You are here
Home > Posts tagged "Great War"

Wilfred Owen: Spring Offensive & PTSD

You won’t find a more haunting depiction of battle induced PTSD than the last two stanzas of Wilfred Owen’s Spring Offensive. You’ll be curious no doubt to double back on the setup: troops being marched to the frontline, the idyllic lull before battle, the unceremonious charge, and the moment a stealthy sprint turns to mayhem. The next stanza speculates about the fate of those who fall in battle: to bullets, to explosive shells, and to shrapnel. The last stanza is about the "too swift" survivors who "out-fiend" death to come through, and don't want to, or can't, talk about it. Spring Offensive (April, 1917) Halted against the shade of a last hill, They fed, and, lying easy, were at ease And, finding comfortable chests and knees, Carelessly slept.                           But many there stood still To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge, Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world. Marvelling they stood, and watched the long grass swirled By the May breeze, murmurous with wasp and midge, For though the summer oozed into their veins Like the injected drug for their bones’ pains, Sharp on their souls hung the imminent line of grass, Fearfully flashed the sky’s mysterious glass. Hour after hour they ponder the warm field— And the far valley behind, where the buttercup Had blessed with gold their slow boots coming up, Where even the little brambles would not yield, But clutched and clung to them like sorrowing hands; They breathe like trees unstirred. Till like a cold gust thrilled the little word At which each body and its soul begird And tighten them for battle. No alarms Of bugles, no high flags, no clamorous haste— Only a lift and flare of eyes that faced The sun, like a friend with whom their love is done. O larger shone that smile against the sun,— Mightier than his whose bounty these have spurned. So, soon they topped the hill, and raced together Over an open stretch of herb and heather Exposed. And instantly the whole sky burned With fury against them; earth set sudden cups In thousands for their blood; and the green slope Chasmed and steepened sheer to infinite space. Of them who running on that last high place Leapt to swift unseen bullets, or went up On the hot blast and fury of hell’s upsurge, Or plunged and fell away past this world’s verge, Some say God caught them even before they fell. But what say such as from existence’ brink Ventured but drave too swift to sink. The few who rushed in the body to enter hell, And there out-fiending all its fiends and flames With superhuman inhumanities, Long-famous glories, immemorial shames— And crawling slowly back, have by degrees Regained cool peaceful air in wonder— Why speak they not of comrades that went under?

Wilfred Owen: Dulce et decorum est (Pro patria mori – The Old Lie)

The Roman poet Horace wrote "It is sweet and glorious to die for one's country" as Rome shifted from republic to empire. By 1917 British infantryman Wilfred Owen had reduced Horace's sentiment to "The old Lie." Owen was killed in the Great War. His poem wasn't published until 1920 after the war. Even exposed, the old lie went on to adorn many monuments, including, also in 1920, the rising U.S. empire's Arlington National Cemetery. Dulce et Decorum Est (August, 1917) Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. Then somewhere near in front: Whew... fup... fop... fup... Gas-shells or duds? We loosened masks, in case -- And listened ... Nothing... Far rumouring of Krupp... Then stinging, poison hit us in the face. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . . Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, — My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

No new propaganda under the sun

Did you think Operation Iraqi Freedom photographers invented the warplanes-at-sunrise theme? Here's a propaganda shot circa WWI, where the crack of dawn obviously had to be hand tinted on the original monochrome. Is that any more a manipulation than the digital ultra-vibrance our embeds contrive today? The caption under this photograph, reproduced in The Nations at War: a Current History published in 1914 when the "Great War" was yet "the World's Greatest War," reads: "A French armed biplane in pursuit of a German Taube aeroplane." That's for the folks on the homefront. In reality the German Dove has probably swooped upon the heavier Farman bomber whose forward gun was mostly used to strafe infantrymen.

Originally it was Antiwar Mother’s Day

For how many war years longer will a MOTHER'S DAY tradition be to remind the vast Hallmark-washed that Mom's postbellum holiday originated as a grassroots resistance by mothers opposed to enlisting their sons in war? Quoth abolitionist/pacifist/feminist/poet Julia Ward Howe in the Mother's Day Proclamation: "We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs." Take heed war-loving patriots, Howe also penned the lyrics to Battle Hymn of the Republic. Up against the wall, antiwar mother. During WWI the plea expressed itself in a popular song: "I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier." Of course the song provoked many jingoist responses such as "I didn't raise my boy to be a coward," and "I tried to raise my boy to be a hero." Blood lusty teabaggers were up to their same knee jerk patriotism back then, egged on no doubt by the same industrial military interests. From across the Atlantic, Punch magazine reflected the British eagerness to see the US join their war and lampooned with "I didn't raise my girl to be a voter." Mother's Day Proclamation, 1870 Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs." From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace,? Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,? But of God. In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask? That a general congress of women without limit of nationality? May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient? And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,? To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,? The amicable settlement of international questions,? The great and general interests of peace.

