« Don't Cry For Us, Argentina... | Main | TPM Cafe, And Blogs More Generally »

May 31, 2005

Comments

Jess was considering protesting yesterday. I was considering putting up a Kos diary.

But then I thought about it. And while I will not look down on people who believe that the appropriate way to honor our fallen soldiers is to speak out against the lie that sent them to die, I decided that for me yesterday was a day to take a break from politics and simply take a few minutes out to think about their sacrifice and let it settle on my shoulders.

I like that, Edward.

I like that a lot, Ed.

I was reluctant to think about anything serious all Memorial Day, too. I don't want to think about the sacrifice made by all those soldiers and civilians, some of them so young. Makes me too angry.

Yes, thank you, Edward.

Great post, Mr. Underscore.

Thanks, Edward.

Thanks, Edward

"face the horrors of war before their ambitious, heartless, power-grubbing politicians lead them there under the guise of nationalism or religion or whatever"

I blame the politicians and leaders a lot less than this, and put more of the blame on people themselves. Your description does not to me adequately cover the facts of Rwanda or Bosnia or most other wars. Nor explain why wars happen. When I try to think about war and warriors in any kind of objective,fair,humanistic way, I recoil in horror at excusing barbarism. Yet Alexander, and the men who followed Alexander, were just men;and I can't seem to call them extraordinarily evil men.

To use a trivializing analogy: adultery is a bad thing, and adulterers cause so very much pain to others, yet there is just such a darn large amount of it that I have trouble wishing there were no adultery because it seems we wouldn't really be humans without it.

But on Memorial Day, I give honor and gratitude to the Sacrifice. My heart beats in sync as the obsidian blade descends.

I blame the politicians and leaders a lot less than this, and put more of the blame on people themselves. Your description does not to me adequately cover the facts of Rwanda or Bosnia or most other wars. Nor explain why wars happen. When I try to think about war and warriors in any kind of objective,fair,humanistic way, I recoil in horror at excusing barbarism. Yet Alexander, and the men who followed Alexander, were just men;and I can't seem to call them extraordinarily evil men.

That reads to me as if you're contradicting yourself, though, perhaps Bob. I believe there is evil in everyone, just as there is good. I believe individuals choose how to deal with these extremes, choosing which behaviors are acceptable to them and which are not, but I believe the threat of punishment for behaivors others deem unacceptable is part of what separates us, as members of society, from barbarians or animals. When leaders say that not only will there be no punishment for letting one's evil side dictate behaivor, but actually rewards for it, that threat of punishment is removed and is actualy itself then a negative to be avoided (only "lazy Hutu traitors" weren't out killing Tutsi's, for example). But as the leaders make the laws, only the leaders can relax or rescind the laws, and so the leaders are in fact, IMO, more responsible for such evil.

our memorial day is May the 4th and though inspired by WW2 it had a different theme each year and usually expands to include all those who have died in armed conflict.

The memorial that touched me most this year was a few weeks earlier, in the memorial dedicated to the operation 'market garden' ("a bridge too far"). Lot's of people adopt a 'war grave' to honor those who have fallen in defense of our country but have no family in our country to do the grave maintenance and caretaking. This year in Arnhem they had a schoolchild next to every grave, and had them all read out loud the names on the graves, one by one. Because their names should never be forgotten. The list of names, read one by one, in this solemn procedure, was really heartbreaking.

Point of 3:43 taken. The soldiers at the prison in Afghanistan, however predisposed they might have been to brutality, might not have acted out without what they thought was permission from the President.
...
1) Yesterday in a very weird coincidence, out my vastest mp3 collection popped up "Universal Soldier" as sung by Donovan. A brutal song that deeply affected many of us in the late sixties, saying that wars are impossible without young men being willing tools of the politicians.
Lyrics are easy to find with google. I do not completely agree with those sentiments, but neither am I easily able to see all soldiers as victims of their leaders.

2) These predispositions, if they exist and are widespread, can give the people warlike leaders. I spent some time last week trying to convince Democrats that it was a practical necessity, in America, at this time, to accept a certain level of militarism. Knowing that this would lead to deaths, military and civilian. That otherwise Democrats would not win elections, and would not only lose the liberal society to the Right, but would be indirectly responsible for a far less competent and humane militarism that the Republicans would implement, and a greater and less productive destruction.
A sacrifice for freedom.

3) I found Tacitus's piece quite moving and thought-provoking. If the motives of the soldier are not relevant...Tac talks of draftees, soldiers risk and kill for any number of reasons, their buddies, money, because they like it, even ideals and patriotism sometimes...if the reasons don't matter so much on their side then they matter more on ours. And Memorial Day appeals to something very ancient, outside of specific outcomes and particular causes. Not about self-defense, or ideology, or ambition. I have read too many blogs saying that WWII required sacrifices, but the Philippines and Grenada and Panama and Beirut were wastes. This is ungrateful and irreverant and irresponsible.

"Willing or not, they died so we might live, and live better. We don't know why it is asked, but it is necessary." is a sentiment that would be understood 5000 years ago. The deaths in Iraq, soldier and civilian, are not meaningless if we take responsibility for them.

Life and the World are hard, and require Sacrifices.

But I hate careless exploitation. Sorry for the length.

We celebrated Memorial Day in my house by watching "Sometimes in April."

We watched Hotel Rwanda and Hero

Hotel was another kick in the gut but Hero was simply incredible. If you see it e, you may change your mid about the benefits of a large screen TV...

Hero, of course, is not to be confused with Hero, just as Crash shouldn't be with Crash, nor Kicking And Screaming with Kicking & Screaming. Isn't it great that by recent law, 50% of all movie titles have to be re-used?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad