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The War Nerd May 16, 2002
Tom Clancy Is Not One of Us
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email

My first fan letter from the eXile was an email from some guy in Michigan who wanted the latest news on Tom Clancy. Yeah sure, that's why I'm here -- to help you kiss that rich fat coward's ass. For a while I couldn't believe anybody'd be stupid enough to think I'd be a fan of Clancy's. You may think that all war-nerds are equal, but they're not. There are three big differences between Clancy and me: Tom Clancy

  1. Clancy was born in 1947. So he was 20 years old in 1967. Good age to go to Vietnam. Did you ever hear about Clancy serving in Nam? No, you didn't. That's because he spent the war at a safe little Catholic college in Maryland, making sure he had a deferment. "Hail Mary full of grace/Keep me far from Charlie's place!"

    I was born in 1965. Nam was over before I got my first pubes. I'd've gone. I'm not saying I'd've been a good soldier. I'd've sucked -- but I'd've gone. And died. It probably sounds like bragging but it's not. I know how I'd've died, some dumb way like stepping on a mine. Entrails dragging in a rice paddy. All the cool dudes in the squad laughing at me, listening to Hendrix, passing around a joint while I bled out. But I wouldn't've spent the war hiding out at Loyola Maryland.

    That's the worst part: Maryland! The stupid fuck didn't even have the sense to buy a van and head for SF and the hippie chicks like the smart draftdodgers all did. He spent the sixties studying accounting. So he's not just chickenshit, he's stupid.

  2. Clancy divorced his wife Wanda for a 20-year-old groupie. Left ol' Wanda and their four kids and never looked back.

    I don't have that kind of temptation. Not a lot of 20-year-old girls hang around me. Even the fat Mexican ladies at Safeway flinch when they pass me my plastic bags. The only girls I get to see naked are old whores pretending to get whipped on webites like Slave Farm, where they use lipstick streaks on the ass-cheeks to look like stripes from a riding crop.

    So I mean it when I pray for war. Clancy doesn't.

  3. Clancy tried to buy the Minnesota Vikings for 200 million dollars, and ended up settling for a piece of the Orioles. A baseball team. Football is war for office slaves, but baseball? That's not war at all. That's lawyer stuff.

By way of reminding you of the differences between Clancy and me: I have $630 left in my account paying for some kind of electrical fault on the Subaru. I have no idea what the problem was. All I know is you don't wanna be car-less in Fresno, not with summer coming. I'm more scared of the Fresno summer than von Paulus was of the Russian winter.

If you think Clancy's a real war nerd like me, how come he was willing to spend 200 million for an NFL franchise -- and in Minnesota at that? And if you still think he's for real, how do you explain the Orioles? The NFL is at least about people hitting each other, trying to snap each others' bones. Baseball is about cowardly jocks spitting and snoring. Anybody who'd buy a baseball team is out of the war-nerd club forever.

Think about what you could do if you had that kind of money. Money is what bin Laden used, and he made himself a one-man crusade. Everybody in America is scared of one skinny Saudi. Like the librarian said, "You may not agree with his program but you have to admire his determination." Or look at this Khattab guy who just got killed in Chechnya: Another rich Saudi who became a warlord by buying his way in.

"Warlord" -- God, that's the most beautiful word in the language. That's the job you want. With 200 million dollars you could buy your own army. Take some place like the southern Sudan, where there are a half-dozen ethnic and religious wars going at once. You know how far that kind of money would go in a place like that? You could not only buy your own army, you could buy your own slaves. Yeah: slaves. They have'em. They may not be the cutest girls in the world, but they're thin at least and they have a good attitude: trained to submit. Ritual scarification. You could have your pick from every village. They'd be honored. "At your service!" No age or consent problems either. Brand 'em so they don't go astray.

Or if you don't like the way those African girls look, you could go to Central Asia -- one of the 'Stans. Kyrgyzstan is nice and cheap I hear. Or Tadjikstan -- there's a lot of Slavic blood in the mix out there, and some of those girls look like starved models. Only not snotty like real models. On the contrary: delighted to be chosen for your pleasure.

With 200 million dollars out there on the steppes, you'd be Shah. Ride the steppes all day with an eagle on your wrist and your retinue in attendance, hunting small game and children: "Swoop, my beauteous eagle! Swoop on yon peasant brat!"

Come home at the end of a long day of hunting, dismount onto a kneeling servant, then chill out in your yurt -- clap your hands when you're ready to have them parade today's harvest of peasant girls from the local villages past you. Choose whichever you want. Hell, choose two, they're small.

In fact, with 200 million dollars, you could choose real models if you wanted. First you have to build up a private spy service; once you've got that you could kidnap any girl you wanted, from anywhere in the world. Take a field trip to Rome, sip your drink at a sidewalk cafe with a half-dozen Kyrgyz slavecatchers standing behind you, and wait till you see someone worth possessing walk by. Then lift one finger, point her out and say: "That one." A week later she's delivered to your Transylvania-style castle in Central Asia in a wooden crate. She might have a bit of an attitude in the beginning, but those things can be changed. People in the 'Stans know how to fix a bad attitude. A week in the dungeons and she'll crawl to you and beg to be of service.

It's not just a dream. There are guys doing it right now. Kim Jong Il, the Great Leader of North Korea, has talent-spotting teams all over Asia picking out the best girls, kidnapping them and presenting them to him, gift-wrapped and terrified, in Pyongyang. Supposedly he's a fan of South Korean movies. He uses them to preview the merchandise. Sits there at his private screenings and when he sees something he likes tells his agents, "I wish to interrogate her." That's all it takes. They grab her off the streets of Seoul and when the bag comes off her head she's in Pyongyang, scariest place in the world, with Kim, this jowly little nearsighted freak, feeling her up, panting and whispering, "Capitalist bitch, you will be now be reeducated by me!" You don't have to like his ideology but you have to admire his style.

When that sort of indoor life gets dull, you could invest a little of the 200 million in hardware and start a little war of your own. You can get anything you want out there: T-72's are going for scrap-metal prices. People think tanks are useless, but that's way oversimplifying things. Tanks worked beautifully for the Serbs till the NATO airforces got involved. If you're fighting irregulars in a treeless landscape like the 'Stans, tanks work just fine.

So you buy some MBTs, some artillery, go in and just wipe out one of the local clans. That'll get the locals' attention. They love a winner. Make your own flag. Your own uniforms. Convert the whole place to some cool religion, dump that Islam nonsense: declare the first Zoroastrian jihad, rolling back the inroads of Islam, that imported flea-ridden Arabian cult. Or, I don't know, you could revive the old Egyptian gods. No, Zoroastrianism would be better. It's more local, and pretty cool too from what I've read.

Worshipping fire, leaving your dead on rooftops to be eaten by vultures. Think of the speeches you could make: "We are the Army of Flames, the Sacred Fire of Tadjikistan, and in Zoroaster's name we vow to burn across the steppes until all is cleansed and ashen!"

God damn, think of the possibilities! The CIA would love you: an anti-Muslim jihad! They'd need C-5A's to hold all the cash they'd send you!

A war like that is just a big pyramid scheme: you take a village and distribute the loot and the women to your men. Then you round up all the surviving men and boys from that village and offer them a simple choice: join us and be reimbursed with the loot and women from the next village we take, or die right now. It's a very effective sales pitch. Repeat until the whole Steppe is yours.

That's how the African armies work. Nobody gets this, they call it "atrocities" and claim not to "understand how human beings can behave" the way they do in Sierra Leone and Sudan, but they're stupid -- stupid or just pretending, I'm not sure which. What's so difficult to undersand? It's the oldest and most sensible style of war. Compare it to, say, WW I: which kind of war would you rather be in? Gassed or blown apart in the trenches -- for what? What do you get out of it? Now compare that to war Central-Asian or African style: the village over the hill has some cute girls and some nice carpets, so you sack it, kill the men, enslave the girls, recruit the boys and move on. By the time you're on your third village you've got such a big rep that the girls are in no mood to object and the boys can't wait to be issued an AK and a license to rape and pillage the next village.

"Rape and pillage" -- now there's a career I could give my heart to.

To come out of that wonderful dream to this, to a duplex in Fresno, and the office and the's torture.

That's why it makes me so fucking crazy to see Clancy, this supposed war-nerd who has all that money to play with, use it to try to buy a jinxed football team, fail, then settle for a piece of a shitty baseball team. Baseball! Even football is war for wimps. For cowards. For office workers. And that's all he is, Clancy: an office boy, a fat insurance agent who sucked up to Reagan and got lucky.

I may be the loser here, but at least I'm serious. If I had Clancy's money, I would burn and pillage from horizon to horizon. There would be columns of smoke from every direction. I'd become a warlord, not an NFL franchise owner sitting in a corporate box talking about pass defense and smoking cigars.

I wouldn't marry anybody called Wanda either. Especially if she was from Maryland. And if I did marry her, if I did do something that stupid and pop out four kids with her, and back the fucking Republicans and talk about family values -- then I wouldn't dump her when a better offer came along. It's one thing to be cruel -- cruelty is fine -- but it's another to be low, to be a hypocrite. I don't hold with that.

So kill her maybe, but don't just dump her for a newer model.

Be a warlord, choose a new peasant girl to rape every night -- but don't be a sleazy lying rich fuck, "Honey it's best for both of us, my attorney will talk to your attorney -- say bye to the kids for me!"

