Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Plastic Flowers for Italians
Butchered in Auto Accidents

Just as in any other Christian, particularly Roman Catholic, nation where religion molds overly the social, economic and political mores of its inhabitants, there is a premium especially, in Italy, on objects that reflect miserableness whether they be crucifixes, hermetically-sealed glass coffins containing dead-for-centuries holy people, statues dripping with blood, priests with holes in their hands, bleeding sacred hearts...ad infinitum. From my perspective, these symbols prompt the Italians I live with to accommodate a unique disposition that induces them to lament. And they do it so well! But what is worse, Italians expect you to join in with them in sharing happenings which, in other cultures, might not be thought of as being edifying. Italians want to be felt sorry for. The “catch-22” here is that if you do commiserate, you are doing yourself a good deed, and for that you should be thankful to the Italians for this blessed opportunity. An Italian will not thank you. You must thank him or her. By giving thanks, you submit. Nothing pleases the racist Italians more than your recognition of their quasi-fascist sense of superiority, their contrived haughtiness. Half of the Italians live in the 1930s; the other half live in the 1960s. These desperate souls are struggling in vain to be something they are not without acknowledging the dreadfully tragic consequences of their actions which are often violent and self-destructive.

It is customary to see plastic containers or milk cartons holding flowers attached to poles or fences near to where an automobile or motorcycle mishap killed an often inebriated or doped Italian causal agent. Years ago there used to be real flowers in these make-shift recipients, but today they are plastic and in some places, where collisions are frequent, ten to fifteen bouquets might be visualized in rows—propped up there sometimes for years, the artificial floral arrangements now blanched by the sun and covered with the soot and grime from passing buses, trucks, cars, scooters and even, on occasion, horse-drawn carriages.

One late morning in Sesto Fiorentino, I approached the bus stop where I was to wait to travel on to Firenze. About four or five metres beyond, I could see a young woman kneeling down and preparing to set up a composition of “live” flowers which laid on the pavement in rolled newspaper pages right next to her. I went over.

“May I ask what you are doing, please?”

She looked up startled and responded compactly, but very softly:

“I'm composing these flowers for my brother.”

“Your brother?” I quizzed.

“Yes. He was killed here four years ago in a motorcycle accident.
I come here every month with flowers for him.”

I told her I was very sorry and she nodded her appreciation very demurely.

She was a comely individual and exceptionally sensitive in the way she expressed herself.

I wanted to do something for her.

I changed the tone of my voice somewhat to express my seriousness.

“Do you really think your brother would want you to be here so sad
commemorating his brutal death again and again and again?
Don't you think he would want you to go on with your life--
to be happy, to be free from the gloominess this tragedy causes you?”

In an instant, she burst out sobbing.

Her face was red as a beet.

I put my hand on her shoulder to soothe her.

Suddenly, she stood up.
As if she had been regenerated.
She closed in on me and abruptly hugged me almost violently.
“Thank you.”

She walked away.

The flowers remained on the sidewalk.

I refused to call after her.

When she turned out of sight at the corner,
I picked up the flowers.

I returned to the bus stop.

I waited for a beautiful woman to pass by,
and when one did, I presented the beauties to her.

She was taken aback.

“For me?”

“Of course!”

“But why?”

“You are beautiful!”

Her face was red as a beet, too.

* * *

Authored by Anthony St. John
15 December 2009
Calenzano, Italy

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Anthony St. John, TheWordWarrior

Anthony St. John, TheWordWarrior
Why I Pity
John McCain, John Kerry &
Al Gore

I was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, watched games at Ebbets Field, and first baseman Gil Hodges (number 14) was my hero. A mythical being charges you with a sense of hope in some future which you know nothing about except that it is coming. You desire to imitate your hero because his past brought him to a hereafter you might also want to savor. Above all, a hero is doing something appreciated by all, and we look up to him or her with respect and admiration. It is natural to want to be like them.
Of course, there is the allure of the game before us in the stadium, on TV, or on the Internet. The contest gives a sense of security. The regulations are fixed and one cannot contest the umpire or referee. We can cheat on our income tax returns, we can talk a cop out of giving us a ticket, we can lie and call in sick when we are not—but on the field, on the court, the ref is high-and-mighty. At the game, we more or less feel that things will be managed in a logical, fair-and-square manner. Just the opposite of our material lives. And we want our heroes to be not only extraordinary in the ways they entertain us, we also wish that they play by the rules so that they appear impeccable in our phantasy worlds.

It is undignified that we make heroes of sport figures more than we do of writers, scientists, philosophers, physicians, poets or others who might be actually doing more to benefit our time to come than one making a winning jump shot at the buzzer. We are significantly more precarious in our outlooks on life than we are fixed contentedly in them. Sport suffices to fill some inexplicable gap germane to our dire straits.

Naturally, sports are more useful than street fights or warfare. Sports serve to distract us from the tedium of our lives, and when we sit down in a stadium or colosseum to enjoy a sporting event, we enter into the spirits of our heroes and become oblivious to the difficulties we are experiencing at home or in the office. The Greeks were the first to elaborate on this relevancy. Of course, it is not the responsibility of sport to encourage us to read a book or attend a symphony. We should likewise recognize that players are stressing both their bodies and intelligences to limits most of us fail to come near to doing so. This is one of the reasons we applaud them.

In this article, I wish to discuss that which is not heroic. And more, I wish to expand on the consequences of making something larger-than-life out of something crass and perverted: in other words, I want to zero in on an enormous distortion of The Truth that I witnessed during the Vietnam “War” and the consequences of its calamitous aftermath which still haunt the psyches of the citizenry belonging to the DisUnited States of Northamerica.

No military maneuver, whether it be a Brobdingnagian battle or a single incursion, will succeed without a network of an indefinite quantity of materiel backing up its soldiery. Soldiers need to eat, sleep, be medicated, be entertained, be paid... An army that is furnished to the hilt stands a better chance of winning the group action than one which is wanting in giving its troops that what they require. The DisUnited States of Northamerica is an illusionist at offering the world the idea that it is so well-equipped it might dot the globe with its state of the art weaponry and most modern ground forces. There is no doubt that the DUS has been successful in the past (World War I and World War II) in supplying its troops with an adequate amount of provisions to get the war job done, but Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan have corroborated the notion that the most sophisticated armaments and the most galactic dollar investment are not the sure bets they were before. And because the DUS's forces are scattered among almost eight-hundred bases throughout our terrestrial planet, their supply networks today are less efficient and, indeed, less agile when responding on the pickup. (The Art of War by Sun Tzu!)
My case in point, notwithstanding, is the Vietnam “War,” or better said the Vietnam Debacle. From its inception this military police action was haunted with doubt and confusion about its intended purpose and eventual outcome. The DUS was split sometimes violently as the intervention protracted itself for many years. Apart from the deaths (58,209) and wounded (304,704), the emotional scars caused by the conflict are still ostensible today even so two other foolish expeditionary penetrations divide the DUS and stress its financial stability dangerously. There is in the air the horrible idea that a war, whatever one, has to be won in order to “correct” the failure, the defeat, sustained in Vietnam still trivialized by hawkish elements with the repugnant word “Nam.”

But what put one of the many monkeys on the DUS armed forces' back during the Vietnam conflict was the new conception of an air force, army and navy force fed to new recruits and seasoned lifers alike and boosted vigorously by an ex-president of the Ford Motor Company, the Vietnam era's budget-minded paper pusher and corporate plumber Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara. RMcN fought hard to bring DUS forces into the managerial world making them parts of his enormous hydraulic-like system, yet he miscalculated so miserably not only what it meant to be a soldier, he actually envisioned the instauration of a new type of warrior thus opening the door to the creation of the modern electronic fighter—to the delight of anti-DUS guerilla elements located everywhere, naturally. If protesters objected to RMcN's orders, they were quickly flushed down his drain. His pipe dream eventually clogged the entire defence scheme and even today the DUS's military complex is staggering about perplexedly in an embarrassing confusion to the delight of not only ferocious radicals, even old World War II friends are busting their guts laughing at the absurd performance.

Our Southeast Asian forces were so top-heavy with business-like paperwork and administrative rigmarole, soldiers were constricted to do everything but what their mission intended them to accomplish: to soldier! As a junior officer, I was expected to learn something about everything. We were to participate in community affairs near our duty stations. We were encouraged to further our studies by mail at some university if we expected to gain rank. We were assigned to attend courses which had nothing to do with soldiering but did enhance our managerial potential. After Officer Basic Course I was assigned to teach in a missile training battalion, but when I was sent to Vietnam I was attached to a field artillery outfit—with the “guns” as a redleg would say. I had forgotten how to “lay the battery” by the time I was assigned to the Fourth Division in Pleiku by the Divarty full-bird CO, Colonel McAllister. RMcN wanted managerial clones to robotize the Art of Warfare. Being able to bomb the world to smithereens was the armed forces' logic for being superior to all other opponents.

I want to relate something now again that has shocked so many people before who have listened to me say it. It regards the logistical formation of forces in the Fourth Division (Pleiku, Vietnam) when I languished in it from August 1967 to the first part of 1968. At Pleiku was located the Snowflake Division's base camp—on the outskirts of the poverty-stricken Asian city. Citizens from Pleiku lined up each morning to be searched before being admitted to the Bravo Charlie to clean quarters, work in the kitchen, shine boots, run errands, clean tanks and jeeps, etc. The BC was a city in itself. About 20,000 inhabitants or so. The commanding officer of the base camp was a major general, two stars, named Peers. The BC was a beehive of activity as soldiers performed carbon-papered administrative chores, prepared hot meals for the troops on the battlefield, maintained helicopters and aerial observation planes, operated the PX, doctored the sick and wounded...in other words, a BC was the backbone of an organization which existed to execute the Vietnam mission. For every man in the field, there were seven or eight backing him up in BC. Individuals serving in BC were sarcastically called “base camp warriors” because the BC was rarely attacked by an enemy which was largely composed of guerilla forces. General Peers once had to order all arms locked up in BC because drunken Snowflake Division troops were shooting themselves and their comrades so often! A shot in the calf was called The Million Dollar Wound inasmuch as it would keep you out of the field. In Bravo Charlie, then, was the place to be if you had to serve in Vietnam.

The place where supply sergeants could steal left and right. Where stolen guns and rifles could be sent home to National Guard armories and then sold to paramilitary kooks in the DUS. Where Afroamericans, who often comprised 30-40% of infantry companies in the field, could be threatened with battlefield duty if they misbehaved. Where officers connived for their next duty station and higher rank. Where extra R&Rs were bargained for. Where soldiers received care for unheard of strains of syphillis. Where sergeants re-upped two or three times more to pilfer more. Where sergeants from the south of the DUS had cocktail parties for weeks celebrating the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Where sundry packs for grunts in the field were stolen and sold on the black market. Where division brass were entertained by Vietnamese-French prostitutes flown in from Saigon dressed in Red Cross uniforms. (RHIP: Rank Has Its Privileges!) Where graft and corruption went amuck. BC was such a disgusting pisshole, I preferred to be on the battlefield.

