Election Tuesday: "It's the Economy, Stupid"
August 10, 2004
(archived broadcast )
(archived broadcast )
Mark debates College Republican Utah Chairman Tom Robins on the Economy
and Why Republicans Love Pork, Big Government Spending, and Taxing the Young and the Poor
PLUS The Swift Boat Liars
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The vulture December 4, 2005 9:16 am
Fish in a Barrel
We had two G.I. KIAs, a pointman and his backup; but now we had the gooks cut-off, lying low in elephant grass outside the safety of the wood-line that offered them their escape. We could call in Arty or gunships; but we just let the gooks bake in the hot mid-day sun, while we finished eating our Cs.
We let our vengeance seethe within us with the heat of the day. We wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make any mistakes; we would make the dinks pay. Too many times we had walked into their traps and ambushes and fought catch-as-catch-can. Now, we could just take our time and collect our due. We had the enemy cordoned off in a kill-zone.
The CO called our squad up to walk-on-line, and right through the gooks. We were aching for a fight, up close and personal, and we would get it. I had the 60 with a 50-round belt loaded and two 100-round belts draped from opposite shoulders, intersecting across my chest which was covered by an O.D. t-shirt with the sleeves cut-off. Six months in country, twenty-three days into this rotation in the bush with a sweaty, young manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s beardly growth, perhaps I was more animal than man.
Eight of us emerged from the wood-line; we were silent and resolved. Then, somebody opened up; and so did I. I saw a gook some-15 feet from me, trying to hide; I pulverized him with lead. Two, then three gooks got up to run, and were stopped in their tracks with shots to their backs. Blood and bloody meat was flying in the air.
We received no return fire, but we kept spraying the area with the efficiency of an execution. I knelt down and loaded a big belt; got up and pumped out a heavy staccato of fire. Our squad stayed on-line, mowing our way through the elephant grass that eventually produced six dead gooks.
There were no blood-trails of escape. We had bodies we could heap in a pile, and a count we could call-in back to battalion.
After the fire-fight, our squad went back to our packs in the wood-line and watched others from the company revel in the bounty of the kill. In ones and twos, some G.I.s went close to the bodies and nervously laughed or made low-breath comments I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hear. I sat, propped up on my pack and smoked a cigarette, like after good sex,
and felt the adrenalin pulse through my body, then ebb away.
I thought of a time when I was young, 12 or 13, and had been part of a slaughter of spaw-ning carp in a small creek. Three of us had bashed the fish with baseball bats after wading in after them; and had displayed their scaly remains on the bank. I remembered how I had felt then, empty and sorry, thinking I had just done something wrong that I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take back.
I thought that only for an instant; and then I smiled to my squad leader, Sgt. Dale, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We should get hot chow for this.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah maybe,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Dale. Ã¢â‚¬Å“After these bodies get staked-out for awhileÃ¢â‚¬Â¦and guess who gets to do that?Ã¢â‚¬Â
I already knew that answer and my smile slipped away. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah, well,Ã¢â‚¬Â I said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Beats humpinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The rest of the company moved-out, into the wood-line, leap-frogging in platoons to about a half-a-click to a click away and set up in platoon-sized and smaller ambushes. I stayed with Davis, Smalley, and Gruber to sit in ambush on the bodies.
We pulled the gook corpses closer to the wood-line where we dug two, deep, concealed holes for ourselves. The dead gooks were a gory mess; as I dragged one corpse by its arms, the liver fell out and was left lying in the elephant grass. Another gookÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head was crushed like a bad melon; the blood on the bodies was still sticky. We put the bodies in two groups of three, booby-trapped them with frags, and aimed two claymores in their direction, with det-cord that led back to my hole.
Pfc. Smalley had some multi-colored gumdrops and put them on one gookÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face that gave the corpse a grotesque death mask that looked like it was smiling. Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s happy now,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Smalley, giving me a deep deadpan look into my eyes.
The four of us went to our holes, ate Cs and wrote letters. Davis checked in, via a PRC-25, with the rest of our platoon, which was about a hundred meters away, deeper in the wood-line.
I looked at my forearms; I had specks of blood all over them, probably from the first gook that I blew away. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Like spray paint,Ã¢â‚¬Â I thought, as I bit into my canned pound cake.
That night was quiet, but in the heat of the next morning the bodies began to bloat and the scent of death drew swarms of dragonflies close to intimately inspect the corpses.
We stuck close to our holes. If there were gooks in the area, they would try to reclaim their comradesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ bodies. That was their code-of-honor that we were now preying upon. As we waited through the heat of noon, I felt like a vulture, a living, silent omen of death, a quality that suddenly seemed matter-of-fact in this game I had become accustomed to, where Ã¢â‚¬Å“taking the good with the badÃ¢â‚¬Â all mixed in with Ã¢â‚¬Å“it donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean nuthinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.Ã¢â‚¬Â
I looked at my forearms again; sweat beaded over the blood specks that stayed as a reminder of yesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s action.
Then we saw them; there were two. They were black-haired, bare-chested, wearing shorts and sandals, carrying AKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. They looked like kids. They walked out of the wood-line 50 meters from us, into the elephant grass, moving cautiously toward the two piles of bodies.
After quick whispers to each other, we tucked into our holes, watching them.
The inquisitive gooks were like fish nibbling at the bait. They went slowly, closer and closer to the bodies, then right next to the bodies, but wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t touch them.
So I squeezed two claymore clappers simultaneously and blew the mines, while ducking deeper in my hole. Ã¢â‚¬Å“BaÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Boom!Ã¢â‚¬Â The noise was deafening.
I looked up, after the explosions, to see debris flying, which was a mixture of grass, dirt, and human flesh. Not soon after, there was another explosion. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Boom!Ã¢â‚¬Â As one of the booby-trap frags went off.
The PRC-25 sounded, Ã¢â‚¬Å“3-2. this is 3-6Ã¢â‚¬Â¦whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s goinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ on.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Davis picked up the horn, Ã¢â‚¬Å“this is 3-2 alphaÃ¢â‚¬Â¦we just got a couple more dead dinks.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It was several minutes before Davis and I went out to get a closer look at the damage. There was still a strange, foul smell of exploded C-4 mixed with decaying flesh. The bodies were now an even more distorted mess, a mass of contorted limbs, organs, torsos, and assorted bloody goo spread askew, clinging and lingering over, now, a larger area of elephant grass. At first we couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t find the new gooks, but then we could see some body parts that seemed fresher than others. Davis and I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t poke around; there was still another unexploded frag in that putrid mess.
We walked back toward the hole before I took a full, and not a stifled, breath. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Suddenly, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not hungry,Ã¢â‚¬Â I told Davis.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll trade you a chicken-and-rice LRRP for a can of beef-with-spiced-sauce,Ã¢â‚¬Â smiled Davis.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Aww shutup,Ã¢â‚¬Â I replied.
Our half-squad saddled-up and set-out from our ambush site to meet-up with our platoon. I was drag-man as we walked into the wood-line. I made a moving pivot for a last look at the horrid scene we left.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just mutilated carp lying by the creek,Ã¢â‚¬Â I thought.
Stephany Jones November 7, 2004 12:19 am
Found your site through blogspot and wanted to say hi