The tactile, aural and sensual pleasures of an imagined Europe–the “old” Europe,

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the “quaint” Europe–hearken back to a simpler time when a tennis match followed by a few cigarettes and some chocolate did not strike anybody as incongruous. Nor did the French-Algerian fiasco strike terribly many among France’s leadership as a bad idea.

I heard about Michael Moore’s Sicko and it made me think about the avarice and heartlessness of the pharmaceutical industry. But medicine’s ideals and its practitioners’ egos and financial interests historically run into conflict. Among the unseemly scientists the US welcomed in the aftermath of World War II is a large number of medical scientists (somehow “doctor” seems like the wrong term for someone who has performed vivisections on healthy humans) handpicked from the Enemy’s unprotected stock.

The data gleaned from Japanese and German biology enthusiasts, gleaned from the suffering of Chinese people and Jewish people has found applications and formed background information for our military institutions. Perhaps at some later date our rummaging around in this particularly filthy cookie jar will pay off in a way that gives us the moral high ground.

In the meantime, keep thinking about the crisp slacks, crystalline haircuts and non-ironic donning of large sunglasses that visually defines America, circa-first half of the cold war, for many people. Imagine the Pacific Northwest decades ago, already tampered with but pristine in comparison with today.

Washington–which shares a name and little else with that back-east cellar of serpents where money and death are allotted in accordance with popular will and influence–represents a convergence of natural beauty and people in big sunglasses. It was also the site of government sponsored radiation experiments carried out on an unwitting populace.

Don’t worry, I’m not in a militia. Here’s a link to a government Web site. Basically the government was dumping radiation out of planes onto populated areas, you know, to see what would happen. When Clinton took office, he didn’t have all that goddamn Reagan, Nixon, Bush, intelligence agency baggage and did a lot for improving the transparency of government, hence the existence of the site.

It would be nice to say, “Well, lesson learned, I’m glad this is all behind us.” Go ahead and click on the Search HREX Archives link found on the page noted above.

Proceed to have the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

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