AT THE Algiers airport, he phones to the Headquarters of the First Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company, using the handy list of the Military Police, and shortly a jeep arrives to fetch him home. It is home. He is still on their roster. And they are even drawing rations for him because nobody at the rations dump asks the pertinent questions. Further, they are glad to see him, with his news of places they say they would like to see, if the circumstances were pleasant: what gold-bricks!
They are already apologizing for why he has not been promoted to the rank of Captain. They claim that he was recommended for his captaincy on September 23. Who would be blocking it? Among themselves, but not to his face, so maybe he is imagining it, they can say, "He got in some brawl." They do not tell him, but they are all up for promotion and before long they will be sprouting double bars and maple leafs. It is inevitable: if you don't stay close to where the promotion orders are cut, your chances of being passed over are increased. The swine, as Heycock and Galsworthy liked to say about such types. Better, the farrow: they stay close by the teats.
But they are not hiding or deliberately shirking. They are just what remains of the Company after its useful elements have gone warfaring. And it just so happens that the remnants are two-thirds of the Company. One side of Our Man is envious: just look at Tommy Anglin, the poster picture of an American Lieutenant, and just as nice as anybody could be; and take a look at Jerry Stern, too, his uniforms, like the rest, laundered and pressed to a fault, shoes glistening; Captain Rathbun, booming away cheerily; and Major Caskey now, his mustache brilliantly red and flourishing. All the way down to the last private.
Caskey was about to return to the US to activate and train more companies of the same type. He had not heard a shot fired in anger nor spoken to an enemy prisoner, nor even visited a forward zone -- in fact little that would qualify him for his new mission, so therefore (foreshadowing the Peter Principle) he was elevated to perform the task and ordered (what a euphemism an Army Order can be) to return to the Great PX. Were he honest about his experience, he would say, well, we are a kind of a stockroom of parts, most of us junk, both ourselves and our equipment and what has been done with us has been to cannibalize our outfit, taking the best parts and personnel as they were needed, leaving the rest of us to cool our heels and monkey around with the junk left behind. There is this to be said for Caskey: he is not a wicked man or a martinet. He lets his people relax and enjoy.
Waiting for someone high up some day to tell them what to do, and meanwhile living high off the hog. Vehicles, spanking new and well-maintained, with mileage more than ample to take them on excursions and into Algiers. A few are assigned to jobs in Algiers and stay in town most of the time, using the Company as a weekend residence. No K-rations, C-rations, here, but the best that the Quartermaster can provide straight from the States supplemented by locally grown fruit and vegetables. Refrigerated steaks from America. Fresh coffee beans by the sack, too. The whitest fine flour for breadmaking and piemaking. Native Algerians to police the kitchen and the grounds. Sandlot baseball, puttering on the radios and motors. Drinking and card-playing. Concerts and spectacles.
To these worthies go the comforts and pleasures of soldiers whose tedious and tiring training days are distant in memory, whose fears of the Front are languishing, whose anxiety over transfer to the infantry are still non-existent, even while the generals of the European Theater are being told that they had better postpone plans for a Second Front because the rate of induction of civilians into the Army has been rather slower than expected.
All of this weighs against an occasional boredom, mixed with a gram of bad conscience, thoughts more or less poignant of a lagging education or career back in the States, nostalgia for families and friends and old neighborhoods and even wives in a couple of cases and American girls in many cases, mostly imaginary film starlets. The imbalance of risk and suffering in wartime, let us admit, is outrageously unjust.
The USA is winning the war on its production, on some daredevil or grim pilots, on some unusual platoons of some reluctant divisions, but especially on its production, whilst he and his friends are cursing the lucky guys, fully unionized, making time-and-a-half for overtime, and going home to their games and pals and families, fifty-three million war workers.
Their immense production of ships, guns, vehicles, planes is approaching its three-year peak, whereupon it will avalanche upon its enemies. In the main, the armed forces are camp followers of the small number of special types that find themselves in critical actions, a beach, an island, a river crossing, a strongpoint, a vital target. All of them are in a real sense minions of home front production. Bomb the hell out of the foe, blast them with cannon day and night, and then take them over: thanks to the war workers.
