Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rage boy

Paul Auster's "Vietnam me act crazy" article in the New York Times is that worst of confessions: that kind that is accidentally funny. Explaining his strange behavior on a certain day in the 1960s, Auster says,

Being crazy struck me as a perfectly sane response to the hand I had been dealt — the hand that all young men had been dealt in 1968. The instant I graduated from college, I would be drafted to fight in a war I despised to the depths of my being, and because I had already made up my mind to refuse to fight in that war, I knew that my future held only two options: prison or exile.

Maddened by these alternatives, Auster went off and raised comparative hell.

After the outburst in the park, campus buildings were stormed, occupied and held for a week. ... Along with more than 700 other people, I was arrested — pulled by my hair to the police van by one officer as another officer stomped on my hand with his boot. But no regrets. I was proud to have done my bit for the cause. Both crazy and proud.

I hesitate to draw any comparisons with the present — and therefore will not end this memory-piece with the word “Iraq.” I am 61 now, but my thinking has not changed much since that year of fire and blood, and as I sit alone in this room with a pen in my hand, I realize that I am still crazy, perhaps crazier than ever.

While I personally have nothing against torching buildings and brawling under appropriate circumstances, I can't understand why Paul Auster simply can't say, "I ripped out the fence because I wanted to. I rioted because I decided to." The idea that a 61 year old man might act irrationally because the mere thought of US policy in Iraq deprives him of reason is a pretty disturbing. It suggests there's a whole population of people of seemingly normal people out there just waiting to go berserk at the mere mention of politics they disapprove of.

It's my hope that the next time he goes on a rampage it's because he's decided to.





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56 Comments:

Blogger Salt Lick said...

Being crazy struck me as a perfectly sane response to the hand I had been dealt ...my future held only two options: prison or exile

Might make a good book -- "Catch 23."

4/23/2008 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger RobertL said...

Remember the moment in Forrest Gump when Jenny's boyfriend smacks her and then says that "Lyndon Johnson" made him do it?

4/23/2008 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

"I knew that my future held only two options: prison or exile."

I joined the Air Force.

Paul Auster never grew up, never started taking responsibility for his own actions. A perfect example of the modern "liberal"/"progressive", a spoiled brat.

4/23/2008 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

G. D. hippies been f'ng up my country ever since. They have made common cause with every enemy America has faced since 1968.

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.” – Cicero.

4/23/2008 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Paul Auster wrote:

"I sit alone in this room with a pen in my hand, I realize that I am still crazy, perhaps crazier than ever."

Raskolnikov met Sonia. Paul Auster needs to get a life.

A pen? Weird.

4/23/2008 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

Of course, Paul Auster is wrong.

My father attended UC Berkeley in the sixties, and was a member of the Marine Corps ROTC. As such, he would have been shipped off to war upon graduation. He, like Auster, did not believe the war was a good idea. However, unlike Auster he saw clearly that there was a way to serve his country that didn't involve being deployed to Vietnam. He joined the Army National Guard the day he graduated. Yes, the Marine Corps was angry with him.

He's never been overly proud of the decision, but he was unwilling to break the law to avoid the call of his nation.

No, it wasn't a perfect solution, but it was better than the one Austen came up with.

4/23/2008 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

Trapped in a corner which only might have caused him problems at some time in the future, Paul Auster knew instinctively how a person like himself should act. He responded instantly by promoting himself to a special class of person absolved of moral responsibility for an entire lifetime.

Way to go. See how they like that, etc.

4/23/2008 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Paul Auster might have been wrong, but he wasn't a traitor. He was and apparently remains a tolerable enemy of the state. Cicero would not have feared him, because such a person can be identified and dealt with. In our country, we usually deal by means of elections and compromises and occasionally by coercion. Whatever ... it usually gets done.

A traitor is a whole other thing. A traitor tells you what you want to hear while working secretly against you. People who speak their minds, no matter how misguided, are a joy in the house when compared to a traitor.

4/23/2008 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Cannoneer #4: G. D. hippies been f'ng up my country ever since. They have made common cause with every enemy America has faced since 1968.

On the contrary, when Americans soured on the Vietnam War around Feb-Mar 1968, getting out of the war automatically became our national Common Cause, and the enemy within became those who advocated sending more and more American boys over there to die for a South Vietnam that refused to stand up against the northern reunificationists. Americans even elected a man, in a landslide, who promised a secret plan to bring the war to an end.

4/23/2008 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Insufficiently Sensitive said...

In Berkeley 1965-1970, I met a whole herd of Paul Austers. Being a musician, the great majority of my peers had the same 'mentality'. And I watched the waves of righteous indignation opposing whatever the US was up to, particularly overseas, and could boil the position of these ever-caring crusaders for 'human rights' to an unstated slogan: 'the US is fucked'.

Therefore anything done against it is virtuous, and therefore, being young and spirited, let us compete in virtue. Hence the campus wreckage, the blocked freeways, the explosions. And the fawning media coverage and supporting editorials.

Rudyard Kipling nailed it generations ago, using monkeys as the equivalent of those juvenile Berkeley mobs: They have noticed us! The sahibs have noticed us!

And many participants such as Paul Auster found that achievement to be the apex of their careers. No long-term effort nor skills required, no sacrifice for a better future, and instant recognition.

I missed it by about five years, being sent in 1963 by my local draft board on a two-year, all-expenses-paid experience at Fort Bragg. My cohort was one of the last whose peers laughed at your selection while you went off for service as provided by law. Later cohorts laughed at those laws and eluded the draft with relative ease, enjoying the triumphs of Paul Auster and Bill Ayers. Yet their mantra was always 'Democracy!' - while their own behavior demonstrated that the sort of democracy they desired would put themselves at the top, rather like Bill Clinton's refusal to serve in the military except as Commander-in-Chief.

Nice work if you can get it.

4/23/2008 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"A traitor tells you what you want to hear while working secretly against you."
---

Barack Obama says that he wants to "heal" the country while at the same time promoting the idea that all sorts of people are victims for whom he will fight.

Being divisive while proclaiming unity is something you can do only in the world of rhetoric.

- Thomas Sowell

4/23/2008 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Teresita's analysis is flippant and wrong as usual . That the American people "united in a common cause against the Viet Nam war in Feb. 1968 is a lie. There never was common cause against the war only weariness under the constant drip-drip of media cynicism and the screech of the pampered Fauntleroys on campuses. Nixon won a landslide in 1972 not because he advocated a secret plan to end the war ,but because the public correctly perceived McGovern to be the candidate of "Acid and Amnesty"
Gloria Emerson in her antiwar Viet Nam book ,"Winners and Losers" points out that the protests ended with the introduction of the draft lottery. In other words young men like Auster were motivated more by personal cowardice than noble principle.
Auster is 61 and fondly recalling his halcyon days as a "movement heavy".
I'm 60 and recall with pride humping an M-79 grenade launcher in War Zone C for the cause of freedom.

4/23/2008 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

"northern reunificationists"?
YGBSM.

The American people didn't "sour" on the Vietnam War, they were fed erroneous information upon which they based poor decisions in a wildly successful Soviet/Red Chinese/North Korean/North Vietnamese dezinformatsiya psychological operation that could not have been pulled off without the enthusiastic collaboration of the American Left and the American MSM.

The war was not lost until we had left the battlefield. Marvin did OK in 1972, with some help. We failed to return in 1975 as we had promised because of the successful undermining of the national will by the same snakes that undermine us now.

4/23/2008 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Cannoneer #4: The American people didn't "sour" on the Vietnam War, they were fed erroneous information

Look at the timeline, Friend-O. The number of Americans who supported the war fell below 50% by the fall of 1967. Post-Tet, for the first time, a majority of Americans opposed the war. So it was not a sea-change in public opinion, but the extension of a four-year trend. The bulk of the attack began on 31JAN68. On 31MAR68, exactly 2 months later, President Johnson announced the unilateral halt of bombing during a television address when he also announced he would not run for a second term in office. LBJ micromanaged the war from the White House basement, so he knew two months out it was becoming a tactical victory for the US, so why did he throw in the the towel in the middle of it and basically write off South Vietnam? Because of Uncle Walter on the CBS news? No, because he knew the majority of Americans had grown tired of the war. This is a representative democracy. You can't ram a policy down people's throats against their will for very long before an election intervenes.

4/23/2008 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

At many times in the nation's history maturing men faced fateful and responsible decisions similar to Auster's. It is convenient for him to recall only two options, but as pointed out others existed. So in reality his choice, 'going crazy', was rejection of the maturing process and a vote for remaining an irresponsible adolescent.

