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The War Nerd September 6, 2002
Make America Roman
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email

Last column I asked readers to suggest wars that'd be more fun for the US to get involved in than Colombia. I got some great answers -- and thanks everybody who wrote in -- but when I looked into the options they suggested, I just got depressed. Because I realized that we're not going to do any of these cool military adventures -- and even if we did, it'd be for all the wrong reasons.

Take my favorite reader's suggestion: the US invades Saudi Arabia. I'll call it "the Korshak Strategy" in honor of Stefan Korshak of Kiev, who explained the plan better than I could. So, in Stefan's own words, here's the Korshak Strategy, or Why the US Should Invade Saudi Arabia:

  1. "We take over about a third of the world's petroleum. (If we're really smart we keep it government-owned and out of the hands of the oil companies, so gas prices stay low, but that's probably too much to hope for.)
  2. We kick that evil corrupt Ibn Saud family out on the street, which even foam-at-the-mouthers like the Persians or the Pakistanis would love.
  3. We would have no trouble getting allies. Even the French would probably play ball. Probably the Russians and Chinese. Every one hates the Saudis.
  4. The desert is the best place for U.S. weapons.
  5. Their army is small, and we know exactly how to blow it to bits, as it's almost all our equipment and our training.
  6. No chance of a sticky guerrilla war. The Saudis have no population to speak of, just some rich dudes whose assets are out of country, a mess of Palestinian and Indian gastarbeiter, and Bedouin who could care less who's in a Riyadh palace, as long as they get left the fuck alone."
Fighter planes flying

The Air National Guard: American Kamikaze

OK, is that a great plan or what? Stefan, you should be doing briefings for the JCOS. What a perfect Imperial twist it would be, America booting the Saudis out and taking over the world's biggest gas station! It's the kind of thing the British did brilliantly. They'd pamper a corrupt local dynasty like the Ibn Sauds for generations, then, when everybody hated them British regulars would march in like saviors, send the puppets into exile, and make the place an outright colony -- and they'd be doing it for the good of everybody!

I wish, Stefan. I wish the US was capable of something so beautiful, effective and direct. But it just ain't.

That's why it sucks being an American militarist: somebody comes up with a great idea like Stefan's and you go, "Yeah! Let's do it!" -- but before you can even get a good head of war-mongering up, the bastards in Washington do something so sleazy and anti-American you can't help but realize the sad truth: none of the jerks who run this country, not even the ones who get called "hawks," or the ones running the US military, really want America to kick ass.

They want to make money or they want to push their own weird religious agendas, or both -- usually both. But none of them really like America.

Look, I don't enjoy saying this. Nobody's more disgusted about it than me. An America that kicked ass, that really ruled the world the way we could -- that's all I dream about.

What else have I got? Fresno in August. Fat, sweaty and alone. You can turn the air conditioning up to full when you're home, but at the office they keep it at an "energy-saving" 76 degrees. "Energy-saving" -- yeah, as in "let the wage slaves sweat as long as we save on our power bill." You can't keep your coat on at that temperature, and when you take it off the white shirt makes you look even fatter. I see myself reflected in the windows everytime I go pick up a fax from the machine, and it's like this instant wake up call: whoa, that's me, that fat guy with the stained armpits? Whoa. No wonder.

You finish the stupid workday finally. You get in the car trying not to burn your thighs on the redhot plastic seat. The car's been sitting in the sun all day. It's got its own little greenhouse effect going, it's about 157 degrees when you get in, and the AC doesn't kick in until you're home. You drive home through about two million Mexican kids selling shit in the middle of the street, drag yourself up the stairs into the duplex, turn up the AC and click on CNN hoping for some real kickass military news...and what do you get?

Well yesterday I heard a story so incredibly depressing it stands on its own as an example of why the US could never do anything as beautiful as Stefan's plan.

You remember how, on 9/ll, the Air Force couldn't manage to get a single fighter up in time to intercept the hijacked planes, right? Turns out there was a total of 12 -- TWELVE -- fighters assigned to defend the whole of the US. And those were -- you guessed it -- National Guard. So America was guarded by 12 planes piloted by dentists, claims adjusters or copier repairmen.

Then yesterday the USAF admitted something even more sickening: if they had managed to get any fighters into the air in time (which they didn't), they were planning to order the pilots to crash their planes into the hijacked airliners, because there were no air-to-air weapons to arm them with.

American kamikazes! Sure, it's a good movie title -- but Christ, didn't all of us wage-slave suckers pay billions of tax dollars for whole arsenals full of every air-to-air weapon Raytheon or Lockheed or Hughes ever came up with? Didn't the USAF brag up the AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile), the "Slammer," as the biggest thing since look-down shoot-down?

The AMRAAM ($400,000 per unit) has been in service since 1991. It's had 12 separate production runs. More than 800 have been test-fired. There are tens of thousands of them sitting in bunkers all over the world.

Fighter pilots love the AMRAAM, brag about how it can accelerate to Mach 4 in a second and hit chaff-dropping targets 30k away. It's so aggressive and deadly that pilots call it the "Go Get'em Fido" missile.

But where was Fido when those Akbars were crashing a Boeing into the Pentagon? They were all over the world -- with one exception: there were none available to defend America. Apparently nobody thought of saving a few missiles for "homeland defense."

It's like a sick joke: the same USAF penpushers who lobbied the AMRAAM through Congress were sitting in the Pentagon when a hijacked jet smashed into it. And even after that -- after a whole wing of their own HQ was hit and burning -- the Pentagon still couldn't find a single AMRAAM-armed fighter jet to send up.

Hell, the USAF didn't really even need AMRAAMs. Sidewinders would've done fine -- even the Sparrow, the dog of American AA missiles, would've worked against a slow blimp target like a passenger jet. A burst from a 20mm nose cannon would've done the job. But they couldn't even manage that.

You can look through a thousand years of military history and you'll never find a strategic failure as complete as that.

But nobody seems upset about it. I started wondering, am I the only American who thinks some overpaid USAF heads should roll for this?

I tried talking about it to some people in my office. But they acted like I was a traitor -- like it was unpatriotic to mention how badly the USAF fucked up.

I don't get that attitude. The traitors are the brass who left our country defenseless, for Christ's sake. How is it unpatriotic to want some of the sorry USAF brass stood up against a wall for that?

Just compare the sorry performance of the USAF with the Soviet Air Force that was supposed to be so inefficient. The inefficient Russians didn't have much problem taking out that Korean Air jet over Kamchatka in 1983. Two AA missiles from a pair of Su-15s and -- no more 747. Maybe it wasn't the brightest thing to do, but that was a political decision. The Soviet Air Force did the job pronto.

But the USAF -- the biggest, most expensive air force in history -- couldn't find one armed fighter jet for "several hours" after the WTC towers got blasted.

Disgusted yet? Well just wait, cause it gets worse!

You'd think that after the towers went down, the USAF would permanently reassign a few squadrons to defend American airspace. And they did. For a few weeks. Then they quit as soon as the heat was off. They just didn't want the bother. Much more fun to keep their toys safe in Germany or Japan -- anywhere but the skies over American cities.

So when a private plane bumbled into the airspace over the White House a few weeks ago, there was nothing in the sky to intercept it. Bush and his people were saying their prayers, hunkered down over their desks, until the plane blundered off again -- no thanks to the USAF.

You'd think a supposedly "right-wing" administration like Dubya's would be angry about this incredible military screw-up. But they're not. Nobody seems to get it: "right-wing" should mean pro-American! Like, American nationalist! American militarist!

And these so-called "conservative" politicians aren't real American militants any more than the pissant Democrats are. There are no real hardcore American nationalists except me and a few other sad freaks here and there on the net.

The Republicans aren't nationalists. They're moneyists, as in they only care about money -- oil money, mostly. And money is boring. War -- fun. Money -- boring. It's time somebody said it out loud: "Fuck Free Enterprise, I just want America to kick ass!"

And the first step in building a real ass-kicking American Imperial Army is making a few overpaid military "executives" pay for not wanting to defend our country. So let's find out who on the USAF "management team" was supposed to be in charge of defending American airspace. Once we've identified the USAF brass who messed up, we'll settle this the way the Romans would've done it: put'em on a bus in leg-irons and unload 'em at the WTC ruins. Then lead 'em up to a chopping block, one by one, and cut their fucking heads off. Take the heads -- put the little blue caps back on, you know, show some respect for their rank and all -- and stick their heads on spikes in front of the burnt wing of the Pentagon.

Then go out there and kick some foreign ass. Not for money. For Glory and the goddamn American Empire. That's what I call "right-wing."

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

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