Vanity Fair profiles The eXile: "Gutsy...visceral...serious journalism...abusive, defamatory...poignant...paranoid...and right!"
MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
The War Nerd / February 17, 2011
By Gary Brecher


There’ve been a few interesting assassinations recently. Not around here, unfortunately. Definitely not the one in Tucson. The dork empties a huge magazine into a crowd, kills nine people including a little girl, and doesn’t even kill the congresswoman he went there to get. And why her, anyway? She may’ve been just another plastic blonde, nothing special–but there’s way worse, WAY worse, crawling around Arizona. Just one example: I can’t believe there’s not one Mexican in Phoenix with enough cojones to blast that bigmouth sheriff, Arpaio. Jared the Retard could’ve done it without leaving his home state. If you expand your search to DC, I can think of dozens…uh, think I’ll stop right there.

Anyway, just saying: DC. Target-rich environment. That’s why the most annoying waste of killing power was that DC Sniper and his little boyfriend. The guy had a good setup, that false-backed car, a spotter, good Army training, he’s right there, could’ve picked off two dozen lobbyists and been a national hero—and instead he shoots random civilians filling their gas tanks. Wasted potential, as my guidance counselor used to say.

The trouble is, you see how dumb most of our homegrown assassins are and you’re tempted to jump to the wrong conclusion, the one most people repeat without thinking very hard:  “Assassination never solves anything.” Well, it must be nice to think that way, but just FYI, it’s not true. You don’t have to go way back in history to see that. Robert F. Kennedy was going to be the next president before Sirhan Sirhan shot him in the head. With RFK gone, Nixon was in as the next president. That’s a pretty damn big change, from one bullet.

Part of the reason nobody can face the fact that that killing really did change history is that the killer, Sirhan, was such a blank it was too depressing to admit he did something important. His reason made no sense: RFK was pro-Israel. Yeah, and so was every other US politician in 1968. Even now, when the Israelis have used up their credit with every other country in the world, it’s hard to think of a single US politician who’ll say a word about them. So Sirhan’s reasons are just plain stupid. But the assassination still changed our history—just not in the way Sirhan’s teeny little iguana brain had in mind.

sirhan sirhan

If you want an example of a more intelligent and effective assassination, it’s Booth killing Lincoln. I hate to say it, because Booth was a trashy ham who dodged combat, then shot the best man in the country in the back of the head. But the fact, the rotten fact, is that Booth scored the South’s biggest strategic victory, by far, when he killed Lincoln. Once again, we have the Vice Presidency, the pus-filled appendix of America’s body politic, to thank for that. Lincoln needed a border-state “moderate” on the ticket in 1864 to balance his abolitionist leanings, so he picked up Andrew Johnson from East Tennessee. Lincoln had this thing about East Tennessee, thought the locals were good loyal Unionists when they were really just lukewarm, anti-secession but pro-slavery. That was always Johnson’s policy: pro-Union but pro-slavery too. When Booth killed Lincoln, Johnson walked into total power, and all the Union gains were washed away. Johnson allowed the Southern states to reenter the Union without penalty, without signing any guarantee of civil rights for freed blacks, and vetoed the first civil rights bill.

That’s how powerful an assassination can be. The planters and the KKK took back the South with one shot from Booth’s little pistol. You could have toured Mississippi in 1885, 20 years after the South lost the war, and seen the same damn Planters on the porches, the same black people in the cotton fields for slave wages, and the same brave, dumb poor whites happy to keep the whole stupid thing going.

It was such an obvious strategy, killing Lincoln, it’s interesting that—as far as I know–no Confederate commander ever authorized any attempts on “The Illinois Ape’s” life. (Except for Bloody Bill Anderson; I’ll get to him in a minute.)Weird as it seems now, most Civil-War commanders (at least the ones east of the Mississippi) really believed in a code of war that didn’t allow assassinating civilians. That was how both sides fought the war (in the East)—and the Confederates had a particularly impressive record when they marched into Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863. As far as I know, the only civilian casualty was that lady who got shot because she decided she absolutely HAD to do the dishes right in the middle of the battle of Gettysburg. And frankly I call that cleaning out the gene pool, getting rid of some crazy neat-freak chromosomes.

Out in Kansas, of course, there were never any rules. Very dirty war out there, vale tudo from the 1850s on. That’s why it was just naturally a Confederate from Kansas/Missouri who came up with the first plan to assassinate Lincoln. Bloody Bill Anderson, craziest of the “border ruffians,” tried to kill Lincoln months before Booth finally did.

Bloody Bill was one of a kind: too extreme for Quantrill’s gang. Being too extreme for Quantrill was like being too anti-Jewish for the Romanian Iron Guard—not easy.  Anderson and his few dozen maniacs rode along on Sterling Price’s “invasion” of Missouri in the Fall of 1864—which wasn’t really much on an invasion, more like making 12,000 soldiers run a 1500-mile gauntlet, leaving a trail of their own blood behind them. Like many an irregular cavalry commander for the South (like Forrest with Bragg, for example), Bloody Bill got so sick of conventional-war oriented generals, who were as bad in the Western theater as they were magnificent in Virginia, that he thought hard and long about how he could spend his life in a way that would actually help the cause. So he started riding east with a simple plan:

  1. Go to Washington DC.
  2. See sights, poss. Dinner & dancing.
  3. Kill Lincoln.

It was a smart idea–but an assassin needs coolness, maybe even cowardice. That wasn’t Anderson’s way. So the first Union patrol he met on the road to DC, he started blasting and ended up dead.

Bloody Bill anderson 005

That left the field clear for the next man to come up with a plan to kill Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth and his friends. Booth had the cowardice to live through the war. He sat it out, claiming he’d promised his dear, dear mummy he wouldn’t join up. So from 1861-1865, while one-third of all white male Southerners were getting killed in battle, Booth was touring the North, acting in plays like a sissy. He had the cowardice an assassin needs. He had no pride—another good thing for an assassin. Once during his wartime tour of the North, he was overheard cursing the Union. Booth didn’t hesitate; he signed a loyalty oath and apologized, slunk off safe. By 1864 Booth admitted it himself: “I deem myself a coward.”  That cowardice until the war was over. Booth heard Lincoln planned to give Freedmen full rights. That was it for Booth, who said, “That means nigger citizenship!”  After years and years of sulking, slinking, fuming and crawfishing, he was ready to do something. Ever notice that about chickenshits? They can’t fight right now, on the spot, when somebody’s shoving them around–but give them about a year or so to nurse a grudge and they’ll disembowel a whole family.

When the news that Lincoln had been killed made it south, there may have been some private celebration, but the ex-Confederate elite was shocked and disgusted, at least in public. Ewell went around himself getting signatures from other Confederate commanders on a letter of commiseration. It just wasn’t in the playbook yet. Even the most hated Northern generals in occupied territory were safe from assassination. Like Butler– they loved to hate him in New Orleans, but nobody shot him

It might not have been in their interests, either. The Southern elite was awesome, but tiny. If both sides had used assassination, the North, with a bigger population and much bigger school system, could probably have replaced skill positions more easily. I don’t know of any targeted assassinations off the field of battle by the North, either. Wouldn’t have been hard. The South was starved for men, and most units would have been glad to take in any white man they could get. The Feds could’ve sent dozens of assassins to join up with the commanders the Federals most wanted taken out—Jackson, Lee, or Forrest—and shoot him out of the saddle in the middle of your first battle. But nobody tried it.

