Every high school and college student, and all their parents and grandparents should watch Francis Ford Cappola’s Apocalypse Now Redux. This is the 2001 re-cut and extended version of his 1979 classic of the same name. Set in Vietnam at the height of that war (in reality a ‘civil war’) it tells of a Special Forces assassin sent upriver to the area where a renegade U.S. Colonel is operating. HIs mission, as his superiors instruct him, is to ‘Terminate the Colonel’s command with extreme prejudice!’ Isn’t military lingo marvelous?
We can go on for literally hours discussing the myriad of meanings contained within this film. To this writer there are an abundance of parallels as to what transpired then, in the late 1960s, and now. The Vietnam debacle and our Iraq/Afghanistan debacles blend easily… too easily. Yet, that is not the reason for this column. It is the closing episode of the film, when the Marlon Brando character, Col. Kurtz, finally appears, that gave closure to the entire intent of the story. That being the sad truth of what this Military Industrial Empire is all about. When Col. Kurtz reprimands Captain Willard, the assassin, as being ‘An errand boy, for grocery clerks, to collect a bill’ he puts the whole damn Vietnam disgrace into proper perspective. Much like LBJ and Nixon regarding our presence in Vietnam, Bush Sr. and Clinton regarding Iraq war 1, Bush Jr as to Iraq war 2 and Afghanistan, Obama regarding those two countries plus Libya & Syria, and now Trump regarding Afghanistan and Syria, they were and are All Grocery Clerks!
Who are the errand boys (and girls)? Look no further than both the fruit salad wearing generals, dressed like 1940s movie theater ushers, and of course our fine Fourth Estate or as Paul Craig Roberts named them: Presstitudes. These are the lackeys who do the bidding of the movers and shakers that control this empire. Many of the fruit salad wearing generals become either ‘Security experts’ or television news talk contributors or even authors, earning a shitload of money after they retire. As to the presstitutes, well, many of them are earning seven figures (AKA millions) to continue to echo the company line. They care not about how such a small amount (meaning THEM) of Amerikans are making megabucks while the majority of the working stiffs who watch, listen or read them make peanuts. Who cares… This is a free market we live in!
During the Vietnam (so-called) War, whenever a Huey (helicopter) was shot down, Bell Helicopter replaced it for Uncle Sam to the tune of $1,000.000. I don’t know what that would translate into 2019 dollars, but I do know that ONE Apache Helicopter, during our occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007, was at a cost to taxpayers of $ 20,000.000. That amount could finance the hiring of 40 firefighters, police officers or school teachers at $50,000 a year. Folks, put aside all the rhetoric the Grocery Clerks and Errand boys spit up at you, and realize that War IS PROFITABLE! Sadly, the more this empire focuses our attention on phony wars and regime change, and not on the slow bankrupting of this economy… Apocalypse Now won’t be a redux, but a reality!