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Stories by Jim Morris

Here Comes the Bride

Golden moments and minor disasters at the altar.

Chunks of ice rode the whitecaps as the Nantucket ferry steamed out of the harbor in Woods Hole and into the Atlantic. The March wind had driven Isabel into the warmth of the cabin, while ...

When the Loud Bell Rang

Beginnings are always difficult.

My first day in school was really my second day. It was September 1950, and that first day my brown uniform shirt scratched, the heavy corduroy pants were stiff with newness, my suspenders would not ...

Mom

The woman we never forget.

As Thin as Butterfly Wings My mother was born in the high desert of northeastern Arizona. Even now it's a hard place to thrive, with rain unlikely and resources few. Her father built their house ...

There’s a Butterfly on Your Hat

This world is a screen.

One night in the late 1970s, Miguel Ruiz, a young Mexican physician, fell asleep at the wheel of his car and crashed it into a concrete retaining wall. He lay near death for some days ...

Invasion's End

A couple of weeks ago Jay Leno did a gag about how the Japanese had offered to send troops to help out in Iraq. "Great timing," he said, the message being that the Japanese had ...

Estimate of the Situation

One of the handier tools in the combat arms officer's bag of tricks is a thought process called the Estimate of the Situation. It's a comparison of potential courses of action in the light of ...

Cooking the Books

It's been highly amusing to watch the flow of charges and countercharges over cooking the intelligence books on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. "The administration deliberately bent the data to make 'the Merkin people' ...

The Loose Cannon Rolls Again

The best book so far about Special Forces in Afghanistan is Robin Moore's Hunt for Bin Laden. It will probably stand for a long time as the definitive book on that campaign. But the guy ...

Big Pyramid Kills Special Forces

The spirit of Special Forces remains the same and, for the most part, so does the organization. However, minor changes have had far-reaching effects and serve as brilliant examples of the Law of Unintended Consequences. ...

Special Forces, Then and Now

Awhile back, a friend asked me what the differences are between the Special Forces of my day and this generation of Green Berets. After careful thought I have decided that the spirit is identical, the ...

Shoot 'n' Loot

When cities and countries fall, looting is common. Students of history can cite the Rape of Nanking, the Sack of Rome, the burning of Atlanta. The difference between these conquests and the fall of Baghdad ...

Already a Hero

It's been a rough year for old heroes. So far, within the past 365 days, I've lost Ed Thomas, my old team sergeant, and Command Sergeant Major Bill Edge, who was probably the smartest man ...

It's Not Your Father's M16

'If you think the M16 is bad in the jungle, you should see it with sand in it," said my friend Samir. The topic under discussion was why he carried an AK47. He was showing ...

Language Problems

In Special Forces, the ideal is that every soldier is fluent in one foreign language and able to limp along in two others. But in a standard infantry company it wouldn't be unusual for no ...

Left in Hell

"They were careless people...they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the ...

War and Journalism

When I see an embedded reporter like, say, the late David Bloom of NBC (a great reporter and sorely missed), green in night-vision light, crouched behind a berm, whispering into his mike while guns and ...

Maybe When the Fedayeen Have a Gun to Your Baby's Head

The first rule of counterguerrilla warfare is never set a pattern. This is so because the guerrillas are always watching for a weak point to hit. You can go anyplace and do anything two days ...

Door-to-Door Death

Here's the bottom line on urban combat. You don't want it. When the Israelis went into Beirut in '82, I was one of an army of correspondents who went with them. At that time the ...

Baby Killers

Last week I wrote a piece called "Chimps with Nukes." When I had a draft I e-mailed it to a bunch of old soldiers to see if anybody thought I had left anything important out. ...

Chimps with Nukes

In Jared Diamond's book The Third Chimpanzee, he points out that we share about 98 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees, which is not much greater than the difference between chimps and bonobo pygmy chimps. ...