On the battlefield, of course, snipers and sometimes artillery loved to aim for the men on horseback. Sniping’s always been sort of a low-tech video game: 50 points for a Major, 75 for a Colonel, 100 for a brigadier. And they got plenty of them. Civil War generals had a casualty rate higher than privates. Some of those kills were kind of like assassinations, targeted hits but on the battlefield, like when Sherman saw a group of southern brass on a ridge and ordered his artillery to target them. That’s how Gen. Leonidas Polk got a cannonball right through his chest. (I love what they said at Polk’s funeral: “The ball opened a great hole through which his soul escaped.” They picked that line over “God bless this meat donut.”)

Confederate artillery was also happy to target enemy commanders—on the battlefield. They shelled Hooker’s HQ in the Chancellor House, gave him a concussion, came very close to killing him. But I doubt that they would have sent someone to kill him on the street.

It’s all different now, of course. As military tech advances, the notion of battlefield vs. civilian zone fades away, and that leaves a lot of room for assassination away from the field of battle. Imagine if we had another secession crisis: first thing the Feds would do now is have flocks of Predator drones humming over Richmond, waiting for Davis or Lee to step out on the street. Every time a man with a Popeye chin like Jeff Davis’s went out for a stroll, there’d be another crater among the cobblestones. Every time a dignified-looking Virginia gennulman clopped down the street on a gray horse, the phones at Langley would start buzzing, with some video-gamer in uniform screeching while he looks at his monitor: “It’s Traveller! I’m sure! It’s our best chance!” The OK comes down in a millisecond and whoosh! Somebody’s harmless grandpa disappears like a Hamas honcho on Mossad’s little list.

In most of the world, where the turbocharged lathe of war has been grinding away for a while, assassination has always been on the menu. And it’s been brought to a new level of sophistication in places like Af-Pak and Iraq.

Iraq in the Saddam era had some bizarre assassination plans, so weird that you can’t help suspecting Saddam was having a laugh, his own version of practical jokes. The funniest—and I’m sorry, but this is funny, I can’t help it—was the “Exploding Imams” assassination. In 1970, Saddam signed one of his agreements with the Kurdish leader, Mullah Barzani. Of course when Saddam signed an agreement it just meant he wanted you to relax so he could have you killed. And the Kurds knew that better than anyone, learned it the hard way.

So it wasn’t easy for Saddam to get one of his killers close to Barzani, who was always surrounded by some pretty scary Pesh Merga security. But there was one way to get to Barzani: through his elder brother, Sheikh Ahmad Barzani, an Imam. Ahmad was in Baghdad, so in 1971 Saddam persuaded him to go see his militant little bro’ in Kurdistan. And he had one other little request to make. He leads up to it slowly: “You know, I truly want peace with the Kurds, but no one will tell me what Barzani says. I want is to know, from his own mouth, what Barzani wants from us.”

Saddam was apparently a real charmer when he wanted to be, and poor old Ahmad is falling for it totally. Saddam says, “I have this wonderful idea! If you will help, I can hear what your brother has to say in his own voice! All you need do is take this tape recorder”…and he pulls out a shiny new model…”and as soon as Barzani begins speaking, just press the ‘Record’ button, here…” and Saddam shows the Imam how the thing works.

Well, it’s not every day the most feared man in the country asks you to do a personal favor, so Sheikh Ahmad agrees. He and his group make their way north, where Barzani’s people treat them with great respect. The Pesh Merga skip the customary body search, they sit down with Mullah Barzani, and the meeting finally gets under way. The old Imam slips a hand into his robe, feels for the “Record” button, presses it…

Kaboom! The “Record” button is kind of more like the “Erase” button, thanks to a pound of plastique. Saddam’s little joke. What you call a wicked sense of humor.

Sheikh Ahmad is killed instantly, along with three of his colleagues. Barzani, sitting across from them, would have died too except that just at the moment the bomb went off, a tea boy was filling his cup, standing between him and the bomb. So Barzani’s just stunned and covered in blood. But he sure looks dead, and his bodyguards go crazy, running in screaming.

That’s good enough for the other visiting Imams. Allah helps those who help themselves and can sprint to the car faster than the others. The Imams are strung out in a straggly line, ranked by their age, obesity, and reaction time, when the main force of Pesh Merga, who’ve heard the explosion, see a bunch of Arabs trying to make a getaway.

Saddam’s drivers who brought them north—all secret police, of course—step out of their cars and start firing at the Pesh Merga, who hose down the vicinity with AK fire. One Kurdish officer actually tried to get them to take the drivers alive, because a captured enemy agent is a lot more valuable than his dead stinking hide. But hotter heads prevailed, and the firing didn’t stop until every guest was dead.

A tradition of hospitality, that’s one thing, but when the visitors try to blow up the host, that’s just rude. It was a good long time before Mullah Barzani invited any friends of Saddam’s for dinner, and even then they better not’ve been wearing Walkmans.

We helped keep the level of craftsmanship high among Iraqi assassins by bringing total chaos to the place in 2003, and since then the most brilliant minds in the country have been looking over old electrical-engineering textbooks, finding new and better ways to make every known appliance blow up.

But when all else fails, Iraqis aren’t afraid to go back to basics, either. I’m talking about the Ohio State offense of assassination: three suicide bombers and a cloud of dust, fullback off center.

That’s how they did this latest assassination, which killed the head of the anti-terrorist police unit in Mosul, Col. Al-Jabouri.

Mosul’s an interesting town, near the Kurdish provinces but not close to them, to put it mildly. This is where Saddam settled his officer corps, the real diehards in the Republican Guard. The Kurds all want Kirkuk back, but they don’t say anything about wanting Mosul, because it’s serious trouble. They might want it leveled, depopulated, but if you offered it to them with the current population included, they’d decline politely and very fast.

So being anti-terrorist police chief of Mosul is one of those jobs that will disqualify you for life insurance, the ultimate pre-existing condition. A man who lasts any time in that job is either in league with the guys he’s supposed to arrest, or just very, very tough and good at his job. Al-Jabouri was tough. He’d already survived five attempted assassinations, and in his business those are the sincerest form of flattery.

So he was a very high-value target. And that’s the key to understanding assassins’ logic: the value of the target vs. the value of the lives and money you spend killing him.

In war, “human life” by itself, one body, has no value. I don’t mean “O the humanity, war places no value on human life,” I mean the opposite: a life, an ordinary life, isn’t usually worth spending energy to snuff out. But other lives are worth spending dozens of lives to end. It all depends on the value of the life you’re taking and the lives you’re spending to do it.

You can see that logic working out in the assassination of Col. Al-Jabouri. Al-Qaeda had already spent a lot of lives trying to get him the first five times. But the sixth time, the one that worked, they sent four guys in suicide vests for the final, successful attack. Obviously those four were a write-off before the shooting started. If you lace somebody up in one of those vests and send him into a heavily-guarded police HQ, you can cross him off your Ramadan-Card list. So even if the assassination works, it’s a four-to-one exchange. Meaning al-Jabouri was worth a lot of lives. Even the way he died shows that: they found him asleep in his office, where he’d spent the night.–one of these workaholics who drives everybody crazy, especially the people he wants to catch and hand over to the torture specialists down in the basement who specialize in hooking up 220 volts to jihadi scrotums.


They were taking no chances this time; they packed the four assassins (who were in cop uniforms, standard practice in Iraq) with enough explosives that the whole police building collapsed when one of the vests went off. In that blast a cop was killed, but that probably didn’t mean much to the al-Qaeda management; a cop, an ordinary cop, is nothing, like the “draft pick to be named later” when a star gets traded. They were after one man, Al-Jabouri, the all-pro in the trade.  A good CI officer like him must have cost the insurgents dozens, maybe hundreds, of men—and if you let him stay alive, he’ll soon round up more. So that’s how you estimate his real value, that’s the budget on killing him.

