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The War Nerd / November 26, 2010

north korea shelling1

Guess I should start this off with Korea, the North hammering that Southern island and the South responding like a big sister dealing with her autistic little brother: “Ow, I wonder what made him hit me in the face that time. Maybe his diaper needs changing.” We knew a family who actually had an autistic son like that, a huge handsome athletic-looking guy whose stereo wires had come unhooked some time around second grade, and if you went over to their house when he was around you definitely wanted to stay out of kicking, biting and punching range. He never telegraphed his bites or punches. Pro fighters could have taken lessons from him. He’s giggling at some private brain-damaged little joke on the sofa next to you and wham! You’re seeing cartoon birdies, and his sister and mom are busy trying to help him relax. “What’s wrong, Kenny? Kenny? Honey?” And you’re lying sideways on the couch like Chuck Liddell after his manager talked him into trying the Rampage Jackson road to the title one more time. They don’t even notice you; all they care about is calming “little” Kenny (who was a head taller than me) down again.

I can understand that kind of behavior—Korea hasn’t had a very cheerful history, they lost God knows how many people in the last war, maybe two million, they have a lot of good reasons not to go to war with themselves again—but excuse me if it doesn’t turn me on much.

kim1

So a quick prediction about Korea and I’m movin’ on to happier stuff.

Prediction: What’s going to happen? Nothing. Noise. Bullshit Kremlinology about what the artillery attack means: It’s Kim III’s way of asserting power, or it’s his enemies’ way of asserting power, or it’s the NKPA’s way of asserting power against the politicians…I say just blame autism. Why not? You can blame autism for anything these days. Just say, “You can’t blame poor NK, he’s autistic.” Always makes me laugh, that “He’s autistic” thing. Like somebody from Brooklyn talking about Picasso: “He’s autistic? Whyn’cha buy’im some paints an’a caaaanvas den, huh?”

NK has nothing to lose except its rep for being bad, being stone crazy. SK has everything to lose; the whole country is like that glass house, the one they say you shouldn’t throw rocks from. Even if the South didn’t have this pitiful “poor little autistic brother” attitude toward the north, they’d have cold hard reason to wimp out, no matter what the provocation. Hyundai’s just making its Toyota move, shifting from base-model up to the SUVs and luxury sedans where the  real profits get made. They can’t afford to get blasted back to competing for third place as the world’s leading exporters of barley noodles.

It’s a watched pot, the Korean Peninsula, it’s never gonna boil and I’m sick of watching it. Africa is the last homeland of real war, and now that Nkunda’s Nneutered, Africa is fading too.

I think I’ll go back to the past, when wars were wars and people painted these cool pictures of them without getting squeamish. I’ve decided I’ll do a picture tour of great war paintings, and to start off, a Thanksgiving treat: Washington Crossing the Delaware. I don’t do Thanksgiving myself, on accounta God is not a big friend of mine—we don’t talk, just like me and my mother’s side of the family; in fact God is a lot like that side of the family, which is probably why they all believe he’s one of them, a Tamplen under all that Jewish OT fancypants clothes.

But I’ve got nothing against it for other people; eat and get fat and I won’t feel so bad when I see myself in store windows (damn things pop out at unexpected angles, mirror you when you least expect or want it). So if you get tired of BCS BS on TV, here’s why I love that picture, no matter how many times I’ve seen it made fun of in cartoons.

First of all, It’s COLD in that painting. Everything about it says cold; you don’t really appreciate it until you see it fullsize, like I did when I had to go to this DMV office where they had a fullsize reproduction.

washington delaware exiledonline large

I imagine everybody knows the history here: It’s December 25, 1776. Washington and his 2400 Continentals are on their way to surprise the 1400 Hessian mercenaries celebrating Christmas. The rebels desperately need a victory because the British regulars have been shoving them around like Assistant Directors on a Hollywood set.

There’s a cultural thing here most people don’t realize, though: Christmas was a German  thing back then. The English before Dickens and all that Tiny Tim stuff had a weirdly nasty hate going on for the old Jingle Bells, so they didn’t mind working, as in attacking, on the holiday—whereas to the Germans it was the big day of the year. So Christmas Day was the perfect time to attack the Hessians, who were already miserable, sold by their little princeling masters as cannon fodder to the Brits. Germans started all the Xmas traditions, the tree and the bearded guy and all that, but their biggest tradition was getting drunk out of their minds and stuffing themselves with as much animal fat as they could steal from the locals.

Keep in mind, the Germans weren’t great soldiers back then. They were the best, no question, man-for-man, in the 20th century, but it took a long time to make that tradition. German troops in the 1700s weren’t worth much outside of Prussia, and the Prussian Army was only German at officer level. The ranks were the scum of Europe, kept in line with beatings for breakfast, whippings for lunch and hanging for dinner. And even the Prussians were going to spend another half century losing to the French—that’s right, the French…don’t even get me started on that stereotype again.

These Germans were no Prussians, just depressed serfs in uniform, hoping to drink it all away for a few hours. They were warned Washington was coming—there’s always a snitch in the neighborhood, especially in Jersey from what I hear—but Col. Rahl, the Hessian commander, wasn’t going to let that get in the way of the schnapps and brew. They figured nobody was going to cross the river and come after them in that freezing cold.

