Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
2009.07.04 : The 4th At The Front
Plus! L'Entente Anglais-Américain
Plus! The President on the Day's Meaning
Plus! The Connecticut Yankee Stays at Court
"Some days at Marez we'd only get one mortar, some days a couple mortars, sometimes the mortar would explode, sometimes it was a dud. Sometimes it was a mortar, sometimes a rocket. Sometimes at night, in the morning, during the day. Sometimes a couple weeks would go by without one. And whenever there was a gap between attacks, bewildered soldiers would take notice and say things to each other like, 'Hey, notice how we haven't been mortared recently? I wonder what the hell's going on.'"


A few days from now, Fourth of July celebrations will be held in small towns and big cities all across America. Bunting will be everywhere. Parades will feature bands, antique cars, kids on bikes, and veterans of many conflicts… all marching proudly to show their patriotism and love of country.

At the same time, halfway around the world, 170,000 brave young men and women will demonstrate their patriotism in another way: by putting their lives at risk to defend everything America stands for.

As we gather in our backyards for cookouts and picnics, our troops overseas will grab an MRE and head out to patrol crowded streets and back alleys where insurgents continue to lurk.

Some Americans may even have forgotten about the brave men and women who are doing their job overseas, but counting the days till it's their turn to share the home-town celebrations with their loved ones and friends.

However, the USO hasn't forgotten. With American troops spread all over the globe…

  • We need to buy more pre-paid phone cards, so our troops can call home for free whenever they get a chance, even from a pay phone in Baghdad.

  • We must staff up and supply our overseas Centers and Mobile Canteens to provide our guys and gals in uniform with a cold Coke, a warm smile, and a chance… even if just for a few moments… to escape from the War and enjoy a taste of home.
Please send your tax-deductible donation today, to help the USO make certain that every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman around the world knows that the folks back home are thinking of them, and that we honor their dedication, their heroism, and their sacrifice.

And here's an amusing leader in the New York Times suggesting that, even in the matter of American Independence Day, Yanks and Brits have much more in common than not.

"TOMORROW night, as you watch the fireworks, don’t forget to raise a toast to George III. After all, it was the annual celebration of that king’s birthday on June 4 that gave Americans the habit of summer 'illuminations'… Likewise, the Declaration’s defense of the right to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' conveyed nothing more radical than established British law… And yet, the Declaration of Independence turned what otherwise would have been a mere restatement of English law into an invitation to the world to recognize certain 'self-evident' truths about equality and freedom."

And here's President Obama's Independence Day message – actually, just the great inspiring bits at the beginning and end, without the boring and contentious policy prescriptions in the middle. ;^)

Get the Flash Player to see this movie.

Finally, as bizarre and unlikely as it may seem, the UK Home Office, with their faultless sense of the Kafka-esque, has picked today, American Independence Day, to return my passports, documents – and, at long last, my residence permit for Indefinite Leave to Remain (aka "Settlement"). This means that I can live and work in the UK forever and all time, if I want; and that, in a year, I can apply for dual citizenship (and that very handy UK/EU passport). Much more importantly, it means that my latest long nightmare in dealing with Immigration is at an end. (Well, if I can just get back the surplus £750 they cadged from me, it will be, but I'm almost willing to let that go just to be quit of them . . .)

  america     american independence day     iraq     my exodus     the military     the uk     video     charity  
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

my latest book
ARISEN : Operators, Volume I - The Fall of the Third Temple by Michael Stephen Fuchs
from email:

to email(s) (separate w/commas):
By subscribing to Dispatch from the Razor’s Edge, you will receive occasional alerts about new dispatches. Your address is totally safe with us. You can unsubscribe at any time. All the cool kids are doing it.