In a long, dirty war like Iraq, both sides come to know who’s worth killing and who isn’t. You get guys like al-Jabouri, guys who prove the Russian proverb, “War is a stepmother to some, a mother to others.” The best example from our history is U. S. Grant; he would’ve had a sad life if the Civil War hadn’t come along to mother him. There’s not much career mobility in a peacetime army, but once the shooting starts, the good ones really shine and it’s “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.”

Well, probably better to say that war mothered al-Jabouri up to the moment his snooze was interrupted by enough high-explosive to blow the whole HQ down. Might be better to say, “War is a stepmother to some, a mother to others…but she’s one of those moms who just love you to pieces right up to the moment they drag you to the bathtub and shove you in headfirst because Jesus told her you’d be better off in Heaven.”

One note on the value of life in war: you might think that the sheer dedication of those four men who were willing to strap on suicide vests and run into police HQ would make them valuable. That’s because you live in a country at peace, a rich country (at least it used to be). In most of the world—and this is something that it took me a long time to accept—it’s just not that hard to find cannon fodder. In most war zones, there are lots of people who’re willing to die, so bravery alone isn’t that valuable. Real value, for the a group like Al-Qaeda in Iraq, is some geek who has the whole Radio Shack inventory in his room and can make anything explode if you ask him to. Or a policeman who’s on your side once it gets dark—for money, or because he’s a coward, or because you’re keeping his son in a cellar to make sure he does what you want. Or best of all, an interpreter who works for the Americans and can tell you exactly who’s been telling them what. They would never put the big-bang vest on assets like those, not unless they were in a last-ditch Berlin 1945 situation. The four who died killing al-Jabouri were probably just standard slum kids: brave as Hell, dumb as rocks

But the man ordering an assassination has to think about more than the value of the target. He has to consider who’s going to replace him. If you’re facing a fool with a smart assistant, you want to leave the fool alone. Kill the assistant if you can, but don’t touch the fool in command. Kill him and you’re working as the enemy’s Human Resources Department, clearing out the dead wood for them.

The dream situation, the one where you’d spend hundreds of lives, is where the target will be replaced by someone who’s on your side. That’s the factor that made Booth’s killing of Lincoln such a whopper of a victory for the south. Lincoln had two vice presidents. During his first term, from 1860-1864, his VP was a Maine Repuublican named Hannibal Hamlin. Like most New England Unionists, Hamlin was a strong supporter of black rights, pushed for the Emancipation Proclamation and the arming of black troops. Unfortunately, Andrew Johnson replaced Hamlin on the ticket in 1864. So if Lincoln had been killed before 1864, the South might not have gained a thing. Might have lost even bigger, because the Northern Republicans would’ve been even hungrier for a little revenge.

It only became a smart assassination after the 1864 election. I doubt Booth thought any of this through. He wasn’t much of a thinker. But his timing was good, even if it was dumb luck—or sheer cowardice—that made him wait so long.

booth-brothers (left)

John Wilkes Booth (far left) playing Marc Antony during the Civil War

If you’re running assassinations, you have to be as familiar with the enemy’s organization chart as their own HR people. In fact, you basically have to act like a Human Resources Department in reverse, deciding who the best of the enemy are, and taking them out—but also identifying the weak leaders and protecting them. (I know, I’m giving the average HR department WAY too much credit when I say “in reverse.” We all know a lot of HR jerks who spend their time protecting the idiots and weeding out the smart people, but I’m talking theory here.)

Go back to the Civil War hypothetical I was using: Say you’re in charge of assassinations for the North in the Civil War. There are some enemy generals you’d assassinate and others you’d never touch. The classic example is the South’s worst general, Gideon Pillow, the “self-inflating Pillow” who wormed his way to command by sucking up to the president, sent anonymous letters to the press taking credit for Mexican War victories he didn’t deserve, then joined the South, sucked up to that idiot Jeff Davis, and wangled semi-command of Fort Donelson. I say “semi-command” because there were at least three stooges trying to hand off command as Grant’s troops encircled them: Floyd, another amateur; Pillow; and poor ol’ Simon Bolivar Buckner, who ended up holding the white flag after Floyd and Pillow both slipped away downriver in the night, leaving poor Buckner, the only decent soldier of the three, to take the rap for surrendering to Grant.


When Buckner, an old friend of Grant’s, told him that Pillow’s excuse for skedaddling was that he was too valuable to the South to be captured, Grant laughed out loud and said, “Why, if I had captured Pillow I would have let him go. I’d much rather have him in command of you fellows than a prisoner.” A guy like that is an enemy asset.

The VC knew that evil or incompetent South Vietnamese officials and generals were their allies. Their “sparrow” assassination teams would kill anyone who did their job well. They killed a whole lot of naïve schoolgirls who went out into the countryside to teach the villagers on the classic “hearts and minds” trail. Killed them in seriously awful ways, too, because in a country that’s seen irregular warfare for a long time, you get what I call violence inflation: after a while, plain old killing doesn’t make much of an impression. You have to kill like a goddamn Mayan, tearing off jawbones and fingernails, gang-rape with bayonets, power tools (big in Iraq) if you want to make an impression.

But there were some South Vietnamese officials the VC never, ever touched: the sleazy tax collectors, corrupt officers, incompetent provincial bureaucrats. Because the VC had total force discipline, and knew that much as their trigger fingers must have itched to blow away those dirty bastards, it wasn’t a smart move, because enemy officials like them were actually working fulltime as propaganda for the VC, even if they didn’t know it. Every time a recruiting officer took some poor mama’s bribe and then shoved her last living son into ARVN anyway, the VC could tell the story in every village for miles around on their nighttime PR visits. A guy like that was gold to them, and it was hands off.

What really hits me, writing about assassination logic here, is how much more disciplined so many other places are in the way they spend lives. I guess that’s not really always a good thing, because those places—Iraq, Viet Nam during the war—are pretty miserable. But you can talk about the way assassination works there logically, without getting all distracted with wacko psychology. In a war zone, there isn’t much psychology going on, not personal Jared-Loughner type brain bubbles, anyway. Everybody has pretty much the same psychology. That’s why they call it “post-traumatic” stress, I suppose: because it has to wait until you’re out of the war zone.

Just compare any of the stories from a war zone with somebody like Squeaky Fromme, the ugly Manson groupie who took a lame potshot at Gerald Ford. For what? As far as I know it was just a way of getting Ford’s attention so she could ask him to pardon dear old Charlie. “Hey, over here, Mr. President! Me! Yeah! The little crazy lady with the cheap handgun! Hi! Um…anyway…so, you pardoned what’s-his-name, right, the other ‘president’ guy, the whole ‘Watergate’ thing…I read about it once? So…how about Charlie? He doesn’t like Folsom at all!”

Squeaky Fromme 1975

Or Jared Loughner, going bad in his room like old yogurt behind the bed where he stuffs his cum-smeared socks, drooling up the Big Answer: “Grammar! Doncha get it? They tried to brainwash me in Remedial English! It’s all a government plot! Black helicopters full of irregular verbs! Subliminals in those Sesame Street spelling skit thingies!” Which is why he shot the little girl and a bunch of other citizens at Safeway.

There’s some kind of trickle-down stupid from the high-profile assassinations, too. Every time I hear about some foreclosed loser who ate his pistol in the living room as a “protest” for what they were doing to him, I think, “You’re so damn stupid. So you got your blood all over your carpet. They’ll hire somebody to clean that—one hour minimum wage, that’s what you cost them.”

If you’re going to spend your life—well, that’s  what I’ve been trying to explain here. It’s a market. The ultimate free market. Spend it wisely, like grandma used to write with the $5 bill for Christmas. Suicide isn’t a good exchange. Those jerks who kill their family before they blow their own brains out are even worse. Just not thinking clearly. I’m not going to draw you a dotted line to the head office, but God damn, how hard is it to spend a few minutes googling before you spend the last capital you’ll ever have? Aim high, as the saying goes. Well no, I mean aim high organizational-chart wise. Then aim center-of-mass.

Write to Gary Brecher at: Bengrierson at gmail dot com.

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

The War Nerd Book Cover

Click the cover, buy the book!


Add your own

  • 1. devil's advocate  |  February 17th, 2011 at 10:54 am

    sorry bro, but I’m going to have to disagree with this column.

    Assassinations (by an outsider) are pointless/never work/the realm of nutjobs because the outsider is only taking out a tentacle of the leadership octopus.

    In most organizations (governments, guerrilla movt’s, your neighborhood PTA), the loss of one or a few members in the leadership circles can be quickly fixed, assuming that your group is run well.

  • 2. Jesse the Thief  |  February 17th, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Somewhere along the line US culture got brainwashed into believing violence is always wrong and the only thing that can ever be wrong. When did that happen? They can ship your job to India, sell you a ticking bomb as an investment with a straight face, slash the budget of your kid’s school to shit and take your house after the trap snaps shut, but pull a gun on one of them and you’re Hitler. It’s like in the Chinese factories, the workers start chucking themselves off the stairwell so they put fencing around the stairwell and call it a day. It’s not like the peasants will actually kill any one but themselves anyway, they’ve been trained right.

  • 3. Karel  |  February 17th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Incisive analysis

    Choice of words stops short of incitement…

  • 4. John Figler  |  February 17th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Ahhhhh… Je vous ai compris!

    BTW, Generals had a big casualty rate everywhere. Not sure if it was as high as the one a private would get when taking into account disease and general misery during campaigning, but pretty high anyway. Right until 1914. All of them, both sides of the Atlantic. Most of Wellington’s buddies left their lives, or parts of their bodies, scattered all over the field at Waterloo.

    Then Generals started commanding from behind desks rather than from horseback and close to the firing line, and so they passed the casualty rate along the command chain, down to the 2nd and 1st Lts (not that Saxe’s junior officers had it easy though).

  • 5. Super Bowl  |  February 17th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Any thoughts on this?

  • 6. Esteban Hawking  |  February 17th, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    The most eloquent and thought provoking incitement of political violence I’ve ever read. Spend that “capitol” wisely indeed.

  • 7. Eddie  |  February 17th, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Never trust a dumbed down population to initiate a worthy trend. What is required here is leadership. Acting for the sake of acting rarely produces the desired outcome.

    The early pioneers in this field such as Mario Buda(Wall Street bombing of 1920) showed not only remarkable imagination( inventing a whole new style the car bomb) but also an acute understanding of the political system pecking order.

    Much of this work has lately been forgotten to a point where Timothy McVeigh not only selected a completely insignificant building but also neglected the PR aspect all together.

    Focus people. This is not the time to be sloppy, it reflects badly on our generation.

  • 8. Pascual Gorostieta  |  February 17th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Woah! Gerry Ford’s assassin looks like the snitching girl from the movie Atonement.

  • 9. sconzey  |  February 17th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Interesting thesis. There’s some game theory there too, as in repeated games rational players use Tit-for-Tat.

    So for instance if the South started a formal program of assassinating officials; I’m sure the North would respond in kind. As you said — the North would have more easily been able to replace their generals, so this was a loosing strategy for the South.

    But Al Qaeda are less vulnerable to assassination than their opponent. Teasing apart an insurgency takes brains that few people have. Blowing up policemen as they patrol a marketplace doesn’t, so assassination is a winning strategy for them.

  • 10. Ezra Dunhill  |  February 17th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Best War Nerd in a while! Thanks John/Mark!

  • 11. Hannibal  |  February 17th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    William Quantrill? Leonidas Polk? Hannibal Hamlin? Gideon Pillow?

    Man, they had some bad-ass, distinguished names back in the day.

  • 12. Mudhead  |  February 17th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Where did the Nerd get the statistic that 1/3 of Southern white adult males were killed in battle during the Civil War? The numbers I have seen a far lower than that; in fact 1/3 of Southern white adult males didn’t even serve in the war. The South had serious manpower shortages throughout the war, and the demented states’ rights enthusiasts opposed a draft and worked to thwart it when it was instituted. The South was arming slaves near the end of the war to try to make up some of the manpower shortfall.

  • 13. matt  |  February 17th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    yes, the idiot who wrote that, besides speaking in false generalizations, I could mention Lyudmilla Pavlichenko amontg others, but instead I will get to the brass tacs.

    this individual has no idea what he is talking about. All the communist armies had women in them, the WAC’s worked out pretty well, and Brecher himself has written about women in combat. This individual ignores the fact that rape often goes unpunished in the army, and the accused are likely to be punished.

    In summation, to answer your question, my thoughts are that the guy who wrote that blog is a blustering misogynist who has never had sex without paying for it.

  • 14. Gustavo Arellano  |  February 17th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    I just read two fucking paragraphs of this before wondering if the feds aren’t already sodomizing you at Gitmo. Brilliant, War Nerd: BRILLIANT. Now, let me read the rest of this damn thing…

  • 15. John Drinkwater  |  February 17th, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    @2 – they did the same thing at the NYU Bobst library about 5 years back. Kids were chucking themselves off the rails into the ground floor atrium. The solution? Why, build plexi glass walls on each floor, of course. That way, kids will have to kill themselves somewhere else. Anywhere, but the library.

  • 16. Fissile  |  February 17th, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    How can any article on political assassination leave out IRA man Michael Collins? In 1919 Collins organized “The Squad”, a hand picked group of IRA men charged with the targeted assassination of British agents and key government operatives in Ireland. Collins and The Squad were successful in the matters of targeted political assassination….. they managed to so unnerved No. 10 that the limeys went to the bargaining table and hammered out the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. It’s not an easy thing to make British boarding school buggers lose their cool like that. The English were old hands at political assassination, and were really kind of red faced at being shown up by an amateur like Collins, so they in turn had Collins assassinated in 1922 to prove they still had game. The purpose of getting Collins to sign the treaty was to get him to stop offing Brit bigwigs long enough for the English to get their cross hairs on Mikey. After he signed the treaty Collins realized what a mistake he had made when he remarked, “I’ve just signed my own death warrant.” Moral of the story: When you get your enemy down, keep him there.

    Changing gears, I take great offense at the insults leveled at Ms. Fromme. First, she was not ugly. I’ve seen pictures of Squeaky with her clothes off and she was quite fetching in her day. A natural redhead…collars and cuffs matched. Any man who can resist the temptations of the fire bush is no real man. BTW, she didn’t use a “cheap little gun”. She was armed with a Colt model 1911 .45 semi-auto. That was quite the gun in it’s time. Unfortunately Squeak didn’t understand the operating principles of said gun — a round needs to be chambered before the gun can be fired. Oh well, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, crazy head heads are best used for fucking, not political assassinations.

  • 17. az  |  February 17th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Anarcho-Stalinism: it’s appealing.

  • 18. John Drinkwater  |  February 17th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    “Anyway, just saying: DC. Target-rich environment.” Classic.

  • 19. andrew  |  February 17th, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    best in a while, brecher, A++! lunatics like the tucson guy, or the guy who killed lennon, don’t deserve the label “assassin”. that bullshit always sort of bothered me.

