15 April 2008

The Butter-Cutter on Asymmetrical Warfare

After waiting, I don't know how long for the chow line to pass through, I approached the Butter-Cutter in the virtual mess hall and asked: “What do you think of Marines now being moved from fighting the asymmetrical insurgency in Iraq to that in Afghanistan?”

“Huh? What's 'aceymetrectal?'” he quizzically responded.

“No, it's not 'aceymetrectal,' It's asymmetrical warfare and it means unequal or where one side in a war has the advantage or better equipment than the other side,” I explained.

“Oh, I got it. Like the bad guys in Iraq and Afghanistan have AKs and we gotta fight them with M16s,” the “Butter-Cutter answered.

“What?” I exclaimed. “That's not what I mean . . . er, it means. It's about the conflict overall. That Coalition forces have airplanes, artillery, tanks, etc. and the insurgents are fighting with just small-arms and improvised weapons. So, the Coalition has the advantage over the insurgents and the conflict is therefore asymmetrical.”

“Hey, man. Don't give me this 'overall' big picture stuff. I'm a rifleman. I go up against other riflemen. If his rifle's better than mine, then he has the advantage over my ass. Isn't that aceymetrectal warfare?” he shot back.

“Rather than taking the bait,” I said. The AK was invented in 1947 and the M16 in the early '60s. You have the newer, more technologically advanced weapon,” I retorted.

“I don't give a shit about newer er techno . . . whatever. I care about what works. Durin' rain, sandstorms er whatever, the AK works, round after round after round an' the M16 jams--fails to extract the spent cartridge. That's the same problem this thing had in the early '60s when it was first issued ta the guys in Vietnam. And what did the Commandant o' the Marine Corps say when he heard about that problem: The troops weren't cleaning their rifles. It wasn't a failure of the generals in testin' the M16 before acceptin' it; IT WAS THE TROOPS FAILURE TO CLEAN IT!”

“Wait a minute,” I interjected. “All that was brought out during a Congressional investigation at the time; and, it was determined that the problems were a bad lot of ammunition and a lack of chrome platting in the chamber. Your M16 has a chrome platted chamber doesn't it?”

“It sure does and when the sand blows, the mother f****r jams because of--now prepare yourself--a failure to extract. 40 years after yer solution-finding Congressional investigation, the M16 continues to fail for the same reason. D'ya remember, that Jessica Lynch thing a few years back? When that convoy of Army vehicles got lost and ambushed in Iraq. Every freakin' M16 in that group FAILED. Only one soldier successfully returned fire. When he fired the first round, the weapon failed to extract the spent cartridge. He had ta pound on the charging handle ta extract the jammed empty cartridge case and load a fresh live cartridge. He then shot a bad guy. He pounded and shot a bunch o' bad guys and got a Silver Star. In order to get this, so-called, assault rifle to work, the soldier had ta POUND on the charging handle fer each shot. Oh! D'ya know how some Army general explained why all those rifles failed ta function properly? Them soldiers--EVERYONE OF THEM, EVEN THE POUNDER--did not know how ta properly clean their rifles; can you believe that? After 40 years, the blame still rests with the troops using the M16 and NOT the generals who send them into battle with it! Well, if aceymetrectal doesn't apply ta the difference in dependability between the AK and the M16, how about the difference in blame--like: the more rank ya got, the less blame yer rectal gets; the less rank ya got, the more blame yer rectal gets! Wait a minute! It just came ta me. Now I know why they came up with the word aceymetrectal.”

I had given up trying to get the Butter-Cutter to pronounce correctly 'asymmetrical,' so I confined my question to: “. . . and why did 'they' come up with the word 'asymmetrical?'”

The Butter-Cutter proclaimed while pointing his right first-finger up into the air, “Aceymetrectal blame is PC fer 'shit rolls downhill!' ”

In walking away, I mumbled, “Why did I ask?” I come to the virtual mess hall with what I truly believe are good intentions. Some how, some way, the Butter-Cutter sends me away either irritated or doubtful of why I ever bothered visiting him. One of these days . . ..

Semper Wondering,

Anthony F. Milavic

Major USMC (Ret.)