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The Beef Steak MRE has a Slim Jim in it for a snack. Now that's Beefy Maybe too beefy. You ever eat a steak and think "If only I had a Slim Jim chaser my life would be full"? No - that thought never occurred to you. And the same meal comes with beans as a side.
From the NY Times story on America and Iraq's smashing success in Samarra: Marines unable to get a foothold in Fallujah. In the same sense that Patton was unable to take Moscow, a failure that ranks right up there with MacArthur's failure to take Beijing.
The Army took Samarra? U.S. and Iraqis together? Well, what about Fallujah?
Recruiting and retention goals met this year? Well, they won't be next year.
But back to the MRE thing: What the cowboys didn't have is a magic heat pouch. We didn't even have them a few years back. Put the food pouch in the heat pouch and just add water and presto! Heat. But the heat pouch isn't really designed to hold two food pouches, so with beans and a steak, what are you gonna do? You see the kind of things I'm confronted with daily. It's a hardship.
Like when sometimes something goes boom and you have to drop to the ground and if you didn't have them on already you put on your cowboy vest and helmet real cowboy fast.
Anyhow, I'm glad to report you can fit both the steak and the beans into the pouch. One's not going to get quite as hot as the other, and neither will get as hot as one alone, but you can do it. Like I said, the cowboys never had it so good.
Now here's something useful in your beefsteak MRE: Tootsie Roll. Mmmmmm tootsie roll. Solid. Dependable. Just chocolate. Since 1896 (the cowboys were still on the range in '96) and I'll bet you haven't had one in forever. You want one now though, don't you?
Really if you see a bunch of guys standing around in boonie hats, flak vests, and boots that's the image that comes to mind, cowboys. Add a slung M-16 and you've got the full 21st-century cowboy look. Wasn't it during Reagan's term that the media decided that "cowboy" was a term worthy of worldwide scorn?
Hey, if you're skipping the MRE and going to the DFAC for lunch here's a hint: the little yellow packages that look just like mustard are taco sauce. I had an unexpected taco burger just the other day. But hey, I'll bet cowboys had those back in '96, don't you think?
If someone wants to make a movie some day a few years out about OIF they can use a cowboy theme. In fact they can just remake the classic cowboy movies with a modern setting. There's a lot of old west around here. We've got forts. We've got Cavalry. And yea, we've got shootouts.
We've got a cast of characters from around the world come seeking their fortunes in a dangerous land.
We could use a saloon though.
I walked into a stall in the latrine the other day and shut the door behind me a little too hard. "Bang" - and the guy in the next stall shouts "What the hell was that?" with a note of panic. "Just the door, man. Just the door."
He can be forgiven for being a bit nervous. There are shrapnel holes in the latrine walls.
Not too far off is a small arms range where the Iraqis train day and night. The firing is virtually non stop, and sometimes bigger things go boom over there. Other spots nearby are used to detonate captured or found explosive ordnance. Usually there's a heads up before something blows.
So most things that go boom are expected. But like I said, sometimes something goes boom and you have to drop to the ground and put on your cowboy vest and helmet real cowboy fast. Sometimes it's detonation of captured ordnance. Sometimes it's training. Sometimes it's a couple dozen children slaughtered by a car bomb at the opening of a sewage treatment plant.
I don't think that ever happened in Abilene.
This from the NY Times article on Samarra again (emphasis added):
But if the Americans were pleased with their success, not all Iraqis were. In Baghdad, the Association of Muslim Scholars, which represents more than 3,000 Sunni mosques around the country, denounced the military operation and accused American and Iraqi troops of widespread atrocities in Samarra. The clerics, who spoke at a news conference in Baghdad, said the military action would undermine any support in the area for the elections.
"The hospital is full of bodies, children are buried in the gardens, and there are bodies filling the streets," said Muhammad Bashar al-Faidhi, one of the members of the group in Baghdad who said he was basing his accusations on witness accounts. It was impossible to independently verify his claims.
"These policies will increase the anger of the Iraqi people," he said, "and if the government insists on resolving the crisis in this horrible American way, then we expect that the Iraqi people will not cooperate in any forthcoming election or any other political program."
It was impossible to independently verify his claims.
Based on the story byline (Samarra) and the photos I'd have to guess the reporters were with the troops in Samarra. But they were unable to verify the claims. Which I'm sure is true, but different from stating "they saw no evidence of atrocities".
In fact, this is what they described:
As though a bell had been rung, people began to emerge from their homes on Sunday, gathering in small numbers on some market streets and waving warily at passing convoys of armored vehicles. Here and there, people passed along the hot, dusty streets with white flags waving over their heads.
Nothing about fresh graves in the gardens.
In contrast here's a description of the aftermath of the Baghdad kiddy bombers' work :
Iraqi health officials said 35 of the 42 fatalities from Thursday's blasts were children.
