Armistice Day Centenary

You all know that I am a pretty traditional guy, one of the effects of that is that I believe holidays belong on their anniversary’s, not necessarily to provide a three-day weekend. Remembrance Day is a case in point.

It is on St. Martin’s day, the patron saint of the infantry, that the bloodletting of the Great War ended, specifically the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month, and so for many of you, it is Remembrance Day, for those of us who are Americans it is Veterans Day, only because we already had a holiday, Memorial Day, celebrating our war dead, Veterans Day celebrates the survivors of all our conflicts. Yes, to a great extent, both do both, and that is hardly a bad thing, our, and your soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have done much to build the modern world we inhabit.

An aside to our American readers, today marks, with Pomp and Circumstance (and dancing, and a fair amount of alcohol) and event that occurred 243 years ago in Dun’s tavern in Philadelphia: the birth of the US Marine Corps. Ever since it has lived up to its motto of Semper Fidelis.

All of us here have written something about Remembrance Day on AATW: Chalcedon here, Jessica here,  and I did here, we said most of what there is to say.

Chalcedon made the point, here, that as we get further away from the events, we tend to over-sentimentalize them. He’s right we do, and as he said, not many of the troops were consciously fighting for “Truth, beauty, and the American [or English] way. they were fighting because it was their job, for their buddies, and for their lives. And yes, I do mean that to include those who were our enemies, I don’t think the son of a German farmer was all that different from an English orphan or an American city boy. They had a job to do, and they did it the best they could. Anybody that thinks anybody was fighting for democracy in the Great War is simply a loon. Well, there may have been a few who were fooled by the propaganda, but armies have a great knack at curing people of such foolish beliefs.

1914 in many ways marked the start of the most violent century in, perhaps, forever. It is a major accomplishment that we won all the important ones. the world would be a far darker place if Hitler, Tojo, or Stalin had won. It is a signal accomplishment of the English Speaking Peoples that we gave the world a chance at freedom. We can’t win or keep it for them, but we gave them a chance. And think about that as you look at the Cenotaph, or Bobby Lee’s yard, which the US government pretty much stole to start Arlington Cemetary.

We owe much gratitude to our veteran’s and our war dead, we should get over our old habits, and truly care for those who have eaten the Queen’s biscuit, or have the Eagle on their button, and quit thinking that lip service on one (or two) days a year is all we owe them. You remember this, right? Don’t let it apply to our generation.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
 For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
 But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
 An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
 An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

Abraham Lincoln had something to say to us about this as well in his second inaugural

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

 

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The Peace Prize

The Norwegians finally got it right. So often, their picks for the Peace Prize have been head-scratchingly obtuse, perhaps unless one was a European Progressive. But this time, they have picked an actual hero. From FrontPage Magazine.

This year the Norwegians have finally done themselves proud. One of the two Nobel Peace Prize winners is Nadia Murad, a Yazidi girl who was captured by fanatical Muslims belonging to the Islamic State in northern Iraq. These Muslims in ISIS have killed thousands of defenseless Yazidis, whose only crime was that they were not Muslims. Murad was beaten and repeatedly raped. Six of her nine brothers were killed. Yet she escaped, and now perseveres, having been named by the United Nations as a “Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations,” in spreading her own tale and that of her people, a task which takes her around the world, telling the Yazidi story and listening to others tell of similar atrocities, about the trafficking of women prisoners who are war booty for the jihadis.

Listening to the radio, I heard with alarm several people on a talk show describe Nadia Murad as a “Yazidi Muslim.” She is not a Muslim. She must never be thought of as a Muslim. She is a Yazidi, a small religious sect with roots in Kurdistan and Armenia, that has always been the object of Muslim hatred. The killings of Yazidis by the Muslims, Arab and non-Arab, of the Islamic State have, during the last few years, been conducted “on an industrial scale,” as Amal Clooney, Murad’s lawyer, told the U.N.

Nadia Murad stands up not just for the Yazidis, but for all the other non-Muslim or non-Arab minorities who have been oppressed — harassed, persecuted, and often murdered — by their Muslim captors, and not just in Iraq. Over the centuries the Armenians, Maronites, Greek Orthodox, Jews, Samaritans, Zoroastrians, Alawites, and orthodox Shia, have all suffered from Sunni Muslims. Nadia Murad now has her bully pulpit, for her own mistreated people, and she obviously intends to use it.

