If I’ve ever read a Pilger essay I hadn’t admired, it escapes me. Among his many antiwar, anti-Imperialist efforts has been his staunch support of WikiLeaks, including both Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. He’s written frequently on the faux charges against Assange in Sweden, including the perfidy of the ‘new’ prosecutor not backing off in the face of a dearth of evidence, and the chilling effect that their persecutions has had on the truth of the Empire emerging, as well as formerly-Constitutional free speech.
“Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.
The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.
“We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.
The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60,000 veterans who took their own lives. A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”
A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The lines of ordinary people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”; Iraq was “liberated [by] air strikes of unprecedented precision”. The theme was unerringly heroic: only Americans pay the price of freedom.
The 2016 election campaign is remarkable not only for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but also for the resilience of an enduring silence about a murderous self-bestowed divinity. A third of the members of the United Nations have felt Washington’s boot, overturning governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts. Most of the presidents responsible have been liberal – Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.
The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened …Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter … “. Pinter expressed a mock admiration for what he called “a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”
Take Obama. As he prepares to leave office, the fawning has begun all over again. He is “cool.” One of the more violent presidents, Obama gave full reign to the Pentagon war-making apparatus of his discredited predecessor. He prosecuted more whistleblowers – truth-tellers – than any president. He pronounced Chelsea Manning guilty before she was tried. Today, Obama runs an unprecedented worldwide campaign of terrorism and murder by drone.
In 2009, Obama promised to help “rid the world of nuclear weapons” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No American president has built more nuclear warheads than Obama. He is “modernizing” America’s doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable.”
James Bradley, the best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers and son of one of the US marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, said, “[One] great myth we’re seeing play out is that of Obama as some kind of peaceful guy who’s trying to get rid of nuclear weapons. He’s the biggest nuclear warrior there is. He’s committed us to a ruinous course of spending a trillion dollars on more nuclear weapons. Somehow, people live in this fantasy that because he gives vague news conferences and speeches and feel-good photo-ops that somehow that’s attached to actual policy. It isn’t.”
On Obama’s watch, a second cold war is under way. The Russian president is a pantomime villain; the Chinese are not yet back to their sinister pig-tailed caricature – when all Chinese were banned from the United States – but the media warriors are working on it.
Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders has mentioned any of this. There is no risk and no danger for the United States and all of us. For them, the greatest military build-up on the borders of Russia since World War Two has not happened. On May 11, Romania went “live” with a Nato “missile defence” base that aims its first-strike American missiles at the heart of Russia, the world’s second nuclear power. (the other half of his brutal truth-telling critique is here.)
(h/t Mr. wd)
For any wags who’d thought satire was dead post-Kissinger: ‘At Hiroshima Memorial, Obama Says Nuclear Arms Require ‘Moral Revolution’, the NYT
Also from Telesur: Breaking: ‘Argentine Military Officials Guilty for Plan Condor Crimes’
“An Argentine court found 15 military officials guilty Friday for crimes committed under Plan Condor, a program launched in the 1970s designed to eliminate all opposition to right-wing dictatorships in South America.
The South America integration institution UNASUR said in statement this was a step forward to peace and justice in the region.
After three years of hearings, the court charged former military officials, 17 from Argentina and 1 from Uruguay, with kidnapping, torture and forced disappearance. Seven officials, including former dictator Jorge Videla, have been discharged for health reasons or have died during the hearings process.
Former Argentine dictator Reynaldo Bingone was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy and illegal deprivation of liberty of 100 people. Officer Santiago Riveros was charged with 25 years and Uruguayan Manuel Cordero, the only foreigner at trial, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The rest of the military officilas who are accused of crimes against humanity were sentenced to eight through 25 years in prison. Plan Condor involved hundreds of officers who worked in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.
The victims’ lawyer Luz Palmas says declassified documents show that former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger kept correspondence with an Argentine minister. But controversially, Kissinger and other U.S. officials are not part of the current investigation.” (more, including info on the witnesses and documents, and a disturbingly cavalier quote by Kissinger, is here.)
It’s hard not to believe that one day…they’ll be coming for us.
the kids will be here in an hour or so, minus the teens, wot in the world? but i’ll be back as i’m able.
WTH (What The Hellary)? ‘Obama is “modernizing” America’s doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable.” ‘ “Cold” War MADNEϟϟ Phoenixes!
If I were Vlad, I’d pronounce the Putin Doctrine of DIP (Detonation In Place) for Russian nukes : We’d ALL Still perish, irradiated with Atomic Plague in the subsequent Nuclear WINTER.
Meanwhile, Coming For US, InDeed!
Nuclear weapons are usable anywhere that you don’t want your troops to go to occupy. Small and smart doesn’t change that.
In other words, nuclear weapons are essentially pure countervalue weapons; they destroy civilian stuff the opponent values. They are not counterforce weapons; in no way can you pretend they are defensive.
That’s been known ever since Herman Kahn wrote On Thermonuclear War.
Ending the threat means ending the mutually assured destruction (MAD) reciprocity means going cold turkey disarmament of everyone and intrusive inspections by a trusted (checked and balanced) inspection agency.
There are not more dangerous and less dangerous nukes. There are more dangerous and less dangerous operating environments and rules of engagement. All that does is change the probability of pure accident not a result of a decision-maker.
i hear you, but the urge to push the boundary, max the envelope, master the atom, and other cliches, is expressed in the use of DU weapons, is it not? affecting both the combatants & the rather immaterial civies, bystanders, etc.? and the ecosphere & everything? so the urge to “tactical” nukes is not entirely surprising.
Depleted uranium is radioactive, but not a nuclear weapon. It not so high-level so as to dramatically affect the performance of troops in battle nor does it demand the brass provide protective gear, both of which would be the case with tactical nuclear weapons. Until it produces agent orange or Gulf War Syndrome long term symptoms in veterans and a veterans movement to get compensation, it is glide along.
Most people who would have to work with and in an environment after the use of tactical nuclear weapons in an attack oppose their actual use but keep public silence in order not to “undermine deterrence”.
The major loudmouths are politicians who don’t know shit either about warfare of about nuclear weapons. They will have to be very forceful a leader to actual use them other than in a limited fashion because of the pushback and the moment of consideration and the possible refusal (“illegal orders” grounds) when directly ordered. They all know that the President is temporary, and they are “lifers”.
Still the safest course is total nuclear disarmament and shutting down all mines. Cutting the nuclear materials into nuclear reactor fuel rods to burn in the phasing out process of the nuclear electricity industry. The bureaucratic and technical steps are known; the political will is what has so far been missing because those with the power don’t understand the technology well enough to know when they’ve screwed up. It will be costly to build down nuclear weapons, but substantially less costly than the $1 trillion to “upgrade” them.
Thanks for Pilger calling us to real about Memorial Day.
My riff on BooMan Tribune off of his post.
heart-rending examples of ‘personal wars’, thd, and altogether an excellent diary. i know three names on The Wall. our memorial day gift from the US government was that our just-arrived son told us he’ll have three months of training in two guard locations in co, then he’ll deploy overseas at christmas. merry fucking christmas.
i will say that i’d dreamed that the news was coming last week, told mr. wd, so we had at least a bit of forewarning. so yeah, it all pisses me off, too, and makes me cry as well.
they all just came back inside, so more later when possible.
holy shit. i’m sorry.
my sentiments exactly, jason.
[on edit] i’d meant to address this to @ juliania: yes, it happens often that one’s own concerns are predominant.
We can’t make our children make the decisions we would make, can we. There is a lot of fear in seeing them make radically different choice than we would have made; I already commented about my reaction to my daughter’s enlistment 22 years ago in the Navy. It was driven in her case by a lousy job market. It is what it is. And although she is now out, my son-in-law is still in and the PTB are ratcheting up the tension where he is stationed.