Once chosen, that path became increasingly difficult to reverse and opt to once more be "responsible". Thus we see him at 61 still attempting to justify immaturity. Obviously it could not be HIS fault, so that must lie at the feet of 'others'.

Traitor, no. Coward, yes. Its that simple.

4/23/2008 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger T said...

Teresita, next time you get your nails done you can shovel that to your nail technician.

4/23/2008 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Finally, I understand why Paul Auster doesn't know how to end a story...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

4/23/2008 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Americans certainly tired of the war. But refused to back calls for defeat. Which is what McGovern offered.

But that was 40 years ago. In the Cold War stand-off against the USSR.

Today people want not to be nuked. With Syria and North Korea cooperating like Intel and China, but with nukes not computer chips, people are scared, angry, and uncertain.

There is no support for guys like that idiot 60's boomer. Or "rage" because there is no safety under a nuclear umbrella to act out childish fantasies.

Instead hard men like Zawahari want to kill us all. For Allah. With about a billion Muslims backing them. They even behead people on the internet and promise a nuclear follow-up. Believe them.

This fool and Obama would be like Nixon promising to end prohibition and other Jazz Age excesses.

4/23/2008 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger vnjagvet said...

Like infants, this guy isn't crazy. He just holds his breath until he turns blue.

Did it then, wants to do it now.

An infantile jerk if you ask me.

4/23/2008 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

whiskey wrote:

"
There is no support for guys like that idiot 60's boomer. Or "rage" because there is no safety under a nuclear umbrella to act out childish fantasies."

naw, there is no rage because nobody is being drafted, no one has to go, and the rest of US aren't bothered either because there has been no cost to this war yet. Our biggest sacrifice (to date) has been to keep shopping.

4/23/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Teresita is, as usual, 100% wrong.

The majority of Americans did not want to disgrace their country nor dishonor it by forfeiting the cause it had championed in Vietnam. That is why they elected Richard Nixon twice. The media disgraced itself by acting as the tools of, or useful idiots for, the Communists. The upper class boomer children were motivated by cowardice, narcissim, and a refusal to of adulthood.

PETER PAN:
I won't grow up,
I don't want to go to school.
Just to learn to be a parrot,
And recite a silly rule.

I won't grow up,
I don't want to wear a tie,
And a serious expression,
In the middle of July.

They are old now. And they still refuse to grow up and accept responsibility for the the things they did, such as killing millions of Asians by their cowardice. They want to justify their youthful sins with the blood of Iraqis. They hope that a foolish consistency will redeem them.

They do not know, and can not accept that redemption comes from grace earned by repentance, prayer, and charity.

4/23/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"and the rest of US aren't bothered either because there has been no cost to this war yet"
---
Don't judge others by yourself, Ash.
Steve Martin makes anonymous visits to the local USO. Dennis Miller was the last person to enjoy a ballgame with
Merlin German.
Countless other entertainers, talk show hosts, neighbors, veterans, ministers, medical and counseling professionals, and of course hundreds of thousands of friends and families care a great deal.
The rest of us care more, or less, depending on the individual.

4/23/2008 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Incredible Details
(After hundreds of operations, I wonder if he was yet another victim of Chi-com tainted Heparin: Passed after a relatively minor procedure.)

4/23/2008 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Doug, sure some have volunteered to pay a cost but very few have been FORCED to absorb a cost (quite the opposite for those military contractors - but I digress) other then the poor sods who have been stop lossed they seem pretty damn pissed. In a rage some of them.

4/23/2008 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Parents, children, wives, husbands, and friends and family didn't volunteer to "absorb a cost."

4/23/2008 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

Ash, being a Canadian, you are pretty big on government forcing things, like for instance, what the Queen's subjects can think and say.

And don't use the "our" word as if you are an American citizen. You are a subject of the Queeen. Owned if you will. And free Americans don't like to be compared to the Queen's slavish subjects.

When Americans want to know what Canadians think, we'll ask the Queen.

4/23/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Fat Man:They do not know, and can not accept that redemption comes from grace earned by repentance, prayer, and charity.

Redemption comes solely from the work of Christ who died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. Repentance is indeed the door to receive this free gift and prayer is the way people maintain a relationship with the redeemer, but nothing WE can do, not even works of charity, can earn our redemption.

4/23/2008 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Terersita!

