Ekpyrosis

in this place or in any other place
may there come abundant peace
g
race, lovingkindness, and compassion
lo
ng life
a
mple sustenance, and salvation

may there be abundant peace from heaven
and good life
satisfaction, help, comfort, refuge
healing, redemption, forgiveness, atonement
relief, and salvation

—Kaddish, prayer for & from the dead

Chris Kyle killed human beings for money.

On the American taxpayers’ dime, he, for too many years, wandered to and fro in Iraq, killing, from concealment, from ambush, from firehiding, a craven coward, citizens of a country where he had no business being.

Kyle was there because, in Iraq, George II was determined to pursue, and end, an atavistic dynastic family feud, like something out of the 8th Century, roll right over that country, because Saddam Hussein, decreed he, was “the guy who tried to kill my dad.”

Though George II was not, alas, able to mount in the Oval Office Saddam’s head—after he had successfully cut off from life, in the great dynastic family-feud tradition, both Saddam, and his sons—he did take prideful personal strutting possession of Saddam’s metallic phallus, in the form of his revolver. Which, one should suppose, must serve as the next best thing.

And because George II’s Secretary of Defense, Colonel Walter E. Rumsfeld, advised, when the planes flew into the towers on September 11, that Afghanistan should mostly be eschewed, as a retaliatory site, because Iraq presented “better targets.” For all his little war toys. And all his little war boys.

That Kyle “fought” like a craven coward should not be something laid wholly at his own feet. For, as I first expressed here, cowardice today defines the way Americans wage war. A nation of cowardly back-shooters. From their snipers, to their drones.

And, as I said back then, every time an American, wielding sniper to drone, cowardly back-shoots a human being, in that human being’s home region, said American births, in full flower, another dark Jesse James.

“Blood,” knew Aeschylus, some 2500 years ago, “begets blood.”

And so, Saturday, Chris Kyle, the cowardly back-shooter of the US Navy, of a career of cowardly back-shooting in a country land-locked but for a tiny tip, where no Navy-man should ever logically or even sanely go, was himself cowardly back-shot. By a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Semper fi.

Many ways there might have been, to prevent the death of Chris Kyle. But first and foremost might have been if there was no United States Marine Corps. The death cult from which his killer sprang.

Would that the world had heeded the words of decorated veteran Hunter S. Thompson, who, in 1987, and quite correctly, commenting upon the greatest intelligence failure in US history, noted that there was absolutely No Reason, any longer, for any Marines.

The whole Marine Corps should be disbanded, finished off with other useless relics like the Sea-Bees, Hitler Youth and the Lafayette Esquadrille. The USMC has been useless as tits on a boar hog since 1951, when they led the famous “Inchon Landing” for Gen. marines. hoo-rah.Douglas MacArthur and saved America from total disgrace in Korea. That was [60] years ago, and since then they have done little more than hang around foreign embassies like drunken peacocks and get the nation into trouble. The US Army’s 1st Airborne Division could eat the whole Marine Corps for breakfast and take the rest of the day off for beer and volleyball. The only solution to the “Marine problem” now is to croak the whole corps.

Abolishing the Marines would have no real effect on national military preparedness, and it would cut [a minimum of $29 billion] off the bloated national defense budget—which now must include the billions it will cost to raze the entire new US Embassy compound in Moscow and build another one—a huge concrete igloo with no windows, or maybe a deep underground bunker like the ones Albert Speer used to build. All we really need over there is a roomy place with no bugs or spies or sex-crazed whiskey-wild women from the KGB, or even the ghost of a US Marine. Res ipsa loquitur.

Of course, all the armed forces in the United States, are soon going to go. The Marines are just the most pathetic, and absurd, of these various laughable oh-so-over grunt-a-munga appendi.

Look: the Founders did not intend this country to maintain even a standing army. Which is why the Constitution specifically prohibits army appropriations of more than two years.