  • 20. The Handicap Robocop  |  February 17th, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I have to admit. I never thought much about assassination and it’s role in warfare. Gave me something to think about.

  • 21. fartman fart  |  February 17th, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Let me save you guys time at wikipedia, since I was confused about something at first:

    Traveller was Robert E. Lee’s horse.

    And I even went to the college where they’re both buried, so I really should’ve known better. Now you do.

    Anyway, great column as always Brecher. It’s a real shame, the sort that will bring tears to your eyes if you think about it too much, how close this country got to some sort of enlightenment before assassin’s bullets took it all away. Lincoln, MLK, RFK. Fuck.

  • 22. derp  |  February 17th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Derp derp! Good thing they didn’t kill Reagan or our country wouldn’t even be recognizable today, derp derp!

    But I guess me and our buddies should stop going to Obama rallies with our AKs since Biden would be just as lousy, derp derp!

  • 23. wengler  |  February 17th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    After this article it is almost a requirement that you write one on Sendero Luminoso. The Shining Path in Peru conducted practically all their warfare through political assassination. The number of local officials they killed pushed into the thousands.

  • 24. gary  |  February 17th, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    when w was president i kept wondering where was lee harvey oswald when we needed him?…just kidding ha ha

  • 25. Don Draper's Acid Trip  |  February 17th, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Yeah I can’t ever figure why anyone would just go and blow their brains out. I mean, at least go out and try and rob a bank first or something. Never know, you might get away with it.

  • 26. PsycloneJack  |  February 18th, 2011 at 3:03 am

    I seem to remember that the Assassins (the originals, the Ḥashāshīn in XII century Middle East) gave up murdering the Grand Masters of the Knights Templar because the next one was usually as good as the one just slayed. Or better.
    Now what would show better that it was an Order in good order with career opportunities for the talented.

  • 27. The Irish Patriot  |  February 18th, 2011 at 5:46 am

    I also have not appreciated the role of assassination in war/politics.

    ‘How close this country got to some sort of enlightenment before assassin’s bullets to it all away. Lincoln, MLK, RFK…’ Makes you wonder if there is a war on.

  • 28. peckerwood  |  February 18th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    As always, the War Nerd’s darkly beautiful essays leave you craving more. I guess we could say that the War Nerd’s essays are a testament to our country’s recognition of Free Speech. But, sadly, I don’t think this is the case. The people who run this country understand that addled sorts like the boy from Arizona present more of a danger to their fellow peons than they do anyone of importance. They also provide an opportunity to engage in political grandstanding, which is mother’s milk to most leaders.

    Regarding war as mother, I’d add W. Churchill to the list. If not for Hitler, Churchill would have gone down in history as violent, imperialistic old fart who lost out to a scrawny little guy in a loin cloth.

  • 29. huge sesh  |  February 18th, 2011 at 8:32 am

    jubal early did actually get pretty close to dc, and his cavalry attempted to kill lincoln at fort stevens where he was spectating the battle. apparently he was easy to pick out because of his height and hat.

  • 30. derp  |  February 18th, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Derp derp derp!

    Now, I know ya’ll are too liberal to ever talk about Muzzies raping a white girl like Lara Logan so I’m gonna post this here!

  • 31. Pilot MKN  |  February 18th, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Both sides in the Civil War had a regard for civilians???? Have you ever been to the South and found out how many towns (including my own) were burnt to the ground by the Union army.

    General US Grant personally had my hometown burnt down (except for the University, but that was only because it was being used as a field hospital). Let’s not forget Sherman’s scorched earth ‘march to the sea’ that left nothing of value in its wake.

  • 32. Jesse the Thief  |  February 18th, 2011 at 9:50 am

    ^It seems to me there’s always been a war going on in the US, but the left generally won’t escalate. Every time the left gets punched in the face it ends up turning the other cheek because on some intuitive level we know if we play along with their mentality we’ll be Somalia in a decade. There’s a solid chunk of people out there that want that too, even if they don’t fully comprehend it. Our Shiites don’t bomb back.

  • 33. Michal  |  February 18th, 2011 at 11:16 am

    God I love War Nerd’s return.

  • 34. peter  |  February 18th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I agree with the overall point that killing the right guy can really change things. But I believe you got some of the history wrong here. Everything I read on the subject was that the timing of Lincoln’s death was the worst thing that could have happened to the south. It was Johnson who instituted reconstruction that empowered so many former slaves. Lincoln was all about the let’s kiss and make up and move on. It wasn’t until years later political compromises overturned reconstruction.

  • 35. Nate Dogg  |  February 18th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Terrific as always.

    Here’s a piece I recently wrote on the third of six assassination attempts on Mubarack….

  • 36. The Dark Avenger  |  February 18th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Every time I hear about some foreclosed loser who ate his pistol in the living room as a “protest” for what they were doing to him, I think, “You’re so damn stupid. So you got your blood all over your carpet. They’ll hire somebody to clean that—one hour minimum wage, that’s what you cost them.”

    In California, the seller has to disclose to the buyer whether anyone died on the property before the sale.

    When my brother-in-law committed suicide by using the Kern Sheriff’s Deputies for that purpose, he had the good grace to be shot outside the house, so his death didn’t have to be disclosed under the CA law.

    From the Wiki:

    “As tensions in the Middle East grew during the Crusades, the Assassins were also known for taking contracts from outside sources on either side of the war, whether it was from the invading Crusaders or the Saracen forces, so long as the assassination fit in to the Grandmaster’s plan.”

  • 37. Ivan  |  February 18th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Is this a fucking marketing ploy to keep your American readership? Us Euros don’t give a shyte about your Civil War. Brecher is incredibly boring when he gets on one of his Civil War trips. And this time he fucked up what could have been a brilliant article. I mean this is the first time I stopped half-way through a War Nerd piece.

  • 38. Allen  |  February 18th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Fucking excellent.

    For the critics

    Sometimes killing the big guy makes all the difference, sometimes no difference, sometimes worse.

    The point is to choose one’s target wisely…

  • 39. Charles  |  February 18th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    So, an Afghan ‘ally’ has just blasted 3 of his Deutsche ‘comrades’. An echo from what happened to 5 British soldiers in Nov 2009 and 6 American soldiers last November when the optimistically titled ‘Afgan Army’ turned on their paymasters.

    Obviosuly this is not assasination but kinda related, the lack of chivalry etc. And somewhat related to the previous one about IEDs. This merits another war nerd article dont ya think? One infiltrator, one AK47, up to 6 dead NATO soldiers= Value for money Did even the south Vietnamese show such open brazeness when serving their masters?

    Anyway, methinks Germany will be sending their men home pretty soon. How many more Brits and Americans have to die before our political masters have any common sense remains to be seen.

    As Brecher always says, the most ruthless always win.

  • 40. badnewswade  |  February 18th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Maybe it was the KGB after all… I mean, the Kennedys and MLK were basically the top political minds of their generation, especially MLK, the American Ghandi.

    One things’ for sure – nobody assasinated LBJ or Nixon! In fact the really crappy leaders never get offed – only the best. Maybe that’s why things are so bad now – survival of the shittest…

  • 41. Tyler Bass  |  February 18th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    What you’re saying about the Lincoln plot is wrong because Booth’s conspirators planned to kill Johnson, too, but the dude chickened out.

  • 42. Chas  |  February 18th, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    assassination has been a respectable part of war since the biblical Judith and Bathsheba. More recently wartime assassinations were successfully carried out against high-ranking Nazis by various partisan groups. Plans to assassinate Churchill and Hitler are also widely alleged.

