Sunday, September 29, 2013

Good Morning Jacob...

Letter to my Son
Sunday, 29 September

Ho Chi Minh didn't play golf

Military strategy involves finding the means to victory in a competition of force.  Grand strategy concerns the philosopher king who determines the nature of the peace once victory is achieved.  War has a political purpose and if the political calculations are faulty then defeat can still follow up the victory parade.  Witness the history of the United States in Iraq following the fairly easy overthrow of Saddam Hussein.  Decisions were made without due diligence when planning for the aftermath.

I’m fresh out of high school and bored showing up each day for a minimum wage job.  On an impulse I wind up at my local Marine Corps recruiter and find myself signing enlistment papers.  For better or worse I have now made myself an instrument of my nation’s foreign policy.  Actually, I’m not sure I know what our policy really is.  I may be a total rube but I do love my Uncle Sam.

Vietnam was a beautiful country.  It just needed a few golf courses.  As it turns out most people there weren't interested in golf.  The country became divided over this matter and other issues.  What started as a discussion of honest differences became an exchange of heated accusations that quickly turned into ugly threats.  Now everyone is pissed.  How dare they!   It wasn't long before I was enjoying a plane ride to Danang.

The human being is first and foremost an individual biological specimen.  As such, we do whatever is necessary to retain the magical force of life within the confines of our body.  This is a fundamental rule of existence that has few living exceptions.  The will to survive has some surprising twists when a person with normal, everyday concerns is dropped into an extraordinarily alien circumstance.  The repeated demonstration of violence and its consequences is just one of those circumstances.  The mind must adjust to this new normal.  The odds of survival would improve if only your thought had greater focus and clarity.  Certain human considerations become a hindrance and are discarded as baggage too heavy to tote.  Without asking my conscience’s permission my mind mostly discarded the emotions of empathy and grief.  I’m sure I’m not alone in having experienced my tour with the sensation of feeling strangely numb.  I lived in a state of an abstract Golden Rule because my emotions were indifferent.  They seemed to say what’s good for me didn't apply to others.  I knew better.

Still, people died in unfortunate ways and I stayed silent and distant because any expressions of sympathy would have been viewed as clearly fraudulent.  The idea of my squad being a band of brothers never occurred to me.  It humored me to refer to them as my associates.  People came and went.  Some were only faces.  One was just a remark. 

“Can I be assigned with my friend?”

He had just joined our company after convalescing from a previous wound.  He got his wish and the next day he was gone for good.  I never got a good look at him. 

It was enough to know some people only by their nickname.  ‘Lucky’ thought he had lucked out once again when he went to collect up an NVA flag displayed in a tree line.  It was being used as bait by the sniper that killed him on the spot. 

We called our lieutenant ‘Baby Huey’.  It’s tough for anyone commanding a platoon in a war, especially if you’re barely twenty-two.  He did a lot of growing up in the short time he was with us.  I shouldn't talk, though.  I was nineteen and acted every bit of it.  ‘Baby Huey’ showed real leadership on his last day.

Another lieutenant irritated the hell out of me the way he died.  Sometimes he took pointless risks.  This was one of those times.  It was his third Purple Heart.  Someone volunteered to write to his parents on behalf of the platoon, saying what a terrific guy he was and how we all respected him.  It was true but it wasn't the whole story.  He was wounded once killing a man in a knife fight.  That was pretty impressive.  But then he would stand amidst shrapnel flying about.  It wasn't like he was in the process of commanding anyone.  It was more like he was daring to be hit.  That was the kind of stunt he pulled when he took a bullet in his head.  The fact that he was a good guy made him a jerk for bringing such grief to his parents.

‘Sugi’ was something of a friend to me.  He was a dreamer, too.  One day he talked to me about his plans to be a car mechanic for a racing team in LA.  He was pleased.  It was a good day.  It was going to be hot but the patrol on Hill 189 seemed pretty routine.  Nothing ever happened there.  ‘Sugi’ had the point.  I figure he was still daydreaming when he walked into the ambush.  He was gone.  So was the guy that had a baby bootie attached to his helmet.  You know his wife sent it to him.  Then there was the lanky Hispanic guy from California.  The corpsman wasn't able to save him, either.  Afterwards there wasn't a lot to say.  We talked about ‘Sugi’.  What a career he had.  He came to the company as a corporal and they made him a squad leader.  That didn't work out so they made him a team leader.  Same result.  Finally, he’s walking point – the worst possible job for a daydreamer. 

