08 January 2007

The Lost War Dispatches: A Public Parody

Justice Putnam

“Authentication no longer required reference to the individual who had produced them; the role of the author disappeared as an index of truthfulness and, where it remained as an inventor's name, it was merely to denote a specific theorem or proposition, a strange effect, a property, a body, a group of elements, or a pathological syndrome.”

-- Michel Foucault "What is an Author?"

“Perhaps our eyes are merely a blank film which is taken from us after our deaths to be developed elsewhere and screened as our life story in some infernal cinema or dispatched as microfilm into the sidereal void.”

-- Jean Baurillard “Simulacra and Simulation”


The story of Gerry Bronco is a story of mystery. He was first noticed by other war correspondents during the Balkan War photographing for AP. Convinced that the cult of personality was the only avenue open in the New Reporting, Gerry set out to create a character he called the, Corresponding Corespondent. Taking a page from the Civil War writings of Whitman, the dispatches to the Toronto Star by Hemingway and the swagger of a seasoned stage actor, Gerry achieved a minor cult following. He made fast and long friends, as evidenced by the following testimonials:

“We had a seating chart. The student with the highest score sat first seat, first row. Second highest, in second seat and so on for ten seats for each seven rows. Gerry sat first seat, first row the entire year save for the last two weeks of school. He confided to the Mother Superior that he should be sat last seat, last row. 'But why?’ Mother Superior asked. ‘Because, he answered with a question, ‘when I have something to say, should not the whole class hear it?’”

-- Sister Bernadette First Grade and Catechism Instructor Sacred Heart Academy Klamath Falls, Oregon


“He finished our four year program in just under two years. The first week of the term, he handed in a five hundred-page manuscript entitled, ‘The Socratic Conception of the Soul.’ In it, he posited the thesis that the function of the soul was not just to know good and evil, but that the soul was to be used to govern one’s actions; so that good was achieved and evil avoided. The brilliance of his argument of good thoughts and good actions reverberated throughout the campus. This was a scholar athlete the University had never before encountered. So you can imagine the surprise of student and faculty alike. He not only turned down a professional contract to leave school and play football, but he also turned down the invitation for the Rhodes Scholarship, all that, so he could work as a cook on a tuna boat in the Gulf of Alaska.”

-- Dimitri Dimitrischen, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy and History Portland State University Portland, Oregon


“Yeah, we was buildin’ the tunnel at 54th Street, and in walks this galoot. We all look at each other and our eyes roll up in our heads, see. Because when we looked at the union job card it said Gerechtigkeit Imbronciato. Well we’d had Krauts and boys from the old country, but this guy, geez. Anyways, he comes right up to the foreman and says, ‘Hi I’m Gerry Bronco, which stack of rebar do you need tied first?’ Well, wouldn’t you know it, this guy works like a dervish, carries big bundles of rebar, and get this, recites Baudelaire. I know it was Baudelaire because he told me. I been readin’ Baudelaire ever since.”

-- Vince Vecchio Teamster Brooklyn, New York


“We initially hired Gerry as a roadie. Big, strapping kid. We were playing some dive poker bar in the Badlands and one of our back-up singers got sick. Gerry said he could carry a tune, so we thought what the hell, we’re in the middle of nowhere, it couldn’t hurt. But damn, didn’t that kid know all our songs. We played a couple sets and asked Gerry if he wanted a solo. Well, he moves slowly to the center stage microphone and whispers back to the band, ‘House of the Rising Sun.’ He stands at the mic and keeps us from starting. He just stands there until the place gets a little quieter. Then he says to the crowd, ‘I want to dedicate this to my mother, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today.’ And he sings this song in a style I’d never heard before; totally caught the audience unawares. Loudest applause we ever got.”

-- Jerry Foreman Musician Paradise, California


“He wasn’t like the other guys that came into the bar. I mean, sure, he’d talk to the girls, but he was polite, real polite. He made you feel like you could just hang on his arm and follow him upstairs at the Ritz.”

