Eric, just checking in to find out if all goes as well as expected (whatever that is). Send me an email. -- Tanya
Since I have other friends at the Honors College, from which I was a 1985 graduate, my reply will interest them, as well as those who read my column.Dear Tanya,
I'm sorry to report that I haven't gotten any stronger since the last time we corresponded. My legs, arms and torso are pretty much paralyzed, although my neck is still functional. I haven't yet suffered any perceptible loss of facial or vocal control. My biggest problem is shortness of breath. After working hard, particularly on deadline days, I have to use a breathing assistance machine.
Thems the grim details, darlin'.... By the way, the Monday before last was the anniversary of Lou Gehrig's death in '41.
As far as the infowar goes, I'm now acclaimed roundly as a brave and bright fellow who has done his duty and probably has been paid back in full by a Bush League well known for getting even with its critics. My ALS has slowed me down so much that nowadays I'm not really far ahead of the American people in my thinking...
... or it may be that the American people are finally catching up to me. On any given week night you can watch Keith Olbermann on MSNBC and hear the words "Bush League" right along with "war crime" "liar" and "mass murderer."
For the most part, though, mainstreamers (we call 'em "presstitutes") avoid using "King George" (since it would suggest that these are revolutionary times) and totally eschew "Al CIA-duh" (since that suggests the phoniness of the "war on terror"). But again, the same quasi-radical Olbermann will routinely use "The Decider" and "The Unitary Executive" when referring to King George. Olbermann will occasionally do a story about how one Bush administration terror scare after another has been a political dirty trick, used to politically manipulate the American public. Of course, he never suggests that 9/11 might have been one of those dirty tricks.
It's becoming pretty apparent that we critics who cried foul about 9/11, the global war and the homeland state were on the right side of history. I've been considered the most radical of the radicals for years, because I've combined my genuine pedigrees of military intelligence and professional writing to make a widespread and once-incredible assertion:
If the US government carried out 9/11, then it must carry out another 9/11!
This heretical thought is becoming less nefarious, and in some quarters has become standard speculation. In the last month The Iconoclast has promoted me to military-political editor because of the widespread attention my weekly column is gaining for the paper.
My theory that the BP refinery in Texas City is the primary target for the next 9/11 has become so conceivable that my most recent article was published in a Gulf Coast law enforcement journal, The Police News. Nothing better demonstrates that my peculiar theories are winning out than the willingness of workaday cops to read, distribute and discuss my articles — which, incidentally, are no longer universally called "conspiracy theory," but are instead referred to as "investigative reporting."
What I wrote for NBC and The Wall Street Journal seemed pretty good a decade ago when I wrote it, but I'm just as proud of my latest article:
Explosive Exposé -- US/BP Terror Drills (The Police News June 3, 2008)
Incidentally, The Iconoclast is calling for a Congressional investigation of my uncanny ability to predict explosive events in the Houston area petrochemical industry.
Before it's all over, Ted, Bill and Jodie — and a hundred other UH folks who referred to me as the crazy captain — may well refer to me reverentially. Alas, I'm pretty much sure that I won't be around for it — unless BP or another Houston-area refinery goes up in a nuclear fireball sometime soon, in which case just about everyone will acknowledge (privately) that I was right.
One of the many surreal moments of the last five years was the night this winter when I saw a local TV news story about one of my military intelligence counterparts — Navy Commander Brian Klock. As you may recall, he was running for the Republican nomination to represent Texas Congressional District 22, just south of Houston, which used to belong to Tom DeLay. Klock had put up a billboard on 59 South showing a nuclear fireball consuming Houston and the refineries. It was a bit much to see my own nightmare scenario used by a Bush League apparatchik!
I wrote a column about it all, for which The Iconoclast used a picture of the nuclear billboard as artwork.
Spook and Nuke (The Lone Star Iconoclast, March 3, 2008)
I will never forget sitting on the doorstep of the Honors College five years ago, assuring everyone that the government was lying about what was happening in Iraq as we reached Baghdad. Everyone "knew" that the "reality" of the war was Private Jessica Lynch. It turns out that there was much more to that story than even I knew. It wasn't until the fourth anniversary of the Battle of Baghdad that Al Jazeera had the nerve to follow my lead and publish what I had learned:
US Accused of Using Neutron Bombs (Al Jazeera, April 9, 2007)
All in all, it's been a hell of an infowar, my dear Tanya. It has been very costly to me, but it was the right thing to do. I guess I've proved what comes of playing Achilles in time of war. I never imagined, when reading the Illiad and other classics of the human situation, that I might one day have to put what I had learned into practice. Like most people in and out of literature, I would have preferred not to have put my money where my mouth was.
I hope you still believe that I'm one of those "12 just men" you spoke to me about back in 2003.
PS: Here is a recent photo of me with Ambassador Chase Untermeyer, a good friend and the only Bush Leaguer with whom I am still on speaking terms. At the bottom is a link to my homesite, where you'll find pictures of me before I became ill:
Ambassador Chase Untermeyer replies...
Eric: Still the unbowed contrarian! No disease has a chance against you. Hope to see you after I get back from DC (first time in 16 mos, longest since '80) and Doha. No, I won't be carrying secret messages or overthrowing regimes! Best to Gretchen. Chase
Dean Ted Estess replies...
Dear Captain May and Friend Eric,
I have for a long time been speaking reverentially of you. You would not know by my communication that I have thought of you many times, and that I am in the company of concerned friends and acquaintances whose hearts and minds extend out to you in support and concern and encouragement. I am so very glad to get this communiqué from you and to witness that your spiritedness and intelligence and courage and sense of justice are much present even as your mortal coil continues to decline. I consider you as one of the true greats and true heroes among the graduates of the Honors College, and I am proud that I have known you these many years. Thank you for gifting our community with your wit and intelligence and insight and audacity and courage.
I write these words from Siracusa in Sicily. Sybil and I came here three weeks ago with 20 Honors students. The students were here for 9 days or so (after a brief stay in Rome), and after they returned to Houston, Sybil and I stayed on for a bit of rest. Cicero called Syracuse the most beautiful of the Greek cities, but after the Romans and Carthaginians and the Vandals and the Moors got through with it, modern-day Siracusa has little to remind us of the grandeur that Cicero witnessed. Despite the decline from antiquity, it is still an interesting place to me, surrounded by "the wine dark sea."
One of my teachers used to admonish his students to 'bear up nobly.' Whenever I think of those words, I will think of you, my friend; for I know that as long as you have strength to do so, you will manifest that nobleness of spirit, truth in your words, and courage in your heart.
God bless, Ted
EDITORS NOTE: To learn more about Captain May, please read "Captain Courageous and the Shockingly Awful Quicksand War" by Major William B. Fox.
Captain Eric H. May is a former Army military intelligence and public affairs officer, as well as a former NBC editorial writer. His essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle and Military Intelligence Magazine. For his biography, archives and upcoming interviews, refer to his home site.
See the complete Price of Liberty Archive for Captain May here.
Captain Courageous and the Shockingly Awful Quicksand War by Maj William B. Fox