Some people don’t fit in.  Cleveland Larry could do his job but his good nature was unsettling.  Imagine standing in mud, soaked from the rain and this guy is talking to you with that big smile on his big stupid face.  I’m thinking, “Larry, you don’t belong here.”  It’s a real shame guys like that show up for crap like this.  I’m ashamed I didn't give him more thought when he went.

Roger’s dad was a mortician.  That was bothersome.  Enough said.

The letter from Boston Larry’s dad was a real problem.  It arrived just in time for him to be able to read it.  Dad’s all excited and counting the days because Larry will soon be coming home.  What a celebration there will be and all.  I can get pretty superstitious and I was amazed his dad even talked this way.  It was all really screwed.  Larry stands out because he is exceptionally smart, witty and vibrant.  Now he’s as lifeless as a bag of garden fertilizer from Home Depot.  I dug deep trying to find some emotion when it happened but it wasn't there.  It’s still best to just shut up.

I have to include the strange kid that killed a small boy and then deliberately blew himself apart two nights later.  Mom and grandma were wailing something horrible as you would expect.  The kid starts crying.  There’s greater misery on Earth somewhere but this just about topped it for me.  I just felt anger.  Some people kill because they are sick.  This kid wasn't that way.  I’ll never come up with a reasonable explanation for what happened. 

The hard-ass sergeant from third platoon and his radioman Scotty went up together in a geyser of sand one afternoon.  The sergeant asked not to be moved and he died as peacefully as you can under the circumstances.  I always thought of him as a real professional.  He was a poster Marine in the best sense of the word.

Most of us made it back.  We put in a couple of years and then moved on.  People weren't much concerned with Lyndon Johnson or Robert McNamara or the shape of the negotiating table in Paris.  Most everyone was thinking about someone special back home.  I’m sure it worked the same way for the guys on the other side of the divide.  There are always friends, lovers and family to fill your mind.  What’s Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong or Leonid Brezhnev in comparison to that?  Seriously.  People just wanted a letter from home.

That whole bit was a lifetime ago for all of us.  Still, there are the faces and, occasionally, a name to go with it.  Once I left I never had the interest to find out what happened to anyone.  Did Tom marry his high school sweetheart?  Did Oz and Bunny make a life together in B’more?  Did Jerry ever allow his wife to go down on him?  Who knows?


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hitler's War Strategy

World War II Europe

Russian troops at Stalingrad

Operation Barbarossa had a number of very ambitious goals that indicated the degree of contempt Hitler held for the military capability of the Soviet Union.  The primary goal was the destruction of the Red Army itself.  This would require rapid armored thrusts to envelope entire Soviet armies, preventing them from escaping into Russia’s interior by first crossing the Dvina and Dnieper Rivers.  Hitler was well aware of Napoleon’s mistake in capturing Moscow without first destroying the Russian army.    

The German Wehrmacht would itself be divided into three armies.  The northern-most command, Army Group North, would have the task of capturing Leningrad – depriving Stalin of an important arms production center and providing Germany with a port to supply its offensive operations.  Army Group Centre would have the preponderance of Panzer divisions which would be used to envelope Russian forces around Minsk and aid Army Group North in capturing Soviet forces in the Baltic region.  Army Group South would push towards Kiev then move south along the Dnieper River, encircling Russian forces in the Ukraine and destroying them.  Once these goals were achieved the three army groups would then converge on Moscow and destroy the remaining Red Army reserves used to defend the Russian capital. 

The Barbarossa campaign, launched in June 1941, was intended to achieve all its goals in the few short months prior to the Russian winter.  If time remained an effort would be made to capture the industrial region of the Donets Basin near the Black Sea and the oil fields of the Caucasus.  An achievement of this magnitude would require Soviet incompetence of epic scale and a literal implementation of lightening warfare.  The German use of Blitzkrieg tactics had its basis in strategic necessity.  Germany could not succeed in fighting long wars of attrition.  It hadn’t the resources.  Hitler gambled Britain and France would not declare war over his quick capture of Poland.  The surprise attack through the Ardennes was a plan designed to avoid a prolonged war with France in 1940.  Now Hitler counted on similar results when his forces smashed into Russia in 1941. 

