Procol Harum Redux
Laura Hult (here)
on Conquistador and the Vietnam War • 10 July 2011
I stumbled upon the song Conquistador today and was stunned by the
parallels between Procol Harum’s lyrical references to the Vietnam War and
current US military actions.
How many decisive victories can the United States claim since WWII? The only
clear success I can think of was the invasion of Grenada in 1983 to protect and
evacuate American medical students after a military coup. We were in Grenada
for a total of 52 days. Our forces invaded, did their job, and then left.
“Conquistador, a vulture sits upon your silver shield”
Compare and contrast this operation with the myriad places our soldiers are now
installed. The word “victory” doesn’t exist in the current political lexicon
because it is not the objective. Corruption, greed, and a lust for power and
influence are the deciding factors in the deployment of our troops, and thus the
once magnificent American eagle has devolved into a brooding, dark, and gruesome
symbol of the intent to sacrifice our serving men and women for both personal
and political profit.
"You reek of purity”
From improvements in agriculture and medicine, to the development of
technologies that could take us to the Moon and back, America has led the way in
innovation, discovery, and invention. Although poverty, sickness, and hunger
have not been eliminated, we have shared much of this knowledge with the rest of
the world and many people have benefited.
But America has fallen from grace with her virtues replaced by a learned
helplessness. Do you need proof? Just look at news stories detailing
everything from flash mobs and naked lawmakers, to little old ladies being
assaulted by the TSA. We tolerate these and many more dysfunctional behaviors
because of expedience, and in so doing have become complicit in the degradation
of our nation.
“And though you came with sword held high,
You did not conquer, only die.”
Our choices now are severely limited.
The United States could become a “Logan’s Run” socialistic state, or we
could turn towards a dangerous nationalistic fascism like Germany did during the
The sanest approach would be to vote out all representatives who do not value
America’s people, the Constitution, and the freedoms we have enjoyed under its
umbrella. This would be the most difficult choice in the short term, for we
will have to tackle our national and personal debts head-on. Austerity will be
the order of the things for many years. Soldiers will need to return from
places not directly vital to our national interests. Corruption must be exposed
and routed from every official’s office. Freedoms will have to be returned to
the people, while odious job and innovation-suppressing governmental regulations
must be eliminated.
Can we do it? Of course, we can. Will we do it? That remains to be seen. The
Americans of yesteryear were never daunted by hard work or personal sacrifice.
I sincerely hope we have enough left of their pioneering spirit to effect the
necessary changes not only in government, but also in ourselves.
the original blog page a couple of dozen
impassioned comments follow, which make eye-opening reading. Nobody, as yet,
seems to have challenged the premise that Keith Reid is writing about Vietnam.
Words of Conquistador |
Many versions of the original