The best we can hope for is that the have open eyes about what is going on and that they develop a sense of presence that allows them to make the choice to disobey orders if they are for war crimes or fail to protect and defend the Constitution–that is, within the frame of the system of morality that the military purports to observe.
Beyond that, the best we can do is wish that the decision to fire never reaches the locality where they are stationed. That deterrence, no matter how horrid the politics, works in their location. Yes, that is a kind of special pleading, but IMHO it is a parent’s prerogative to have concern about the safety, welfare, and future of their children.
Best wishes to you and him. May sanity return to US politics sometime soon.
no, indeed our children often fail to make the choices we wish/ed for them, and good for them sometimes. but that was another thought i had in socrates’ tale of Diotima and her contention that the children of parents united for procreation for The Beautiful, The Good…would pan out as per their parents’ wishes and designs. i say hooey to that, although i know my sister and her husband damn straight made certain their kids lived their parents’ 2.0 lives.
but there are so many other influences on children that our own, as well, be it other relatives, teachers, an unjust society, or indeed their DNA, and…spouses. our son’s bio mother was azteca, a warrior society in part, his bio-father was a black soldier, so can say what genetic memories might live in him? we’d always assumed that being a hotshot wildland firefighter might have been a compromise to the definite, but shocking to us, allure that he had to the military after a recruiter at his high school schmoozed him. his wife sayed ‘no mo’ hotshots’, of course, and seemed to have been one of the forces of his joining the national guard.
good suggestions about his own acts. what i did say (a bit akin to that) was that he should search his conscience before acting on any orders that were contrary to his moral code, and told him of the post-WWII surveys that indicated that many soldiers seemed to fire amiss at ‘targets’ almost on purpose. his eyes did seem to register that. later in the day he mentioned that some of the instructions he’d read ‘allowed X numbers of civilian casualties’ or some disgusting term, and i just had to say ‘Stop, or i’ll be sick on the floor.’ thing is, he seems to know that these wars are all wars of choice, and even agreed w/ a lot of our narratives of ‘constructed enemies’, including the knowledge that the empire (and nato) are creating more enemies of our nation, both for resource plunder and the profits from war. the last part he did have to think about a bit. but when i mentioned how hard it would be to fight against the virtual brain-washing of their instructions…i just couldn’t tell what his response was, to say the truth. his unit will receive more intensive training for three months in el paso and c springs before christmas, and i bet the ‘Us v. the enemy’ rubbish will be intense. he’s trying to get into ‘military intelligence’ (oxymoronic, lol?) so he won’t be on an artillery line.
yes, i do recall you’re having said that abut your daughter. our best to your son-in-law as well.
@ marym: thanks. i’d just been telling thd a fw days ago he might have more fans among lurkers. ;-)
‘sanity return to US politics’? pardon my cynicism right now.
I realize this won’t fit with the tenor of Mr. Pilger’s forceful indictment, nor with the sadness of your son’s news, wendye – it is today my eldest granddaughter’s birthday, so that takes precedence for me, plus it is still Easter and Putin is at Mt. Athos, which is, if not everyone’s cup of tea, a quiet and beautiful place to celebrate ongoing Easter.
This weekend is the feast of the Samaritan woman, so given that women are not allowed on that peninsula I am remembering that the disciples were astonished to find Jesus in conversation with a woman – rather ironic that is to me. And even so, I’ve been viewing that environment in and out all day long, listening to the paschal chants in Greek and Russian.
We each have our remembrances and our feasts. I’m glad Putin is at a monastery and not a political podium this weekend. Obama should be so lucky. (And no, he is not cool.)
i don’t know lots about Athos, less about Putin
Bless you, Jason! That is the opening hymn of Saturday night vespers, takes me back to our little church in Santa Fe (it was the first, loveliest Orthodox church in Santa Fe, just a tiny family chapel, as mine is now.) Altos are the main voice in the church choir, with the others harmonizing, and how lovely that Russian basso proffundo at the end – no instruments in church singing and frequently eight part harmonies. We all sang, and if you do that it is not possible not to be Russian Orthodox!