Thus:

—The US is at peace with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico; therefore, it does not need an army. So the army should be eliminated.

—As the only legitimate use for an air force is in support of ground troops, it should be eliminated as well.

—The Marines need to be folded back into the Navy, from whence they sprang; they are support troops for ships, that’s all they are; that they are sent to fight in landlocked countries, like Afghanistan, is madness. So: down the loo, they go.

—Since we already possess a Coast Guard, perfectly capable of patrolling the waters of the continental United States (Alaska and Hawaii are imperial possessions, and should be permitted to break free, as should all overseas territories, possessions, protectorates, and the like), we can go ahead and get rid of the Navy, too—Marines and all. Make a clean sweep.

Or, the US can continue to try, for a time, to gaspingly hang on, as glow-in-the-dark five-star cowardly back-shooters.

In the bent genealogy that trails from this:

When the English introduced the longbow, French knights despised it. They believed that if you were going to kill a man, you cowardsshould do it while looking into his eyes. The British were perfectly happy to take advantage of this French notion, which they considered quaint, because it allowed them to gobble up huge sections of the European continent, until the French too employed men who could kill from a distance.

To this:

It was the British, in the years preceding WWII, who blocked international measures that would have barred the use of aircraft in warfare. As the wife of British “statesman” David Lloyd George noted in her diary on March 9, 1934:

At Geneva other countries would have agreed not to use aeroplanes for bombing purposes, but we insisted on reserving the right, as D. puts it, to bomb niggers! Whereupon the whole thing fell through[.]

To this:

From their cockpit at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, the pilot and co-pilot are flying a pilotless Predator on a bombing mission over Afghanistan, 8,000 miles away. A forward air controller in another unmanned drone spots the target and the Predator bomber takes off under local control from Kandahar in Afghanistan. Minutes later, control of the bomber is handed over to satellite control in the cockpit at Creech.

Two hours later, the crew sees on the cockpit screen two suburban vehicles stop in front of the targeted mud-baked house. Half a dozen bearded men hurry into the dwelling that intelligence had spotted as a Taliban command post. Seconds later, the bombardier in Nevada squeezed the trigger and a 500-pound bomb flattened the Taliban dwelling with a direct hit.Watching the action on identical screens are CIA operators at Langley, Va., who can call in last-minute course corrections.

Their eight-hour mission over, pilot and co-pilot climb into their vehicles and drive home. Thirty minutes later, they are playing with their children.

In the hours and days since Kyle has been killed, there have been many ululations, throughout the tubes, and even upon so-called “lefty” sites, that Kyle was “a hero,” a “good man,” a “gentleman soldier.”

No. He was a stone-cold killer. Who killed, concealed, cowardly, from ambush. A sneak, a sniper, indistinguishable from the DC sneak snipers. Except that he wore a uniform, and could wrap himself in the flag of a country. And that the people he killed were brown. Rather than white.

Listen to what the man himself did say:

—He regarded those he killed as “savages.” And had a crusader cross tattooed on his body, so that those he killed would know they had savagesdied in Christian jihad: “‘I wanted everyone to know I was a Christian,’ Kyle wrote. ‘I had it put in in red, for blood. I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting. I always will.'”

—”Everyone I shot was evil,” he decreed. “I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”

—He said: ‘It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save: Marines, soldiers, buddies.” That is, he gave a damn for no one but his fellow killers, who, like him, had no business being in Iraq, drawing a paycheck to kill people and destroy their property and possessions.

At the end of his book, Kyle wrote: “When I die, God is going to hold me accountable for everything I’ve done on earth. But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”

I would prefer to believe that he instead underwent that experience identified by WWII South Pacific combat veteran James Jones, who, when inscribing The Thin Red Line, wrote to his publisher that he was endeavoring to channel the dead, all those—American, Japanese, native—who never left the island of Guadalcanal:

[T]he dead, frozen like flies in plastic, realized—at the moment of death, when of course they stopped—that humanity must grow to feeling, to empathy, or become extinct.

There are many ways that the universe could communicate that all the guns are going to go.

Back-shooting the back-shooter Kyle at the “all-gun zone” of a shooting range seems message enough, in full color, through very loud bullhorn, to obviate any need, for any other.

And for those that must call Kyle “hero”: perhaps they are right, so long as they understand and employ the term, as the Greeks did:

A World War II study determined that, after 60 days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties. A common trait among the remaining 2 percent was a predisposition toward having “aggressive psychopathic personalities.” Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, notes: “It is not too far from the mark to observe this wheel's on firethat there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 percent of all men insane, and the other 2 percent were crazy when they got there.”

War is necrophilia. This necrophilia is central to soldiering just as it is central to the makeup of suicide bombers and terrorists. The necrophilia is hidden under platitudes about duty or comradeship. It is unleashed especially in moments when we seem to have little to live for and no hope, or in moments when the intoxication of war is at its highest pitch. When we spend long enough in war, it comes to us as a kind of release, a fatal and seductive embrace that can consummate the long flirtation with our own destruction.

War ascendant wipes out Eros. It wipes out delicacy and tenderness. Its communal power seeks to render the individual obsolete, to hand all passions, all choice, all voice to the crowd.

War is the beautiful young nymph in the fairy tale that, when kissed, exhales the vapors of the underworld. The ancient Greeks had a word for such a fate: ekpyrosis.

It means to be consumed by a ball of fire. They used it to describe heroes.

in this place or in any other place
may there come abundant peace
grace, lovingkindness, and compassion
long life
ample sustenance, and salvation

may there be abundant peace from heaven
and good life
satisfaction, help, comfort, refuge
healing, redemption, forgiveness, atonement
relief, and salvation

—Kaddish, prayer for & from the dead

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34 Responses to “Ekpyrosis”


  1. 1 bluenred February 7, 2013 at 8:59 am

    It’s simple. There’s nothing at all complicated about it.
    War—There won’t be war when you decide you won’t murder other human beings.

    You cannot hate without hating all; and you cannot kill some without killing all—because the welfare of any man is the welfare of all men. Through violence men are made to enslave and murder one another; through violence the world has been turned into this unimaginable hell; through violence the rulers of this hell are enabled to maintain their positions.

    Have you ever looked at a man?
    There is something helpless and majestic about a man.
    If you believed in anything, you could not kill a man.

    A man has two legs.
    He’ll build a house—from cellar to rooftop, with his own hands.
    He’ll put seeds in the ground.
    He’ll watch the sun and the rain at work.
    He’ll take a woman to bed.
    He’ll find enough tenderness and love to get him through the day.
    You’d think that man deserved a little something.
    You’d think that man was worthy of a jot or two of sympathy and consideration.
    You’d think that maybe someone would say,
    Let’s just let him alone for a while,
    and see what he can do.

    They try to fix it so nobody’ll care what happens to a man anymore.
    I don’t mean millions—I mean any one man anywhere.
    If anything is worth anything it’s because one man is worth something.
    If any one man isn’t worth something, then nothing whatever is worth anything.
    It’s all got to come back to any one man anywhere or it isn’t going anywhere.
    Don’t tell me how interested in Confucius or Jesus Christ you are.
    Tell me how interested in any one man anywhere you are.
    You don’t get it.
    You’d cry.
    You’d cry if you could feel that.
    It’s all got to come back to one man or it isn’t going anywhere at all.

    This house. Do you see this house?
    It is a house where human beings live.
    There is a strange dignity about them.
    They are looking at you as I talk.
    I want you to leave them alone.