As spectacular as the Wehrmacht’s successes were on the eastern front they fell well short of their needed goals.  Leningrad would be surrounded but never captured.  Moscow would remain out of reach of German troops and Army Group South struggled with unexpected resistance in the Ukraine.  The broad scope of Hitler’s expectations for Barbarossa proved unrealistic and would set the stage for the disastrous German summer campaigns of 1941 and 1942. 

Hitler’s focus in 1941 was economic.  The grain and mineral wealth of the Ukraine was vital to Germany’s success.  Hitler wanted the vast oil wealth beyond the Caucasus to fuel his own army and to deprive the Red Army of the energy needed to power a modern military.  His venture south led to the crushing defeat at Stalingrad where the entire German 6th Army was destroyed.  It was a demoralizing loss for Hitler and his troops as well as a victory that energized Stalin, the Red Army and the Russian people.

The decision by Hitler to launch an attack on the Kursk salient in 1942 was more a political decision than one driven by military opportunity.  The chances for German success in the operation were greatly reduced by Red Army preparedness for the attack and its vast increase in strength and skill.  The defeat at Stalingrad the previous year undermined the resolve of Axis allies to stand with Germany.   Hitler was particularly concerned with losing the support of Italy.  Britain and American forces were driving Rommel from North Africa and an Allied invasion of Western Europe seemed inevitable. 

German armored power was destroyed at Kursk.  The Wehrmacht would no longer be the equal of Soviet military forces.  The initiative would be forever lost to the Red Army.  The war in Europe would continue nearly another two years but, for Germany, there was no hope of a victorious military outcome.  Hitler’s military actions were aimed at driving apart the alliance of Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union.  He desperately needed a political solution because his depleted army was being crushed by wars being fought on two fronts.  It was what he and his generals had dreaded most and now it had come to pass. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Good Morning Jack...

Letter to my Son
Sunday, 22 September

Good Morning Jack…

Leaves fall.  Caterpillars eat.  Moon rises.  People deliberate. 

I’d like to stand on some high desert where the air grows cold and the wind picks up just as the sun is setting.  I would hear the whole world rotate.  It would sound like faces growing old.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kursk German Leaders

July, 1943

Adolf Hitler

Hitler, Adolf
Commander-In-Chief of the German Army

Hitler feared a disaster at Kursk but felt a German victory on the Eastern Front was politically necessary to fortify Italy’s wavering resolve.  Additionally, his own self-confidence and his standing among his generals were at an all-time low following his decisions that led to the disaster at Stalingrad.  Germany’s subsequent loss at Kursk would hand the initiative to the Red Army for the remainder of the war.

Wilhelm Keitel

Keitel, Wilhelm
Field Marshal
Chief of the Armed Forces High Command (OKW)

Erich von Manstein

von Manstein, Erich
Field Marshal
Commander, Army Group South
                Attacked the southern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
                Defended in Operation Rumiantsev

Manstein was sure he could succeed in breaking through Russian defenses at Kursk if only Hitler would release to him the last of Germany’s armored reserves.  Like other German generals he would be surprised by the devastating force of the coming Red Army counterattack.  

Guenther von Kluge

von Kluge, Guenther
Field Marshal
Commander, Army Group Center
                Attacked the northern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
                Defended the Orel salient in Operation Kutuzov

By the spring of 1943 von Kluge believed his army was worn out and badly needing to be refit.  He opposed von Manstein’s proposal to attack the Kursk Bulge in April. 

Walter Model

Model, Walter
Commander, Ninth German Army
                Attacked the northern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
                Acting Commander of Second Panzer Army and Ninth Army:
                                Defense of the Orel salient in Operation Kutuzov

Model was disturbed by the extent of Soviet defenses at Kursk and his concerns caused Hitler to further postpone Operation Citadel.  

