Page nine, take two, this time with actual text in the second panel. Page ten. Hopefully this should all be a little bit clearer.
The overall point here is that the Army was paying one of their own officers an exorbitant amount of money on a separate contract to do something that they could have easily ordered a green-suiter to do at a fraction of the cost, with a middle-man making a handsome profit out of the deal. This is still a more common arrangement than one might think, and it relates to Smedley Butler’s original book/screed, also entitled War is a Racket, in which he advocated, among other things, drafting defense contractors and paying them military rates in order to take some of the profit out of the military-industrial complex. Butler was sometimes called a Red, but couldn’t hear the criticism over the sound of all of his Medals of Honor clanking together.
Page nine. This is one of those pages where I take for granted some knowledge of how the Army is structured — the point being that this contractor is actually, currently in the military in a relatively senior position, and nevertheless has been hired by the government to do this extremely simple job at great expense, which is a more common arrangement than you might suppose. As I work with civilians more, though, and deal with parents of college-age kids, especially, I find that that the knowledge level is nearly zero — i.e. many would not know what the Army Reserve is, or get the significance here. This is why this book will never sell. Maybe I just need to switch to drawing big-boobed super-heroines.
OK, and after a longer-than-expected pause while I went on a lovely vacation to Scotland and got to sample some 48 year-old single barrel whiskey, we’re back, with page eight of my current story, War is a Racket.
After a six-week hiatus during which I apparently forgot how to draw, here’s page seven of my ongoing comic story, War is a Racket. For those of you who are more interested in filler material, expect one more next week.
This one takes a lot of explaining.
One time, several years ago, I was the plans officer in a U.S. Army combat engineer battalion that was tasked to, potentially, be sent to the Western United States to fight wildfires, a mission called Wild Land Fire Fighting. My job was to write the plan for issuing firefighting equipment to 800 guys, running them through necessary training, loading them onto aircraft &c. — but it was all “on order,” and we weren’t do do anything until the firefighting command post decided that we were needed and sent a liaison officer to inform us. For some strange reason, this man was referred to, in official documentation, as “The Torpedo,” which spawned a series of running jokes amongst the staff officers: we planned to have someone come in dressed in a suit, claiming to be The Torpedo; we circulated the mnemonic rhyme “no torpedo inbound — all is safe and sound;” and so on.
Taking things too far, I added an “Annex R: BOLO* List” to the operations order, containing this illustration and a bunch of identifying features: “Hair: Gray; Eyes: Ray-Ban; Smells of Smoke and Broken Dreams.” I didn’t get in trouble because everyone was laughing too hard to breathe.
*meaning “Be On Look Out.”