  • 43. Strife  |  February 18th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Lincoln wanted to keep slavery, too.

    “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

  • 44. CensusLouie  |  February 18th, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I still say the easiest, cheapest, most effective way to curb things like this is to “assassinate” the nutjob’s image. Instead of turning them into instant “A LOOK INSIDE THE MIND OF….” celebrities, have the media begin humiliating them 24/7.

    Read all their embarrassing blog posts on national TV. Point out how dorky they are in facebook pictures. Bring on girls they had a crush on in highschool and have them tell stories of how pathetic the guy was.

    These things are just going to get more common as long as the nutjobs believe they’ll be given the “Natural Born Killers” treatment.

  • 45. pat b  |  February 18th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    2 assassinations with big effects

    1) rafik harreri.

    2) basher Gemal…

  • 46. empire in decline  |  February 19th, 2011 at 4:00 am

    I mentioned Malachi Ritscher in a previous post about how nobody even really noticed his suicide, but he did write the following about potentially assassinating Rumsfeld in his suicide note:

    “I have had one previous opportunity to serve my country in a meaningful way – at 8:05 one morning in 2002 I passed Donald Rumsfeld on Delaware Avenue and I was acutely aware that slashing his throat would spare the lives of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people. I had a knife clenched in my hand, and there were no bodyguards visible; to my deep shame I hesitated, and the moment was past.”

    I seriously doubt it would have saved all those lives but it would have been a better way of holding officials accountable and showed there’s actually a consequence for causing all that death and misery. People would have, you know, actually noticed.

    Although Rumsfeld was incredibly incompetent and that did indeed hurt this country’s warfighting ability… maybe letting him live was the right thing after all.

  • 47. mathias  |  February 19th, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Gary, you don’t get it, in one point.
    Regarding the suicide of people who killed themselves, because of foreclosures.
    They did not do anything wrong in principle.
    What they could have done is drive to DC or their Banks Headquarter and set themselves on fire in front of a TV-Camera.
    After of course burning down their house, so the bank won’t get it.

  • 48. matt  |  February 19th, 2011 at 9:32 am


    He did, you just have to buy the book to get it. you can find the one on tupac amaru though for free on the site.

    ….correction both available on the site

    sorry to cost you a book sale gary 🙁

  • 49. pat b  |  February 19th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    if an assassin had shot Bush, we would have hd President Cheney.

  • 50. Mike C.  |  February 19th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I agree with Brecher on the relevance of this today. There are two kinds of freedom in this country: wealth, and not giving a fuck anymore.

    The people with the guns and rage just need to think things through better.

    The Kochs are asking for it.

  • 51. Inevitability  |  February 19th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Hey gary. Maybe you should think about how “president Cheney” rolls off the tongue

  • 52. Carlito  |  February 20th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Of course the most famous assassination was the one by Gavrilo Princip. His certainly solved plenty. In 1914 he shot the future Habsburg Emperor. Five years and a million dead Serbs later the Habsburg Empire – that had existed for five centuries or some other such ridiculous number of years – was just a fleeting memory.

  • 53. DEmoss  |  February 20th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    What do you think of the calculus of Hamid Karzai. Why is that guy still alive? If he is as amazingly corrupt as has been reported, he is being left alone to do what? Not to mention the calculus of any Pakistani leader.

  • 54. Roland  |  February 20th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Self-sacrifice can be potent as well.

    Mohammed Bouazizi’s political suicide in Tunisia led directly to the downfall of Ben Ali, and indirectly to Mubarak’s.

    The suicides of the Buddhist monks in Saigon badly destabilized the Diem regime.

    Just sayin’ that there are lots of ways to play the game.

  • 55. Derp  |  February 20th, 2011 at 9:50 pm


    Derp derp derp! This is America, bitch!

    You don’t like it? Then lick my American balls and suck my American dick! Go back to Russia, derp derp!

  • 56. Reggie  |  February 20th, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    > Is this a fucking marketing ploy to keep your American readership? Us Euros don’t give a shyte about your Civil War. Brecher is incredibly boring when he gets on one of his Civil War trips.

    Try Ken Burns’ exhaustive ‘The Civil War’, Euro-lad. You’ll see how it’s done here in the New World.

  • 57. denk  |  February 20th, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    killers at large, from belfast to iraq n beyond……no u wont hear it from wikilame [sic]

  • 58. Tom  |  February 20th, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    You know you just gave voice to something I have been wondering for a long time, since this whole housing foreclosure crisis thing happened.

    Of all of the hundreds of millions of people in this country with all of the hundreds of millions of guns, why has nobody tried to fight back when the cops come out to take their home? I mean, if you have nothing to lose and they are taking the one basic thing away from you that you invested so much to acquire, only to have it taken away by a bunch of greedy, profit motivated, soulless banks, why not fight for it?

    Your home seems so much more worth fighting for than a flag or a country. Imagine if everyone who was losing their home tried to shoot it out with the robbers taking their house. I doubt foreclosures and seizures would continue for very long.

    It seems that people just don’t feel entitled to claim their place. Sad sad sad. America, land of the weak, home of the slave.

  • 59. Pat Kittle  |  February 20th, 2011 at 11:59 pm


    You say:

    “…I can’t believe there’s not one Mexican in Phoenix with enough cojones to blast that bigmouth sheriff, Arpaio….”

    It’s no secret Mexicans deliberately practice unrelenting demographic warfare (“takeover”) against the despised gringos, all the while demanding the despised gringos subsidize their own takeover.

    Arpaio knows he could easily be assassinated, yet he stands up to the violent alien invaders anyway. You seem to have a problem with that. Why?

  • 60. RPG Cunthair  |  February 21st, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Since this article offended me, I have only one word to say a out it: “Boring.” By calling it “boring” I’m hoping that someone will believe me and help reinforce my self-lie that this article didn’t offend me. Anyone with me?

  • 61. Yousif  |  February 21st, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Hinkley Had A Vision

  • 62. Kaare  |  February 21st, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Great as ever, Gary. The hope for a new warnerd article is the only thing that keeps me coming back these days!

  • 63. wwi  |  February 21st, 2011 at 10:32 am

    WWI wasn’t too kind to Serbia.

    Wikipedia says that a majority of its male population died during World War I. And 1,000,000+ dead out of a population of only 4.5 million.

    But since I’m not Serbian, I can’t say if killing the Archduke was worth it.

  • 64. CensusLouie  |  February 21st, 2011 at 12:54 pm


    How is the American Civil War not a notable point in warfare history? It was one of the very first instances of industrialized, total warfare that the world had never seen before. It was the official end of hundreds of years of a certain style of warfare from Renaissance up to Napoleon times. The reason WWI was such a clusterfuck mess was because Europeans hadn’t learned the lessons we had (but made the same mistakes with much deadlier weapons).

  • 65. Jyp  |  February 21st, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Only in America do we have the fantasy of the Lone Nut. Other folks, having a longer history of human perfidity (ie. the awareness thereof) know better.

  • 66. Jyp  |  February 21st, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Oh yeah.. since this bit has been really just one long sick joke.. How ’bout that picture at the top.. God, forgive me, but I just can’t help thinking, the caption.. “Mammy!”

  • 67. JoJoJO  |  February 22nd, 2011 at 12:31 am

    The thing I don’t get about that picture is what the hell happened to that guy’s pants? Did his pants get blown off in the explosion? If so is that weird Euro man panties underpants made out of the same stuff the Hulk’s jeans are made out of?

  • 68. Jon Jacobs  |  February 22nd, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    well, this was interesting… I believe that LBJ killed JFK. There I said it. Occam’s razor anyone?