So overwhelming is this force, that slowly but surely the American psyche is coming to feel insulted when men actually have to die in any numbers, and the public and in the end the troops make a great fuss over it and the censors go to work to hide casualties. Also slowly but now more rapidly emerges the related practice of the destruction of civilian centers, at first "to destroy military targets", then war production, then civilian morale.
Yet, although the troops on the cutting edge are angry in principle with the production teams who are winning the war by working under conditions by no means ideal -- a great part of them ill-housed -- jealously angry really, because they cannot be among them, the same frontline troops are surprisingly not so upset over the millions of supernumerary soldiers abroad and in the military camps back home. Yet, again, the feeling of sympathy for the unlucky ones who were at risk was in itself the reason for the enormity of the train of provisioners -- civilian and uniformed --behind the Front. It took several times the resources and personnel to get an American soldier to where he could fire a rifle or cannon than it did to get an Englishman there and ten times more than in the case of a Russian soldier.
At this point in time, the Great Teheran Conference of Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill is imminent. Now hear this: The President and America's top diplomats, planners and military leaders ride the Battleship Iowa. FDR loves the Sea. The Destroyer Porter is one of the escort vessels, and about 350 miles East of Bermuda practices its torpedo launchings. After its last patrol, it neglected to clear its third tube. The tube is now aimed at the Iowa, its #2 ammo magazine, just for practice, and fires. Its a bad shot, for the live and fully-armed torpedo misses the Iowa by 1200 yards to stern. What would become the War's most spectacular amicide fails. Would the U.S.A. win the War with its top leaders draped in Sargasso seaweed? Unequivocally, yes, says this chronicler. Why? For the aforementioned reasons: its massive war production, its morale (arising in large part from its productivity), its unlimited new troops, some of whom, at least, will shape up well and will have all the tools needed for their job together with the high morale they inspire. Henry Wallace, rather than Harry Truman, would have become President, consequences of which occurrence would be significant but too complex to unravel in a few lines here.
I have gotten a little ahead of my story in order to mention this near amicidal incident: Our Man is still living in October, and will in any case never hear of the near-miss to his beloved leaders, censorship, you know. His chief danger of the moment consists of falling into a life of dissipation and social dissolution. So beguiling the temptations, so contemptible is the operations setup of PWB, AFHQ. Not that he has been doing too badly, on the balance, in and out of the "Real War." Looking back, he has been miserable and at risk more than the average, and one has to count as risk, the reasonable anticipation of something bad happening to his head or flesh. A coward dies many deaths, the old saying goes, but a brave man dies at least a couple of deaths -- and there are all the gradations in between for those who are ordinary or unfeeling.
The witnesses of War are not good judges, the more so the farther removed they are from the immediate risk. The folks back home believe his risks greater than do the lackadaisical comrades of the First MRBC here, but they exaggerate the dangers of his experiences too. He might write a book on how the authorities, the generals, the politicians, the pastors, the womenfolk, the workers, the soldiers just behind the "lines," the press, and Hollywood fashion (consciously and unconsciously) the scene of war on land, on sea, and in the air to suit their own wishes and morale. The truth of the scene -- what is it, then? -- it is hard to fix, record, remember, recall; hardest of all is to proportionate the reality.
So the people of the Hotel Corneille have a foggy notion of up front, also. So he could swagger a bit around the place. He preferred the City and the Hotel and moved into a room there. Around the corner were their offices and after a decent interval of days he called upon the effective Director of PWB, C.D.Jackson, whom we last encountered in mortal combat with the Head of PWB, the shit- kicker Colonel, across empty dishes and wine bottles at the Eighth Army Team's Apartment in Syracuse.
By now, the Lieutenant is becoming prickly out of his own contradiction, for he begins to see that he has profited from an act of censorship, just or not, whereas he has always been a foe of censorship. It's like being an anti-slavery slave-owner. He wishes he had coldly accepted the tirades of the journalists instead of tossing them out.
