Ambush in Mesopotamia (fiction)
My military experience began prosaically enough; in a sudden confluence of idealism and financial need--I'd just been laid off in a corporate merger--I had joined the National Guard at 25, reckoning that the monthly duty would allow me to pay off my student loans and fulfill my civic obligation.
In those days the National Guard was only called upon to serve in natural or civic disasters, and in a youthful enthusiasm for contributing to society in its hours of need, I joined with no reluctance whatsoever.
A tropism for formal systems had led me to the field of computer security, and the Guard was delighted to make use of my civilian skills. Later, after I'd found a position within the securities industry, the monthly weekend of Guard service which had seemed so brief before arrived with burdensome frequency.
Toward the end of my service, as my 32nd birthday approached, the world abruptly changed; and as war clouds formed over Mesopotamia, my unit was called up.
Deserts, I reckoned, lacked variation; but the desert of Mesopotamia was unlike any in the Great American West, for it was barren and featureless in a way I had not imagined. The composition of its surface was another unwelcome revelation; if there is an American desert with such uncommonly tiresome dust, I am fortunate to have missed it. The extreme fineness of Mesopotamia's windblown dust lends itself to a pervasive sort of trespass; it drifted beneath tent flaps, seeped into equipment cases, and clung to sweaty skin in a ubiquity of annoyance.
A colleague had a matrioshka nested Russian doll in her kit, purchased on leave in Odessa; to no one's surprise, she found the dust had worked its way through the seals to the innermost figurine. Working as we did in network security, our work environments were largely insulated from the suffering laid on truck mechanics and infantry, but the dust still managed to permeate our world in a most irksome fashion.
Having walked a bit in Death Valley one May, I foolishly reckoned myself inured to desert heat; but Mesopotamia soon deposed that illusion. The desolation of the landscape was matched by the enervating permanence of the open-furnace air; shade and night offered shallow relief, but not enough to restore vitality. Humans habituate to virtually any climate, but the relentlessness of the desert's heat and dust worked to reinvigorate our misery at regular intervals.
As a rear-echelon technician, the odds of being shot were low. The risks of a sudden death were certainly present in a low-probability roulette--a helicopter carrying men and women from my unit would be shot down within the first month, and any tent could be struck by a night-time mortar round--but after a few weeks of camp boredom my fears had quieted.
A high fever laid me low just as hostilities began, and in my absence our unit was transferred north along with the great bulk of the American Army. Once the fever broke, I asked to join a supply convoy heading to the general vicinity of my unit, which was safely ensconced behind the rapidly advancing front lines.
The convoy had picked up other wayward soldiers trying to join their units: a chaplain, a Marine corpsman, and a motley assortment of transferees. Our commanding officer was also National Guard, and had never seen a day of combat. But as this wasn't a combat unit, his lack of experience did not trouble me. Unit cohesion, so highly valued in war, was entirely missing; many of us had nothing to do with the supply unit and had never laid eyes on our fellow travelers.
As we were chaperoning supplies into what was at least nominally a combat zone, M-16 rifles were scrounged up for the non-infantry among us. I strapped the rifle over my shoulder and wondered if it had been cleaned recently, for M-16s were notorious for jamming in dirty environments. It seemed doubtful I would ever find out, as the convoy's route ran through territory long since overrun by our forces.
But for reasons which never reached the rank-and-file, our convoy was sent out beyond the rear echelon to the left flank--presumably to re-supply a frontline unit. On the way we saw neither American troops nor the enemy; everyday life had retreated inside, and the only evidence of war were dirty plumes of black smoke on the horizon.
We were ordered to take possession of a circular highway intersection on the edge of a small city. Driving into the circle, we found no activity; the streets were utterly deserted, though the nondescript flat-roofed concrete buildings surrounding the roadway appeared untouched by the war. The convoy pulled to a stop, and the only sound seemed to be the idling engines of our trucks. The heat inside the vehicles can only be described as Death Valley contained, and I was looking forward to being outside, even if the temperature difference was fractional.
With an uncanny suddenness a great shattering roar of rocket-launched grenades and heavy machine guns erupted around us. Filling what little sonic void remained between the rolling-thunder explosions came the staccato pops of AK-47 gunfire. It seemed as if an entire regiment of the enemy was firing on us all at once; it was as if the air itself was being torn apart.
