Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ron Kovic-Patriot

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The ever-dependable Nemo sent me a link to another brilliant writer who knows what the hell he's talking about.

The film version of Kovic's searing Born on the Fourth of July was in theaters when I was waiting for my own date to report to Parris Island. I saw it and was was moved by the story. Unfortunately I was too young to understand that what's past is prologue and Vietnam wasn't just bad because of the terrain and the brutal enemy, although that certainly was a large part of it. Vietnam was bad because of the government lies piled upon government lies and it amounted to millions of wasted lives.

But what did that have to do with today, right?

I stumbled upon Kovic's book after I left the Corps in the early 90's, a much wiser and infinitely angrier man. Even though I could appreciate how bold a man he was for the journey he made, it still didn't hit me where I live. The programming ran too deep. I could not reconcile the voice in my head telling me something was wrong with our society and the voice of Ron Kovic.

These days I hear you, Ron.These days I know where your anger comes from and your hope.

I just wish I could find your kind of courage.

This post is a perfect companion to the one below about Chris Hedges. Just as Hedges knows when a hellish meltdown is coming from his own painful experiences, so to does Ron Kovic know a terribly wrong and disastrous war when he sees it.



A quick aside about the new study listing 600,000 as the body count in Iraq. I have always believed that when the true final death toll of this little venture in Iraq is known, the world would recoil in horror.

600,000 is much closer to the truth, but it's still a low estimate.

When the true numbers are known everyone from the Limbaugh-type cheerleaders, the politicians, "newspeople", and bloggers will try to say "Duhhhhhh...we didn't know".

Don't..... let........ them.

Just as we won't forget the criminal administration who started this, we won't forget all of you mass-murder enablers.

And payback is a bitch.

5 Comments:

Blogger Again said...

great man - and great writer, Ron Kovic, thanks for the article, Nemo and Robert..

wow - now we are really twins...

from the link:
It is “Yes sir” and “No sir,” and nothing in between...
It is a powerful conditioning process, a process that began long ago, long before we signed those papers at the recruit stations in our hometowns, a process deeply ingrained in the American culture and psyche, and it has shaped and influenced us from our earliest childhood....
We did not question. We did not doubt. We believed and we trusted our leaders..."


that's a "typical german" weakness: "Obrigkeitshörigkeit"

interestingly, there is no translation on Leo, dict.cc or webtranslate.de - seems as if this attitude towards your "trusted leaders" is "ingrained in the American culture" just since a short time, not enough to be realized. So my translation: "Bondage To Leadership" meaning that you obey willingly to anybody looking as if he is of some power and/or authority...

typical german problem - not only you are servile and slavish, you actually defend it as "a good, necessary virtue" and protect your dear leader against yourself, your family and your friends...

We were the most powerful nation on earth

yes, Germany also - at least for some years about 1940...

we are invincible - believe me, dear, the Endsieg is near

and we had never lost a war

there is always a first time ...

Like many Americans who served in Vietnam and those now serving in Iraq, and countless other human beings throughout history, I had been willing to give my life for my country

countless other human beings...

problem is - if you only would DIE, it would maybe ok (for yourself), but you often lose more than life - you often lose dignity in case you become disabled (i guess, that's the reason why Ron Kovic changed his mind: to protect his dignity against all the careless "winners")...

and that's why i always remember another sad movie about wars and young heroes (beside "Born on the 4th of July")

one of the hardest movies i ever watched, i never forgot: "Johnny Got His Gun" (what is only told on the german site is that naturally Johnny wanted to die and in the end convinced his nurse to kill him, but she was stopped - and such is the end of the movie...)

and as far as i know about the "modern medicine" - the american soldiers now were "saved from death" better than in former times, just to lose more arms and legs and eyes and futures, just to help Bush to be able to say "not many soldiers were killed in the war", but paid by how many "Johnnys", having got their guns?

twins - as child i heard some rumors about hidden hospitals, where veterans of the war had to live apart from all other humans, because they didn't dare to be seen by other people, not even by their own beloved ones, because when you have lost your face or are a "Johnny", you can't burden fellow humans with your existence...

oh yes - i know why i am against war...

Fri Oct 13, 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

"Johnny Got His Gun" stuck with me too, Again.

Absolutely haunting.

Kovic impresses me because in most cases the more terrible the loss, the more the Big Lie is held onto as gospel.

It takes incredible courage to admit that you lost so much for absolutely nothing.

"problem is - if you only would DIE, it would maybe ok (for yourself), but you often lose more than life - you often lose dignity in case you become disabled (i guess, that's the reason why Ron Kovic changed his mind: to protect his dignity against all the careless "winners")..."

There is one lesson that today's young cannon fodder should learn beforehand.

Some things are much worse than death.

