Sucker Punch

Somewhere in Iraq a middle aged male connected the wires of his Soviet-era rocket to a car battery. Whether or not he understood the under lying scientific ideas behind his weapon was irrelevant, he was practiced in this task. With glee, no doubt, he depressed the trigger and sent the anti-personnel rocket arching into the midafternoon sky and stared at the smoky trail as his daily work arced towards the Invaders.

Meanwhile, I was taking a break from battle tracking a combat patrol and was striving to put a fresh coat of “done” on A Clash of Kings. From nowhere there was terrible crash, the scrape of metal on metal, followed a nanosecond later by the crump of an explosion as the rocket ricocheted off the sheet metal roof of my building and slammed into a nearby office before detonating. The blast wave peppering the walls with shrapnel and knocked the wall hangings and maps off the walls in a cascade of shattering glass.

Some people credited God for surviving unharmed and some people donned their armor or hid in bunkers fearing another round of rockets. I credited the lack of knowledge of our yet unnamed attacker; basic projectile motion doomed his rocket from the start, the shallow flight path may have given the insurgent the range he needed but, it deprived him of the angle necessary to punch through the roof and kill me. Survival in war comes down to statistics, know how risky your current position is and do your best to mitigate those risks for that is all you can really control. Our attacker didn’t count on the risk of watching his handiwork, enabling us to give him a nice new home in Iraqi prison.

Both sides called on God today, yet like always I failed to see he/she/it’s hand in my most recent brush with death.

So I merely looked up from my book towards Captain Moustache who simply stated, “Close.”

To which I replied, “but no cigar,” before going back to reading.

Back home such an event would be the defining moment of someone’s life, here it was Monday.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is Iraq today.

On a related note, I found a Wifi Hotspot that the local Iraqi Army has set up, so posting may resume. Plus I get to smoke Hookah while I’m doing it too.


  1. OB says

    I feel you. Each time they shot rockets at us and they didn’t detonate there was always somebody who said it was gods work. I’m curious as to why god let it get to that point. Why not let the rocket ignition not engage?

  2. Anonymice says

    Maybe you were protected by the magic of a bunch of heathens wishing you safe? Or maybe not.

    Glad you’re still in one piece, though! Do take care.

  3. unbound says

    Glad to hear you weren’t harmed.

    Of course, if the rocket had successfully killed people, it would still have been the {insert deity here}’s will…we mere mortals just wouldn’t understand that he/she works in mysterious ways. You’ve got to admire the religious rationalizations; their bases are always covered.

  4. geocatherder says

    I’ve gone in a few short days from not knowing you existed, to finding you on FTB, to appreciating your posts, to fearing for your life. May you and all your fellow servicepeople be safe. And come home!

  5. passerby says

    I’ve ducked my fair share of rockets, and I lost a friend to one. It’s surprising to see people’s reactions to hearing about their attack methods, which have ranged from disbelief (As in, I had someone told me it’s impossible to shoot a rocket that way) to shock.

    Glad that he’s cooling his heels in a jail cell, though. I remember we rounded up a whole bunch after one big attack on our base.

  6. Art says

    War is such a random affair. You can shift the odds, berms and blast walls help, as does having having training even as the opposition is often inept and untrained, but nothing guarantees success or failure.

    Lacking other means of gaining traction some turn to the supernatural. A deal cut with your favorite deity, a rabbit’s foot, a pair of lucky socks, a wish sweated out under fire. Anything to give a person an apparent edge. Anything to gain that critical fraction of a percentage point between a near-miss and a hit. The illusion of control is almost as comforting, but nowhere near as effective, as actual control.

    That said, I see no problems with people praying when there is nothing else to do, but time spent filling sandbags (I assume they still use them. They were big when I was playing the game.) seems more productive than time spent pouring over any sacred tome.

    Hang tough. Stay safe. Keep your head down.

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