Posted By POSCA
Somewhere in the official archives of the Department of State is a most curious report about a strange incident that happened pursuant to Bill Clinton’s attempt to wag the dog in 1998 (or so it is alleged). Posca has not seen this report nor is he certain a copy even exists, but he is fairly certain that such a report was written and he is confident of what it contained. It happened before his time at the US Embassy, Kuwait City, but he has talked to enough people with direct knowledge of these events to believe they happened and that an official report was in fact filed.
At some point in 1998 the alarm was sounded that Sodam Insane was once again massing troops on the border of Kuwait for the purposes of invading and holding that country hostage to his oil ambitions. Cruise missiles were fired from ships in the Arabian Gulf and (if Posca’s memory serves him correctly) A10s were sent to forward air bases. Things were very tense at the time.
Simultaneously, American and Kuwaiti military personnel in Abrams tanks scrambled with Kuwaiti ground forces with the intent of holding the border until American airborne forces could relieve them. Some of these folks—who were old enough to know better—couldn’t wait to get the shooting war started, so they were about as far forward as they could get without actually being in Iraq. Right up against the border were the tank forces in special berms created for the eventuality, and behind them were Kuwaiti ground forces thoroughly dug in and armed to the teeth with the latest weaponry. This would not be a repeat of 1990—if the Iraqis came, many would die before they stepped foot into Kuwait.
Of course, the Iraqis never came, but on that first night no one knew what would eventually happen. At midnight, the desert was deathly quiet, and the guys in their dugouts began to shiver in the rapidly dropping temperature. Everyone was tensely waiting for the Iraqi attack, and the hours passed.
Shortly after 0200 there was a sudden, tremendous roar of .50 caliber machine gun fire from the ranks behind the forward-deployed tanks. This was not trivial or accidental fire. Tracers were everywhere, and the target seemed to be a point right on the border. “Why the sustained fire? Are the Iraqis attacking? We can’t see them on night vision. Who the hell is firing and why?” After a few minutes, the cease fire order was obeyed, and as you can imagine, the dudes in the tanks were more than a tad bit pissed off. Those high performance Abrams engines are tough, but no one wanted to find out how well they could withstand a .50 caliber maelstrom.
When he was confident things were quiet, the senior American decided to mosey on back and ask the senior Kuwaiti what the hell was going on. The response he got took him by such complete surprise that he asked for clarification. “What did you say?” The Kuwaiti was quick to reply in perfect English: “My men saw a one-legged Jinn and opened fire. He got away.”
Now, the Jinn or “genie” is a mighty curious beast. He lives in the desert and his motivations are somewhat ambiguous, but there is no doubt in the minds of the mere mortals who inhabit the desert that your average one-legged Jinn is a real son of a bitch. At the very least, the one-legged Jinn is a prankster and usually of malicious intent. If a one-legged Jinn was running around the tanks, then he was doing more than writing down serial numbers—he was probably sabotaging anything and everything. Take it to the bank.
In Kuwait, you see, the Jinn looks nothing like Barbara Eden, and does not have a heart of gold. Not surprisingly, the American commander thought this was a pure load of crap—he was convinced that someone was just trigger happy and got everyone to fire in the general direction of some imaginary Iraqi invasion. However, in the spirit of international amity and to give the Kuwaitis a chance to save face, he agreed to a full investigation as soon as the sun came up. He returned chuckling to his Abrams.
Once the sun had breached the horizon (doesn’t take a lot of time in the desert), the Kuwaiti and American commanders paired up and walked as far forward as they could get without drawing Iraqi fire. The Kuwaiti commander took the lead, for he had apparently seen the one-legged Jinn himself and had a sense of where evidence could be found. Now, this is where it gets weird, and it must be true because the American commander signed the official report. Running parallel to the border and disappearing into the dunes was a line of footprints. But these were not the ordinary prints one would expect to find. True, they were made by someone wearing a shoe or some sort of foot covering—but the only footprint was that belonging to the left foot.
The American was flabbergasted, “Where the f*** are the right footprints?” It is damned hard to fake footprints in the desert without disturbing the surrounding sand, and the surrounding sand was undisturbed except where an occasional .50 caliber round came close to the mark. The investigators even went so far as to measure the footprints and found they belonged to someone wearing size 11 footwear. Apparently, the one-legged Jinn is above-average in height and moves very fast.
Official conclusion: Kuwaiti infantry fired on forward positions in an effort to kill potentially malicious one-legged Jinn.
By training and inclination, Posca is an inveterate skeptic. But in this case he is very far from throwing cold water on the one-legged Jinn scenario. He has seen the desert and the way it perpetually changes its face. He knows there are many things just below the surface of the desert, and some of them come out at night to feed. He also knows that many people in “sophisticated” countries believe in ghosts and spirits, and some of them are certain they have been kidnapped and anally probed by internal-dimensional shape-shifters and creatures from other planets. Vouchsafe the one-legged Jinn? Never. Besides, Posca himself has experienced curious things in the desert, things he still cannot explain. (No, Posca’s anus is intact, thank you very much.)
Posca knows, and sometimes he believes things not accepted by reason.
Respectfully dedicated to the memory of Larry Hagman.