The sky is the first thing you notice: it’s Christmas, back when December meant something. Like death. Lots of old sayings from those days about dying in Winter. The sky in the painting is pure winter: the sun’s so low you can’t see it. It’s just a rumor, kind of making a dome in the middle of pure cold dark. Naturally, the dome centers on The General, but that just leads you, or leads me anyway, to think what I  always feel looking at those Valley Forge pictures: “DAMN, the late 1700s were a rotten time to be out in the cold!” Not only was it the tail-end of the Little Ice Age that killed off the Viking settlements in Greenland—I mean you have to be pretty serious to kill off Viking settlers, they hung on to real estate once they’d hacked their way to full title—but those damn Founding Fathers clothes!

Valley Forge

Anybody else feel like this, “Thank god I don’t have to wear those revolutionary clothes!”? For one thing, they’d be death to a fat man like me. Tight white pants and an open blue coat! It’s like it was designed to embarrass you: “Hello, World, meet my big Founding gut!” Not that there were a lot of fat guys in the Revolution (though there were a few, like Henry Knox, the artilleryman, and Nathanael [sic] Greene, who was one of Washington’s commanders at Trento). They were probably admired for being fat, actually; when fat’s not all around you, maybe it seems cool. Something I learned in my one econ class: “The Scarcity Theory of Value.” Of course your only chance for a big white-vested gut like Knox’s or Greene’s was general rank—no way an enlisted man was going to bulk up, shivering in a lean-to listening to the wind tell you it was on the Brits’ side.

What you really need in the cold is a hat, and that’s where the Founding Fathers really must have been the shivering Quakers. Those three-cornered hats—I never did get what they were about. It seriously occupied a lot of my mental time when I was a kid: what’s with the three-cornered hats? Why, God, why? God gave hats a brim for a reason! Why pin it up, and if you have to, why not pin it up cavalry style, like Larry Storch in F Troop, not this prissy, ridiculous three-corner style? One guy, on the near side of the boat, seems to have figured that out; he’s got his hat pinned up just like Cpl Agarn. We know the wind’s blowing hard in the painting because another unlucky dude near the back of the boat, probably an officer and required to wear the three-cornered thing, is trying hard to hold his hat on with one hand. Why’d you pin it up like an old lady then, huh?

If you look closely at the painting you can see an incredible variety of headgear, and almost all of it is an improvement on Washington’s three-corner trademark. There’s a guy near the front of the boat, shoving an ice floe out of the way with his oar, who’s wearing a kind of fur-lined tam-o-shanter. He’s probably supposed to represent something, like the Scottish contribution, or maybe he’s a real guy, I don’t know. The guy right at the front of the boat, the bow or whatever, has a coonskin cap and boots—he’s the lucky one. The man steering at the back has a fur hat too—and why not? It’s not like there was a fur shortage. They were too excited about being European, wearing cloth, when cloth was incredibly expensive and bad, which it was up to about 1900. Even during the Civil War, raiders used to take the time to steal little bits of cloth, enough to patch a pair of britches, because they were worth a ton of money.  Tan a deerhide and you’d have better clothes a lot sooner and cheaper, but you’d look too much like a Injun. (That last word isn’t a slam on  your home town, by the way, Korean readers.)

delaware crossing exiledonline2

Under the boat is this weird beautiful green cold water—deep, beautiful, kill-you-in-a-minute green. It blew me away, the sky and the water, when I saw the thing fullsize. Yeah, in some ways the water’s the star of the painting. It wants the guys in the boat, you can see it, it’s like a predator, and the guy in the red coat (uh-oh, better take off that red coat when the firefight starts!) is looking down at that water thinking, “How much time would you last if you fell in, a minute? Half a minute?” You stand back from the thing, like I did in the DMV, and it hits you that there’s only cold white/blue/green all around these people who are all got up in hot colors, reds and such. One dipping and they’d dissolve.

To remind you how scary this ice-clogged river is, the artist (a German; most of the good battle paintings are by Germans) put a drifting tree on an ice floe in the background. Snag that and no more tactical surprise, just some rusty muskets for the local kids to fish out come summer.

And even further back there’s another flatboat with horses. You have to wonder what the horses thought. They don’t look too happy with the whole project: first this, then we get shot at? What’s cool is that the horses are all rearing and twisting, and their shape overall is like exactly the same as the famous one in this painting, with Washington as the crest of the mid-boat mountain and all the other guys on the boat as the foothills. Which come to think of it is the same shape as that Iwo Jima picture. The flag’s in the same position too, half-up and rising, the only thing higher than Washington’s head.

They made the bank, of course. Surprised the drunk Hessians, who tried to form a defensive line among the little houses of what would someday be one of America’s finest ghettoes and were sniped by those pesky Continental riflemen the Brits came to hate as much as the French had hated the Brit longbowmen. Col. Rahl was killed, probably mourning the fact that he’d been shot in the liver before it had processed its rightful gallon of raw alcohol. Famous last words: “Some Christmas this was!”

But it was, for the other side. Nobody mentions it much in the books, but battle involves a lot of fast food, not to mention fast drink, and I imagine that between mopping up the Germans and getting back to army food, there was a lot of diving into the Hessians’ leftovers. Many a Continental was wobbly when they formed up again, I bet, and not just dizzy with victory either. And Howe wasn’t happy at all.