Well, says C.D.Jackson, as the Lieutenant steps into his office, you know you have given us some trouble. This was perhaps not the thing to say, especially since Jackson may have been given the assimilated rank of Colonel, but lacked the arbitrary powers of a military commander. The Lieutenant could become angry, and demand, "What do you mean `trouble'? I am here, but I don't want to be here. I can't stand this place. I shouldn't have come. I came to make things easy. I want to get out of here as fast as I can. When can you get me back?" Jackson doesn't respond badly. He is a little afraid to talk to "real" soldiers. What can he say? This adamant type might spark an argument with Hazeltine or even with his buddies. Perhaps, but as the Lieutenant sees it, Jackson is not a shit like Hazeltine. He really doesn't know what happened except that the young man was supposed to have gotten some correspondents down on him and, as a member of the press, not like the Army generals who hated the press, he was both embarrassed and defensive. So there was little for him to say except, just keep ready and you'll be sent back soon.
The Lieutenant, appeased, goes to the dining room and gets to talking at the table with some people he had not known before, including a chap who has been a screenwriter, hardly cutting a military figure, but unpretentious in civilian khakis, and the words "sweet," "funny," and "smart" begin to jog his mind, so he looks closely at the round face, beaming Baltic blue eyes, and determines that he must be talking to his wife's first cousin, Jerry Ross, who, of course, it is. So it's hello again, and let's celebrate (he's a mild non-boisterous civilian -- there's no rousing hell-raising with Jerry, but it's nice to have an intelligent guy around; also a kind of relative, and most of all someone who knows and can admire his beloved Jill.) It's hard to figure out of what use he would be in Italy, since he knows the country neither politically, linguistically, nor militarily. But never mind, there is the rudimentary Peter Principle at work again: he is going as a high officer with a salary thrice that of the same Army officer. In this case, Our Man feels no pain. A friend of Jill is a friend of himself. Furthermore, it has to be deemed a demi- sacrifice, because Jerry would have made loads of lucre writing scenarios for the many romantic and war films Hollywood was putting out, with an enormous captive audience in the troops, and really among the civilians, too, because what else could people do, without gas for their cars?
Anyhow the Lieutenant makes no attempt to find out what Jerry Ross is doing; maybe he is writing American scripts for broadcasting at home (though why there should be any need for more buncombe despatches back there is a mystery). They go on excursions to the Casbah to gawk and reflect upon Arab culture. More important to his state of mind, he takes up with a young woman who works for PWB at menial tasks, cleaning up. (We recall that he has always been a chow-hound and last to leave the dining room, so we suspect, and rightly, this to have been the occasion.) She is surprisingly pretty, considering the job she dutifully performs; she is using the job to get rations, PX supplies, give-aways (people are always leaving for the West or North), decent treatment (the Americans and British are so much more kind to the help than the French -- here and everywhere), and relatively high pay. She has an unpretentious apartment not far away, clean, airy, simple, comfortable, where he learned to let himself in whenever he pleased.
She is even-tempered, doesn't ask for anything, and gets very little from him -- who does? -- at least so far as one can tell, certainly not in a material way, and there are no promises, no confessions of love. She is French, pied noir. Who is she really? Where is her family, her man? She is too attractive and altogether too nice a person to have no suitors or lovers or husband, not to mention her sexuality, for she is a gentle and appealing lover, in and out of bed. Perhaps her husband is in some far away place, possibly in a German prison camp, or one of the blockaded units of the Foreign Legion. There is nothing of the masculine in or about her flat, nothing fluffy feminine either. Perhaps she is just what she looks like, an independent, prudent self-contained person, and there is nothing else, and he is an interlude in her life as she is an incident to his life. He hopes she is not growing too fond of him, because -- but she must know -- he will not be with her long.
I do not know, I cannot figure out, whether a woman is much stronger than a man when it comes to giving up a lover, or some woman are resigned and able to take such events in stride ( while others blow up in anticipation, from the very first moments, or as the affair begins to close down). Cecile is her name, "Cecy" or "Sissy" he calls her. She likes her nickname. It makes her proud and distinctive and intimate.
Before his British friends can set up shop in Naples and get to him and before the Fifth Army Team realizes that he is available (Herz and Weaver are there) and can get itself together, the Palermo office calls for somebody to become their Political Intelligence Officer (what a gas!) and off he goes, his weeks of "rest and rehabilitation" over with, winging to Sicily upon a deep blue October day. Nor is he to have any but fine Sicilian early winter weather from now on, even though he comes in on a bumping aircraft: they all bump when they come to fly through the narrow pass between two rocky peaks on their way down onto the Palermo airport. The weak-nerved close their eyes when the plane goes swooping in, swaying its wings to brush one or the other peak.
He checks in with Capt. Cosgrove, a large con-man with a full- toothed yard-wide smile out of England, they strike it off well, and Cosgrove can hardly wait to show him the mess. It is worth bragging about. The decor is elegant, the service superior, the wines excellent, the food is the best of Sicilian cuisine, most of the Team's rations having been exchanged in diurnal transactions for authentic local products. As you enter the restaurant, you are greeted by the parrot who has given to the famous restaurant its name, Il Pappagallo. The parrot gets in the first word. "Buon Giorno!" he calls to you. "Buon Giorno," you automatically respond. But, "Come sta?", he adds, as if he really cared. And so on, with a paltry bag of phrases and witticisms. "Wait, now hear this!" says Cosgrove to the Newcomer, taking his arm upon entering the place. "Come sta Mussolini?" asks Cosgrove, no longer a non-speaker of Italian. To which the green and red beast shrieks "Mussolini e' cornuto!" -- Mussolini is a cuckold, the favorite insult of Mediterranean Europe.
The Newcomer is delighted, and, like everyone, is subdued whenever the bird seems off his wonted aplomb, and sticks his head beneath his wing, morose, silent. He is happy, too, with the Palermo gang, although he proceeds continuously pained by his absence from his wife, on one occasion doing an elaborate calculation of the number of days he has been with and without her from the very moment of their meeting in June of 1940; he charts it; he mails the chart to her. It exhibits the unhappy fact of their great love, that, for one reason or another, although he, and probably she, suffer from and resist their separations, there had been more separations than togetherness over the whole period of time. This might have been admissible in Nineteenth Century America, when Yankee Clippers sailed around the world for months, and wartime campaigns on foot and by horse and boat took up long periods of time, and a girl in Boston would be kept from her swain in New York for years until he had made his mark in the economy and had furnished a house. No more. The new Americans, even before the War, demanded instant response, repulsed any excuse for separateness, made the cause of it into an evil.
But we are here in Palermo. Walking down the street one day soon after arriving, he bumps into Professor T.V.Smith, who was to become Professor of Philosophy, Politics, and Poetry at the University of Syracuse (a title he chose himself) and who taught Our Boy modern philosophy at the University of Chicago, but appears at the moment to be Director of Education for AMGOT, the Military Government still ruling Sicily. A fine choice, this tall and smooth- talking Texan, a Pragmatic Philosopher, an antidote to the influence of the Church in Italian education, a poison pill to Communism, a comprehensible successor to Fascism, which had at one juncture declared itself pragmatic because it had nothing else to say to explain its destructive activism and violence. More than anything else, and including all this, he was an enemy of the formality of the Italian schools and their curricula. The Newcomer lets loose a blare of recommendations, of course. How he wants Colonel T.V. to turn the whole show around! Quickly to revolutionize the educational system! That is like him, to wish powers upon people whom he likes and with whom he agrees and to overestimate the capacity of the system to be changed. What he could do if only he had the power himself.
Among the Italians, significant numbers, many more than in America, and most of officialdom, South of Bologna and including the Sicilians, of course, are past masters at the art of evading conditions and demands that put disagreeable burdens upon them. The compatibility of Italy with modern existence and economy comes largely from their considerable personal energies and voluntary generosity as individuals. Their effusive guarantees of compliance are evidence of defiance, Our Lieutenant comes to believe. The Sicilians do not, any more than most Italians, believe that they have unconditionally surrendered. They have long ago already surrendered in their minds, and therefore no gap existed that had to be filled with newly conceived or learned reforms, rather only those that they had in mind secretly all the time.
As a birthright. Because they, like most Europeans, are not discovering radicalism or reform or new ideas as a result of liberation; Sicily employed an elected Parliament in the Thirteenth Century along with England; it had experienced everything within and from without; the ideas and the practices were known to them, and indeed they had been fighting over these ideas amongst themselves, which was precisely the reason why Fascism succeeded, by saying, "Stop this haggling and debating! Order, and a single man to command is what we need," or, as a precursor of Fascism, Professor Count Vilfredo Pareto, said, "Let us not waste words on `representation,' poppycock grinds no flour." The humiliating finale of which was found by the American troops plastered on all of the walls of Italy: "Mussolini ha sempre ragione!" Mussolini is always right.
How lucky are the Sicilians with the English and Americans, unhistorical freaks, invaders who are well-intentioned and undemanding except of reforms that the people know in their hearts are what they need. But, of course, the right relationship hardly produces an instant effect. It cannot even among these same Americans and British at home where they are actually (unbelievably, yes) authorized to be less concerned with the social consequences of their conduct than here in former enemy country. The Allies cannot make up for decades of misrule, not to mention a deteriorating economic situation going back to the Eighteenth Century. The country is, when you pause to consider it, not only beautiful architecturally and in nature, but profoundly rich and cultured; and basically, it is rationally organized to feed everybody somehow during a perennial economic depression. So they are by no means a hopeless case, even though faucets do not pour water, toilets do not flush, and the ice for ice cream comes still in part from the ice caves of Mt. Etna. But the Allies do bring in some good people during the interim period, when they are in charge, and take little after having destroyed much by war, and give enough to reconstitute at the least the status quo ante bellum.
Another good man who appears before the young critical eye is Philip Hammond, who is on leave from Harvard University as a Professor of Classics and is here delegated to help conserve Sicilian art treasures which are truly enormous in number and scope, and which stretch in time from the Neolithic through every age down to the present. He cares every bit as much for the Sicilian heritage as any poverty-stricken and funds-straitened Curator on the Island. The destruction of the artistic, religious, and archaeological treasures of humanity has been, if one is to speak in dollar-language, in the hundreds of millions.
Joining the Pappagallo mess, along with his crew of Sicilians from the schools and faculty of the City, is an astonishing character, already looking ageless with his dry white pinched skinny features and near-baldness. He has the glittering eye of the fanatic. They eat at their own table and talk vigorously and seriously through the meals about their assignments and questionnaires, and then they walk about the city, into the slums and into the fine bourgeois apartments, asking the citizenry about their attitudes and needs, their housing and eating habits, feelings about crime, opinions of the Allied troops (sic), awareness and support of the Badoglio Government, and conjectures about the future. Their leader is Professor Stuart Dodd of the University of Washington.
Our Lieutenant had in two years practically forgotten about the nuts and bolts of his academic specialty, which was supposed to have been public opinion analysis, and here weirdly in Palermo he finds Dodd dividing the country into interviewing districts and training and sending out interviewers to ask people of all sorts what they thought about all the issues that leaders of a government should know the opinions of their people about. He is impressed; this strange man is a culture hero: how did he manage to get into the military, how did he manage to get overseas, how could he believe that he might get across this notion of public opinion as something to be measured, here of all places, here when in America, where this science was just being born, it was the butt of jokes and censure among politicians, newspapers, and traditionalist professors.
He does it; working with incredible insouciance and dedication, sereneness of belief in the task, sense of mission of the New Social Science; his workers were devoted to their tasks; his protocols, which are examined with disbelief by Lieutenant de Grazia quondam Instructor at the University of Chicago, are professional, neat, complete. He is a veritable Ignatius Loyola, they his Jesuits. The Lieutenant, being a "real soldier," a trencherman and companionable boozer, is regarded with respect by Captain Cosgrove, who is relieved and half-believing when told by him that Stuart Dodd is not a dangerous queer or subversive but putting to work a new hi-tech system for governing a population sensibly and avoiding disturbance.
Hubert Howard turns up, a tall rather tense but sweet Englishman with the air of a perpetual bachelor, expert in matters Italian, of an Italian mother and an established English Catholic family that managed to pull through the bloody Reformation and Civil Wars without losing all of its sundry heads. His job it is to be generally informed and aware of the politics of the region; that is, he is an accomplice of the Lieutenant's "D section" friends, Greenlees and Robertson.
An ex-correspondent Hadfield, also English, is present, an American journalist named Lee, and a young man whom The Lieutenant had managed to detach from another outfit while at Camp Ritchie, and made sergeant, Kamenetski, an Italian Jew like Guetta, more Italian than the Italians, a pure scholar by character but now running the programming and news of the Palermo station.
Very soon after greeting and reveling in the new circle, the Lieutenant originates various tasks for himself. The first project that he suggests to Cosgrove, who exults in the energies of others, is to set up an Information Center for things Allied and democratic, a modest enterprise, costing next to nothing, that is actually the archetype for the American Information Centers that will be established around the world in the decades to come. He collects a few books, meets with several local artists to buy their paintings, gathers some propaganda published by the Office of War Information, prints more of it, arranges for cultural meetings to be held, and hires a sidekick, a pretty young blonde and blue-eyed maiden aged twenty-four, Carla Puleo, whom he puts in charge.
When he introduces her to the privileged restaurant of the Team, Cosgrove is mightily impressed. "How does it happen," for he is a man with an urge, "that you should find such a beautiful young woman in this burg, where I hardly see a one worth chasing after?" Or words to that effect. Well, the Lieutenant should say, Cosgrove, you are a fright to a young maiden, and Palermo is full of shutters, intermediaries, and dodges for evading males. But he didn't, because Cosgrove is really a decent chap, despite his loud and gauche way. Luck, he says, just plain luck, you know. But this alone, putting a woman in charge, a young one, without sexual compromise (oh, he may kiss her once or twice), marks a break with tradition even in this, in some ways highly sophisticated, stubbornly old-fashioned city. Carla gets mess privileges, a little cash to work with; rather soon, a cultural circle forms around her and thus the cultural and information center.
He hires a crippled little red-headed painter, Gianfallo, to draw a great map of the World on wood, which is then cut and nailed into a giant-sized unit that is mounted above the shop entrance. It hints to the proud Sicilian the appropriate size of the Island amid the Earth's land masses, and becomes a conversation piece in local society. He meets Carla's father, the Baron Puleo, whom he regards with respect, not alone for his dignified bulk and courteous manners, but for not having asked to meet him earlier, for not having put conditions upon his friendship with and subsequent employment of his daughter, for having trusted her, for behaving like a modern father should behave. From Gianfallo the painter he also purchases several pen and ink sketches that he mails back to Jill and she likes the stone walls and olive trees of the countryside of Sicily that they portray and that most G.I.'s had come to dislike in the course of their campaign in the dry hot summer.
Economic affairs are not in order. The country is near to starving. He notes how his visitors and companions of various social levels habitually carry a briefcase; when they open it to remove or insert a document, a lump of bread, and perhaps a piece of hard cheese, can be seen resting there, to be gnawed upon sometime in the course of the day or evening, if there is nothing else to be eaten. He is enlisted to arbitrate labor disputes in the film distribution business on questions of pay, of licenses to operate theaters, of claims over archives of film. He acts, too, as a film censor of an evening, viewing Fascist propaganda films and ordinary films that could be labelled fascistic and anti-allied. This is a waste of time, although he would not be aware of it yet; the audiences are so sensitive to and derisive of the old propaganda that such a film would not be played anyhow.