This is first time that a victim of Jihad and Islamic terrorism has been recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize. If it leads to greater attention to what has happened to the Yazidis, and to other groups of non-Muslims similarly situated, and to a greater focus on the Muslims who are responsible for the attempted genocide of the Yazidis, that would be a salutary development. Meanwhile, be on the alert when the subject of Nadia Murad comes up on any show to which listeners can call in. Make sure that she is properly identified as a Yazidi, a non-Muslim victim of Muslim mass rapes, just as her six dead brothers were victims of Muslim mass murder. Call in, especially, to correct anyone identifying her as belonging, as I have heard someone say, to “a small Muslim sect.” You could, while correcting that error, also add that Yazidis in Iraq have made contact with Israelis, and Nadia Murad herself has visited Israel, and expressed great admiration and sympathy for the country and its people, seeing an obvious parallel: […]

If Nadia Murad keeps telling her own tale, what she endured in all its ghastliness, and does not leave anything out, if she describes how the members of the Islamic State would recite verses from the Qur’an both before and after raping Yazidi girls, if she goes still further and dares to discuss the Qur’anic passages and hadith stories on which the Islamic State bases its behavior, she will have performed a great service, as the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to tell unpleasant truths about Islam. Think of her Prize as a way of cancelling the embarrassment of Arafat’s award. And Muslim states would have a hard time explaining any attempts to criticize or silence such a formidable person. […]

Nadia Murad has so far in her travels addressed audiences in Ireland, in France, in the U.K., in Canada, in Germany, and in the United States, telling her tale, and the tale of her people:

Four years ago I was one of thousands of Yazidi women kidnapped by Islamic State and sold into slavery. I endured rape, torture and humiliation at the hands of these militants before I escaped.

I was relatively lucky. Many Yazidi girls and women went through worse and for much longer.

Over 2,000 are still missing. Many have been killed.

In early August 2014 Islamic State invaded the Sinjar region in northern Iraq with the mission of exterminating the Yazidis. They called us a ‘pagan minority’, and because we don’t have a holy book we have been described as ‘devil worshippers.’”

In Kocho, my village of 1,800 people, over 300 men were shot and their bodies buried in irrigation ditches. Six of them were my own brothers.

Since then the Yazidis have received sympathy and solidarity all over the world. Rightly, many countries and the United Nations have recognised the genocide committed against us by Islamic State. But we now need concrete action to get justice and allow us to rebuild our community and homes. We have been displaced and dispersed around the world. Many countries, including Germany, Canada, and the United States have given us refuge.

There’s little for me to add to such a story, except for my pleasure that one, Nadia Murad survived her ordeal, and two, that the Norwegian Parliament has made such a perspicacious pick after all the insipid (and worse) ones they have made over the years.

May she continue to tell her story, and may it serve her people well.

 

Kavanaugh, the Tories, and Brexit

If you haven’t heard the FBI report is in, the Senators will be reading it today (or not, given that a fair number just don’t care), McConnel has called for cloture, which vote will happen tomorrow, and the confirmation vote over the weekend. Good. That doesn’t mean we can relax, in less than five weeks, we vote, and we have the option to continue “draining the Swamp”. Use it.

How about some videos today, they just keep on accumulating.

This week, while we have been immersed in the witch hunt of Brett Kavanaugh, the Tory party in Britain has been holding its annual conference. The Tories are quite reminiscent to me, at least, of our Republicans circa 2012. No, that is not a compliment, no matter what Mitt Romney thinks.

But they are what they are, and what they are is the best chance for the UK to again become a sovereign nation. Three speeches: the first from the Attorney General, who, I know little about except he gives a good speech.

Then there was the Prime Minister.

Meh. It’s a good, well-crafted speech, congratulations to her speechwriters. Does she really believe a word of it? I have no clue. My considered opinion of her is that she is an overpromoted bureaucrat, not really a bad person, but well beyond her level of competence. Not unusual here, either, of course. In fact, not far from my assessment of Barack Obama.  Maybe she missed her calling as a backup dancer for ABBA. In short, far better than Jeremy Corbyn, but Britain needs so much more.

Then there is Boris Johnson.

Well, what can one say, he is neither Churchill nor Trump. But Trump did say when he was in England that he’d be an excellent PM. I think so too. My small ‘c’ conservative friends in England keep talking about UKIP. I’m sympathetic, I like what Batten is doing with the party too. But, and it is a huge but, Brexit needs to happen in six months, and likely without a general election.