  • 69. Carpenter  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    “just another plastic blonde, nothing special” — Need to show your creds to the rest of the Exile writers? She was a Jew, actually. Would you write that the same way? “just another Jew, nothing special” – You claim to be irreverent and with no fear, don’t you Gary? But it is easier to mock blonde people than Jews, isn’t it? Very radical of you.

    “Johnson allowed the Southern states to reenter the Union without penalty” – Yeah, the military dictatorship that was imposed on the South, the burning and looting by Northern armies, the Northern carpetbaggers, Blacks put in control of local legislatures, I’m sure that was nothing, right?

    “Change history” – right about that, because your hero Lincoln the Dictator (smashing printing presses, jailing dissenting Senators, ruling by decree, etc) wanted to send freed slaves back to Africa. Alternately, to the Caribbean. He was a strong supporter of colonization. When he was about to become president, his reward for being a lawyer for the industrialists who got fat off money taken from the South and handed out to Northern industries, he was on his way to supporting an amendment that would have enshrined slavery. Lincoln bought ships that were supposed to ship slaves back to Africa – but he died before he could start that plan. He also wanted to send them to work on the Panama Canal, anything to get them out of the country. His opposition to slavery was that he didn’t want Blacks in White lands.

    “Homegrown assassins” – The DC Sniper was taught by the Nation of Islam, that Black chest-beating sect. Homegrown, that’s a stretch. His name after he changed it was John Allen Muhammad, and he imagined himself in a holy war against Whites. (Why don’t you mention that, but you mention John Wilkes Booth?)

    John Allen Muhammad helped organize security for the Million Man March in 1995. His partner, Lee Boyd Malvo, was an illegal immigrant from Antigua. Not so homegrown.

  • 70. Hannibal  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I thought JFK was killed by French-Corsican assassins from Marseille?!?!?

    Also, Carpenter is a tool. He doesn’t understand that Brecher is a ‘persona’ (look it up on wikipedia), a writing voice/identity. It’s not a real person. It’s a fictional perspective, in other words. No need to get your panties all moistened about it.

  • 71. RPG Cunthair  |  February 24th, 2011 at 12:35 am

    This doesn’t travel well. I tried reading over the shitter and it is still boring.

  • 72. Oceancrawler  |  February 24th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Libya! Libya! Come on War Nerd, a new article about the Colonel.

  • 73. vhg  |  February 25th, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I’m going to pretend that I only got a few a few paragraphs into this one, because in my little troll mind, I have a feeling that saying this will really, really hurt the War Nerd. Oo, yeah, take that War Nerd. You’re like, not edgy at all. Not like me, an anonymous libertard troller. I’m the bomb. I’m fightin’ the system man. And to prove it, I’m going to get all 90s-edgy on you and like start making racist comments. Which no one has the balls to do in anonymous comments sections. Seriously, have you ever read a troll as totally fucking crazy as me? I tell it like it is, man! Fuck you and fuck everyone, bitches and cunts!

    Okay, now here goes, here’s what I wrote, you pussy liberal fags who love black people but never meet any:

    I adamantly refuse to believe that teh war nerd wrote this piece of shit. This sounds like it was written by a fuckin Asian lady. I mean the war nerd was never all too honest about the inherent animal-like dumbness of blackies but seriously, this piece of crap absolutely sucked balls. It’s obviously a piece written way back – otherwise we would have gotten the info on Libya we all crave – but I worry that it’s also either a commissioned piece that was written by some virgin-vagina toting Asian living in some big city or a piece our actual war nerd wrote while sober and drugless.

    It’s pure shit.

  • 74. mamamama  |  February 27th, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Apparently when the man smacks the peons down hard enough it removes not only their will to live but their will to fight.

  • 75. Carney  |  February 28th, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Super Bowl @ 5, excellent piece.

  • 76. Orbitron  |  March 1st, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Libya seems tailor-made for a War Nerd column. Isn’t this what we’ve been waiting for? An actual revolution fought not far from civilized shores. Not like some Burmese military massacring a remote jungle village where the inhabitants are armed with nothing but hatchets. Here you have rebels with machine guns, heavy machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, fighting a dictator with the same equipment. Even better, a dictator using African mercenaries against his own people! It’s a treasure drove in the technical, tactical, and psychological dimensions.

    Yet we get a worshipping piece about Lincoln instead. Seriously? It would seem more interesting to make a piece about the Southern paramilitary units fighting a guerilla war. And “no punishment” for the South? They were massacred. Farms and cities were burned and looted. It was a monumental, general punishment of those who had dared exercise their right to secede. (Slavery, you say? How many percent of Southerners do you think were slave owners and fought for that? How many Northerners wanted blacks to vote? Slavery would have ended anyway, like in Australia and the rest of the West.)

    It’s like some European states would decide to leave the EU, and then would suddenly be invaded. And halfway through the war there would be a declaration about how it was done to protect immigrants, and after the war that would be the only explanation allowed, and the right of the EU to invade seceding states would suddenly be sacrosanct.

    Come on, War Nerd, you can do better.

  • 77. Jason B.  |  March 6th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    The most interesting (revolutionary) piece I have ever read on assassination is called “Assassination Politics” by Jim Bell. I don’t recommend checking it out, though. Not only is it over a decade old (for sure) but it is written by a dumbshit libertard…who laid out the technological framework for an anonymous assassination market. Yep, let the market do the assasinatin’

    Seriously, dont check it out, very interesting read and likely to happen soon.

  • 78. Orbitron  |  March 7th, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I was googling a bit about Libya, found this:

    Apparently King Idris was one of those puppet rulers left behind by the colonial Powers. But I have also read that Qaddafi received help from the CIA, because they wanted to stifle Islamism – can anyone confirm? It is clear that the rulers in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco etc were supported by Washington to hold down Islamists (i.e., today, any group opposing Israel’s genocide of Palestinians). Being tired of all that, I wish the rebels good luck.

  • 79. super390  |  March 7th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Gee, seems the white supremacists in the audience are awfully disappointed to find out that Brecher isn’t one of them.

    Such a sad bunch too, incapable of remembering after 10 minutes that “no punishment for the South” refers specifically to Johnson, a man so racist that in a pre-war campaign speech he declared that he prayed every night to God that his hillbilly constituents could have a slave of his own. Congress was another matter – it was where the demand for both revenge and real racial transformation of the South came from. Meanwhile Johnson was plotting with the South’s leaders to find new ways to bind freed blacks to their local plutocrats – which planted the seeds both for sharecropping and the monstrous system of prison slave labor that the South came to depend on. The fight between Johnson and Congress went on for years, including his impeachment. Meanwhile, blacks in the South (not whites) actually were getting massacred for the crime of creating self-sufficient communities. They were killed by the very whites who claimed most loudly that blacks were incapable of such an achievement. Some things never change in America.

    Once a prominent Mississippi gentleman reacted to the debate over arming slaves by sincerely declaring, “If the Negroes make good soldiers, then our entire system is wrong!” That, folks, is a man who bought into the ideology. The greater cynicism of his peers is demonstrated by the South’s success in erasing the story of black GIs in that war from the history books for a century, precisely because they knew white supremacy was a lie, a very profitable lie.

  • 80. Pat Kittle  |  March 8th, 2011 at 4:48 am

    @ “super390”:

    Your historical account seems credible and atrocious.

    However, in today’s world there are equally credible accounts of black-on-white crime being the norm. In today’s world “whoever” controls the media makes damn sure whites (especially white males) are routinely portrayed in an endless variety of creepy stereotypes.

    Really now, when do you suppose was the last time it was blacks who had to get off the sidewalk for whites? Tell us, when is the last time white gangs terrorized the commons?

    I have never used the anti-black racist slur “nigger” for its intended purpose, but it is now so curiously radioactive that whites commonly refer to it only as the “n-word.” Meanwhile, anti-white racist slurs are tossed around as casually as “nigger” was in a bygone century. Examples are everywhere. You your-anti-racist-self just referred to “hillbillies” — you probably don’t even consider that racist. How times change.

    Merely having an honest discussion of such matters is now slandered as “hate speech” — thanks to PC busybodies with a shamelessly hypocritical embrace of the 1st Amendment. Know anyone like that, “super390”??

  • 81. JoJoJo  |  March 8th, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    The “white gang that terrorizes the commons” is called the Police. And those Niggas be crazy!

  • 82. WillieB  |  March 9th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Have to disagree with you on Johnson being the better reconstructionist President. Lincoln was determined to have a lenient (much like Johnson’s)reconstruction policy and would have had the support to pull it off. Johnson wound up alienating the radical reconstructionists who were able to gain overall popular support and set up decades of military rule over the south.

    Granted, it didn’t take long, overall, for Jim Crow to become law in the south when viewed over the long term, but had Lincoln remained President, radical reconstruction would never had been imposed on the South.

  • 83. Pat Kittle  |  March 9th, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    @ JoJoJo:

  • 84. bullet the doug  |  March 10th, 2011 at 4:13 am

    I think it’s fine that Brecher has avoided Libya- Considering the way it’s going, anything he would have written would have been disproven by events. Also Brecher fans, Libya invalidates his big idea- that using the maximum available level of force always wins- I would argue that right level of violence for the situation wins, ask any hoodlum or bully.
    Neo- Confederates! You are half right the North was dirty, but welcome to the wonderful world of conflict, both sides are usually very shabby. The real tragedy starts when you realize that that fact does not relieve you of the burden of choosing a side.
    A Brecher piece on the Sepoy Mutiny may underline that fact. Where’s that column? Is that conflict just too sad or savage? Invalidating too many ism’s perhaps?

  • 85. Southern son  |  March 16th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Wrong: Sirhan B. Sirhan did NOT kill Robert Kennedy. He shot 5 other people, but he was a CIA MK/ULTRA robot. Thane Eugene Cesar killed RFK (and Dan Moldea is full of shit).

    Wrong: John Wilkes Booth wasn’t a “trashy ham who dodged combat”, he was a Southern patriot. And Lincoln sure as hell wasn’t “the best man in the country” (what country, the fascist USA?). He was a fascist dictator that illegally stopped habeus corpus, illegally shut down newspapers that didn’t support his illegal bullshit war (1st Amendment) jailed and deported opposition,etc etc he should have been impeached. Lincoln was a scumbag and JWB is a hero.

  • 86. CB  |  March 18th, 2011 at 6:54 am

    @ 46. empire in decline
    “Although Rumsfeld was incredibly incompetent and that did indeed hurt this country’s warfighting ability… maybe letting him live was the right thing after all.”

    If the goal was to reduce human suffering, then having anyone in place other than Rumsfeld would have been an improvement. The exact same wars, prosecuted with at least a scrap of intelligence, would have been far better. They still would have been unwinnable hell-holes, but maybe we could have gone in there, actually accomplished what we could accomplish, then left. Instead of plunging these places into such chaos that even those bound and determined to see everything in a positive light knew it’d be irresponsible to leave. So it’d have been better for everyone, even those currently fighting for power.

    On the other hand, it’s quite possible that Bush would have seen a Rumsfeld assassination as a challenge to his ideology-before-competence ideology, and appointed someone even more blind and incompetent, just to show ’em.

    @ 80. Pat Kittle

    There are no credible accounts of black-on-white crime being “the norm”. Just hysterical exaggerations by people who want to see the world that way. Actual statistics show that you are far more likely to be victimized by a white person, and the higher rate of crime among blacks is really a higher rate of crime among the poor in high population areas and has nothing to do with race. And racially-motivated crimes are still dominated by white-on-black. But hey, let’s not let facts get in the way of some good ol’ racial fear!

    And you sound like one of those tweens on Xbox live who defends their constant use of the word “fag” by saying that they don’t use it specifically to degrade homosexuals. Yeah, they just use it as a synonym for “awful person who you definitely don’t want to be”, a meaning which only exists because of its “intended purpose”.

    But hey, maybe it’s because you’re so non-racist that you use “nigger” only in the most wholesome and inoffensive of ways, while always avoiding such derogatory terms as “hillbilly”, that you don’t understand how this works: White people can say “hillbilly” for the same reason black people can say “nigger”. Chris Rock can go on a rant about black men vs niggers, and Jeff Foxworthy can have a whole comedy show titled “You might be a redneck…” And rednecks who don’t have sticks up their ass think its hilarious.

  • 87. CB  |  March 18th, 2011 at 7:02 am

    @ 84:
    “Also Brecher fans, Libya invalidates his big idea- that using the maximum available level of force always wins”

    You think that’s his big idea? Despite him constantly talking about how that doesn’t work in modern wars? Wow, that’s a really drastic level of mis-reading you have going on there. It’s truly impressive how immensely backwards your comprehension is.

  • 88. Joe Oi  |  March 18th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Look who just called for a truce in the face of a UN resolution! Brecher pretty much called this one… 7 years ago,

  • 89. Tyler Bass  |  March 21st, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Someone scoffed at D.C. sniper being homegrown. (S)he knows that Nation of Islam was founded in the Midwest, right? Just saying.

  • 90. Jack Boot  |  March 30th, 2011 at 8:27 am

    In his excellent article, Mr. Brecher discusses the oft-overlooked issue of timing.

    Imagine if Adolf had been offed in 1940, just after the fall of France. The ensuing power struggle would likely have been won by Heydrich, easily the brightest of the top Nazis – 1/4 Jewish, don’t you know.
    He might very well have conducted WWII more intelligently: ordering the Luftwaffe to keep hammering RAF airfields & radar stations, issuing winter uniforms, prioritizing the Reich’s advanced weapons programs, etc. Bad news all ’round…

    But, by 1943, ’twas all over but the shooting. Putting Adolf out of his misery then would have shortened the war and saved millions of lives.

    As every actor knows, timing is everything…

  • 91. Kevin Riley O'Keeffe  |  April 1st, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    When “Squeaky” Fromme fired on President Ford, she fired on a man who had no power to pardon her beloved “Charlie.” If she’d been inclined to target the individual who held the power of pardon with respect to Mr. Manson, it was the newly-elected Gov. Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr., she should have targeted. Her failure is thus further underlined.

    In short, what a maroon.

  • 92. TGGP  |  April 13th, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Why might Lincoln have sympathies with east Tennessee? He was born in Kentucky himself. Like Johnson, he cared more about the Union than slavery (he supported an amendment that would declare it would not be interfered with in the south). And killing Lincoln did not revert the south to ex-confederate hands. Many of them were shocked it happened because while Lincoln was pushing reconciliation (unity being his main thing, plus he probably had some Bismarck to him) his death empowered the Radical Republicans. The same group who impeached Johnson for firing a cabinet member. The southern states agreeing to the civil war amendments was a condition of their return to the fold, and the union still maintained a military presence (which fought the Klan). What really returned the south to ex-confederate hands was the “corrupt bargain” in exchange for keeping the Republicans in the White House.

  • 93. kevin  |  April 10th, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Sirhan was a patsy..

    otherwise excellent stuff.

Leave a Comment

(Open to all. Comments can and will be censored at whim and without warning.)


Required, hidden

Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed