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Book Review March 4, 2004
 
Comrade Terminator
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
Page 4 of 4
 
Writing before the Iraqi resistance really got into gear, Goff has the eye and the experience, to have seen the skill and potential of its early attacks: "The attacks [in June 2003] were triangulated, engaging US forces from two or more points, and coordinating the use of Soviet-era rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and assault rifles. Striking in this way, with both bullets and explosives, from more than one direction, removes the element of cover from targeted forces. When they get behind one side of the vehicle to take cover from fire, they are exposed to fire from another direction. When they use the vehicle's light armor to block rifle ammunition, the RPGs can be used against that same armor for concussion, secondary missile hazard, and flame."

All in all, Goff,s account, written more than eight months ago, sounds more accurate and explains better what happened in Fallujah than anything I've seen in the mainstream press. For the most part, he follows the precept he often quotes: "Mask no difficulties, tell no lies, claim no easy victories." Strange to think that the only journalist around who seems to follow this precept is this goddamn crazed commie ex-hitman. Strange, and very, very depressing.

The only time I saw Goff flinch from the grim truth was in his chapter on Korea. He simply can't admit that North Korea actually IS a paranoid, brutal, failed state. So he tiptoes around in his description of the DPRK, as he insists on calling it, blaming the US for any weirdness Kim Jong Il might offer. This is a shame. There's room for the US to be a cowardly bully, which it is, without pretending that Kim is a hero.

You wouldn't expect Goff to be a lyrical writer, but he is when describing his nostalgia on touring a US Army base where his stepson is deployed. And as usual, he's strikingly original and smart in his conclusion. He points out that an Army base operates under a system not too far from Socialism: "...all the orderliness that contains not an ounce of anything commercial, that fits together coherently, coordinated to some singular purpose." Quoting university-Leftist smears against all soldiers, he actually defends the Army: "How many on the left will acknowledge that the institution with the most effective affirmative action program in the country...is the United States Army?...Every resident of a US military base has come to expect high quality schools, a plenitude of commons...including parks, recreation centers, gymnasiums, stadiums, swimming pools, cinemas, craft shops, hiking trails, community centers, and nature preserves [and] a three-tiered universal health care system...The disparity between the highest and lowest pay in the military is less than 13 to one, compared with an average of 458 to one in the civil sector."

I'm not sure it's such a good thing that the Army is so similar to ideal socialism, but at least it's not an argument you hear from the dull academic left. And it's typical of Goff's rough, cranky originality.

I'm also not sure I buy Goff's hints that the US's days at the top are numbered. It will fall; they always fall. But nobody's very good at saying exactly when, or how, or why. There we enter the domain of wishful thinking, and few varieties involve so much wishing and so little thinking as Marxists sniffing for signs that it's all about to happen, like failed Boy Scouts trying to start a fire with a couple of sticks.

Still, I very much like the cheerful, practical advice Goff offers readers who want to know what they can do to be ready for the big day: "Hypothetically, there would be a need for paramedics, printers, machinists, mechanics, gunsmiths and the like. And hypothetical hobbies that might help are...bird watching, orienteering, and shooting...Bird watching develops reconnaissance skills...orienteering advances spatial and navigation skills...Shooting speaks for itself..

Yes it does.

Hypothetically, of course.

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dolan@exile.ru
 
 
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