Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Deaths by Ink.

Conjecture and speculation may travel a long way, but they carry no loads. An imaginary perspective from history may outline the foolish, deadly narrow vision of Newsweek's reportage. Suppose Italian civilians believed their loved ones, prisoners of war in Canada, were paraded through the lanes of Ottawa, made to walk barefoot in the snow, pelted with seal entrails, and forced to eat garbage. Suppose they heard this tale from Ezra Pound, broadcasting, (as he did), on Fascist radio. Ezra heard it from expatriate British pacifists living in the Vatican City, who heard it from planted Finnish Quislings. You are a member of the RCAF, from Ottawa. Shot down over Turin, you've been captured by the parents of an Italian POW. They have not seen their son since 1940. When they learn you are Canadian, they kill you with an axe.

You are Lt. Col. David Pergrin. Your 291st Engineer Combat Battalion (has) been stationed in the area (of Malmedy, Belgium) since early November, 1944. You warn members of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion not to continue down the roads towards St. Vith. You learn later about what will be known as the Malmedy massacre. How will you respond the next time you capture one of Joachim Pieper's SS troops?

You are a Japanese civilian on Okinawa. You have been told for years the Americans will burn you alive if captured. Some 130,000 of you believe it, and jump from 1000 foot high cliffs to your death. Babies are tossed into the air. You jump. It was a lie.

You work at Newsweek. You believe the administration is populated with dissemblers, power mad Machiavellians, Christian zealots and evil geniuses. Someone you know at the Pentagon, an appointee from a previous administration, tells you something without documentation or any other corroboration. It conforms with your perceptions. You toss babies into the air. You jump.

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