Catch-22 portrays the absurdity of war in many events throughout the book. For example, Colonial Cathcart made the squadron go on more missions than they were required to. These missions were basically pointless, and some of the assignments included the bombing of towns that had no industry, enemy bases or value. He awarded pointless metals and he presented some of them to Yossarian for being perhaps the most renowned killer of fish in the United States. Yossarian accepted these metals naked because he had to wash his clothes. (His clothes had bloodstains on them.) In addition to purposeless destruction, there is also Catch-22. Because of this paradox, no one would be able to leave the military. These examples are not only relevant in respect to World War II, but also serve as a metaphor for the Vietnam War. The corporate nature of American society is a part of the Catch-22 satire. It is represented by Milo Minderbinder, the acting mess hall officer and his M&M Enterprises. Minderbinder trades the troops silk parachutes for cotton. It was not until later that Milo realized he had made a fruitless exchange, and some of his further business actions included the selling of some of the military s necessary supplies. He sold the safety of his own base to the Germans. The deal was that the Germans would take the cotton off the US s hands if the squadron would drop bombs on their own base. This self-destructive act resulted in the death of Nately who was an innocent bystander.
Milo Minderbinder may be viewed as a symbol of business practices because he takes advantage of anything he can and uses things to satisfy primarily his purposes. To him, the main objective of the war is to come out rich. The target of Catch-22 is not just the self-serving attitudes of some of the military officers, but also of the air force and the military fat cats. Catch-22 exemplifies the self-contradictory, senseless, non-thinking behavior of all the fat cats. It shows how pointless war is and how war effects men.