Telling Stories and Storytellers

Mockup with book

Telling stories and storytellers, Big Red Car? Whatsup?

Big Red Car here on a lovely Monday. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all.

One of the things I have to put up with is The Boss hogging the computer. He’s always writing something and he’s gotten a few stories published. Like the guy needed a little more to humble brag about. This has been going on for a long time, but he’s just in the last five years admitted it publicly that he’s some kind of a writer. Who knew?

Telling Stories

One of my favorite stories is something recently published in a literary journal and called The Moment Before the Moment. It comes from a collection of military stories called The Other End of the Tracers. That’s a witticism because when you mark a target with machine gun tracers, guess who is at the other end of them? You.

The Moment Before the Moment

If you find any errors, let a Big Red Car know, please.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Paint job?srirachaKetchup

 

 

  • sigmaalgebra

    Yup, nice story.

    With all the build up to the attack, at the end of the story, I wanted to know how the attack went, that is, wanted to keep reading to the next part! :-)!

    So, it looks like at the end we’ve got 48 US Army soldiers in a single line moving through elephant grass south to some trees with some high NVA operation with high officers in direct communications with Hanoi.

    I can assume that the US soldiers and their chain of command all had lots of experience and knew what to expect, but as a reader it looked to me like those 48 soldiers were walking single file into a fight in a situation they knew too little about.

    And, then, there was the Lieutenant, IIRC, who was first in line in the single file formation: So, if there was something hidden in the elephant grass should not step into, he was the one going to step into it. And he was likely to be the first the NVA defenders would see and shoot at. Gee, back at the sand table with the photographs of the NVA position, I would have wanted to have seen good data to understand that this idea of 48 US Army soldiers arriving in 8 noisy helicopters and moving single file through elephant grass directly to the NVA site was really a good way to respond to that NVA position. Those US soldiers were not just crashing the junior prom of some neighboring high school or encountering some street gang for a fight with knives and clubs; instead, the NVA would shoot to kill, have booby traps, lots of AK-47s, grenades, larger weapons, etc. There might be tunnels the NVA could use to hide and/or escape to emerge and then attack the US from another direction, etc. I’d start thinking about maybe some US aircraft dropping some bombs on the NVA position with, right away, some more US aircraft with machine guns ready to shoot NVA running from their site, say, into the elephant grass. Maybe then have the Lieutenant and his 47 men go in, maybe with some mortars and some radio communications from some helicopters giving some visual information to help aim the mortars.

    Also, did the NVA have some reserves ready to counterattack the US? Or, maybe the whole NVA site was really just a honey pot trap to attract and then kill the US? Knowing such things could be the difference between going home standing up and walking or lying down and still.

    I have to be reminded of the testimony of Viet Nam era US Secretary of Defense, who in his manner and presentation was really good at looking really serious and highly competent, R. McNamara who at a hearing before Congress before Gulf War I said “There will be thousands and thousands and thousands of casualties”. Well, there were, on the Iraqi side, indeed, some, really many, whole Iraqi divisions wiped out essentially 100%, but McNamara meant US and/or coalition casualties. But, for those, IIRC, there were, total, without looking up the exact number, less than 300 or 200, all as in the long Frontline piece at

    Yes, there were many big differences between the VIet Nam war and Gulf War I other than the differences between Secretaries of Defense McNamara and Cheney. One of the differences was that Saddam had 7 million men under arms and in the theater of battle with 6 or so divisions of his relatively capable, armored, and mobile Republican Guard, a quite significant air force, and some impressive air defenses with radar, anti-aircraft missiles, and anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). So, in Gulf War I the US had to defeat Saddam’s radar, missiles, AAA, and air force, attack his command and control and supply lines (e.g., bridges), etc. So, hundreds of thousands of Saddam’s forces in the field near Saudi Arabia were left short on food and water and either deserted or were eager to surrender.

    Part of the strategy in Gulf War I was (A) win the air war and, then, (B) the ground war would be much easier. Indeed, that was some of the thinking for the Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944, and in Normandy the Germans had next to nothing in the air while the Allies could send lots of fighter bombers, e.g., the P-47 and 1000 B-17 bomber raids.

    In South Viet Nam, the US had won the air war and could fly helicopters, any left over P-47s, various fighter-bomber jets, B-52s, etc.

    So, in particular, for that NVA site in South Viet Nam, instead of sending a Lieutenant and 47 soldiers walking single file into who knows what the heck defensive NVA defenses, “let the Air Force do it”, at least first. Right, McNamara: Having 48 US soldiers walking in broad daylight single file into a high level NVA position is a good way to have “thousands and thousands and thousands of casualties”, that is, US casualties.