Hermann Hoth

Hoth, Hermann
Colonel General
Commander, Fourth Panzer Army
                Made the principal German attack on the southern face of the Kursk Bulge
                Defended in Operation Rumiantsev
                Defended in Soviet offensive toward Kharkov

Hoth’s armored forces included the lavishly equipped II SS Panzer Corps.  His decision to swing his armored attack toward Prokhorovka on 11 July led to the largest tank battle in history.  The remnants of his nine Panzer divisions would be met on rolling farmland by nearly 900 Soviet tanks.

Werner Kempf

Kempf, Werner
Colonel General
Commander, Army Detachment Kempf
                Attacked the southeastern shoulder of the Kursk Bulge
                Defended in Operation Rumiantsev

Heinz Guderian

Guderian, Heinz
Colonel General
Inspector-General of Panzer Troops

Guderian opposed any offensive in Russia during 1943 believing the Wehrmacht needed time to recover and to prepare for an Allied invasion of Western Europe.  Once the decision was made to proceed with Operation Citadel Guderian demanded a postponement in order to rush the latest tanks to the battlefield.

Kurt Zeitzler

Zeitzler, Kurt
Colonel General
Chief of the Army High Command (OKH)

Zeitler was one of the few German generals confident in the success of Operation Citadel.  He felt the new Panther and Tiger tanks would bring a decisive advantage to German forces at the upcoming battle.

Related Topics:

Kursk Russian Leaders



Hitler's War Strategy

Kursk Russian Leaders

July, 1943

Joseph Stalin

Stalin, Joseph
Marshall of the Soviet Union
Supreme Commander – controller of Stavka:  the military High Command

Stalin was effectively commander-in-chief from July 1941 onwards, directing the war and running the Red Army.  In time, Stalin identified his most able commanders as Zhukov, Rokossovsky and Konev.  By 1944 all three were commanding fronts.

Georgi Zhukov

Zhukov, Georgi
Marshall of the Soviet Union
Deputy Commander of the Red Army
Stavka representative:  northern face of the Kursk Bulge and Operation Rumiantsev

Stalin’s appointment of Georgi Zhukov as his deputy made him the most powerful of Soviet generals. 

Aleksandr Vasilevsky

Vasilevsky, Aleksandr
Marshall of the Soviet Union
Chief of the Red Army General Staff
Stavka representative:  southern face of the Kursk Bulge and Operation Rumiantsev

Stalin’s Operations Officer, comparable to Colonel General Alfred Jodl in Hitler’s headquarters.  Vasilevsky was considered to be a model staff officer and he was a natural commander – quickly grasping the nature of the battlefield and its likely course of action.  Along with Zhukov, it was Vasilevsky that proposed the double envelopment at Stalingrad.  Vasilevsky and Zhukov later convinced Stalin that a defensive battle to absorb and reduce German offensive power should precede a Soviet offensive in the summer of 1943.  This would be the Russian strategy at Kursk.

Konstantin Rokossovsky

Rokossovsky, Konstantin
Army General
Commander, Central Front:
                Defended the northern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
                Attacked the southern face of the Orel salient in Operation Kutuzov

Rokossovsky had been imprisoned for three years as a result of army purges in the 1930s.  As a commander he was instrumental in reducing the German pocket around Stalingrad.

Nikolai Vatutin

Vatutin, Nikolai
Army General
Commander, Voronezh Front
                Defended the southern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
                Attacked during Operation Rumiantsev

During the Battle of Kursk General Vatutin saw the 11 July German move on Prokhorovka as an opportunity to counterattack and encircle the attacking Wehrmacht forces, which he believed, were sufficiently weakened by the previous days’ battles.

Ivan Konev

Konev, Ivan
Army General
Commander, Steppe Front
                Counterattacked in Operation Citadel
                Attacked in Operation Rumiantsev

Aleksei Antonov

Antonov, Aleksei
Colonel General
1st Deputy Chief of the Red Army Staff
Stavka member

Antonov developed an effective working relationship with Stalin.  He was industrious, firm, intelligent and calm.  At a Kremlin meeting on 12 April 1943, Antonov joined with Zhukov and Vasilevsky in persuading Stalin to precede an offensive action with a defensive battle in order to reduce Germany’s offensive capability.

