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.

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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

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