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The War Nerd / July 19, 2010


War Nerd Return

I know, I know, I’ve been AWOL a long time. Shoot me. No, seriously. I wouldn’t object. It’d be great to get shot, as long as it was quick and fatal, not somewhere like the shin, where you scream like a raccoon from the pain and don’t even die. Shot nice and quick by a firing squad, that’s the dream. When that redneck demanded capital punishment by firing squad in Utah, I was as jealous as I used to get reading about Hannibal and Forrest. Lucky bald-headed Aryan Brotherhood bastard: what a way to go! He suckered those Mormons all the way. Lethal injection, now that’s scary: die on a table with tubes going up your elbow? That’s too much like how I’m going to die for reals (and how you’ll die too, even if you don’t want to think about it). But getting shot in the heart—that’s making something of yourself. Be shot.

I was so close. Take this Michael Hastings guy. He’s the biggest thing in military reporting right now because he broke the supposedly big McChrystal mouth-off story for Rolling Stone. OK, it isn’t really that big a story; how do you think soldiers talk about the politicians they have to kowtow to, especially when they’re stranded in a bar with a reporter for a week thanks to that harmless volcanic ash cloud the EU made into a fake crisis? Naturally they’re going to bitch about the pols like soldiers have been doing since the Neanderthals learned to make noises with their mouths.

But what hurts is that I got interviewed by this same Michael Hastings guy way back when my book came out. I talked to him for hours about war, about Iraq, about Fresno, about Afghanistan and even about how all the coolsters in Manhattan laughed at his book about his girlfriend getting killed in Iraq. (Which to be fair he should’ve expected because he titled that book I Lost My Love in Baghdad, possibly the worst title ever until some studio cokehead came up with Knight and Day.)

We maybe didn’t bond—that’s not my field, like the Georgia slaves said to General Sherman’s torch squad—but we had I thought a pretty decent interview, and when it was over I had a long shower and groaned for a few hours remembering every stupid thing I’d said the way I always do after these interpersonal things, and went to sleep expecting to wake up with a story in Newsweek and a rating in Amazon books in something like three digits.

Instead—instead, because the Gods of War hate me worse than they hate Poland—instead I get a nice personal email from my new pal, buddy, Vulcan-mind-meld soulmate Michael Damn Hastings saying he’s just quit Newsweek. The bastard took the buyout and ran—straight to Rolling Stone and the biggest story (as far as the sucker mainstream press is concerned) since Tet.

hastings war nerd1a

Hastings’ blog: imagining the War Nerd while getting famous

I should’ve learned my lesson and left the mainstream jerks alone, but then the New York Times itself came calling. I kid you not, the NYT called me. I didn’t go looking for trouble; it seemed pretty obvious to me that Brecher was a bad match for the windbags who run the NYT’s Opinion Page. But I have the emails to prove it. Out of nowhere, I got an email from a guy who said his name was “Mark Lotto” inviting me to write an article for this series the NYT was running called “Summerscapes.” Yeah, that’s right, “Summerscapes.” Pretty pukesome name, I grant you, but the exposure would sell a lot of books, I figured, so I swallowed the vomit and agreed to write something.

Then I went online and actually read some of the unbelievably lousy stuff people had done for this “Summerscape” series.

What is wrong with people from the East Coast? See, reading all these “Summerscapes” articles was my first try at East-Coast print culture or whatever they call it, and I came away pretty sure those people left their brains on the subway sometime during Eisenhower’s first term. Every lousy article was about vacations in a cottage “at the lake” or “on the shore,” meaning somewhere on that pissant excuse for an ocean, the Atlantic. Digging clams on Cape Cod. I personally don’t believe that Cape Cod actually exists, and even if it does, like my grandma used to say, “There’s no need to dwell on it.”

Every June these geniuses write the same little essay about going to the cottage. 1500 words on unpacking the deck chairs and sweeping all last year’s sand out of your cottage. It helps if you can throw in some sappy family-dynamics thing from an after-school special about how this year was Grandpa’s 37th trip to the dear old lake and gosh darn it, he’s not as quick as he used to be sculling over the lawn bowls, but his spirit and love of life are as bright as a button in spite of it all.

It was like ninth-grade English, where they make you read stuff so awful that you start to think it must be your fault: “Duh…I must be missing something, the nuances or whatever, or maybe I don’t speak English after all.”