Question of Nationalism v. Imperialism …again

EU officials not allowing Washington to monitor their economic transactions, Washington upset. So, does Washington allow the EU or Mexico or Cuba or Iran or who-the-hell-ever a similar privilege of monitoring United States bank transactions? Nationalism that doesn't grant equal sovereign rights to every nation isn't nationalism, it's Imperialism. That's the stated British Empires propaganda excuse for The Great War. While and at the same time they were doing to Ireland, India, China, Kenya. etc etc etc etc etc precisely what the King's Cousin the Hapsburg Emperor of Austria and Hungary was doing to Serbia. "Down from the trees, and onto your knees" White Man's Burden, Our Fledgling Civilization is better than yours, which was thriving when our ancestors were living in mud huts. (Hitler actually told Himmler that about his constant harping on Aryan Supremacy, his personal tastes ran more toward Rome) Speaking of Rome, the "Oderint Dum Metuant" policy that Bush made our official foreign relations Nightmare seems to be raising its ugly head once again. I was hoping, ever the optimist, that the hubris of the Bu'ush Regime would end when the Bu'ush Regime ended. Apparently not. There was absolutely NOTHING about the Bush administration or their annointed Replacement Palin/McAncient that indicates a moral or especially Intellectual superiority that they could use to justify their claim to having a right, indeed, a DUTY, to run the rest of the world. The Right wing can, and do, claim a tit-for-tat same-back-at-you about Presidents Obama and Clinton.

You have forgotten what to remember

Can someone please explain to me what it means to fly this flag? The POW-MIA flag is ubiquitous these days around veterans. Our town hall flies this black flag halfway below the Stars and Stripes. When the latter is at half mast, the former hangs indecorously low. Which reminds me of a pirate ship stalking a wavering Old Glory.   I understand POW and MIA, and "you are not forgotten." But there is no flag for the veterans, the dead or wounded, to whom does this lone flag speak and why? Since the Gulf War, the US military maintains that it loses track of none of its soldiers. We've had POWs but they've been returned, and we've had MIAs whose bodies have been found. One was recovered even recently, though it was the body of a pilot lost over Iraq, understood to have died. Casualties at sea are still sometimes unrecoverable, but at least something about American war-making proficiency now permits us to confirm deaths even sans corpus. Supposedly. US military engagements between those wars, and later, have been kept outside public scrutiny, or not officially admitted. As a result, they've added no POWs or MIAs for the home front to worry over. Which leaves Vietnam, from whose era comes the dark silhouette of a bent inmate in the shadow of a prison guard tower. According to the last report, there remain 1728 American soldiers missing in action in Indochina. They are unaccounted for -- it might be more fair to say--not missing persons, expected to turn up. During the Vietnam War, the MIA list gave hope that your soldier wasn't among the fallen. It was a hope that loved ones could cling to for even years after the fall of Siagon. On the radio, a Dick Curless hit from 1965 continued to resonate even as the war receded from memory. "Six Times a Day" told of a bride in post-WWII Germany who met the trains every day, awaiting the return of her German soldier, held by the Soviets in war-reparation labor camps until the Russians considered them to have atoned. Was this what we expected Vietnam was doing? Six times a day the trains came down from Frankfort The night he came ten years were almost through She held him close and said I knew you'd be here He said I had no doubt you'd be here too American wives were determined to wait even longer, except evidence of post-war prisoners never came. There was speculation of a cover-up, suspicions which politicians like John Kerry and John McCain do little to assuage. After the war, some believe that prisoner GIs were left behind, whom the North Vietnamese hoped to exchange for war reparations. Instead of paying, it's conjectured that the US government chose to deny the existence of those men. No American diplomat has ever confirmed the scenario, and no surviving GI has ever surfaced. The closest we've come to rescuing POWs was at the movies, when Rambo went back for a jailbreak and

Ward Churchill to speak for O’odham

According to Censored News, Activist and scholar Ward Churchill will speak at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 W. 22nd St., on November 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. to benefit O'odham VOICE Against the Wall, which since 2003 has organized and advocated for the traditional O’odham leaders and elders of the Tohono O’odham communities in the southern territory of the United States and northern territory of Mexico. Professor Churchill’s talk is part of the “Apartheid in America: Surviving Occupation in O’odham Lands” O'odham activist Ofelia Rivas will also participate. The event is sponsored by the Dry River Radical Resource Center, the Earth First! Journal, and Voices against the Wall. Here's some background on the O'odham struggle: By J. D. Hendricks, 2004 TIAMAT PUBLICATIONS #5 The People Who Emerged From the Earth Over two thousand years ago the descendents of the O’odham moved into the southwestern region of the area now claimed by the U.S. as the state of Arizona. 1 The O’odham have had one of the longest histories of contact with the forces of European colonization compared with the rest of the native North American peoples. The O’odham’s first contact with Spanish invaders took place in the mid 16th century; nearly one hundred years before the colonization of the North Atlantic coast and Great Lakes regions were begun by the French and English colonists. As such, the history of the O’odham provides a good context for an investigation of the colonization of Native North America, and more specifically, an investigation of the interplay between, and results of, the varied responses to colonization – that of collaboration, accommodation, and resistance. Many histories of the O’odham refer to these desert people as the Papago. The term Papago was a name given to the O’odham by the Spanish colonizers, and is likely the result of a Spanish corruption of the O’odham word “papabi” which was the O’odham name for one of their principal bean varieties. Thus, the Spanish colonizers term for the O’odham (Papago) came to mean “the bean eaters.” 2 For the purposes of this study I will refrain from the use of the term Papago and will refer to “the people” 3 by their traditional pre-colonial name. 4 As is often the case, with the name Papago being a good example, European constructs are often imposed upon indigenous peoples by the historians that seek to portray their past. This result can occur when historians seek to glorify European norms and traditions at the expense of indigenous ones, and can also be the result of the subconscious indoctrination of the historian by the dominant culture – in this case that of western style industrial civilization. In other cases it can be the result of a simple uncritical usage of language. One of the most dominant and reoccurring “civilized” constructs imposed upon indigenous peoples history is the commonly understood notion that the O’odham, or any other indigenous North American culture for that

