interview with a paratrooper

dumbass: what part of the world are you in?

SSG Chris Paul: North Carolina, Fort Bragg
SSG Chris Paul: I am heading to Monterey for 2 years next month

dumbass: california?

SSG Chris Paul: yep

dumbass: so youre a marine?

SSG Chris Paul: no, army paratrooper

dumbass: i wouldnt think that my blog would be attractive to an army paratrooper

SSG Chris Paul: Well, I like to see things from different views

dumbass: good man

SSG Chris Paul: keeps me grounded

dumbass: nice
dumbass: so you were in iraq?

SSG Chris Paul: yeah, I went twice

dumbass: how old are you?

SSG Chris Paul: 25

dumbass: both times during this war?

SSG Chris Paul: yes, the first time in the invasion and then again three months after I got back

dumbass: did you paratroop in, or ride from kuwait?

SSG Chris Paul: no airborne operations, I airlanded on a c-130

dumbass: dude, i blog to meet chicks
dumbass: i have no idea what a c-130 is
dumbass: air craft carrier?

SSG Chris Paul: air craft
SSG Chris Paul: the second time I conyed in

dumbass: and you stayed on the ship?

SSG Chris Paul: kind of old and very cramped
SSG Chris Paul: oh, we landed on an Iraqi airfield and took it over
SSG Chris Paul: then we convoyed to other locations

dumbass: did you see F-9/11?

SSG Chris Paul: no, I’m not sure if I want to
SSG Chris Paul: was it good?
SSG Chris Paul: one of the guys in my unit who lost his leg is on there

dumbass: i liked it
dumbass: in one scene they showed soldiers going door to door in the middle of the night looking for bad guys
dumbass: did you ever have to do that sort of thing?

SSG Chris Paul: sure did

dumbass: crying babies and wives and scared kids screaming at you?

SSG Chris Paul: and also ran a check point
SSG Chris Paul: I dont remember any kids really
SSG Chris Paul: but I remeber every one being mad at us

dumbass: when you went there did you believe that youd be treated as a liberator?
dumbass: with flowers and candies being thrown at you?

SSG Chris Paul: I was unsure, because I knew their goverment told them some bad things
SSG Chris Paul: but they treated us well
SSG Chris Paul: it was crazy because they went on with their live like we were not there
SSG Chris Paul: they kept working in the fields doing what they needed to survive

dumbass: what was the gnarliest town you found yourself in?

SSG Chris Paul: Awsamawa, I think I misspelled it
SSG Chris Paul: we were just outside of it, and it was filthy

dumbass: were people shooting at you there?

SSG Chris Paul: yeah, I remember they had a smoke stack to some factory there. And there was a sniper in it. We could not get a shot on him, so they sent a mortor round and blew the whole stack up.
SSG Chris Paul: Plus there were rockets and artillery coming at us

dumbass: are these people all iraqi’s shooting at you?

SSG Chris Paul: yeah, the first time
SSG Chris Paul: the second time I went I think some were insurgents from syria

dumbass: was it freezing cold in the desert?

SSG Chris Paul: yes
SSG Chris Paul: the second time it rained the entire month of november and was freezing

dumbass: i heard about huge spiders – did you see any of those

SSG Chris Paul: yeah, they call them camel spiders, and the damn things jump

dumbass: yes those!
dumbass: were they the worst part of the desert – other than the violence

SSG Chris Paul: I was more afraid of the scorpions and snakes

dumbass: were there a lot of those?

SSG Chris Paul: I only saw a few snakes but there was a shit load of scorpions

dumbass: so you would sleep in a little tent in the desert
dumbass: inthe cold
dumbass: would the scorpions get in your tent?

SSG Chris Paul: the first time, we had no tents and just slept on the ground

dumbass: get out

SSG Chris Paul: the second time we took over a compound and had a building, but no doors
SSG Chris Paul: so they got in there

dumbass: why no tents?
dumbass: even boy scouts have tents

SSG Chris Paul: during the invasion we thought we were going to jump in and had no space to carry all that
SSG Chris Paul: yeah, it sucked
SSG Chris Paul: we had to ration water to a bottle and a half a day
SSG Chris Paul: about 1.5 liters

dumbass: insane!

SSG Chris Paul: so no bathing
SSG Chris Paul: and taking a dump in the middle of the desert not fun

dumbass: how come?

SSG Chris Paul: trying to keep an eye for the enemy
SSG Chris Paul: and sand blows in to your crack
SSG Chris Paul: not to mention toilet paper is rare

dumbass: so should we even be there if we cant properly take care of our people?

SSG Chris Paul: well, now its better. we just had to establish the supply system
SSG Chris Paul: and paratroopers are expected to rough it

dumbass: how do most of the troops feel about this war at this stage?