Markian Popov

Popov, Markian
Colonel General
Commander, Briansk Front
                Attacked the eastern face of the Orel salient in Operation Kutuzov

Vasilii Sokolovsky

Sokolovsky, Vasilii
Colonel General
Commander, Western Front
11th Guards and 50th Armies participated in attack against the northern face of the Orel salient during Operation Kutuzov

Aleksei Rodin

Rodin, Aleksei
Lieutenant General
Commander, 2nd Tank Army
                Defended the northern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
                Attacked the southern face of the Orel salient in Operation Kutuzov

Mikhail Katukov

Katukov, Mikhail
Lieutenant General
Commander, 1st Tank Army
Defended the southern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
Spearheaded Operation Rumiantsev

On the southern face of the Kursk Bulge German forces penetrated the third Soviet defensive belt before being stopped by Katukov’s 1st Tank Army. 

Pavel Rotmistrov

Rotmistrov, Pavel
Lieutenant General
Commander, 5th Guards Tank Army
                Spearheaded Steppe Front’s counterstroke at Prokhorovka
                Spearheaded steppe Front’s offensive in Operation Rumiantsev

Rotmistrov’s forces closed on German armor near Prokhorovka with 850 tanks, near numerical parity with the Panzers.  The Germans, though, had about 100 Tigers fortifying their spearhead. 

Pavel Rybalko

Rybalko, Pavel
Lieutenant General
Commander, 3rd Guards Tank Army
                Spearheaded Briansk Front’s offensive against eastern face of Orel salient in Operation Kutuzov

Vasilii Badanov

Badanov, Vasilii
Lieutenant General
Commander, 4th Tank Army
                Participated in counter-offensive against Orel salient - Operation Kutuzov

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Good Morning Jessicca...

Letter to my Daughter
Sunday, 15 September

Palace Bar

Good Morning Jessicca…

Rod Stewart sang the number one song of 1977, just in case you were wondering – Tonight’s the Night (Gonna be Alright).  It’s thirty-six years ago so you wouldn’t remember it.  I barely do.  The Eagles sang Hotel California that year.  Jimmy Buffett made a name for himself with Margaritaville.  I was working the morning shift at KYCA radio in Prescott, Arizona that year and living in a converted laundry room at a trailer park that bordered the town’s Whiskey Row.  Its oldest establishment, the Palace Bar, celebrated its first 100 years of existence in 1977.  On the night of its official birthday that year, a country group named the Wilburn Brothers entertained anyone willing to go out into that cold December night air and pay nine dollars at the door.  Prescott is a mile high mountain town and the temperature was sixteen degrees that evening, as I remember.  I had switched to working evenings by the night of the big celebration and I always walked to and from work because I didn’t have a car.  KYCA was a green stucco building next to its transmitting tower in a field beyond the railroad tracks.  At the time you could say this marked the edge of town. 

There were two cats that called the radio station home.  The duties of my evening shift, besides playing the Top 40 hits of the day, included feeding the cats and vacuuming the carpet.  Lou Silverstein owned the station back then and he often did live remotes from places like local car lots.  His on-air name was Lou Magillicutty.  His wife, Nancy, did the shift starting at ten in the morning.  It was a real Mom and Pop operation and you had to stay on top of things to keep the station going.  After all, the entire town was only 15,000 back then, not counting the local Indians living on the nearby Yavapai reservation. 

A guy named Steve did news and sports for the station.  It was an old cowboy town and there wasn’t always much to report.  I remember one morning Steve led with the story that someone had taken a power mower out of the pickup truck of Ed Somebody-or-other.  He’d parked the truck overnight on an off-street near the town square and, wouldn’t you know it, someone stole his damn mower.  Naturally he called the police and described to them the purloined article, just in case they might run across someone using it while they cruised about the town in their squad car.  Chances are, though, it’s rusting somewhere in the desert among a scattering of empty beer cans.  As I remember, there wasn’t a big need for mowers in Prescott back then.

I know the movie Rocky came out in 1976 but I think you could still see it at our local theater in 1977.  At least its theme song, Gonna Fly Now, was one of the hits of 1977.  Bill Conti’s rousing instrumental wasn’t big with me and I tended to ignore it.  I preferred playing music like Foreigner’s Cold as Ice.  I don’t think it really mattered what I played.  I had the feeling no one was listening, anyway… not even Lou and Nancy.  As a matter of fact, I don’t remember having any commercials during my shift.  I was strictly a public service, sort of.  I fed the cats and did all my vacuuming in the space of a four minute song.  Around eleven at night I said, “Good Night”, shut down the transmitter and turned out the lights.  It seemed to me during those walks home that the stars’ light was somehow more precise on the coldest of winter nights. 

One other thing about 1977 – the satellite Voyager 1 was launched.  It was announced this week that the spacecraft has finally gone beyond our solar system and is now traveling in interstellar space.  In 40,000 years time it will be closer to the next nearest star than it will be to our sun.  Imagine that.  Who will be around to remember by then?  In 40,000 years the cows will have learned to count to ten.  They might give it a thought.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Good Morning Justin...

Letter to my Son
Sunday, 8 September

Roosevelt's 1941 War Speech

Good Morning Justin…

I hope you are able to follow the news in the coming week.  You are about to witness an event unusual in recent years.  The President is requesting authorization from Congress to use military force against an adversarial government – Syria.  This is not to be mistaken with seeking a formal declaration of war.  That hasn't been done since President Franklin Roosevelt appeared before Congress following the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941.  Still, any military action against another nation is an act of war and President Obama is clear that he wants to use deadly force against Syria’s military capability. 

It is a controversial position but recent presidents have believed they already have the Constitutional power to act in a limited military manner without first having Congress sanction their action.  The Constitution actually stipulates that the power to go to war resides with Congress and through much of our history the President of the United States sought authorization from the legislative branch before dispatching our military against any hostile nation.  Technology developed in the twentieth century changed that arrangement.  By the 1960s this nation was confronted with an adversary armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles that could cause nuclear destruction to our military and cities, taking less than twenty minutes from launch to detonation.  It became obvious the president as Commander in Chief would have to launch our own missiles without first consulting Congress.  This situation opened the door to a Constitutional view that granted the Executive branch of the government limited military authority when the interests of this nation demanded timely action. 

Congress was not consulted prior to President Reagan’s attack on Libya in the 1980s.  President George Herbert Walker Bush launched a military action on Panama without Congressional approval.  President Clinton fired cruise missiles at targets in Afghanistan and North Africa in early efforts to combat terrorism.  Congress was once again left out of the decision making.  Each of these presidential actions was widely believed to be justified but they weren't taken to prevent an imminent threat to the security of this nation.  The Executive power to use military force without Congressional authorization was, once again, expanded. 

Like his predecessors, President Obama also believes he has the Constitutional authority to launch a military attack on Syria without first getting Congressional approval.  Nonetheless, he has included the people’s representatives on Capitol Hill in the deliberative process.  His stated reasons for doing this are that military action is more effective when backed by the resolve of the nation and that it is a healthy exercise in democratic government to vote on life and death matters. 

As of today, Sunday, the President’s request for war powers authorization is likely to be turned down by Congress.  There are reasoned arguments on both sides of the issue but, after years of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the public is wary of possible new military involvement in the Middle East.  They have reason to be concerned.  United States involvement in the region has often led to disappointing results.  Poor decisions by our leaders have sometimes brought about costly failures.  Military actions are measures of focused violence in an attempt to further one’s own political goals.  The goals in this instance go beyond discouraging the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons.  They also include a demonstration of resolve by our nation in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.  How does Iran interpret the actions of our leaders?  How do nations threatened by Iran, particularly Israel, respond if diplomacy fails to forestall Iranian nuclear ambitions?  How does Japan and South Korea respond to North Korea’s further development of their nuclear potential if the credibility of U.S. protection is brought into question? 

What is the likelihood of U.S. military involvement if new threats to our allies result in new conflicts?  Had you been born a citizen of the Netherlands or New Zealand or Norway you could go about your life not having to be concerned with constant foreign entanglements.  You wouldn't need to go to the map to find out where the hell is Kandahar or Benghazi or Aleppo.  You wouldn't need to pay taxes to cover the cost of aircraft carriers everywhere.  You could bitch about that meddling Uncle Sam with his fingers in all the pies.  But that isn't the case, is it?  You’re here.  You’re stuck.  Poor baby.