It's nice to see you right about something. (Salvation only through Jesus.) But your attitude makes Christianity seem odious. I assume you are presenting yourself as a Christian Lesbian. Where's the love Babe? Agape love.

You are totally out to lunch about Vietnam. It seems like you are trying to use your intellect here to compensate for some personal shortcoming. Your entire post is a digression from the subject at hand. Get into a good Bible study. Tell someone there about your issues and pray with them. Don't give up. God is good. We all have things to deal with.

4/23/2008 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Teresita is, as usual, 100% wrong.

4/23/2008 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Celia Hayes said...

Yeah, I remember those crazy, wonderful days of the late 60's.

And I also remember those days after April of 1975, when I worked like a dog as a volunteer, helping to resettle those Vietnamese refugees who came out, on boats and helicopers and every which way they could. I wrote about it here -
http://www.ncobrief.com/index.php/archives/saigon-and-cinnamon/

Yeah, among all those nice, decent church people and members of various community organisations - I was the only college student. And among all those other decent, ordinary people - there were none of those who had made such a big thing out of protesting the War.

In a way, this was one of the formative experiences of my life - about the first time that I ever noticed that how few of our so-called public intelectuals actually had the guts and the stamina to do the hard work that really made a difference; most of them were just in it to make a show, and a show of how noble and sensitive and clever they really were.

That's when I decided to join the Air Force.

4/23/2008 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

To Celia Hayes: Were you by any chance at "The Gap" Fort Indiantown Gap that is?

I was there from April thru mid-November, playing linguist, often at the dispensary. Remind me to tell you the story of The Constipated Cambodian.

In 1965 I turned 21 in my first firefight. In 1975 I turned 31 processing in the last of Indiantown Gap refugees. Three VN tours in between those events.

In many ways, 1975 was heartbreak for me. But in the fall of that year, something gave me an insight. Namely that I would live to see the end of communism. Less than twenty years later, I had been proven right.

People like you, me, and the Blooper Tube grunt made Ronald Reagan and his victory possible. It is the Paul Austers that are to be pitied.

4/23/2008 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Celia Hayes said...

No, Dave - I was in suburban Los Angeles. But it was a heartbreaking year all the way around; mostly because it seemed to happen in a vacuum, after the first flurry of news reports and pictures.
The minister of my church was a chaplain in the Air Force Reserve, and he used his car tags to drive onto Pendleton and show us the vast tent cities of Vietnamese refugees at a distance. I've always wondered if Jane Fonda was afforded the same opportunity.

Propably not, the self-centered b**ch. Another reason to ignore the self-nominated Hollywierd intellectual elite.

4/23/2008 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Well, anyway Celia: Let me say "Well Done" to you. I saw what kind of people would pitch in and which kind was not. Ultimately, the latter do not count for much. You do.

4/23/2008 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Tom W. said...

"I am 61 now, but my thinking has not changed much since that year of fire and blood, and as I sit alone in this room with a pen in my hand, I realize that I am still crazy, perhaps crazier than ever."

There's no drama queen like an old drama queen.

4/23/2008 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger American Patriot said...

So there are still people out there who think Vietnam was a noble cause? Drafting people (military slavery) and sending them halfway around the world to interfere in a third world's civil war, to prevent the "domino" of Communism from sweeping the globe? If Auster is crazy he's got good company. Is there no injustice your government can engage in without you people turning off your brain and claiming patriotic duty?

4/23/2008 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

I am also 61. Paul Auster represents the type of coward that prolonged Vietnam and eventually lost the war. He is typical of the type of coward who has gone into journalism since then.

Ken Hahn

4/23/2008 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger richard mcenroe said...

""and the rest of US aren't bothered either because there has been no cost to this war yet""

A. Speak for yourself.

B. Did you know more Hooters Girls have visited Iraq and Afghanistan than members of Congress?

4/23/2008 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

American patriot,
You don't get it son. You never have, you never will. Your screen name is a misnomer because the country you're patriotic about is some fantasy you conjure up in your weak mind. The draft wasn't military slavery as you claim but egalitarian. Unfortunately , some pigs like Auster were more equal than others of us.

4/23/2008 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Towering Barbarian said...

Poor old hippie! Mr. Auster seems to be bellowing from the tarpit into which he sinks in the hope it will change his fate. I wonder what it's like to have gone from childhood to senility without ever having achieved adulthood the way these leftists have? o_O

4/23/2008 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Lonetown said...

Methinks the demon rum is involved in some way.

4/24/2008 02:39:00 AM  
Blogger sfcmac said...

Teresita said:"You can't ram a policy down people's throats against their will for very long before an election intervenes."

Really? Tell that to the ruling Communist government in Vietnam. Or China. Or North Korea.

4/24/2008 05:03:00 AM  
Blogger pduggie said...

We actually had the Mayor of Philadelphia explaining our high murder rate as a reflex of the violence in Iraq.

o.O

4/24/2008 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger Skyler said...

I think this is the same man who wrote "City of Glass" and "Moon Palace." This is entirely consistent with his pathetic writings. Both books have the same plot; successful man runs into a small problem in his life and can't cope, so he begins to spiral into a subhuman state and ends the book naked in a park howling at the moon.

What a loser, and what a pathetic, post-modern view of the world. That anyone pays attention to this sorry excuse for a writer speaks volumes of the depths of depravity that New York culture and western civilization has sunk to.

4/24/2008 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Well, we shouldn't be surprised, should we?

After all, lethal rioting can be blamed the very existence of political cartoons and British subjects can murder their own because they've been 'provoked' by U.S. foreign policy.

What was it historian Paul Johnson said about the trifecta which so blighted the 20th century?

Freud banishes free will and individual responsibility. Mommy didn't love me enough, etc., etc.

Marx creates (resurrects?) the notion of group guilt. No callouses on your hands in Pol Pot's Cambodia was a guilty verdict.

Modernists spinning Einstein's discovery of relativity into relativism. Omelets made from broken eggs and all that . . .

No, we shouldn't be surprised by this, at all.

4/24/2008 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger the wolf said...

"It suggests there's a whole population of people of seemingly normal people out there just waiting to go berserk at the mere mention of politics they disapprove of."

They usually gather over at The Daily Kos.

4/24/2008 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger rick mcginnis said...

What is it about these austere (hey - a pun!) prose stylists who suddenly get all purple and melodramatic when writing biography or talking about their politics?

"I knew that my future held only two options: prison or exile."

"I am 61 now, but my thinking has not changed much since that year of fire and blood, and as I sit alone in this room with a pen in my hand, I realize that I am still crazy, perhaps crazier than ever."


Auster's like Harold Pinter, whose famous economy of phrasing utterly deserts him when he writes his unhinged political screeds, or the Slayer lyrics that he calls poetry these days.

4/24/2008 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger American Patriot said...

Bill,

If you think egalitarian slavery isn't slavery, you don't get it, son. And if you think it was truly egalitarian, take a look at your president and his VP.

Let's attack Auster for not wanting to be forced against his will to travel to a rice paddy to kill other people who didn't attack us...

4/24/2008 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 04/24/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

4/24/2008 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger VA Gamer said...

American Patriot said...
Bill,

If you think egalitarian slavery isn't slavery, you don't get it, son. And if you think it was truly egalitarian, take a look at your president and his VP.

4/24/2008 06:33:00 AM


AP, being an American citizen gives rights, but in return demands responsibilies (taxes, informed voting, military draft). You clearly understand the "rights" part, but you seem pretty clueless about the "responsibilities" part.

Let me ask you a question. Let's assume that I oppose abortion on religious grounds and that I find it evil that the U.S. government could subsidize those who provide abortions. Do I have a right to withhold my tax dollars in order to oppose the murder of millions of unborn children?

Let's attack Auster for not wanting to be forced against his will to travel to a rice paddy to kill other people who didn't attack us...

Should I be forced against my will to fund killers of other people (unborn children) who didn't attack us?

4/24/2008 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Thank you Bill@10:42. You beat me to it. A misnomer.

Black is white and hot is cold now.

4/24/2008 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger American Patriot said...

Sorry VA gamer, rights exist prior to any government (agency of force) "granting" them - government can certainly not respect my rights, trample on them, etc, but it does not grant them. And no, you shouldn't be forced to pay for abortions - I fail to see how one injustice (your money being used to do something you find abhorrent) justifies another (my money being used to do something I find abhorrent). The Constitution has a very well-defined list of things the federal government is allowed to do; interfering in other countries civil wars or killing fetuses can't be found in there, so it shouldn't be doing or funding such things. And any conservative worthy of the name should take the limited government ideals in the Constitution closer to heart than their desire to police the world and engage in empire-building - the latter is just liberalism through superior firepower.

