RANGER AGAINST WAR: Peace Through Superior Firepower <

Friday, August 21, 2009

Peace Through Superior Firepower

--Cardow, Ottawa Citizen

We gotta get out of this place
If it's the last thing we ever do

--We Gotta Get Out of This Place
The Animals


The CNN reporter covering a recent story on Afghanistan and U.S. troops there said that all Taliban actions were met with overwhelming American firepower.

Sounds like a winner, but firepower is absolutely useless unless the enemy is fixed and then maneuvered against and assaulted and destroyed. The goal of all ground combat is to close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver. Nowhere does the infantry mission statement include that we intimidate or bedazzle the enemy with impressive displays of ordnance.

If the enemy is not killed, then our soldiers might as well be an exhibit at Disneyworld. We could call it, Fantasia.

There are two types of fire as all combat soldiers are aware -- effective fire and ineffective fire. Seems simple, but we fail to acknowledge this point in application and explication. When U.S. troops return fire onto overlooking hills, this is as useless as tits on a bullfrog.
It is simply wasting ammunition for no benefit. It makes the soldiers feel they are doing something when all they are accomplishing is noise pollution.

The reporter asked a Captain, 'Why are you here?' Came the reply, "Because they told me to come." The reality of an infantry Captain stuck out in the middle of nowhere is not exactly the stuff of stateside hooah fantasies. He also admitted he has little contact with the civilian population.

The soldiers were playing The Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place". In Vietnam, this song was banned on the Armed Forces Vietnam network.

These soldiers may realize their war is futile, as we did.

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Blogger samcooke said...

Late in '68 my artillery battery received a visit from
Gen.William Peers, our Corps Commander. We cleaned up best as we could and got in a raggedy formation. We were a bit rusty at standing in rank, and to be honest, weren't' all that excited about it from the get-go. It sort of felt like when you were a kid and you had to put on your "church clothes" because some old relative was visiting from outta town.

When the General and his poot-boys got to my crew, he stopped and asked me "how are things going, Sergeant?"

"Better than Tet" flew out of my mouth. He looked down at me and grinned and said "No doubt." and asked if there was anything we needed.

Damn, the list of possibilities spun my head. I really wanted to put that one on him that I'd heard from a grunt when the Senator asked "How's it going soldier" the grunt answers "Depends on how you feel about decay, Senator." All I could blurt out was "Well General, they could get the mail to us a little more regularly."
"We can get on that " he replied and turned to check out the rest of us.
I couldn't resist the potential in the moment and said: "General Peers, Can I ask you a question?

The glare I got from our Battery Commander could have cut steel , but the General turned back to me and said "Sure Sergeant. What's your last name?"
I answered him. He cut straight to the chase.
"Ask your question Sergeant Perryman."

I'd been in Vietnam for 9 months already, every day of it in the boonies, and had yet to figure it out. All the reasons I'd been given here-to-fore had been relegated to bullshit. Oh, I had a variety of excuses to pull from , but I needed to hear from an expert.
"General,"I said, "what ARE we doing here?"

The General looked at me and pointed to the ground. " Do you mean here?" he asked, jabbing his finger at my boots a couple of times, or, looking up at me, straight in the eyes, like man to man, "or here in Vietnam?"

The General was sharp, guess that's how he got to be one.
"Here In Vietnam" , I answered.
Looking over my head, which was easy because he was taller than me, Peers, stared over toward the South China Sea there in the short distance. I thought he was going to come back with something like "Well , it sure is pretty here" He was quiet for a long moment then, looked back at me and leaning over like he was sharing a big secret, said:
"Cowboys and Indians is about what I figure."

A couple of quick strides and he was outta there.

My Commanding officer magically appeared in his place. "Perryman, what the hell you think you're doing asking questions to a General?"
Before I could come up with a rejoinder, a Bird Colonel, from the Generals entourage, joins him.

The Colonel asked, "What did he say to you Sergeant?"
He said "Cowboys and Indians, Colonel."

"Damn" the Colonel blurted out, "That's what I thought he said."

I guess the General's answer enlightened him as well.

My grandaddy watched me one time when I was kid trying my best to pound a piece of wood into submission.
" Is that working for you?"
Nossir, it's not , but I'm gonna make it fit"
He smiled and said "Son, when you're on the wrong train, every station you come to is the wrong station."

Superior firepower applied to the wrong target. We used to call it "Shooting out"

Wrong target, wrong place, wrong wrong war.

Wrong station.

Cowboys and Indians.

A waste.

Deryle Perryman

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 9:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Mad Celt said...

In times of war
Give rise in yourself to the mind of compassion,
Helping living beings
Abandon the will to fight.

-Kamcupamasutta (from the Buddha's sermon)

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 5:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

Sgt. Perryman, that's an exellent story and well highlights the shit we're in. If you haven't you really should right a book of memories like that! I've an idea that's not the only interesting incident you remember from those years.

"they told me".... I think that may have had a lot to do with why I only spent 3 years in the service. Like I tell Jerry at the farm from time to time - "Don't TELL me what you want me to do! ASK me!" He does and also says "Thank you." a lot.

OT: Lisa I tried sending you a reply Fri. am but I don't think it went through. My computer got a virus Thurs. and Fri am I had to take it to the geek squad with a high fever. And this OLD slow machine I'm using has trouble with letting me type and send e-mail. Fine on the blogs though. I should have my machine back in a few days though and will write then. And I've been in FL in the Winter before, a bit further South. That's not cold, 30 below is cold. :-0

OT: Jim one of the things I put in the short reply to Lisa that didn't go through was to ask you if you've seen or heard of Dixie Gun Works cases for rimfires. I've used some in a 32 Stevens Favorite years ago. I'll write to you more about that when I get my other computer back.