Ordinary people and the military talk a lot about the black market and the mafia and the crime wave. The story is making the rounds that the U.S. intelligence agencies had received help from the mafia before and during the military campaign. This may be balderdash, but many Americans and Italians believe it. And it certainly profits the mafiosi, whatever the truth, to claim that they had been anti-Fascist all along and collaborated with the liberators. He cannot hope to discover anything on this account from his friendlies, for they would be covering up any connivance with criminals. Even though he would be interested in hearing directly from the mafia "partisans" himself, this is not the purpose of his modest investigation. He is interested mainly in the structure of the overall problem; what should be the attitude of the liberators and new Italian government? His own position needs clarification.
Most people are more paranoid than not and therefore prone to believe in large, unseen, mysterious conspiracies governing the world, particularly if they live in closed societies or societies governed socially by hierarchical and authoritative religion. So he reasons, but has little knowledge, and wonders whether the mafia is truly organized or whether it is largely a word to cast over the whole body of largely dissociated criminality.
He goes to the police, examines their blotters, gathers some figures, talks to a few businessmen and informants, and arrives at the half-baked conclusion that the mafia so-called is a way of life but not a single organized criminal network. That there is a lot of crime is evident; there are big shots and punks; where crime is rampant, even by the modest standards of those days when drugs and alcohol were absent from the picture, a pecking order is established; "you had better not get in the way of This Pezzo Grosso, he bosses a tough gang."
Thus, like an oligarchic market economy, crime organizes itself into behavior patterns, which, if you are not a particularly expert observer, you might see as a single monster organization; there is therefore no single head to decapitate; this is actually why the mafia or mafiosi or other gang systems cannot be hunted down for once and for all time. It is built into the social system, as every culture has its own typical criminal system or underworld built into it.
High unemployment, strong extended family organization and responsibility, widespread economic distress, a hierarchical and authoritarian ruling system, and a dissociation of local culture and morals from a centralized national police system all combine to foster the endemic high crime rates, especially associated with the West of Sicily, as well as with other parts of the world with similar conditions, or with situations like New Jersey or Chicago or Marseilles that constitute a benevolent reception system, like a biological laboratory soup in which the mafia phenomena can prosper. The mafia seem to be united, he feels, because they do know of one another, keep in touch benevolently or malevolently with one another, have the same characteristics socially and demographically and culturally, and kill each other when in conflict and under threat.
The mafia, therefore, is a difficult condition to eliminate. Crime is something to be fought piecemeal, and, at the other extreme, through reforms in the most general structure of the society.
His brief report circulates here and there among occupation officials and police of the occupying powers, the municipal police and the carabinieri. It has no discernible effect, much less a ripple effect; it is claimed that you cannot fight crime piecemeal because the petty crooks get off with the help of the bigger ones and the corrupt system of justice. As for the Reform of Society, it is impossible, as it has always been. Some people ask whether he is afraid of reprisals, but he has not named names nor given any indication of being party to secret information; getting after him would be a purely gratuitous act, to which the mafiosi are not inclined. In anticipation of his departure, he turns over his ideas and papers to Hubert Howard, incorruptible, brave, but as remote from J. Edgar Hoover as a dove from a gander.
It is true that dysentery, the G.I.'s, strike him down around this time, but it is not fear, nor poison, but rather an enormous Thanksgiving turkey dinner that provokes the attack, and he is soon well enough to move on, to Italy, where there has been occurring a tug-o-war for his talents, on the one side his friends in Naples of "D Section," on the other the Combat Propaganda Team of the Fifth Army, commanded by Lt. Col. Oren Weaver, whom he hasn't seen since April and then in Washington D.C. Fifth Army wins, with the stipulation that the Lieutenant also help out "D Section" with political intelligence reports from the Front. On December 6, having dallied in Naples for three days, he is cheerily hello-ing Buck Weaver, Martin Herz, and the others under the palm trees of the Royal Gardens at Caserta.