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Location:Texas, USA Naturalized US Citizen of Irish extract -   Fixed Wing and Helo trucker.Interests: "The Absurdity of Man". I am a proud supporter of Blarney, Nonsense, and Hooey. I enjoy being a chopper jockey, and trying to figure the world, people and belief systems out. I'm just not very good at it, so it keeps me real busy. I scribble, blog, run this website, mess with rental houses, ride motorbikes, and read as much as I can. I went solo 44 years ago, and I like to say I'm gonna get me a real job one day. When I grow up. ("but not just yet, Lord, not just yet") For my aviation scribbles see www.chopperstories.com.... enjoy! I wish you Peace in your Life. May you always walk with the sun on your face, and a breeze ruffling your hair. And may you cherish a quiet wonder for our awesome Universe. Life isn't always good. But it is always fascinating. Never quit.
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ABHORRENCE of War
Abhorrence of War

A counterweight to the article published on this site, called "Acceptance of War"
  

  CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS ARTICLE


Firstly, I welcome civilized, constructive debate, and I applaud our WH member "Faxe" for taking me up on my Internet challenge to post his thoughts on Writers Harbor.
He has done so, and in a stimulating manner. Applaud
What brought all this on?
It started me me watching a Youtube video, the one below.



The Korean War for me is just one of those horrendously bloody conflicts, a state of war without end, with no victors. Only losers. The civilian population of North Korea is still losing. Starving.
Anyway, I gave vent to my feelings with this comment:
QuoteMan.... homo sapiens? More like Homo stupidissimo.
We have learned... nothing. Man and his endless wars. Endless.


Low and behold, that drew a response. This one:

QuoteSee? You have learned something! War is endless, it's normal. War is even older than peace. War is older than civilization and indeed spawned civilization in the first place. Every great step taken in history has been decided by war (may it be civil war, revolution or an insurcengy as well). War and violence has solved a hell of a lot more issues than peace has ever done. Piracy in Somalia is one great example of how peace and laws of peace solve nothing.


That led me to visit that poster's YouTube site. And here it is:

Faxe90Swe's Channel

(http://www.youtube.com/user/Faxe90Swe)

And straight away, the marching troops, and the fine martial music, and the drawings of soldiers getting gloriously slaughtered,
(stirring music plays),
and patriotically blown to little bloody bits,
(patriotic music plays)
...just got my frickin' TEETH on EDGE. It brings out some deeply held, furious prejudices.
Small wonder that I retorted with some irritation as follows:

Quotewell, before you paint me as a dreamy eyed Pacifist running around the countryside kissing flowers and spouting rainbow poetry, let me tell you I own a formidable collection of things that go BANG... I know it. If you want peace, prepare for war. It's sad, but true. That does not prevent me from hating Man's endless wars, and the steady stream of young men arriving home maimed or in body bags, to the sound of fine, triumphant Martial music. Give Peace a chance.


That made me feel better, and made a few points, but hardly constitutes a reasoned argument.   The next step was to contact Faxe in a polite manner through YouTube, establish a rapport, and invite him to a structured debate.
And, now, here we are.  (Rolls up sleeves)

Below follow quotes from his article (on this website) and below them, my two cents worth.

QuoteHe misinterpreted this reply as glorification of war, but he did concede that he might have misunderstood me.


Correct. And I still sense a degree of that de facto veneration and glorification of Man's stone age, caveman brutality.

QuoteI produced a more extensive message, explaining my views. He then thought I should post it here, and so I have. However, this text is a grossly expanded version of the original message, developing further on some points as well as bringing up new points. The gross expansion of it is only matched by its gross fractioned character. It was a hastily written message, confusing even for me as I read it over. Unfortunately my expanding of it lead to so many side-paths that it only grew more confusing, irrelevant side-paths some would say. This is basically me writing what my head was thinking.


And that is good. We debate, re-look at our own arguments. We are forced to constantly re-examine the veracity of our own dearly held Articles of Faith.

QuoteI do not glorify war, I accept it.


It would be easy for me to twist this, and excoriate you for being a war monger.
In fact, that would not advance our discussion, because what I think you actually mean is that you accept it as "A permanent fixture of Man's insatiable urge to inflict his will with brute force."  I accept it is a sad constant.
I do not accept it as an unavoidable, perennial, normal state of affairs. One day, there will be no more wars. One day, the Human race WILL look back at the early primitives of the Dark Ages of the 21st century, and shudder.

QuoteI judge the immorality and evilness of wars based on the impact on civilian society. Yes, i feel you can measure the evil of war, from no evil (granted though that such a war has yet to occur), to a preponderance of evil. War is often (though not always) about criminals, thieves and rapists, having their way with civilian society. It's sadly enough a natural state of affairs for some kinds of war, as counter-insurgency wars (Vietnam, Iraq) or the medieval and renaissance wars in which the belligerents financed their wars precisely by looting towns and villages; indeed, battles did not decide medieval conflict, the chevaucee, the systematic destruction of civilian infrastructure and produce, did. Modern warfare too will inherently cause great suffering to civilian society, as the concentration in time and space of battles has expanded a hundredfold if not more, encompassing entire cities and the full length if national borders, not to mention strategic bombing and nuclear weapons. But then we have those wars that was a near fulfillment of the utopia of warfare - soldier against soldier on a distant battlefield away from civilian society, soldiers whose very mindset to some degree shielded them from the dire psychological consequences our contemporary soldiers suffer from,  fighting for formal legal states with moral and legal scruples and an economic system sound enough to finance the war without resorting to pillaging. Both political and social attributes of the time explain this. The wars I refer to in this instance are mainly those of the 18th and 19th centuries, but of course civilians suffered then too. The scale of civilian suffering, however, was very much different then. The suffering that was inflicted was accidental, rather than deliberate.