That means it is up to the Tories, helped by the DUP. In my opinion, May will not get the job done, not least because she doesn’t want to get the job done. Boris likely would. Yes, he lacks gravitas, whatever that chimerical quality is, yes, his past is checkered, yes he’s a bit of a loose cannon. All are just as true of Trump

So what? The mission is Brexit. The mission is not to have a dignified quiet Prime Minister. Nor is the mission to build UKIP, desirable as that might be.

The Mission for our cousins is Brexit.

To resume their proper place in the world.

My advice to the cousins is to ditch May, now, not next week and put Boris in. Along with a team, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, and others who believe in Brexit, and get the job done. And you know, he was a pretty decent mayor of London, not many other Tories can say that.

Long term, I would support UKIP, because unless the electorate has gone as nuts as our left wing has, Labour has had its day, and an opposition party is necessary.

And since we don’t know all that much about it, how about Jacob Rees-Mogg on the European Union at Oxford.

Eighty Years On

Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the Munich agreement, where Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of the UK essentially ceded the Sudetenland, a German heritage area (and vital to the defense of Czechoslovakia) to Adolph Hitler.

I have more sympathy for Chamberlin than most do. My analysis says that if Britain (and France) had gone to war in 1938, they would have lost. The British rearmament was just gearing up, and the things that would save Britain in 1939 were not available in 1938.

What has come down to us though, is that it is always unwise to appease a totalitarian. That is often true. It probably was in the case of Gulf War 1, the second Iraq war is not nearly as clear.

There are cases coming up, mostly in the intersections between Russia, China, and Iran in the Eurasian landmass, where like trying to save Czechoslovakia, it might be clearly an overstretch for the United States to interfere.

That does not mean that we must sit back and allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, or colonize a goodly chunk of the near east.

We too have our vital interests, centering on keeping the maritime trade routes open, and our allies, most of whom, other than Israel are parts of Oceania. One can even make this case for Britain, itself, although what we would have in times past called Christendom, roughly western Europe, is also a vital American interest.

There’s an interesting discussion of this here.

But our own, overriding vital interest is the freedom and liberty of Americans, nothing at all may be allowed to interfere with this interest. Compared to this, all other interests are secondary

In a sense, America holds the ring, keeping the Eurasian conflict confined to Eurasia.

We need to see clearly what is, and what is not, in our vital interest. As Russia and China also recognize, nuclear war is in nobody’s interest, the problem arises with rogue states like Iran and North Korea, who may not understand that calculus, which is why we need to stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons because it is not a given that deterrence will work with them. That is one of America’s most vital interests.

Perhaps these or similar thoughts inspired my friend, the Administrator of All along the Watchtower (and inactive editor here) Chalcedon 451 to recall to us (in a Tweet) a post of his, which has much relevance for us.

[…]In the end, politics is a second order activity. As the third Marquis of Salisbury once said: ‘God is love and the world is what it is. Explain that?’ The answer is that we are a fallen species. At best we can produce Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and St. Francis; at worse, we produce Attila, Alexander Borgia and Hitler. We have the instincts of angels, and of demons. St Paul knew, as our faith knows, that left to ourselves we will veer off and like the dog return to its vomit. Original Sin is the one dogma that can be proven from our own experience of ourselves.

Politics can cure relatively few of our ills. At best there are some good people there who wish to make a difference to the lives of their fellows; the problem comes when they take the short cut of using the resources of others to fulfil that purpose. The intention is good, but the State is not a person and it is generally a mistake to allow its cold charity to replace the instincts of the human heart. It is best if politicians remember they are merely instruments in God’s hand and do not imagine they are that hand, or even God himself. In an era when faith in God is less, it was replaced by faith in politicians and the State; we are coming to the end of the short era in which that appeared to be a viable option to even the politicians.

People want to be told things are going to be all right in the end; children always want a good night story which ends well. That is not how life is. It is easy, tempting and inevitable that I should end by saying we need a Churchill. But we ought to recall that for the whole of the 1930s he was ignored and in the wilderness. The new democracy did not wish to be lectured or told that all was not going to be well. It wanted to believe that there would be ‘peace in our time’; it wanted to believe that Hitler was not evil in human form; it wanted, and got, its good night story. It also reaped the whirlwind.

‘Blood, toils, tears and sweat’, that was what Churchill promised us in 1940. That same democracy which had wanted pretty lies, woke up and took the truth on the chin. Our politicians are wrong to underestimate our capacity for hearing the truth spoken; as they are to underestimate our need for fairy stories.