On the field of battle you did not have to shave or take a shower for a week or so. You might find a cobra or a bamboo pit viper in your hootch one morning. You could get malaria in the Central Highlands. If you did not take your anti-malaria pills to get out of field duty, you might end up in a tank filled with huge chunks of ice. Your armpits were bleached white from the salt tablets you were taking. Maybe 40% of your artillery rounds were duds. Your M-16 worked like a piece of junk, and you would wish you had an AK-47 like the LRRPs (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol scouts). You might go without supplies for a couple of days because helicopters could not land on the mountain top where you were dug in. You might be killed by an errant US Army artillery round or the door-gunner of a Huey helicopter or a 750-pound bomb dropped from a US Air Force jet. You could be drenched by monsoon rains beating down incessantly for eighteen hours a day, and then go to sleep with rain-soaked boots on. You might get a “Dear John” letter. Your feet could ache with jungle rot. Without sundry packs, you could clean your teeth with salt and use leaves instead of toilet paper. Where officers were called by their first names and where they would be murdered later on in the “war” by fraggings. Officers and enlisted ones were not of the same mindset. Humping with the grunts on the battlefield did not endear you to the base camp warriors; no, they just kept thanking their lucky stars they were not in your boots. In the field you could lose your body, but in Bravo Charlie you could lose your soul.

Believe me when I say I never saw a journalist or photographer when I humped with my FO (artillery forward observer) party (recon sergeant and telephone operator) and with the grunts in the jungles bordering Cambodia and Laos. (Artillery types, although they advanced with the grunts, were not entitled to receive the Combat Infantryman's Badge or something analogous to it.) Division SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) prohibited non-combatants from going to the field. If a combat photographer came to the battlefield, he (not “she”!) did it after the smoke had cleared and with permission. In BC you could find reps from print and TV organizations representing the world's media conglomerates. They were carefully controlled and buttered up ridiculously—naturally. The United States Army was fanatically media-conscious in Southeast Asia, had been in the past, and continues to be so today. Horrendous crimes committed by DUS troops against the inhabitants of their host country were swept under the public relations rug with the complaisance of the media.

Al Gore served as an Army photographer. His mother is remembered for whip-cracking the career of her senatorial husband, and when Al was up to the political gainsay himself she coached him so: “Al, SMILE, RELAX & ATTACK!” Those words served the calling of her husband and would suffice for the election campaign of her dearly beloved son when he sought the highest political position existing in the the DisUnited States of Northamerica. AG's mother had as a mission the swearing in of her son as a President of the DisUnited States—that task which she had not been able to accomplish for her husband. Al smiled and smiled and smiled. A good guy. And, oh, don't you forget it, a war veteran—not a Vietnam “War” veteran! AG did not need to brag about his military “service.” There were staff members to remind obeying journalists that AG wore his Army uniform proudly and served his country patriotically—something which the sons of editors of National Review did not! Politicians serving their country had PT-109 on their minds and still remember today how military service blessed JFK's chances of becoming a president. It was rare to see politicians' sons on the battlefield. They served in the logistical rear, base camp, where William F Buckley, Jr—even Gore Vidal—and others of this ilk could once be found. AG got away with not serving in the field but to his credit he did not brag about his Vietnam days inordinately. We cannot call him a hero!
Two-faced John Kerry did. Listen to what this insincere, hollow one said after his tour of duty in Vietnam when he served as leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War: “They...raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up [sic] bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion [sic] reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.” All of this is true. I can verify that DUS troops in Vietnam on very, very many occasions acted with criminal intent. They disgraced themselves and their country and did not help the DUS to honor its name nor its intentions such as they were. (How long would you trust your child with Lieutenant William Calley?) The worst, nonetheless, was accomplished by B-52 airstrikes that carpet-bombed to their deaths hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Most citizens of the DUS do not want to face up to these facts. They prefer to wrap themselves in their red, white and blue flags and deny historical facts. So be it. I can only say that those who lost their beloved ones in DUS bombings (The Americans are a wonderful people—if they aren't bombing you!) have not forgotten and will never do so. Hypocrites such as John Kerry are out for themselves and not Justice.

Well, then. Double-tongued John Kerry, who once harangued DUS involvement in the Vietnam Debacle, in 2004, accepting the nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention, did not present himself as the leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, but did boast that he was a proud veteran of that war and announced to the crowds, hawkishly, that he was “reporting for duty!” He even had film clips of his Vietnam “War” experiences. How he ever staged that is something that perplexes me. Did he pay the Viet Cong to act out for him? Deceitful JK criticized the Vietnam Debacle and then used it to promote his political fortune. He wanted his cake and wanted to eat it, too! What's wrong with that? Nothing! Would it not be difficult to find an American who did not think his political representatives were two-faced liars! Why should JK be credited with speaking coherently and honestly to his constituents? Citizens of the DUS expect their politicians to lie. Why should we think JK would even consider speaking The Truth to them? JK lost. He is a loser. He looked to wiggle his way to success. Not very elegant. Not in the least uplifting. We cannot call him a hero!
John McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958. He was ranked 894 out of a class of 899—a perfect tally for anyone wanting to be President of the United States! This Navy brat had a lot to live up to: both his grandfather and father were four-star admirals in the US Navy. JMcC was a hotheaded boozer and party boy at the Academy, and later in flight school, was famous more for the planes he crashed than he was remembered for his flying dexterity. In Vietnam he distinguished himself by accomplishing bombing missions against an enemy that possessed no air force capable of retaliating against him or his confrères. There is no record of him shooting down an enemy aircraft! When he was shot down, he was cared for, cured and eventually returned to the DUS after being used as a bargaining chip with bets being placed on his grandfather and father's high naval rank. He was not slaughtered as he had massacred Vietnamese women and children from the air. JMcC claims he sustained injuries in a Vietnamese POW camp that have remained with him since, yet he was able to pass physicals that returned him to full flight status after his much-publicized incarceration. It would be difficult to prove the extent of JMcC's POW sufferings; he has stated that he was in solitary confinement for two years. Yet it would be equally arduous to believe him because, after all, he is a DUS politician and qualifies himself as being an underhanded pathological prevaricator. And he speaks through his teeth! Not very refined. We cannot call him a hero!

The Truth-O-Meter tells it all! But why are Northamericans so afraid to face the music sounding off against their maliciousness and conceit? Better worded, why would the Northamerican community and their associates vie so vehemently to cultivate reputations of being bullies and self-righteous fanatics? To scare others into submission? Because they possess such a boorish view of human nature and contend with it to dominate and contain it? For the fight per se? Due to the fact that they are overanxious, endangered? Seeing that they lack confidence in themselves, they demur? It is difficult to join a debate which delves into the inner core of the Northamerican psyche. There is trepidation to do so. It is much easier to skirt issues without going all out trying to resolve them. Have you ever heard of a give-and-take entitled “What It Means to Be a Northamerican?” Who would sponsor that? Goldman Sachs?

What is clearer to the observer who does not belong to the Northamerican community than it might be to the Northamericans themselves, is the fact that there exists a huge amount of hostility directed at the DisUnited States, and in recent years it has crystallized beyond anyone's expectations. This has been achieved, in grand part, by the exponential utilization of the electronic communications' revolution now in rapid forward motion. The DUS is regarded as the prima facie of modernity and “progress.” It is alluded to continually as being the most powerful, most influential nation on Earth. As such, granted, it will bear the gratuitous criticism of others for being exaggeratedly proud and self-confident as a res publica even when it might not desire to be so. But those who cannot enjoy the material resources of the DUS and are violent in their attacks against the excessive and unconscionable modus vivendi of many Northamericans, are not uniting under the banner of enviousness but are singling out Northamericans for their human wickedness and abandonment of those ideals—generosity, justice, global fraternity, respect, to name a few—which others who tend to have not see in others who indeed have too much of. For many observers of the Northamerican scene, it appears that Northamericans cheat and steal Mondays through Fridays, and on Saturdays and Sundays ask forgiveness for their sins before beginning all over again on Monday morning. Citizens of the DisUnited States are loathed in all parts of the world, and in their inebriated amour propre, they refuse to perceive this actuality. Rather, they trust, quite remarkably, that their path is the one all should travel and they hold fast to the notion that they should be simulated.

It is therefore quite logical for Al Gore, John Kerry and John McCain to position themselves within the realm of The Untruth instead of The Truth. They feel obliged, as political representatives of their people, to cater to their constituents' weird opinions of themselves, and if a question of morality does spring up, the most convenient alibi is that they must follow the herd's quest, “in this our glorified democracy which abides by the wishes of the people.” Those people, almost most of them, clamored to have the murderer, William Calley, released, pardoned from his guilty conviction for the assassination of innocent children, women and elderly folk during the My Lai massacre. “Rusty,” today, cannot sleep and is haunted by the memories of his killing spree. (Some weeks after the My Lai massacre, I was assigned to the 11th Infantry Brigade [Americal Division] and served as the Brigade Artillery liaison officer for Colonel Oran K Henderson, the commander of the AO in which the butchery befell the innocent Vietnamese villagers. Colonel Henderson, then on the BG [brigadier general] list, was later accused by some of ordering the carnage, but was vindicated in court-martial proceedings. In the mornings, I flew with him in his spic n' span “C&C ship” (Command & Control Huey helicopter) to survey our AO. He was hung over every time and what I remember most about him was his ordering our copter pilots to ascend as quickly as possible to a 3,000-foot altitude so that we could be out of small arms fire! Never once did he offer his C&C ship as a MEDIVAC for infantry troops blown to bits by booby traps [90% of which were US ordnance!] in the heavily mine-infested My Lai AO. Colin Powell, who also served in the same AO, never went to bat to seek Justice for the victims of the My Lai mass murder.)

Might is right? When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow? The hatred of the Northamerican people has no terminus ad quem. Any faction which disagrees with them is subject to the most vociferous, antagonistic charges, and these intolerable ones, these fanatics stew in the sauces of their self-righteousness and misconception. What hope is there for them.

I feel discomforted for Al Gore, John Kerry and John McCain. They are intellectual cowards. They are pathetic. They possess not the gumption to go beyond. To lead their fellow countrymen to a new order that would bring respect and admiration to them...to cause the DisUnited States to be regarded as a competent, mature real thing throughout the world...to act as beacons of Justice and peace for all the globe to steer towards...to set the pace for the implementation of a world order equitable and worthy of being imitated by others...to be, simply, authentic leaders and not mendacious crowd followers.

