Chapter 11 – 12
Captain Black is the creator of the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade. Bitter because Major Major is promoted instead of him, Captain Black orders that everyone must sign loyalty oaths, pledge allegiance to the flag, and sing the national anthem before they can do anything, from eating to getting their orders for a mission. The only one who is not allowed to sign an oath is Major Major, so he is immediately suspect as being disloyal. Due to this crusade, “Men were tied up all over the squadron signing, pledging and singing, and the missions took hours longer to get under way. Effective emergency action became impossible” (124). The Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade ends when Major______________de Coverley refuses to sign one before getting food and insists the other men be freed from this responsibility.
Captain Black is left with little joy until a mission to Bologna comes up, and then he is thrilled to watch how despondent the men are about the danger this mission will put them in. The men, however, are less than thrilled. The mission is postponed several times due to rain, and then Yossarian sneaks in at night and alters the bomb line on the map to make it look like Bologna has been won. Freak occurrences keep postponing the mission, but the men know it is coming sooner or later and begin to act even more erratically than they did before. For example, Hungry Joe tries to kill a cat belonging to his roommate, Huple. Yossarian breaks it up and tries to organize a fair fight between a human and a cat.
The Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade demonstrates the hypocrisy behind those who claim to be very patriotic Americans. Ostensibly, Captain Black should be very patriotic because he is pushing everyone to sign loyalty oaths. Actually, however, he is only doing this to get even with someone else for being promoted. Moreover, the hassle of signing oaths and singing the national anthem keeps the men from being able to swiftly get out into action, which would help save the lives of American soldiers. So, the whole thing is actually working against the success of the armed forces.
The men are justly afraid to go into action in Bologna. Heller intersperses descriptions of their fear with humorous exaggerations of their reactions. This contrast shows how in some ways their irrational reactions are actually more rational than the idea of getting in a plane and flying somewhere where people will try to shoot them down.
Chapter 11 – 12