  2. 2 roger February 7, 2013 at 9:43 am

    A trivial grammatical criticism, if you’ll pardon me for it.,When one writes “…the Navy, from whence they sprang…” one is making an error. Correctly stated, it’s “…the Navy, whence they sprang…”

    But withal I’m glad to see the article. It’s struck a personal theme for me. You see, they wanted me to be a sniper in vietnam. I would have done it, too. But a soon-to-retire active us army veteran of WW2 and Korea combat took me aside and, choosing his words cautiously, set me straight on that possible future. He’s gone now. I am forever in his debt. They say that the souls of the people you kill all go into a bag. A bag you’ll have to drag along throughout your life – and maybe for eternity. Evidently there were too many in Kyle’s bag. Garrulous souls, perhaps, and they wanted Kyle to join them in their whited sepulchers.

    • 3 bluenred February 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

      For reasons puzzling to me, this piece was perceived as such a Major Problem over on Daily Kos, they deleted the thing. Glad it could be of service here.

      Your story of the “souls of the people you kill all go into a bag” is a powerful one. Thank you for it.

      • 4 poco February 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm

        Dear Bluenred,

        No idea why DKos deleted it. Maybe they, as you have written many times, think the whole site is covered by the IGTNT tag. I really wish you weren’t gone from the site–I (and Adalah) miss you enormously and feel that this was an enormous blunder on their part. Hopefully you will come back soon.

      • 5 mieprowan February 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm

        Yeah, that’s weird. Did you not even get warned? Being mean to the IGTNT people is apparently now a ban-on-sight offense.

        I like Roger’s bag quote a lot too.

        • 6 bluenred February 18, 2013 at 2:08 am

          No, no warning.

          The only warning I ever received on that site was some four years ago, a mutual warning, when I was told I could not mention buhdydharma in Black Kos or Sistahspeak diaries, and, in turn, buhdydharma would be banned, if he entered those diaries.

          I posted a Diary that was strong, but I don’t think it says anything I hadn’t said there before. A modest number of perfectly respectable people came by and commented favorably. Then, I awoke Tuesday morning, to find that in the night & early morn the entire pack of dKos gunnies had descended en masse, to denounce me as a contemptible piece of shit, spitting on a soldier’s grave, filled with hate, who should be banned, blah de blah. I commented, reasonably, to a couple of them.

          Then I noticed that the little admin “help desk” being elfling had dropped an HR in my tip jar. I sent her a kosmail asking if that expressed official “daily kos staff” disapproval, or if it was just reflective of her own personal problem. ; ) No response. Shortly thereafter I was banned. A couple hours after that, the Diary was deleted.

          • 7 rubysjones March 5, 2013 at 9:13 am

            I hope you go to DK and read Yasuragi’s diary re; your being banned and your diary being deleted. The opinion of admin does not reflect the feelings of a lot of people on the site.

            Many are aware of the magic of your writing and you will be sorely missed. i think it is horrible. You were the best writer there.

            I think the reason may be simple: Kos was a Marine.

            rubyr

  3. 9 roger February 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I was lucky – I heard Major Reason, but I listened to Sgt Rumm. He’s gone. But he lived through Pusan. And he wanted his boys to live without experiences like that. Bless him

  4. 10 Alexa February 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    the conviction and power in what you write is compelling. those who can’t or won’t deal with your words are lesser for their inability, or unwillingness. i have wondered in the past few days if you hit a nerve with some of ’em.

    that said, it’s never been a venue for you. i’d pay (happily, eagerly) for content like yours, but it’s unique. there is no “like yours.” there’s no other. i can’t think of a single writer with anything even close to an equivalence of all the insight, perception, language, wit and craft i see in you.

    when i see this gift unnoticed, or unappreciated, it pisses me off. when i see it punished, that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

  5. 11 mieprowan February 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Also, my mom says this a fine piece 🙂

  6. 13 mieprowan February 26, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    I ran this by a correspondent friend, a highly controversial, extremely intelligent revolutionary author, one of my favorite people. He thought this was really good and noted that he had this same sense when he first read about the story.

    I’m leaving him unnamed because it’s not my place to do otherwise, but he’s a great critical thinker and his imprimatur means a lot to me, outlaws that we are.