We didn’t sing Rachmaninoff in our services, but did two selections in a concert once. It’s beautiful.
it’s a great piece, a hymn to creation, so if one’s not into the whole orthodoxy thing…
Only partially off-topic. From the GOS, no less.
And the version of Roots produced and directed by Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton plays a part in this.
This is a very complicated narrative, given American imperialism and the current anomaly for US history of having first-generation African-American as President and First Lady with ancestors who were slaves on Friendfield Plantation, near Georgetown SC. Who exactly are now the modern-day counterparts of the British slavers who plied the waters of the Gambia river, engaging in diplomacy with river peoples to deliver further neighbors into slavery? It is remarkable how this pattern of settler colonialism (without settlers in this case) mirrored the pattern of slave expeditions in the Indian country of South Carolina, Georgia in the early 18th century. Those states even sent expeditions (think special forces) into “Spanish” Florida and “French” East Florida (current Alabama and Mississippi) and Louisiana having one tribe enslave neighboring tribes and then turning around and trading with the victims, gaining slaves from the former collaborating slaving tribes. How the Southeast was won.
Only after weakening came the forts and forward stationary deployment of troops. And then capitalist economy in full could be established in the periphery of the forts prior to the arrival of settling economic units, which in this case were farms and farmers. Today they are local extensions of Western multinational corporations.
Roots is only one dimension of a complicated US story, but a dimension that was completely missing until Alex Haley’s book. The other dimension is effectively, but not as personally told in Daniel K. Richter’s Facing East from Indian Country and Alan Gallay’s The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717.
The dates 1670-1717 are significant to the Roots story because this is the period during which institutional chattel slavery of imported African slaves was established in a way that legally defined the terms “Indian”, “Negro”, and “white”. (Notice the reverse discrimination in capitalization that genericizes “white” as the default human being.)
And this was the institution that became known as the “frontier”. That “frontier” acted as a means of removal that cleared the way for the westward expansion of export plantations worked by African slaves, exactly the system later imported by the British, French, Belgians, and Germans into the African continent.
As agriculture gives way to last burst of capitalist industrialization (Asia becomes too expensive because of a “rising middle class”) the Asian wars of the past 70 years get translated to Africa, which is very close to the end of the frontier and the completion of the capitalist project.
It will be interesting to see how Levar Burton frames this version of Roots in light of the resurgence of open racist language in the US and the growing presence of Africom in African nations. (And then there’s the presence of China to which ties whatever happens in Gambia into the transition from the Global War on Terror to the Global Pivot to Asia).
Of course Americans will know none of this because Americans learn geography through the latest war; Americans are also noted for their amnesia about their own history.
damn. that was nice. informing, disturbing. good for levar burton.
connecting back to comments on Plato’s symposium and its denial of woman, and esp. the mother, despite the presence of the intellectually-recreative, asexual Diotima: the youth idealized by the philospher arrive to him as the product of the mother. the youth has been hidden away, educated in female company, to be introduced as an adolescent (sic) to adult male society. what processes, energies, etc., go into that pupa pupil, well, like the fertility of the earth itself, is a matter of indifference. until the male gets hold of the sprout. (btw, very aristocratic model. ahhh…the lower orders, the kingly commons. a bit different. just a bit.)
how does this connect to pilger & the like? our leaders are so disconnected from the actual pro-creative process, so enamoured & trapped by “platonic forms”, of power mostly, cultural reproduction, that actual physical, material needs are completely irrelevant. sustaining a world-environment that can reproduce itself is a distant second to a world in which a System, a subset of the world in which they happen to dominate, can *try* to reproduce itself. try & fail. monsanto as reproduction AND control.
and they can lie to children. participate, and you’ll reproduce the (platonic form of the) Nation. engage in cultural reproduction thru the process of killing other’s biological reproduction. sorry, thinking of the military here. ours, and always.
sorry, meant to mention this: Melville’s “Paradise of Bachelors & Tartarus of Maids” is structured around a Platonized male v female dichotomy, updated for the age of the modern factory and w/a rather more sexless all male symposium.
there’s a hella lot in this comment, jason, but yes. techno-agriculture by ownership rights. who cares if it’s killing people? allow me to drink a cuppa glyphosate (or flint water) and watch me live!
i think i’m getting where you’re heading with the pupa-pupils raised by women until they’re sufficiently beautiful and pure. when jaango had mentioned michaelangelo’s ‘the david’ i went a huntin’ for more about it than i thought i’d known. turned out, according to wikiworld: a lot. but one of the things was that even though he was the third carver of that block o’ carara marble, and in the medici-beleagured city of florence, he made david’s genitals rather small, as the greek pubescent model was all the rage.
but how handy; i’d mentioned diotima’s ‘the good will beget the good and beautiful, and they will turn out just so’ or close. i’d been mentioning all the other influences on one’s children as well, but i’d forgotten to mention grandparents. i swear i believe that hoping/believing grandparents ove unconditionally, and should always be a refuge from nulcear family tribulations, toxic ones are…horrific. why don’t psychologists and shrinks seem to know this?
but mothers: i looked it up, and the stoney poneys ‘one for one’ song was co-written by two folks who weren’t band members (i’ve mislaid their names on one of these word documents). as i listened to dylan’s ‘sara’ a few more times, i was struck anew that he loved her not only as a lover/soul mate, but as a mother. i loved it.
wish i’d read that melville book; you allude to it a lot. say more about the updatedness, if you will?
oh it’s two short stories that are meant to be read together. “melville” is the narrator in both. consciously modeled on the symposium & dante. in “paradise,” melville hangs out w/a gaggle of high class lawyers in london at a drinking party where they regale each other w/stories and booze up the bon homie. they are all bachelors engaged in self-recreation via the cultural activity known as law, one of the “highest” activities in Plato’s S. the narrator never explains why he’s at this “symposium”, iirc.
the 2nd part is more interesting but must be counterpoised w/the 1st. melville goes to a paper mill in the dead of winter in the mountains in massachusetts. it’s all staffed by “girls”, except the bosses of course. no mothers allowed, no time for children. anyway, after being awed by the perfection & punctuality of the mill’s machinery, he winds up fleeing in horror at the sacrifice of the young women’s “pale virginity” to the paper mill machine (“blank faces at blank counters blankly folding blank sheets” or something like that. whiteness.) and why is melville at the this paper mill? he’s come looking for a deal on paper to use in his seed distribution business (sic.) he goes & sees for himself what the lawyers in the 1st part will never see: how paper is made. the sexless but rather epicurean lawyers in pt 1 depend on this paper for their livelihood w/o the slightest consideration where it comes from. anyway, you get the idea. i first read Tartarus solo in a volume of american gothic short stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates. she commented this is the first story in american lit that looks at factory life from the perspective of women. another feather in the cap of melville’s genius.
thank you; wonderful. i also found this angle: ‘Herman Melville’s ‘The Paradise of Bachelors and The Tartarus of Maids’: A Capitalist Critique’
it has the “…rows of blank-looking counters sat rows of blank-looking girls, with blank, white folders in their blank hands, all blankly folding blank paper.” and a few more pithy critiques of capitalist cultural order (i’d add ‘social’, i think).
“Taken together, both narratives illustrate the empty existence at the core of Western civilization—neither the rich nor the working class are immune.
