Chapter 22 – 24
Nately is completely in love with a prostitute who ignores his very existence. Whenever he is in Italy on leave, he finds her and spends all of his money getting her to spend all her time with him. Once he runs out of money, she leaves and goes to look for other clients.
One time, Nately brings several of his friends along to the brothel where she is working. They all go off to have a good time with the prostitutes. Nately gets in an argument with the slovenly old man who runs the brothel. Nately insists that America is a great nation which is winning the war. The old man insists that winning a war is the quickest way to cause trouble for a country. Nately loses track of his love, then finds her the next morning and tries to make love to her. Her younger sister, who wants to be just like her big sister, interrupts them. Eventually, the prostitute goes out looking for other clients, leaving Nately broke and desperately in love.
Milo brings Orr and Yossarian on a purchasing trip for his syndicate. Each place they go, Milo is treated as a dignitary or important person. Yossarian and Orr, however, are treated very badly by both the people in the towns and Milo. Milo keeps telling them that it is all for the sake of the syndicate, and that everyone wins because everyone owns a share.
Milos syndicate is powerful and far-reaching. He has gotten the commanders of many bases to participate by pointing out the good food they can get. The militaries of several countries put their airplanes and pilots at his disposal so that he can trade in food. He even has the cooperation of the Germans. He hops around the world, buying and selling produce, and somehow always making a profit. He corners the market on Egyptian cotton, and this gets him into trouble. It turns out there is no place to sell his Egyptian cotton, and the syndicate is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Milo realizes that he can get both sides to pay him to conduct attacks on the other side. At one point, he is paid to conduct both sides of a battle, but he sees no reason to go to the trouble when the armies are more than willing to fight it out for him. Then, he has his planes bomb his own base for the Germans. Everyone is outraged until he demonstrates what a good profit he made.
We learn that Snowden died in the mission over Avignon. Dobbs did not trust Huple because he is just fifteen years old, so Dobbs grabbed away the controls from Huple. When Huple regained the controls, they were back in the range of German fire. As they escaped, Yossarian realized his intercom was unplugged. When he plugged it back in, he heard that Snowden was in trouble. When he went to Snowden, the gunner complained that he was cold. He bled all over Yossarian. At Snowdens funeral, Milo found Yossarian sitting in a tree naked. He complained about the ruin of his syndicate, and Yossarian suggested that Milo bribe the government to buy his cotton.
The idealists and the capitalists are contrasted. Nately is an idealist who believes in love and country. His prostitute, however, believes in making money and finds his insistence on love rather dull. The man who runs the brothel is an opportunist who sides with whichever group is in power. He finds Natelys idealism about nationalism silly and impractical. They seem to fare batter than Nately, as they end up with his money and he ends up alone.
However, the capitalists who operate without regard for ideals are also ridiculed. Milo claims to be doing everything for the syndicate. He insists that everyone profits because everyone owns a share. However, no one ever actually sees that money, because Milo controls it all and it all goes right back into the syndicate.
Milo claims to be very moral because he is supporting capitalism at the expense of communism. His version of capitalism allows him to attack his own base and kill people, but he claims he is not responsible, since the opposing sides would attack anyway and he is just making money off it. This is appalling, yet people are appeased when they see that “he could reimburse the government for all the people and property he had destroyed and still have enough money left over to continue buying Egyptian cotton” (269). Like everything else, people are simply a commodity in capitalism. While the pure idealists are foolish, the pure capitalists are dangerous.
Chapter 22 – 24