Last night, after the great barbeque incident, I stop at an IA checkpoint to look in on one of my IA platoons. They are going absolutely batshit. Now, that’s not normal, but not unheard of. Curiosity piqued, I get out to talk to SGT Syphilis (so named because he has this growth on his lip that will not go away, despite the amount of “chap stick”—medicated lip balms we get from doc to cure it.
He tells me that a funeral nearby (for a baddie we killed recently) was full of more shitheads and they were shooting AKs and various machine guns (they do it for celebratory reasons.) (I swear these folks act like rednecks on a week long bender sometimes.) Firing guns in the air near towns is just not cricket; those bullets come down somewhere, and usually find kids. Besides, it’s illegal, and well, we were bored and now had something to do. (I’ll stop rationalizing at this point and just get on with the story.)
I had a platoon out in sector preparing to conduct a raid, and me and Top were doing the cow burning as my final gift to him before he went home on R&R leave. You know, one last mission… what could happen?
So I call in the platoon, who is only about 10 minutes away, and tell them to get a platoon of IA soldiers to come help out. I call back to the FOB, and tell my other platoon to get the hell out here, things are getting interesting. Top and I go to get a closer look.
I’ve been to a few funerals here. They are generally quiet, reserved affairs. I was expecting some mourners and maybe a few bodyguard-types with AKs (who would soon be losing their AKs and getting detained).
Didja ever see when the Ayatollah was buried? Jeebus, there had to be 200 people in the crowd coming towards us chanting “Fuck IA! Fuck USA!” This crowd was not happy. And they were close.
Realizing this could get really ugly, really quick, I quickly weighed the ifs. Best case, they go about their business, get tired, and go home. Worst case gunfire from the crowd, I lose a soldier, and we execute every last one of them. Somewhere in the middle—They get rowdy and shoot, we shoot back at the shooters, kill them, and it is publicized as Americans execute peaceful civilians who are mourning at a funeral.
They are now all around the trucks. I tell top to batten down the hatches—get the gunner inside the truck and close the turret, lest someone toss in a grenade. Then we back off. I didn’t have the combat power right there to start a fight (sure I did, I just didn’t have overwhelming firepower—and I never fight fair if I don’t have to). And we back off a respectful distance.
Sure this assclown they are burying is (well, was) a terrorist. But he’s dead and he had (apparently) a lot of friends. So we let them mourn. We let them hoot and holler, rant and rave. They weren’t exactly peaceful, but then again they weren’t exactly violent. Mostly unruly. I figured they would settle down when they got tired/hot.
After everything calmed down, and my platoons linked up with me, we went on a patrol through the town. Nice and slow, street by street. Just to see if anyone wanted to pick a fight. No takers last night. Cowards. I do everything I can to give them motive and opportunity, and they still won’t fight.
But I’m sure a dog (or cow) will esplode sometime in the next week, right in front of that town.