If You Needed A War

Say you were the president of a country and you needed a war.  I don’t know why you need this war. Maybe there is something going at that you don’t want people looking at.

And say this was all happening today, late March, 2017. You need a war. Well, you could quietly ship a bunch of Marines to Syria.

Oh, we just did that. They are “Artillery support” for the battle Our Allies are waging against [insert enemy here] at [insert place here.]

OK, I’ve been involved with that artillery support thing. I know how that works, First you pick a spot about, oh, 5 or 10 miles from the battle. Marine 155 guns, M777 Howitzers, the kind we just sent to Syria, shoot just under 15 miles effective range, 24 km, and you’ve gotta be able to shoot clear to the far side of your target, so you’re about 10 miles away from the center of the fight. You put half a dozen or eight 155mm guns in your selected spot in the desert or jungle, maybe a few more, but not a lot more. It takes a lot of people, a lot guards and equipment, a lot of food, and just a lot of general stuff to keep a bunch of guns and gunners safe and operational out in the middle of nowhere. You can only do so much of it in one spot. Recent reports said they were sending 500 troops. That sounds like a lot, but when you get all the work assigned it’s not.

Some of those people run the guns; others camp in a circle around the guns to keep them safe. I figure the original 500 reported would have been barely enough guys (I guess these days guys and gals) to shoot half a dozen or eight guns, with one shift awake and on duty at all times, 24 hours a day seven days a week, plus support staff, plus enough basic grunts to man a perimeter around them, same terms. That was one of my jobs in my war. I was one of the guys on the perimeter standing guard around artillery.

All these gunners and guards, these guys and gals, have to be commanded. It’s kinda like union work. Bosses don’t run the machines. So part of that 500 is bosses.

And all these guys and gals, all the bosses and worker-bees, have to eat three times every day. They have to drink water. They all have to shit pretty much every day. Since this camp just was plopped down into a selected spot, there is no plumbing, no running water, no restaurants or bars. So there have to be cooks and shit-burners, or whatever they do with shit now. I can assure you that they are doing something with it, and that some person has that job. You can about figure the original 500 was stretched pretty thin.

So of course we had to send another thousand a week or so later, and I think I read in that second report that the original 500 was a thousand too. Because mumblemumble. And battalion shit burner.

Food and water has to be hauled into this fire base. Garbage and trash has to be handled somehow, burned or buried or hauled away. Rats are everywhere; towns (or fire bases) that don’t provide sanitation tend to get rabies.

I don’t know what they do about clothing in this new co-educational military; during my war we wore what we had on until they brought us a change, which typically happened every month or six weeks.

So we’ve got this little tiny single-purpose town out in the middle of nowhere, 5 or 10 miles from a major battle. And from this town we are raining explosives down out of the sky on the guys we like the least at the battle. Artillery doesn’t shoot bullets, it shoots bombs. 155 mm howitzers shoot six inch diameter bombs a couple feet long. What we’re doing is shooting bombs into a battle to blow up our enemies.

Sooner or later the bad guys will decide they’re annoyed because we set this thing up in their country.  I can tell you from personal experience that having explosives rain out of the sky onto your place of work is annoying.  And ten miles isn’t that far. So they organize a response, and some morning at 3:00 in the dark of the moon they attack the fire base and kill a bunch of the guys and gals, gunners and guards, bosses and worker-bees, cooks and shit-burners, the artillery folk and the grunts guarding the guns. That’s how war works. Then we’ll have a really good provocation. Say they kill (just pulling a number out of the air) 21 Marines. Now we’ve got to Do Something. It’s on all the TV stations.

Back in my day, says the old geezer, we didn’t have women on our fire bases. Frankly the idea horrifies me. But say they do now; I’m not really sure. I know that Marines have women in combat now. Artillery is serious combat but you don’t have to carry the gun on your back. I’m just guessing here; I have no idea how this women in combat thing works. But if they did have women operating the guns, and two of them got captured when the perimeter was overrun, that would just be, to coin a phrase, the cherry on top. The [current enemy epithet] killed 21 Marines and the Rapist Monsters have two of our women!

Boys and girls, that’d be all it takes. Congress would give the President that Save Our Marines Resolution, and we could get into a real, millions involved, draft-the-young-folks war.

We really haven’t had one since Vietnam.

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