Right, said Fat Charlie conversationally. You realize, of course, that this means war. It was the traditional war cry of a rabbit when pushed too far.
The Cylon War is long over, yet we must not forget the reasons why so many sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom. The cost of wearing the uniform can be high, but…
[very long pause]
sometimes it’s too high. You know, when we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question Why? Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed and spite, jealousy, and we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we’ve done, like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. And when that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn’t our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you’ve created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can’t hide from the things that you’ve done anymore.
Either greed belongs in a war zone, or it doesn’t. You can’t unleash it in the name of sparking an economic boom and then be shocked when Halliburton overcharges for everything from towels to gas, when Parsons’ sub, sub, sub-contractor builds a police academy where the pipes drip raw sewage on the heads of army cadets and where Blackwater investigates itself and finds it acted honorably. That’s just corporations doing what they do and Iraq is a privatized war zone so that’s what you get. Build a frontier, you get cowboys and robber barons.
A man cannot realize that above such shattered bodies there are still human faces in which life goes its daily round. And this is only one hospital, a single station; there are hundreds of thousands in Germany, hundreds of thousands in France, hundreds of thousands in Russia. How senseless is everything that can ever be written, done, or thought, when such things are possible. It must be all lies and of no account when the culture of a thousand years could not prevent this stream of blood being poured out, these torture chambers in their hundreds of thousands. A hospital alone shows what war is.
The movies, I thought, have got the soundtrack to war all wrong. War isn’t rock ‘n’ roll. It’s got nothing to do with Jimi Hendrix or Richard Wagner. War is nursery rhymes and early Madonna tracks. War is the music from your childhood. Because war, when it’s not making you kill or be killed, turns you into an infant. For the past eight days, I’d been living like a five-year-old — a nonexistence of daytime naps, mushy food, and lavatory breaks. My adult life was back in Los Angeles with my dirty dishes and credit card bills.
Shit, he said. I don’t know why you’re feeling sorry for yourself because you ain’t had to fight a war. You’re lucky. Shit, all you had was that damn Desert Storm. Should have called it Dessert Storm because it just made the fat cats get fatter. It was all sugar and whipped cream with a cherry on top. And besides that, you didn’t even have to fight in it. All you lost during that was was sleep because you stayed up all night watching CNN.
It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.
This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor… This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!