I got turned on to Crypotogon by Oyster the other day and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading his blog, present and past posts. The graphic at the top of his page reminded me of one of my favorite poems written by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae about a WWI battlefield in Flanders, Belgium....In Flanders Fields:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The interesting thing about WWI is the surprising lack of literature which emerged from it as opposed to other conflicts, i.e., Civil War, WWII. The most notable, of course, is WWI German veteran, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. In my opinion, the best wartime novel ever written...that's not to say I've read them all....or even a fraction.
I remember one of my literature professors in college speculating that one of the reasons for the lack of reflection following WWI was because it was such a horrific war...unlike anything the world had experienced up to that point. Trench warfare was introduced in WWI as well as chemical warfare. WWI marked a distinct shift in the "psyche of war"...it ushered in a dehumanization of war which eventually reached it's pinnacle in WWII when the crew of the Enola Gay released Little Boy on Hiroshima immediately extinguishing 70,000 souls. My professor suggested that the trauma of WWI was so overwhelming, we could only afford to move past it....it was just too painful to relive.
Our only memories of WWI consist mostly of faceless soldiers in gas masks.
Today we launch Tomahawk missiles from ships hundreds of miles from their targets or use remote control drones to deliver deadly payloads. The automaton has become the reaper as we sit back in the comfort of our homes and watch YouTube videos of missiles with depleted uranium payloads striking targets half a world away. We no longer see the "whites of the enemy's eyes"....we just see a glowing infrared satellite image of people getting blown to kingdom come.
A Boeing X-45 drone shoots it's wad
We are currently fighting wars on two separate battlefields. Most Americans are oblivious to the purpose of these wars or why we are even in these specific countries. WMD's, terrorist cells, the "spread of democracy"......that's what we've been fed...but this is the true equation:
Afghanistan = Opium
Iraq = Oil
Two very addictive black, gooey, carbon-based substances.
We're entering a perpetual state of warfare which will not only run decades, it will never end in our lifetime. We have become so desensitized and sheltered from the true horrors of war....it's become entertainment for us. For the first time it's a cohesive strategy for the military industrial complex and the general population as well. We don't even have to suffer the trauma-induced amnesia the WWI generation did...we're now sheltered from that inconvenience.
Although I really suck at poetry, it inspired me to adapt In Flanders Fields to our current situation. My apologies to John McCrae:
In Iraqi fields the oil does flow
Beneath the sands where nothing would grow,
We marked our place, make sure you know.
And in the sky,
The missles of uranium, fly
Scarce concern of the lasting effects below.
We are the living dead,
We shop, we drive, we watch the LCD glow,
What is real, what is show,
Have faith that CNN will tell us so.
How many lie in Iraqi fields?
We have a quarrel with a foe,
Our trusted leaders have told us so,
Exactly who this enemy is, we do not know,
We can't let that stop this show,
SUVs must go, go, go.
If ye break faith with those who drive,
Do not expect to stay alive.
See, this country does not sleep,
Unless we get our poppies cheap.
Ambien, Valium, the price is just too steep.
Oil must flow, in Iraqi fields.
Let the rotten tomatoes fly.