We Have Perfected the Vietnam War

For the record, the Vietnamese call the Vietnam War the American War, and the victor usually names the battle. There never were any north or south Vietnamese either — there were only Vietnamese, and they were all over.

And though many people regard the “Vietnam War” as some sort of American mistake, or even an American failure, Kakkanians can rejoice that, after 46 years of persistent effort, we have finally perfected the Vietnam War.

This miracle of modern militarism and imperial outreach was accomplished gradually, carefully, painstakingly, in three phases.

First, we abolished The Draft. We had to, because The Draft tried to do two contradictory things simultaneously: (1) put everybody into the same mix of jeopardy, of liability to join and train and fight and, yes, die in combat; and then (2) let the white bourgeoisie, and any other moneyed people, off the hook of actually waging war, i.e., getting shot at, dying, all that war stuff. (And it looks so good when Steven Spielberg directs the shooting!)

Such lethal discrimination was too obvious, even for the Uhmerican Public, so we did away with the Draft and replaced it with The Volunteer Army. In other words, the wars of Kakkania would be waged in the future by fully-fledged members of The Working Class, the same way all the European empires did it.

(Yes, Virginia, there is a Working Class. Some of its members continue to believe in Santa Claus. Do you?)

Second, we destroyed public education in this country. Again, this step was sadly necessary. Public education was a Very Real Need back in the Fifties and Sixties, because, as you may recall, we were in an actual competition with The Red Menace Of Sino-Soviet Whirled Communism. Sure, you can laugh now, but some of us remember what it felt like when Sputnik went up while all our missiles kept blowing up on the launchpads. And when you’re in a tight like that one, you need to really, honestly, no-shit, actually educate people — even young people.

But this teaching business backfired on us in the Original Vietnam War, because we made the mistake of teaching Kakkanian children How To Think. And it was hard to get truly thoughtful people to swallow The Domino Theory Of Perpetual Economic Growth Through Endless Universal War.

So that education crap had to be shut down ASAP. Education is about job training now. You may remember The Virtuous William J. Bennett’s comment on being name Secretary of Education, to the effect that he wanted to abolish the department. In the words of Little W, “Mission Accomplished!”

Then came the crucial third step: censoring The Press. We called this “embedding” the “journalists.” No more of those reporters wandering around loose in our theater of war, reporting whatever the hell they happened to find. No sir. If you’re going to come into our theater, you’re going to watch the movie that we want you to see. So, nowadays, when reporters get in bed with us, you know who gets fucked and who goes down.

But the most important part of perfecting the Vietnam War was the foundation move made by Richard Nixon and his friends beginning in 1969 and continuing through til 1975, and that was Prolonging The Vietnam War For Most Of Two Presidential Terms By Holding Peace At Arm’s Length For Seven Years! We achieved this astonishing magic by a variety of tactics. Calling dissenters from the war “bums” while terming their parents “good people,” for instance. But the real secret ingredient was The Missing In Action. We vowed to fight fight fight until these missing warriors were accounted for — by the “North” Vietnamese.

Of course, this requirement never had to be satisfied by any German or Italian or Japanese domino players, or much of anybody else in the history of dominoes, and, also of course, we all know that there is in Arlington Cemetery a tomb guarded day and night by members of the Old Guard called — remember from the field trip? The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.

But that’s exactly why we had to get this accounting from the Reds in Hanoi. No more Unknowns, see? (I know, I know, Donald Rumsfeld had some unknowns, and even some unknown unknowns, but that was before we actually, fully perfected the Vietnam War.) Now that we have perfected all our tactics, freed the media of fairness and all other collectivist nonsense, privatized the water and air, shamed everyone who has fallen short of murder, and armed the country to the point of advocating the use of automatic weapons in those great public schools that we’ve almost but not quite destroyed with things like No Child Left Unscored — now we can fight the Vietnam War anywhere we want, for as long as we want, over and over and over. And not only that! We get to lose the Vietnam War again and again and again.

At our own pace, and on our own terms, without interrupting anything in prime time.and with free speech zones allocated for all the yellow-bellied liberals who want one.

You remember how we did it in Vietnam, don’t you? We won, constantly. Same now.

We will win and we will win and we will win.

Then we will lose. Each and every time. Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia . . .

Do you remember, who was it used to talk about two, three, many Vietnams? A Democrat or a Republican?

Regarding the Current Political Climate of the United States

The weaknesses in human nature appear more clearly in a storm than in the quiet flow of calmer times.  Among the overwhelming majority of people, anxiety, greed, lack of independence, and brutality show themselves to be the mainspring of behavior in the face of unexpected chance and threats.  At such a time the tyrannical despiser of humanity easily makes use of the meanness of the human heart by nourishing it and giving it other names.  Anxiety is called responsibility; greed is called industriousness; lack of independence becomes solidarity; brutality becomes masterfulness.  By this ingratiating treatment of human weaknesses, what is base and mean is generated and increased ever anew.  The basest contempt for humanity carries on its sinister business under the most holy assertions of love for humanity.  The meaner the baseness becomes, the more willing and pliant a tool it is in the hand of the tyrant.  The small number of upright people will be smeared with mud.  Their courage is called revolt, their discipline Pharisaism, their independence arbitrariness, and their masterfulness arrogance.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Ethics, 85-86

The “tyrannical despiser of humanity” was, at the time of this writing, Adolf Hitler, but Hitler has been by no means alone in history.   Indeed, today he has more companions than ever.

How We Get the Stuff

(Remarks prompted by the discovery that Bomb magazine has a section called “Literature.”)

Every thousand or so years, civilization burns to the ground.  As it burns, all sorts of people flee for their lives.  About one in a hundred of these people pass a bookcase on their way to saving themselves from the flames, and they see a book and decide in a split second to take that book with them.  They grab it and continue running for the nearest exit.  This process, repeated over time, is how we got a lot of the writing of Euripides, some of that of Sophocles, and not very much of Aeschylus at all.  The end-result of this process is called literature.  Literature is not about education, college degrees, MFAs, publication, carefully crafted craft, or finely observed observations.  Literature is about survival.  That is all it is about.

Happy New Year