This was when I started seriously wondering if it was a prank. I mean, how likely is it that I’d get an offer from the NYT, especially from somebody named Mark Lotto?

IMG_0333

“I’ll add some ethnic spice to your parent’s bland WASP-y summer home.”

But after I read more of these things online, I had to face the fact that they were just plain stupid. There was one that had me laughing out loud, which doesn’t happen every decade. It was a totally typical “back to the summer cottage on the lake” essay, but that wasn’t the funny part. The kink was that instead of being written by some three-name WASP from the Hamptons, this essay was by a gay Sri Lankan Tamil novelist named Selvadurai. He probably could’ve done something interesting about summer in Sri Lanka, like how anybody survives it for example, but nope, they had him do the classic “back to the lake” scenario, him and “my partner Andrew.” This is the first sentence, uncut, I swear to God: “Every year my partner Andrew and I go to Northern Ontario to open his family cottage.” The whole thing’s full of the same crap people were writing in their “What I Did on Summer Vacation” essays back in Teddy Roosevelt’s day:

“From the cottage garden, I could see Andrew going about the holiday home he had known since childhood, tidying up, taking down the curtains, cleaning the windows…When I went into the bedroom above the boathouse, I saw that the shelves were filled with the things of his past—magazines for teenagers, a tattered Scrabble game, yellowed paperback Daphne DuMaurier novels, a Mennonite quilt.”

Then the guy starts crosscutting between Andrew’s WASP cottage in Ontario and his family’s cottage on a lake in Sri Lanka. That one had crocodiles and Tamil-hating Sinhalese neighbors, of course, who burned it down eventually—the Sinhalese, I mean, not the crocs.

Scene #1: Two guys unfolding their L. L. Bean lawnchairs on a lake in Canada.

Scene #2: The Sri Lankan guy’s family relaxing by the lake in Sri Lanka, throwing chunks of curried goat to the crocs in the lake, watched by a sullen crowd of Sinhalese locals itching to tear their throats open. Ah, those glorious summer vacations back in ol’ Ceylon!

Scene #3: Ontario again, with the guppies having a chuckle about how the woodrats have made their little nest in last summer’s beach umbrella.

Scene #4: Sinhalese villagers whooping it up around the burning ruins of the Sri Lankan lake cottage, with the crocs doing a conga in the background. Oh, the humanity! Who could have expected that the Tamil-Sinhalese hate-fest would go so far as to disrespect personal property and the sacredness of the vacation home!

That was his whole schtick: quick cuts between his boyfriend’s cottage in Neil Young country and his family’s torched place in the Sinhalese backwoods. That was his whole take on the amazing war in Sri Lanka. He had a ringside seat and all he can do is whine about how the Sinhalese burned up HIS little boathouse bedroom with the novels by Daphne Whoever.

Some gimmicks are so simple it takes a long time to see them. Like it took me a long time, looking over this ridiculous article, to realize that it’s just a way for NYT readers up in the suburbs of NYC to feel even smugger, if that’s humanly possible, about their little lake cottages by comparing their neat, safe little boathouses with the burned ruins this whiner from Ceylon is going on about. It must make them feel good the way going to Ethiopian restaurants in the eighties, when there was that huge famine in Ethiopia, made the yuppies feel: “Haw, I bet those poor suckers in Addis Ababa wouldn’t mind a bite of this glop on this Styrofoam bread, even if it does taste like crockpot chicken run through a blender and served on bubble wrap!”

You’ll notice, by the way, that all those Ethiopian restaurants closed down after the famine “ebbed,” as they say, in Ethiopia, meaning the locals got two handfuls of UN weight-gain mix, torn from the poor suburban steroid kids who were clamoring for it, instead of just one. Once people in Seattle found out the people who cooked this glop weren’t starving anymore, they realized, “Hey, this tastes like diarrhea!’ and went on to sushi, which was roughly like replacing McClellan with Ambrose Burnside.

It just doesn’t taste as good without a little salsa picante on it, as in somebody else having their cabin burnt down while yours is appreciating at a steady ten percent per annum. Which is why they invited Mister Gay Sri Lanka to do a column. Absolutely the lamest strategy since MacMahon in 1870: hire a “visible minority” squared—gay and brown—and then you can just crank out the same crap. It’s the print version of that Damon Wayans sitcom My Wife and Kids, where the gimmick is they do all the gags Leave It to Beaver thought were too corny for the 1950s and get away with it cuz the main characters are all black!  It’s even got the same sadism, come to think of it: make the black folk suffer through a ten-year run of Damon’s stage kids’ hijinks before you let the poor suckers know that sitcom family stuff was never funny even the first time around.