SSG Chris Paul: I am not really sure. I think our job there is almost done
SSG Chris Paul: and I think we are doing good

dumbass: so when people are sleeping in the cold
dumbass: they dont say “fuck this fucking war”

SSG Chris Paul: not really, I think we said fuck saddam

dumbass: why him?

SSG Chris Paul: because he was a tyrant, and he was the cause
SSG Chris Paul: in my opinion

dumbass: but he wasnt shooting at you
dumbass: and hes not shooting at the people today
dumbass: the insurgents etc are shooting

SSG Chris Paul: you’re right, but he made his country a hell hole, which led to this
SSG Chris Paul: while I was there i got to hear stories firsthand from the people he hurt
SSG Chris Paul: and I saw some videos
SSG Chris Paul: really bad stuff

dumbass: didnt the US and rumsfield and reagan sell him chemicals and help him become the tyrant that he is though?

SSG Chris Paul: yes
SSG Chris Paul: but I don’t think they knew how evil he was

dumbass: do you think we didnt know how evil he was during desert storm?

SSG Chris Paul: I think we knew. In my opinion I think we should have stopped him then, I think we failed the people of Iraq then.
SSG Chris Paul: Again that is my personal opinoin

dumbass: of course
dumbass: and i respect your opinion

SSG Chris Paul: thank you

dumbass: do your fellow paratroopers talk about this stuff much? history, etc?

SSG Chris Paul: not so much

dumbass: what do they talk about?

SSG Chris Paul: we talk about stuff we experianced there.
SSG Chris Paul: or do you mean on a daily basis at work

dumbass: either

SSG Chris Paul: at work the same thing every one talks about, last nights game, the news, how our weekend was and some of the funny stuff we did

dumbass: whats the main job of a paratrooper?

SSG Chris Paul: well, we jump in to a hostile airfield and take it over so our air craft can land, and get the rest of the troops there.
SSG Chris Paul: Airfield Seizure
SSG Chris Paul: i think thats how its spelled
SSG Chris Paul: my grammar sux

dumbass: was there difficulty securing the airfields that you took over?

SSG Chris Paul: there, no
SSG Chris Paul: but thats because the main forces surrendered so quickly
SSG Chris Paul: but agaist an enemy that will fight, it is a diffucult task
SSG Chris Paul: have only what you jump in with
SSG Chris Paul: not to mention you land scattered from other people in your unit

dumbass: so once you had secured the airfields, what did the paratroopers have to do next?

SSG Chris Paul: pull security, and then move to the next objective. Usaully another town
SSG Chris Paul: then we bcame like the other troops, just a lot tougher and more deadly.
SSG Chris Paul: haha. no really

dumbass: like walking in lines to the next town
dumbass: ducking in the ditches
dumbass: all clear, walking in lines again?

SSG Chris Paul: no we had vehicles, that came after the aifield was secure
SSG Chris Paul: so we rode

dumbass: there have been reports that the military has to go through old dumps looking for scrap metal for their vehicles
dumbass: to nail onto the sides
dumbass: did you see anythign like that?

SSG Chris Paul: yeah, the military has a shortage of amored HMMWVs so we would get steel and weld it the sides and make doors out of it

dumbass: doesnt that seem odd for the biggest richest most powerful army of all time?

SSG Chris Paul: your right it does, but we didn’t really expect them to set explosives on the road every 200 yards. But it makes us resourceful and keeps us on our toes

dumbass: But doesnt it make it look like we’re not as strong as we want to be perceived as being?
dumbass: not our troops, but our equipment

SSG Chris Paul: yes, so we had a little trick
SSG Chris Paul: the Iraqis thought all the tan colored vehicles had armor and they would not waste their ammo on them
SSG Chris Paul: so we started covering the other vehicles in mud
SSG Chris Paul: when it dried it looked like tan paint

dumbass: ahahah NICE

SSG Chris Paul: and they would not fire on them

dumbass: classic
dumbass: any hot chicks over there?

SSG Chris Paul: Iraqis?

dumbass: any chicks

SSG Chris Paul: We saw some reporters that were hot, or it may have been the fact we didn’t see women often
SSG Chris Paul: There was 2 Iraqi girls who looked nice, they would do laundry on one of the forward operating bases
SSG Chris Paul: Then again they may ahve looked nice because we were desperate

dumbass: one of the vice presidents of cnn resigned recently because he said that there were orders to our military to target journalists
dumbass: is that conceivable?
dumbass: would a soldier target a US journalist because he was ordered to?

SSG Chris Paul: not a chance
SSG Chris Paul: we have rules of engagement we must follow
SSG Chris Paul: and no soldier is allowed to follow an unlawful or immoral order

dumbass: nice
dumbass: so those dudes in the iraqi prison were totally wrong to humilate those prisoners?

SSG Chris Paul: completely wrong

dumbass: im glad to hear it
dumbass: well thank you so much for being so honest with me

SSG Chris Paul: no problem
SSG Chris Paul: thanks for listening

dumbass: i know very little about your world so i appreciate you being polite to my ignorance

SSG Chris Paul: I don’t know much either

dumbass: about the military?

SSG Chris Paul: Well I know a lot about the military
SSG Chris Paul: but every thing, I only have a high school education and thats from Georgia
SSG Chris Paul: Hey I got a picture of my squad on my site if you want to see them

dumbass: this one?

SSG Chris Paul: thats it
SSG Chris Paul: I am bamf6

dumbass: where is that picture taken?

SSG Chris Paul: at one of check points near fallujah
SSG Chris Paul: in the military 6 refers to the leader of the element

dumbass: leader huh? nice work

SSG Chris Paul: thanks

dumbass: where are my african american brothers?

SSG Chris Paul: yeah I was a squad leader
SSG Chris Paul: My whole platoon only had one, and he was whiter than most white dudes
SSG Chris Paul: but I am half black
SSG Chris Paul: from the waist down
SSG Chris Paul: haha

dumbass: and youre chris right?

SSG Chris Paul: thats me

dumbass: whats your title?

SSG Chris Paul: Staff Sergeant
SSG Chris Paul: E-6

dumbass: well again this has been an honor for me to talk to you

SSG Chris Paul: no problem man

dumbass: please know that any time i talk about how i feel about this war it has nothing to do with the brave men like you who do the hard part
dumbass: if anything i want to keep good people like you out of situations where i dont think we should be

SSG Chris Paul: I understand, I know people don’t have to be pro-war to be pro-soldier
SSG Chris Paul: thanks for wanting us safe

dumbass: totally
dumbass: of course!
dumbass: ok well i will put some of this chat on my blog tomorrow
dumbass: is that cool?

SSG Chris Paul: and I feel honored to chat with the Tony Pierce

dumbass: ahahaha

SSG Chris Paul: oh yeah, just don’t edit it and make me look disloyal to my country
SSG Chris Paul: they will have my ass

dumbass: thats not my style

SSG Chris Paul: I was just joking

dumbass: i want you to want to chat with me in the future
dumbass: i wouldnt burn any bridges
dumbass: so for the thing
dumbass: i talked to staff sgt chris of….?
dumbass: what the full title and troop and all that?

SSG Chris Paul: actually its SSG Chris Paul of the 82nd Airborne Division

dumbass: perfect
dumbass: thanks so much Chris
dumbass: have a great night!

SSG Chris Paul: no prob
SSG Chris Paul: you to

chris paul + fil + seven nation army by the flaming lips + sheepshirts

from the rolling hills of prague

the requested proper obit by mr thor garcia

Hunter S. Thompson
7/18/37 – 2/20/05

”A plastic man in a plastic bag,” Hunter S. Thompson wrote of Dick Nixon in 1968. Last year he wrote about George W. Bush: ”He talked like a donkey with no brains at all…. I almost felt sorry for him, until I heard someone call him ‘Mister President,’ and then I felt ashamed.”

Hunter S. Thompson spent his long glorious & legendary career writing the Requiem for the American Dream. He was a philosopher, statesman, freedom fighter and rock star of the highest order, and America will be a shabbier and weaker place now that he is gone.

It wasn’t about Drugs and Drug-Concepts, and it wasn’t about the Guns, though both are of course crucial to his Art & Philosophy. It was about Independence. Hunter believed Americans had the unviolable right to live Independently, to crank it all the way over – as they saw fit and according to their own rules. Early on, he understood that this Main Principle was under constant assault – by the Greedy & Lying, by Controlfreaks on the Left and Right, by Fascist Leaders, by Twits and Hucksters, by the Weak & Dumb, by Those With No Shame. He saw Americans Too Cowardly & Confused to stick up for the Freedom that was their Birthright. His work was the chronicle of the Wretchedness of Unrestrained Power and America hurtling off the Proud Highway.

America is and was and has always been full of mealy-mouth writers and soul-sucks who apologize and equivocate to Power & Ideology. Hunter Thompson will stand as the Writer of his time who saw the Horror and did not Deny and did not Flinch. Who saw that America was Dying, but that it was still hella Funny. Who was Bold and Strong Enough to be Heard.

The precision-jackhammer attack of the Miami Dolphins stomped the balls off the Minnesota Vikings today by stomping and hammering with one precise jack-thrust after another up the middle, mixed with pinpoint-precision passes into the flat and numerous hammer-jack stops around both ends….

One toke over the line, sweet Jesus.

– Thor Garcia, Feb. 21, 2005

thanks to dougie gyro + illustration by john shakespeare + woody creek + ken layne did write a great obit + and is a new papa, congrats