Authored by Anthony St. John
1 December 2009
Calenzano, Italia

* * *

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Listen to the Death Rattles of Western Civilization!

The Perfect President
of the DisUnited States of Northamerica

The principal purveyors of cultural, economic, political and social policy extending heavy-handed rule over foreign nations, these Death Rattles of Western Civilization—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, The Netherlands, The DisUnited Kingdom, and their kingpin, The DisUnited States of Northamerica—now find themselves challenged as never before notwithstanding their often turbulent histories. Having lost any sensing of authority and/or authenticity, these Concocters of Consent, their consent!, these Rulers of the Truth, their truth!, these Proponents of Judeo-Christian “Democratic” Capitalism, their capitalism!, now have their backs against the wall. Vicious societal agitation against them, oligarchic socialists (olisocists), is rampant throughout the world. Uncertainty is a certainty. Foreboding is the order of the day. It is as if a grand conflict, a universal war (World War III/Universe War I) is looming in the inner selves of people—still again! Is an Armageddon between The Haves and The Have-Nots in the offing? A super clash, to outdo all others, set on its deleterious course centuries ago? Who is going to redeem Western Civilization? Who is going to pull The Old World out of its nosedive? Who is going to call the tune for The New Europe? Who is going to skipper us through our Sea of Hypocrisy? Superman? Batman? Spiderman?

Why not the striking John Sidney McCain III? (McCain in 2012!) No other Northamerican politician is so in sync with his country’s animating spirit. His curriculum vitae substantiates my assertion. Born 29 August 1936 of Scots-Irish and English ancestry, McCain III boozed his way through the DisUnited States Naval Academy (1958) as did McCain I (grandfather) and McCain II (father)—both four-star DisUnited States' Navy admirals. McCain III graduated almost at the bottom of his class (894/899) thus qualifying himself as a potential Commander-in-Chief of the DisUnited States’ armed forces and manager of the world’s largest bureaucracy, the Pentagon. During his active duty military career, McCain III crashed many DisUnited States' Navy jets yet not one of the enemy's when he served in Vietnam. Nevertheless, like his antecedents, the Navy brat bombed to smithereens an untold number of Asian people, including women and children. Quick-tempered McCain III was held prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton where the erratic hothead dictated the rules to his turnkeys who stood in awe of his family background and even offered him repatriation terms because he had made anti-DisUnited States propaganda confessions. Rank Has Its Priviledges. He is a church-goer, naturally, and switched from Episcopalian to Baptist in a vote-getting scheme set to woo the southern DUS’s constituency. With a pathology of power stirring him on, he divorced his first wife disfigured in an accident, married the heiress to a beer distributing company who bankrolled the political ambitions of this pol with a John McEnroe temperament (he smashes million-dollar Navy jets, not tennis rackets!), and hooked up with Mafia-faced Arizonian shady characters to realize his political illusions.

The DUS’s citizens are privileged to still have the chance to select this time a Presidential Professional Bomber, who talks through his teeth, to represent them all over the world. (The Northamericans are a wonderful people—if they aren’t bombing you!) With his finger on The Button, McCain III, the DUS’s first PPB, with a vendetta on his agenda, would surely bully for the DUS all the way across the globe. He does it his way! Northamericans should not lose this unique opportunity to select a half-pint, semi-psychopath who might turn out to be a bona fide Dr Strangelove.

Have a nice nightmare!

Authored by Anthony St. John in Exile and Sweating in the Sweltering Heat of Tuscany
1 July 2008
Updated 15 November 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Excessive Cheese Intake Obstructing French People's Brain Activity
Here Comes...
Le Nouveau Moyen Âge!

This gem of wit by the French agent provocateur and philosophical economist Alain Minc very much more than any other quip sums up for me the state of mind of, at least, the world's industrial nations' conglomeration: “Hier, nous avions le droit d'être fatalists par optimisme; nous devons désormais être audacieux par pessimisme.” Or, as the song-poem goes: “Desperation keeps us strong...It's a terrible beauty we've made.” Spandau Ballet. Not even a Jean-Paul Sartre philosophical tractatus could, if it would, salvage this Western “Civilization”--this spent European continent which André Glucksmann declares “doesn't have a brain in its head.”

Voilà! Well now... There certainly was not enough grey matter in France on 6 May 2007 to push Ségolène Royal over the threshold and into the Presidency of the Republic of France (Presidentess of Europe?). We knew so way before the national vote casting: The “Un million de femmes s'énervent” campaign for pledges counted not more than 20,000 signatures (mine included!) only days before the final showdown; then, the vain attempt to secure votes from the third place first ballot winner—that horse breeder's boots bogged down in conciliatory pony dung—proved to be an exercise in futility. We had before us a splendid woman, oozing with dignity, tact and outspoken courage. A femme who rallied against France's electronic neo-fascists; who made a great effort to lift the largest country wholly in Europe out of the post bellum doldrums of its fictitious well-being where it had been marinating for decades; who had no fear of a recalcitrant, desperate Roman Catholic Church waning more and more each day with every passing scientific discovery; who fought tooth and nail against an entrenched olisocism (a Lagardère-Pinault-Arnault troika); who attempted to bring France—this cheesy subgenus of a puny Europe that bounces like a counterfeit coin—before the international community dressed in the overalls of a legitimate nation looking honestly to make friends, not allies, with all peoples throughout the world; and, who pleaded with all French citizens to ask not what France could do for them, but what they could do for France. A truly golden opportunity blown away by the winds of intransigent shenanigans. Merci beaucoup.

It makes no sense that France thinks it has the gumption to cultivate la politique de l'autruche and play political hardball, not soft, on the ever-expanding international scene. Limp-wristed Gaullist status-quoticians want this land area, a little less than the size of Texas, to tighten its belt, turn in on itself, and draw others unto France instead of stimulating bonds with those beyond this realm 16% of which is over 65 years of age. The conservative approach. What for centuries has been the safe methodology. Can France afford to mellow still in the memories of its Past? Can France conjecture that it can chip in to be part of the leadership of the globe when its own turf is rife with dissent, dangerously polarized, hamstrung by the very economic rules and regulations it goes up against in speeches and prayers tended to less fortunate developing populaces, when it talks with a forked tongue basing its legitimacy on standards that only French citizens might comprehend...ad infinitum! Is a France, stuck in the xenophobic, racist rut of its Past, going to impress any others who refuse to kowtow to its haughtiness and are not electrified by France's image of itself smoothly camouflaged with soft skin creams, suntanned-by-lamp youth, and swankily dressed and cutely coiffed political artistes vying for a piece of the ever-dwindling Political Pie?

France sorely wants to give it the medieval stab! And to prove it is not ribbing us, on 16 May 2007 it crowned, as President of France, a tsar puérile, the first French president with a facial tic...El Hombre Macho. A fogeyish braggart who swears he is going to whip France into law and order and bring economic miracles to this Land of Phoney Excellence! France's Number One Cheese Salesman will shuffle a spineless, passionless, hedonistic France and take its GUCCI-PUCCI set for a whirlwind of nationalism and fiscal anal-hoarding. He yearns to achieve what other European politicos were impotent to effectuate: to manage the creation of a post-World War II body politic fit for all European people. (We wish him luck with this Europe which buries Kremlin atheists at solemn high funeral masses and rescinds war orders for princes for “the good of the troops!”) One can just see this King of France on a visit to Africa—to shore up desperately-needed natural resources for his megalomaniacal castles in the air—pleading with Africans to forget those colonial days which even today keep large parts of them in misery and starvation. As would the King of Spain, on a visit to Venezuela to deal for lower oil prices, begging Venezuelans to dismiss from their minds the 14,000,000 Southamerican and Centralamerican natives massacred by Spanish marauders...or the King of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, on a visit to Russia to bargain for cheap gas prices, imploring Russians to stop thinking about their 30,000,000 dead sacrificed during the fight against Fascism and concentrate more on pasta dishes...or the King of Hamburger, on a visit to Japan to secure permission to open fast-food outlets not far from the ground zeroes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, suggesting that the Japanese people not recall the devastating effects of the world's first use of belligerent atom bombs. The President of France can wave all the French flags he so wishes, he can sing La Marseillaise as loud as he desires for as long as he wants, but nothing will change the spirit of the African people who have had to submit to the criminal abuse administered by those French nationals who still today connive to deprive Africans of their basic human rights. The game has changed dramatically and not as the French would have it. And to react to this transformation, this stuck-in-the-mud France, with the personality of a squeezed lemon, has selected to play Bully on the Block! There are Republicans in Washington DC with more brains than that! Am I not right, Professor Glucksmann?

French conservatives have had too much a share of pessimism and negativism to offer. They have grouped together to form palsy-walsy social, cultural, economic and political ties which serve the inclusive general concept that a government should dole out political and civil honors according to wealth. The French conservative is not interested in offering a fair shake to his fellows, and he excludes them from power circles with the justification that life demands a political philosophy which exalts the nation and a select group of individuals above all others, and that severe economic and social regimentation, plus the forcible suppression of the opposition, are necessary measures to exercise stringent control over the masses who are considered inferior to the nobler and more privileged French conservative. I deny this philosophy and its aspects of myopic gloom. I look for programs which show liveliness and interest in good things. Which look with hope to the future. Which signal danger, but communicate love and understanding. “Human behavior leads to make-believe, disequilibrium, frustrations, lies, or, on the contrary, it becomes the source of rewarding experiences, in accordance with its manner of expression in actual living—whether in bad faith, laziness, generosity and freedom,” said Simone de Beauvoir. I wish that all people enjoy their lives in a spirit of unselfishness, lucidity and unsusceptibility and I beg the new President of France to come to his political and human senses and yield to the ideal that all men belong to the same community where equality and justice for all is the common goal.

