“We have to understand that killing for what you believe is the heart of evil. And it still goes on,” he said. “We’re all human beings together. I’m representing hopefully, humbly, honestly, the 16 million I served with in World War II.” J. Yellin
He screamed in out of the sun,
fire flickering along the fine lines of Death’s white hand,
squeezing bullets into muddy flesh below,
then gone in bitter escape.
Only . . .
The blood unsatisfied rose up from the steaming corpses and
crying forth in woe made after the receding blade.
At the speed and power of vengeance
a specter intent on its prey
it entered silently into the plane
through the roaring engine
up into the cockpit
to slide into his flight suit
The pilot licked his lips.
He could almost taste that coffee waiting for him back at the base.
That same hand,
still ghostly white,
holds the steaming Christmas mug,
black words around it read,
“May the Peace of Christ be with you.”
And also with
November 24, 1987
For those in the midst of another aerial bombardment.
Originally posted here April 2011.
i was pouring the wine
had it on ice
when with a flash the bomb
bit through the night
the shrapnel rammed into
got blood all over my
nice new dress
mike came to see me when
they had me on the slab
don’t worry baby it’s better
than a cab
because i’m gone baby
gone for good
i’ve got my hand in the hand
of the man with the hood
i’m gone from this world that
has tradeoffs within
where tyrants murder babies
sin for sin
yeah I’m gone baby
at last i’m free
and i hope they don’t shred you
like they shredded me
November 22, 1988
San Salvador, El Salvador
Part of the continuing Ugly American series, a selection of writings from my travel journals from Central America in 1988
we are a fragmented people
a body of many torn asunder
divided by imaginary boundaries
that in the end matter little
when the bleeding of one is a
wound to all of us
Boston. Iraq. Israel. Afghanistan.
Mali. Nigeria. Pakistan. Japan.
what place on earth shall we run to tomorrow?
the collateral damage is to our
collective soul which we are in
danger of losing when we continue
to visit violence on our brothers
and sisters whoever and wherever
they may be
what awaits the human race at the finish line?
Lord have mercy.
Heal our brokeness.
Grant us peace.
The following are excerpts from my journal entry of April 15, 1986, when the US was also bombing Libya, an act which accomplished nothing except the death of a dictator’s child, Lockerbie, and the radicalization of elements of Islam. While the current bombardment feels different, I have to ask myself why. Is it my like or dislike for the person in the White House? Is it the situation on the ground? Have I become more willing to support violence to achieve so-called humanitarian goals? Is the rush of a serious smack down so pervasive as to overcome my sense of compassion? Such are the questions I wrestle with almost 25 years to the day of that other air strike. So I include those thoughts of long ago below in the hopes that they will at least offer me some pertinent lessons from my pacifist past:
My heart bleeds for the victims of war.
They say an infant died today, a victim of a war she had no part in,
A child of the “enemy,” but a child nonetheless,
Oh, God! Why must the children suffer for our insanity?
The point is not that I will not stand up and fight for what I believe in.
I am a warrior, a soldier, a radical. The point then is that I know which weapons to fight with:
The ones that have lasting results.
If my country, America, must use force in defense or to achieve its means then I renounce my country and my homeland. “My Kingdom is not of this world.”
“I know that my Redeemer liveth and on the earth again shall stand. I know eternal life He giveth, that grace and power are in His hand.” When He stands on this earth after the bloodshed has ceased, do you honestly feel He will be on YOUR side when your action was no different than your enemy’s?
To justify the use of military force to thwart the evil in this world is in itself the greater evil.
God is crying in heaven tonight because more of his children are dying. Whether American or Libyan, his tears are the same. When will this insanity end? Retaliation and revenge have only just begun.