Postcard from the Swamp #5

Swamp Update


OK- we are all jet-lagged here in the Swamp, every one of us, though in varying degrees. There were a hundred thousand or more people on the Nation’s Front Yard down at the mall all day yesterday to take in the Capitol 4th show. I avoid crowds these days, and had a vague sort of dread that something would happen. Instead, I watched it on the big screen, wondering as the patriotic program ran on about what was going to happen when everyone opened for business this morning, sun-burned, probably hung over and not at all ready to strap on the millstone again.

Or maybe that is just me. I enjoyed the pool in the afternoon, got a good healthy swim in while the sun was out, hung out with the usual suspects in The Clubhouse at poolside, and then enjoyed the dusk sweeping over Swamp-town. I was in the unit when the show started on Maryland PBS, and after the Beach Boys and the Four Tops did their hits, I assumed the fireworks would be extraordinary. I was right for a change. The 1812 Overture by the National Symphony Orchestra was suitably marshal in tone, even if it is not about America, but about the triumph of Russia over Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Armee. Forgive me if I think it is a little weird to have it symbolize American independence, but oh well.

I turned up the volume to “painful” and on the screen the fireworks were amazing. It ws a thoroughly pleasant day, but with the formal observation of the holiday on Tuesday, that meant Wednesday was going to suck in a big way.

Still a little worked up from seeing all the cannon go off on the West Lawn of the Capitol, I flipped over to a news channel to steel myself for what was coming in the morning.

OK- everyone knew about the Norks and their alleged ICBM. Mentally, I wrote off the city of Anchorage, since that is what the “experts” told me was what Krazy Kim could hit, but someone had been working while the rest of us were goofing off. Turns out, the entire state and a good swatch of western Canada are targetable, should a deranged and paranoid Hermit king choose to do so.

It got crazier as I watched the talking heads on the panel discuss the matter, analyzing what we actually know, and the President’s series of Tweets on the matter. Transitioning to the range of options available to deal with the (now) suddenly grave situation, which wasn’t on Monday. Man, you take a couple days off and look what happens! Then I realized I had to update the Swamp slide for the distribution this morning, but was in no condition to do so at that particular moment.

Feeling a little unsettled, I wandered back to bed for a fitful few hours of slumber. I had some Korea dreams all mixed up from living and traveling in both the South and North of the Peninsula. It was not particularly restful.

I discovered things had not become any better when I rose. So, the North has some (probably) road mobile 1960s-technology rockets that actually work. Liquid fueled, they say, which comes with a bunch of baggage- keeping the silly things fueled causes corrosion, among other things, and puts the owner-operator in a “use or lose” situation that I observed long ago in the first installment of this interminable American adventure in Iraq.

Pentagon, Desert Shield, J-2 of the Joint Staff: “So we know they fueled it, and we know that once fueled they have to use it in a couple days. What is the chance that they are going to launch it at our people?”

J-2 analyst: “Dunno. I would give it a 50-50.”

J-2: “That is less than helpful, and I have to see the Chairman in a minute. Thanks for your interest in National Defense. I will make something up,” he said as he swept from the room. That is exactly the way I feel now.

So now it is just a question of whether they can miniaturize a nuke to sit atop the rocket and dump it here in The Swamp. That is a question I really hoped would be several dozen Happy Hours away. But now it is not.

Anyway, with that recollection summing up the mood this morning, I give you the Swamp Update for the 5th of July……


Copyright 2017 Vic Socotra

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