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The War Nerd / eXile Classic / December 5, 2008

Will India and Pakistan ever finish the cat-fight and get on with a real war? “We live in hope,” like my grandma used to say — but don’t hold your breath. Listening to the Indian and Paki generals shaking their little fists at each other, with their little mustaches going up and down, hearing the Indians talk about how their patience is “almost” exhausted — it just gets me down.

This fag-slapping shit gives war a bad name.

I used to live next to a housefull of Pakistanis in Santa Ana. They were all brothers or cousins or something and ran this pirate cab company, and they fought non-stop — but I never saw a single punch thrown. It was this weird Pakistani style of fighting: they’d yell for hours before they escalated to slapping — weird downward slaps, like elephants hitting each other with their trunks. After a couple minutes of that, they’d each retreat about five yards and look around for automotive parts to throw. They’d keep throwing till they were tired, or till they accidentally hit one of the half-fixed taxis parked in the yard. That was the only thing that sobered them up: hurting a car. When they drew blood on each other they’d cheer, but if they broke a windshield they’d instantly stop fighting and run up to the car moaning and sobbing.

The way those cabdrivers fought is the way India and Pakistan fight — maybe it’s something in the water there. It’s always low-intensity, low-risk skirmishing, like these “mortar duels” the networks keep reporting from Kashmir. Mortar duels are the perfect combat for cowards, because the mortar is a very high-trajectory weapon, so you can fire it over hills and never even see the enemy face-to-face.

I’m not knocking mortars; they can be powerful weapons in the hands of a real army. The East Asians are particularly good with them. A mortar barrage from Chinese or Vietnamese troops is a serious deal. But that’s because East Asian troops take the risk of lugging their tubes right up to the front line, where they can do quick rangefinding and walk their fire right up to the enemy positions.

The mortar barrages you hear about on the India-Pakistan line are nothing like that. These are from mortars dug in way behind the front line. The aim isn’t really to hit any enemy troops but to make a lot of noise, a lot of chimpanzee-style hooting. At most, they aim at a fixed target already plotted. Like a village. Border villages make great targets, because they’re not going anywhere and can’t fight back. So both armies blow up huts on the other side of the border and kill a lot of livestock.

Somebody should do a history of livestock-killing as an element of military history. In the fifteenth century, the Germans called soldiers “the horse-butchers’ league” because it was basic tactics to kill knights’ horses — by taking them out of the saddle, you cut their speed and mass by two-thirds. In “primitive warfare” like you see in Africa, killing the enemy’s cattle is the worst blow you can inflict, worse than killing the wives. And in Kashmir right now, the main target for the brave mortarmen of both armies is livestock. You mortar a village and you’ll only kill a few villagers; the rest will duck inside, get down on the floor after the first shells hit. But cattle can’t duck, so they inevitably get shrapnelled into hamburger.

And the really sad thing is the villagers — on the Indian side of the border, anyway — can’t even eat the sacred-cow meat. That’s one good argument for Islam, I guess: at least you can eat the cattle-casualties. Or maybe not, because the Muslims have that whole “halal” deal where you can only eat animals killed in the proper Mohammedan manner. I doubt if an 82-mm mortar is an Imam-approved slaughtering device.

Religion — ain’t it wonderful?

Anyway, the point is: the longer these two chickenshit armies mortar each other, the less likely it is they’ll ever get down to business with a real war. The mortar duels are military masturbation, a way of letting off steam. When you mortar each other for months and months, you’re signaling the fact that you scared of a real fight.

The Indian Army has the weapons and the numbers to win. They’ve got plenty of hardware and 1.1 million men, roughly the number of riders on the average Indian train. But it’s hard to believe the Indian Army has the right spirit when you see them drilling in those wacky uniforms, doing the Monty Python moves they got from the British. Goosestepping, swaggersticks, little mustaches — it’s pathetic. You keep looking around for John Cleese as officer-in-charge.

True, the Indians have beaten the Pakistanis three times out of three (in 1947, 1965 and 1971). But look at what happened the one time they tried fighting a real army: the India-China war of 1962. India decided that its new status as world power required it to grab a few square miles of Himalayan wasteland from China. They worked themselves up into a war frenzy and attacked the Chinese. The Chinese, who don’t do woofing, made no boasts, tried smoothing things over, and when that failed, quietly flattened the Indian army. It was a rout: mustaches and swaggersticks sprinting downhill so fast the snow hadn’t yet melted on their helmets when they hit 120-degree Delhi. After that, the Indians decided they’d stick to picking on someone less than half their own size: the Pakistanis.

The Pakistani Army only has 550,000 men — just about the number of spectators crushed to death in the average cricket match in Karachi. They talk big — what do you expect, when the name Pakistan means “land of the pure”? But they’ve lost 3 out of 3 to the Hindus. The Pakistani Army is one of those third-world armies that specialize in protection money, not war. The Army runs the country, and the intelligence service, the ISI, runs the Army. And the ISI doesn’t want a real fight. They’d rather shake down the local drug dealers and let the Kashmiri “jihadi” groups they control raid India. It’s safer and cheaper. Besides, they know they’d lose a real war. As long as the Pakistanis act through the “jihadi,” they can keep denying any involvement at all. In other words: it’s the usual cowardly standoff.

But we’re supposed to believe it might get serious this time, because the ruling party in India are “Hindu militants.” Uh…yeah. “Hindu militants”! I can’t help it, that phrase just cracks me up every time I hear it. What does a Hindu militant do, anyway? Scream, “You bastard, you ate my great-grandfather!” at the drive-thru window of the New Delhi Burger King? The only thing these “Hindu militants” ever did was burn down shops selling Valentine’s Day cards. Don’t ask me why. Apparently they’re anti-love. I have to agree with them on that. Death to Love! Make War on Love! I’m all for that. But I just don’t see how putting a match to some Hallmark cards qualifies you to be the kind of “militant” who actually fights and wins wars. All I know is, militants whose big atrocity is burning Hallmark cards don’t sound too scary. Just reasonable.

The other reason we’re supposed to be scared is: the Nukes. Oh no, nukes! Like everybody’s supposed to faint the moment nukes get mentioned. People act like the moment somebody’s got one nuke, they’ve “got nukes.” It doesn’t work that way. They’re not guppies — they don’t breed on their own. You have to build a stockpile one at a time. And you have to use them. Until then, they’re museum pieces. The Pakistanis only have about 20. Suppose they use ’em all, and every one kills 500,000 Indians. Let’s do the math. The Indians lose… 10 million people-hey, that’s one percent of their population. One percent! Whoop-tee-doo! Stalin fed a quarter of the Soviet population to the Nazi meat grinder, and look what he got: half the world was his! Surely Kashmir and Januu are worth a measly one percent?!

India has about 200 nukes, so they could wipe out Pakistan. Over. “Land of the Pure” becomes “Land Where There is No Land, Just Smoked Glass.” But they won’t, because they’re too chickenshit. And Pakistan won’t nuke them, because it wouldn’t do anything except maybe finally piss the Indians off enough to act.

So nothing’s going to happen. It’s just another big media fake, like skinheads and Y2K. It’s teasers like these that make life in Fresno a daily hell.

If the Indians were going to do something, they would’ve done it when the Pakistani/Kashmiri terrorists attacked the Indian parliament a few months ago. Bodies everywhere, RPGs blasting the government HQ — and all the Indians did was screech that their patience was “almost” running out. Or a few weeks ago when they attacked the Indian army barracks…and slaughtered a few dozen women and children as they pulled up in a bus. Again, the Indian patience was “almost” at an end. And that’s all they’ll ever say: they’re “almost” ready to fight.

As a former elementary-school bully (turned high school punching bag), I’ll tell you a little secret: there is no “almost” in a fight. When you’re fighting somebody who “almost” hits people, you can relax. He won’t do shit.

I wish I had better news. I wish I could tell you there was a chance of a war worth watching down in that hellhole subcontinent. But there isn’t. They’ll probably wipe each other out someday, but till then it’s just going to be dead cows and villagers, and dumb generals in secondhand British uniforms talking big for the camera with their little moustaches going up and down, up and down.

This article was first published on May 29, 2002.

Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to

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Add your own

  • 1. LB  |  December 7th, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Seriously, the Russian have secured Chechnya because there are hardly any fucking male Chechynans left. They took heavy casualties and all kinds of BS from the Chechyans, and now they have won. Why? Russia still produces Men, America just produces frat boys.

  • 2. esch  |  December 7th, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    all this talk of kashmir makes me wanna listen to led zeppelin

    “oh let the sun beat down upon my face…

    ..all the way to, kashmir”

    I also welcome all the south asians to the exile funland, keep going at it boys!

  • 3. dave  |  December 8th, 2008 at 1:09 am

    @ oleg, the russians bought off Kadyrov. Thats how they “won” chechnya. Putin actually gave him a Hero of Russia Medal. A man who was involved in and orchestrated the killing of russian soldiers during the first war gets to collect a medal from putin, while hundreds of paraplegic vets ride the subways of moscow day and night begging for spare kopeks. (zhalka)

    I lived in russia for years and have friends who fought in chechnya. your analysis is stupid & insulting. Bin laden good man?? you probably loved basayev and khattab too. the internet is a good place for you to spew your trash, we both know you wouldnt dare in person.

  • 4. kivera  |  December 8th, 2008 at 1:17 am

    pissing conteeeest!

  • 5. Koryavi  |  December 8th, 2008 at 2:39 am

    To give shit to someone u otta be able to take it (c)

    Gary speaks shit sometimes,but he’s OK on the general picture – hardware alone doesn’t do anything.It’s the men who do the fighting killing and dying.It’s just like in Chechen war I – Russian forces hardly knew what they were fighting for,and domestic media was pouring TONS of BS on them.Hence the result.I really doubt that Indians and Pakistanians have the reason for a nuclear\full-scale conventional war now,and that’s been ascertained by comments here.

    And..there could be different,more *polite* ways of saying what Brecher does say in his articles,but Brecher’s choice of vocabulary is one of the reasons people read this blog.

  • 6. warnoob  |  December 8th, 2008 at 3:56 am

    The reason why India or even USA tip toe around and do not want go to war and defeat the organised chaos called Pakistan is because a politicaly correct occupation of pak would simply be pure hell. It would be like opening pandoras box and releasing 3x Somalias. NOBODY wants to deal that kind of occupation. So that narrows the play field down to a major skirmish at best.. The Pak elite always known it, ISI always known it, Talib know it, AQ..maybe, ISI trained Janal/Decadent mujj(whatever) might be bullheaded enough not to realise and/or could just be trying to instigate a war between the two (w or w/o blessing of the ISI)to stirr things up over Indian part of Kashmir that has a muslim majority. If the ISI is directly involved then somebody there wants to raise the tensions between India pak for some reason.

  • 7. Carpenter  |  December 8th, 2008 at 4:43 am

    I love it!

    “But look at what happened the one time they tried fighting a real army: the India-China war of 1962. India decided that its new status as world power required it to grab a few square miles of Himalayan wasteland from China. They worked themselves up into a war frenzy and attacked the Chinese. The Chinese, who don’t do woofing, made no boasts, tried smoothing things over, and when that failed, quietly flattened the Indian army. It was a rout: mustaches and swaggersticks sprinting downhill so fast the snow hadn’t yet melted on their helmets when they hit 120-degree Delhi. After that, the Indians decided they’d stick to picking on someone less than half their own size: the Pakistanis.”

    Listen and learn. The War Nerd once again proves he is the world’s only real War Poet!

  • 8. Gethsemani  |  December 8th, 2008 at 5:03 am

    The question that should always be asked is “Why go to war?”. No one is stupid enough to venture into a war without any considerations as to what the possible gains of such an action could be, or what the cost of failure might be. If there is something that history has shown us time and time again it is that the cost of failure is often downplayed or simply just overlooked by those in charge when it becomes to inconveniently high (Napoleon, Austria-Hungary during WW1, Germany during WWII and the USA in Iraq are just a few examples).

    What unites all of the above examples are that they have paid terrible prices for their mistake of going to war without taking into consideration the worst case scenario. But also that their gains are quite high. Control of all of Europe (in the case of Napoleon and Germany), expanding territory into the balkans and thus getting many major ports into the med (in the case of Austria-Hungary, that was a landlocked nation) or a swift propaganda victory to prove that no one stands up against you (Iraq War).
    Even the US Vietnam intervention was based on the idea that they were stopping the “domino effect” of countries falling to communism 1 by 1 which was seen as an important goal by the self-proclaimed defenders of liberalism and capitalism.

    Compare this to the India-Pakistan situation. What is the best case scenario? That one of the two manages to push the other fully out of a region of mostly mountains that has no real value apart from prestige. It is something that no decent leader would ever go to war over, especially not when it could escalate as far as the use of nuclear weapons (highly unlikely, but the possibility exists). Even in a good case scenario, thousands of people would die in the ensuing conflict and material losses on both sides would rise into hundreds of millions of dollars. And this is even before we are taking into account the political balance in the area. How would China react? What would the USA do if India attacks their “Coalition Allies” in Pakistan?

    India is playing it smart. Pakistan is also playing it smart. And in this case, playing it smart means going for the safe hand and kepping your bets low. The total winnings on the table is simply not worth going all in for and the price of failure could be immensly high for both sides. And in all likelyhood the price will be high if the conflict escalates too far.

  • 9. Toba  |  December 8th, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Gee fellahs! Get that bur out of your asses.You boys behave as if ‘you’ were entrusted with the responsibilities and decisions of American ‘you would have done a better job? Now I admit that we have done things upsidedown with the jackasses that fill our Senate and Congress not to mention the white house but all in all,our track record is outstanding,especially when compared to what “you” have done or is capable of doing.
    See, you boys come to america to “make it” not only because your home countries are dirty and full of religious or racial tards but because many of you have found out that tree bark and pets are not food and in the case of russia,tree bark and vodka.
    You come to america because you don’t want to wear dresses and funny headgear even though you are a man and you also want something more than a donkey or a goat for a girlfriend and in the case of russia having a constant fattening pig after the age of 21.

    Now,India and Pakistan are not going to fight each other,not because of being smart but because of an inability to withstand requirements of being the Boss. See when you want to be the Boss you take risks and from that point on your life is on the line every moment,every day.You have to kick ass and take names and occasionally your ass is going to be kicked, but in the end you always come out on top because you are testing yourself and doing it hard. You’re not resting on the accomplishments of your ancestors and expecting jokers to be impressed with you as if you were capable of doing what your ancestors could.

    You boys are having a great chuckle about Grenada but what was your Uncle to do? permit the grenadians to build an airport that would have been able to withstand the weight of 747’s and these newer heavier aircraft and so shift the economic base of the tourism in Florida from Europe and Asia directly into the West Indies! Things don’t happen that way sport.

    As for Vietnam,for the next several generation,little ho chi or his sister had better be careful where they steer the water buffalo when plowing that field because one wrong step and that little undiscovered unexploded bomblet is going to give them a taste of what great great great grandad or ma learnt ,a courtesy of messing with your Uncle.
    We might loose here and there but at least we have the balls to recover and go on to greater and better things whilst “you clowns” play it safe and stay in the dirty little corner like the scared chickens you are making imperious utterances like “the price will be high,bets low as if you know whst you are talking about.
    Here’s a nice safe bet for you,100 to 1 that you’re blogging from the US and not some dirty little country outside where much can be said of the communications system,nay Internet.

    Say what you like,we know and ‘you’ know that these two fags are scared of starting a fight because both want to be the pussy. The fat man called it and we stand by it because ‘we’ know you.
    And you’re wrong about Vietnam. You see Marianne was getting her ass reamed well and she called out to her Uncle. A version of ‘white man’s responsibility to another white man’s problem that didn’t play out well,that’s all.

    If you boys had any sense at all you would have played the caste system like how it was originally meant to be played where ability takes precident over skin color,family and such but you played it like how chickens do and the result is your low caste folks unable to get anywhere even if they were capable,decided on that Muslim thing instead of that Hindu thing and now you have an absolute mess on your hands and now you want play it safe because if you fight the pakis, it not only becomes a Brahman gets his ass kicked by a sudra thing, it becomes a muslim thing against you all over the world and we can see how the problem becomes difficult when those darn arab muslims jump in with that unlimited supply of cash and eager killers.