"What really hurt me was that most of the killed or injured people were children," said Moyad Ismail, 25, who saw the U.S. soldier handing out candy minutes before the second explosion. "The children were making a ring around the soldiers."
The disaster sent panic through the neighborhood. By Thursday afternoon, nearby Yarmouk Hospital was overrun with parents roaming the hallways and makeshift emergency rooms, looking for their children.
At the morgue, stunned mothers and fathers left with only body parts to take home and bury.
And I don't remember the Association of Muslim Scholars speaking out about the children who died for the sin of wanting MRE Tootsie Rolls. Unless it's what they meant by crisis: "...if the government insists on resolving the crisis in this horrible American way, then we expect that the Iraqi people will not cooperate in any forthcoming election or any other political program."
This horrible American way you know...
You sure that Slim Jim isn't the guy eating it?
I knew a cowboy name of Slim Jim, he was a bulldogger, which don't make a lot of sense, being as he was, well, slim. Most bulldoggers are kinda not.
Anyway, you could mark a x in the sand and Slim Jim could thow a beef right there. He used to team up with Digger. Digger cut the beeves out and Jim thowed em. Digger had a heck of a cuttin' horse - quarter horse, he was. He could cut the stink off a turd without making a mess.
Anyway, there you have it.Posted by Joel (No Pundit Intended) at October 4, 2004 04:05 PM
We had a Venture Crew Summit 2 weeks ago...had MREs for lunch. The teenagers loved them. I had the beefsteak/beans too. Never thought to put both into the heating element...had room temp beans. The whole lunch was pretty good. I didn't get a slim Jim, but the tootsie roll was fun to have. Everyone liked the extras..we figure there must be a million green packs of matches in the desert. Best to everyone.Posted by Karen at October 4, 2004 05:41 PM
I don't know if JHD told you, but the 2/2 Marines were calling their patrol teams "the JEB Stuarts." That's not quite Old West, but they were heading in the same direction with that line of thought. :)Posted by Grim at October 4, 2004 05:42 PM
I'd like to see a modern cowboy movie like the "Magnificent Seven" or "The Seven Samurai". Bet you could write a great script Greyhawk.
Please stay cowboy fast.
Great writing as usual, Greyhawk. You draw the reader right in to laugh, and sympathize, and think.
Reading between the lines, all I can say is...
Thank you. You're amazing.
I knew the tootsie rolls were the right thing to buy for the packages I'm sending to my boys! *nod*
However, I did send packages of slim jims too-damn, hope they aren't sick of them.
Great piece GH (as always). Keep those cowboy insticts sharp, and your hat nearby.
God Bless the Children - and Ya'll Too!!Posted by Tammi at October 5, 2004 01:24 AM
Chechnyan leaders are reportedly claiming that disgiused armed RUSSIAN FORCES/TROOPS were the ones who kidnapped and finally slaughtered the children of BESLAN, RUSSIA. When Putin and his Generals talk about taking action against the "Source of Terror" in the world, they are indirectly but singularly REFERRING TO AMERICA - KERRY'S "GLOBAL TEST" COMMENT ONLY AFFIRMS FOR ME THAT THE REAL THREAT TO AMERICA FROM 9-11 IS NOTSOMUCH FROM RADICAL ISLAM BUT FROM INVISIBLE/CREEPING/GRADUALIST REGULATORY SOCIALISM, REGUL GLOBALISM, AND COMMUNISM, ESPEC FROM WITHIN VV THE CLINTONS AND CLINTON-LED DEMOCRATIC PARTY! For me Radical Islam, aka FAITH-BASED SOCIALISTS, are just PC/DENIABLE, DIVERSIONIST MERCERNARIES FOR AMERICA'S COLD WAR COMMIE ENEMIES! Clintonism > Mainstream/
Middle/Ordinary America is Communism- and LeftSocialism-centric, ergo by [Clintonian]definition and national desire Americans are against America, and want to be ruled or governed by anyone and everyone else save Americans per se, except Americans ourselves, for ourselves! Iff as per the Clintons and Clinton-led Dems Americans are by definition ANTI-AMERICAN, THEN NO AMERICAN SHOULD COMPLAIN IF AMERICA IS UNDER ANTI-SOVEREIGN SOCIALISM AND COMUNISM, ANDOR UNDER SOCIALIST=COMMUNIST OWG, OR BY A SOCIALIST = COMMUNIST AMERIKA RULED FROM MOSCOW-BEIJING VV OWG!?
I was in the South African Army in the 1970's. I now live in Spain.
I will say this about what I have seen and read about the US military: the avarage US private is more educated, articulate and perceptive than even the Generals I served under in the SA army.
In fact, the average US private makes most of the Internation Law post-graduate students I studied with at Cambridge University (England) look thick.
All have my unreserved admiration and gratitude for what they are doing in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Many over here in Spain feel the same.
John Campbell, www.fightingliberalfundamentalism.com
PS Really pleased I came across your site!