Fri Oct 13, 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Robert: Glad you liked. I too had started to read Dalton Trumbo's book years ago (in the 70's), but found it so acutely depressing I couldn't finish it. And as an interesting political sidenote -- you're probably already aware of this -- Trumbo was one of the many "blacklisted" authors of the McCarthy Era. They tried to ruin a man who influenced profoundly entire generations. ==== Again: My apologies. I started a response to you here the other day, only to have my system HARD crash for unknown reasons. But your reminiscence about "hidden hospitals" instantly provoked a memory of the war art of Otto Dix and the German anti-war pamplet (published following the First World War), Krieg gegen den Krieg. Both are occasionally horrifying, but steadfastly depict the grim realities of war. I can offer you a link to *some* of Dix's work, and there are certainly other examples online, but I'm having difficulty relocating Krieg gegen den Krieg, which I'd previously found a full, high quality scan of. (Will keep looking, though -- both are priceless though grim treasures from the past.) ==== "The Skat Players" in particular, by Dix, takes a not too surreal view of some mangled veterans. Krieg gegen den Krieg is strictly photographic [with starkly cynical captions], yet sometimes it seems even MORE "surreal" to me. Are you familiar with either?

Mon Oct 16, 05:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Again: I stand corrected, on several counts. The publication was actually entitled Krieg dem Kriege ["War against War"], by Ernst Friedrich. There appears to be no *full* online version available, but The Memory Hole hole had the specific excerpts of horribly wounded men I recalled, and The Great War in a Different Light presents several others, along with extracted pages from a few additional anti-war publications, in Swords into Plowshares -- Anti War Books of the 1920s. (Note: The photos are astonishingly gruesome at points. But such are the ugly realities the authors hoped to avert in the future.)

Mon Oct 16, 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Again said...

nemo
Are you familiar with either?

not really familiar - as far as i know, Otto Dix belonged to the artists labeled "entartet", but there were so many "entarted" people in "god ol' Germany", that you can't know them all. Actually, so by and by, i understand that there truly were many to be proud of, each one fighting against the fall of their beloved nation while all the others cheered...

i guess, that's one of the things all the beautiful-heroic Hollywood movies never wanted to show: the "Banality of Evil" as Hannah Arendt called it reporting about Eichmann's trial, describing the "normality" in which Eichmann did horrible things, just a "normal man" who would (under "normal circumstances") never did anybody anything wrong, but alas, not because of an inner decision to be decent, but just because it's (under "normal circumstances") more convenient - a man like about 60% of all humans, the ones (as it's said) who easily become the tortures in the Stanford Prison Experiment...

the ones now supporting Bush...

actually, that's why i often think that not the evildoers themselves are the real danger - they are, like any other alpha chimp, totally dependent on their betas and gammas and all the sex-serving females, just read Konrad Lorenz and look at the 20% real bad boys like Hitler, Stalin and Bush - or Kim Jong Il. Look at them and you see, they all are something like "banal", are men, who really are just ridiculous - if only they wouldn't have been allowed by their betas and gammas and sex-slaves, the 60%, to torture and kill other people. Yes, sure, they are bullies, but as each and every bully they are cowards - as long as they KNOW they will win they do harm unto others, otherwise the "worst bad boy" will be cautious to show their brutality just not to risk punishment. You should watch the movie "The Bunker" to see how the "great warriors" fear punishment, so much, that the cowards prefer committing suicide...

there is a little fact i didn't know until yesterday - Hannah Arendt was treated with much hostility because of her book "Banality of Evil" - because of the mockery and irony she talked about the little grey loser allowed to kill people (Eichmann). But she was right, i guess - and the eagerness of the Jews and the winners of WWII to "hail" the Nazis as Big Bad Boys is easy to understand: The Winners tried to look as Superman and the Jews, the victims, tried to look at least as the ubersaint-victim doomed to lose against the pure, native, invincible devil

the little fact? The Jews helped killing and imprisoning themselves - Eichmann told openly about the "Council of the Jews", people who were manipulated by lies and promises "to do the job of the Nazis", because they preferred the "convenient truths" - i didn't know exactly WHAT they did, maybe they betrayed "some of the public enemies to protect the others"? I didn't know that, but i understand, that Israel never want to talk about THAT - and did accuse the jewish Arendt of betraying the victims...

but she wanted to understand - so she had to accept the whole truth, not just the convenient parts...

and i fear, because most other people (the 60%) preferred the "convenient parts" of the Big Bad Boys, they are simply not willing to see how it works - in any nation at any time, doesn't matter who or when it is. After a democracy got strong and rich, there is always an aristocracy to "bring in the harvest"

and only a few can see it and try to stop them - what a never-ending tragedy

Mon Oct 16, 07:20:00 AM  

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