The 60s were very good to Kurt Vonnegut

Posted here without commentary so that all can see how whacko these libs really are.

US author lauds suicide bombers

David Nason, New York correspondent

19 Nov 2005

ONE of the greatest living US writers has praised terrorists as “very brave people” and used drug culture slang to describe the “amazing high” suicide bombers must feel before blowing themselves up.

Kurt Vonnegut, author of the 1969 anti-war classic Slaughterhouse Five, made the provocative remarks during an interview in New York for his new book, Man Without a Country, a collection of writings critical of US President George W. Bush.

Vonnegut, 83, has been a strong opponent of Mr Bush and the US-led war in Iraq, but until now has stopped short of defending terrorism.

But in discussing his views with The Weekend Australian, Vonnegut said it was “sweet and honourable” to die for what you believe in, and rejected the idea that terrorists were motivated by twisted religious beliefs.

“They are dying for their own self-respect,” he said. “It’s a terrible thing to deprive someone of their self-respect. It’s like your culture is nothing, your race is nothing, you’re nothing.”

Asked if he thought of terrorists as soldiers, Vonnegut, a decorated World War II veteran, said: “I regard them as very brave people, yes.”

He equated the actions of suicide bombers with US president Harry Truman’s 1945 decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

On the Iraq war, he said: “What George Bush and his gang did not realise was that people fight back.”

Vonnegut suggested suicide bombers must feel an “amazing high”. He said: “You would know death is going to be painless, so the anticipation – it must be an amazing high.”

Vonnegut’s comments are sharply at odds with his reputation as a peace activist and his distinguished war service. He served in the US 106th Division and was captured by German forces at the Battle of the Bulge.

Taken to Dresden and held with other POWs in a disused abattoir, Vonnegut witnessed the appalling events of February 13-14, 1945, when 800 RAF Lancaster bombers firebombed the city, killing an estimated 100,000 civilians.

The experience inspired his book Slaughterhouse Five – the title of the novel coming from the barracks he was assigned in the POW camp. The book became an international bestseller and made Vonnegut a luminary of the US literary left.

But since Mr Bush was elected, Vonnegut’s criticisms of US policy have become more and more impassioned.

In 2002, he was widely criticised for saying there was too much talk about the 9/11 attacks and not enough about “the crooks on Wall Street and in big corporations”, whose conduct had been more destructive.

The following year he wrote that the US was hated around the world “because our corporations have been the principal deliverers and imposers of new technologies and economic schemes that have wrecked the self-respect, the cultures of men, women and children in so many other societies”.

But Vonnegut’s latest comments are likely to make many people wonder if old age has finally caught up with a grand old man of American letters.

? The Australian

(H/T Mike Pancier)

9 thoughts on “The 60s were very good to Kurt Vonnegut”

  1. hey, val, was just checking in to say ‘i hope your turkey was special’ when i saw this egregious post.

    something tells me that neither “New York correspondent” David Nason, who wrote this article for “The Australian” (?), nor your guest blogger George Moneo, who disparagingly posted it, has read Vonnegut’s work personally. And that’s a shame. Because it would be clear to anyone who read Slaughterhouse Five or any of the other literary masterpieces by this singular genius in American letters that Vonnegut is no lefty but a right-leaning and steadfast enemy of government bureaucracy, false posturing and hypocrisy in all its forms, especially during war. if there’s any one thing vonnegut stands for it is the occasions when (to paraphrase another deservedly revered hater of wartime redtape) “uncommon valor” become “the common virtue” among regular folks like you and me and, well, even, George.

    white house chaos costs American service members their lives and that’s what both Vonnegut and McArthur railed against with all their might. if the left liked Vonnegut, don’t hold it against him; they have been known to misappropriate an icon or two, eh?

    bueno, un besucazo hasta la proxima, beibi. . .

  2. Lisette, first of all I am not a “guest blogger”; I am one of several contributing writers on this blog. Second, this did indeed appear in The Australian; if you’d like, I can post the link directly. Third, I have read several of Vonnegut’s novels. He is indeed, as you say, a fine writer. I think Slaughterhouse Five is one of the great American novels of the 20th century. But that does not excuse Vonnegut from making statements such as those that are quoted in the article. If you are so morally relativistic as to excuse the muslim terrorists that have attempted to destroy Western civilization for 1,400 years, then I pity you.

    As for Vonnegut being a “right-winger”, I would suggest that you use your bong a little less often in your dorms at Howard University. If you think he is that, I can only imagine what you think of real conservatives.

  3. Communism is a virus that has mutated into Liberalism, socialism, leftism, enviromentalism antiamericanism and other brain attacking diseases.

  4. Lisette, one more thing, may I remind you that what you call “White House chaos” vis-a-vis MacArthur, was directly related to Truman not wanting to nuke North Korea or China — a position, I might add, that would have effectively ended the communist threat in Asia forever — and the subsequent firing of MacArthur and the Korean War ending in a stalemate.

  5. The continuing logorrhea of old-timer Kurt Vonnegut is just one of the prices we pay for freedom of speech. I don’t think Kurt is getting enough oxygenated blood to what is left of his brain cells these days. I hope nobody quotes my incoherent ramblings if I ever get that balmy.

  6. I once met Kurt Vonnegut at a cocktail party in New York City, during my college years. I was in seventh heaven, because I had read a bunch of his works, and I admired them tremendously.
    In those days –the late 60s– I think one of his daughters was married to none other than Geraldo Rivera.
    On that occasion, Vonnegut himself, alas, showed himself to be a complete undisciplined alcoholic, as he was throroughly besotted when he arrived, stayed thoroughly besotted during the affair and had to be helped into a limousine as he left. I don’t think he even knew where he was, much less who was there, etc.
    For me, it was a most disappointing meeting, on a very personal level, because it was very easy to see that a mind in such a state would never be able to produce anything worthwhile –in literature or otherwise. I don’t think that Vonnegut wrote anything worthwhile since then.
    And it’s painfully evident that his neurons are woefully misfiring nowadays.

  7. You may find it easy to attack this man’s ideas, I mean sure, he all but promotes terrorism; but, how do you reconcile the few deaths that have been caused by violent terrorist activities with the thousands of deaths caused daily by worldwide ignorance and acceptance that ensure the survival of our archaic status quo? I do support terrorism– If that’s what you want to call it. I think that its about time that the western world gets put in it’s place. We have slaughtered and destroyed for far too long and will continue doing so until we blow ourselves up. Take the El Salvadoran FMLN movement as a microcosmic example: The masses are denied basic necessities, so they seek political inclusion; they are cheated out of politics, so they take to the streets; in their protests they are massacred, so they take up arms. WE commit silent massacres every day by not responding to the needs of the world’s people and I applaud them for standing up and speaking out– by any means necessary. Now is the time for militancy, if there ever was one. The west is living on borrowed time and borrowed resources (literally!)

    Que viva Castro, Que viva Chavez, Que viva la revolucion!
    un besito,

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