Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Operation Firestick": Rumors & Rumor Control. An Oldie but a Goody.


During a momentary (I hope) writer's block on Absolved, I am engaged in an archaeological dig of my office. Among the layers I found the document below from a lifetime ago in the 1990's. I have recently been getting bombarded once again with all manner of "Red Dawn" type rumors that somebody heard from somebody else who heard it from Mark Koerneke on shortwave or something.

Anyway, back in the '90s one of the more useless efforts I was tasked to perform for my fellow militiafolk was rumor control. The fact that so many people take rumors like the one below seriously is a damning indictment of government schools in this country. However, without further ado, I present this classic of critical thinking as applied to short wave silliness:

RE: "Operation Firestick" Report
26 February 1996; 15:23 CST
From: Rumor Control Center
"Black Helicopters Our Specialty"

Comments Ad Seriatim From Original Report

1. "You are already aware of the 30,000-40,000 (actually 1/2) newly purchased Iraqui tanks 200 miles south of Medina, Mexico. There are now some Russian personnel there as well."

Even if the numbers are 15,000-20,000 armored vehicles ("actually 1/2") and they are counting APCs, command vehicles, bridge layers, etc., as "tanks," this means that the Iraqi Army has not only trebled in size since the Persian Gulf War (which they started with a mere 4,500 main battle tanks and 2,880 armored personnel carriers of all types) but they have somehow managed to find the sealift to transport them to Mexico secretly through the embargo (is it possible that they were smuggled out through Jordan as used Chevy Impalas?).

Now since we don't know the order of battle or TO&E of this phantom force, let us make some guesses about how many people it would take to operate and support such a force. The Iraqi Army started the Gulf War with about a million men to go with those 7,380 AFVs so does that mean that there are 2 million to 3 million Iraqi/Russian/crazed Jamaican mercenaries hiding out down there too? The Mexican tourist industry is indeed having a banner year. Unless serious food shortages have just developed in Mexico (none reported) they must be getting their goat fajitas through some sort of supply line. The usual ration of teeth to tail is about 8-10 men to support every man in the field.

Since we may assume that the entire AFV number comprises the "teeth," the Mexican roads must be choked with the supply trucks, fuel lorries, etc, in preparation for this South of the Border Blitzkrieg. (Boy, the Mexican cops must be getting rich on the "mordida" from all the truckers required.) Also, unless the Mexican roads got any better since our source visited Chihuahua, they'd better have brought an engineering capability larger that that supporting the Normandy Invasion.

Then there's the little matter of POL for this conquering host. PEMEX would have to strip fuel from every sector of the Mexican economy to support it.

Now, having consulted our Mexican maps, we can find no "Medina," Mexico. We have guessed that someone who has trouble spelling "Iraqi" might be wrong about that too, so we looked for the name of a town that was close. We'll take a wild-assed guess and say they meant "Madera," in which case the invasion force is located roughly near some roads in southern Chihuahua marked "not recommended for travel" on the AAA map. Perhaps the supply operation is working with burros instead of Russian ZIL trucks. If so the water required to support that many burros would make this the largest naval engagement in Mexican history. . .

We were going to dissect the rest of this report, but we got to laughing so hard we p-ssed ourselves. One last guess if Madera is the jump-off for this evil invasion: the road net (Mexico map attached) indicates that the likely invasion route is aimed at El Paso up Route 45, but we think that the operation will be preceded by a lightning strike with Hind gunships at Columbus, NM. Psychologically, the chance to recreate Pancho Villa's 1916 raid will be irresistible to the Mexicans. Even so, we predict that the invasion force will run out of both gas and money to bribe the Mexican highway patrol before they reach the border. They might be able to steal the fuel, but they won't be able to get past the "mordida."

Get a life, guys.

1st Alabama Cavalry Military Intelligence Company.


Anonymous said...

And if such an invasion force of such immense size and magnitude is located only miles away from the US border, wouldn't US intelligences already have spotted them? and likely took defensive military action already?

Sheesh, this is the AGE OF TECHNOLOGY, you just can't move armies around the world anymore without being spotted in the first or second minute.

Where did these rumors come from anyway? I have a feeling whoever may be spreading these rumors are not on our side, they are just pretending to be on our side in order to create some confusion and havoc.

Johnny said...

You may laugh but stuff as ridiculous this, in its own way, was making it to command level briefings in the UK Army during the Cold War.

As a for instance, take what was said about the East German Army before the Wall fell vs what the West Germans actually found when they wandered over and took a look.

It's the fog of peace. It's why `no Fort Sumters' is going to be a particular challenge.