But even though these “Summerscape” articles made me sick to read I wrote one when they asked me. I’m an American, damn it, and I’m supposed to try to make it. So I swallowed the bile and did my best, wrote a short article on summer in Bakersfield the way I remember it: getting beat to a pulp by some jocks from my high school when they saw me chopping weeds by the road on my summer job with the city weed-cull program. I talked about how bummed all my relatives were that I didn’t fight back, how they thought it was a sign of the decline of the white race, or maybe the Okie race; on my mother’s side of the family they don’t make much of a distinction—and how it made me sort of a fatalist in military matters. I called it “The Military History of Bakersfield,” went on about how the same jocks who stomped me faded into obscurity like the Hittites, superseded by later empires, in this case the Mexicans, who had a higher birthrate and less to lose, and then the Salvadorans, possibly the only empire since the Mayans (same people, come to think of it) to intimidate enemies with armies of soldiers less than five feet tall.

I thought it was funny and my pal at the NYT, Mark Lotto, actually agreed, sent me a contract and a bunch of praise and told me it’d be coming out soon. I should live so long, as they say in New York. First they told me that the summer was over and it’d be published next summer. Next summer this NYT intern named “Honor Jones”—another name that made me think it was all a big prank—sent me a couple dozen emails saying my article was going to come out any day now, just be patient—until she finally admitted that her editor David Silbey didn’t like it. Silbey is a mainstream war guy, more like a war dweeb than a war nerd, so no wonder he nixed my downer of a story about getting beat on without a happy ending or movie revenge. Of course he was going to kill the story: we’re in the same business only I’m about a thousand times better at it than that Gerbers-baby-food version of a war historian. But the capper: the NYT didn’t even send me the kill fee they promised. I didn’t get a penny for sucking up to the bastards.

That’s the problem with selling out, in my experience: you cover yourself with stinking shit and then don’t even get paid. Even as a kid in Bible study I knew Judas was a fool. He was never going to get those thirty pieces of silver. When he went to collect they laughed in his stupid red face. That’s why he hung himself. That was always my take on the New Testament, and you’d think I’d have applied it to this going-mainstream program, known better. But the truth is nobody ever knows better.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Would you like to know more? Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to brecher@exiledonline.com. Read Gary Brecher’s first ever War Nerd column by clicking here.

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115 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Damn  |  July 19th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Boy, where you been?

  • 2. weldon rumproast  |  July 19th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    ok, cool…. now write a war article!

  • 3. Justin Liu  |  July 19th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks whatever god brought you back to writing. Good luck at your new job.

  • 4. DERP  |  July 19th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Pass the Kalashnikov and praise the lord, Brecher is back!

    Now enough with this stupid New York summerscapes crap. We all know those people are the parasites of the earth, no need to go into detail about it bro.

    Get back to your roots: war! There’s plenty of it to go around and your commentary never fails to deliver.

  • 5. GARY  |  July 19th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    stillfunny

  • 6. Peter  |  July 19th, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    The West coast never flatters itself. Fact.

  • 7. Big Tom Freidman  |  July 19th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    You lose you job?

  • 8. selfhatingbean  |  July 19th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    shut up now and dance boy…

  • 9. Acelin  |  July 19th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Don’t know what photos they produced to bring you back, be they tantalizing, or blackmailing… but I’m glad it worked.

    The internet just ain’t the same without some War Nerd.

  • 10. Grimgrin  |  July 19th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Glad to see you back Mr. Dola- I mean Brecher.

  • 11. Esn  |  July 19th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Awesome article. Good to have you back.

  • 12. motorfirebox  |  July 19th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    About time. Now write about some fuckers shooting some other fuckers!

  • 13. Dr. Luny  |  July 19th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Hallelujah! Hail Satan! The War Nerd has returned!

  • 14. Mike  |  July 19th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Welcome back, all cheapass netizens miss you :)

  • 15. tom  |  July 19th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    war nerd just jumped the shark

  • 16. empire in decline  |  July 19th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Most people want you to be positive or lie to them. I doubt you could do either in what you wrote because what you write is actually worth reading.

