Tune In to War, Turn On to Heroes, Otherwise Drop Out
I'm not a Libertarian, but I appreciate this statement that the party made today:
Angela McArdle, on the House's passing the 2023 NDAA yesterday:
"Thankfully, the Covid vaccine mandates were removed from the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, but it’s difficult to see how this bill is anything other than another welfare program for the rich warmongers in the corporate war industry. This NDAA will steal $10 billion in taxpayer dollars and give it to the Taiwanese government so they can buy weapons from companies like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. It also provides $800 million in taxpayer funds for Congress to purchase weapons from these companies for Ukraine, a country that is stripping away religious liberties as we speak.
Every year the budget of the NDAA gets bigger, and the world becomes more dangerous. When will we wake up to our senses and recognize the destruction that this evil industry brings to life and liberty?"
... we are treading water, as tides take us out into deeper & deeper waters
On January 3, 1970, at a military funeral in Van Nuys, California ~ five months after Neil Armstrong's "One Small Step"; seventeen months after returning from my second year in Viet Nam; three and a half months before the first Earth Day; and four months and a day before Kent State ~ i asked a question that i have been pondering in one form or another ever since:
“Given what Humans know about the Universe, the Planet, Life, and Ourselves from our Natural and Social Sciences; and, given what Humans can do in that Universe, to that Planet, with Life, and for Ourselves thru our Hard and Soft Technologies; Why, then, is there still Poverty, Hunger, and Disease, Illiteracy, Injustice, and Inequity, Ecocide, Genocide, and Democide, and Insecurity, Tyranny, and War?
It began like this…:
It is November, 1969. Tens of thousands of Vietnamese and thousands of Americans are killed. Among the Americans is a young helicopter pilot from Van Nuys, California. His name is Larry. He leaves behind a widow bride, and two elderly parents paralyzed with grief.
One Saturday nite, walking over the howling, bitter, driven, wind-swept, empty frozen cobblestones ~ a church pealing haunting tributes to nites more silent and rocks more permanent, i am struck with the metaphor that my living speaks with such stinging and affective allusion to my life. My friend Larry is dead. - nite of notification, December, 1969
At the funeral the following January ~ four months and a day before four more young Americans were to be killed in a place called Kent, Ohio ~ in a massive, solemnly packed Russian Orthodox Cathedral ablaze with emblems of patriotic fealty and fervor, many words are spoken. Among those words are these by a young soldier, the only enlisted man in the church. He was a door gunner who’d flown with Larry down in the Mekong Delta back in 1967-68. They’d survived Tet together. And more. Lots more. Too much more….. :
It is difficult, my friends. Very difficult.
i know none of you, yet i call you my friends. Thank you for being here, for sharing this, for enabling me to bear it.
After two years of this War, i have finally lost someone i love. Buddies? There’s been plenty. Never, until now, someone i love.
It is said that tragedy is the fire that tempers the soul. i can only hope that my soul, and my heart, and my mind, and my life is tempered and forged from this nightmare into a design of dedication NOT to the forces and elements that killed him: rage, hate, lust for violent revenge, a mindless, headlong flight into, through, and finally submerged by insanity.
Not to that, but to the ideals and principles that should have been the forces and elements at work that could have kept him, you, me, us all nowhere near Vietnam, or Biafra, or Suez, or Korea, or Normandy, or Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, and on and on back thru the ages and the battlefields, back to the beginnings of time, the beginnings of man, the beginnings of War.
The ideals, principles, forces, and elements of understanding, concern, love, peace, and the knowledge of our status as but “the family of Man, fellow-passengers on the Spaceship Earth…. .”
And how meaningless, empty, and vapid these words sound and are tonite. But, a man’s words are really nothing more than indicators, the elements of the metaphor that his living is, as it seeks to explain to him, and to us, his life.
Perhaps these moments of futility, emptiness, and tragedy are the price we must pay for having had the privilege of his company, the strength of his presence, the happiness of his warmth and joy, the security of his being.
We have all lost something. A friend, a husband, a son. But there is a greater loser, a more tragic victim from all this than we, his wife, his parents, his family, and friends. And that victim, my friends, is the world.
It is this world…this world that murdered him, that is the big loser.
The terms i think it might understand are that he is no longer at its disposal; that he is free and no longer subject to the prices that the world and mankind demand from its children as they attempt to struggle as individual human beings, with individual lives and loves, and concerns and cares, and plans, projects, and goals, and wins, losses, and rainouts.
The world requires that you be more than a man or a woman ~ which, until death, is impossible.