I agree the impact on civilian society is horrendous. But you appear to wholly dismiss the impact and cruelty of war on the combatants. How about the poor, conscripted slobs who had no choice in the matter? We want to remember the glorious Sandbox War, where the Great American Saviors, wrapped in shining white armor, defeated the ALL BAD, NASTY HORRIBLE soldiers of Saddam. So a vast bombing campaign spilled thousands of tons of bombs onto Saddam's front lines. Were they held by the "elite" Republican Guard? hell, no. That was the place for the cannon fodder. The conscripts. The small shopkeeper, the farmer, the milkman, the carpenter, the school teacher. Blown to smithereens, or driven mad, in the name of higher politics they barely understood, and never voted on.
I am not extrapolating from there, and condemning the entire war. But I point out the intense suffering of the (innocent) "combatants". (I might also remark that the US for many years SUPPORTED Saddam both militarily and financially. It is hard to believe that during that time the incredible atrocities committed by the Baath Party against their own people were concealed from American Diplomats.)

QuoteI have read somewhere that during the 18th and 19th centuries the proportions of war casualties was on average 80% soldiers and 20% civilians - the figure of the 20th century is likely the reverse. Reasons for this was partly that wars of this era were often fought outside Europe in desolate places, that the warfare of the time emphasized field battles as opposed to siege battles (siege battles having a tendency to end in total carnage, if not by the conqueror's sword once in the streets of a city, then by disease), the disciplined nature of standing armies, and that the "honour" and moral code of the gentlemen leading the armies of this time obliged them to restrain their men from atrocities.


I don't know what your sources are, but I'm highly skeptical of the "honour" and moral code of "the gentlemen leading the armies of this time".   It is true that weapons of the 20th and 21st centuries have greatly increased civilian casualties, but part of that was deliberate planning. The mass fire bombing on German Cities in the later part of World War Two was cold bloodedly aimed at civilians. It was mass murder. Revenge. Genocide.
We didn't have news men and camera men back in Europe during the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. But if we had fuller documentation, I think you would find those wars were just as brutal towards civilian populations in intent, as modern warfare. Many of those armies "lived off the land", and that is where your percentage of 80% soldiers killed versus a mere 20% civilians, is more than likely hopelessly skewed. Many of those armies consisted of the worst dregs of society. There was very little "honour", even amongst the top brass. I think your notion there is tainted with Romanticism.
Having said that, in defense of your argument, it is interesting how during the American War of Independence we see tremendous writing. Just look at the Constitution. Most people were far better read than today. It's a hard pill for people today to swallow, that previous generations were in fact far more advanced culturally. So, yes, there was finely spoken outrage at excesses committed. But these fine words of humane protest could not possibly hope to ameliorate the fundamental Cave Man nastiness of war.

QuoteOne example is to be found in the American Revolutionary war, in which Joseph Brant, an Indian ally of the British brought up by English standards of  conduct, went ahead of his war party to warn the frontier village they were about to attack; he successfully averted a massacre of women and children. Another example is from the French and Indian war, in which French soldiers actually died defending English captives from French-allied Indians. POW:s were treated exemplary, not only gentlemen, but also the rank-and-file captives. This moral climate explains the great outbursts of public outrage whenever a massacre of unarmed people or the looting of a town occurred.


There will always be celebrated exceptions. But "one dove Peace does not make".

QuoteThen something happened: the French Revolution. The Revolution brought middling men into the officer ranks, men without "honour". Post-revolutionary France displayed a very different climate from what had been before. Like a force of nature the most radical ideas of enlightenment were realized in one form or the other, and the turmoil and upheaval, as well as the perceived grandness of and importance to implement these radical ideas, allowed and justified atrocities. We all know the French Revolution was a bloody story, but it not only included the Terror and all the other more immediate effects on civic society and government; it translated into a more ruthless kind of warfare. The political war, or "people's war", was born. Something akin to the political war had been the religious wars; the same in mobilizing and harvesting the passions of the masses, different in what cause incited it. The 18th century was something of an intermezzo between these two forms of war, with enlightened monarchs governing with a firm hand the passions of the mob. The successful monarch, however, would to some degree indulge the masses to let out steam on occasion. French absolutism did not, and thus paved the way for an enthusiastic popular response to any challenges to its legitimacy.


I agree. The political war, or "People's War" developed at a frightening gallop. The atrocities committed in the name of lofty ideals are never ending. I think in some ways I prefer the Cave Man. Who makes no bones about wanting to bash in your skull, because he wants your wife, your food, or your bear skin. I know where I'm at with him.
The Communist revolutionary who imprisons me, tortures me or kills me for my own good, now that's really infuriating.  