PS: I don't think I'd been to the Rangeragainstwar.com page before today. Only been here at the blog. Soon as I get my other computer back I think I want some of those bumberstickers!

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 1:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Your response is better than my article.

Did the General indicate whether we were the cowboys or Indians?

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 4:49:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I love your grandad's comment: "When you're on the wrong train, every station you come to is the wrong station." Life is about discernment. [Time for me to do a personal inventory now :)]

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 4:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

they can intimidate, bluster, parade, farkle about smartly, all of that.

they can do anything they want to do, except what they should be doing is asking themselves:

how, in the wide, wide world of fucking sports can you intimidate folks who are packing their ordinance on burros, across high mountain passes in winter, wearing shower shoes?

the short answer is, of course, that you can't. those tribal factions, their warlords, their people are all born again hardasses. they live by the fued. revenge is a sacred duty to them.

we've already killed enough fuel for that fire.

even genocide doesn't work against people like that. some mushy soldier will allow a couple of nine year olds to escape, and by the time they reach 14 they'll come after us.

sam, i remember talking with a young officer about the situation in vietnam.

he said that there were times in the boonies where it reminded him of our revolutionary war.

i said "yeah, except this time we're the fucking hessians eltea."

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 5:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

off topic.
I read both Gen Kill and One Bullet Away as per your advice. I liked both books and was pppleasantly surprised at Fick's general demeanor.
The part in OBA about loading the Marines down with extra ammo etc. b/c the vehicles MIGHT breal their axles if overloaded was classic military thought. Break the grunts backs but save the vehicles.
It took me a long time to read these but I appreciate your recommending them since I probably would not have read them otherwise.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 8:05:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yeah, i was very pleased to get to meet young mr. fick at the netroot's convention. he was there signing.

we ended up grabbing a beer (actually he grabbed a beer, i grabbed an ice tea) and talking. i told him how the synch of the two books in the train of events and who did and said what, coming from the two different sources, really spoke to their veracity.

we talked about the reverse darwin effect of war. how it is often the best among us who are the first to fall. those of us with our many flawas seem to be the ones who come out of it.

then i kinda flabbergasted him by saying "one of the things most folks don't grasp about my three vietnam deployments is that the last two were because i fucking loved it. most guys were one and done, i kept going back because there wasn't any other place in the world that i felt alive."

he took a long and thoughtfull sip of his beer and said "so, you're saying that your flaw was that you enjoyed it?"

i said "give the man a cigar."

he signed my book and left.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 12:54:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Rez Dog said...

By the time I got to Vietnam, "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" was practically the national anthem and our strategy seemed to be walk around the jungle until we get hit and then blow everything up with artillery or airstrikes.

None of which works all that well against guys who hide their food under rocks in the jungle.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 2:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Thank you for your quote. I cannot see any other way to eradicate the will to fight than by transforming it into a kinder and more helpful impulse. Perhaps not many are able to extinguish that fire altogether, but through an act of will one can perhaps transmute it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 9:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"how, in the wide, wide world of fucking sports can you intimidate folks who are packing their ordinance on burros, across high mountain passes in winter, wearing shower shoes?"

Somebody - I think it was Tony Herbert - talked in his book about going down to the flightline and finding a pilot pulling arrows out of the tail of his A/C. The guy hold one out to Herbert and says "How the hell do these gooks think they can win, fighting helicopters with bows and arrows"?

Herbert looks at the guy and replies: "But how in hell do you beat somebody who's willing to fight helicopters with bows and arrows..?"

Sounds like a war story to me, but it gets the idea across. History is full of the same: foreigner comes, foreigner fights, foreigner leaves. The local has skin in the game, the foreigner doesn't. All the arty in the world won't change that.

Makes a HUGE difference.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 11:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Yes, I believe this story is hyperbole but it does make a point. I met Herbert when he was running out the clock and he was at 3rd Army HQ, his terminal assignment. I always thought he was alright. Anybody that hated Col Ross Franklin was a clear thinker in my book.
I keep seeing the same photo coverage of the initial report that prompted this essay. The hillside is completely covered with direct fire suppression but as the Zombies said-SHE'S NOT THERE!
I saw 3 Senators on TV talking up the war and they relate the entire enterprise to fighting Terror.One was Lieberman. With this attitude in the Senators little brains then how will we ever end these senseless wars?
I took Lisa to the IN Museum yesterday and they have a big room and sign that says-SOLE SUPER POWER. I left not feeling elevated.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 11:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous JuniorAG said...

Col Ross Franklin... He attended the Ft. Benning Episcopalian services when I was an alter boy there. Can't say I "appreciate" him the way you do!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 1:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Junior AG,
We have 2 former altar boys here. Yep, i was one also.
Ross Franklin was one of the biggest assholes that i EVER had the misfortune to meet.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 1:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Col Franklin was easy to hate, unless you were on that hill that night in Korea...where he led the defense of the place and bayonet counter-attacks against human wave assaults...wounded and out of ammo.

Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 6:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anon,June 5,
I did not say that Franklin was not brave, i said he was an ass hole.
The 2 are different concepts. I believe that he won the DSC as a young LT and i knew him as a Col/06 type.
My dealings with him were always o3 to 06 and he was not very open to dialogue.
But you know that already.
You guys that fought in Korea and in the winter of 44 in Europe get my salute, not only did you fight an enemy that was resourceful you all had to fight a brutal environment.
I often wonder if i'd have been able to do as you did.
My salute.

Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 12:08:00 PM GMT-5  

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