On this date (May 12) in 1962, Douglas MacArthur delivered his famous "Duty, Honor, Country" valedictory speech at the United States Military Academy. The original speech may be read here, but I have made small changes so that it might be a more fitting address from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico to a dying America 48 years later.
President Obama, British Petroleum officials, shareholders, and servicemen of the United Corporations of America. As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, "Where are you bound for, General?" and when I replied, "The Gulf of Mexico," he replied, "Beautiful place. Have you ever been there before? If so, you won't recognize it today."
No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a setting
as this, coming from a profession I have served so long and people
I have loved so well. It
fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But as look at these
shores today--awash will the oil we have sacrificed so much for--this
fitting reward symbolizes the moral code--the code of conduct of
those like me who have served the US--the "defensive" arm of fine companies like Shell, Unocal and BP, we wore our
uniforms proudly as we fought and often died for this "American
way of life".
What is the meaning of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated with so feeble an ideal--yet somehow triumphant in its purpose as we can see, smell and feel here, arouses a sense of humility which will be with me always.
"Duty," "Honor," "Country"--those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, yet as an American soldier or oil consumer--what you will never be. They are your rallying points to build rhetoric when facts fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for it, and to create hope even when it is based on chains we can believe in.
Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean. But what proof do we need other than the black gold oozing from these once pure white shores. This is the poetry of blackwash...excuse me, backlash, that we have all worked so hard to achieve.
The terrorists will say "Duty, Honor and Country" are only words, a slogan, or a flamboyant phrase. Every Earth Day celebration, every greenpeacer, every solar panel user--both of them, [laughter], every electric car driver and every hypocrite with a yellow ribbon magnet on their hummer or SUV, will try to downgrade our efforts even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.
But these are some of the things "Duty Honor and Country" do. They build your basic character on a slippery slope of crude. They mold you--making you rotten to the core for your future roles as the "custodians of our nation's shores". They will make you weak enough to say "yes sir!", and meek enough to never begin to ask the tough questions...for our national blood for oil industry will never teach you who your duty serves, what your honor means or why your Country sends you off to risk your life and limb.
"Duty Honor and Country" will teach you to be proud and unbending in even the most cataclysmic failures; to boldly substitute words for action; to seek the path of comfort rather than to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to stand up in any storm and do everything you can to shout, "bring it on!"; to master others before you master yourself; to have a heart that is cold and profits that are high; to learn to laugh at the facts and the law; to reach into the future of your children-- without ever neglecting the needs of the shareholders; to be serious-- yet never take any warnings too seriously; to be generous to the lawmakers so that you will own everything and anyone who could ever challenge the great profits of the corporation.
Controlling how "Duty, Honor and Country" are portrayed in the mainstream media helps fortify your determined will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the deep pockets of the friends you buy, a predominance of impetuousness over timidity, and an appetite for adventure over any old fashioned love of earth. They create in your heart the sense of omnipotence, the unfailing confidence that no matter how many millions of lives you destroy, those very people will come to give you money at your pumps and will actually pay for cleaning up whatever they might accuse you of "destroying".
And what sort of Americans are those we are to bleed at the "service stations" and in our "service"? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of standing up to our slick oil rigged deeds?
Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the average American. My estimate of him was formed in the streets of Dallas, in Dealy Plaza many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's most credulous figures; with not only the most manipulable of characters, but also one of the most brainless.
America's name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In America's youth and strength, the love and loyalty for all America used to be, was created by patriots of long ago who gave all that mortality can give. That America needs no eulogy from me, nor from any other man for we have redefined all that she ever stood for--rewritten the creed of America's soul in red on our bloodsoaked enemy's breast, written it in green in the bailouts of Wall Street, and written it in black on the shores of our coasts, the taxcode for average American saps and the smog and chemtrails of our citites.
But when I think of the average GI Joe's patience under all the adversity we have dumped upon him, of his faith in the system we have created, and of his generosity toward our bottom lines, I am filled with an emotion I cannot put into words--I can neither confirm nor deny that Senator! [laughter]. He belongs to history as one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism that funds our shareholders' way of life. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of the consumerist lifestyle that makes the American dream possible for all of ...US. [laughter] He belongs to to us--by the virtues of his gullibility and by his achievements in his naivete'. [More laughter].
While we attended a few hundred shareholder meetings and at least one or two cocktail parties, these Americans have always been there to clean up the one or two little spills that were inevitable considering all the fun that we had. I have witnessed the fruits of their enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have left their mark on this country from as far north as Port Valdez to as far south as here at the Golf of Mexico..