China Miéville es un escritor británico de ciencia ficción y literatura fantástica, influido por escritores como Moorcock y Ballard. El texto es una traducción que hice de Foundation, cuento que aparece en el libro Looking for Jake: Stories, que me parece aún no ha sido traducido al español y que incluye once relatos y dos nouvelles. La historia fue publicada originalmente en 2003 y trata sobre un hombre atormentado por los crímenes de guerra en los que participó. Parcialmente, fue inspirada por esta nota de prensa en The Guardian, donde se narra la táctica usada para derrotar a un grupo de fuerzas iraquíes durante las operaciones Tormenta del Desierto:
On February 25 1991 the war correspondent Leon Daniel arrived at a battlefield at the tip of the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Daniel was one of a pool of journalists who had been held back from witnessing action the previous day, when Desert Storm’s ground war had been launched. There, right where he was standing, 8,400 soldiers of the US First Infantry Division – known as the Big Red One – had attacked an estimated 8,000 Iraqis with 3,000 Abrams main battle tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, Humvees and armoured personnel carriers.
Daniel had seen the aftermath of modest firefights in Vietnam. “The bodies would be stacked up like cordwood,” he recalled. Yet this ferocious attack had not produced a single visible body. It was a battlefield without the stench of urine, faeces, blood and bits of flesh. Daniel wondered what happened to the estimated 6,000 Iraqi defenders who had vanished. “Where are the bodies?” he finally asked the First Division’s public affairs officer, an army major. “What bodies?” the major replied.
Months later, Daniel and the world would learn why the dead had eluded eyewitnesses, cameras and video footage. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers, some of them firing their weapons from first world war-style trenches, had been buried by ploughs mounted on Abrams tanks. The tanks had flanked the lines so that tons of sand from the plough spoil had funnelled into the trenches. Just behind the tanks, straddling the trench line, came Bradleys pumping machine-gun bullets into Iraqi troops.
“I came through right after the lead company,” said Colonel Anthony Moreno. “What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches with people’s arms and legs sticking out of them. For all I know, we could have killed thousands.”
A partir de esta anécdota, Miéville escribe Cimientos. Para leerla den click al siguiente link: