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The War Nerd February 23, 2007
The Modocs: A Beautiful Little War
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email

FRESNO, CA - This week's war news is not only bad but so obvious that instead of repeating myself, I've decided to go back in time to the Modoc War, a cool mini-guerrilla war that happened right here in the Golden State, up in the Lassen lava beds.

Why? Because I just can't weigh in on our "deal" with Kim Jong-Il or our "surge" in Iraq as if they're serious topics. What could I say that isn't already as plain and depressing as a McDonald's hamburger? Here, I'll give you the bottom lines on the Korean deal and the Surge, then move on to the way better story of the Modocs:

1. Our "deal" with Kim Jong-Il is a joke. He gets beaucoup money, oil and rice for threatening us; we get his word - his WORD! - that he'll play nice. At least Jack got three magic beans. Compared to Kim Jong-Il's word, that's a fortune. Moral of the Story: if you play hardball, Bush will back down every time. What pisses me off is the way American so-called conservatives who know this is crap are keeping quiet because they can't leave their precious Bush. You South Park boys, how come you're doing all these episodes about WarCraft these days? Gee, Trey Parker, could it be you're sticking to third-grade cyberspace cuz you're too bummed to think about what your hero Bush is doing to America, but too chickenshit to quit shilling for him?

2. The Surge. Jeez, just that title, "the Surge" - what Stan Lee fan thought of that? The DoD is addicted to these corny titles. Can't just say we're going to increase troop numbers in Baghdad. No, it's "The Surge"! Like the name you'd give some lame X-Man added for ethnic balance, maybe a gay Samoan cripple who can turn himself into a tidal wave when danger threatens. One minute he's a mild-mannered Green-Zone accountant making $800 a day, and then -- Kaboom! he becomes a Tsunami of freedom, washing the scum off the "Arab Street."

If only. Unfortunately, this isn't a surge, just a reinforcement, and a pretty small one. And if you have to ask whether it'll work, you don't understand guerrilla war. Of course it won't work. Classic guerrilla doctrine - Hell, plain common sense - says when the occupier floods the city with troops, the guerrilla lays low. Which the Iraqis are doing. And yet people are so stupid they're already crowing that "incidents are down" since the Surge.

Well, duh. That's the idea: avoid battle, watch the Arabic-subtitled Dynasty reruns, let the clueless foreigners zoom up and down the alleys. Meanwhile, every soccer-playing kid in the street is memorizing patrol times and tipping his uncle off about the vulnerable small outposts we're now occupying as part of our meet-&-greet policy. Just yesterday the Sunni hit one of those mixed Iraqi/US outposts in daylight: two GIs killed, 17 wounded.

There's no point watching this like a Dow Jones graph, because any sane primate knows where it's going. Bush drove our car into a tree, and it's not going to un-total itself. All the crazies on Free Republic who screech "Nuke it from orbit!" are actually talking sense compared to Cheney & co. Because nuking the Sunni Triangle would work - might cause trouble elsewhere, but it would solve our problems in places like Ramadi. Whereas feeding more troops in, putting them on show to be blasted by IEDs - that's not warlike, that's...see, I can't even come up with a word for what these neocons are. They're not warmongers, that's for sure, because they'll never use our nukes. They're tinkerers, that's what it is - home improvement assholes who hit the sewer main with their first dig, then try to pretend the shit isn't filling up the basement. They won't nuke or leave, just hope their salaries rise faster than the sewage level.

So that's why I ended up researching the Modoc War this week, out of sheer depression. I realized, as much as I hate California sometimes - because it's not that great a place to be fat and broke - I have to admit that California knows how to put on a war. Like Ahnold would say, "Ze Modoc Wah had ev'y-zing: akt-shun, ro-manz, trazh-edee."

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Gary Brecher
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