  7. 14 FishOutofWater March 5, 2013 at 5:44 am

    A post so controversial that Dailykos had to wipe it. Damn. A few old men can’t admit the military they served is the catspaw of an empire that shoots up brown people like it’s a video game.

    Our loss.

    • 15 bluenred March 5, 2013 at 7:44 am

      Just never know when you might step on a mine over there these days, I guess. ; /

      Thanks for coming by.

    • 16 Alexa March 26, 2013 at 12:58 am

      yes, our loss . . . . i don’t feel enthusiastic (to put it mildly) about any volunteering or joining or even re-upping my subscription after this.

      i remember some smack about “no sacred cows” – do you?

      empty words. micromanagement. this was a vendetta, imo.

  8. 17 Alexa March 26, 2013 at 1:05 am

    can’t help wondering if former PFC Lynnie England and former SPC Charles Graner get Special Treatment now.

    Joe Darby, a hero in my book, the Abu Ghraib whistleblower? well, Joe Darby ain’t exactly livin’ the dream these days.

    i be go to hell, blue. THAT is the way and the light for skull and bones, coming to a venue near you, no later than March 28. all the cast and characters from 2004 were military.

  9. 19 Claude Hayward April 13, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I missed the whole kerfluffle when it happened, but Pluto just mentioned it again today and I did the backtracking. Miep had mentioned it also, earlier, along with your being banned, but I only now put the whole thing together. Powerful piece, and a concept that has rattled around in my own head for a while.

    “unmanly” is the word I would use; dishonorable.

    Yes, I can see that your teeth are just a little bit too sharp to be allowed to be on view at the Daily Kos Petting Zoo, where liberals, assured it is safe, get to observe and even interact with those dangerous but usually self-muzzled firebrands and radicals who still feel it could be useful to educate the bourgeoisie. For as long as they can stand the stench.

    Pleased to meet you.

  10. 23 Alexa June 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    you should leave this up forever, mi abejo, add to it perhaps, but no denying the power and conviction of these words. i am still awed. chivalry, gallantry, honesty? alive and well. thank you.

    • 24 bluenred June 2, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      I’m not planning to take it down.

      Nor am I planning to kneecrawl for reinstatement, like people who sneeringly boasted of killing and mutilating people of color.

      Welcome to your world, Markos.

      Morally, you now occupy the same plane as does David Duke.

      How does it feel?

      wake up in the morning
      you see the sun
      rise go down
      you don’t want to see it

      lousy lovers
      they think they’re brave
      but they never cry out loud

      rulers make bad lovers
      better put your kingdom
      up for sale

      baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby
      you should see me now
      you should see me

      baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby
      you don’t feel me now
      you don’t feel me

      • 25 Alexa June 4, 2013 at 10:14 am

        as you know, mi amorcito, the Official Story there is an impossible story. a house built on lies? Dr. King said somethin’ ’bout that. and so did Fleetwood Mac and te lo juro, The Gospel According To Keith and Mick.

      • 26 Alexa June 4, 2013 at 10:15 am

        poisoned the well. well and truly poisoned it, twice now. i can find water elsewhere.

  11. 27 Ronnie Bryan November 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Unless you made the choice to stand and fight for good old U.S.A. what right have you to talk bad about any person, wearing an military uniform? What would your Mother say?

    • 28 bluenred November 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Those “wearing an [sic] military uniform” are serial killers, who kill for money. There is no more despicable pursuit. And they do not fight “for” the USA. Everything they do, everything they are about, harms the USA.

      The late Gomer Kyle, as evidenced above, was a particularly repellent and repugnant serial killer. Who got back-shot. As he had back-shot so many before him.

      Know too, that your “good old USA,” isn’t Real. It’s an artificial construct, an illusion, a group agreement. And it will pass. By and by.

  12. 29 Kevin Winters November 18, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Bless your heart.
    Kevin Winters
    GYSGT USMC (Ret.)


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