In the 1991 Gulf War, American pilots bombed a retreating Iraqi convoy. Most US media declined to publish this photo.
She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close.
And as she held her sword, she smiled like a knife.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett.
#hey guys #betcha didn’t know that i have a thing for redheads #i have the crowley cover of this book
We read this in class (American Studies) as part of our The Things They Carried unit. It’s an excerpt from Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War. It’s also something you should read.
Different wars have led to different theories of why men fight them. The Napoleonic Wars, which bore along with them the rationalist spirit of the French Revolution, inspired the Prussian officer Carl von Clausewitz to propose that war itself is an entirely rational undertaking, unsullied by human emotion. War, in his famous aphorism, is merely a “continuation of policy … by other means,” with policy itself supposedly resulting from the same kind of clearheaded deliberation one might apply to a game of chess. Nation-states were the leading actors on the stage of history, and war was simply one of the many ways they advanced their interests against those of other nation-states. If you could accept the existence of this new super-person, the nation, a battle was no more disturbing and irrational than, say, a difficult trade negotiation—except perhaps to those who lay dying on the battlefield.
Ballad of the Green Berets - Barry Sadler
Letting American Studies dictate my Pandora stations? Priceless.
“You were just babies then!” she said.
“What?” I said.
“You were just babies in the war—like the ones upstairs!”
I nodded that this was true. We had been foolish virgins in the war, right at the end of childhood.
“But you’re not going to write it that way, are you.” This wasn’t a question. It was an accusation.
“I—I don’t know,” I said.
“Well I know,” she said. “You’ll pretend you were men instead of babies, and you’ll be portrayed in the movies by Frank Sinatra and John Wayne or some of those other glamorous, war-loving, dirty old men. And war will look just wonderful, so we’ll have a lot more of them. And they’ll be fought by babies like the babies upstairs.”
So then I understood. It was war that made her so angry. She didn’t want her babies or anybody else’s babies killed in wars. And she thought wars were partly encouraged by books and movies.
So I held up my right hand and I made her a promise:
“Mary,” I said, “I don’t think this book of mine is ever going to be finished. I must have written five thousand pages by now, and thrown them all away. If I ever do finish it, though, I give you my word of honor: there won’t be a part for Frank Sinatra or John Wayne.
“I tell you what,” I said, “I’ll call it The Children’s Crusade.”
She was my friend after that.