As bullets struck our vehicles--terribly loud to everyone inside--we leaped out and hugged the pavement, crawling like strangely overactive worms toward any cover.
Amidst this instinctive rush for shelter, I slithered from the rear of the vehicle and tumbled into a defensive trench which had been dug beside the circular roadway. There were no enemy soldiers in sight, and with my heart beyond wild I crouched for a moment, trying to gather my wits.
Glancing up, I expected to see many dead or wounded soldiers beside our trucks; but the Guardsmen around me were all shooting at the squat curve of the concrete overpass and the surrounding buildings.
Bullets kicked up dust in front of the trench, and I lowered my head in renewed panic. Images from the Tet Offensive in Vietnam filled my mind, and in mimickry of those embattled urban warriors I clicked my M-16 to semi-automatic and held it above the trench; desperately hoping the gun wouldn't jam, I braced myself and fired aimlessly at the unseen enemy.
The rifle's recoil was immensely reassuring, for squatting in a trench with a jammed gun was suddenly an extremely vivid version of Hell.
The clip went quickly, and in my first non-panic thought I realized my ammunition should be used more wisely. As I set the rifle to single-shot firing, I remembered my own gun, a .22 rifle which had afforded me many hours of pleasure plinking tin cans in my early teenage years. I hadn't shot an M-16 in some time, but the feel of a rifle was not alien to me; the M-16 is basically a high-velocity .22 rifle, and the recoil was not unlike other rifles I'd fired as a boy.
Despite the many boxes of .22-short ammo I'd expended as a youngster, I had never killed anything but lizards; with the rather detached amusement peculiar to boys of a certain age, my friend and I had shot them with a BB gun, all the while marveling at their ability to keep moving after being shot. His mother, horrified by our cruel gaiety, scolded us so profoundly that I recall her outrage to this day.
But a mother's outrage, I must explain, is only a temporary brake on boys' genetic propensity for guns and killing; while we might have been less frolicsome with larger non-reptilian creatures, that is far from certain; we might well have shot mammals with the same sort of detached glee.
My presence in the trench soon attracted unwelcome attention, for I saw the heads of enemy soldiers bobbing above a nearby concrete barricade. My position was precarious in the extreme, for they had both a clear shot straight down the trench and the relative safety of the concrete barrier.
Seeing that doing nothing would get me shot in short order, in an unthinking desperation I began aiming at anything rising from behind the barrier. One enemy soldier lifted his head up to confirm my vulnerability, and I fired at him.
In a kind of infantryman's luck, he was crouching in front of one of the overpasses concrete pillars. As a result, I saw my shot chip off concrete dust well above his head. Realizing that my sighting was high, I instinctively calculated how much lower to adjust my aim.
This same soldier leaped up and fired his AK-47 directly at me, and I braced for the impact of his bullets. Instead, the rounds rent the air above my head; he too had overshot. No sooner had he ducked down than he rose up again and fired a burst directly at me. I was close enough to see him well, and his features reminded me of a Turkish friend from college. I could see the dark bands of perspiration on his uniform, and his surprise at missing me.
In a panicked over-correction, I jerked my aim down and squeezed off several shots; with a hard strange relief I watched him shudder as each bullet hit him in the chest. We each had weapons which shot high, and the only reason he was now dead and I remained alive is that I'd had the good fortune to note the defect before him.
A half-dozen rifles suddenly bristled over the barrier, and a hail of bullets began kicking up dirt around me. Edging back to the very rear of the trench, I knew it was only a matter of time before a round found me.
At that moment one of the enemy made a dash from the barrier to another which snaked around my trench. Once behind that shelter, he could slip within a few feet of my position.
I automatically swung my rifle around and fired at him. As he stumbled, I recalled an account of a U.S. Ranger who had fought a desperate battle in Somalia; he'd reported of one opponent that it had taken several of the lightweight M-16 bullets "just to get his attention." With that thought firmly in mind, I shot the fallen enemy soldier several times without hesitation. He stopped moving, and I swung my rifle back to the barricade.
In a final bit of luck, another soldier raised up to draw a bead on me just as my barrel lined up with his head. I fired, catching him a split second before he finished pulling the trigger. His rifle fired a shot into the air as he fell back, and I knew that sort of luck couldn't last.