    By the way, did a quick google search and I think the guy who rejected you wrote this when comparing the Philippine–American War to Iraq:

    “The answer is relatively simple. The Americans, while they sought to win militarily, also worked to convince the Filipinos that there were advantages to being ruled by the United States. Actions such as the regularization of trade, the building of roads and railways, the revamping of the legal system, the constructing of hospitals and schools, and the awarding of amnesties to surrendering insurgents induced a substantial proportion of the population, revolutionaries, elites, and average Filipinos alike, to make their peace with the Americans.”

    One day a foreign country is going to cause 1 million American deaths and I will personally love to see how understanding the United States will be that it was for its own good.

  • 17. Floyd Gerber  |  July 19th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Praise be to allah, he’s back. Moar plz

  • 18. Russki  |  July 19th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    cool story bro

  • 19. dermotmoconnor  |  July 19th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    nEVr LeaV3 uS agAin!

  • 20. peter  |  July 19th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    As far as I am concerned you aren’t back yet. Write about war damn it.

  • 21. arrowrod  |  July 19th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Glad your back.
    Looking forward to your 2012, end of times, diatribe.

  • 22. Flatulissimo  |  July 19th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    ‘BOUT. FUCKING. TIME.

  • 23. good 'ol johnny  |  July 19th, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Great article. You know what they say about things sounding too good to be true …

  • 24. serbskiy  |  July 19th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    bro story, cool

  • 25. Alok  |  July 19th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    A miserable and rainy day in Delhi (which by the way, I have realized, should be subject to its own War Nerd article) has suddenly become better reading this first thing in the morning.

    Go War Nerd!

  • 26. Jeanne  |  July 19th, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Welcome back.

    According to Wikipedia John Dolan is now teaching at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani.

  • 27. svirgula  |  July 19th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Dolan outs himself on the UoI, Sulaimani site, if anyone cares.

  • 28. subzero  |  July 20th, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Back just in time to get ready for writing a real War Nerd article about the imminent bombing campaign against Iran. Nice timing.

  • 29. Zhu Bajie  |  July 20th, 2010 at 12:19 am

    “According to Wikipedia John Dolan is now teaching at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani.”

    That’s what I would call desperate for a job!

  • 30. A-Lex  |  July 20th, 2010 at 2:22 am

    FUCKING finally! :) )
    I bet they don’t miss Elvis as badly as they were missing your fat ass ’round ‘ere.

  • 31. Pat Kittle  |  July 20th, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Your snotty opinions have been missed.

    Hey Gary, we know the Mexicans are still fighting the War of 1848. (Whether their overbreeding will have the effect of Hercules in the temple remains to be seen.)

    What’s surprising is, the Brits are still fighting the War of 1812. Not only did they lay waste to our entire southeast coast, but adding insult to injury they commandeered our Coast Guard!

  • 32. STB  |  July 20th, 2010 at 4:01 am

    One day a foreign country is going to cause 1 million American deaths

    More like a foreign CORPORATION, Fox News, BP, or any number of multinationals.

  • 33. STB  |  July 20th, 2010 at 4:03 am

    This:

    Absolutely the lamest strategy since MacMahon in 1870: hire a “visible minority” squared—gay and brown—and then you can just crank out the same crap.

    is the best one sentence description of the Obama Administration I’ve read yet.

  • 34. SuitBoi  |  July 20th, 2010 at 4:14 am

    If they don’t want it, do they still have the rights to it? Couldn’t you just send it elsewhere?

    Good to read you again.

  • 35. blacksmith  |  July 20th, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Finally! I had about given up.
    I figured that they’d given you so much money
    for your book that you didn’t have to work for a living anymore, (or else some do-gooder tracked you down and gave you 12 inches of cold steel for having the gall to rub their nose in their own stupidity…not that there are very many that would have the balls to try). Sure is plenty of material out there waiting to be written about.
    BRING IT ON!

  • 36. noam  |  July 20th, 2010 at 5:06 am

    It could be because he’s rusty but this doesn’t feel like a war nerd article to me. Could be ames is trying to revive this site thru “reviving” brecher or dolan just had an off day. Typical war nerd would start with at least some kind of explenation for the hiatus, less bitterness at other journalists and papers(Ames, im looking at youand have more of the funies, the smarts and the wars that we love so much.

  • 37. Sheila J.  |  July 20th, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Greatest Birthday Present Ever.

  • 38. Seed  |  July 20th, 2010 at 5:31 am

    I look forward to reading your articles War Nerd. Have a closer luck at the situation in Turkey…you’ll be surprised.