Armed UAS drones need no defending

I was curious about the etymology of the term "drone" applied to military (& DHS) Unmanned Aerial Surveillance aircraft, these days, mostly Armed. Obviously Armed UAS are not named after the stingless unproductive bees whose task it is to impregnate the queen, nor lazy idlers, nor clueless computer sales techies, nor thankless menial worker drones. Anyone who's been around Radio Controlled model planes knows drones are named for the sound they make, a steady drone as they labor across the sky. While military aerial surveillance predates the Wright Brothers, and RC model airplanes have been around for half that time, it took the advent of asymmetric warfare to open the window to military drones. Their constant buzz offering the most intractable reason. By "asymmetric" I do not mean the US intelligence code for off-textbook warfare, for counter-insurgency methods outside von Clausewitz etiquette. I mean the inherency they obscure, war between foes lopsided. Look at a drone's design. It's more Gossamer Condor than military aircraft. Obviously an unmanned vehicle comprises fewer mechanical systems because it doesn't need to propel, nor sustain, a crew of human beings. It might need less armature for the same reason, except of course, today's drones are of high value in their own right. So why no armament? Why too, no powerful jet engines or swept wings for aeronautic superiority? This drone looks about as robust as a paper glider. Laymen can distinguish bombers from jet fighters, as they can trucks from a race cars. I'd say the military drone resembles more a stick insect than its accidental namesake the bee. Do Armed UASs have no need for evasive maneuver capability? I'll ask another obvious question, why do drones carry no customary insignia designating to whose side it belongs? In particular this element would be of primary importance when encountered by other aircraft. But a drone doesn't encounter enemy aircraft, nor allied aircraft who might confuse it for belonging to an adversary, because drones operate where aerial supremacy is already absolute. The key to a drone's military usefulness is that there is no opponent to shoot it down. An Armed UAS can drone all it wants, taking its sweet time laying siege to defenseless objectives and other targets of opportunity. The US Predator or Reaper models can glide when they want to surveil in silence, although otherwise their motors project their presence with the deliberate imposition of a school hall monitor. It is more efficient to deter the placing of IEDs than to try to catch insurgents in the act. Meanwhile all civilians are terrorized by the sound, associating it with sudden, unpredictable and often unjustified destruction and death. The WWII German Stuka dive bomber had inverted gull wings which were thought to produce a horrifying wail as the notorious aircraft attacked city populations, Guernica among them. In fact the sound was produced by a siren the Nazis called Jericho's Trumpet, mounted purposefully to spread fear on the ground. Like modern drones, the Stuka were not designed to fend off attackers

Top 10 secret armies of the CIA

Found this on the web, will try to retrace provenance, worth a read: The United States have a well known history of providing military support to countries in need. But from time to time, the US Government has provided secret forces. While many are successful, there have also been a number of failures. This is a list of the ten top secret armies of the CIA. 1. Ukrainian Partisans From 1945 to 1952 the CIA trained and aerially supplied Ukranian partisan units which had originally been organised by he Germans to fight the Soviets during WWII. For seven years, the partisans, operating in the Carpathian Mountains, made sporadic attacks. Finally in 1952, a massive Soviet military force wiped them out. 2. Chinese Brigade in Burma After the Communist victory in China, Nationalist Chinese soldiers fled into northern Burma. During the early 1950s, the CIA used these soldiers to create a 12,000 man brigade which made raids into Red China. However, the Nationalist soldiers found it more profitable to monopolise the local opium trade. 3. Guatemalan Rebel Army After Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz legalised that country’s communist party and expropriated 400,000 acres of United Fruit banana plantations, the CIA decided to overthrow his government. Guatemalan rebels were trained in Honduras and backed up with a CIA air contingent of bombers and fighter planes. This army invaded Guatemala in 1954, promptly toppling Arbenz’s regine. 4. Sumatran Rebels In an attempt to overthrow Indonesian president Sukarno in 1958, the CIA sent paramilitary experts and radio operators to the island of Sumatra to organise a revolt. With CIA air support, the rebel army attacked but was quickly defeated. The American government denied involvement even after a CIA b-26 was shot down and its CIA pilot, Allen Pope, was captured. 5. Khamba Horsemen After the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet, the CIA began recruiting Khamba horsemen - fierce warriors who supported Tibet’s religious leader, the Dalai Lama - as they escaped into India in 1959. These Khambas were trained in modern warfare at Camp Hale, high in the rocky mountains near Leadville, Colorado. Transported back to Tibet by the CIA operated Air American, the Khambas organised an army number at its peak some 14,000. By the mid-1960s the Khambas had been abandoned by the CIA but they fought on alone until 1970. 6. Bay of Pigs Invasion Force In 1960, CIA operatives recruited 1,500 Cuban refugees living in Miami and staged a surprise attack on Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Trained at a base in Guatemala, this small army - complete with an air force consisting of B-26 bombers - landed at the Bay of Pigs on April 19, 1961. The ill-conceived, poorly planned operation ended in disaster, since all but 150 men of the force were either killed or captured within three days. 7. L’armee Clandestine In 1962, CIA agents recruited Meo tribesmen living in the mountains of Laos to fight as guerrillas against Communist Pathet Lao forces. Called l’armee Clandestine, this unit - paid, trained, and supplied by the CIA - grew into a 30,000 man force. By 1975

How to spot a Jap in Afghanistan

This is an excerpt from the WWII training manual "HOW TO SPOT A JAP." Can you doubt our military blimpnecks aren't giving the same xenophobic advice about how American servicemen should be sizing up their robe-clad insurgent adversaries in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Who owns images of American dead?