QuoteThe ruthlessness of the French revolutionary armies and later imperial armies was a prelude to the utter destruction of wars such as WW2, the Chinese Civil War, the Russian Civil War, the Finnish Civil War etc. What caused this ruthlessness, as far as I can tell, was that the plebeian people who had in the past fought with an indifference to the cause of the conflict, since the cause was often that of a monarch or a cabinet of ministers and thus above the heads of ordinary people, were integrated into the world of ideas and ideologies. Suppressed grievances combined with literacy and the rather extraordinary growth and distribution of newspapers in the second half of the 18th century partly explains this.


I keep thinking of an outstanding book, that I recommend to everybody. It's called "The Road to Serfdom", by F.A.Hayek.  I reviewed it on "Amazon", and here is my review.
I have read it several times. I shall read it again. It leaves me with a disturbing sense that there is an almost inevitable slide into humbug and falsity, when people get "organized' into a large political group.  "The worst get on top", because, like Franklin D.Roosevelt, the darling of the Democrats, these cynical manipulators know how to dress their selfish, (morally corrupt, power hungry) desires up in the shining armor of righteousness and wisdom. This slide into greater and greater "virtuous cruelty" is one of the few reliable constants in the political slide into the abyss in the last, say, two centuries.
Added to this, I suspect you can cynically observe also that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". How many people today and in the past have a very limited background in studying History, Ethics, Philosophy and Economics, but, nonetheless, think they know all the answers, because their party (tribe) says so?   Not only do they dare to think they are fully enlightened (when they are not even remotely), their corrupt leaders (think FDR) take them a step further: all is permitted to the righteous. Even blatant political bribery and trickery is dressed up in fine clothing.
So in your passage quoted above, I have sympathy with what you say. However, when you refer to "
Quoteordinary people,integrated into the world of ideas and ideologies
" I need to remark, with a dry sarcasm, that such integration was mostly superficial at best, and tending to the situation where the arrogant rabble allowed themselves to be manipulated and fooled. Easy solutions ("Vote for me!") were touted as a cure for all manner of highly complicated issues. Be it economic, political,or even theological.

QuoteThe consumer revolution, which stretched from about 1750-1850, is also instrumental for an understanding of the matter; the common people became more assertive and bold, and thus ripe for demagogues and responsive to any ideology which would promote their interests. What this boils down to is that war became a personal matter, where every participant felt he had a stake in the contest, and thus the enemy, a term now extending beyond soldiers to include civil citizens of the opposing society, was viewed with a personal hate.


More assertive, yes. More "bold". Not sure how I feel about "bold". More arrogant, demanding, and delusional.
Quoteand thus ripe for demagogues and responsive to any ideology which would promote their interests.

Better:  "which would SEEM to promote their interests."
         "which was cunningly presented as being in their best interests."
The 'personal hate element' is very, very true. I have huge misgivings about the way FDR and his cronies portrayed the Japanese during WW2 as sub-human, and unworthy of respect. Certainly, some of the Japanese military demonstrated extreme ruthlessness, but such cruelty could hardly be ascribed to the entire civilian population.  Similarly the mass genocide of the German civilian population (fire bombing, carpet bombing, etc) towards the end of WW2 should shock any student of History. And, frankly, should be referred to the International Court in The Hague for a symbolic "war crimes tribunal".  Western leaders who orchestrated such barbarism, instead of being lauded as heroes, should be labelled with what they are: mass murders of civilian populations.

QuoteIn any case, Napoleon may be said to have been the inventor, or re-inventor, of the ruthless war, the immoral war. He was a member of the lesser gentry, and was certainly influenced by his uncle's methods in the guerilla war fought on Corsica during Napoleon's youth. To begin with he did nothing that any other revolutionary commander hadn't done; cutting down people on the streets of Paris with artillery. That incident made his name, which goes to show what kind of men the political leadership of France at that time sought. He then went on by executing 3,000 Ottoman POW:s during his Egyptian campaign, after giving his word they would go free if they surrendered to him. As emperor, he ordered brutal shows of force first in Germany, and then in Spain (which set off the bloody insurgency war there). The French soldier was also, out of necessity, to live off the land to an extent not seen since the Thirty Years war, with obvious consequences for civilians. After the Napoleonic wars this conduct was dormant for some time, once the bourgeois and nobility had retaken control of Europe by granting great or small concessions on matters concerning the common man, as well as being prepared for subsequent attempts at revolution. (The Parisian boulevard's main purpose was to make it harder for rebels to barricade streets, as well as allow for the easier deployment of artillery and military formations to combat rebels).Worth mention is that on the eve of the Revolution, both Britain and Austria-Hungary were carrying out extensive liberal reforms; unfortunately, the carnage of the French Revolution spooked the gentry rulers and intellectuals behind these reforms, making them fear similar carnage and upheaval in their own societies if authority was loosened, and thus postponed these reforms for decades. The ruthlessness of Napoleonic warfare would not show itself again in Europe until the passions of the masses was once again released in the Russian and Finnish civil wars.


