… and the use thereof. So does it all boil down, in the end, to
Again, don’t ask me. I’m more concerned with
- what constitutes blatant (or subtle) propaganda, and
- what constitutes a genuine ‘war crime’ (if such a thing exists)?
DON’T ASK ME
‘cos I’m a bit biassed. Brought up with a very (at the time) British sense of fair play I always thought it dashed unsporting to take pot-shots at chaps bobbing about helplessly in boats (or worse, in the water). But hey, that’s just me …
What he found floating amidst the debris was, he later wrote, “approximately twenty boats ranging from scows to motorized launches”. On those boats and in the seas around them were the life jacketed personnel carried by the transport. His men already at battle stations surface, Morton ordered a 4″ shell fired into the largest boat. WAHOO received in response a long burst of machine gun fire from the Japanese. Morton answered this challenge with all of his weapons; the 4″ gun, two 20mm cannon, .30 and .50 cal. machine guns, and small arms. Each boat was destroyed in turn. The remaining survivors were left to the sea, the battery charge was completed and Morton resumed his hunt of the convoy’s last two ships. Later, the action was duly noted in the report of WAHOO’s Third War Patrol which received a glowing endorsement from the Pacific submarine command.
to read more: click here
—and I was especially exasperated by the Noel Coward movie “In Which We Serve” (very dated now, though) in which having sunk the bugger’s ship the damned Huns kept trying to loosen him up in the water with machine-guns as they flew backwards and forwards overhead on their way to bomb yet more columns of refugees.
Unlike German submariner Heinz-Wilhelm Eck, who was executed as a war criminal for ordering the killing of civilian shipwreck survivors, Morton did not face any criminal liability for his alleged actions. O’Kane believed this event prevented Morton from being awarded the Medal of Honor …
to read more: click here
I DID ONCE SEE
(and thought-provoking it was too) what purported to be actual war footage of US submariners loosening up a herd of bobbing heads with everything they could get their hands on. Bad manners when ‘they’ do it to us—but just evening up the score a bit when ‘we’ do it to them. Anyway, they started it. So there~!
and there ain’t nuttin’ so pragmatic as warfare (except for the uninvolved, of course) it makes very good sense to pop your enemy as and when and where you find the wee scamp. If he’s in bed with his girlfriend, unarmed, unready, and glassy-eyed … even better. If he’s dangling helplessly under a parachute a few thousand feet up, better yet. If he’s bobbing about in a lifejacket a hundred miles from any witnesses … it don’t get no better than that.
SO MY GRIEF
isn’t with morality but simple logic. Given that language can mean anything, even so I’m still puzzled:
Exactly who “challenged” whom, in that first quoted para above?
The way I read it is the US sub skipper playfully tossed a four inch shell into a wee boat (loaded to gunnels, I imagine, with unhappy survivors) — then when ‘they’ took his joke seriously and began shooting back he lost his rag and opened up with everything he had? Petulant little turkey, was he, with no sense of humour? No wonder they downgraded his heroism award. Or has the writer got it all wrong?
I might well have done (actually, repugnant as it is, I would have done) exactly the same thing. Not when a younger man, but knowing what I now know about warfare I’d have made damned sure that there were no survivors—and for obvious reasons every man-jack of my crew would have been up there popping ’em off.* (HEY: isn’t this exactly what the SS heroes did to their US army prisoners (near Malmedy) during the Battle of The Bulge?)
to read more: click here
The major differences being culpability, burden of proof, and ‘pour encourager les autres‘ — you have to be a bit pragmatic sometimes, and set your sails to the wind. Do it right and you get all the lovely gongs and invites to High Society parties; get caught, though, and you forfeit your heroism.
was Malmedy a ‘war crime?
Morton’s loosening up the Japs in boats, was that a crime? In Vietnam, My Lai?
How about the RAF loosening up a few Arabs and things with poison gas?
Was driving a couple of planes into a couple of NY buildings a ‘war crime’?
Is undeclared ‘war’ a crime, or just another bloody war anyway?
Does declaring war on a noun make indiscriminate killing of real people legal?
Does legal equate with ethical?
Is it all semantics—is ‘morality’ simply the use of language, coupled with perspective** ?
* Shared guilt = no witnesses, QED
** Given always, of course, that “history (truth) is written by the Victors“
from the opening salvoes of the book written by the great unpatriotic cowardly ‘warfare denier’ Smedley (spit~!) Butler.
IF YOU REALLY
want to know what you’re up against when trying to get the respect due to your wonderful armed forces (everywhere) then be advised—you really should read this, because it’s the sort of drivel that the well-intentioned yet sadly deluded Smelly Butler is trying to foist off on the young*.
Read and weep—
WAR IS A RACKET
WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.
—can’t you just see the emotive and highly misuse of language, there? Honestly, do I have to spell everything out? Don’t our wonderful world-beating educational institutions teach guys how to think these days? Sheesh …
AND WHAT WOULD
he know about warfare, huh? The guy was a high ranking officer for heaven’s sake. You know: soft sheets, fluffy towels, disposable paper slippers and cosseted away in ‘Officer Country’ whilst collecting medals for ‘flying’ video-game drones and blowing up … oops, different war, silly me … but you get the picture.
And what is wrong with someone making an honest buck for simply supplying a product (guns, bombs, mines, gas, explosives, atoms, shells, bullets bayonets ships planes grunts and night-vision stuffs) for which there’s a demand? This is Free Enterprise, ain’t it? And where there isn’t a demand: create one! (Go sneak out and start a wee war, no-one will notice).
… do your duty to the state
get out there and procreate …
(ye gods, I feel a song coming on) and then you too can earn a pretty star to put in your widow … (oops, that was ‘window’ but let it stand).
AND NOW TO READ
more of what this insensitive unfeeling oaf has written. (If any of it makes any sense I’ll post a review …)
Are getting in everywhere. It’s time we had a good old-fashioned pogrom against deniers everywhere. A War On Denial, doesn’t that have a certin (oops, Argus—don’t you mean ‘cretin’? — Ed) (no, Boss … I meant ‘certain’) appealing twang to it?
Where’s ol’ George when ya need him, huh? Oh … counting money, you say? Good on him—that’s better than warbucks any day!
* Get ’em while they’re young and they’re yours for life. Boom boom!
I have just
my copy of Major General Smedley Butler’s wee book. You know the one: ‘War Is A Racket‘ … which I first read some years ago; but as I have the retention span of a dockyard rat I have to keep reading stuff.
I felt I had to read it again after blitzing an article on the web tonight.
It was a timely wee article, given that what is written there reflects very much my own views; so try these paras on for size if you will (then scream blue murder at all the ‘unpatriotic’ parasitical blights on society):
” … I’ll be blunt. Putting on a uniform and stating you stand ready to “deploy, engage, and destroy enemies of the U.S. in close combat” does not make you a hero. Deployment or combat in Iraq, Afghanistan or some other place does not make you a hero. Getting killed doesn’t make you a hero.
When making this sort of statement, I am usually met with reactions ranging from shock to outright condemnation. I’m labeled as “unpatriotic,” “un-American,” and a generally terrible, backward person …”
To read article: click here
ISN’T IT ABOUT TIME
we all—everywhere—stopped responding like Pavlov’s blasted mutts and started actually thinking for ourselves?
Not that that’s going to happen any time soon* … so who, exactly, was ol’ Butler aiming his book at? Me? No point—I’m already convinced. You? Oh … really? I doubt it—you are like any other of many millions, you do think—right up until your politicians start another pointless ‘war’ and then you fall over your own feet trying to be first to sign up. Big adventure, snappy suit, respect and all the salutes you can eat; paid all the while and everyone loves you on sight.
I’d say that there’s nothing new here and ol’ Smedley wrote in vain.
But if you want a laugh, get hold of a copy—mine was off the web; and take some time out for a good giggle (that rotating noise you hear is just poor ol’ Smed spinning in his grave)(shoulda stuck to soldiering) …
* And although the quoted article is coming from an American perspective let me tell you that it applies all over; it’s a universal.
& WHY NOT TO PANIC *
In case you missed yesterday’s post—or worse, misunderstood it—here’s a few quotes from the article referenced therein. My point being that we have to share this world with the insane, many of whom win themselves millions of equally insane followers. Not good; but on with the show—
Our ability to feed a global population projected to reach 11 billion by 2100 is under increasing threat from hotter, drier seasons, wild swings from drought to flood, and new diseases. Staples such as wheat and corn are likely to be among the most vulnerable to wild weather, pests and disease. In the 1960s and 1970s farmers began to abandon their traditional seeds and take up new hybridised varieties, which promised bigger yields. Seeds that had been locally developed over centuries disappeared without a trace.
China, for example, is believed to have lost 90% of its rice varieties. In the early 1900s, US seed catalogues offered more than 400 varieties of peas – now almost all of the US commercial crop is grown from just two. Many of the wild relatives of crops – species that could possess important traits of resistance to diseases or pests – are also becoming extinct. There are farmers in the American midwest who still remember the fungus that wiped out a quarter of the US corn crop in the 1970s. In the last few months, a devastating mutation of wheat rust has wiped out crops across Africa. These epidemics might have been stopped in the early stages if farmers were planting different varieties of crops.
.to read more: click here
But national seed collections, and the 15 international seed banks, have struggled for survival. The Iraqi seed vault, which was located near the notorious prison of Abu Ghraib, was looted and destroyed in the chaos that followed the US invasion of 2003. The guardians of Afghanistan’s seed banks hid some of their samples before fleeing the Taliban takeover in the 1990s, but when they returned they found that the boxes had been looted, and the seeds scattered on the ground. The Philippine gene bank burnt down in 2012, six years after it was wrecked by a flood. Egypt’s catalogue of desert seeds, held in the northern Sinai, was ransacked by looters during the 2011 uprisings.
What does it say in that very popular sect’s Good Book, about seeds being scattered on stoney ground? Don’t ask me—I’m just a dum’ dog here, the scruffy scribe aka The crusty curmudgeon.
You should be asking yourselves; and making sure that you too have a few seeds socked away somewhere safe, where the blasted believers can’t get at them. But hard luck if in some parts of America where it’s illegal to collect or use rainwater. Seeds on stoney ground by government edict? Ouch … I like that touch though—you can be drenched or wiped out by rain but if you try to use it productively you’ll get sucked (and even possibly wiped out) by your very own democratically elected loving government. Is that real hubris—Big Business in bed with Big Power, blatantly, and to hell with public opinion; or is it simple justice …
Quite inspiring in fact … so no need to panic then.
* Because there’s no point. No-one listens anyway …
LUCKY FOR US
“Some seeds last forever,” as they say hyperbolically. But steps have been taken to remove the hyperbole …
SWEET. BUT WHAT IF
nuts get in there too? Do nuts and seeds mix? I think not. Not if they are religious nuts. Wait, first hear me out and only then flip me off—
it turns out that God doesn’t like any manner of ‘artificial’ seed? Or the ‘unnatural’ (ie not God-given) prolonging of life? Or preserving the capacity for life inherent in a seed beyond its own natural equaivalent of ‘three score years and ten‘?
COULD A CASE BE
made here for the anti-abortion folks to moonlight a bit, on the reverse side of their own coin?
WHAT IF THE NICE NUTS
who are right now shattering antiques in the Middle East, moving along quite seamlessly from blowing up idolatrous statues in Bamiyan (Affie) to looting museums and other cultural treasure houses, smashing anything that shrieks of heathen graven imagery … what if they are told by their unarguably mad mullahs that seeds are the gift of Allah and not to be counterfeited of otherwise ‘preserved’ against the Will of said Allah? (Meaning: if He wants to destroy them by cataclysm or whatever, that’s his prerogative, and who the hell are we to interfere?)
So given what we know of irrationality coupled with religious fervour coupled with out-and-out insanity … what would happen if religious nuts got in amongst Svarlbard’s seeds? (MEMO TO SELF: if ever it looks likely, buy stock in dynamite factories)
Q: Argus, old dog … how will those religious nuts know that God doesn’t like seeds?
A: Good question. Nuts don’t know, ‘cos they cannot think—so like the organic robots they are they blindly follow the programming instilled by their equally as mad Mullahs. Priests. Vicars. Rabbis. Popes. Freelance pastors. Whatever … and if God, speaking through His Prophet(s), says that any image is a ‘graven image’ and offensive to His holy eyes … BOOM!
how long before some religious hopeful declares saved seeds to be sacrilegious? (Americans be warned: ‘they’ are using a slightly different approach to the same end in the US.)
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault’s mission is to provide a safety net against accidental loss of diversity in traditional genebanks. While the popular press has emphasized its possible utility in the event of a major regional or global catastrophe, it will be more frequently accessed when genebanks lose samples due to mismanagement, accident, equipment failures, funding cuts, and natural disasters. These events occur with some regularity. War and civil strife have a history of destroying some genebanks. The national seed bank of the Philippines was damaged by flooding and later destroyed by a fire; the seed banks of Afghanistan and Iraq have been lost completely. According to The Economist, “the Svalbard vault is a backup for the world’s 1,750 seed banks, storehouses of agricultural biodiversity.”
TO READ MORE: CLICK HERE
It’s all about control … no? Any takers?