Authored by Anthony St. John
19 May 2007

* * *

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Tender-hearted Partial Roster of People
with Whom I Wish to Dine

Roberto Baggio
Daniel Bell
Tony Benn
Fausto Bertinotti
Jeff Bezos
Clarissa Burt
Aldo Busi
Andrew Carnegie
Leonardo Cemak
Jackie Chan
Hugo Chávez
Noam Chomsky
Michel Classens
Hillary Clinton
Paul A Cohen
Richard Dawkins
Pierre Durand
Jenna Elfman
Elizabeth, Queen of England
Lynette Federer
Roger Federer
Vittoria Franco
Franco Gabrielli
André Glucksmann
Cindy Gomez
Hala Gorani
Germaine Greer
Kathy Griffith
Tony Hadley
Jenny Harrison
Paris Hilton
Whitney Houston
Eric Hobsbawn
Dr House
Martin Jacques
Hu Jintao
Nicole Kidman
Naomi Klein
Paul Krugman
La Principessa Fiona Corsini
Spike Lee
Jay Leno
Gong Li
Jet Li
Claudi Martini
Johnny Mathis
Giovanna Melandri
Alain Minc
Michelle Pfeiffer
Vladimir Putin
Laura Rasero
Robert Redford
Robert Reich
Don Rickles
Giulia Righi
Joan Rivers
José Luis Rodriguez
Jim Rogers
Ségolène Royal
Jerry Seinfeld
Brooke Shields
Jurg Siegenthaler
Peter Singer
Chang Sisi
Wolfgang Sofsky
Christopher Smith
Joseph Stiglitz
Lester Thurow
Livia Turco
Gore Vidal
Alessio Vinci
Vittorio Volterra
Karen Wilkinson
Tiger Woods
Gong Xixiang
Jean Ziegler
Andrew Zimmern
Howard Zinn
Greta Zografaki

Updated 19 September 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why the Central Stupidity Agency
Refuses to Reimburse Me
150,000,000 Renminbi
for My Highly-sophisticated
Foreign Affairs' Consultations (Gulp!)

If any one of you reading this letter-essay have ever been tempted to think that the Central Stupidity Agency (CSA) and its Agents of Stupidity (ASs) were indeed intelligent, you will never be enticed to do so once more provided you follow this article to its satisfying finale. You are about to enjoy with me a reassessment of many of my international experiences and the hindsights we may draw from them now and, regrettably, did not do so in the Past. This is not a “I told you so!” lament. It is my way of celebrating my own intelligence. I do not claim to be a genius on the subject of foreign affairs, nor do I affirm, boasting, that I possess an éclaircissement to all the disorderlinesses caused by the misplays and wrongdoings which I have witnessed perpetrated by the CSA and its ASs. In fact, I believe my abilities are directly proportionate to the inabilities of the CSA, and many other normally nimble characters would have reached the same assumptions I have had they only had had the opportunities to have had shared my observations. The beat goes on.

It all began in the autumn of 1975—at a public phone in the lobby of the Gainesville (Florida) Hilton hotel where I called the FBI office in Jacksonville to ask for advice. Lucia and I had decided to leave for Caracas near the end of the year. I knew almost nothing about Venezuela—its language, religion, customs and practices, history, collective memory, the value ascribed to its heritage, public spaces, and specific landscapes. I did know that the Venezuelans had spit upon Richard Nixon long before the Northamericans did and, of course, it was an oil-producing nation—just doomed to be so.

Planning shortly to live happily ever after in the arms of Lucia in The City of Eternal Spring, I asked for some guidance about Venezuela wanting to know if there was anything I should be wise to before heading out. Vaccinations? Visa? Passport? The agent with whom I spoke told me to call the Central Intelligence Agency (sic!) because that “outfit” was updated better on foreign affairs. He gave me a telephone number to call.

A man answered but never identified himself. Nor where he was nor what office he was in. When I enquired who he was he abruptly interrupted and asked me why I was calling. I told him. Then he queried me as to why I was seeking employment. I wasn't. I wanted to know about Venezuela. I related to him that my girlfriend had invited her friend, Pablo, from Caracas to meet me in Gainesville. Pablo was the right-hand man of the minister of the Ministerio del Ambiente y de los Recursos Naturales Renovables, the highest-budgeted ministry in the Venezuelan government at that time. The guy at the other end of the phone then was curious to know if I wished to be “contacted” when I arrived in Caracas. “Who knows...I just might need some help there alone and distant from the United States.” An “insurance agent” would visit with me when I was in Caracas. He did not say when or where.

Being lovestruck, it didn't dawn on me at the time that I was a perfect catch for a CIA recruiting officer fishing for apprentices. I had a university degree in Philosophy. I was an ex-Army officer (on the captain's promotion list) already with a SECRET security clearance. I had served as the S-2 (Intelligence Officer) for the corps of ROTC cadets at my university. I had reported for three newspapers. And I might add, I am a lateral thinker! I was recipient of the “The Wayward Missile Award” and had been called “Loose Cannon” while I served with the field artillery! Most of all, I am an “outside the box” theorist. (“A standard recommendation for reform—one made regularly by people discovering these problems for the first time—is to encourage “outside the box” analyses that challenge conventional wisdom and consider scenarios that appear low in probability but high in consequence. To some, this sort of intellectual shake-up might well have led the intelligence system, rather than Tom Clancy, to anticipate the kamikaze hijacking tactic of September 11.” Reference: Foreign Affairs, January-February 2002, page 49.) But there was a little problem: I'm not a joiner; and it was Vladimir Nabakov who had reminded me that spies get shot.

Even though the Central Stupidity Agency would have been ludicrous not to have desired to have one such as me on their roster, they were not going to ask me to work for them! (Thank goodness!) It was for me to go crawling to them. The CSA hunts for supporters. Believers. Sycophants. It covets minions. Individuals who are predetermined and apprehensive. You must be of an unenthusiastic nature but raring to go to authenticate yourself, to give yourself some legitimacy by devoting your being to a strident cause. This amalgamation requires that a candidate be a conforming non-conformist. A contradiction in terms. A double-bind situation. An aspirant must exhibit exceptional abilities to think tangentially yet be disposed to submit to a last word. Any contestant who reaches beyond the control sphere might be stomached for his or her incomparable flair—if he or she is beyond doubt an important element—but this temperament cannot be remunerated in the context of such a person's career profile. If you want to feel free you should not join the Central Stupidity Agency! You must think pessimistically about everything. You must have an enduring faith in “The Company.” They are Jesuit-like. They know something about everything but nothing about what is obvious. And you better not be an atheist!

No “insurance agent” ever met up with me in Caracas. But that was not necessarily simply because I was surrounded by CSA goofballs where I worked: first, at The Daily Journal newspaper, a bulletin board for government undercovers traipsing through Southamerica; then at the Ministerio de Infomación y Turismo. I must append here a very freaky story I had read in the DJ and which hinted to me that even if an “insurance agent” was to accost me, I could not communicate with him or her about my “dealings” with the CSA. The article stated that the CSA had been infiltrated by “moles”--it was not said who or where they were—and that the CSA was taking precautions to remedy the state of affairs! How could I be sure that an “insurance agent” was a “mole”--or not. I was on my own. I could not believe anyone. It was one of the most liberating, joyous days of my life!

When George Tenet announced his resignation from the Central Stupidity Agency in June 2004, effective 11 July 2004, he made the following statement: “We are not perfect...but we are very, very, very good....” Don't believe him! Look, rather, at the history of the world for the past sixty years and decide for yourself whether or not this planet is a better, safer, calmer place to live on. And please do not offer excuses for the catastrophes that these swivel chair warriors have concocted for millions of innocent people who have had to put up with their often megalomaniac shenanigans. I am going to prove to you how and why the CSA is chock full of dimwitted personages who are doing the DisUnited States of Northamerica more harm than benefit, and I will draw upon my experiences with them in New York, Vietnam, Venezuela and Italy to do so.

The CSA ASs I knew were tense, grim and lived their lives strenuously: playing hard ball at work, but “soft” hard ball when they lightened up. Always the confrontation, the competition, the obsession to control. With the perks they possessed, the ASs had also been given extravagant opportunities to take the Rests & Recuperations that allowed them to regain their composure and verve. But once these breaks were interrupted, they were back again stressing themselves at their sinews convinced they were not only performing a patriotic service, but were also persuaded that they were executing some metaphysical, religious good turn that would reap them rewards not only in this world, but in what they believed to be an afterlife. Dog is their copilot. These Simple Simons do not sustain that the separation of Church and State should be sanctioned.

In this reading, my dear reader, I want to put the spotlight on only three CSA ASs with whom I broke bread: William F Buckley, Jr, editor of National Review, Clem Cohen and John Sullivan. Three pals. Three enormous egos. Three marionettes. Three footboys. Three extremists.
I will speak the least about WFB, Jr because his life is best illustrated by me in another article of mine, William F Buckley, Jr: Profile of a Right-wing Fanatic posted on www.scribd.com/thewordwarrior. Enjoy reading it, and tell me what you think.

Clem Cohen was the most affable of the ASs that I was to meet—and the most pathetic, unfortunately. I would have liked very much to have been his friend, but CC had no time for friends, for life. He was a CSA workaholic and obsessed with the cold-blooded mission set out for him by his Langley superiors.
Clem Cohen was on the masthead of The Daily Journal listed as a “director,” but he was my boss at the Ministerio de Información y Turismo (MIT) to which I had been transferred by the “directors” of the DJ. I had never seen him even once during my six-month stint at the DJ. Clem was from Brooklyn, New York as I was. This did not endear him to me because I had not been to New York since 1968 and Florida had sort of undone some of my New Yorkishness.

CC was very much unsettled with himself. As other ASs were, he, too, was extremely intelligent and fluent in at least four languages and had a knowledge of two others. He was pressured but quick—so nippy as to be on the verge of ill health. One day when I was called to his office to discuss the rewrite of a speech I was editing, he jumped up on his swivel chair, mimicked a monkey, and kidded with me that he was going “bananas.” On different occasions, I tried to help him as best I could to calm him down, although I had no success. People in the office told me he was diabetic, but I possessed no verification of this information concerning his health. It would not have surprised me that he was. CC was always in a hurry. He downed his lunches dashing to return to our offices. He had three or four phones on his desk, and I frequently saw him holding a receiver in each hand while he spoke to two people at the same time. He was a compulsively hard worker to the exclusion of other interests and gave me the impression that his job had control of him rather than he having control of it. He was driven to accomplish yet I never saw the harvest of what he had planted.

