Monday, August 20, 2007

Good Night, Vietnam

Goodnight Moon. Before the Iraqi distraction, I dreamt of Vietnam. I am an American flyer following a Vietnamese rail line, victory in Vietnam remains possible; -- or so I’d dream. In life I protested the war and cursed Johnson and Nixon. But the peace was not then as sweet as I anticipated. American soldiers returned to unhappy or blighted lives. Vietnam and especially Cambodia fell into misery. Maybe I sought to right matters in dreams. In Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog portrays an American pilot shot down and imprisoned in North Vietnam. At one point we see a U.S. warplane flying high over the camp. It’s thrilling.


When I taught creative writing to the US military in Europe one of my students maintained jets monitoring the no-fly zone in Northern Iraq. This was in another century. My only Jewish student had been a professional soccer player in Europe when he joined the army. He was in special ops. He had to drop my course when he was given a classified mission in Bosnia. Later the best teachers got to wear uniforms and actually go to Bosnia. Back in New York I got bored. The Internet means, all marking papers, no lecturing gorgeous girls. I kept trying to quit. Uncle Sam, he no let you go. Then somebody tried to blow up the USS Cole. There was a security review. Nobody knows you’re a dog on the Internet? The FBI agent in charge of my review was a German, but how was I to know? I referred to her as a cretin. I lost my security clearance. Two year later I wanted to wear a uniform and go to Baghdad and teach English, but once Sam says you’re a security threat, you’re done.