The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Vietnam: Dramatis Personae #10


Lt. William Calley

5 comments :

Vanwall said...

The banality of evil.

swac said...

Now I'm reminded of that old Nat'l Lampoon cover with an Alfred E Newman-esque Calley, with the subtitle, "What, My Lai?"

Tommy O'C said...

What about the banality of Captain Medina, who gave Calley the orders and was never brought to justice for his acts?

The banality of smug ultra-liberals.

Tom Sutpen said...

If your point is that responsibility for war crimes such as My Lai should have been applied more generally, right straight up the command structure . . . then I wholeheartedly agree.

Tommy O'C said...

That was my point, Tom. To which I'd also like to add that 26 of Calley's men went on trial. All were acquitted. There was ample evidence that many of these men raped and forced children to perform sexual acts on them before killing them. The actual number of villagers killed varies. But Calley could not--and did not--kill upwards of 400 to 500 villagers alone. And Medina clearly gave detailed orders (per a pre-trial high-level Army investigation) that led these men (who'd just lost a beloved comrade to the VC) to believe they were attacking a VC infiltrated village in disguise, whipping them into a killing frenzy.

That Calley alone was held responsible for the massacre (there was also another massacre that took place at My Khe that never received the same press) proves once again that the term "military justice" is an oxymoron.

It's difficult for me to get into a froth about Calley when so many others who were equally guilty were given a pass.