Both operate in a hallucinatory world.”
anticipating chaplin’s ‘modern times’. oddly, i wouldn’t have guessed there were so many women working in factories in that era. kids: yes. oh, my.
classic, of course. yes, there’s the whole capitalist side to those stories.
with the “intellectual” workers at the top, accountants, lawyers, managers, politicos of all stripes, financiers, etc., “culture” creators to an extent, capitalism has the “noetic” (nous – mind, intellect) class of Plato’s Republic running the show. the guardians (the “thymic” class, iirc; thymos-courage, heart), the spooks & soldiers & cops. and all the rest of us at the bottom, the “pathetic” class (har har; the class governed by passions & so requiring rule), who conform our bodies & psyches to the “form” of society designed by the noetic & enforced by the guardian classes. deviance is inability to conform to the “form” of the “good” of the noetic class. i think our society is very platonic.
the genius of melville is that as an author, he, the narrator, crosses the class/gender boundaries b/n top & the bottom, the lawyers & factory girls, while suggesting his own dependence, as author, on the labor & produce (ie, paper), of the factory. the cultural production of literature depends on prior material production. he doesn’t explicitly come out & say this, but i think the reader is supposed take this away w/them, these two stories being the “seeds” he’s spreading (seeds also of course draws our attention to the issue of fertility.)
that was a brilliant image of the class layers you painted, jason, and ya even dazzled us w/ some greek!
your final sentence seems just right, indicating his getting the irony of his own part in the paper and seeds. seeds/fertility and blank faces folding blank paper. it burns into one’s memory, that image, doesn’t it? good on you for bring it all.
‘today we are all Pathetics!’
“today we are all pathetics!” as long as it doesn’t involve empath-y, compass-ion, etc., we can all be as pathetic, ruled by our bellies, loins, neuroses, childhoods, etc., as we like. provided we don’t bring that oral-consumptive shit to our “jobs.”. uh uh no way. for the sake of the boss & paycheck, please strive to be the platonic form of anal-retentiveness about the job whose function it is to get everyone else to be as oral-consumptive as possible! most obviously true in retail, but totally true in a different way on up the job scale.
anyway, ramblers gotta ramble…
love your rambling, jason, so often all at once knowledgeable, profound, funny, and altogether humane. you don’t hesitate to get your guts shredded while staring into the abyss.
with the quote, i was trying to satirize john McCrankypants on ‘georgians’ (which narrative by the Imperialists has since been deconstructed as to who fired on whom first and hardest; sorry, i didn’t keep the link). but as i went to imply authorship, i just plum drew blank; oh well.
your ‘ please strive to be…’ satire echoes, i think, the jacobin author’s “…neither the rich nor the working class are immune. Both operate in a hallucinatory world.”
i’ve met plenty of wage slaves working for huge corporations who begin referring to their corporate masters in the first-person plural: ‘We.’
bosses: i had exactly two in my life who weren’t power-tripping cranks, so i decided early on to create my own work. mr. wd did, as well.
for your layered classes Great Exp
ectationlanation, i went and fetched this quote to get it right:
“I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.”
~ Michel de Montaigne
ah yes, we are all georgians. but not to love & die together (camus). clearly not.
“you don’t hesitate to get your guts shredded while staring into the abyss.” compliment? cautionary road sign? lots more guts to shred where them come frum! oh, and more of that abyssey stuff no doubt.
“america is the most durable economy in the world!” says obuma. see the we? get w/the “we” program!!!!! the very wee program indeed.
gonna be outta nested comment spaces, but yes it was a compliment, but eeek, perhaps to myownself as well. for a long time i’d reckoned if the Empire dished out death, the least i could do was act as a Fair Witness to what i knew, feel the feelings, and…well, yanno. you brought the wsws piece, and i’m guessing you read the peter lee (?) one, and barfed, or almost, as well. naming the dead by drone, for instance. ah well, yes, there’s more abyss to come, more than we’ll ever be aware of, yes?
Thank you for plugging Melville. Everyone for several lit professors to Lewis Mumford have plugged his books; I must go back and read apparently some of the more obscure ones to get a feel of the period in which he writes. The period that politically is called the “Jacksonian era” but represents the first wave of manufacturing and financial institution capitalism (as opposed to plantation capitalism, which was almost the original birthright of the United States) does set the stage for how the United States understood its relations with the major powers of the world before the Civil War and up to the age of the robber barons.
Looked at the wikipedia for Melville. He died just at the leading edge of the first burst of US naval imperialism.