And another great irony is the negative effect all this upheaval had on possible democratic developments in Russia. Political gridlock there between Reformist minded elements in power,and reactionary, extreme conservative forces.
Referring back to my points above: the great Absurdity of Man.
In a nutshell: How people presenting themselves as righteous, and only concerned with the well being of the people, (for purely unselfish reasons of course), by their extremism, arrogance, blindness and power lust, caused much more harm than good for the classes and causes which they professed to serve.

QuoteMy point is that there is a difference to be made between personal wars and impersonal wars, a difference in intensity and ability to endure, a difference in morality and costs. Not even war is as black and white as some would have it.


For sure. Nothing is simple. Blanket anti-war doctrine tends towards two things:  1. simplification of a very difficult problem and 2. Pacifism, which is in many ways, the same thing.

QuoteFor example, we today feel for our soldiers, because they are not very different from us, and most are just as innocent as us civilians when they go into service. This does partly explain our current moral code towards war, our abhorrence towards it; it destroys fine young people. But not long ago armies were composed of the scum of society, the same sort of men that are causing such devastation in the streets of London as I write. When we can be sure of such a difference between ourselves and our soldiers, perhaps we would look at war differently, as indeed people once did. I'm not promoting such a society, I'm merely stating how things were and might be again, and how that would probably change our view of war radically. Indeed, a militarized society is the last thing I want, Sweden has had it before, and it brings only misfortunes, not to mention that I would never be able to stand the "poor victim/great national hero" rhetoric aimed at veteran soldiers, a rhetoric abundant in America since the Vietnam war. An interesting generation of soldiers, who first faced the full might of a near treacherous anti-war society at home only to now be revered as half-gods. Soldier should be viewed for what they are, just as war itself; they are not only crooks, not only heroes, not only victims, they are everything and none of it. The hero title in particular is very cheap in some circles.


This is what I might call a loaded paragraph.

QuoteFor example, we today feel for our soldiers, because they are not very different from us, and most are just as innocent as us civilians when they go into service.

Yes, I feel for them. I work with many former soldiers, veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and other nasty little wars, that litter post World War Two American Foreign Policy. Yes, I feel for them. Especially when, in quiet, reflective moments, almost all of them admit to wondering what on earth was the point of it all. What on earth did they ever achieve? Officially, in public, most soldiers can do a passable job of presenting "a job well done to the best of their ability". (Yes, Sir!) But privately? The modern veteran in 2011 most often shakes his head, wonderingly.  

QuoteThis does partly explain our current moral code towards war, our abhorrence towards it; it destroys fine young people.


Well, think about this. We abhor the deaths of our young men? Do we? Really? Or is that just polite lip service to the Purple Rainbow League?
Then why is it we keep shipping 'em out, on the trot, thousands at a time, into the breach we gallop? How is it there is never a shortage of fine politicians, willing to make even finer speeches, for purely unselfish personal motives? The opportunity for a "photo op" notwithstanding, the opportunity to impress the gullible voter masses, and the opportunity to impress those powerful lobbyists he was talking to a week before? The ones touting the legitimate business interests of the military-industrial complex? Who happen to employ a significant number of voters in his own district? We don't abhor war. We love it. We thrive on it. The latest fifty cal sniper rifles are demonstrated almost nightly on the Military Channel, and you can find endless gory videos on YouTube showing "bad guys" spinning in bloody pieces through the air. My local gun shop sports a fifty cal rifle on the counter, with the convenient option of pre-approved finance: $115 a month. And you too, can kill at two and half mile range. We tacitly assume they were "bad guys", and not some curious sheep herder peeping over the rocks at those funny Americans.     

QuoteWhen we can be sure of such a difference between ourselves and our soldiers, perhaps we would look at war differently, as indeed people once did. I'm not promoting such a society, I'm merely stating how things were and might be again, and how that would probably change our view of war radically.


I have often wondered how we might look at "war" differently, as a society.
The current commercialization of bloodshed, with slavish media endorsement, remarkably popular (and really nasty) computer games, Hollywood bogus make-belief, and widespread apathy amongst tired voters, does not bode well for the future. Nonetheless, there are plenty of us dissidents who take pot shots at the Military-Industrial Complex any chance we get. And the double-tap also aims at the monied support lobby. It is precisely that widespread mockery of the Cave Man Tradition that is my intention. Even though at times, I have walked in dangerous places, and carried "a big stick".

QuoteAn interesting generation of soldiers, who first faced the full might of a near treacherous anti-war society at home only to now be revered as half-gods. Soldier should be viewed for what they are, just as war itself; they are not only crooks, not only heroes, not only victims, they are everything and none of it. The hero title in particular is very cheap in some circles.


Well said...

QuoteWar is what we make of it. War has overwhelmingly generally been celebrated by both tax payers and soldiers. The sense towards war is, as all doings of men, subject to flowing and changing feelings and value codes towards it. Can someone really blame the Victorian British for being so war-mongering, when the wars were fought on a another continent as well as justified by the moral consciousness of those times, not to mention that the colonial wars enriched the nation? In today's post-imperialistic, post-Cold war and post-ww2 world it is natural for us to alter our values to detest war. But this has happened before, the Thirty Years war and Napoleonic wars spawning intellectual as well as public apprehension to war - for a while. We live in such a time, but every year of failure of peace to resolve issues will make war popular once again. That is why it might be necessary to know when it's time to bring out the guns. Let war loose in proportions, so that we may be spared from a flood.