It requires that citizens of nations become us all. Citizens of nations, and pawns to realities revolving around such grandiose, eloquent, pompous terms, tenets, and ideas as ideology and geopolitics, alliances and balances of power, negotiations, diplomacy, and treaties, and on and on ad nauseam…. the vocabulary of government.
And much more real, final, and meaningless terms as enemy and body-counts, and hot LZ’s and .50-caliber machine gun positions, and frozen rotor blades at 300 feet, and notification of next-of-kin…. the vocabulary of the logical conclusion of the rhetoric of government, the vocabulary of War.
The world required this of him, and he agreed to pay his portion of the price. Tonite, however, the world’s account is overdrawn. Tonite, there is the matter of revenge. No. No, not revenge. Avenge. Avengeance. aVengeance… revenge without Vengeance; revenge without Violence.
But against whom does one direct it? And how?
Is it to be directed against those people and places and principles that killed him? Against other young – and old ~ women and men from other nations who, too, are but paying [and playing] their price and thus part, as their world ~ this world, our world ~ demands? They are but pawns as we. And as long as we pawns keep fighting ~ and paying for ~ all these Wars, there will be War.
What, then of the kings and queens and bishops and rooks and generals and knights and such? They, too, are but pawns. Their bloodshed is not their own; rather, it is of those that they like to call “their Peoples’.” These, too, however, are paying a price: the price of being those most directly associated with the true killers ~ the ideas, and terms, and tenets, and vocabularies. And, having to live with them, by them, and for them, they thus become the emptiness, the insanity, the impotence, the wretchedness that these words are.
No. It is neither the pawns nor the princes ~ the presidents, premiers, and propagandists ~ that are to be sought out and made to give retribution for Larry. It’s not the people who are directly, and thus apparently responsible for his having been there, and thus being no more.
Rather, it is those who are truly, though indirectly responsible. It is those that could have stopped it, could have prevented this spectre from becoming the spectacle that it is.
It is, indeed, those who permit the world to make them pawns and slaves, and legions to, of, by, and for these ideas and words. Those who permit themselves to go and become but the bit-players in this passion play, the finale of which is the death of their brothers and their sisters, their sons and daughters, their fathers and their mothers, their selves.
A death as meaningless, as senseless, and as empty as their lives. Lives spent under the tyranny of ideas, killing and thus dying under their effect. Lives lived under the anarchy of this self-imposed despotism, rather than in and through the fulfillment that is to be found in the truth, the beauty, the reality of the mind’s products ~ ideas ~ as they are used instead to eliminate the trials, tragedies, and traumas of man. Rather than, as today, propagating, perpetrating, and perpetuating them.
MAN is the object. MAN and LIFE. All of LIFE. Ideas are but vehicles. The price for avenging Larry shall have been extracted when that simple statement becomes a world-truth.
We live now in the insanity of Man being the vehicle, and terms, tenets, vocabularies, ideologies, and ideas being the object. The object that man has permitted to become, at not only his expense and thus life’s, but at the world’s, as well.
The guilty, my friends, is you and me and him and her and everyone. Each and every one of us all. Including Larry. And we begin, now, to pay the price for this. We have lost someone for whom Man and Life was the object.
Larry, as the rest of us, the young, was at but the beginning of this realization, at the beginning of this work. Because those of us that could have helped, long ago, to prevent what has happened did not, we are now paying the price.
Again: MAN is the object. MAN and LIFE. Ideas are but vehicles. The price for avenging Larry shall have been extracted when that simple statement becomes a world-truth.
The question, again, is “How?”
If, in fact, a man is ready to die when he knows himself completely, i am at last ready.
With this experience, with these words, i have come now to know and to understand the meaninglessness of the meaning I have permitted the world to attach to my, to your, to Larry’s, to everyone’s being.
And knowing this, i swear… No more.
aVengeance will be mine. i pray, my friends, yours as well.
The question, at last, is “How?”
This we will learn. With help… .
Quote without comment. News from ISW: "An unnamed US defense source told The Times that the Pentagon is no longer insisting that Ukraine should not strike military targets within Russia. The source noted that the Pentagon has changed its perspective on this matter following the recent intensification of Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure over the last few months and that the Pentagon has become less concerned regarding the risk of escalation, including nuclear escalation, with Russia."
From WW II, the first photograph (Life magazine, Sept. 20, 1943) of American dead was that of three soldiers on Buna Beach, New Guinea. One of the bodies is clearly being eaten by maggots (the soldiers nicknamed the beach "maggot beach"). Approval for publishing the photograph had to come from FDR.