I realize the non-combatant human reading this may feel my use of the word "luck" is terribly misplaced, but I am trusting that combat veterans will be more generous in understanding the finality and randomness of such a setting.
At that moment a burst of gunfire from behind me spattered the barrier, and the enemy soldiers withdrew behind its bulk. Someone grabbed me by the shoulder, and I heard the young Commanding Officer shout, "Come on, buddy, get out of there." He half-lifted me from the trench and I scurried after him to the line of parked trucks.
The vehicles were riddled like the tin cans in my boyhood target practise, and our unenviable tactical position was painfully obvious. The barriers and trenches behind the trucks had been cleared of enemy troops, and our unit was clinging to these positions. The enemy was pursuing a classic flanking movement from both sides, trying to encircle us; if they succeeded in working around either flank, they could easily overrun our precarious defenses. There were about 60 of us, and some hundreds of them, and the odds did not favor us.
I was not a good soldier, but I was a dutiful one; when the CO grabbed a very young corporal, the chaplain and myself, and instructed us to stop the flankers trying to work around the barricade I'd just faced, we crept out to the edge of our defensive perimeter.
As we steeled ourselves for a dash across open ground to the contested barrier, I heard our CO shouting into the radio, reporting that we were low on ammunition and about to be overrun. He begged for air strikes or whatever air cover which could be scratched together. Then the chaplain touched my arm and I no longer heard the CO's desperation, as I had my own.
The fury of the firing was unceasing, but after the first few moments, the din which had seemed overpowering to me at first no longer caught my attention. My focus was now on the ten yards of open dirt between the trucks and the concrete barricades. The CO had promised us suppressing fire for the mad dash, but there were so many enemy soldiers shooting at us even a partial suppression seemed impossible.
I should mention here that we were severely outgunned; against our lightweight M-16s, all firing single shots to conserve ammunition, the enemy had rocket-propelled grenades, each of which spewed deadly flechettes over an indiscriminately wide area, and heavy machine guns, as well as hundreds of soldiers with AK-47s and apparently unlimited ammunition.
The corporal went first, and I fully expected to see him cut down in the first few seconds. But though the dirt was kicked up by bullets, he tumbled behind the barrier unharmed. "I'll cover you," yelled the chaplain, and when he raised up to start shooting, I ran as I have never run before, low and fast and expecting a bullet to find me any second.
In yet another miracle I made it to the barricade, but instead of respite I found the corporal under fire by enemy soldiers crouching behind the other end. The trenches and barriers curved to conform with the circular shape of the overpass, and as a result, opposing sides could each maintain a tenuous hold on one end of the snaking concrete barrier.
Outnumbered at we were, the odds of us holding out in such an exposed position were poor, and it came down to who could shoot whom first. It was an odd thing, to hope almost to prayer that the chaplain was a good shot; and my fears were alleviated when I saw him shoot a man edging down the barrier toward us.
For my part, I took up a prone position and waited for the enemy to advance. It lay with them to do the advancing, and a few moments later three enemy soldiers crept around the slight curve, hoping to find a clear field of fire; but the clear field of fire was mine, and I shot at least one of them before they slipped back behind their end of the low barrier.
The feebleness of our hold on the barricade was easily visible, for an RPG round exploded against the barricade, showering the area in front of us with weirdly whistling shards. The corporal had cleared a trench parallel to our contested barricade, and as he drew up to a position where he could pick off the enemy clumped at the other end, they hesitated long enough to lose one of their number.
I should note here that I had never met any of my fellow citizen-soldiers before the previous morning, and now we were depending entirely on each others' training and moxie to survive a battle stacked heavily against us. At the time, I only hoped each wouldn't die, and leave me even more vulnerable; but the fear that they might fail in their duties dissipated within the first few minutes of battle.
As the enemy soldiers fled, a heavy machine gun swept over our positions, and our future bleakened considerably. The corporal was pinned in the trench to our right, vulnerable to rooftop fire from the surrounding buildings, and the chaplain and I were trapped behind one end of the barrier. It was only a matter of time before an enemy squad crept close enough to lob a grenade behind the barricade, or we were overwhelmed by a sudden rush.
An RPG swept over our head and exploded on the roadway behind us, and we crouched tight against the hot concrete as the resulting shrapnel cut through the air around us. In a sort of instinctive curiosity, I looked back at where the shell had landed, and at that instant another exploded to our left.