Oh, I blame the Victorian British. For their implied superiority to the rest of the world, their utter conviction that the Great British Empire was bringing civilization and decency to the rest of a Dark World. The appalling experience of the Irish native population, including the "Irish Genocide", commonly referred to as the "Potato Famine", is just one of many sad proofs (available to anybody who cares to look) that the Victorian British superiority was utterly bogus. When the gloss is rubbed away, it was a cynical, selfish and greedy society, that could stand by and watch the Irish starve, whilst continuing to export grains from Ireland. It was all about money and power. Not enlightenment.  Nonetheless, there is much truth in what you say:
QuoteBut this has happened before, the Thirty Years war and Napoleonic wars spawning intellectual as well as public apprehension to war - for a while.
Which is why anti-war suspicion, anti-war agitation to be effective, has to be constant, ongoing, and widely present in society. Coupled with a realism, I grant you, that on very select occasions, there is little choice. Certain lines can NOT be crossed by an aggressor, or War is inevitable. The Munich Agreement, that pathetic piece of useless paper fluttering in the breeze at Croydon Airport, on the occasion of Chamberlain's return from meeting Hitler, would be the prelude to such a tragic moment. It was indeed, the last chance for Peace.

QuoteTo avoid a wholesale resort to war-mongering policy, we need to discard our current wholesale peace-mongering policy. Let the UN send an expeditionary force to Syria, let the CTF 150 treat the Somali pirates by martial law, let us use gunboat diplomacy to correct the situation in Belarus etc. Fight wars with clear objectives. The failure to do this is what made Vietnam so bloody, the success of it was what made the 19th century so comparatively humane after 1815. Furthermore, if we stop considering every coming war between Great Powers as the final war to end war, and instead accept it as just another war, it would do a lot to make these big wars tolerable. In the end though, I believe it's money, not morals, that has kept us away from these "surgical" military interventions.   


Peace-mongering...
The United Nations is morally bankrupt. A cozy bunch of diplomats, sons of the privileged, making fine speeches, dressing in even finer suits, and worrying and fretting their luxurious way through three course meals in the finest restaurants, and laying their weary heads to rest in five star hotels. A high faluting debating society, with much pomp, alot of cynical corruption, and little common sense. I finally lost all respect for the United Nations, when Robert Mugabe, the butcher of Rhodesia, was given a standing ovation there. Oh! I'm sorry, that was the African Congress. Same difference. Lightweights. Clowns. Utterly incompetent at running their own nations, never mind solving somebody else's problems.

QuoteIt is truly a great irony that the closest we ever came to something remotely resembling world peace was when the Western empires were in their ace.


Yes, it is ironic. But it does make sense. It's an old principle, and it has been voiced by the ancient Greeks: "If you want Peace, prepare for War".
However, in this axiom, it has to be clearly understood that "War" represents abject failure. Not some glorious end result.

QuoteGreat imperial interests on other continents made Europe uninteresting, with the effect that those wars that were fought on European soil were very short and limited, a trend followed in the colonial wars as well, since it was not necessary to employ full-scale military efforts at natives with melee weapons. And these colonial wars in turn had the natural consequence of pacifying the rest of the globe outside of the Western world. Powers whose main interest did lay in Europe also fought limited wars in Europe so that they wouldn't attract too much attention from the imperial powers; a frame constructed and broken by Germany.


I hadn't quite thought of it that way.

QuoteGermany's greatest guilt is that her inferiority complex destroyed that world by revisiting Europe itself with total war, only this time the ideas that spawned the war, WW2, remained to be part of our established politics to this day. Maybe it's more accurately Bismarck's fault, for not explicitly making his policy of restricted war Germany's policy. Bismarck guided Prussia throughout her 19th century expansion, and one of the reasons Prussia got away with her aggressions was that the wars were short, not one of them lasting over a year. Once Prussia achieved the objectives of a war, they sat down at the peace tables, not making up new objectives as the opportunities arose. Sadly, Bismarck past away without having standardized this policy.


Bismarck is a fascinating study. You make me want to dig out some old books. He was the ultimate pragmatist. The realist.
"The Road to Serfdom" has a lot to say about the German evolution of thinking. A point that fascinates me is that the Germans were in so many ways ahead of their times, in thinking, in philosophy, in industry, in radical self realignment as a modern society. The richness of their Art and Culture is outstanding. The simplistic portrayal by allied War leaders of ALL Germans as being ruthless, savage enemies, to be collectively punitively bombed into oblivion, conveniently ignores this truth: The Germans were people, thinking, feeling, reflective people, no different from Americans, English and French in most respects. All the various elements of the radical thinking that swept Hitler and the Nazis to power, were most definitely not a uniquely "German thing". As Hayek points out, virtually all the essential ingredients of German thinking were (and continue to be) present across a wide spectrum of political thinking in other countries.
To this day. It follows that the old axiom "There but for the Grace of God, go we" has a special relevance, and carries with it a serious warning:
Anybody who thinks that none of this can ever happen again, and will never be repeated, needs to seriously read "The Road to Serfdom".