CC was Venezuela's “media czar.” Each and every word written about the government of Venezuela passed his scrutiny before being sent out to the world. At MIT, he was always in contact with the DJ. MIT utilized ten telex machines that hummed twenty-four hours a day. Our newsrooms were the most forward-looking I had ever seen with the exception of those at The Miami Herald from where I once reported. All of the people I worked with spoke two or three languages with varying degrees of proficiency. CC had to read all their work before it was transmitted. Articles. Speeches. Press releases. Anything and everything originating from the Venezuelan government were checked and double-checked by the overworked Clem. It was handy for CC to have me in his service because I could spruce up the repeatedly dreadful English copy that he had to deal with. I had no muscle to change any of the contents of that which I edited. CC was paranoid about his mastery over media material. Often, I saw French, Italian, English, Spanish, German or Arabic texts spread across his desk which was constantly in a state of confusion and glutted high. Journalists from all over the world representing important newspaper or television companies passed through Clem's office unceasingly. The place pulsated with excitement and energy. I remember speaking one afternoon with Bernard Shaw of CBS who was one of the most kindhearted journalists I had ever met in my life.
CC was poles apart the other CSA personnel I knew and who were excessively rigid in their opinions and very often uptight, self-righteous and lacking senses of humour. Clem surely could be a hard worker and an extremely difficult boss to work for, yet he never asked his underlings to do things he would not do himself. He was a man you came to respect. He had a kindliness for others that reaped him support and collaboration when he was dealing with those he managed. He would tear out of his office running to a meeting with the ministro of MIT, Diego Arria, screaming final instructions to three or four of us on his way to the elevator. He worked too arduously. Too relentlessly for his physical well-being. It was CC who gave me the idea that the CSA was comprised of a “left wing” and not just the “right wing” (a Hegelian tit for tat?) which had impressed me so much at National Review and The Daily Journal. CC was more open-minded than the doctrinaire parrots of the conservative force, and if I remember correctly, he spoke well of John F Kennedy with me—but not very revealingly. It was not easy to take Clem's mind away from his work which, I had the notion, was creating more discombobulation than it was inventing creative thinking.

Each and every of the ASs I looked at carefully were goaded with a zeal which distinguished their moral fibre. They were high-minded men. Persons with faith not in themselves. Profoundly convinced they were performing a good turn on behalf of their country—right or wrong! They were religious. Practitioners. They entreated, in church or synagogue, to be able to do their best for the United States of America. They sought protection from the enemy during their prayer gatherings. They walked with four eyes checking all angles. Overly attentive. Curious. Intelligent. Thinkers both on their feet and on a bar stool. From their military experiences they grasped the importance of keeping their ties fit properly and their gig lines tidy. They could be conservative dressers toting Samsonite accessories; or, they could be fashion plates decked out in European tailored suits with Italian leather briefcases and luggage. Their watches. Their pens. Their belt buckles. Every bit of them attended to to execute the task delegated to be brought to a conclusion in favour of the United States of America. The zealots, hyped with putting on their best act, squirmed and oiled their ways through the labyrinth of details and enigmas indispensable to their superiors in Langley, Virginia.
John Sullivan was a tall, solidly-built Central Stupidity Agency AS who had as his AO (Area of Operations) the whole of Southamerica. I first met him at MIT after he had had a hushed-up conference with CC. He was not fixed to any duty station. He scrambled about Southamerican capitals using Business Week as his cover. After a brief tête-à-tête, he left me so: “Let's have lunch some day.” He was very sure of himself. Too much so for me to like him. He wore the troubles of the world on his shoulders. He was strained. He had a mission. He was holier-than-thou and a tad arrogant reminding me of William F Buckley, Jr. Was he that “insurance agent?” Was he a mole? Years later we met again at the Tamanaco Hotel, and the trim, decked out with muscles JS looked surprised when he saw me: “You still here?” I responded so: “Yeah, I'm still waiting for you to keep that lunch date!” He was embarrassed. He balked. He told me he had a dinner appointment with a Puertorican lady, but before I could let him off the hook, he caved in and invited me to dine that evening, too. John wanted to give me the impression that he was a man of his word. Like most ASs in the field and not behind a swivel chair, JS also valued the virtue of being precise. When you are meticulous you can count your accomplishments with satisfaction without regretting later that you had left something out; or, if you did, you could remind yourself that you at least had carried through on the most of them! JS was overly scrupulous. Irish Roman Catholic. As we dined, I would get an inkling into why he was so.

John led the conversation for most of the time we three sat together. The lady with us at the hotel's restaurant hardly ever uttered a word, nor did she appear peeved—didn't even, I think, hide any sentiment of being annoyed at my presence—and this caused me to think that she was an employee and not a romantic chum of JS. JS called to mind1 that he was divorced.

“First thing every morning I go to mass and communion....” JS told me it was especially easy to find Roman Catholic churches in the early mornings throughout Southamerica—easier than coming across them in the United States. His revelation made me think immediately of William F Buckley, Jr, and I informed him that I had worked for WFB, Jr's National Review in New York. JS said: “Bill Buckley is a sailing mate of mine!” I reacted surprised. Just imagine! JS gossiped about many things and his speech was rapid fire and obsessive. He was verbalizing at one point when he cited “The Company” as a reference to some fact he had mentioned. “The Company” was not “insurance agent” so I had to remind myself that I could not voice anything about my Gainesville Hilton hotel conversation, but I clandestinely wished JS would eventually, during the meal, come up with those two magical words. He never did. But was he a mole?

Another slip of JS's tongue was this: “The Middle East is going to blow any day now!” That statement would stay put in my cranium for decades, and all through the eighties and nineties hardly a week passed by when I would open up a newspaper or search on the Internet a Canadian, English, French, Northamerican, Spanish or Venezuelan newspaper expecting to discover that World War III had begun in the Middle East exactly where JS had predicted it would that day in the Tamanaco Hotel in Caracas. When the Twin Towers were attacked first in 1991 and ten years later in 2001, JS came to my mind instantaneously.

John Sullivan made another personal “leak”--by now he was under the influence of the one-after-the-other drinks he had imbibed—while we were discussing the food which had been served to us: “I eat on the go. I don't enjoy eating.” When I made a cute “Didn't your mother breast feed you?” aside, I thought JS's date from San Juan would bust a gut trying to hold in her laughter which she did not want to express—thus convincing me further that she was a subordinate and not a person passionate for JS who had given me the idea he could not cultivate a close relationship with anyone, including himself.

After dinner, the Puertorican woman left us and JS accompanied me to the front door of the hotel. It was close to eleven o'clock. He asked me how I was returning home. “Like always,” I said. “By bus.” John let me know, as if I didn't know, that it was not wise to travel on buses late at night in Caracas, hailed a cab for me, and put 15 bolívares in my hand. I thanked him for the evening spent together, and gave him one last chance to utter “insurance agent.” He stood stiffly, robustly. He was doing something he had to do. His frame was solid, athletic. I could see that he had been trained to defend himself with his hands. I shook his hand. He went off. I entered the cab, and as it drove off en route for La Florida where I lived, I had the sensation that my world had crumbled on down on me, and I felt again as lone as I did when I had bereaved the loss of Lucia to cancer. But worse. I had once again been betrayed by my country. As if Vietnam had not been enough! The no show of the “insurance agent” was a very bitter pill for me to swallow, and I have often checked off that infidelity logically reasoning that an administrative mix-up was the root cause. “We Take Care of Our Own” was lost on me. I had been left on my own still again. In Vietnam, my country did not give me the opportunity to be a hero for it; and, in Venezuela, my country did not give me the chance to say “f**k y*u” to it. Nevertheless, from that day on I have never been convinced that CC and/or JS were not one of the Soviet moles The Daily Journal had put its readers to the wise about. Why should I be?

* * *

Having divulged to you three mini psychological profiles of three ASs subservient to the Central Stupidity Agency, three drumbeaters who were permitted to use their political and religious visionary speculations to taint the interpretations of their analyses clouding those deductions with chitchat and muddiness, I wish now to concentrate on three of the gross miscalculations of the CSA that I, personally, have corroborated and, with alarm, reported on attempting to bring to light the misconceptions of these detrimental courses of action:


My first revelation was reached with perceptions of the nature of the events I had studied after they had happened—regrettably. When I met Paul Fritz for lunch in Zürich in 1985 (PF, literary agent for Peter Benchley, John Cheever, Stephen King, Mario Puzo, Gore Vidal, Tennesse Williams, Toni Morrison, Norman Mailer, James Michener, Issac Singer, Ian Fleming, et alia, in German-speaking Europe and who died prematurely of a stroke in Florida on vacation) he accosted me with these words: “I read the first 180 pages of your The Hippie Lieutenant manuscript and I know why no one will publish it in the United States!” In fact, some of the most prestigious houses in New York had nixed the work.

The Hippie Lieutenant, my trilogy about the Vietnam “War,” recounts one, of the many, of history's most tragic events, and the three books put into focus the horrible miscalculations of the United States' government that destroyed a large portion of a people's lives and homeland. Further, this Asiatic “police action” ruined the lives of countless millions upon millions of Northamerican soldiers and their families and friends; and, it caused the DisUnited States of Northamerica to lose hope not only in itself and its ideals, but also in the future of its citizenry. The end of this nefarious debacle left the DUS with only one recourse: to adorn itself in the vesture of arrogance and revenge and seek a vindication of its unlawful behavior by any means. Who, in the DUS, would want to read about that!


The affable Paul Fritz thought it wise to leave The Hippie Lieutenant in his desk drawer saving it for a more opportune, later date—when hopefully the DUS would have come to its senses.

My trilogy about Venezuela, Men Without Honor, Women Without Love, activated PF's taste buds the more, and with it he made a valiant effort to have it published in Germany on my behalf.

These three tomes hit on still another Northamerican diplomatic fiasco, and they clearly distinguish the Venezuelan “good guys” from the “bad guys” in cahoots with greedy Northamericans and their coterie of Washington governmental officials, sleazy journalists, two-faced university professors, petroleum Robber Barons, corrupt bankers and financial advisers, and all else who had collaborated ignominiously with the Venezuelan oligarchy known as The Twelve Disciples. My production predicts (predicted!), with passion and careful elucidation, that the Venezuelan people would revolt against the insupportable injustice that they were being subjected to. And they did.

A copy of the first segment of Men Without Honor, Women Without Love was consigned to my niece, Bernadette (a DUS naval officer visiting me from the Sigonella Naval Air Station in Italy where she was assigned as protocol officer) with my explicit instructions that the manuscript be hand-delivered to DUS intelligence personnel.


I have lived in Italy since 1 May 1983. Here, too, the patterns of stupidity, greed, and corruption run in tandem with those I bore witness to in Vietnam and Venezuela. Each place shares similar spectacular anti-democratic, oligarchic traits that would shock most Northamericans who cherish the tenets of their constitution. Each one is enclothed in a different style, yet each one overlaps the other with their substances of deceit and malfeasance.

Italy is falling apart at its seams. It is more than knee-high in putridness, and a day does not exist—at this writing—that some Italian political pundit will not warn Italians of one threat, or another, that is debilitating Italian democratic values.
Some of my articles about Italy can be found on www.scribd.com/thewordwarrior, and I am collecting, as I have been for many years, notes, clips, newspaper articles and the more so that I can eventually finalize my thoughts in a book that I have tentatively named Italy: A Despairing Frivolity Floundering in Its Chaos of Ignorance.