  • 39. Bester  |  July 20th, 2010 at 5:38 am

    HIS EMAIL DOES NOT WORK. NEED TO WRITE TO BRECHER. NO WAY OF DOING IT. GODDAMN IT.

  • 40. George Herbert's collar  |  July 20th, 2010 at 5:41 am

    If those Iraqi fuckers kill Dr Dolan it’ll be the worst thing they’ve ever done.

  • 41. Rathindra  |  July 20th, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Selvadorei is an idiot, i’m from Sri Lanka and i had to study him coz he is indigenous…anyway thank god you are back

  • 42. CHarlie  |  July 20th, 2010 at 7:07 am

    What the hell is this?

    Afghanistan is going all to hell, a top American general gets fired for shooting his damn mouth off, war blogger types like Sebastian Junger get to publish a book *and* put out a movie, and instead we get an article about some gay dude’s pansy-ass summer vacation.

  • 43. peace nerd  |  July 20th, 2010 at 7:19 am

    just ordered your damn book. Now do me a favor and write a freaking war article. there’s only that many movies reviews (no disrespect for exile writers) we can take waiting for the resurrection of the war nerd… it was about time, was just about to remove the exile from my bookmarks…

  • 44. D  |  July 20th, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Go back to writing authoritative-sounding, generalizing, “cool” bullshit.

    You make me whole.

  • 45. Dr. Luny  |  July 20th, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Wow, after reading this I’m completely sure that Brecher has a very high opinion of Celine.

  • 46. x marx the spot  |  July 20th, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I’d feared Dolan dead. That he’s alive, employed, and writing is the best news I’ve had all week.

  • 47. slapchop  |  July 20th, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I surf over to Exiled with a smile. Will I have to read yet another idiotic comment, or will I shuttup and do as I’m told, as it should be? T_T

  • 48. Concerned Citizen  |  July 20th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Write about war, please.

  • 49. Hammer  |  July 20th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    “Dolan outs himself on the UoI, Sulaimani site, if anyone cares.”

    So he does. Not like it was a big secret. This definitely reads like a Dolan piece, which is fine with me.

  • 50. Rick  |  July 20th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Re outing myself, here’s the link: http://www.rentboy.com/Splash.aspx?ReturnUrl=/default.aspx

    Not 100% unambiguous but everyone who knows me knows I have nothing to hide.

  • 51. Alexander  |  July 20th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Write about war, dammit, not the fucking NY Times.

  • 52. Diet Coke  |  July 20th, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Bring back Eileen Jones already.

  • 53. totalesturns  |  July 20th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Hail the returning hero. bla bla bla. But it’s useful to comment on this site. Now get to work!

  • 54. durka  |  July 20th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    where the eff have you been

  • 55. Tam  |  July 20th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Welcome back, sir. I was starting to get concerned you’d started to take the lyrics of ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ to heart, fallen in love with a cute girl or died of a heart attack.

    Also, not that I actually care, but how can anyone think Mark Ames is Gary Brecher? Do these people know how to understand written sentences? Their writing style is so different…

  • 56. messner  |  July 21st, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Welcome back !!!!!!!!!!!

    We have missed you ….

  • 57. exhole  |  July 21st, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Fucking finally. From what i can gather, the book failed to make him any money and he soured on the idea of bothering with it.

  • 58. Lavrentij Lemko  |  July 21st, 2010 at 7:39 am

    WHY NOT? IT IS NISE!

  • 59. franc black  |  July 21st, 2010 at 9:03 am

    “But the truth is: nobody ever knows better”
    -G. Brecher

    I was about to lunch on last night’s leftovers in my cubicular working area when I got pressured to go out for some McDelights with a batch of bright eyed colleagues.

    Suddenly, I was called into the Deputy Director’s office to rat out on a fellow employee’s fuck-ups. Meanwhile, the happy crowd left me behind. Fuck it, I’m broke anyways, even for a couple of $1.39 McDoubles.

    Moments later, I de-fridged the lunch and zapped it: rice, broccoli and meatballs (1 minute, 20 seconds … gotta love how fast rice re-heats), to be drowned with a tidy little box of “Tropical Passion” ‘juice’. Settling back at my desk, checked exiledonline.com for signs of life. And was rewarded with one…

    Thanks Gary, you made my day. Welcome back.