QuoteAm I being racist, being content with a stable West and a world pacified by the West?


No, I don't see it as racist, but, for sure, I think you and I both know the West is struggling to maintain its stability, and increasingly, if there is to be a trend to wards increasing global peace on our little "pale blue dot", then the catalyst for that positive trend must come from charismatic, realistic individuals (politicians, writers, artists, business leaders, etc) from elsewhere. From outside "The West".

Quote Make no mistake, world peace will never ever be accomplished by the sole reliance on the goodness and sociability of the human race, there will always be someone itching for a fight, always somebody there to take advantage of others distress.


For sure. If you want Peace, prepare for War. But regard War as an abject failure of the peace process. "The goodness and sociability of the Human race".
Yeah, right. I sense your cynicism. Nope. We are not gonna rely on that alone.
Hope for it, yes. Work towards it, yes. Believe to some degree in it, yes.
But BANK on it? No way.

Quote And do not forget that while we Westerners have deeply entrenched anti-war sentiments, deeply rooted in us after two world wars and several genocides, almost no other culture on earth share this profound distaste. It is unique to us.


I truly want to believe that you are wrong there. But I am troubled by some major puzzles in this respect. Here is just one example:  The recent war between Iran and Iraq has not seemingly resulted in a massive blaze of anti-war literature and/or sentiment in those countries. Or in that region.  Despite the fact that the sheer scale of human devastation rivaled some of the darkest days
of bloody trench warfare in the muddy ditches of World War One, where is the spontaneous outcry from survivors and eye witnesses? Young children sent on ahead to deliberately trample down minefields? Gas attacks? Wholesale torture and execution of POW's? You would have thought there would have been screams of outrage from that region's artists, poets and writers. I'm not aware of any such a widespread condemnation, even in the wake of such... barbarism.
That doesn't bode well.

Quote  And I doubt anyone is so naïve as to think China and Russia will restrain themselves from using their military resources in the future (one estimate is that China will be ready for offensive warfare in about 15 years).


I spent five years flying helicopters off Taiwanese and Korean tuna boats. (see www.tunahelicopters.org and the 'Blip on the Radar' series for more)
During that time I worked daily with many mainland Chinese and Taiwanese.
We spent hours talking about China, politics, communism, houses, wives, girl friends, etc. Great people. Good, hard working human beings. Just like us.
I will always miss my deck helper, nicknamed "Sunshine" (see my story), whose sunny smile, and positive can-do attitude was endearing. Terrific, warm funny as hell human being.
Few things upset me more than the thought of those ordinary working class Chinese one day being dragooned into some offensive army. Being blasted with propaganda, made to march up and down like toy soldiers, and indoctrinated and brain washed to hate Americans, or Westerners. I don't think I could ever shoot at "Sunshine" and my other former ship mates, and I sure as heck would be mightily pissed if they ever took a pot shot at me.
But could it happen? Could an entire country of hundreds of millions of people be led to war by a tiny, small group of arrogant individuals? For sure it could.
To prevent that, we need our previously mentioned outstanding individuals, our Peaceniks, our brothers, to kick up merry hell every time some pompous, senile old Comrade makes dumb, war mongering speeches.  
In this respect, the heroes of Tiananmen Square (see my story - click here) should never be forgotten. Do you remember "The Tankman"?



Quote We must either convert every man on earth to our beliefs, or someone must be stronger than all the rest of the world combined, if we are to have any lasting world peace. I prefer that the West be that strong one. Imagine the world with China being the trendsetter as the West has been for the last centuries - what would become of human rights, of humanitarian aid, of law as we know it?


The US is slowly but steadily losing the ability (and the will) to Police the world. But fears of China in some respects may be over blown.
Let me explain:  
As in investor, I'm very interested in the economy of China, growth potential, earnings stability, etc. China too faces its growth problems. The possibility of a housing slump (too many vacant properties), inflation, and unemployment.
The economy is based on an uneasy alliance between modern day Free Market Enterprise, and old style Marxist Central Planning. Although things have gone mostly very well, there are plenty of problems bubbling under the surface. As of yet. When so much power is still concentrated in so few (bureaucratic) hands, the risk of catastrophic errors by that privileged few, and the consequence of those errors, is potentially very large.  The Chinese also are not adverse to wall papering over cracks with fancy numbers, which mean nothing. I for one am very leery about buying Chinese stocks, until they have really, really proved themselves. So what I'm saying is this: China is not a runaway bulldozer, that in sheer economic terms will crush us. They too will expand and contract, and have to deal with all the pesky problems of a modern economy.

Quote what would become of human rights, of humanitarian aid, of law as we know it?
  