I felt a hot stinging in my face and shoulder, and my first reaction was anxiety that the wounds were worse than the modest pain implied. In the morning I'd seen the body of a teenage boy crumpled alongside the road; he appeared to be resting, as there was no visible wound on him. A medic rolled him over and found that a tiny flechette of shrapnel from a distant explosion had severed an artery within him; the wound, when finally exposed, looked like the puncture of a small penknife. Yet the boy was dead.
I quickly felt my neck for any blood and was relieved to find none. There was something wrong with my vision, however, and I automatically closed each eye as a check. My sight appeared normal until I closed my right eye; then it seemed as if I was underwater, for objects around me swam in an unrecognizable blur. Though it didn't hurt. something was wrong with my left eye.
Sweat trickled down my forehead, and I wiped it away; it was blood, and the amount surprised me, for I did not feel whatever wound was shedding it.
The chaplain caught me sitting dumbly and he gazed intently at the left side of my face.
"You're hit," he shouted. "Are you OK?"
I automatically nodded 'yes,' and a third RPG exploded behind us. Our situation was increasingly untenable, and I thought, This is it, I'm going to die right here. There was a very coarse unreality to the thought, even as it struck me as undeniably true.
The chaplain spotted movement in the building just beyond the corporal's trench, and it soon became clear that snipers were taking up position to pick us off. If we switched to the other side of the barricade we would be swept by the machine gun, but if stayed put then the snipers had clear fields of fire on us.
With no better choice, we gamely took up firing at shattered windows in the upper story of the flat-roofed building, hoping to stave off the inevitable.
At that moment fierce gunfire pocked the upper floor windows, and we swung around to see who was covering us. Our CO must have observed our plight, for a squad had slipped along the elevated roadway and surprised the snipers. Seeing our chance, the corporal leapt from his trench and frantically waved us to follow him back to our unit's fragile perimeter.
In a lagniappe of good fortune, the roar of a jet engine became audible over the steady staccato of gunfire, and from the relative safety of a more sheltered concrete barrier we glanced skyward to see a gray F-18 Hornet lazily circle our small battlezone. The twin tails and exhausts were clearly identifiable, and I knew it had taken off from some distant aircraft carrier; only the Navy and Marines flew F-18s.
The plane disappeared from view, and I wondered what the pilot had seen in those few seconds. The fear that he had left us abated when the plane swept overhead in a ground-shaking roar, and the buildings across the roadway shattered and burst under its cannons. Although it sounds terrible now, I was madly hoping that the F-18's guns would kill every enemy soldier.
With a sort of invulnerable majesty, a second plane roared over us and riddled the building facades with a hail of exploding shells. Our CO must have been in radio contact with the pilots, for the first plane lined up some distance out and then came straight in, guns winking in the haze, blasting the sniper's nest in a shower of explosions and puffs of concrete dust. His wingman followed suit; then the jets roared off at a seemingly leisurely pace, and I cursed their departure with the utmost feeling. They were probably low on fuel, I thought with a detached assessment; but I would have traded any possession or any future for a seat in that plane.
With the F-18s blasting the enemy's strongholds from on high, the odds seemed to favor our survival; but with the red wavering glow of their engine exhausts receding, the odds turned back against us.
There was little time to ponder the exact probability, for the CO knelt briefly by the corporal and ordered us to accompany another squad into the sniper's nest building. The wisdom of not waiting for the next flanking movement seemed obvious, but with a renewed lump of fear I could only hope the F-18s had really cleared the building rather than simply forced the snipers inside to take cover.
The Marine Corpsman--and we were lucky to have one with us, as he was only heading up to join his unit--was working on a gunshot wound in someone's ankle, and the corporal gave me a shove toward him.
The medic was a young man, far younger than me; his face was a comic mask of sweat-streaked dust below his helmet, punctured by red-rimmed eyes and nostrils caked with grime, and with a peculiar recognition I realized we all shared--even the female soldiers in our unit--the same grim, dust-caked anonymity.
He looked me over with the unhardened eyes of a combat virgin and then quickly pressed bandages on my forehead and shoulder. Peering at my eye with a professional curiosity I shall never forget, he wiped the blood from my brow and gingerly taped a bandage over the damaged eye. Then he patted my shoulder and shouted, "You're good to go," and a gratitude which will never leave my memory hit me hard; he turned to attend another walking wounded and I arose to rejoin my squad.
Following the corporal, the chaplain and I scuttled first to the barrier and then along the roadway to join our mates. As we edged toward the building, the sargent crept up and issued a gruff warning. "Once inside, don't shoot wild or we'll end up killing each other." The thought had never occurred to me, and a new fear traced through me. The sargent gave brief orders to the corporal and another senior infantryman, and then it was my turn to cross open ground again.
The firing from the enemy had been greatly reduced by the F-18's sweep, but bullets were still kicking up dust around me as I raced across the open and threw myself against the shell-pocked concrete block wall of the building. Somehow we each made it across, and as the corporal led us through a doorway, I was grateful to follow; I hadn't the foggiest notion of urban warfare, and was terrified by the possibility of ambush within the shattered building.
We ran upstairs and burst into a room overlooking the circular battlefield below. The F-18's 20-millimeter cannon shells had blown off sections of the aluminum window frames and chunks of concrete; beneath the blasted windows lay shattered furniture and several enemy soldiers.
The corporal shot the nearest one several times, just to ensure we wouldn't be surprised, I reckoned, and the chaplain and I turned to a motionless body slumped in the far corner. We'd all heard of boobytrapped bodies and enemy soldiers faking death just long enough to roll a grenade under you; the trick, I'd been told, was to poke the apparent dead in the eye with your rifle barrel, as no one could unflinchingly absorb that pain; but who wanted to get close enough to exercise that test?
The F-18's 20-millimeter cannon shells had torn the room apart as surely as a wrecking crew; what had once been an office of some sort was now scattered debris. The wooden desks were shattered into hsards so fresh that I could smell the resin of fresh-cut wood through the stink of gunpowder and my own sweat. The enemy soldiers might well have been killed by the furniture's fierce splinters rather than the shells themselves.
Color photos of families still clung inside the broken picture frames strewn on the carpets, and wall posters in Arabic script still exhorted the absent workers; but now, three crumpled figures lay dead in the office, and we could only hope that the adjacent rooms would be equally harmless.
I detected movement out of the corner of my good eye and swung around just as the enemy soldier in the corner slowly shifted his arm. I saw his AK-47 beneath him, and in a burst of panic I shot him several times.
The chaplain spun round at the crack of my shots, and I saw more in his expression than I wished to. "He was going for his gun," I said, and he turned to the twisted body of the third enemy soldier.
He edged close and roughly nudged the man's shoulder with the barrel of his M-16. The man didn't move, and we both watched intently for any sign of life. There was none, and the chaplain's sweat-smeared face mirrored my own relief. We exchanged glances and I sensed his dismay at all the killing we'd just been forced to do.
I hadn't known whether the soldier in the corner was freeing up his rifle for a shot at me or signalling surrender; in the first case he was a combatant and I was simply doing my duty, but in the second case, I had wrongfully killed a wounded non-combatant. Pausing long enough to find out which was true could have ended my own life, and that of the chaplain; you may second-guess me now, but at that moment I had no choice.
With my heart pounding from the exertions of fear and running up the steps, I cautiously approached the corner and gazed at the dead soldier. A sheaf of paper extended from the front pocket of his sweat-stained uniform, and I pulled it gently from his body. It was a handwritten letter folded around several photographs, one of a young woman and another of a girl.
I cannot describe to you my emotions in the moment, nor can I entrust them to you now. For you are steeped in the ignorance of normalcy, and full of natural revulsion at the terrible wrongs of organized violence. That is not a bad thing, but it is a form of incomprehension.
The corporal motioned for us to cover him, and with sharpening senses we paused by the doorway, listening through the gunfire outside for any movement in the next room. None of us wanted to be shot by another nervous Guardsman, but shouting out might signal our presence to a lurking enemy.
As the seconds ticked by I wondered if the corporal had lost his nerve, and with a grim ardency I hoped that he didn't order me into the lead. With a sudden resolve he edged into the hallway, hesitated, and shouted, "Hey!"
In an inexplicable reaction the firing outside suddenly diminished, and a muffled American voice next door yelled out an answering, "Hey!" As the chaplain and I peered round the door jamb behind the corporal, another American soldier eased out of the adjoining room and motioned to the room across the hall. We might have been shot had we rushed into the next room; and the closeness of the encounter, the proximity of bad luck and irrevocable error, drained me.