AP photographer Julie Jacobson was reticent to publish her picture of dying US Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard. Though his father was opposed, the Associated Press overruled. But this was no victory for the public's right to see a true reflection of war. The D.o.D. is still indignant, but I suspect Jacobson's report was ultimately vetted in their favor. Military propagandists need to represent America's growing losses in Afghanistan. Jacobson's image provides their limited hangout. Like the other photographs of casualties which have escaped through embeds, the image of Lance Corporal Bernard is desaturated of blood, and the surrounding events fit the military endorsed narrative. Have you noticed that all combat images coming out of today's wars are drab and lifeless. Obviously this motif is not being applied to the PR shots of jets and military hardware, but scenes of soldiering in Iraq and Afghanistan are dusty and grey, like scenes from a dark virtual world. The colors in Jacobson's controversial photo are similarly under saturated. Earlier casualty pics have even been rendered as black and white, and this is no exercise of artistic license. Colorless images telegraph little resemblance to our real world lived in color. An emotional distance is created, most obviously like the detachment we feel looking into the past. Everything before the late sixties happened in monocrome. Early color photographs always shock children with the prospect that lives in generations past might have been been lived in a world of contemporary vibrance. The photographs from Vietnam were helped by that nation's lush tropical greens. Images of the wounded were all the more gripping --and demoralizing from the military's point of view-- because unlike in Korea and WWII, the blood was red. Most images taken in Vietnam came through the military staff photographers. The unapproved subjects, which subverted the official face of the war, emerged from the cameras of independent journalists. Julie Jacobson facilitated the release of this picture, by letting slip two details pertinent to the official US narrative in Afghanistan. Would you believe, just prior to this engagement, friendly Afghans came out of their houses to tell the US soldiers where they could find the Taliban? Probably to ensure Corporal Bernard's squad pointed their guns away from their homes, but that's not how the story was spun. Jacobson recounts that these Afghans were eager to inform on the Taliban. The jocular Jacobson records another telltale crowd-pleaser in the aftermath of the Taliban "ambush," when she found herself flanked by Afghan National Army troops. When the firing started, Jacobson sought immediately the ranks of US soldiers, because the freakin' ANA Afghans "aren't very good." Today's media embeds are basically a privatized signal corps. Their photos should belong to the taxpayers. Insinuations that military families should dictate what images can be used, in the event of death, is a cruel irony. Are the families consulted about what Uncle Sam wants to do with their loved one when he's still alive? Millions of federal

Last veteran of the War to End All Wars

IS THAT RICH? UK's oldest living veteran of the Great War died this weekend at age 111. Machine-gunner Harry Patch who survived Ypres and nearly not Passchendaele, was eulogized by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles who explained "The Great War is a chapter in our history we must never forget." Prime Minister Gordon Brown added: "The noblest of all the generations has left us, but they will never be forgotten." What did Soldier Patch think of the war for which he was held in patriotic regard? "It wasn't worth it." Patch had been adamant that the senseless slaughter of WWI was not justified, for neither Queen nor Country. The joke is on us hopeful pacifists however, because the old soldier WAITED UNTIL HE WAS 100 TO SAY IT. Do antiwar activists ask too much of our soldiers, to bear the brutalization of war, and return to be strong enough to speak against it? The state portrays their shell-shocked silence as stoic heroism, the veterans are far too broken to object. And the recruiting cycle repeats itself. The swiftboaters outnumber the conscientious objectors. We will probably wait forever for the veteran to end all veterans.

Jesus Killed Mohammed, every last one

With attention now drawn on the evangelical skinheads running amok with the US military's Big Stick, reporter Jeff Sharlet relates a story in this month's Harpers, which showcases the fundamental irreligiosity of the capital "C" Crusaders. The episode Jesus Killed Mohammed takes place in Samarra, Iraq, in 2004, where rascally US Christ fans succeed in goading their crosstown rivals into taking a shot at them, the sooner to be dispatched to the Islamic hereafter by the Christ Gang's overwhelming firepower. The operation involved painting "Jesus Killed Mohammed" across the side of their Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and having their translator poke his megaphone out the top, giving Arabic voice to the insolent taunt, shouting it up and down the neighborhood until no one was left to speak up for Mohammed.             ???? ??? ????? The affair reminded me of the Monty Phython skit about the world's deadliest joke being appropriated for military use across the WWI trenches, which was, if you remember, immediately fatal, combined with the sacrilegious 2005 GWOT strategy which drew so much flak to US special forces in Afghanistan when soldiers burned Taliban corpses to draw enemy ire. The Intelligence Service calls it "tickling:" provoking your opponent into an emotional response to reveal his position. In the Afghan case, the US team violated Geneva Conventions against mutilating the dead. In Sammara the only code protecting the sensitivities of the indignant Muslims was probably the boxing rule forbidding blows below the belt. Perhaps it was the very indecency of the concept which most elicited snickers from the American perps. In operation JESUS KILLED MOHAMMED, the 1/26 Infantry of the 1st Infantry Division led by Lieutenant John D. DeGiulio, under instructions from the 10th Special Forces Group who called themselves "the Faith element," drove their Bradleys along the streets drawing fire, one shot at a time, from virtually every door. After each shot rang out, the Bradley would summarily aerate each residence and its inhabitants until "Jesus Killed Mohammed" did not offend anymore. As Sharlet noted, every Iraqi home is permitted one AK-47 for self defense, so answering the US force's insolence did not reveal you to have been an insurgent. The infidels were biting their thumbs at the Iraqis from behind impregnable armor, to respond with small arms fire was entirely a matter of honor, and suicide.

Next to the White House

While visiting Washington DC in March, I found it interesting to note the edifices closest to the White House. EAST, WEST The neighbor to the immediate East of the Obama's White House is the Department of the Treasury. Is that any surprise? Of course not, but how bourgeois! I could imagine Scrooge McDuck sneaking across the White House garden twice a day to check his reserves. To the West is what we now call the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. It's the site of the suspicious office fires which may or may not have masked a recent vice-president's misdeeds. The edifice looks straight out of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and check out the plaque which commemorates what the building used to be called: Probably that should be no surprise as well: the White house sandwiched between Treasury and War. "State, War and Navy." How so much less duplicitous than the "Department of Defense." SOUTHWEST Behind the former War offices, to the Southwest of the White House, lies the war memorial to end all war memorials. It's the WWI Memorial, of considerably diminutive size compared to those commemorations of subsequent wars which have spilled unto the Mall, but its form followed the convention of the typical Great War monuments erected throughout Europe among the nations who had participated. Except the American version is dedicated to the "Expeditionary Forces" which I just love. That's what WWI was about for the US. The trenches of Europe were no place Americans needed to defend their freedom. The troops we sent, to relieve France and England, represented a foreign expedition, exactly that. More precisely, our troops were an R&D expedition for our blustering capitalists. (This may be no time or place to note that history books do not link America's WWI experience with the Influenza outbreak of 1917-18, which began in the barracks of US soldiers being mobilized for war. American soldiers took their flu to Europe and ultimately killed 50 million people. Those were not the days before we knew better to stay home to prevent infecting others.) The US entry into WWI was bitterly opposed by a peace movement which the war-opportunist-profiteers maligned as isolationist. Selfish globalization-denying isolationism has been the slander ever since, used against anyone who tries to block military interventions in all their guises. Ultimately WWI was no affair of ours, had the Huns emerged victorious, American foreign affairs would hardly have changed. Our foreign trading partners would have numbered more Germans, that's all. But it's useless to compare alternative outcomes of WWI, all things staying constant, because America participated and profited wildly. If American investors had not jumped in Over There, the greatest business opportunities of blossoming industrialism would have been missed. The opportunities offered by the Europeans fighting amongst themselves, proved to have been momentous. And here was the monument to those lost American lives, sacrificed so that American industrial might, in particular the new banking monopolists, could seize the European spheres of influence throughout the world. Of course the lost lives

UCSB Prof William Robinson pro-Semite

Wouldn't you think it bad form for Israeli militants to behave like Nazis, while immunizing themselves with the self-righteous indignation that any criticism of their actions can simply be dismissed as "anti-Semitic?" Photographs and confessions emerging from the IDF's atrocities in Gaza just beg comparison the German Einsatzgruppen in Poland. Earlier this year UC Santa Barbara professor William Robinson forwarded an email photo essay to a UCSB listserv, the already much-circulated side by side comparison to the WWII atrocities. Two students complained, plagiarizing stock IDF lingo. Now the Anti-Defamation League wants Robinson to recant. With IDF propagandists pouring on the bullshit, let's revisit the documents. As has already been noted, Professor Robinson is a harsh critic of US foreign policy, and already a likely target for the goon squad enforcers of Western Capitalism. Not many of America's actions are defensible, so Robinson has to be attacked by desperate means. Lucky for the lackey-jackals, Robinson chose to criticize Israel's atrocities against the Palestinians of Gaza. Bingo! The Israeli propaganda machine has armed aspiring Israel-defenders with a blanket rebuttal: just yell "ANTI-SEMITISM!" And what a load of crap that is. Much turns on the definition of "anti-Semitism." It packs the punch of meaning someone who hates Jews, but the advocates of Zionism have expanded the definition into 3-D! Zionist apologist Nathan Sharansky has coined the 3D definition of ant-Semitism: demonization of Israel, double standards, and delegitimization. You don't have to look closely to note that those points outline all the rebuttals of criticisms of Israel and any question of the legitimacy of the Zionist usurpation of Palestine. The criticisms posed by those concerned for the fate of Gaza are the same expressed by a large portion of the Israeli Jewish population as well. But the US Israeli lobby, militantly Zionist, has the complicity of the US war-mongering corporate media, thus the IDF Megaphone protestations get traction. These are the same cheap shots leveled against Ward Churchill. By flooding the internet to create the sensation that the indignation was shared, the IDF spammers have been successful in slandering these dissenting academics. Since we're seeing this technique being slopped unto our comment forums, let's examine the statement for which Robinson is being attacked. First we'll present Robinson's email. The next post will feature the ensuing letters of complaint, two from UCSB students, and third from the ADL. Original Email Here is Professor Robinson's original email, including his attachment of the Judith Stone article. This accompanied the aforementioned photo essay he forwarded. Subject: [socforum] parallel images of Nazis and Israelis From: "William I. Robinson" ... Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 21:00:05 ... If Martin Luther King were alive on this day of January 19, 2009, there is no doubt that he would be condemning the Israeli aggression against Gaza along with U.S. military and political support for Israeli war crimes, or that he would be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians. I am forwarding some horrific, parallel images of Nazi atrocities against the Jews and Israeli atrocities

One man’s Guerrier, another’s Terroriste

WELL LOOKY WHAT I FOUND! Published in France just after the war, this book is about "LES TERRORISTES." Can you tell by the cover art, who play the title role? USA POST-2001: America designates its war zone detainees as EPWs, or "Enemy Prisoners of War," because to call them POWs would confuse public sympathies. To the average American, "P.O.W." commemorates the GI captivity experience in Vietnam or Korea. When a soldier of ours is caught, that's a POW. To grant both sides equal status would be to humanize our enemy. Of course, POW used to mean all "Prisoners Of War," ours and theirs, in WWII days, before, and as mentioned in all international conventions. We label the people of Iraq or Afghanistan who resist our occupation, as insurgents. Be they Bathists or Taliban, we call their cause an insurgency, not a resistance, because that would confuse American public affection for the French Resistance: La Resistance! Every nation in Occupied Europe had a resistance movement, and the WWII archetypes are still fresh. Occupiers equal Germans. Collaborators equal cowards, traitors, Qwislings, Vichy. Resistance fighters equal the heroes. Since then, American occupations, of postwar France for example, have avoided mention of their assigned task. In Germany and Japan, US soldiers are merely "stationed" there. In countries which we've invaded, like Vietnam, Americans denied being the despised occupiers, we were advisors, protectors, etc. And the populations who opposed our military administration were insurgents, and if they attacked us by unconventional means, they were terrorists! In Iraq as well as Afghanistan, the American spectator can discern that al-Qaeda has been the only named terrorist organization, yet Sunni, Shiite, and Taliban fighters are all called terrorists. Militant Islam is considered terrorist, Hezbollah and Hamas liberation movements are called terrorist, even the Somali pirate brigands are being condemned as terrorists. So who were "Les Terroristes" of Occupied France? The book cover heeds us to "Souvenais-vous!" Never forget them. The book is full of their pictures and accounts of their brave deeds. Most of them fell to the Nazis, to firing squads and Gestapo tortures. The brave Terroristes were the scourge of the German Occupation, rooted out and almost eradicated before the last year of the war. The Nazis called them "terrorists," they were LA RESISTANCE!

Petty bureaucrat resents being called… The Holocaust denials of Larry DeWitt

In the face of Ward Churchill's vindication in a Colorado court, and now hearing support for him by fellow academics, Wingnut Holocaust Deniers are rallying behind whichever colleague will grab their dunce baton. The latest denier is academic aspirant, Social Security Administration archivist Larry DeWitt, who's been nursing a masters from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus. His master's thesis was about little known SSA efforts to mitigate The Wartime Internments & Other "Restrictive Governmental Actions." Example: his caption under a photograph of quarters at the Manzanar relocation camp reads: "Figure 43: While these internees do indeed have a bare lightbulb overhead, their living conditions are not as primitive as the rhetoric of some historians may imply." DeWitt has been an Agency Historian for the SSA since 1995, in which capacity he cobbled a history of the department, with a view it appears, to lay a groundwork for its privatization. You can read more about DeWitt at larrydewitt.net, a website "created as part of coursework in the graduate program of the History Department at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)." But he calls it: A Miscellany of History, Philosophy and Public Policy: A portal to four websites containing the work of historian and public policy scholar Larry DeWitt. Most recently, DeWitt assumes to be an authority on scholarship, opining on the History News Network website: Ward Churchill: He’s Baaack! Here's his opening line: "Well, that embarrassment for the liberal academy—Ward Churchill—is back in the news again." A recent article for Coloquio: Revista Cultural was about Iraq: "Doing the right thing the wrong way." Are DeWitt's writing unremarkable? Yes, but for a federal agency that has proven to be vulnerable to partisan attack, I think DeWitt's positions are ominously charged. Here are some more articles: "Howard Zinn: The Historian as Don Quixote," HNN, 01/26/09 "The Future Social Security Debate," Independent Voice , April/May 2008 "How Historians Can Help Frame the Next Social Security Debate," HNN, 10/22/07 "It is Time to Impose Peace on the Middle East," August 2006 "Should Historians Try to Rank President Bush's Presidency?" HNN, 5/22/06 "A Progressive Argument for Overturning Roe," October 2005 "It's Not the Cows Who are Mad," January 2004

Roughing it in DC

WASHINGTON DC- We caught the Metro, dragged our bags across the streets and sidewalks, but alright, we haven't exactly been roughing it. First stop, the Capitol Hilton, from which we can promenade to the White House. It's a stuffy hotel, with historic presidential-themed porcelain plates on display featuring an eagle that would look more comfortable on Luftwaffe place settings. Marie arranged the other couples nights at the St. Gregorys, the nearer to hang around the university and explore Georgetown. The St. Gregory Hotel was reputedly a favorite of Marlyn Monroe's. Which I suppose is enough to explain the life size statue of Monroe in their lobby. Monroe stands poised above the famous subway vent, her dress permanently fixed immodestly. Billy Wilder had the good sense to shot the scene from the front, but the St. Gregory didn't have that foresight, and they've bent this Monroe forward like a hood ornament, for short customers maybe. I'm not sure the titillating sight is something to complain about. Call it a land mind for involuntary ogling. Easily avoided once you know it's there, but if your mind is on something else, a conversation for example, Monroe's pose catches your reflex unawares.

Warmongers do end run on Vietnam Wall

WASHINGTON DC- Who knew it wasn't just the Vietnam War veterans who had misgivings about Maya Lin's design for a memorial? Fair enough it doesn't celebrate the achievements of our armies. This peripheral statue offers the more conventional bronze tribute. It depicts as addendum, three survivors emerging from the woods, disheveled and still brandishing assault rifles. They appear to regard the wall and its visitors with wariness. I recognize the faces now, they are the chicken hawks who didn't go, but still want to wage war, and had to figure out how to get America over that wall. Nearby, the WWII memorial celebrates the victors more than it commemorates the dead, it's fashioned like a stone coliseum, as might have been fashioned by the world champion rooster after an undefeated string of cockfights.

Bishop Williamson must RECANT says Pope

At the behest of the Vatican, Bishop Richard Williamson apologized for offense caused by his statements regarding WWII historical records of the Nazi concentration camps. But Pope Benedict weighed the bishop's statement as insufficient. Now he's demanding a full retraction before he will reconsider the latter's excommunication. Being urged to recant may be a scandal in papal circles, but history buffs and cineasts have only ever seen truth-clinging heretics assailed with cries to "RECANT!" Google it yourself. Oddly this development puts Bishop Williamson in esteemed scientific and theological company. But this is just historical revisionism. Especially aimed against closely held popular beliefs, revisiting the official version of the Holocaust is like backing a losing horse still too early after the "fact." However, has blasphemy ever met with other than an officially disgusted welcome? Certainly the challenging argument only compounds its offense by deeming to compare itself to earlier, now orthodox, heresy. One might well wonder where this episode is leading. Has the Pope been oblivious to the Holocaust issue, as his spokesmen would have us believe, or is the German pontiff deviously reopening the official discussion? As with any reform, leaders may be receptive, but know in the meanwhile that their subjects are the hardest to win over. The brunt of resistance is thus diverted toward the heretic, until the case is made. Only in the movies do champions of the status quo look unbecoming in defeat. In the real world the holdouts are populist champions representing the overwhelming majority of adherents. Bishop Richard Williamson's public statements have caused great offense, and the Pope's recent move to make peace with the renegade Williamson, among others, has reignited the fury of the Bishop's critics. But of what import do non-Catholic opinions have on the subject of how the Vatican administrates its ranks? Surely a bishop's personal, non-religious views, soon return to obscurity. By throwing the ball back in the Bishop's court, Pope Benedict unquestionably directs the media spotlight back on the "question" of the Holocaust. It's hard to imagine that he expects anything other than a firm committed stand by the bishop. What are men of faith but what they believe? At stake is more than the rehabilitation of Bishop Williamson, but the soul of modern Germany. A re-characterization of the Nazi death camps would mean reassessing the collective guilt of Europe's non-Jews. It might also mean a reprieve for the German People whose national identity for generations has been defined by their participation in the most unspeakable of evils. I'm not sure why the Pope's having once been a Hitler Youth is always dismissed out of hand. Although perhaps, for the sake of argument, that's as it should. The Vatican might also gain something themselves by bringing more light to critical analysis of the Holocaust. They could be seeking a possible mitigation of their infamous role in the Nazi genocide. There's no escaping the evidence that the Catholic church collaborated with Hitler. If they can paint his "Final Solution" as

Wikipedia and those romantic Zionists

In researching the evolution of Zionist terrorism, from clandestine militias like Bar-Giora, to Hashomer, Haganah, Etzel, and the pro-Nazi Stern Gang, I came upon this opening paragraph in Wikipedia. Describing Bar-Giora, it began: "On September 28, 1907, a group of activists from Poalei Zion gathered in Yitzhak Ben-Zvi's tiny Jaffa apartment. There was no furniture, the men sat on the floor in a circle and used a crate for a desk." Some helpful Wiki elf was obviously feeling sentimental. Here's the full paragraph, one third of the only more nostalgic full article: On September 28, 1907, a group of activists from Poalei Zion gathered in Yitzhak Ben-Zvi's tiny Jaffa apartment. There was no furniture, the men sat on the floor in a circle and used a crate for a desk. Inspired by Israel Shochat's ideas, they agreed that the only way to fulfill the dream of becoming a Jewish nation was to rise up and assert themselves through cultivating and defending their land themselves. The state of things in the early years of the 20th Century in Palestine, was such that Jewish farmers employed Arabs to work their farms and protect them, and in turn were subject to landlords, such as Edmond de Rothschild's agents. There was much discontent and disillusionment. Thus I was sparked to delve into the oft-derided accusation that Wikipedia is biased toward Israel. Compare the paragraph above, to the introductions of Wiki articles about militant Muslim or Arab groups. Start with Wiki's official terrorist list and judge for yourself. CAMERA Electronic Intifada documented an interesting story last year, when they interrupted the Zionist site CAMERA from organizing commando edit raids on Wikipedia to ensure Israel was always shown in a favorable light. In its report, EI leaked the email thread which, by the way, serves as a great instruction manual for aspiring Wiki editors. We'll reprint the conversation below. The episode is documented in several articles. Beginning with EI exclusive: a pro-Israel group's plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia, The Electronic Intifada, 21 April 2008. (Reprinted in Global Research 4/24.) Alex Beam, of The Boston Globe, broke the story in print on May 6, 2008, in War of the virtual Wiki-worlds. Next came Israel Shamir, Wiki, the Chaos Controlled, who asserted that CAMERA's interrupted zeal masked Wikipedia's already Zionist admins. Shamir's continuing battle with Wikipedia can be followed in wiki/Talk). IRGUN, ET AL About the clandestine pre-Israel paramilitary organizations, which eventually became the Israel Defense Force? Their history is very interesting. The Zionist policy of using "retaliation" to justify strikes, started right from the beginning. When the Jewish settlers, many of whom were immigrating into Palestine illegally, felt that British authorities were not giving them preferred treatment in disputes with local Arabs, they organized private armies to quell Arab unrest over their expanding landholdings. During WWI, these fighters, formed as Hashomer, worked behind the lines with an intelligence branch named Nili, to help the British drive out the Turks. When the Paris Treaty of 1919 did not yield a Zionist state as promised,

Bishop Williamson and Auschwitz 1.0

I am curious as to why a Roman Catholic bishop would risk a second excommunication over the historic particulars of the Holocaust. Bishop Richard Williamson is being labeled a "Holocaust Denier" because he questions the extent, and mechanism, of the official version of the Holocaust. Because Williamson is also criticized for his skepticism about the official 9/11 narrative, and for his praise for the Unabomber's manifesto, I want to take a closer look, and wonder what is he reading? Here's what the outspoken Williamson told Swedish SVT in a November 2008 interview, as transcribed by the BBC: "I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against, six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler… I believe there were no gas chambers [during World War II]" First, I'm compelled to pose a naive question: If we can all agree that Jews died in huge numbers by incomparable horrors at the hands of the Nazis, would it matter what the exact death toll was, or which killing method predominated? Why? What is the need for laws to restrict historians who are trying to reconstruct the record from emerging facts? Must preemptive "anti-defamation" laws mandate that historians stick to the official "untold" number and "indescribable" evil? Even if we postulate, albeit cynically, that Holocaust reverence is critical to upholding American public support for Israel's "right to exist" in the Middle East, how could a revision of the casualties, in any case a horrific magnitude, make an difference? Millions of Jews fell victim to the Third Reich. No one is denying it, and historical revision is not trying to bring the Holocaust victims back to life. Holocaust Remembrance of the Jewish victims has remained a political priority around the world, advocating commemoration in education, literature, civic life, and pop culture. Why then, an aversion to scrutiny? Last week a fellow Society of St. Pius X member, Rev. Floriano Abrahamowicz was ejected from SSPX for coming to Williamson's and the Pope's defense. While the usual politicians and Jewish community leaders are voicing their indignation, can we ask, are the Bishop's beliefs really at odds with accepted orthodoxy? The media will reiterate that the Six Million figure has always been beyond dispute. All the while, official scholarship has been recording otherwise. In Germany, revisionist historians are jailed for Holocaust Denial. Yet bit by bit, mainstream historians have been able to publish divergent theses which withstand legal refutation. For the sake of argument, let's dismiss all the "deniers" as kooks, and look only at the traditionally vetted voices. On the subject of Auschwitz, where four million of the total six million Jews were believed to have perished, Der Spiegel managing editor Fritjof Meyer a continued critic of revisionism, summarized in Osteuropa 52, 5/2002, p. 631: “In 1945, the Soviet Investigatory Commission numbered four million victims in the National Socialist work and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a product of war propaganda. Under coercion, camp Commandant Höß named three million and recanted. Up until

American arrogance

Protests as US warship docks in Nagasaki What incredible arrogance and bad taste! This is your military and government, Americans! Look in the mirror and weep!

Apres nous, le Depression

If it matters what to call this financial crisis, what is it? Is America in a recession? When does a deep recession approach a depression? When is an economic crash revealed to be a collapse? Before we can rename the Great Depression, as we did the Great War (WWI), in deference to this latest, we would do better to address the cataclysm which left this depression. It was not a meteor, not the foot of Godzilla, nor a collapsed salt mine. The scorched earth we see about us, this rapidly degrading economy, is the destruction wrought by a Norman raid; a blitz of rape and pillage with brutal indifference. It wouldn't matter what you call it except that the raiders are still among us. If your valuables are still intact, it's because they haven't yet been sacked. If you still have your house, it's not because the tethers aren't attached, it's that they haven't started towing it off. When you can see this robbery for what it is, you'll know that history can tell us that the barbarians do not leave even gold fillings unmolested. Do you doubt a viking analogy? Look at the economic news today. Over half a million jobs lost in January, over three million jobs lost already. On the same day, the stock market rallies upward. While you are losing your livelihood, those who invested in the long ships are heartened by the projected success of this raid.

Gaza is not the Holocaust that the Jews suffered in the Warsaw Ghetto of WWII

"Pointing out that the suffering endured by Gazans is not comparable in scope to the Holocaust or other well-known genocides, does not diminish it. However, it is crucial to provide accurate historical context to the current conflict, for two reasons. If Gaza is today's Warsaw, then Palestinians have no hope. "Firstly, the use of highly charged historical comparisons that do not hold up to scrutiny unnecessarily weakens the Palestinian case against the occupation. In a propaganda war in which Palestinians have always struggled to compete, handing Israel's supporters the gift of inaccurate or exaggerated comparisons does not help this struggle, particularly not in Israel and the US, the two most important battlegrounds in this conflict." --excerpted from a commentary of Mark LeVine published by Al Jazeera titled Gaza is no Warsaw Ghetto

Top