Ever since I read that the poor trusting cow was named Wanda, I've had this image of her in my head. I mean I can imagine what Wanda looks like: like Tom in drag, Tom in a Pat Nixon wig and K-mart lipstick. Like the fat lady on that Drew Carey show.

I can imagine how scared the poor sow must've been since Tom got rich and famous. They must've been the perfect couple at one time. Made for each other. She was probably real happy -- or as happy as an ugly woman named Wanda can get -- back before Tom got famous. She just had to look at the wedding picture on the wall of their cheap condo to feel safe, because she and Tommy looked like twins -- the same fat potato-faced loser smiles. And like good fascist Catholics they popped out four fat-faced Clancy kids to keep the drive alive.

Then suddenly Tom is so rich and so famous that his fat face doesn't look so bad any more to all the PR girls and publishers' reps, and they start coming on to him right in front of Wanda. And Wanda...I can imagine her trying to get thin and beautiful, compete with the skinny girls who are targeting her Tommy. Wanda working out, trying to live on grapefruit. You know, nobody tries harder or believes the crap more than us fat people. Six months sweating and she loses three pounds...and lately Tommy's spending a lot of evenings with his "fans." His 20-year-old "fans," skinny girls with names like Caitlin, not Wanda. All hair and smiles and tight little butts. "Oh, Tom, you're such a genius! You're the bestest writer in the whole woooorld!"

And Tommy has access to these bodies. He can't believe it at first, thinks it's a joke like the frat boys used to play on him. The kind of girls he used to stalk in college -- now they're stalking him. They even pretend to like the war-stuff: "Oh Tommy, it's so fascinating when you talk about the homing capability of the new General Dynamics nuclear-armed ASB sub/surface-to-sub/surface torpedo!"

She expects him to jump her right then, but he keeps talking about the torpedo till the groupie is ready to slit his throat with her martini glass. She knows he's worth something like half a billion so she's ready to let him shove his blimp body into hers -- but she didn't realize there'd be so much talk first. It's worse than the way her stepfather used to talk about Motocross before fucking her. That crap was romantic poetry compared to Clancy and his monologue about Navy hardware. She almost thinks it's not worth it -- she can go back to waitressing, a little streetwork on the side, and make enough to keep herself nodding most of the time...but finally Tom's drunk enough to take the chance, he has his chauffeur bundle them back to the Maryland mansion where he pops a couple of discreet Viagras to make sure there won't be another embarrassment like that time in college when the ex-nun TA took pity on him and he, uh, let her down.

They drive home, necking in the limo -- and there's Wanda, looking out from her "personal" wing of the new mansion, the one Tom told her was "personally and entirely" hers, meaning: stay there and don't bother me. She sees the chauffeur helping her fat man and a skinny girl into Tom's wing of the house, sees the lights go on, and knows the game is over. Tells herself it won't be so bad after the divorce: she won't have to go back to work answering phones in an office. She can join a church and meet a "decent man," maybe. She doesn't mind if he's partly interested in her money, as long as it's just partly.

Then the lights go out in Tommy's wing of the mansion.

And next morning Tom's waddling around like a stud porker, tickling Caitlin under the covers and bouncing up to call his money man: "Let's light a fire under that Vikings deal!" He loves to talk that dealmaker patter he learned from Reagan's pals.

Caitlin's pretending she's still asleep, still retching a little. It was even worse than she thought it would be. The smells -- anybody that rich should be clean at least. It's too soon to assert herself, so she has to let him prance around in his stupid jockeys, talking big on the mobile. He'll pay later. Once the wedding bells have rung out.

Yeah, that's our Tommy's new love. I hope she tears his balls off with a gardening claw. Just like Birgitte Nielsen did to Stallone -- remember? She grabbed him, drained his bank account and ran off with her girlfriend laughing all the way.

And he wasn't even fat and ugly like our Tommy is. Oh, it'll be sweet when the 20-year-old makes her move. Tommy'll run back to Wanda and the kids. (I imagine the four kids looking like the kid in Far Side cartoons, you know? Fat freckly faces, big blank glasses, crew cuts.) He'll rediscover family values, blubber about how wrong he was, tell all the talk shows about the importance of being true to yourself...till the next groupie comes along.

And the fucker could have been a warlord, a living god of battle, like Khattab or bin Laden. Emperor of the Steppes. And he picks the Orioles -- a baseball team, named after a little songbird from the suburbs -- instead.

So don't tell me Tom Clancy is one of us. He is the enemy, the fake war-nerd, the office version. He lives in Maryland. It's a small state, and he has a big house. He shouldn't be too hard to find, O my brothers in misery. And when you find him -- you know what to do.

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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at, but, more importantly, buy his book.

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