  • 60. Dolfboy  |  July 21st, 2010 at 9:40 am

    And thus it came to pass that the War Nerd rose from the depths of the lake of lard and diet coke to bring the message of schadenfreude to the shrieking masses!

    Hail Beelzebub!

  • 61. ray  |  July 21st, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Lousy column, but it’s great to have you back. Looking forward to more awesome within the next month!

  • 62. eddie  |  July 21st, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Welcome back.

    Now do us all a favor and write about the current situation in Afghanistan/Pakistan. This is the conflict you where born to cover. This baby has everything, you have the low tech/high tech scenario. Ancient grudges, men who wear dresses and hate women. And finally a population of men who savor war like the french their wine.

  • 63. giovanni  |  July 21st, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I second the crowd here, we want War Nerd back to war nerding!

  • 64. massel tov  |  July 21st, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    oh boy!

    welcome back.
    what’s about war?

  • 65. Allen  |  July 21st, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    “It was like ninth-grade English, where they make you read stuff so awful that you start to think it must be your fault”

    Too apt … I laughed.

    A few more articles would be nice; it does seem a number of comments above this one agree.

  • 66. G Worm  |  July 21st, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Now that Gary is saved can we start concentrating on the plight of teh Guinea Worm? http://www.deadlysins.com/guineaworm/index.htm

  • 67. Timmy  |  July 21st, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Read this on wikipedia about the guy who was executed by firing squad, and I had to share the awesomeness:

    On October 28, 1987, Gardner broke a glass partition in a prison visiting area and had sex with a female visitor while other inmates barricaded the doors.

  • 68. Mark  |  July 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 am

    having just read Nick Kristof’s column, I am struck at just how much of a sad person I am for ever having read a Nick Kristof column.

  • 69. K Dawg  |  July 22nd, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Nice to have you back Gary! Now, more war and less whine please. The world sucks and we know it, but let’s at least have a blast watching it burn while it lasts eh?

  • 70. gc  |  July 22nd, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    “Lethal injection, now that’s scary: die on a table with tubes going up your elbow? That’s too much like how I’m going to die for reals (and how you’ll die too, even if you don’t want to think about it). But getting shot in the heart—that’s making something of yourself. Be shot.”

    Why not just shoot yourself? (Not that I’m asking Brecher to kill himself any time soon. I’m just saying, if slowly dying in a hospital bothers him so much, there are options…)

  • 71. svirgula  |  July 22nd, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    @Hammer

    That’s right.

  • 72. pMX?  |  July 22nd, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    ´Bout time. We have missed you War Nerd.

  • 73. Abdullah Shteinfelz  |  July 22nd, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Allah-u-Akbar, Ahamdul’Allah! He is back!

  • 74. BryanSabbath  |  July 23rd, 2010 at 2:05 am

    We have missed you much. Looking forward to buying your next book. Not pointing fingers but hopefully another war starts soon…..

  • 75. Omegax  |  July 23rd, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Thank Shiva! Ever since Timothy mcVeigh was executed, the world has been slithering toward a state of absolute conformity, delayed only slightly by the uber-brave struggle of the great rev Fred Phelps and Peter Singer. Perhaps Gary Brecher can wake up a tiny fraction of the sleeping, mindless masses.

  • 76. DM  |  July 24th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    The internet has had a War Nerd-shaped hole in it for over a goddamned year. Now that homeboy’s back he needs to remind everyone what they’ve been missing.

  • 77. ferd  |  July 24th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    A breath of sanity returns to the web. Now, if somebody could just dig up Billmon.

  • 78. Rick  |  July 24th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I actually laughed throughout most of this. That’s not remotely normal. I stand by saying this is the funniest writer of this era, meaning ever, since nothing in literary history is funny except surreal bits of fiction, maybe sporadic lines in genius essays. This is it. Hope there’s more, even heckling sad pussylit or “whimsy.”

  • 79. 99  |  July 24th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Hey! This is the first time I ever read The War Nerd and I was mightily pleased there wasn’t any war in it. I was pleased that I could start reading it and not want to stop reading it clear on down to that frustrating “TO BE CONTINUED…” blot right before all the hootin’ and hollerin’ started.

    I say, dammit, let him write whatever the hell he wants.

  • 80. LE  |  July 24th, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Time to write about the Philippines. Three insurgencies (Abu Sayaf, New Peoples Army and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is abbreviated MILF). The last one alone should make you want to write about the Philippines…

  • 81. Myf  |  July 25th, 2010 at 7:21 am

    YES! THANK GOD YOU’RE BACK!

  • 82. V  |  July 26th, 2010 at 1:59 am

    I expect some commentary on the Pentagon Papers II: Wikileak Boogaloo, aka How We Lost Afghanistan.

  • 83. Allen  |  July 26th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    America is going to pull out of Iraq, and just maybe get to call it a win even if Al Quaeda hangs around for another decade and the place falls apart into an ungovernable mess full of assassinations and low intensity tit-for-tat attacks.

    Afghanistan on the other hand is probably going to turn into a huge embarrassment they cannot call a win … once the U.S. leaves and the Taliban wages war on the central government for twenty more years … if they don’t end up taking over their own little swath of the South.

    Just that is worth at least a couple war nerd-rage articles full of sarcastic I-told-you so.

  • 84. Carpenter  |  July 27th, 2010 at 4:13 am

    War Neeeerd! Call the shots like you see ‘em, and we’ll bring out the popcorn!

    Funny word, “war dweeb.” Right on the money. The difference between a war nerd and a war dweeb is like night and day. The war dweed pretends to be tough and gritty, while he’s really just churning out the winner’s sanitized propaganda. The war nerd shows the brutal truth behind it all. Tribal warfare, burned villages, how young kids sign up for war – Americans or Tadjziks or whatever – because it’s more fun to kill than to lift boxes in a warehouse.

    A war dweeb calls soldiers “troops” and “heroes.” A war nerd calls them soldiers and tells you exactly what soldiers like to do with civilians.

  • 85. Chas  |  July 27th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Only 20 months left till 21 Dec 2012 and still not even a hint of massive karmic retribution. What gives with that ?

  • 86. Arch Stanton  |  July 27th, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    “A breath of sanity returns to the web. Now, if somebody could just dig up Billmon.”

    Yeah, where did that guy go anyway?

    But in the meantime we can content ourselves with this: The Obama Administration Gets PWND by Wikileaks.

    Bwahahahahahahahahaha ….

  • 87. joah kolle  |  July 28th, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Screw the war talk, its getting old, really just an ongoing world war anyway, dating back to the creation of the east india company in the 1600′s.
    I say keep hatin’ on loosers, hate hate hate!
    And don’t stop hatin’
    Keep your hate close, keep your glock closer
    / war is a racket

  • 88. FrankMcG  |  July 29th, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Who in the hell decided that War Nerd would make for great pap aimed at NYT readers? This is the man whose very first article was HOW THE FALL OF THE TWIN TOWERS WAS BEAUTIFUL.

    Someone really didn’t do their homework.

  • 89. Ciorba  |  July 30th, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Gary, I’ll buy you a lifetime supply of junk food and diet coke if you’d just shut yourself in and write articles all day.
    You’re the only one keeping me from throwing myself under a train these days.

  • 90. beskedira  |  July 31st, 2010 at 7:46 am

    war nerd, of ” kings and bandits, the making of a child warrior” is a story about the 30 year war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. the book is calling for a review from the war nerd. I wish he could read the book and do the review. no could do it better. you can read about the book http://www.awate.com/portal/content/view/5646/16/. Thank you!

  • 91. Geoduck  |  July 31st, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    As noted, glad to see the Nerd back.
    As for Billmon, he now tosses out a (very) occasional post on Kos:

    http://billmon.dailykos.com/

  • 92. Jake  |  August 1st, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Damn it’s good to see you again, Nerd!

  • 93. Ugse  |  August 2nd, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I was the Tamil man who wrote the article.

  • 94. Ravachol  |  August 2nd, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    MOAR WAR NERD!

    And don’t get yourself killed out there.

  • 95. JRL  |  August 3rd, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Some photoshop war nerd stuff:

    http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/the-ghosts-of-world-war-iis

  • 96. slashg0d  |  August 4th, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Part 2 ?

  • 97. tigerhan  |  August 5th, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Gary, welcome back! Even though you have a hard time with the mainstream phony thinking,know that the WarNerd Community needs its spark more than ever.Recogniton in Art like in War comes with a lot of suffering. Rest assure the Day of the War Nerd is drawing near. Everyone on this forum can vauch for that. Hail to War Nerd!!!

