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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Iraq in Reverse

posted by on April 17 at 12:59 PM

Whatever with polls. But, for the first time, a majority of the U.S. believes we will “lose” in Iraq.

In Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim is up late one night when he starts to slip back in time slowly, just a little bit, so that he sees the war movie he’s watching on TV in reverse. From page 74:

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody again.

The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby

RSS icon Comments


And this is exactly why Vonnegut's relevance, importance, and genius will persist.

Posted by Jeff | April 17, 2007 1:27 PM

I found this post very touching. Thank you.

Posted by jackie treehorn | April 17, 2007 1:47 PM

almost enough to make you cry.

Posted by konstantConsumer | April 17, 2007 1:48 PM

sad and beautiful. thanks for sharing.

Posted by JudithBjini | April 17, 2007 2:01 PM

I was listening to Becks new album
'The Information' while reading this. Awesome passage. Awesome album.
I think I'll put in the movie as a background to the music. Its better than watching the news right now. Much more cheerful. Much more potent. Hopefully that fear will disappear the same will disappear the same.

Posted by summertime | April 17, 2007 2:17 PM

Only a majority? Should be a super majority.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 17, 2007 2:53 PM

ah...i think i've read that passage a thousand times...i could read it a thousand more. i'll start now...

Posted by adrian! | April 17, 2007 3:00 PM

reminds me of that red dwarf episode "backwards"

Posted by Vooodooo84 | April 17, 2007 9:44 PM

A very cool book called Time's Arrow did the totally same thing - for the whole book!
It also did the WWII thing, so for an instant I thought that it was the source of the quote.

Posted by DCY North Seattle | April 17, 2007 10:53 PM

Does Halliburton start writing checks to the US Citizenry for billions of dollars?

Posted by Bargeld Zurueck | April 18, 2007 5:57 AM

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