It annoys the heck out of me, that even to this day, the Tiananmen Square massacre is not allowed to be mentioned in China today. It's blacked out. It never happened. Most young people don't know about it. That's flat wrong.
However, with the age of the Internet, as much as Chinese authorities try to censor "their" Cyberspace, there are always people trying to find ways around it. In this day and age, it's hard to hide ugly truths, never mind an ugly truth inflicted by the Chinese Red Army on its very own people.
So I'm hopeful as time goes by, truth will out.
The same applies to humanitarian aid. Yes, the Chinese government doesn't give much. But that doesn't mean that the Chinese people themselves are not capable of great generosity, caring and giving.
As time goes by, I'm hopeful a gradually more informed and enlightened Chinese
Society will make its mark in the humanitarian arena as well.
Also, remember how much corruption and humbug there is amongst Western Aid Agencies. Vast amounts of money, high percentages of budgets, get spent on questionable administrative overheads.  There was scandal back in the nineties', which involved a U.N.Agency based in Vienna. There were lots and lots of very important U.N. people running around, very busy, in expensive cars, wearing expensive suits, eating at good restaurants of course. They were so busy out saving the developing world, that somehow it escaped their notice that for many years, 95% of their budget was spent... right there, in Vienna.
I'll never give another cent to the American Red Cross after watching a television interview with their C.E.O. a remarkably haughty woman, totally unabashed about her $300,000 annual salary, plus perks, including her personal jet airplane. She basically said she was worth every penny...

As regards Law. Well, many would not say kind things about American Law. Or American lawyers. In fact, many would deride them as corrupt, greedy, unprincipled, paid liars. I would hope the Chinese would not follow that example.
But I know what you mean. You are talking about the system of checks and balances. The appeals process of the entire legislative system. The separation of Law and Justice away from political meddling.
I think we will find that China will deal with that in a uniquely Chinese way.
Better in some ways (less bothersome liability lawsuits) and worse in others. (political interference)

QuoteThe West is flawed in its upholding of these matters, partly because we refuse to go to war over them, but somewhere I feel this upholding would not only be flawed, but non-existent, with any other than the West at the lead.  I may be biased, but somehow I think the whole world, not only the West, would be better off with Europe and America in command. And powers are now growing who by themselves can challenge the whole West, combined they may even defeat it. A big war will come, and we must be willing to fight it. Indeed, it might even be necessary with a preventative blow, to take the opportunity while there is still time for the West to dominate completely on the battlefield. Our air forces alone can win a conventional war today. And it will not be the last war, nor must it be fought as if it was, or we will have a nuclear winter. As long as a war is necessary, how can it be any different?


QuoteI may be biased, but somehow I think the whole world, not only the West, would be better off with Europe and America in command.


No, I don't. The rest of the world will increasingly assert itself, and take charge of its own destiny, for better or worse.

QuoteAnd powers are now growing who by themselves can challenge the whole West, combined they may even defeat it.


Challenge, yes. That's being going on before and since since this unique character:



Defeat? In what sense, militarily? I doubt it very much. In that case, the whole world would be destroyed, and there would be no victors. Only losers.
Economically? Culturally? We shall see. The rest of the world has much to offer the west. Energy, work ethic, innovation, spiritual traditions...
I think you know the risk you run of being seen as rampantly xenophobic.

QuoteA big war will come, and we must be willing to fight it. Indeed, it might even be necessary with a preventative blow, to take the opportunity while there is still time for the West to dominate completely on the battlefield. Our air forces alone can win a conventional war today. And it will not be the last war, nor must it be fought as if it was, or we will have a nuclear winter. As long as a war is necessary, how can it be any different?


That is a Cold War doctrine. Aside from a handful of Military planners at the Pentagon, I'm not sure you will muster much support at any high level. I can't see it happening. I want to believe there are enough good people, willing and able to prevent the crazies from launching another World War. That is why the moderate elements in Syria and Iran, beaten, tortured, imprisoned and denied a proper voice, are so deserving of our vocal moral support at least. The same for Myanmar, and all the other world's trouble spots. Now I know you can point to the television images of chanting, cheering, giddy crowds in, say, Pakistan, or India, waltzing through the streets carrying twenty foot long wooden replicas of nuclear missiles. And we all know how mob frenzy only sees one proper outcome: the total annihilation of "the enemy".  Worrisome, for sure. Could a nuclear war break out there? Or between Israel and Iran? Or between nuclear terrorists and the USA? Nuclear blackmail, perhaps orchestrated by North Korea? It's certainly possible, but I'm hopeful it will not. Not because such an event is morally unthinkable, but more because I believe that there are enough "cool heads" around to avert such a human cataclysm.  
Still, if I'm wrong, and the invisible line in the sand is crossed, and a war has to be fought, then, I agree. Once a decision is made, and the Peace mechanism has been honestly and fervently tried and found to be failed, then let's not pussy foot about. We shoot. Reluctantly, but with precision.
But I'm inclined to think the odds favor us having already had our last big war.

