(Contact Info: larry at larryblakeley.com)
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A listing and access link to all:
song lyrics and mp3 audio files http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/ (all of which are a part of this Web site) can be accessed simply by selecting the "htm" file for the song you want;
quotations http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations.htm; and
essays written by Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/articles_larry_blakeley.htm,
all of which are used to tell the story in this Web site, can be accessed by going to each respective link set out above.
My son, Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/larryblakeley_photos_jpeg.htm manages this Web site.
Major Roy James Blakeley (December 10, 1928 - July 22, 1965) - USAF (KIA)
When I was young my dad would say
Come on son let's go out and play
No matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cry
No matter how many years go by
I still can't say goodbye
- "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," Performer: Chet Atkins
MP3 audio file/lyrics http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/still_cant_say_goodbye.htm
For a larger image click on the photograph.
The soldier fired 15 rounds from his SAW (squad automatic weapon), killing the driver, who we found out was an unarmed university professor. An hour later, I heard the soldier complaining that his weapon had jammed, preventing him firing off more rounds. Meanwhile, fellow soldiers clustered around him, congratulating him on "busting his cherry" - making his first killing. It was riot clear at the time if he knew who he had killed and if it mattered.
I have always had difficulty understanding how someone like this, an American teenager who probably grew up in some suburb, like me, could have this attitude toward taking a life. I saw plenty more like him.
This group of young, violent Americans is the subject of one of the best books to come out of the Iraq war: Generation Kill by Evan Wright, who covered the war for Rolling Stone magazine as an embedded reporter with a US Marine reconnaissance battalion.
The title says it all: this is a book about the contemporaries of the Columbine high school massacre in Colorado, blitzing their way across Iraq to spearhead the US campaign last year. They "represent what is more or less America's first generation of disposable children," says Wright, who estimates that half his platoon are from absentee, single-parent homes: "Many are on more intimate terms with the culture of video games, reality TV shows and internet porn than they are with their own families."
The core of Generation Kill questions the dark intersection of war-making and this generation's obsession with violence - how the largely virtual world of America's teens seamlessly transposes itself onto the battlefield. Early on, Wright records one of the soldiers enthusing "I was just thinking one thing when we drove into that ambush ... Grand Theft Auto: Vice City," referring to a popular computer game. "I felt like I was living it when I seen the flames coming out of the windows, and the blown-up car in the street, guys crawling around shooting at us. It was fucking cool.
This generation will play a decisive role in America's open-ended war on terror - for better or for worse. As Wright observes, the soldiers are so cynical they need no reason to do their grim jobs. Unlike the Vietnam generation for whom the war represented a loss of innocence, the
Iraq generation has no innocence to lose, they are a generation "for whom the big lie is as central to government as taxation," according to Wright, and are perfectly happy to contemplate that the war is entirely a grab for oil.
Unlike the Vietnam generation, for whom the war meant loss of innocence, the Iraq generation has no innocence to lose.
Rather than winning hearts and minds abroad, America's military has become the most acute source of anti-American rage. It neatly symbolises the US national priority of producing missiles and aircraft carriers at the expense of education highlights the income inequality that has made mercenaries out of the poor.
Nathaniel Fick, a 25-year-old lieutenant and platoon leader, also explains the point. "In World War Two, when Marines hit the beaches, a surprisingly high percentage of them didn't fire their weapons . . . Not these guys ... These guys have no problem with killing."
'Generation Kill' is published by Bantam Press in the UK and by G.P. Putnam's Sons in the US. The writer, Evan Wright, an FT news editor, was the FT's Iraq correspondent in 2003-04.
- "Natural-born killers will never win hearts and minds," Charles Clover, Financial Time, June 26-27, 2004. http://vitw.org/archives/000082.html