Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Satan's Face

I'm proud to say I never served in the U.S. armed forces. My splendid opportunity to do so came during the Empire of the Pentagon's murderous and totally pointless season of carnage in Vietnam, a 14-year-long conflict that ended in the Empire's utter defeat, and judging from the recent barrage of lies directed against Senator Kerry, is still going on in some deluded heads.

Well, bring it on, assholes.

I chose not to participate in this crime called Vietnam, but was reminded of it this past week when I re-read some of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's masterpiece "The Gulag Archipelago," a passionate factual account of what happened in the Siberian death camps of the U.S.S.R., where somewhere between ten million and 100 million innocent victims froze and starved to death between 1930 and 1980. Neither the actual numbers, nor even an accurate estimate will ever be known.

Reading Solzhenitsyn is like looking in Satan's face, because in those pages the reader encounters the indifference at best, and raw sadism at worst, of the bureaucrats, stool pigeons, and torture masters who made up the lists of people to be rounded up in Russia on any given night during the years of the Stalinist terror. I get much the same feeling when I look into the faces of the Empire of the Pentagon's Masters of War during the Vietnam era, under Lyndon Johnson: Rusk, Laird, McNamara.

Not satisfied with killing a million Vietnamese in its war against a country which had done absolutely nothing to us, the fear, rage and bloodlust of the Pentagon was only satisfied when the Masters of War employed their violence against the very soil of Vietnam itself, dumping thousands of tons of a deadly herbicide -- Agent Orange -- on the croplands and waterways of that unfortunate country. The long-term effects of this deadly poison included loss of health and longevity for thousands of American servicemen, and are still playing out in the form of birth defects among the affected portions of the Vietnamese population today.

In addition, the Dow Chemical Corporation made millions from selling their product Napalm, an incendiary jellied gasoline, to the Masters of War, which they proceded to drop on any Vietnamese who resisted us as well as any Vietnamese the Masters suspected might possess the capacity to resist. This led me to the conclusion at a young age that the chief difference between Lyndon Johnson and Adolf Hitler was that Hitler had loaded his victims on trains and took them to where the gas was, while Johnson loaded the gas on planes and took it to where the people were.

But I didn't learn to hate the Empire, at least not enough. After 1975, for the next 30 years, I assumed the Vietnam war was an aberration. It took Bush, Cheney, and the Neocon clique surrounding them to teach me the whole truth -- that war is the normal and natural state of the Empire of the Pentagon.

After causing nearly a million civilian deaths in Iraq and presiding over the demolition of that country's infrastructure, the Empire of the Pentagon can proudly take its place among the rogues' gallery of murder empires of the 20th and 21st centuries, along with Hitler's Reich and Stalin's Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and its insatiable thirst for blood puts the blood sacrifice cults of the Ancient Aztecs in the shade.

I need to point out, however, that the Empire of the Pentagon is an entirely different entity from the United States of America, a large geographical area whose inhabitants are mostly overweight and increasingly impoverished "consumers," living for the most part in a state of debt peonage and rising illiteracy, and hypnotized by disinformation fed them 24/7 by the corporate media. They're also basically kind and good-hearted, and increasingly politically disconnected. Interacting with people over the past few days, the two things I've noticed about most of them is their political naivete and disconnectedness and the unaccountable kindness of strangers.

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