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A lot of folks suggest drinking games for the debates; take a drink each time Kerry mentions he's a Vietnam veteran, or declares Iraq or Afghanistan a failure, etc. I can't really watch the debates here - the time difference being one problem; another is one participant's relentless assaults on what we're doing. In form and substance it's beyond my capacity for tolerance.
I hear NotBush has a new campaign slogan: notthesandsofIwoJima. I look downward, and indeed its sand I see, but the sands of Iraq, so once again a completely irrefutable and useless fact is logged by the anti-American faction in this war. Not-the-sands-of-Iwo-Jima indeed.
There is commonality though. The sands of both locations have drunk their share of American blood.
There is no still no close comparison, of course - over 6,821 Americans died securing that tiny island, 19,217 were wounded. Sixty years ago Americans faced an enemy desiring to kill us in large numbers; a foe willing to die in suicide charges, committed to a fanatical religious belief. But for 60 years generations of Americans have dedicated themselves to ensuring no nation or group, regardless of it's desires, could inflict casualties upon us in those numbers again. The result? NotthesandsofIwoJima. They were so successful that other Americans labeled them war mongers and war profiteers for their efforts.
So yes, notthesansdsofIwoJima contains American blood, and though these sands aren't quite drenched in that blood the way the sands of Iwo Jima are it's because we've learned, and these sands are no less deserving for our amazing success. Tragically it's in spite of the best efforts of many that this is the case. More tragically, that group is represented by a significant number of Americans.
Lighten up: Here's a drinking game we play here, let's call it "Jolly Roger": monitor the radio chatter; with every utterance of "roger" you take a drink. "Roger that" requires downing the bottle. Sadly we have no beer, so when I return to Germany I'm obligated to consume 4,627 pints. I should stop listening to the radio now.
Now, truthfully we really don't play that game at all. Here's a game we do play. To the best of my knowledge, all Americans in Iraq participate. Rocket Bingo. Here's a round-a-bout explanation.
Ever had one of those moments where you missed something by a mere instant, or something happens to someone near you? Ever heard one of those stories where someone misses their plane then that plane crashes? Ever wondered what turning left as opposed to right at some point does to impact your life? In a way, that's sort of the concept of Rocket Bingo. Every once in a while nottheJapanese launch a rocket or mortar into one of our camps. It's not a guided weapon, so who knows where it might fall. It's often a dud, so it often doesn't matter, but sometimes it's not. The result? Rocket Bingo.
Going to lunch? Rocket Bingo. Staying at work? Rocket Bingo. Doing laundry? Rocket Bingo. The only rule is you have to play. Stay in your bunk all day - Rocket Bingo.
But the fact that you're playing just stays in the back of your mind. You leave work with a buddy, "Hey, wanna go to the gym?" "No - gotta do laundry." And you imagine yourself later saying "Damn - he should have come with me" - or imagine him saying the same.
Compared to the odds of walking uninjured off of Iwo Rocket Bingo ain't that bad.
And you know what makes it possible to play at all? The absolute and resolute courage of everyone else playing. They know they do so for a purpose, even if that purpose is scorned by some. Just as every Marine on Iwo knew the way home was through victory, every American in Iraq (and the vast majority of Iraqis too) knows the way home is a democratic Iraq. No, that won't solve all our problems, but it is another island on the road to victory in a war on terror.
And those of you who swore you'd vote for a lamp shade over President Bush certainly have an opportunity to prove your sincerity this November, though personally I'd rather you stayed home, playing drinking games.
:: quote :: And those of you who swore you'd vote for a lamp shade over President Bush certainly have an opportunity to prove your sincerity this November, though personally I'd rather you stayed home, playing drinking games.
:: quote :: ...
'Hawk! While I enjoyed yer' entire post, the last paragraph sums it up for me. I really did "laugh out loud" (...shows how very little it takes, now-a-days ; ) ) ...
Damn glad you don't have to return to Germany and get "wasted" ... at least not to the "tune" of 4,627 pints! ...
Be safe! Rocket Bingo "sounds" like ya' gotta' play it "close to the vest" and know where yer' "Fritz" is...at all times...
Yankees or Botox, er... BoSox? ... plastic or paper? Damn! Life's complex...
Posted by Sergeant America at October 12, 2004 07:30 PM
This is the perfect column to post in college newspapers across America...
Keep your head down, you're in our prayers...
(My daughter played her fair share of rocket bingo!)Posted by Beckie at October 12, 2004 07:56 PM
Brings back memories. We played a lot of Rocket Bingo in Saigon in '68. There would be several 122mm rockets land in the city every night. Here's an interesting variation of the game. I was billeted in the same "hotel" as the Aussie EOD team. Every night they would gather on the roof at sunset. The first one that spotted an exploding rocket would receive a bottle of booze and the night off. Everyone else would then go downstairs and get ready for the first call to go take care of unexploded ordinance. Of course that version of Rocket Bingo can't be played in a "dry" country. :-) Good Luck and keep safe G.H.Posted by Bill at October 12, 2004 09:28 PM
Well, this doesn't have anything to do with Rocket Bingo (except to express my appreciation that you guys are over there "playing" Rocket Bingo, thereby putting your lives at risk to keep the rest of us safe from our enemies.) But you did say that the poets are welcome at Mudville, so I thought I'd throw this out. I wrote it for Poets For The War before this whole thing began, and it has to do with sand. You might find it appropriate, especially now that you're pouring the blood of the wicked instead of the innocent back into the old sands. Thank you for your bravery.
Sands of Babylon
We are the land and the dream of the land.
We have grown drunk on the power of kings.
We are the ancient sands of Babylon.
We tasted the knees of the proud laid low
And laughed to scorn our foes’ demands
And slumbered long under the heavy sun.
We have drunk deeply of rain and sun,
We have drunk deeply of blood and loss,
We have drunk deeply the woe and dismay
Of conquerors that we shift and swallow.
But newly our draughts are poison to us,
And a sour substance sickens our sands.
The blood we drink has no sweet savour
Of proud or wicked or righteous death.
We taste innocents, babes, our murdered own.
We are roused, roused, ready and watching,
Scouring the garden to shake out the snake.
Someone has entered us, given us poison,
Find him out, root him out, swallow him deep!
We thirst now for blood, blood of the wicked,
The life of the tyrant, murderer’s soul!
Feed us injustice! let justice remain.
Death to the wicked is our poison’s cure.
Restore the new Babylon! then may we sleep.
We are the cleansing sands of Babylon.Posted by slarrow at October 12, 2004 09:35 PM
Thanks for putting a name to the "game" I (and many others) played in Iraq. "Rocket Bingo" is EXACTLY the right phrasing!
Our other quote was: "If you hear/heard the explosion, you're probably okay."
And, I would rather play Rocket Bingo than leave the Iraqis. Thanks to all of y'all for feeling the same way.
Take care over there - keep your head down.
AF ChiefPosted by AF Chief at October 13, 2004 04:03 AM
Wow. Just when I thought I knew one percent of what was going on...
God bless. Nothing I can type will express the gratitude and the love my family feels.
Thanks to Mrs. Greyhawk as well.
I have played "Rocket Bingo" many times. You win when you wake up and you are one day closer to going home and another game begins. Had the Hummer infront of mine hit by an IED, one KIA two WIA. Declined to go on R&R, changed my mind at the last minute and let some one els go instead--16 soldiers died when one of the Chinooks was shot down. Etc. etc. etc. Made it home safely...I win. I pray for those that lost.Posted by Marnedog at October 13, 2004 02:30 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(7) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)