* * *

The Central Stupidity Agency has miscarried dismally in the execution of its mission. This is so for a number of reasons only three of which I will relate now. The organization is bent of “converting” other nation-states so that they conform to what the CSA regards as the moral utopia of all time: Judeo-Christian “Democratic” Capitalism. This theorization is to be fostered, at all costs, throughout the world whether through the force of economic persuasion or the clout of armed intervention. (The people of the DisUnited States of Northamerica are wonderful—if they are not bombing you!)

In opting to stamp down on the world for “its own good,” the CSA has programmed, falsely, the global extension of its economic, militaristic and political power thus compromising the security of the DUS itself. The DUS's military forces at home are unfortified, and those scattered throughout the globe are threadbare.

The worst, for me, consequence of the CSA's incompetence has been the fact that the DUS has lost so much respect in the eyes of other nation-states it is being taken less seriously the more, day after day. The CSA and its ASs tugged too hard and did not reckon that it would have been best to have treated others as they themselves hoped to be treated. The arrogance of the CSA has assigned the DUS to the dubious position of being in a state of never-ending harm's way.

My dear reader, do you really believe that I am serious about cashing in 150,000,000renminbi in compensation for my intelligent intelligence disclosures? You would be crazy if you did simply because the Central Stupidity Agency would never admit it had gone astray, and inasmuch as the government of the DisUnited States of Northamerica is on the verge of bankruptcy, it could never come up with the funds!


And, have a nice nightmare!

Authored by Anthony St. John
1 September 2009
Calenzano, Italy

* * *

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I Am Sick & Tired of the One & the Other
Western Civilizations

I am nauseated. Appalled. Not a day passes that the two Western Civilizations do not fire up my ire. The only solace I embrace is that both WCs (WC I & WC II) are more outraged with themselves than I am with them. I ask myself: How may I be satisfied knowing this? I just cannot. Everywhere my eyes see for me, I am reminded of William Blake's couplet:

A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe,

One should think that with all the attention that is allocated to health, diet and exercise by the proud, greedy and jingoistic, there would be at least some somebodies basking themselves in the sunshine of their lives. But no. Everyone is aflutter. Strained. Running helterskelter. I sense I must break loose...the same sensation that vexed me in Caracas, Venezuela a bit before the city, senseless, careless and hopeless, broke into a bloodcurdling violence that wiped out two thousand people over one weekend. I feel I am smothered by self-serving simpletons who care nothing for the society they pertain to and expect only to gratify—the faster the better—their personal cravings for appointments and trappings. They do not consume to possess; rather, they are possessed to consume and fail to take into account that half the world subsists on subunits each day. When hundreds of millions of earthlings are addicted to such a dog-eat-dog modus vivendi, only this clear-cut conclusion might be drawn: We are living in very dangerous times. (I've got to get out of this place!) Ante bellum?

If any of you reading this essay know what a history book is, you might be fascinated again when you recall that after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic church confined WC I to such a perfect state of betise, five-hundred years, a fourth of its entire existence, were needed before Europeans could come up with an original idea. And when they did, off they went on a binge of study and investigation attempting to stimulate all others to reason and urging them not to kowtow to the ridiculous prescriptions, bombarding and hoodwinking them day in and day out, prescribed by the men of the cloth and their tyrannous churches. Their efforts were often in vain. To refute the fantastic claims of knavish popes and fly-by-night philosophical clerics, a huge measure of intellectual elbow grease would have to be applied. When the Protestant Reformation got under way, when Roman Catholics and Lutherans sought to cut each other's throat, scientists in the north of Europe became more inclined to rebel against Rome. Great scientific, artistic and literary accomplishments were to thrive with the removal of much of the authoritarianism dictated by religious hundred-percenters.

Christianity, the opium of the people, the politically correct panem et circenses, had then kept the world benumbed for five-hundred years, and today it wishes desperately it could only put everyone in quietus once more before the fall of WC I and WC II. Just to calm things down a bit—to give all the opportunity to reflect! To try to recoup! There is no chance for that to hap. We are already experiencing a transitional movement marked this time by an exclusively scientific revival expressed in a flowering of inquiry and scrutiny—a people's front that will make Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Gilbert, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton look like catechumens. The Japanese are realizing the dreams of Leonardo da Vinci. The Northamericans are taking long strides on behalf of biotechnology and electronics' problem solving. The Chinese are revolutionizing their country with their hope for progress. Science is demolishing the fairy tales of religions. Each and every day, the pope must denounce each and every scientific improvement—interpreting scientific discipline as a menace to Rome's sagging potency.

One peril must be thwarted with verve: Science cannot become the domain of individuals who group together to form palsy-walsy social, cultural, economic and political tiers which serve the inclusive general concept that they should dole out political and civil honors according to wealth. Rather, they should be interested in offering a fair shake to their fellows, and ought not to exclude him or her from their scientific power circles with the justification that life demands a philosophy which exalts Science and a select group of individuals (scientists) above all others, and that severe economic and social regimentation, and the forcible suppression of the opposition, are necessary measures to exercise stringent control over the masses who are considered inferior to the nobler and more privileged scientist. Is it highly unlikely that Science will not become a sort of religion?

The pope had a dream. He dreamt that all Christians throughout the world resembled the Italians. That they adored the pope not because he is a Heavenly symbol of Christianity, or religion, but rather for the reason that he is a symbol of Earthly power. An economic potency whose tentacles reach out end-to-end across the globe from its city-state headquarters. He envisaged that his subjugated ones paid homage to him as an extraordinary political and economic influence, and that they, as do the Italians so fervently, would always rally to his side, like blind sheep, regardless of what he dictated from the Vatican HQ. Vatican, Inc, the first global conglomerate, having now kept The Boot simmering in the Age of Darkness Part II, has cultivated a symbiosis between knee-jerking Italians and the whims of an autocratic hierarchy of elderly prelates, mostly Italian, living in sin and the memories of other centuries (laudatores temporis acti). Anti-scientific. Superstitious. High-handed. Italians grovel most accommodatingly for them. They know not what better to do. Why should they? Their schools are the worst in Europe. Their level of instruction between the ages 25-64 is the lowest in Europe. A fourth of the Italian population has an elementary school diploma. Ten percent of the citizenry possesses a university degree. Sixty-six percent of the residents are medium to high illiterates. Only 38 out of 100 read one book a year. Half the homes in the nation do not have a book in them. Ronald Spogli, Bush administration out-going ambassador to Italy said this in his 2009 bitter swan song: “Italy, be careful! You risk economic disaster. You cannot continue in this way and be considered an economic power if your university system continues to be a national tragedy. It is embarrassing that there is not one Italian university in the top two-hundred posts of rated international universities.” Italians are the perfect ones to follow the dictates of senescent, unmarried men dressed in medieval garb. (From Outrageously Offensive Jokes II, by Maude Thickett, Pocket Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc: New York, 1984; pp 81-83. ISBN: 0-671-50362-6: “When the mate of a female gorilla in the Chicago zoo dies suddenly, a replacement is desperately needed. After all attempts to get another male gorilla fail, the zookeeper is frantic. The female's heat is almost over, and it will be months before she can be mated again. Traveling home one day, the zookeeper sees an Italian construction worker without his shirt on. The man is covered with hair. Why not? The zookeeper approaches the construction worker. How would you like to make an easy $10,000 bucks? The Italian asks warily who the zookeeper wants killed? No one. You just got to make it with a gorilla at the zoo. No one would even have to know. What are you fuckin' crazy? Get the hell out of here yells the Italian. Well, if you change your mind, here's my card. When the Italian gets home he is still angry and he tells his wife what happened. Stupid! You know what I could do with an extra $10,000 bucks! Call that nice gentleman up and tell him you'll do the job. Reluctantly he calls the zookeeper. Okay, I'll do it, says the Italian. But I want you to know there are three conditions. The zookeeper is ecstatic. Anything, you name it. One, I'm only doing it once. Fine says the zookeeper. Two, I'm not gonna kiss her. And three, if there are any children, they must be brought up Catholic.”) Italy is floundering in a Chaos of Ignorance. It is no longer a Comedy of Errors (Andrès Glucksmann, French philosopher: “The Italians are the funniest buffoons on a continent without a brain in its head.”)--it is a Tragedy of Errors. Italians illegally build apartment buildings with defective materials in earthquake-prone zones, and when these edifices collapse, they beg for funds throughout the world. Priests, bishops and bankers rub their hands with glee as donations come pouring in. The Italians are the wealthiest mendicants in Europe—not the poor, denigrated, hated, abused ROM peoples. www.transparency.org lists Italy as the most corrupt nation in Western Europe. The New York Times: Italy is a country more used to managing emergencies than plans that might prevent them. Gore Vidal: The Italians have an astonishing ability to cope with disaster which is so perfectly balanced by their absolute inability to deal with success.

It would be nonsensical to reflect on the state of the two Western Civilizations without examining the determinant of religion, particularly Christianity, in particular the Roman Catholic church. And one must not be jumbled so as to think that Italians alone suffer the heavy-handedness of religion. The French, Germans, Greeks, Portuguese, Spanish—many others—are also looped with “theological virtue” meddling in their social, militaristic, economic and political concerns. Perhaps only in the DisUnited States of Northamerica there once existed some sort of limp-wristed attempt to separate church from state—without much success. When we now mull over the disconsolate predicament of Western Civilization I and Western Civilization II, the spectre of religion must be kept in mind as a causal factor accounting for the decline of the Western Civilizations. It would be scoundrelly to do otherwise.


Loredana, 47-year-old divorced law school graduate obliged to work as a secretary for a multinat in Italy, comes from Naples. She is obese—nervously jovial. Resists pig-headedly to provide for her only child, a 21-year-old university student in Rome. L is Roman Catholic to the bone. Touts a crucifix on a necklace. Like most Italians, she never goes to church. To her way of thinking, the pope is very much more important than Italy's prime minister primarily because the pope's ambit of influence throughout the world is indeed far more efficacious than the puerile antics of any of Italy's political sapheads. The pope is what makes The Boot consequential in the eyes of the world—not a fascist-like Silvio Berlusconi or some other similar clown-like figure. Irrespective of L's mirthful Napolean-like super- patriotism, her rambunctiousness which edges on the rude, and her garlic-smelling breath, I gravitated to her for her intelligence and skittish, conversational wit. Yet, one day, she shocked me in my tracks when she cornered me alone and whispered this: “When are you Americans going to nuke those bastard Muslims?” I wonder which psalm she found that in...?