From Conservatism, and you should read the rest even though I have presumed to grab more than I should.

There is a lot packed into those short paragraphs, and they are valid for us all. As we reflect on what the last eighty years have taught us, I think Chalcedon’s message strikes quite close to the heart of several of history’s messages to us.

The Psalmist reminds us:

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:

That is good advice for us all.

Trumping the UN, and Cutting Our Own Throats

If you haven’t seen President Trump’s excellent speech at the UN, here it is.

There are quite a few highlights, but the only one I’ll put here is this:

We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants “Death to America,” and that threatens Israel with annihilation, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. Just can’t do it.

Long ago, like Lou Aguilar at The American Spectator, I saw the 1953 movie The War of the Worlds. I remember it much the way he does, especially this:

The setup comes soon after the A-bomb fail. A desperate general tells physicist Gene Barry (in a superb stoic performance) that there’s nothing more his military can do against the Martian war machine, and the last best hope for Earth is for Barry’s band of scientists to develop some sort of chemical weapon. They drive trucks full of scientific equipment into the last city standing, Los Angeles, only to have its panicked residents manhandle Barry, smash his equipment, and seize the truck in a suicidal attempt to flee the Martians. “They cut their own throats!” declares the shaken Barry to his colleagues.

The image of a berserk crowd destroying its best long-term bet for illusory gain could be a metaphor for the upcoming midterm elections. Under the management of Donald Trump and the Republicans, this country has seldom been in finer shape. It enjoys record-high employment, consumer confidence, stock value, and rising wages. Two nuclear threats have been reduced, and a terrorist caliphate dissolved to attain that most elusive balance of peace and prosperity. And none are benefiting more from this condition than the three pillars of progressive identity politics — blacks, Hispanics, and women. Black, Latino, and female unemployment have never been lower.

He is exactly correct. These are by almost any measure, the good old days, and they are improving by the week. But what are we seeing? A slow moving soft coup in the government, a revolt of the opposition party who is putting their thugs into the streets, just as the Blackshirts and Brownshirts were in Italy and Germany in the 20s and 30s. Not to mention the spectacle of one of the best judges in the country dragged through the mud (not of his creation) for partisan political purposes. The whole garish spectacle has become sickening, and must be tamped down, or we will see violence in the streets.

This is all quite literally insane. It threatens the freedom of the United States, and cannot be tolerated. Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence, and we all believe that: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Surely, one does not throw prudence to the wind when things are going well for almost everyone. Only a deluded fool or an ideologue (often the same thing) would even think of such a thing. But that is where the United States is.

Well, in just a few weeks we will have an election, the projections run from a blue wave to a red tide, with the blue wave getting more press (given the press’ bias, that should surprise no one) but even conservative pollsters are warning of such a thing

But Lou’s last paragraph is spot on so it will end my post as well.

It really is a War of the Worlds, between the real world and a fantasy one. Right now, the fantasists are leading. If people vote them into power this November, they will be cutting their own throats.

Aussie breasts spoil Deutsche fest

You guys ready for something a bit lighter? Yeah me too. What we talk about is important, but doom and gloom make Neo a dull boy. It seems that our Aussie cousins (the female ones) don’t wear the German national costume to some Germans’ satisfaction. From The Spectator (Australia).

Franz Thalhammer, 70, a former chairman of Munich’s Georgenstoana Baierbrunn folk group, called out Australian and Italian tourists specifically for sexualizing the uniform.

“A dirndl is something nice, it can make almost anyone pretty. But some of the dresses you see these days are crazy,” he said, Daily Mail reports. “You go in a tent and it’s full of paralytic Australians and Italians and they’ve forked out €250 ($290) for a complete Bavarian outfit and think they’re Bavarians. It’s as if I’d walk around half-naked and say I’m Australian.”

Now, now! Herr Thalhammer, that’s some terrible national stereotyping. Plus, no one wants to see a 70-year old Bavarian folk musician half-naked.

The truth of the matter is that no one can quarantine their culture and protect it from being borrowed, blended, kitsched and misused. And no one should, whether that culture is Indian or German, African or Chinese.

But Oktoberfest is more fun than most, and who can blame the Aussies. In fact, seems like a good reason to go. Beer and half-naked beautiful women, what’s not to like, and even better, they speak English. And the beer is better than that stuff that comes in oil cans. 🙂

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