-- Nikki Stone Cocktail Waitress & Exotic Dancer Huntington Beach, California


“We were in Madame Breussling’s Salon in Frankfurt. Most of the group was there. We had been discussing something dreadful, either about the Balkans or wine. Madame Breussling introduced Gerry to us during the cocktail service. I was certainly struck by his physical presence, indeed. But his repartee’ was quick and I must say, very sexy. I knew right away that he was to have a major input in my life.”

-- Miwa Ito Classical Cellist Tokyo, Japan


“The whole time we spent together at La Tranche Sur Mer, he kept referring to the movie, ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.’ The part I remember him speaking most about is when old Walter Huston is telling larcenous and impatient Humphry Bogart how much the mountain was like a woman. How you must put her back together, that she must be in better shape when you leave her than she was before she met you. I’ll always love Gerry Bronco for that. He taught me how to live in my body again.”

-- Flore de Valicourt Actress Paris, France


The following “Lost War Dispatches” were found two days after Gerry Bronco disappeared attempting to locate Sebastian Junger in the Afghanistan Mountains in late 2003.

Though rumors of his sightings have surfaced regularly, he has not been seen or heard from officially since:

Princess Abdullah Acquires Adequate Assurances

New Wreck Times--

Dateline: 2340 GMT 16 Aug 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Saudi Princess Abdullah toured this war-ravaged region of Iraq last week and remarked how it was that,

"...with all the technical know-how of the United States Concessionaires..."

... that something as simple as a nautical tour along the Euphrates could not be arranged. Her Highness was bedazzling in a floor-length faux ermine robe and cosmetics by Thomas Gustavason. Her henna-red curls glistened in the desert sun while the infamous High Temper seethed.

"First I must hide the fact that my cousin's terrorist activities are tied to my Trust, but even more insulting, are the published dates of my breast augmentations."

Princess Abdullah was reported to have had surgeries to enhance the lift and fullness of her breasts on August 6 of 1993 and February 14, 1997; on May 17, 1998, a nipple realignment was performed; a symmetrical maintenance procedure was conducted on June 7, 1999; scar tissue was removed on September 12, 2001.

Princess Abdullah was here to meet Coalition High Commissioner Paul Bremer to discuss possible alliances for the building of roads and mosques in the emerging Iraq. Prince Abdullah had discussed the same issues with Mr. Bremer last month.

The Princess's visit was considered by pundits to, seal the deal.

Dancing girls undulated across the mosaic floor of the exhibition hall. Figs and melons were served on the backs of faux Nubian slaves, imported especially for the occasion. Tapestries designed by Ralph Lauren sighed in the slight breeze, a breeze made possible by the feathered palm fans swung in wide arcs by Filipina au pairs on vacation from Kuwait.

Paul Bremer was not available for comment.


Private Private Privy to Privileged Positions

New Wreck Times--Dateline: 0050 GMT 26 Aug 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Pvt. David Private of Vida, Oregon, age 20, had never heard of Donald Rumsfeld before his Reserve Unit was called up last September. A bright-eyed young man more acquainted with the lush green of his Oregon Cascade home than the sands of Iraq, he nonetheless displayed an uncanny knack for keeping things in perspective.

"We used to dune buggy on the Florence Sand Dunes every summer and winter," Pvt. Private said, referring to the Coastal stretch west of Eugene, "though we never had people shooting at us from all sides."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with a small contingent of soldiers for pictures and handshakes. Pvt. Private had just been relieved of, "VIP Duty."

"That's when a VIP comes through," Pvt. Private described, "a twenty block radius around the Green Zone is swept clean of all indigenous peoples. The 82nd Airborne conducted the sweep. My unit wore Desert Camo and looked happy while Mr. Rumsfeld talked about the great job we're doing."

After "VIP Duty," Pvt. Private's unit was ordered to, "play the shellgame."

"That's when we take a dozen M-1 Tanks and clear the main roads into the Green Zone of old blown up and burned out cars and trucks. It's really fun, just the shells of the cars!"

Pvt. Private's tour of duty was increased by 90 days during Mr. Rumsfeld's visit.


Mobile Medical Management

New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 2230 GMT 27 Aug 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Civilian Military Subcontractor, Mobile Medical Management is but one of scores of subcontractors under the Halliburton umbrella. Appointed Lead U.S. Concessionaire just after 11 September 2001, the Halliburton team called on its subcontractors for a meeting in Vice President Dick Cheney’s Office at the White House.

Mobile Medical Management of Laguna Niguel, California, won its “bid” for supplying battlefield hospitals with hi-tech cauterization lasers for preparing amputated limbs for stateside prosthetics.

“Another subsidiary of Halliburton supplies all the Kevlar armor the troops wear in the field,” Mobile Medical Management Inter-Regional Manager C.D. Parks said recently, “that armor is so effective, that without it, the kill rate of U.S. troops would be eleven or twelve a day, not the one or two we are seeing now. The armor is especially protective of the torso area; less so for arms and legs. The upside for our company is that we not only supply the cauterization lasers, but we also supply the prosthetics. Why, I was just crunching the numbers last week. We’re going to publish a profit increase of over 600% since March.”

Mobile Medical Management Spokesperson, Melody Wrangle held a press conference outside one battlefield hospital near the Halliburton Headquarters in what was once, downtown Baghdad.

“Mobile Medical Management is committed to this patriotic mission we’ve been entrusted with. Our motto is: we not only staunch the flow, we offer a helping hand and give a leg up!”

Vice President Dick Cheney cited National Security issues and invoked Executive Privilege when queried about the meetings with the Halliburton Subcontractors.


Lamentable Lawlessness Lessens Lateral Liquidity

New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 0050 GMT 01 Sept 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Mudhar al-Abdel, a Baghdad resident his entire 36 years, is but one of thousands of Iraqis being interviewed by Halliburton subsidiary, Hopkins Research. A member of the important moderating force in Iraq, The Badr Brigade, Mr. al-Abdel hopes to also become a member of the “All-Iraqi Security Detail.”

The “All-Iraqi Security Detail,” is the brainchild of Hopkins Research’s Senior Vice-Research Fellow, Dr. Dwight Gilman.

“I’ve been analyzing the situation for many weeks now,” Dr Gilman stated today, “I finally came to the conclusion that the ratio of situational liabilities to causal field casualty reports will lessen lateral liquidity, so the use of indigenous peoples is warranted.”

Unidentified American Officials conceded today, that trained Iraqi security personnel are now much-needed. With a rotation of U.S. Military personnel still months away, a skilled force of Iraqi nationals is required to quiet the foment that has reached a peak with the assassination of the cleric, al-Hakim on Saturday.

“What we are looking for,” an unidentified American Official said, “in the prime candidate for the Security Detail, are individuals who can identify disparate Iraqi tribal clans and help us codify their intents so we can better serve the building of this nation.”

Halliburton officials declined to respond to repeated requests for comment.


Rumsfeld Rues Repercussions

New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 2345 GMT 05 Sept 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- A glum Donald Rumsfeld, on his own "world tour" to drum up support for a lagging endeavor, parried a volley of questions from the Baghdad Press Corps today. The familiar scowl still firmly in place, Rumsfeld seemed to be jabbing off his back foot the entire Press Conference. When confronted with the increasing costs of the War, both monetary and in human lives, Rumsfeld was quick to point out, "I never said this conflict was going to be a rose garden. I never said we'd come out of it with nary but a thorn prick. I told you all along that it would be rough. Well, it's rough!"

When asked about United Nations help to stabilize the region, Rumsfeld shot back, "That's a State Department tactic! You need to talk to State! Whatever happens, the United STATES will be firmly in control, just as we are now. Never forget that we won the war in record time. That cannot ever be discounted. That is why we are firmly in control. We won, dammit!"

149 American Soldiers have died since 1 May 2003, the day President George W. Bush announced from the Aircraft Carrier the Abraham Lincoln, that the war was over.


Optimism Obfuscates Outrage

New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 0052 GMT 10 Sept 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld have been touring this decimated country with the most wide-eyed optimism. Determined to prove a horse somewhere in all the filth, both have embarked on a whirlwind tour of Iraq. Mr. Wolfowitz held a press conference shortly after President Bush's Address to the Nation. Standing on a crate, so he could reach the podium's microphone, Mr. Wolfowitz answered questions for almost fifteen minutes before departing to his next conference down the road. Later, in a private moment with his motorcade, Mr. Wolfowitz confided to all within earshot that all was well in Iraq.

"Of course," Mr. Wolfowitz said, "the reason so much chaos has been endured is because the War is not over. The War can never be over. That's the Beauty of it!"

Reminded that the President declared the War over in May, Mr. Wolfowitz retorted,

"Yes, he did say the War was over. In a sense, that War is over. But the War can never be over. It will go on and on. It must!"

166 Billion Dollars has been allocated for the cost of the War in just the last six months.


Chemically Killed Kurds Commemorated

New Wreck Times -- Dateline: 0020 GMT 17 Sept 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Standing near rows of white crosses commemorating the 5,000 Iraqi-Kurds who died in a chemical weapons attack, Secretary of State Colin Powell pledged such brutality was over.

“I can’t tell you that Saddam Hussein was a murderous tyrant; you already know that. What I can tell you is that what happened in 1988 will never happen again.”

Powell was in Halabja to dedicate a memorial and museum for the Kurdish victims of modern chemical warfare. Women wearing black thrust bouquets of flowers toward him. Many in the audience wept, holding framed photographs of family members killed.The massacre on 15 March 1988, in the northeastern city, 7 miles from the Iranian border, has been cited repeatedly by President Bush as evidence of Hussein’s brutality.

The chemicals used in the massacre were developed by Dow Chemical and sold by a subsidiary of Halliburton as part of a yearly 120 million dollar U.S. Military Aid package to our longtime ally to secure its border with Iran. Two months after the massacre, Iraq requested and was granted an additional 10 million in U.S. Military Aid to replenish its depleted chemical stock.

Iraq continued to receive 120 million a year in U.S. Military Aid until three months after its invasion of Kuwait.


Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Denied By White House

New Wreck Times-- Dateline: 2220 GMT 20 Sept 03

-- Senior Bureau Chief Gerry Bronco

Baghdad-- Responding to withering criticism over it’s invasion of this Gulf State, the White House today denied that al Qeda and Iraq were involved in any way with each other before the U.S. invasion in March.

"When even William Safire accuses us of a self-fulfilling prophecy," an unnamed White House Official lamented, "it’s time to set the record straight. There was never any terrorist link with Iraq. You might think we think that, but we don’t. We never did. Of course, there is tremendous terrorist linkage now. That must be stopped, and we really need that $87 Billion to make sure!"

U. S. fatalities continue to average two a day.


“A man who has depths in his shame meets his destiny and his delicate decisions upon paths which few ever reach, and with regard to the existence of which his nearest and most intimate friends may be ignorant; his mortal danger conceals itself from their eyes, and equally so his regained security. Such a hidden nature, which instinctively employs speech for silence and concealment, and is inexhaustible in evasion of communication, desires and insists that a mask of himself shall occupy his place in the hearts and heads of his friends; and supposing he does not desire it, his eyes will some day be opened to the fact that there is nevertheless a mask of him there--and that it is well to be so."

--Friedrich Nietzsche "Thus Spake Zarathustra”

from: “Philosophy in Tongues” Part 1 “The Public Parody” and Part 4 “The Lost War Dispatches”

© 2006 by Justice Putnam and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswessen

(This has also appeared in the Rescued section of Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/7/1/232513/1219 )

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