See? Those were the days. Oh, you can say “Chosin Resevoir” all you want, and true, it was glorious, but that was 60 years ago and it gives me a pain to talk Korea now.

Hyundai vs. Autism: whoop de doo and happy thanksgiving.

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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62 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Duro  |  November 26th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    FUCK YES

  • 2. emil  |  November 26th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    US-American war “history” is pretty autistic too, Harry.

  • 3. noam  |  November 26th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    hey mark can i be your psychologist?

  • 4. Eddie  |  November 26th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    What a bunch of pussies we have become. To refuse to fight for reasons of emphaty for our fellow man is one thing. To do so because we might loose a few GDP points is quite another. Looking at that painting I see man with purpose and vision. They believed in something and thought it important enought to loose their lives over. How many such men can you find in todays society. The most we can bring ourselves to do is to write some exposeé on some blog pointing out the stupidity or greed of some hither to unexposed political group or cooperation. Or even worse, write an angry post on some other guys blog. Fuck, makes me wish little Kim there had some fucking balls or at least followed his convictions. Here’s a tip for you Kim. It’s you or them, there can be no shared future with those GDP pussies. It’s YOU or THEM.

  • 5. tom  |  November 26th, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    That article sounded like a War Nerd knock-off

  • 6. bernd  |  November 26th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Too bad the most patriotic painting of the French was used as cover art for a Coldplay album.

  • 7. Soj  |  November 26th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    The part about the painting = the best.

  • 8. Robert Hodge  |  November 27th, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Oh shit. I came in my pants. War Nerd article right after thanksgiving! I have tears in my eyes. My wife is wondering why I’m on the laptop at 3 in the morning, the light from the monitor bothers her. Fuck that bitch, War Nerd is here.

    And please, please, I’m begging you here. More on battlefield paintings. Of all the awesome shit you’ve posted the two articles on war paintings are my favorite.

    Peace. I’m gonna put my penis in my wife’s vagina.

  • 9. joe  |  November 27th, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Thank god your back. I no longer have to be bored at work.

  • 10. wyseguy  |  November 27th, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Good job Ames-Levine-Dolan!

    We finally find who the Koch brothers can use to try to take down the exile: Glenn Greenwald, A fully trained corporate lawyer from Wall Street, with a fully-funded gig from the Cato Institute.

    Thank you Exile-Volken, for bringing back the War Nerd, just in time to distract us from shame and corruption libertarians must feel from having corrupted even Glenn Greenwald.

    Long Live the Exile!

  • 11. wyseguy  |  November 27th, 2010 at 7:40 am

    A few points:

    1)

    Nkunda’s Nneutered

    O RLY? How plz, thnx?

    2)

    You people have really regained your mojo. First you stirred up the whole libertarian hornet’s nest, because they’re all so pathetically corrupt and they all come trolling into comments sections, then, you turn in a hot new War Nerd column which beats an art critic essay any day.

    You people should never become Wall Street corporate lawyers like Glenn Greenwald, whom all libertards love. It’s much more interesting if you can be a predator without having to be a sleazebag like Greenwald.

    About all those paid-by-the-Kochs libertarian trolls all over comments sections, just one word: Pathetic.

  • 12. KLAUS  |  November 27th, 2010 at 8:16 am

    I was just reading my old columns after some time, and realized that I am the greatest columnist in the world. type klaus gregorsson into internet search.

  • 13. abc123  |  November 27th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Now seems as good a time as any to ask something:

    A North Korean nuke weights around 4000 kilos and is weak and unreliable, sometimes not working at all, sometimes just get partial detonation (*). On top of that, they’ve only managed to make about 10 of them in total.

    In order to encase them in lead and plant them in US cities as you’ve suggested you would need them to be perfect (always work, resistant to the environment, electronics that work after having been underwater/underground/encased in a concrete structure etc.).

    * I am aware of the fact that failure is a good thing since you can make improvements when you see what went wrong, that would be the case if NK could afford to make improvements, which they can’t. The people has been down prioritized for the sake of the army and the army have been down prioritized for the sake of the nuclear program and their nuclear ability seems incredibly shitty.

    Anyhow, don’t you think it makes more sense if they keep their nukes in their own country so they have more control over them? I mean if they did what you suggest when the shit hits the fan it seems more than likely that they will not work because of one of the many things that could go wrong.

  • 14. John Figler  |  November 27th, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Rather flimsy. Too body-fat centered.

    The `they were thiner but tougher than we’ll ever be´ line was great when you used it for the first time with the Gettysburg stuff (also painting centered, BTW). Repetition of great gigs of the past is what has turned Hollywood into shit, unless you add something to it you’re just in the downward slope.

    Besides. While I agree with the pro-French archeology (one of the reasons I started to follow War Nerd in the first place), you are wrong in despising German military tradition before the XX.

    Ok, they got a quite bad first half of the XIX, even got asskicked by the Danes then, but, ey, everybody has a bad streak. However when anybody thought about modernizing, or organizing, an army in the late XVIII he thought only one thing: Prussian. The Continental Army, for example, but also Russia or Spain.

    The Hessians had been hired because they were skilled labor. Had the Brits wanted just cheap cannon fodder they’d had sent Irish. They bought well tested mercenary skill, being German and being a mercenary meant something in those yeas. Customer satisfaction guaranteed.

    Latter they got worse, of course, but that’s what happens when you are engaged in attrition. You lose the good ones and take whatever scum a potbellied German prince sells you. But the ones at Trenton were trained and well commanded, some had combat experience before coming to America, and they were far above the level of the median Continental until a Prussian taught them what a bayonet is for.

    As for the clothing it had little to do with the price. There was cheap cloth for the poor. And it was made to last. There was a burgeoning second-hand clothing business back then. Where second-hand means dress taken from the recently dead and sold to the living.

    People didn’t saw the need for having to buy a whole new garde-robe four times a year back then, which probably adds to the thinner line, but they didn’t see the need to change it very often also, which adds to the tougher line, I guess, so they didn’t saw the need of devoting a high proportion of their meager incomes to a thing that could last for decades.

  • 15. Geoduck  |  November 27th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    It’s a great painting, no question, but it was done in Germany 75 years after the fact, and so using it to draw conclusions about what that day was “really like” is a fool’s errand. What we’ve got is not George Washington fighting a battle, but a stirring (no snark) rendition of the myth-encrusted Father Of Our Country(tm).

    As for Korea.. you’re probably right that nothing will happen beyond the usual chest-thumping, but I can definitely see ol’ Kim deciding to take a few hundred thousand people with him if/when he realizes he’s going.

    Still glad that you’re writing articles. Keep up the good work.

  • 16. Hugin  |  November 27th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    thanx god!

    he’s ba-hack! glory be!
    or is he?

    Hugin

  • 17. Nestor  |  November 27th, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Welcome back

  • 18. James Dean Jr.  |  November 27th, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    That’s not Gen’l Washington heading across the Delaware, it’s brave Randroids overcoming an obstacle in their to open new markets, their vessel caulked against the icy

  • 19. James Dean Jr.  |  November 27th, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    That’s not Gen’l Washington heading across the Delaware, it’s brave Randroids overcoming an obstacle in their struggle to open new markets, their vessel caulked against the icy, fatal dangers of government intervention.

    I looked forward to Gary’s take on the Korean Artillery Derby, but spare me the publicist version of Washington being rowed across. If you have a little history, he seems more like Cleopatra: “Grab an oar, George, you lazy speculator.” I’ve been to Valley Forge and still can’t believe one of the troops didn’t put a ball in his brain, and that would be *before* they were after him for back wages.

  • 20. dddfff  |  November 27th, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    felt this was fake, I still belive it is.
    FAKE!!!!
    take care, Gary fo Lyfe

  • 21. Dejo  |  November 27th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    You pose an interesting speculation about SK. It’s lack of will to begin or escalate a war, I mean. I wonder if that would translate to lousy morale on the battlefield thus lousy battlefield performance. I guess in the end it’s not how many guns you have but how high your pain threshold is. I can’t imagine the hipsters and technocrats of SK fighting to the last man, woman and child.

  • 22. Kim Chi  |  November 27th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I say we bombard the NK population with double-stuffed Oreos, Yoohoo, Slim Jims, and iPads.

    This war is winnable, unlike Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • 23. Dejo  |  November 27th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    The closest thing to edible on that list are the iPads.

  • 24. Mess  |  November 27th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Weeeellllccccooommmmmeeee back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  • 25. Tim  |  November 28th, 2010 at 3:43 am

    “The most important cycle of all (war’s) is the news cycle” and the “international media dead week, between Christmas and New Year” is coming our way.

    What do you think?

    Perhaps a Hezbollah reDUX (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LK20Ak05.html)?

  • 26. Tim  |  November 28th, 2010 at 3:48 am

    “The most important cycle of all (war’s) is the news cycle” and the “international media dead week, between Christmas and New Year” is coming our way.

    What do you think?

    Perhaps a Hezbollah redux http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LK20Ak05.html ?

  • 27. Sean Strange  |  November 28th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I love Gary Brecher, he’s a brilliant and inspired fellow, but will someone please inform this chub that there’s no glory in war any more? It’s just mechanized slaughter now, suicide for everyone involved. If you want to be a warrior, play video games or sports, start a fight club, engage in culture war or become a spiritual warrior and try to master your own mind. Real world warfare has been made obsolete by the techno-wizards; it’s a Stone Age legacy of the femur-bone fights of our hominid ancestors, and really needs to be put to rest as a source of status in the 21st century. Rejecting war is no joke folks, nor does it make you unmanly — it’s simply a prerequisite for human survival in this unstable age when our material prowess has vastly exceeded our spiritual development.

  • 28. wyseguy  |  November 28th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Oi Ames you fuckwad!

    I`m no libertarian and I ain`t paid by anybody!

    I`m looking for a good monster V. monster fight you dickseeds!

  • 29. wyseguy  |  November 28th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    And as for the comments – touchè bitches.

    This is your home turf.

    Learning from Greenwald, I guess you boys need to be shot at from a separately constructed deathstar website.

  • 30. Reginald Marshall  |  November 28th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    @abc123

    Re the NK nukes. IIRC, the only thing that the North themselves ever told anybody about the yield was when they warned the Chinese of the impending test the first time around: expect about 4 kT. The first test is widely believed to have been a partial fizzle (at most 1 kT), but the second was much closer to the 4 kT mark.

    Now, that number is interesting. It’s known that if you followed the original U.S. Fat Man design, you’d have to spend 6.5 kg of Pu and get 20-22 kT for a successful device. However, a substandard or flawed design would have low but essentially unpredictable yield, hence a firm prediction of 4 kT strongly indicates, IMO, that the NK device was explicitly designed to produce it.

    Why expend so much effort on a piddly tactical nuke? Well, it would probably use half as much fuel as the big one (remember, their Pu stock is rather meagre), be smaller, and in theory more amenable to mounting on a short- or medium-range missile. Also, 4 kT is “small” only compared to other nuclear weapons — it is still fantastically destructive compared to a Scud with a HE warhead.

    All considered, I wouldn’t discount their nukes so easily. Unless it’s all part of a colossal misinformation campaign (always a possibility with the North), they have displayed surprising competence. (I also don’t think they’d try to plant them anywhere outside their borders, but that’s another discussion.)

  • 31. Wyse Guy  |  November 28th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Oh fuck. You were good. you should have a daily beat pounding a desk on MSNBC every day. You don’t yet, but when you’re on Ratigan it makes libertards everywhere feel guilty of being the spineless suck-ups they are, but so far still you don’t make good money.

    Libertarians haven’t evolved beyond Ayn Rand chum and they suck Rand’s 90-year-old crack like Nathan Branden did.

  • 32. Dejo  |  November 28th, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I seriously doubt the IDF would be stupid enough to attack Hezbollah. More likely they’ll use drones to snipe the leaders of Hezbollah.

  • 33. Smartbiker23  |  November 28th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    War bitch is back! Yahoo! Merry Christmas to you and Jeebus!

  • 34. A-Lex  |  November 29th, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Wooop-sie-do. HE is back :)
    As for N. Korea, bomb the fuckers with living Chechens, see what happens. We could spare more than a few of those here in Moscow.

  • 35. Magpie  |  November 29th, 2010 at 5:14 am

    NK!

    1. They’ve got a dozen or so cascades up now. Sure that’s only one HEU bomb every two years (if that), but we didn’t have a clue they’d got that far until they just went and showed us. We’ve got no idea how many installations they’ve got now, or might have soon.

    Any mug can make a HEU Hirosima-style bomb with about 40-60kg of the stuff and locally-available resources (from anywhere). Sure you want plutonium for warheads if you can get ‘em to work, but for nice simple absolutely reliable fuck-off devices, HEU is the way to go.

    2. Of course, nukes haven’t really mattered on the peninsula anyway, at least, not in the short term. Nukes are sexy and all, but no-one can touch NK because the second thing that happens in a real war up there is that Seoul gets blasted down to the bedrock. You’ve got an unbelievable array of artillery pointing at Seoul, and it’d only take a small proportion of triggers to be pulled to flatten the place.

    Doesn’t matter what the FIRST thing to happen is, doesn’t matter how awesome your first strike or how cunning your decapitation event, the SECOND thing to happen in Korea II is the population of Seoul being spread about a molecule thick across the landscape. Absolutely no-one is insane enough to risk that happening.

    …and of course if it did happen, it’d lead inevitably to the certain deaths of the NK leadership, Saddam-style. And if there’s one thing you can rely on tin-pot dictators being big on, it’s their own survival.

    So no-one is going to start a fight. No-one has anything to gain.

    3. But now… now we’ve got the possibility of having piss-simple HEU devices placed in strategic locations. Keep ‘em locked up in their lead casings, have multiple gun assemblies spread about the place, ready to receive. Poor-man’s MIRV. Multiple guns to several heads…

    Now we’re looking at something much more complicated.

    Give it a couple of years, but soon NK will almost certainly have the HEU. Everyone knows it. So what can we expect to see? Remember all that practice we’ve all been having at board-and-search operations on NK shipping? Well, we’re going to need a reason to do that a LOT.

    Let’s see what reason we can come up with…

    (Now to begin wild speculation and conspiracy theories):

    And, hmmmm. What could possibly make life difficult for us? What could make us hesitate to escalate the way we need to escalate to be sure we could pick anything up on its way out? What if tensions were so high that board-and-search would be seen as intolerable brinkmanship by the folk at home? What if you had a series of little incidents that kept things so close to the edge that an apparently unrelated board-and-search effort would make whoever implemented it look like the bad guy?

    Do you think an artillery exhange could do that? Or a ship sinking?

    How long have they had an uranium enrichment program, anyway? And why would they show us when they only had a pissy 12 cascades? Why not wait until you had a few devices-worth of HEU?

    …who says they didn’t?

  • 36. Waco  |  November 29th, 2010 at 6:09 am

    I came buckets. Moar War Nerd!

  • 37. franc black  |  November 29th, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Thanks, I repeated your Korea assessment at a dinner party and came off looking like a f’n genious. To whom/where would you like me to send your cut of the glory ?

  • 38. nampa  |  November 29th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    SK will always prop the North up because they can’t afford assimilation (the GDR was an economic powerhouse compared to the DPRK and the FRG was years ahead of SK today), and the Koreans are highly nationalistic, in the blood is pure kind of way. When I taught in Seoul you’d meet groups of men trying to break up interracial dating between kimchi girls and the two foreign men in the country; group beatings were not uncommon. Many SK believe the North is a U.S. plot to prevent the South from ruling the world, I kid you not.

  • 39. john barton  |  November 29th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    War nerd you can do better than that you’ve had long enough!!

  • 40. Mudhead  |  November 30th, 2010 at 2:51 am

    No. 27.

    That’s the War Nerd’s whole point. The only interesting wars this decade have been fought in Africa, where the old style still persists. Shit the Janjaweed still have cavalry for god’s sake, camel cavalry in some cases. Brecher’s had little good to say about modern, industrial, digital warfare – except for the little Georgia/Russia dustup, where he positively went wild over the video of the dude driving through a Georgian village lighting off a .50 caliber with an ox-tongue trigger. Can’t say that I blame him for that. Every semi-War Nerd would like to fire a .50k heavy machine gun in anger.

  • 41. Wyse Guy  |  November 30th, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Again touchè assholes.

    And since you have Lil’Kim from Team America up there, let me make it clear that I use asshole in the Team America – World Police sense of the word.

    I say again; this is your home turf.

    Learning from Greenwald, I guess you boys need to be shot at from a separately constructed deathstar website.

    We shall meet again one day Ames, you magnificent, magnificent fuckwad.

  • 42. Wyse Guy  |  November 30th, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Oh and for emphasis Ames:

    F U C K R A N D ! ! !

    I kept mixing up Anne Rice and Ayn Rand for some reason….prolly cause I never read their books, and after seeing the kind of fans they attract, I’m definitely sure I won’t read what they’ve written.

  • 43. False Prophet  |  November 30th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    What I loved most of all is apparently Bill O’Reilly is on the opposite side of *George Washington* on the War on Christmas. I’ll bet Washington didn’t even wish them “Merry Christmas” as he marched in and captured those Hessians.

  • 44. Strelnikov  |  November 30th, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I can see a second Korean War running very similar to the original: something happens, the North goes south, is driven back, and….China either enters, or it attacks North Korea!? (That’s what Wikileaks claims; the Chinese are sick of the DPRK’s bullshit, and they want Seoul to run a united Korea.) If nuclear weapons are brought into the mix, then we get to see four armies fighting in the charred remains of a Korea that resembles the last ten minutes of Peter Watkins’ “The War Game.”

    The War Nerd(s) should be fapping over this.

  • 45. Plamen Petkov  |  November 30th, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    what bullcrap article. if this really be THE REAL War Nerd he has seriously lost his touch and jumped the shark. Plus he has inhaled too much of American propaganda to spew the bullshit he wrote.
    First of all, simple psychology lesson 101. Sure NK are nuts. SO will you be too if your back is against the wall and you have been bulled for the, let’s see 60 years by the USA and denied simple rights as in simple trade just about every other country in the world enjoys, sans Cuba and Iran now. (Funny how all US enemies are strangled economically) That’s what killed communism after all, economic sanctions. Let’s be honest here. if we can.
    As for the incredibly cheap shots calling Kim II and II names, come on I expected MUCH better than that. What shall we call Bush II then? How about the dim bulb Reagan in the last few years of his “presidency” when he needed Nancy to whisper to him what to say. Leaders of the “free world” indeed.
    War nerd is back? Hardly.
    Second, NK never let anyone view their so called nuk’ear arsenal and we don’t really know what they exploded. It might have been a few tons of TNT for all we know. NOBODY knows. For everyone involved, it was beneficial to maintain that it was an nuk’er device. USA gets to scare everyone and NK gets to act tough. Come now. Fool us with the fabled Iraqies weapons of mass distraction, , shame on you, fool us with NK, shame on ME.
    War Nerd? No way, Jose! Somebody trying to play a fast one.

  • 46. chrisv  |  November 30th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Even sloppy you are a joy to read. Here is hoping that we get more of you. Very sorry to hear about that Iraq job falling through, I hope you get back on your feet, if you publish another book, I will buy it.

  • 47. abc123  |  December 1st, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Reginald Marshall: Okay, thanks for the information. Yes, I have also read that NK has greater competence that we are led to believe, just recently with the centrifuges, but still, it takes a lot to make a ballistic missile that is good enough to carry nukes and not get shot down with a modern ABM.

    I am also interested why you think NK have not planted nukes outside their borders.

  • 48. GhostUnit  |  December 1st, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Get your War Nerd-like article fix here:

    http://wartard.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-favourite-war-that-hasnt-happened.html

    The content of this blog is mainly plagiarized from our beloved War Nerd, but he also has original, good articles such as the one linked to above.

  • 49. Stephen  |  December 1st, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    There are no three cornered hats in that painting! And besides three cornered hats ar way cooler than those two cornered ones and they provide more of a brim to they are more practical too.

  • 50. JoJoJo  |  December 1st, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    That period of time was pretty much a fashion disaster, I agree. My favorite military uniform is the Civil War period uniform. Very snazzy.

    Speaking of fashion, the modern American army getup is ugly as fuck. Talk about wearing something that makes you look fat. Ugly ass helmets, ugly ass camo, ughhh I mean HELLLOOOOO they make everyone look like Motorcycle mouse with Diabetes.

  • 51. thus_speaketh_the_butt_trumpet  |  December 1st, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Hm when I first went to Korea I saw Hyundais all over, trucks and such, the font was weird, I thought it was Hyundri like a dryer in a laundromat.

    I grew up in the Starving Seventies, yes indeedy being fat was special, if you could afford to be fat, you were doing sumpin’ right. A gal in high school named Casey/KC was fat, she was very popular. We stringbeans formed an aura around her. My older sis paired up with an ex-Luftwaffe guy, OLD, basically to stay fed. He could afford to be fat. Since he was in this thing called “electronics”, I chose that career too. Needless to say I’d have been better off going into Dumpster Diving. but that is the power of fat. Hence all those old-time portraits from Bach on, showing off one’s adipose when one’s “made it”,

    In this Greater Depression, trust me on this, if you’re fat, honestly fat, it’ll mean you can afford to keep the car, don’t have to hike 5 miles to get to/from the bus to read your nearest podunk town, can afford meat, and sugar, and the finer things like life like over 1500 calories a day.

    Fat will be where it’s at!

    Just lay off the Diet Coke.

  • 52. Kaare  |  December 2nd, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Fuck yes, War Nerd! If you want any traffic on your site Ames, you got to keep some nerd articles flowing now and then!

  • 53. ANZAC  |  December 6th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I expected more of the North VS South Korea conflict.

    How will it play? A modern industrial nation with a population of nearly 50 million people is “invaded” by a nation of collective farmers, factory workers, and stalinist style bureaucrats with a population of 25 million, the results are a foregone conclusion.

    The North will have the elements of surprise (provided some hot-headed cadres don’t give the same away) in choosing when to attack, their “liberation” tunnels, and lots of artillery aimed at Seoul. Add in to this poison gas and nukes. Even 1-4kt devices can be used tactically but they still have the problem of delivery. (As a comparison, the “Fat-Man” implosion device used at Nagasaki was about 22kt.) Bio-weapons could be too risky and could affect the North as much as the South when used.

    The liberation tunnels can cause some confusion in the rear areas, but mobile forces can isolate, contain, and destroy those units. The tunnels found to date have only been at most 2×2 metres, which is too small for vehicles.

    The artillery is the biggest threat, but with Seoul 35km from the DMZ, which is 4km wide, and another few kilometers for the artillery to be properly hidden, only the longest ranged guns and rockets could reach. The range would be about 40-50km minimum. And once they start firing, their positions will be logged and targeted. Seoul is a large city with an area of over 600km2 (or about 240miles2 (Squared)). With a population of 25 million, and twice as densely populated as New York City, an artillery attack would be devastating and destructive with high loss of life and property damage, but it would not be catastrophic. If anything, such an attack would rally the South Koreans.

    Once the initial shock has worn off and the South Koreans, the US, and other allies, get their act together, the North Koreans will be on the receiving end of the biggest curb-stomp since the Desert Storm operation in the first Gulf-War.

    Will the Chinese get involved? The big question. If China did sent waves of “volunteers”, they face and economic backlash from the nations who are their biggest customers and suppliers. The downturn, and possibly recession, caused by this could cause a lot of social unrest. Stability and growth have been China’s mantra for the last 30 years. China’s involvement would be to offer as much support to North Korea to keep the Kims happy but not too much to annoy their trading partners. I would guess this could be some train loads of supplies sneaked across the border when the spy satellites aren’t looking.

    Since China has already stated they see a unified Korea that is friendly to China as a viable option, the only other role China would play militarily would be a decapitation strike against the North Korean leadership to bring the conflict to a rapid close.

    The only way North Korea could really damage the South Koreans would be to unconditionally surrender to them. It took the German unification over a decade to get sorted out. And the former East Germany had a sizable industrial economy (one of, if not the best, in Eastern Europe) and a well educated and highly skilled workforce. One of the reasons for the Berlin Wall and the Inter-German border was to stop these trained and educated people from taking their skills to the west where they were in demand.

    The North Korean economy is a shambles of labor-intensive collect farms and Stalinist style heavy industry. The workforce has no skills the South Koreans would want or are willing to pay for. Until the North is productive, it will be a welfare state writ large and a drain on the South Korean economy for at least a generation or two while infrastructure is built and jobs created.

  • 54. Ozinator  |  December 9th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Korea goes to war with itself again? Every time I start with one of this guy’s articles it doesn’t take long to see it’s a hip take using the same US taught bad premises. I’m sure that and getting wrong who started the recent shit isn’t his main point though. He’s so cool!

  • 55. Carney  |  December 9th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    ANZAC, don’t forget the effects of starvation on North Korean IQ. An entire generation will be totally uncompetitive on a permanent basis, regardless of how much education, training, outreach programs, etc., are given to them. Norks will demand and get affirmative action, probably be a disproportionately criminal underclass, etc. Sound familiar? Even though the next generation would not have the IQ gap, the negative cultural baggage could remain, retarding acculturation and success. Osties lag to this day.

  • 56. Dedoquetor  |  December 9th, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Nothing will ever happen in North Korea. The reason is something liberals will never admit: the greatest fun in the world is being evil. Kim is having too much fun every day to piss it all away by launching chemical weapons at Seoul.

  • 57. Jesse the Thief  |  December 10th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    I think all this war stuff is coming to an end really. Things are different these days, infrastructure is so complex that’s it’s becoming unprofitable to risk it. For all the talk of China can any one really see it going to war with any other significant power? Their economy would collapse, as would half the worlds’. We’re all so interconnected by trade that war is becoming economic suicide.

    This whole SK/NK thing is just a taste of the future, the only ones left willing to fight are going to be those with nothing to lose. And if they try anything they’ll just get hosed by the superior technology of the richer nations. The closest thing we’ll get to war in the future will be some lame-ass trade wars and Cold War style proxy puppet bullshit. Lame.

  • 58. DarkMarkets  |  December 11th, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Good to see another WN column
    Of course, when you’re talking “cold” Russia is the most handicapped modern nation-state-empire (needing millions of btu’s of energy to heat buildings to tolerable temps) the Swedes and Danes having faded from front ranks of nation-empire in past couple of centuries. (Of course “General Winter” helped the Russians defeat the Germans in WWII – just imagine being one of the thousands of German sentries who froze to death standing at their posts.)
    @14 (John Figler) I completey agree that WN is overstating the “Euro-trash” angle of the Hessian mercenaries. The Hessians fought at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse (downtown Greensboro, NC today, the battle that led directly to British retreat to and surrender at Yorktown)and by all accounts at the museum, on battlefield maps there, and in books about the battle, the Hessians were extremely professional, as competent as the best British units. The famous “Kentucky rifle” would of course be an development on the “Jaeger rifle” that the Hessian’s best marksmen used in battle all through the Revolution – they were apparently as accurate & deadly as Gen. Daniel Morgan’s best sharpshooters (who were also at that battle, although Morgan himself was not).
    Also, WN, if you’re mentioning “Hessian mercenaries” you might shoulda mention that, you know, the Rothschilds banking mega-cabal’s first big break was gaining favor, by selling gold ad other coins at a discount to Prince William, elector of Hess-Goethe, the richest prince in Europe precisely for renting out his well trained and highly sought after Hessians.
    Prince William was notorious for pocketing the pounds sterling that Britain’s King George III agreed to pay for each Hessian soldier killed in battle – stiffing the widows and orphans (shades of our US govt. underfunding WIA veteran’s rehab today in “the GWOT”.) Mayer Amschel (founding patriarch of the R’s) had been trained at Oppenheimer bank in Hanover, before returning to the seemingly dead-end Jewish ghetto of Hamburg, where he masterfully exploited his lucky break selling gold trinkets to Prince William, into selling bonds and cashing checks for William – and soon, all the royalty of Europe.
    The R’s profited from 3 wars against the United States: they profited from Prince William’s leasing of his Hessian soldiers to kill American patriot soldiers; they famously underwrote the bonds for the entire British war effort against Napoleon – including Britain’s disastrous post-Napoleonic attack on New Orleans in 1814, and they underwrote many wartime deals with the Confederate states in the early years of the Civil War, hoping the Confeds would split the USA into two, weaker halves.

    Needless to say, a powerful argument could be made that GS, Citi, JPM & the Fed itself are all the ideological if not lineal descendents of the R’s multi-national “above and beyond state borders – and laws” imperial-dicatorships-supporting banking cabal – and that, with this economic crisis -they are once again profiting from a 4th war (an economic war) waged against the United States – as Exiled friend Matt Taibbi wrote, “Golddamn Sachs is a VAMPIRE SQUID”, and as noted financial analyst Harry Schultz recently wrote,
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/exit-harry-schultz-pursued-by-a-bear-2010-09-16
    (my words here – in “Fifth Column sabotage” style) the traitorous “Vampire Squid” has totally taken over the entire United States government, and is (along with flip-side-of-coin JPM, Citi, & The Fed) almost the perfect vampire extortion leave-nothing-behind-but-a-drained-empty-corpse” machine.
    Ironic how the Hessians & their British masters may have “lost” the American Revolution back in 1783… but today, American’s are handing their entire government, economy, and country over to the banking cabal born from the profits gained by the blood spilled from those mercenary soldiers!

  • 59. Mar C  |  December 22nd, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I bet even Gary didn’t expect what’s going on in Korea these days. Looks like the South got fed up with its autistic brother and is eager to provoke a real fight to show the parents that he is just faking illness to get attention.

  • 60. ANZAC  |  December 22nd, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    At least the Korean peninsula might give us some Christmas/New Year fireworks! The south saying they will go ahead with a live-fire exercise, and the north threatening massive retaliation. And the north backing down, for the moment (probably restocking their own artillery, and finding out their latest order from Norinco has been delayed because the factory found it more profitable to make children’s toys instead).

    @59 Mar C, that’s been a noticeable development with South Korea no longer trying to placate their little brother and now saying “or what?”. Also because North Korea’s former big friends have grown up and decided they don’t want to play the game any more.

  • 61. liverspot  |  December 23rd, 2010 at 11:01 am

    bit late, but ames aint he. ames is a god.

    the south is the problem child esp with sociopath lee wack back at the top and being pushed by sycho sam.

  • 62. Swamp Yankee  |  March 23rd, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Warshingting is wearing his tricorn wrong. It’s not even a real tricorn, but one of those froo-froo French things Napoleon made popular by wearing it like a white rapper wears a New Era Yankees cap.

    As to why the felt was folded like that to male a tricorn in the first place? Dude. You’re looking at a culture that mandated that all men wear pony-tail wigs in public. The three-cornered-cap was the least of their worries. Howabout them thigh-high gaiters the Redcoats had to wear, huh? Just because the horsey-types wore leather right up to their crotch to protect their silk stockings, the grunts had to wear brass-buttoned fake stripper-boots. No wonder they felt like shooting Bostonians at random.


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