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The War Nerd April 17, 2003
Lynch Mobs and Apaches
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email

Jeez guys, I never knew you cared. After my last column where I said Rumsfeld and the Chickenhawks messed up the invasion plans for Iraq I got more mail in a week than I got in my whole life. I feel like the bell of the ball here.

Of course a lot of it wasn't exactly friendly. One guy sent a big long fax that was pretty funny. Started out "Dear War Nerd, You suck large black twinkies." I'm not totally sure but I get the impression that that was an insult.

ZSU-23 "Shilka"

ZSU-23 "Shilka"

Some of the other love notes weren't as sweet as that one. But those death threats made me feel downright proud. I never got a death threat before. I was never big enough. So all you guys who wanted to know my address in Fresno so you could come over and shoot me or burn the duplex down etc. etc. etc, thanks for thinking of me. Also you might want to reconsider your own invasion plans, home-invasion that is, after you get this piece of key military intelligence: I invested half my first paycheck in a real nice Glock and it's right there in the bedside drawer with a full clip beside it. So like the man said, "Don't knock on my door if you don't know my rottweiler's name."

Truth is, I kinda enjoyed most of the messages, even the flames. Some of the best were on the eXile feedback site. Last time I checked, there were 58 messages about my column. Most were just the usual-how I'm a traitor and a fat idiot and you're gonna break every bone in my fat body. Made me think I was back in high school for a second. And about this fat thing: I know I'm fat. I'm the one who told you I was fat, remember? So calling me fat isn't like a devastating surprise maneuver. If that's the best tactics you've got, you shouldn't be second-guessing your fellow war nerds.

All I said in that column that got you all so excited was that the US attack bogged down in the first week of the war, because Rumsfeld pushed an undersized, lo-ball invasion force on the Services. I guessed it was because he wanted to prove we could do it on the cheap. And I stick by that. For one thing, the Washington Post put out a story a few days ago, citing army brass to the gills, which definitely takes the same view as I did two weeks ago. And the Post isn't exactly anti-war; they've been calling for Saddam's head so loudly for so long you'd think Wolfowitz was doubling as opinion page editor.

Fact is, the US really WAS stalled out on the road to Baghdad by the end of that first week. We were getting a lot of surprises, like Iraqis attacking more aggressively than we thought they would, not to mention sandstorms, long supply lines and not enough troops to protect them. The Iraqis were falling back on the cities and harassing our flanks. It was a smart strategy, classic WW II Eastern Front defensive plan, "trade space for time," a lot smarter than the way the Iraqis acted in '91, hunkering in the sand waiting to get arclighted.
Apache helicopter

Apache helicopter

And that reminds me of another little braggin': remember how I predicted that it'd turn out the Russian military intelligence helped plan Iraq's strategy? Well, the San Francisco Chronicle said the same thing, a week later, so nyah-nyah-nyah!

And for a while, for the first week of the war, the Iraqi plan was working. Or working as well as any plan could if the Iraqi Army was executing it. We shouldn't have had any trouble at all with those bozos. I admit, it scared me to hear about US Marines retreating in the face of attacking Iraqis. Pitched battle is damn exciting from my vantage, even if the good guys take casualties, but retreat ruined my appetite, and that's saying something.

Looking back, the way it seems to me now is the attack had two phases. There was the first week where we tried to do it Rumsfeld's way, with next to no bombing (don't tell me that "shock and awe" fireworks show did any good, even though it was entertaining) before the armored columns pushed up into central Iraq. After a week, that whole plan failed. It just plain failed. That was where we were at when I sent last issue's column in.

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

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
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eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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