I tend to think that fifty percent of racist Italy cerebrates the same way but would admit so with a more cautious choice of words, while another ten to twenty percent would concur with L but by keeping their thoughts hush-hush. The preconceptions of the Italians (“We are not racists. We are Italian racists. We hate everyone.”) are a cancer that is metastasizing at an enormous pace now that the global economy is feeble, now that Italy's rock-bottom birthrate has coerced Italians, against their volition, to accept foreign workers to take on the menial jobs Italians (and other European nationalities) decline to assume.

Europe and the British Isles are on the brink. Throughout this continent, there is a malaise consuming the heart and soul of an excessively proud people who for virtually two millennia dominated the arts, the sciences, history, learning, economics and politics—often employing un-Christian-like methods—and lit up a beacon for the world to fix upon. Europe is now flaccid. Almost fagged. It is scrambling to hold out—to stay afloat in the swirl of Science and Progress (contested modernity) that is annihilating its traditions, institutions and...religions.

Three readings of import gauge for us Western Civilization I's descent into obliviousness. The first is WC I's impuissance to reload its shrinking population. It might seem legitimate that a civilization that has endured for just about two thousand years could have learned, by now, how to replenish itself and rest vivacious and prosperous. But no! They just can't. Throughout this continent, without a brain in its head, no notice consumes the least attention of its taxpayers as does the demographic tribulation. The continent itself is super-populated. Most countries in Europe and the British Isles are wearied with water supply depletion, the lack of precious natural resources, and social in-fightings. It is logical that Europe should reduce its population, but it is illogical that it does nothing to stabilize the maturation of its citizenry in order to guarantee that its stock will be steadily, rationally rendered. It is also stunning that transnational resettlements, within this so-called “Union of European Nations,” the European Union, are ridiculously marginal. Uneducated, often desperately poor individuals from Africa, Southamerica and eastern Europe are flooding in to fill the posts that European inhabitants, now once again somewhat prosperous, refuse to occupy. With an immigration which is frequently prey to the depraved lawlessness, injustice and racism of the Europeans, their criminal elements, and pandering, corrupt politicians, Europe's mañana will be fraught with dangerous social unrest and unheard of displacements within the staid social fibres of conservative European institutions still strained from last century's two world wars.

History is another WC I bête noire. The historical baggage that WC I must lug is one that offers no hope to those plugging the holes to keep WC I from plummeting into an abyss of helplessness. There is no stretch in this world where WC I is not famous for its freewheeling depredation and bloodshed. At a time when WC I needs most to join with others beyond its borders in order to cultivate political and economic advantage, doors are being slammed in its face by those whose long memories remember the long rifles of European and British conquerors. The horror perpetrated by European military conquest and colonization for centuries is to this day ingrafted in the psyches of those peoples whose progenitors writhed under the execution of that violence and slaughter.

Thirdly, WC I was not only adept at bringing havoc to those beyond its boundary lines, it distinguished itself in the last century as the foremost suicidal, genocidal element within its own limitations. There is not a nation in Europe, or the British Isles, where you cannot find the blood of centuries squishing under your feet. There are so many war memorials to History's dead, one is led to conclude that there is no use in convincing these war specialists, these nation states, that another possibility exists. Veterans parade the medals of their past atrocities. Politicians laud the battles of the Past. It is as if the people of Europe, expended psychologically and incorporeally, would accept World War III as a natural consequence, as a matter of course, of its bloody history—naturally insisting that the DisUnited States of Northamerica, Western Civilization II, wage its battles for them! Just ask L! Hedonistic Europe—draped in pretty shoes, dresses, gadgets and babble—is so cocooned in itself, struggling to forget its hideous past, that it finds it strenuous to roll over in the morning to go to work. How could it roll over to war, even survival, if it was called upon to defend what little courage and dignity are left to it?


Fancy that you are the leading man or woman of a Broadway theatre success that has merited international acclaim. It is five minutes before your next presentation. In your dressing room they are applying the final touches to your make-up and costumery. Your cell squeals. Your mother and father have been killed in a car crash. Three minutes to curtains up. Your manager looks you straight in your eyes and says you will become a theatrical legend when the media learns you still went on knowing about the tragedy. He fills a glass of water. Escorts you to the wings of the stage. Thirty seconds to go... He gives you a pill and tells you to gulp it down. Then he pats you on your back and says: “Just do it!”

Barack Obama, forty-fourth president of the DUS, knows too well too that the show must go on. Of course, he is not alone. His overly-confident demeanour is fused with the backing of a federal police that he thinks is just and efficient, a spy system that he holds to be intelligent, a banking and financial oligarchy he wants reinforced, and a foreign affairs' policy that interferes with governments all over the world and which shakes the hands of Berlusconi and Sarkozy's bagmen. Still, BO is a media publicist's dream. His image reflects the 3-point shot at the buzzer that wins the game. He is an ante-hero with nothing yet to be heroic about! His icon is the symbol of the DUS's desperation to keep the show going on.

But for how long might this hypocritical entertainment proceed? How long can BO fake moves? Pass his ball? How long will we continue to say “Yes we can?” When will we start crying “No we can't?” When 2008 closed its cooked books, it became clear, finally, to most citizens in the DUS and the world, that the Horatio Alger figment of the imagination, The American Dream, was really a nightmare haunted with graft and corruption. That it had been debased for a couple of centuries. That to maintain the wild lifestyles of the richest of the richest, most of the rest of the world had to “kick in” and even remain in their states of destitution and helplessness to keep those richest from getting less rich. With its chums (the other industrialized nations), the DUS cut up the world at whim, established 800 DUS military bases around the globe, overturned governments here and there, wielded the carrot (the Christian Bible and its tenets) and the stick (bombs and missiles), and strongly insisted that the best political and economic system in the world was its own idea: Judeo-Christian “Democratic” Capitalism. The Best and the Brightest? The Worst and the Stupidest. The Central Intelligence Agency? The Central Stupidity Agency. The DUS has done more harm to its fanatically righteous crusade than any enemy might. And it was Plato who promulgated the education of an elite group of leaders! There does not even exist an iota of political prudence (Kant). (With enemies like this, who needs friends?) Left to simmer in its debilitating arrogance, Western Civilization II will implode upon its own con job.

The most stultifying cogent evidence of this is the game plan that has been sketched out on the whiteboard. Already, we can perceive that there exists the formidable urge to nurse the horrific economic flop back from intensive care to where it was before: that is, to restructure it; not do away with it! Substantially, those who prodded the DUS to the muddle it now suffers are the same who have been recruited to rectify the existing, embarrassing financial circumstances. Their minds are out of use. They can go only one way...their way.

There once was economic chat about the cycles of profit and then loss. Remember? “Every sixty years—or so.” Nowadays these time frames have contracted drastically in proportion to the annihilative financial pyramid schemes set in motion by the obsessive amount of avarice and putrescence within the mindset of the political system's components and its bedfellows, the business community. There are wars in progress which no longer can spend the DUS out of its economic miseries. Banks are failing at a brisk rate. The experts are dumbfounded and their fingers are crossed. Politicians are in-brawling within their own lodges but passionately set on placing blame on the opposition. There is no consensus on what best must be done to escape the downward spiralling. Everyone is praying, like the Italians, for a miracle!

When the DUS was King of the World's Economic Mountain, it was indeed far more easy to control the vicissitudes of the DUS's economy, and a great part of the world's that it for so long influenced and so often manipulated. This dream world exists no longer. The uncanny growth of other nations, bent on modernizing their economies and cultures, now confronts the DUS with the incubus of a global, helterskelter competition it not any more is capable of dealing with. An avalanche of maverick capitalism, uncontrollable and ever present, is making of the DUS the recipient of the same medicine it dosed out munificently for decades. The DUS is being swamped with the covetousness and dishonesty that it once meted out itself with its ludicrous sense of superiority and self-righteousness now characterized not as the image of itself as a model that all should imitate, but one for all to put up with or more often than not now...hate.

BO, you don't have a dream. You have a nightmare! You are the leading man in a tragedy whose cast is chock full of imbeciles and criminals. Within the milieu of discord and disgrace in the DUS you are trying to wrangle together the forces that you think will pull back up, by the boot straps, the DUS. But who are these individuals? These schizoid goofballs who attend religious ceremonies on the weekends and cheat and steal as best they can during weekdays? Who are these dimwits who make up your dramatis personae? They are lying lawyers who have born witness to the fact that citizens of the DUS need to pay through their noses to obtain justice...they are stockbrokers and financial “experts” who advise their clients to stash their winnings in secret bank accounts in Europe, the Caribbean, etc...they are mendacious congresspeople and senators most on the take...they are ministers, priests and rabbis who spend more time with their bankers than they do with their flocks...they are ambitious university professors helping the DUS government to invent new weapons of destruction...they are doctors with one hand on the scalpel and the other on their stock reports...and worst of all, they are the millions and millions of DUS citizens who wish they had the same opportunities to pilfer and swindle as do their gangster-faced Robber Baron shining examples!
President Obama, just as E = mc², politics has come, deplorably, to mean Politics = Economy + Religion. You cannot reel around the world preaching honesty, love, honor, and uprightness when everyone outside the DUS knows that the citizens of the DisUnited States of Northamerica are the best rip-off artists in existence. The world is laughing at your slick Pope-like homilies. Nice words. Refreshing bromides. After your platitudes—from high above—have mesmerized your foreign audiences, those same individuals turn their backs on you and the unprincipled DisUnited States of Northamerica. Sorry about that, BO. (Incontrovertible Proof That Citizens of the DisUnited States of Northamerica Are So Sorrowfully, So Sanctimoniously Stupid: www.scribd.com/thewordwarrior.)

BO, I leave you with this quote from Martin Jacques's When China Rules the World, Chapter 8, page 271:

...As a consequence, the rise of China as a global
superpower is likely to lead, over a protracted
period of time, to a profound cultural and racial
reordering of the world in the Chinese image.
As China, draws countries and continents into
its web, as is happening already with Africa,
they will not simply be economic supplicants
of a hugely powerful China but also occupy a
position of cultural and ethnic inferiority in an
increasingly influential Chinese-ordered global

President Obama (President Carter?), you will not be able to get your act together. I doubt you have either the sophistication or strength to deal with the exterior dramatic collisions that will beset your administration, and simply because the DisUnited States of Northamerica has for far too long disregarded the realities of the world in which it exists.

Authored by Anthony St. John
Calenzano, Italy
1 August 2009

* * *

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Why I Live Beyond
the DisUnited States of

The philosophical psychiatrist, R D Laing, was endowed with immense courage, vision and vigour, and by reason of his unique skills made valuable contributions to psychiatry and caused to come to be events which startled and disrupted long-established analysts of the mind. Laing was a member of that mental health infantry squadron carrying out a mission meant to clear the way for the main body of troops. His insights into schizophrenia, the world’s most debilitating mental disease, will never be forgotten.

