who wish to destroy us will not, and we will just end up doing this again at the expense of something more dear than we wish to sacrifice. An Iraqi Democracy is optimal. Sadaam is dead and that is a check in the block. However, the need to kill Mohammedan Fascists is upon us, and we should never shrink from that challenge. Until they are all dead. Period.
2) “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic…” One other aspect of the Los Angeles Times editorials was the myopic treatment of this counter-insurgency. Genghis Khan and Julius Caesar both fought “small wars” in ways that we are forbidden from reproducing. They countenanced absolutely no resistance. When they found it, they killed any and all who were involved…and their families….and their communities…and anybody who knew them. There was no collateral damage estimate performed, they just fucking killed people. At some point, the people stopped resisting the inevitable.
Now, I’m not professing a widespread repeat of My Lai 4. The wanton destruction of innocents only inflames the populace in its resistance of our occupation. What I am advocating is that we stop treating the accidental death of every innocent Iraqi as an indictment of the failed policy of Donald fucking Rumsfeld. (People, get the word out today, the atrocities at Abu Gharib were the result of ineffective leadership at the prison, and were in no way reflective of the leadership of a guy in an office 10,000 miles away in Washington D.C.) Men with weapons, in close proximity to other men with weapons who wish to kill them, present a significant threat to anyone in the area. The fact of the matter is that the Marines in Iraq don’t want to kill any who don’t manifestly deserve it anymore than Amnesty International. True fact. Because they are the ones who have to suffer the secondary and tertiary effects of that incident. Specifically, no Battalion Commander is going into Iraq with the mindset that killing a bunch of non-combatants is a neutral position. They are judged by their ability to neutralize enemy activity, and they cannot do so by being so heavy handed that they run around killing innocents. So they will, by virtue of their job, do what needs to be done. Problem is, the Battalion Commander in Iraq is second guessed by so many people, for so many reasons, that we have, in effect, rendered him ineffective by half. He still has battlespace, and he’ll still do what he can to stabilize it, but the second-guessing that has taken place since 2004 for every tactical action, individual action, or decision made or missed has been oppressive to such an extreme that I cannot adequately express it. (Ask me sometimes why the Regimental commander must clear indirect fires and air strikes) Also, whether we like it or not, that DIRECTLY translates to the squad leader through his company commander. So what happens, in effect, is that each squad leader out there right fucking now is as worried about getting fired/arrested as he is worried about enemy action. True fucking fact. Our constant attention to the ten year old, hair-lipped, blind Iraqi kid killed in the air strike that also killed Zarqawi is not helping that young Sergeant.
It is a tragedy. I am sorry that it happens. I cannot give a shit.
To do so loses sight of one over-arching aspect of warfare: mission accomplishment. We have to get shit right in that country. This Nth degree of attention paid to every single fucking collateral casualty has resulted in not only reduced effectiveness by our forces, but is completely misunderstood by those whom we would shepard into the fucking light. I have read at least ten articles over the last eighteen months in which Iraqi leaders were damn near begging for us to be MORE aggressive. They understand force, they are our allies, they know what works with their countrymen, they are more concerned about killing the bad guys than they are worried about us harming innocents.
Great bit that ties in here. I have been treated, by virtue of my last boss, to innumerable lectures of past counter-insurgencies that stretched well past the point of me wishing stab myself in the eye-socket. After a while, some of it sunk in, and I realized something. Those most successful counter-insurgencies did not give a flying fuck who was harmed in the prosecution of the fight at-hand. Ashurbanipal worried about non-combatant casualties? Whatthefuckever.
We don’t need to go that far, but we need to go further than we are currently, and that is a direct function of the outrage that we show here, on the sidelines, when a wedding party gets smoked in the process of killing the better part of a hundred fuckers that are putting IEDs in on us. Everyone needs to trust the fact that the fucker that we spent the better part of 20 years training might actually know what the fuck he’s doing.
Another solution, my dear friends, lies within our very own history:
In the late 19th century, Texas was in the middle of what we call “sectarian violence” today. On the one side, you had people who had driven cattle a thousand miles over iffy terrain to market, using every means at their disposal to water and care for those cattle in the process for almost three generations. On the other side, you had people who bought and paid for their very own propertie (nod to Cartman) and wished to enclose that propertie, to include water sources, with barbed wire purchased and installed at great expense. So those who drove cattle would need the water and would cut any wire in their way to water. Those who put up the fences would defend their property. Violence ensued. People died in a ditch. Up comes a man in a dark coat with a badge. He’s a Texas Ranger sent to that area to quell the violence. He pulls the muck-a-mucks from both parties in and gives them a variation of the following speech:
“Look, I don’t give a good Goddamn who is right or who is wrong in this. I don’t care who started it. I don’t care who died yesterday, and what act is planned for tonight that will avenge that individual. THIS STOPS NOW. The next person involved in this dispute, who fires a round in anger, gets a bullet in the head. Right then, or as soon as I can contrive it. No Judge, no trial. Dead. Then, I’m gonna come get one of you, whichever side started it, and I’ll kill you. Quite possibly both of you. I don’t care if you didn’t order it. And I don’t care if someone acted without your authority. I will kill you anyway. Questions? No? Okay. Good evening, boys.”
This is the way. Aggressive. Decisive. Infuckingdescriminate. Leave the cultural shit to the FAO. This is what they respect. This is what they will obey. I’ve sat at the table with these assholes, and if I had the latitude to give the above speech, with a Marine Sniper behind me with an M40A1, and execute the “or else” clause when it all turned to shit, then 2/7’s AO in the city of Fallujah woulda been like Lubbock inside of a week.
If we do this theater wide, and make good on it, then shit will stop now.
One fuckin’ riot, one fuckin’ Ranger...