Posted by: endithinks | October 4, 2010

The War (part two)

Part one here.

The captain was not impressed by the skinny, handcuffed man who was squatting in the dirt whimpering as the lieutenant gave his report.

The captain nodded when needed and gave a salute in response to the lieutenant’s.  He said a few orders to a roving private to take the man to the holding area with the other captives.  He took out a cigarette and stuck it in his mouth.  He didn’t light it.

“Captain, we’ve had a report of hostilities near the Sankreet Village.  The reports say maybe ten to fifteen insurgents.”   a radio officer said pulling one of the headphones off of his ear.

“Get Bravo squad ready to roll out.  That village only has, what a few hundred people?  They won’t be able to hold off trained fighters.  Put Calcern squad on alert as well and I want some DT’s ready.”  The captain said chewing on his cigarette.

“Yes sir.”

The captain walked back to the house that served as their command center and walked into the dining room area by the table where the map of the southeastern quadrant of the mission took place.  The captain moved a few checker pieces around and placed a red checker on the village of Sankreet.  he played with a few of the pieces clinking them in his hands and letting them drop in a pile as he examined the hand drawn topographical map.

The current occupant of the house was still in residence and had been paid a price to allow the US military to use the house.  She was an old woman named Geliza who made a living as a seamstress.  The army had offered her the equivalent of a year’s expenses to occupy her house which had a good view of the village below.  She was the only one in the village who lived on this hill and it gave great visibility and allowed radio signals to cut through the surrounding mountains.  Instead of static they got static interrupted with bursts of speech.

The captain who never gave his name out to his troops or civilians called for the woman.  She entered wiping her hands on her apron spreading what looked like flour dust all over it.  She bobbed her head and smiled showing a few missing teeth.

“You know anyone in Sankreet village old woman?”  the captain said in broken, but understandable Arabic.

“Sankreet no good.  It village of Sikh no good, no good Muslims.”  She said in better, but still broken Arabic.

“How big town?”

“Bout two hundred Sikhs there.  They always have babies.”

“Why Sikh way out here?”  the captain asked spitting out the cigarette and picking his teeth.

“They run from Indians.  They got beat up, kill by India.”  She said shaking her head.  She dug into her ear with a finger.

“I thinks India good at religion okay for okay everybody?”  the captain asked.

“No, no they bad at okay religion.  They like Hindi best, then Muslim, then hate Sikh.  Sikh worst to them.  They no like.”  she said scratching at her stomach.

The captain nodded and turned back to the spread out hand drawn map on the table.

“You want hot drink? I make hot drink now.”  She asked plucking at her apron.

“No, no want.  Thank you old lady.”  he said waving his hand behind him.

The woman walked back into the kitchen and the captain reached into his breast pocket and pulled out his architect style pencil.  He scratched over a note near the Sankreet Village and replaced it with “one to two hundred individuals.”

“Radio man!” he yelled towards the window.  ” Radio man get in here!”

The radio officer burst through the door and saluted after pulling off the headphones he always wore.

“Get a message to Bravo squad.  Expect twice as many civilians and probably twice as many hostiles.  They are authorized to use stopping force only.  I don’t want another bloodbath.”

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