Like many illustrious warriors favoured with superhuman eminence, Laing’s first jumps, off the high board into the murky pools of the unconscious, neurosis and psychosis, were belly flops. Heroic in nature, Laing did not return home from battle after his preliminary overthrows. He climbed up far above the ground again, lunged, cut through gloomy waters, and touched bottom where he scraped his skin and bruised his bones yet more. He went back again and again and again and persevered, until his death, searching for something new in the treatment of mental patients.

From page 102 to 104 in Self and Others, Laing’s masterpiece, he talks about a little boy of five who runs to his mother holding a big fat worm in his hand, and says, “Mommy, look what a big fat worm I have got.” She says, “You are filthy—away and clean yourself immediately.”

The mother’s response to the boy is an example of what Ruesch (1958) has called a “tangential response.” In terms of the boy’s feeling, the mother’s response is at a tangent. She does not say, “Oh, yes, what a lovely worm.” She does not say, “What a filthy worm—you mustn’t touch worms like that; throw it away.” In this response there is a failure to endorse what the boy is doing. A state of transitory confusion, anxiety or guilt might be generated in him.

Bateson, Jackson, Haley and Weakland in their article, “Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia,” Behavioural Science (1956), discuss this condition and term it the “double-bind” pattern. According to the authors, the likelihood of such a configuration exists when these six elements are present: two or more persons; repeated experience of the state of affairs; a primary negative injunction: “Do not do this. I will punish you if you do;” a secondary injunction conflicting with the first at a more abstract level, and like the first, enforced by punishment or signals which threaten survival: a negative gesture, a tone of voice, a posture, etc; a tertiary negative injunction prohibiting the victim from escaping from the field: false promises of devotion, affection or love; and, the absence of these constituents when the victim learns that his or her universe is composed of, essentially, double-bind patterns.

The victims, in this scenario, are caught in a mesh of contradiction between two conclusions and they cannot decide how to act or react rationally. He or she cannot make a sane choice. The prey is deceived and, to survive, must mislead others to protect himself or herself. They learn to reject what is genuine, and lay blame on what is unreal or real ridiculing as immature what might in fact be responsible. Persons trapped in this double-bind pattern cannot establish a sensation of genuineness with another human being.

When I pranced home from Vietnam in August 1968, I began to enjoy one of the most beautiful times of my life: I had made it home successfully--alive! I was in one piece and had not been seriously wounded or maimed! I had read seventy-two books in Vietnam where I had not wasted one moment! Vietnam had not brought me to the nightmares of mental instability, and if people want to say I am “crazy” nonetheless, I tell them I was the way I am long before my tour in Southeast Asia! Good comes from Bad; Bad comes from Good. Perhaps the most fortuitous souvenir—what I cherish the most—that I hold from the horrible twelve months I passed in the Central Highlands with the Snowflake Division near the Cambodian and Laotian borders (Pleiku, Kontum and Dak To), and in the Chu Lai and My Lai locales of the Americal’s area of operations, is this: My life had been threatened so many times that when I came back to New York and set off to unwind so as to become a normal person all over again, I was so exultant that the tension of combat had been eliminated, I stayed in a secret state of euphoria for months. And from that day, I have valued my life the more—certainly much more because it had been put in jeopardy by elements beyond the expectations of my own wishes.

There were a couple of “Welcome Home from the War” gestures from relatives and friends, and I’ll never forget the doorman at the Essex House who greeted me with a “Welcome home, Lieutenant,” gave me my room number, saluted me, and pointed the way to where I found a complimentary bottle of champagne and a bowl of fruit. After a pair of weeks passed by, I “escaped” to Florida. I had to get out of New York and I followed my plan, formulated in Vietnam, to do so. I did not really comprehend at that time why I had to break away from my much-loved New York. I would understand later on.

It did not take me long to gather that I had achieved the status of having a new unsavoury reputation: Vietnam Veteran. In fact, my relatives were the first to hint to me that my service to my country was of dubious make-up. I was told, flat out: “The Army screwed you, you should screw the Army!” I was dumbfounded when it was suggested that I fake back pain, go to a VA hospital, and obtain a lifelong disability check! I think it was this mind-set which instigated in me the predisposition to reflect at that time upon the level-headedness of the United States of America—and quite seriously so. I had to know why my fellow countrymen and women thought they deserved to have their cake and eat it, too! And I wanted to know why I was being wedged into a double bind state of being.

Outside of closed social circles, Vietnam was not a subject habitually broached with Vietnam veterans, accordingly I had to rummage around the mass media and, in particular, political journals and other outlets of enlightenment which replicated the thoughts of my confreres. I speculated that, in the 1960s and 1970s, about sixty percent of my fellows disapproved of what I represented because I “killed babies,” and forty percent approved of me for doing so. An outlandish emotional rift.

The fact of the matter is that I did not kill in Vietnam. I state this unequivocally and to the best of my knowledge. I soldiered as an artillery 1193 and even though defective projectiles and inaccurate maps frequently complicated, to an inordinate degree, our missions as I “humped” with the grunts on the battlefield, I, personally, cannot refer to an incident in which I was involved killing people with artillery or any other armament. I heard that one erratic artillery shell had slayed nine American soldiers because the Fire Direction Officer had confused an “8” with a “3;” moreover, on my first day out to the field in close proximity to the Fourth Division Base Camp, we were “attacked” by a volley of our own 155mm rounds which set our company into such a state of terror and turmoil that, to my utter amazement, it caused one grunt to fall to the ground—in the foetal position, his M-16discarded—praying with rosary beads wrapped through his fingers. What had I done to merit this lunacy?

The folly did not terminate there for me. Years later I would hear on CNN that during the Vietnam “War” an almost 70% of United States’ military personnel were killed or maimed in Vietnam by mines, and that 90% of these armaments were US military ordnance! And I can believe it. Whenever I was transferred to a different artillery unit, I came into the red leg fold asking: “What’s the dud rate here?” 30%? 40%? 50%? It is certainly true that exceptional meteorological “tricky situations” compromised the accuracy of our FDC calculations, yet no one can deny that the haste—it makes waste—to join in on the economic boom (remember the 1962 recession?) which exemplified the Vietnam “War,” caused projectiles to be manufactured with substandard worth. When these rounds were converted into booby traps by our clever enemy, the results could be sordid. As an artillery battalion liaison officer flying with the battalion CO in his C&C Huey, we often swooped down to a grunt broken into pieces by a booby trap, and then MEDIVACed him to the nearest field hospital where maintenance crews hosed off the blood on the helicopter’s floor before we were able to return for more.

The My Lai area was notorious for the percentage of booby traps it secreted. Imagine. You are marching with your buddy through rice paddies when, in a flash, you see him go flying with members of his body slashed or gone astray. You can’t find a way to embrace a fond affection for the Vietnam people; and, you have to be a finicky person not to want to seek out a vendetta. Nineteen-year-olds cannot be depended upon to discriminate judiciously especially when under pressure. (I was a university graduate, with a degree in philosophy, and it was hard enough for me to weigh up at times these niceties, but not even a ten-star general could have ordered me to kill women and children and old folk—even in a ditch.) I have no condolences for Lieutenant Calley because all of us—arriving in-country—read and signed that we read the Geneva Convention and division memos instructing us how to treat prisoners of war and Vietnamese nationals. The United States’ government and the United States Army commanded us to behave in one way (CYA: Cover Your Ass!), and when we did not, they turned their backs on what was dishonourable and not above-board making out of the Vietnam conflict something that it unquestionably was not: a righteous initiative, one to be satisfied about supporting. A double bind state of mind?

For the Vietnam veteran this forked tonguing was remarkably crass when he or she returned home to the United States. They knew very well the shenanigans that had gone on in Vietnam, and to be thought of as a loser in a war which Americans did not cheer on but made profit of by benefiting from the business enveloping it, was truly more than a let-down. Some veterans could not bear the rebuff that awaited them and they blew away their minds and bodies, or their schizoid fellow citizens, in tragic acts of violence. The history of the Vietnam veteran is well-documented, but I have never seen price estimates for the heart-rending damage he or she caused not only for themselves, but also for the victims of their post-war violence—the divorces they were involved in, the crimes they were sent to prison for, the alcohol and drug abuse their family members suffered with them, and so many other dynamics which enter into the fiscal tabulation of this national calamity. And make no mistake about it, the Vietnam veteran might be loaded down with diagnostic lingo and syndromes and other descriptions of maladaptive behaviour, but no one will ever consider as being mentally unbalanced those who sent him off to that insane police action that did the United States of America more harm than benefit.

When I left the United States for good in 1975, I knew it was on a catastrophic course. I had not the words to say what I wanted to explain. I had to test my premonitions and had to contrast them with the viewpoints of others who were not Americans. I grasped that the United States was ripped in two, although I never then imagined that it would continue to cultivate a “split personality” which would advance it to continually enlarge the chasm that polarized it further and further. Today we have Red States and Blue States, and no one has thought to mix red and blue together to get violet—the colour of wretchedness and introversion. Americans are fighting to be happy and they are so desperate to be so they will even laugh, with a knee-jerk, at the overworked jokes of a David Letterman.

The United States learned not much from Vietnam except how to make sure that the atrocious errors, embarrassing for them, they committed there would not be duplicated in future hostilities. That is why the US Army is a voluntary organization today! It is more martial than it ever was. Its regime is wielded throughout the globe with fear and not the yearning to be respected. (The Americans are a wonderful people—if they aren’t bombing you!) The Yankee is not regarded even as a benevolent dictator, and he is truly hated when his barter ($$$) stops circulating. It does not flabbergast me one iota that Gore Vidal, or anyone else for that matter, could conceive of a book entitled The Decline and Fall of the American Empire. The United States of America is sliding down The Tubes. Northamericans, out of despondency, have become awful losers yet they persist in alleging that they are redoubtable winners. Just another double bind stance—one they are very much accustomed to.

I don’t want to be with a failure—especially one that does not have the courage to penetrate its own limitations. Old Glory is hemmed in. As the years pass, it will draw more and more into itself. The United States is in a pitiable state and has not the expertise to release itself from its own desolation. I want to be happy; I do not want to live with a nation pretending to be so. I refuse to live in the United States of America the more because it did not afford me the chance to become a hero for it when I served it in Vietnam. I feel that I was betrayed. How could I ever stand up erect at a baseball or football game and sing with others “The Star-Spangled Banner?” I would have to wait outside. I can only wish the United States of America a hearty “Good Luck.” It’s going to need it. And I ask the United States of America only one thing: that the renunciation of my citizenship, sitting on the desk of the consulate general in Florence, Italy since 1994, be approved by the Department of State immediately.

Authored by Anthony St. John