  • 98. Carpenter  |  August 11th, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    “What is he about?” I was asked when I recommended the War Nerd to a friend. Answer:

    “He tells you what war is really like. How it’s almost never the shiny tanks and troops lining up on a battlefield like in the movies, but usually warriors attacking villages and staying away from the enemy’s warriors. He says this is what every sane man really wants to do deep down. He doesn’t say it’s good or bad, it just is. That’s evolution, we love to fight.

    “Then he says those in charge today are hypocrites about it, and talk about democracy and human rights until you want to puke, because you’ve read what they are really doing and it’s nothing like what they say, and their puppet governments are bandits. And toward the end of it you start thinking the hypocrite is worse than the warriors attacking the village, because at least they’re honest about what they’re doing. In the savage world we live in you can’t expect your rulers to do anything different than how it’s always been done, but they could AT LEAST be honest about what they’re doing and WHO they’re doing it for. Which is not you. That’s what the War Nerd says, pretty much. But he’s funnier when he says it.”

  • 99. Oldmanriver  |  August 12th, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    All Hail the War Nerd! Long Live the War Nerd!

  • 100. Dave  |  August 14th, 2010 at 6:26 am

    This is some pretty gay stuff. Can we bring back the real War Nerd?

  • 101. anon  |  August 14th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Welcome back War Nerd!

    Good column. All the elements were there. Executions and gay Tamils. Just needed to put those together.

    Better yet, I’d like to learn more about the fate of mainstream shit like Lotto in war!

  • 102. abc123  |  August 15th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Write about Sweden 1611 to 1721. Or about Finland’s winter war.

  • 103. Iv  |  August 19th, 2010 at 12:18 am

    It has been a month that you “came back” with that lame non-war-related article. When are you really coming back ?

  • 104. Boom  |  August 19th, 2010 at 2:12 am

    missed ya fella.

  • 105. GILMORE  |  August 19th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    You are the bestest

  • 106. Ancient Mariner  |  August 21st, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    ” … the Gods of War hate me worse than they hate Poland … ”

    Ha Ha! Love it!

  • 107. Peter  |  August 22nd, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Gary!

  • 108. peter  |  August 30th, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Waited and waited, at first I checked daily, then every couple of days, then every week or so, monthly. I had given up but would still check to see if HE would write again. One day there it was: An actual article from HIM. Ohhh but i was dissapointed….. what a fag article that is not from HIM. Still, I lost no hope, but its been a month and all we got was this IMPERSONATOR writing crap pretending to be HIM…… I have lost no faith in YOU, please we are awaiting your RETURN and please next time whoever you are at least you should talk about WAR

  • 109. Massel Tov  |  September 7th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    ‘the return of the war nerd’ – ok., ok. – it was a bluff. a pr-stunt.
    for ‘exiled’.
    loosers.

    massel tov

  • 110. zimtran  |  September 30th, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Where are the bombs and artillery shells and ruin cities and mounds of bloody corpses that endears us all to your writings ?!

  • 111. Zhu Bajie  |  October 9th, 2010 at 6:28 am

    For Dolan’s latest adventures, see alternet,October 8, 2010:

    http://www.alternet.org/world/148443/i_was_a_professor_at_the_horribly_corrupt_american_university_of_iraq…_until_the_neocons_fired_me/?page=entire

    “I Was a Professor at the Horribly Corrupt American University of Iraq… Until the Neocons Fired Me
    Horror stories from the graft-ridden American University of Iraq campus in Kurdistan.”

  • 112. anon  |  October 10th, 2010 at 6:59 am

    The return seems to be aborted like a down syndrome fetus.

  • 113. Justin  |  October 10th, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    IED’s got him…

  • 114. Carney  |  October 14th, 2010 at 11:39 am

    The article I’ve linked to seems right up Brecher’s alley. It’s about how rebel groups the world over love the Toyota Hilux pickup, with or without a mounted 50 cal. Basically the automotive equivalent of the AK-47.

  • 115. thorn  |  May 21st, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    between the gay sir lankan and the fat white war nerd, weew, indeed a difficult choice.

    tell u what man, you are a great writer for us nerds—a small percentage of the human pop, and we aren’t better than the rest of em, just different in aspects. so forget about all that shit and write the crap that u do write (however your try it’s gonna be the same shit anyway). it will amuse us nerds, and nobody else.

    but if u keep writing like this, fuck you, am outta here. nobody cares about u, only a few of us care bout what you produce, and if u fail that…well, you can go bbq urself into a human fat sandwich for all i care.

    the world IS as you describe and NOBODY cares bout YOU.remember that and move on u pussy.


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