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CHAPTER 22: MILO THE MAYOR
On the mission to Avignon, Snowden, the radio-gunner, lay dying in the back of Yossarian’s plane.
The day the number of missions is raised to sixty, Dobbs asks for Yossarian’s assistance to kill Cathcart. Yossarian objects to Dobbs’s plan. Dobbs believes that the colonel will get the men killed if they allow him to keep raising the number of missions. Dobbs only wants Yossarian to give him the go-ahead to kill Cathcart, but Yossarian refuses.
Yossarian is flying in Orr’s plane when it comes down in Sicily instead of in Naples. There they are met by Milo who is busy conducting business for his syndicate. Milo buys eggs in Sicily for one cent and then creates a market for these eggs in Malta, before finally selling them to the mess hall in Pianosa at five cents. Milo announces grandly that "what’s good for the syndicate is good for the country." He asks Yossarian if he is interested in making money by cheating the federal government out of six thousand dollars. Yossarian is not interested.
Milo uses Yossarian and Orr to help in the transport of goods. They fly to Palermo, where Milo gets a tremendous reception from the citizens. Milo has been elected mayor of Palermo, and of many other cities in Sicily because he has brought the scotch industry to Sicily. In Malta, Milo is assistant governor-general because he has brought the egg trade there. Milo is also vice- shah of Oran, the caliph of Baghdad, the imam of Damascus, and the sheik of Araby. Graven images of his face are worshipped in some regions of Africa. While in Cairo, Milo buys up all the Egyptian cotton available. He also buys green red bananas in Cairo which he sells in Istanbul, and caraway seeds in Beirut which he sells in Bengazi. Milo’s plane arrives in Pianosa six days later with a load of eggs from Sicily.
The chapter begins with a vivid description of the events leading up to Snowden’s death. Dobbs’ plan to kill Cathcart is totally irrational. There is a growing feeling of hatred of the squadron commander, Cathcart, among the men. Instead of feigning illness and entering the hospital, Dobbs wants to take a more direct route. He sees Cathcart as the enemy, as the man who endangers their lives. Yossarian sees the futility of Dobbs’s mission. Even if the colonel is killed, it is quite possible that some other self- serving officers will take his place.
The reminder deals with Milo’s business dealings in the Mediterranean. Milo makes use of American planes and soldiers to make profits for his syndicate, which Milo says will be beneficial to all the soldiers in Pianosa. Milo is an opportunist, always the first to know what is in demand in a particular market. His dealings bring him fame and money. He holds positions of power in different countries.