  • 10. NPJ  |  December 8th, 2008 at 7:52 am

    A racial slur in the title? War nerd I enjoy your articles but do try to not be such an odious human being.

  • 11. Mar C  |  December 9th, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Why did Pakistan help the yanks with their post 9/11 military operations against other Muslim countries? Maybe it isn’t the Pakistani nukes Indians are afraid of, but their allies.

  • 12. VDV  |  December 9th, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Dave, turning enemies into friends may not be such a bad idea. It is definitely much better than the dumbfuck bully strategy the US has been following in the recent history: attack anyone you dislike at your own will and eventually get fucked and ashamed everywhere.

  • 13. C Khan  |  December 11th, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    @LB Yes, War Nerd was thinking of a mountain in Nepal. Every time you open your mouth, stupid comes out of it. Do us all a favor and promise never to reproduce.

  • 14. The Amazing Crustacean  |  December 13th, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    You forget the massacres of Muslims by Hindu nationalists in Gujarat. The pacifism of Hindu monks has to be measured against things like the Bhagavad-Gita, which explicitly tells Arjuna that he should fight the other side, do his duty, and not be afraid of death because the essence of the self does not perish.

  • 15. gary=gay  |  December 14th, 2008 at 6:04 am

    Glad we got the nukes. Enough said.

  • 16. denk  |  February 16th, 2009 at 1:10 am

    c khan
    **no, china attacked india in 1962**

    then how come indian troops was fighting at NORTH of the mcmahon line ?

  • 17. Chinese-Canadian Justin  |  November 11th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I think Gary has it right about the sino-indian war (as he always does) and summed it up succinctly, but to add some academic weight behind him for those who disagree …

    from the chapter “PLA operational principal and limited war” by Cheng Feng and Larry Wortzhel

    “As another example, Chinese troops in the earlier phase of the dispute showed great restraint in the execution of their ordersm even when faced with serious provocations by Indian forces… However, Chinese restraint in the early stages also may have given the wrong ompression to the Indian government and military, which seem to have regarded the attitude of and activity of Chinese troops as weak. As a consequence, the Indian Army pursued its “forward policy,” nibbling up more Chinese territory, which then compelled China to opt for a broader war.”

    [collected from the book Chinese warfighting – the PLA experience from 1949 (pg 190)]

    I wish I could reproduce the whole chapter in this excellent book but one paragraph will have to do.

  • 18. Jordan  |  November 29th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    that mean becuase im have indian

  • 19. Jordan  |  November 29th, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    im mean im part indian
    and im related to a indian and she will not like you people are talking bad about us online

  • 20. Jordan  |  November 29th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    you all are fagets and you all are hoes

  • 21. Jordan  |  November 29th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    you are the only fagets

  • 22. Spinner  |  December 10th, 2009 at 3:37 am

    Congratulations to the author and all the participants for making me laugh like anything after reading article and the comments!

    Well, I have to say in most of the cases, comments are more entertaining than actual article. Toba, I like your comments perhaps more girls in forum will make discussion more entertaining.

    Any Soap Opera needs SEX.

  • 23. John  |  November 2nd, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Came accross this article. I have to say, hilarious and insightful at the same time. Good one Gary.

  • 24. Hamza  |  April 21st, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    I’m a Paki livin in UK fuck white ppl and them ugly dot headed indians!!!!! I stab the shit outta them 2 ugly arse race!!!!!!!!! LONG LIVE PAKILAND!!!!! LONG LIVE PAKI PANTHERZ & ISLAM!!!!!!!!!!

  • 25. Daddy P  |  July 7th, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Hamza. Tu kutta hai. CHup baith. Hell yeah. Hamza is a pimp in UK. Sure must be arrested by now. I don’t understand how he got out of jails of UK. Must have Pimped(word changed) a bobbi sissy for getting out of Jail. Hey, stoner Hamza keep trucking. And for you- Lick My MidFinger Beeotch!

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