4 I CHRONICLESnConvicted traitor Clayton Lonetreenwept as he described his upbringing onnan Indian reservation orphanage andnwith his father, a brutal alcohohc. ThenMarine Corps was, he said, a way outnof his misery, although his principalnreasons for joining were patriotic. Thenmilitary jury, unmoved by his argumentsnand those of his celebrity lawyernWilliam Kunstler, sentenced Lonetreento 30 years. Why they didn’t make itnlife—and why they couldn’t make itndeath — is one of those mysteriesnwhich, if you had the answer to it,nwould go a long way toward explainingnwhat is wrong with our country.nLonetree’s version of the events—ntrue love with a Russian girl and anheroic plan to trap a KGB agent—wasnnever taken seriously. He had to benstupid to make up such a tale, but thennhis predicament was itself a sign ofnimbecility. Retaining Bill “Chicago 7″nKunstler as counsel in a treason casenwas only the last straw. The Lonetreencase is still more interesting than othernrecent spy stories. It is a kind of parablenof American history. As the Americannrepublic swelled into a continentalnempire, the only resistance it metncame from the impoverished savagesnon the plains. The Indian wars are thenheroic period of America. If we treatednthem with brutality and indifference,nthey paid us back in full with rape,ntorture, murder, and perfidy. To excusentheir acts of habitual brutality onnthe grounds of cultural differences isnreally to indict an entire race. Fornnearly a hundred years, we celebratednthe frontiersmen and soldiers whonfought in the Indian wars as heroes. Itnwas a standing joke in Hollywood thatnthe Indians always lose—althoughnthey did in fact lose everything—andnthe most important white loser,nGeorge Armstrong Custer, was treatednas a heroic martyr.nIt is a pardonable mistake to celebratenthe virtues of a defeated enemy,nbut the role-reversal of cowboys andnCULTURAL REVOLUTIONSnIndians is a sign of a very deep sicknessnin American cultural life. Now it is thenIndians who always win—or deservento. The difference between a film likenThey Died With Their Boots On andnLittle Big Man is the diiference betweenntwo Americas; and the declinenfrom Custer the white knight to Custernthe degraded moron represents a vastnchange in our attitudes toward ournown manhood and leadership. In thensame transmutation, the Indians wentnfrom savages to saints, the masters of ansecret wisdom that was in harmonynwith nature. Castaneda’s Don Juanninitiated American students into ansci-fi world of shamans and demons,nwhile Chief Dan George (the real starnof Little Big Man) provided an Indiannfolk wisdom somewhere between WillnRogers and Myron Cohen. (I suspectnthe real Dan George is more like thenengaging loser he portrayed in ThenOutlaw Josey Wales.)nAfter all is said that can be saidnagainst them, the Indians of the plainsnwere brave and able opponents andndeserved honorable treatment—eithernfreedom or death. Instead, we institutednan experimental welfare state in thenform of reservations and gave themnneither incentives nor opportunities tonescape from bondage. Anyone couldnhave predicted the results: a culture ofndependency in which men withoutnhonor neglect their families, getndrunk, and waste their lives tomcatting.nThe “conservative” response hasnusually been, “Get a job, make somethingnof your life.” Some do, and it isnto their credit that they have escaped.nBut many more do not. Like most ofnus, the failures lead lives bound by thencommunity norms in which they grewnup. Such a man is Clayton Lonetree.nThe strange part of Lonetree’s storynis not his background but his treason.nProsecutors tried to establish a motivenof Indian resentment against the whitenman’s country that had enslaved hisnpeople. While there are such Indians,nnnespecially among the young smartnalecks who have listened to some communityncollege teacher as he recitesnthe record of their sufferings, morenoften Indians have proved to be unusuallynloyal Americans. They alsonmake good soldiers—as if they stillndimly remembered that courage innbattle is a primary requirement ofnmanhood. If you go to an Ojibwanpowwow, as I did several years ago, thenone thing that stands out is the patriotismnof the men. In the midst of thenphony Indian art (made by Navaho anthousand miles away), the foul smellsnof frying venison and human waste,nthe men are introduced on the dancingnground. One after another is announced,ngiving his rank, his branchnof service, his regiment, his decorations,nand always the main fact: combatnveteran. In addition to their tribalnensigns, the men carry American flagsnand stand proud, basking in their deservednhonor as combat veterans. Inhave never seen such sentimentalnpride in the American military asnI have witnessed among Indiannveterans.nLonetree has done more than betraynhis country and his uniform; he hasnalso betrayed his people, whose poverty,nmisery, and dependence shouldnstand as a stern reminder of the fruitsnof all empire. The red men were ournfirst conquest, and the hypocrisy wenhave lavished upon the very real problemnthey present (both for themselvesnand for the nation) is a good indicationnthat we are not yet ready to play in thenmajor leagues of international polihcs.n(TF)nThe children are back in school now,nand it is almost time to face the ordealnof the first parents’ conference with thenteacher. If you’re lucky, Miss Muggs isnsmarter than the students and seriouslynconcerned about their progress. Ifnthere are any problems, though, youn