QuoteThat is why my attitude towards war is what it is - not glorifying, but accepting, even promoting to some degree I grant, but not naïve. I may glorify war per se, the act of war, but I harbor no illusions as to the nature of war. Ultimately, though, war is what we make of it, in practice I mean now. I believe there can be glory in war, that it has been glory in war. Was the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava a meaningless folly? Of course it was, on the part of the men in command. Was it folly of the men who actually carried out the charge, a charge they knew very well went against common sense as they trotted on into the valley? It might be argued it was a folly by men harboring romantic notions of duty and glory to the point they'd die for them; but doesn't romanticism stop exactly there, where reality begins? The reality is that they did ride on, despite shocking casualties they rode on with cannons firing at them from both flanks and front and very nearly succeeded. When people hold true to their convictions in the face of brute reality in such a situation, it is glorious bravery, not mindless romanticism. Such acts lends substance to what we otherwise would dismiss as ridiculous men's fantasies. My reasoning is crystal clear in my mind on this matter, I can only hope I managed to translate it in these lines.


I can almost hear the marching music in the background. No disrespect, but... It is naive. The first time you hear a bullet go past your ear, whirra-whirra-whirra, tumbling through the air, whispering to you, you will know how different reality is from Hollywood and your dreams. The first time you are sitting in a helicopter, with a light beam piercing down through the night, and you are warned that the bad guys are shooting, you suddenly feel what it's like to have a luminescent target painted brightly on your ass. Yes, as men we are defiant, and if you've ever been in a good bar fight, you'll know what it's like to decide you are going to go down fighting like a wounded bear. But there is no glory in being blown to bits. To lie on the ground, screaming, watching your intestines spill out into the mud. I've fought, and arrested a would-be rapist I went hand-to-hand with, alone, for thirty long minutes. But there was no glory in it. Just a vicious, primitive, bestial, fist and feet fight. I head butted him beautifully, and I remember the savage, primitive satisfaction, but there was no glory in it. Forget about the movies, and the marching music. For all the triumphant news reels, what is not shown are the thousands of bodies lying in ugly, grotesque, disfigured, inhuman heaps, over run by rats and cockroaches, in some ditch or hastily dug mass grave. There is no fine music playing there...

QuoteAs long as we view war for what it is and never forget its costs on all levels of society, we can have a world where we choose our wars carefully. In the near future though, we might not be able to choose when and how, which makes it all the more clearer that we must soon choose to fight some wars while we still hold the reigns and can contain it. I am being my own judge now, and other may and will judge differently, and I accept that too.


QuoteAs long as we view war for what it is and never forget its costs on all levels of society, we can have a world where we choose our wars carefully.

What does that mean? Vanilla flavor, rather than strawberry? Come now, do you expect the typical gaggle of politicians and generals today to calmly, rationally, sit down and make long term ethical decisions about anything?
If they can't properly run the Post Office when they had a Monopoly, can't ever balance a budget, can't keep their hands of Social Security "Trust Funds" (paid in over decades by average Joe workers) (the creeps in power spent THE LOT), how, realistically, do you expect such Narcissistic retards to ever come to any sensible conclusions on the subject of "picking our wars carefully"?

Here's a video clip I really like. It shows an elected member of Congress, sitting on the Armed Forces Committee, grilling a senior US Military Commander. Yes, that is that Admiral's Boss. Enjoy it. Trust this dude's wisdom. Not.

(Click on Me) I AM AN ENLIGHTENED POLITICIAN; PEACE AND WAR IS MY DOMAIN

QuoteIn the near future though, we might not be able to choose when and how, which makes it all the more clearer that we must soon choose to fight some wars while we still hold the reigns and can contain it.


Again, hints of Cold War rhetoric, maybe even anti-Islamic bias? I don't know. Which wars do you think we should choose to fight? And in what way do we still hold the "reigns"? Limited War? Guaranteed successful outcome? Just a measly few hundred thousand dead?
     
I am poles apart from your thinking here. Maintain strong armed forces, yes.
If you want Peace, prepare for War, yes. But actual War constitutes abject failure of that Peace Policy. As for clinically choosing the right "some wars" to fight, that is elevating our Elected Morons to the status of Gods. Like I said, they can't run the Post office, never mind choose the right wars.

The best defense we can hope for is an enlightened citizenry, wary of politicians and generals, wary of war rhetoric, committed to peaceful coexistence with our neighbors on this small blue Dot. Strong Armed Forces, well funded, and a large Volunteer Reserve. A big stick, parked politely behind the door.

Will we as a society of Earthlings keep the Peace?  There will be plenty of skirmishes, and nasty little local wars. Petty little dictators, thieves, and con artists abound in Politics. Everywhere. But a global conflict? I am very hopeful this will never happen. You may call me an optimist, or relegate me to Honorary Membership of the Purple Rainbow League.

But with an activist public, a wary public, a basically peace loving public, I believe we silly little Earthlings can, in fact, achieve this.  

There is hope for the pale blue dot.

I leave you with another video.


Francis Meyrick (c)







  

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on August 15, 2011, 6:05 am
We little humans, hurtling through the Universe on our tiny, pale blue dot, will find few answers to Life's great mysteries. But we should at least find many of the questions. To write is to ask. To seek. To grope. With humility, and humor. Peace.
 
Francis Meyrick

Looking forward to your response. Love the avatar, by the way! Applaud

Bring it on. Grin


We little humans, hurtling through the Universe on our tiny, pale blue dot, will find few answers to Life's great mysteries. But we should at least find many of the questions. To write is to ask. To seek. To grope. With humility, and humor. Peace.
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 09:32:18

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