Joining up with the others, we readied ourselves, and the corporal kicked open the opposing door. The room was empty, and we listened with puzzlement as the gunfire outside faded to sporadic shots.
A moment later a heavily armed American convoy rolled through the circular battleground and took up position on the other side of the overpass. I looked out the gaping window at the ground below and realized a miracle had occurred; the dead, hundreds it seemed to me, littered not our side but the other side. We had persevered, and been lucky, and so victory was ours.
The enemy soldiers had been our equals in bravery, but we had survived despite our inferior numbers, arms and position. Luck, training, an inexperienced commanding officer who displayed uncommon aplomb and leadership, the F-18's intervention: it was impossible to say which mattered most, but Divine Intervention did not seem at all improbable.
The only American combat deaths, it turned out, were suffered by the column which relieved us; they had been attacked on the way, and three of their number had been killed. Our unit of citizen-soldiers, a group without cohesion or combat experience, had somehow escaped with only wounds. Not one of us had been killed, despite the fierceness of the attack and the overwhelming mass of firepower aimed at us. My own guess had been that at least half of our number must have been hit in the initial fusillade; and so it was incomprehensible that we'd been spared from what should have been a lopsided slaughter.
I have often thought that this small engagement, as it's called in military terminology, should be studied as a textbook example of what citizen-soldiers can do when adequately trained and properly led. But to my knowledge it is a forgotten battle; unwitnessed by the eye of the media, it has been reduced to a mere a footnote in the official accounting.
Yet when I think of Divine Intervention, the image which comes unbidden to my mind is the chaplain shooting the enemy soldier who was creeping along the barricade toward us. He saved our lives by that killing, although it violated his spiritual training and beliefs; so the intervention is rather cloudy. Was his calm aim the intervention, Divine Will wrought through violent human hands?
In pulling me from the trench, the CO had saved me from certain death. Maybe it was that simple; was it divine intervention, or just an especially plucky CO? I prefer my divine intervention to show more majestic distance from human will and fortitude; and of course divine intervention cuts both ways.
If we were protected, then why did God forsake the other side, who no doubt prayed just as devoutly, and perhaps even more diligently, for deliverance and victory? Didn't they deserve victory as much as we did?
Their loss makes a mockery of divine intervention, it seems to me, and nothing can quite explain this away. I wish I could banish the ambiguities of randomness, death and chance, but I cannot; those of sufficient faith may be able to do so, but I am deficient in the genes which code for that kind of faith, and so I lack the fabric needed to dismiss ambiguity in favor of certainty.
For this is another great truth of human nature which I must voice: that humans are violently disinclined to ambiguity, and violently inclined to simple certainties. It was God's will; how much easier I would rest if only I possessed the genes which made this apparent.
You will notice that I have consistently used the term "enemy soldier" to describe the men who were trying most vigorously to kill us. I know they were sons, husbands, and fathers, just as we were, men who didn't deserve to die in some dusty highway intersection, any more than we did; but they were trying to kill us, and even though I will never erase the face of the first man I killed, the one who reminded me of my Turkish friend, I cannot feel remorse as I understood it before the war.
I have dreams, of course; many of us do. Mine are of being rushed by enemy soldiers, and as I lift my M-16, it turns to sand and dissolves in my hands. I snap awake, and remind myself that the dreams are getting less frequent; but that doesn't reassure me in the long moments of stark alertness.
I must also explain one other element of the battle to you, dear reader; we were not all of one race, my little squad of the corporal and the chaplain. Our skins were all different, but I defy you to say whose was light or dark or chocolate or tan; and in the entire unit, which were men and which were women. What mattered was your fellow soldiers protected you, and in this I was fortunate.
There is something else I must admit, and I find it terribly difficult to admit to you, a fellow human, unless you too have been in combat. I must admit that I know too well what is commonly called survivor's guilt; the three soldiers who died on the way to rescuing us haunt me. It is the supreme injustice, I think, that the rescuers die and the rescued live; I know, I know, it is the nature of combat that we all take orders and the chips fall where they fall. But this does not answer the injustice; it simply shunts it aside.
Excerpted from For My Daughter, copyright © 2008 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.
Copyright 2008 Charles Hugh Smith all rights reserved in all media. No reproduction in any media in any format (text, audio, video/film, web) without written permission of the author.
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