    As at

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War_casualties

    the VIet Nam war resulted in

    282,000

    deaths of soldiers of the US and its Allies. So, easy to see why McNamara passionately believed in his “thousands and thousands and thousands”. Even then, in simple terms, McNamara lost the war.

    In high contrast, Cheney and Schwarzkopf had less than 300 total Allied casualties and won the war, decisively.

    Somehow, this little review and comparison reminds me of my earlier suspicions: McNamara was a pompous, incompetent, bloody, FOOL. And maybe we should include General Westmorland and Presidents Johnson and Nixon.

    And, for such sores that won’t heal, how long now has the US and its Allies been fighting in Akrapistan? In Iraq?

    Iraq? Schwarzkopf WON in Iraq, in all of about 3 months, and then LEFT that place. So, what the heck happened to get us back there, for, what, ballpark 20 more years?!!!! Right, now I remember, it was Little Bush, W, going to bring Jeffersonian democracy to Baghdad and all of Iraq, to get Saddam and his sons, etc., have the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds all sit together, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya. Instead, the Sunnis and Shiites profoundly hate each other, are in a 1000+ year old holy war, with cultures that have them, after food, water, and sex, thinking of little else but their holy war, and both the Sunnis and Shiites hate the Kurds — for anyone else around, Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Turks, Armenians, etc., they are hated by all. Yup, not your fault W that brains usually skip a generation or that you are part of the great story of the American family — rags to rags in three generations.

    IIRC we were warned long ago to stay out of absurd foreign adventures.

    For Akrapistan, we should have a review and either come home right away or clean it up and come home really soon now. Even if we clean up the place and leave, I give Kabul less than a year before the Taliban will take it over, along with all the rest of Akrapistan. Why? Because (A) in all of Akrapistan there is essentially only one cultural force, Islam, (B) it runs essentially everything in Akrapistan, (C)
    neighbor Pukistan is also run by Islam and likes the Taliban, and (D) the Taliban has Islam on their side. Simple. We really can defend ourselves against Akrapistan, but we can’t civilize it and, instead, have to leave it about 500 years out of date.

    Then, Don, as in your campaign, defeat ISIS and, then, get the heck OUT’A there.

    For Assad, that’s not our problem. F’get about Assad. E.g., Assad never attacked the US. BTW, neither did Saddam. Essentially everyone in Akrapistan who attacked the US is dead.

    Don, you can’t have anymore foreign adventures until you clean up some old ones. Then quickly do something appropriate about Chubby and NK and then COME HOME. Don, it’s really nice that you had a great Bro hang out with President Xu and that he didn’t stab you with some chopsticks, but, still, for NK and Chubby all you’ve gotten is to sell Xu some coal and have Xu put 150,000 troops on his border with NK. The purpose of the 150,000, to civilize Chubby? Not really: Instead the purpose of the 150,000 is to keep 100 pound NKs from running to China. For Chubby, little or nothing has been done.

    Right, I know: Somehow each time Chubby tries to launch a missile, it blows up not far from the launch pad. And, Chubby has not tried to test another nuke. Maybe that, with a lot of good intelligence, is enough for now with Chubby.

    And, by the way, on foreign adventures, still have to do something about Iran.

    For Condi Rice who wants to get on as many news shows as possible to say “The US is back”, presumably back as policeman of the world, no thanks. Maybe Condi really liked her role with W trying to save the world and now sees an opportunity to do the same with The Donald. Condi, you read this wrong. Don’s no W. Condi, you also read the aluminum tubes wrong; the US DoE told you that they were useless for separating uranium, but you ignored them; what Saddam was using the tubes for was as the bodies of crude, DIY rockets. Sorry, Condi — you messed up that one. Stay at Stanford and write some useless books.

    • JLM

      .
      Patrol leader walks at 1/3 back from the point w/ his RTO. Keeps a couple of machine guns next to him. An Indian, named Chief, walks the point because he can smell NVA.

      The Ass’t patrol leader walks 1/3 from the trail.

      They are going to find their objective, lay up over night, and strike before dawn. They will infiltrate on their bellies as the enemy sleeps and pounce at 4:00 AM. Early enough to be finished and gone by dawn.

      They are going to walk 10-20 klicks to their objective and the enemy will not know they are there.

      On the way out, there will be a curtain of steel that drops behind them and they will rendezvous at a pre-planned extraction site and be home before breakfast with the enemy radios.

      This is what they teach you at Ranger School.

      We are good at winning wars and bad at winning peaces.

      JLM

      • sigmaalgebra

        Thanks.

  • JLM