4/24/2008 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The 2007 Dohrn-Ayers Videos
Guy Benson is the young producer that dug up the 2007 tape of William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn speaking at an SDS reunion, adio of which debuted on the Sandy Rios Show which Guy produces, then on my show, Hannity & Colmes, Laura Ingraham.

Some of My Best Friends Are Liberals. None of Them Are Terrorists.
My column today provides the key links.

Benson has now posted a column analyzing Senator Obama's responses to the Obama-Ayers-Dohrn connections.
Read the whole thing.

-Hewitt

4/24/2008 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger bogie wheel said...

At 61, would impertinent thoughts against Amerikkka make Paul Auster a Rage Geezer?

4/26/2008 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger bogie wheel said...

A third choice not mentioned (or apparently considered) by Auster:

Medic.

If he sincerely believed that he could not, nor should have been compelled by his government, to kill or carry a weapon into combat, then he could still have served with honor and distinction in a most vital capacity doing tremendous good: saving lives and diminishing suffering.

If he'd done such, he would have credibly retained the moral high ground. And come off as believable when he asserted that his feelings about the war were highly principled and unassailable beliefs that he held to his core, "to the depths of [his] being."

Remember that old saying, "the courage of your convictions"?

This guy proved he had both.

Paul Auster? At best, he might have had one of them.

But convictions without courage are kinda like Confederate currency ... not much good after the shootin's over and done with. To claim or even imply the mantle of moral (ie courageous) vision now is just empty words.

4/26/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Hey, teresita, go and get some factual history about South Vietnam and the way in which ordinary South Vietnamese citizens and soldiers were resisting the Communists. While Hanoi was getting tons and tons of equipment, ammo, etc. from China, Russia, Eastern Europe, etc., had we cut Saigon loose who would have overcome that advantage to the Communists?

The ARVN acquitted itself quite well during the Feb. 1968 Communist Offensive. It also fought well against the Spring 1972 Offensive in the northern provinces.

It's attitudes like yours that, cumulatively across this land, had a lot to do with the Communist armored columns rolling into the South in April of 1975, and bloodbath across South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

I'm 53 years old and I was in the Army in 1975. On the very day of the fall of Saigon I was having dinner at a friend's house at Fort Lee, VA: he was an E-5 who did a 12 month tour over there in '71-'72 and had married the widow of an ARVN major who was killed during the war. That evening, as we watched the news, the tears were rolling down her face as she expressed her fears about what was going to happen to family and friends over there.

Don't romanticize the mood of the nation at that time, basking in the smug interpretation that it was noble of us to pull the plug after Cronkite gave his opinion during the '68 Tet Offensive.

We snatched defeat from the jaws of military victory because millions had swilled the bile of the useful idiots and fellow-travelers. For shame...

4/26/2008 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

The biographical information about Paul Auster states that he graduated from Columbia University in 1970, not 1968. If he was indeed a 21 year old senior at Columbia in 1968 (he was born in 1947 to Jewish parents in Newark, NJ), he found a way to stretch it out to 1970, when he was 23 years old at graduation. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

The fact of the matter is, as with John Kerry when he graduated from Yale and was available for the draft, a young man who graduates from an elite institution, if drafted, was extremely unlikely to be made an 11 Bravo grunt. Even if they went into Officer Candidate School, it would be extremely unlikely that they would be assigned to a combat arms MOS. Even more unlikely that they would be sent to the Republic of Vietnam, where officers' tours were not the full 12 months (13 months for the Marines). The vast majority of those men who fought in that war, officer and enlisted, volunteered for that duty AND volunteered to be in combat arms.

People like Paul Auster were members of the New Left. They were not and are not patriotic Americans. Their devotion was to the Sorelian socialist myth, and were (and most still are)only loyal to America so long as America does not interfere with their involvement in activities to act out their socialist fantasies.

The perusal of the public information about his education and interests as a writer reveals an attraction to Lacanian philosophy (an offshoot of deconstructionism), which is part of the landscape of cultural Marxism, something I am familiar with since I too was a bookish student of cultural Marxism, circa 1977-86.

Upon his delayed graduation from Columbia Auster ran off to France to study these intellectuals at the Sorbonne, which is a well-known incubator for totalitarian thought.

Draw your own conclusions about this unreformed and unrepentent socialist.

4/27/2008 08:34:00 AM  

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