General Commentary (May be military related) email: Kudzuacres1@juno.com
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
The following is part of a continuing dialog I am having with an old friend. Will and I usually throw ideas out and go from there. He is well to the left of me and probably nicer.
Yes, I do agree that the times were very upsetting (to put it MILDLY!) when the horrible fire bombings occurred in densely populated cites in Germany. Like the old saying goes, "Desperate times call for desperate measures". The Allies used this form of terrorism against non-combatants in an effort to destroy the morale of the Germans, and it produced the worst possible effect on so many lives without making much of a difference in the actual war effort.
Here is where it gets sticky - what is the definition of "terrorism"?
My definition of "terrorism" includes these words:
"The intent to kill or wound any size population of non combatants (to include children, the disabled and the elderly), with little or no intention given to the destruction of any military capability of one's enemy."
The disagreement of what constitutes a good definition of terrorism is puzzling to me - do you have your own definition of "terrorism"?
Cheers - Will
I think that is a good working definition as long as you include irregular troops as military. The leaders of Hamas are as much military as any soldier in the world. They just don't wear uniforms unless you include the PLO headscarf as a uniform
Thanks - I thought my definition seems to cover most of the waterfront, but probably could be improved on a bit.
With this definition, I classify the following acts of war as terrorism:
1. Mongol killing of entire villages (except for one or two people as witnesses) to "pacify" their enemies when taking over other towns and villages
2. German V1 and V2 bombings on England (these acts probably changed the military Rules of Engagement during WWII to expand the legitimate use of terrorism?)
3. Allied fire bombings of German cities during WWII
4. IRA bombings of pubs and other buildings over the last 30 years
5. Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel and the West Bank
6. Dropping of the atom bombs in Japan at the end of WWII
Do you agree with this list (as short as it is) as examples of acts of terrorism?
Cheers - Will
Yes, as you refer to using terrorism below, the JUSTIFICATION for acts of violence/terrorism during war time makes ALL the difference (what Truman did, Bomber Harris etc). I really want to make a case for why terrorism has been used, and who has used it, but I need to lay more ground work here (please humour me?).
Providing further clarification of this important point, I came across the following info regarding US fire bombing of Japanese cities at the end of WWII (at least 100,000 non-combatants unfortunately were killed from these actions, with few or no physical military targets defined for these attacks):
Lt. General James Edmundson on: Firing Bombing Japanese Cities
Q: What did you think about the fire bombing raids that General Curtis LeMay organized over Japanese cities during the last months of the Second World War? How did you feel about being involved in them? JE: I had no compunction about participating in the fire bombing raids...we announced ahead of time...when the fire bombing was coming in. Not for the first ones, but farther down in the program. It would be broadcast to Japan, for instance, that "tonight we are going to bomb five of these ten cities," and [General LeMay] would name ten cities, to give people a chance to get out of them... __________________________________________________
Notice this comment by JE: " ...we announced ahead of time...when the fire bombing was coming in. Not for the first ones, but farther down in the program."
The first fire bombing raids in Japan were unannounced, truly acts of complete terror. Then later we played a game(?) of them, letting the Japanese guess which 5 of 10 cities would get fire bombed with full knowledge that huge numbers of civilians would still be killed or severely injured, Obviously the primary goal was to bring horrific terror into the lives of ordinary Japanese civilians.
Using only the definition for terrorism discussed earlier (without providing an argument as to the justification for committing terrorist acts), it must be concluded that:
1. Acts of terrorism have been committed by armies throughout history
2. Acts of terrorism were committed by Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA during WWII
3. Acts of terrorism were committed by Russia during their war in Afghanistan (other sources claim)
4. Acts of terrorism have been committed by Hammas, Al Queada and suicide bombers in the Middle East
Conclusion: Because so many important countries during the 20th century committed acts of terrorism during times of war, one must conclude that committing terrorism is considered to be an acceptable military tactic by most (if not all) nations and societies today in the 21st century (whether they admit to this fact or not).
Note: Terrorism has been committed not only by barbarians, rouge or fascist states, but also by highly civilized democratic societies during the middle of the 20th century. There doesn't appear to be any "moral high ground" that can be exclusively claimed by almost anyone when it comes to denouncing the use of terrorism to reach strategic military objectives. This is especially the case for the very countries who have used this tactic on a huge scale only about 50 years ago - to say otherwise would surely be hypocritical.
Larry, is there any fault with this logic? And most importantly, if equivalent situations as occurred during WWII were to happen again, would our nation chose a different path than the one taken before that included our committing acts of terrorism? Has basic human nature, the need for retribution and the baser instincts in us really changed all that much in 50 years?
Cheers - Will
I think the problem is until only very recently, what we define as terrorism was an expected part of war. Until recently, people fought wars against those who were different and tended to destroy the other peoples when the chance arose. There was no such thing as mercy. Kill the men and boys, take the women as slaves was the order of the day.
What has happened is we have come to think that there is a "civilized" way to conduct war. I do not believe that such a thing exists. People when threatened do what they think is necessary to survive. My problem is not with the Pals, it is with people who want admit that they and the Israelis are at war.
As far as the US and what we are capable of, I am really concerned about what our response will be to another large attack on US soil. The response to 9-11 was , in my opinion, measured and appropriate. I do not expect to see the same thing after the next attack. There will be an outcry ( led by the Dems in Congress) to do something and the administration will respond.
Remember, those two great Arkansas warriors, Clinton and Clark, carried out what can only be described, by your definition, as terroristic bombings in Serbia in 1998. They bombed civilian facilities such as water and power plants to get Milosevic to step down. Interestingly, it finally worked although we are still there in force and no one is crying about how long it is taking to rebuild that country.
In my opinion, those who use terrorism are fighting a war by the means they have. The response must be to destroy them and their support infrastructure. To do otherwise is to deny you are at war and eventually you lose.
If the Israelis lose, the Arabs will destroy them and there will be a bloodbath on the order of the Holocaust. The UN will do nothing and by that time the US will not be able to do anything because we will be in the same condition as the Israelis-defeated.
Yes, the Israelis and Pals are definitely at war. And yes, bombing vital infrastructure in Serbia were acts of terrorism (maybe children weren’t killed in their beds by raging fires, or on buses going to school, but these were definitely not vital military targets). Destroying the morale of the Serbs in this way probably sped up the end to that war - which was a good thing. Speeding up the end to wars has not been the case when the use of more "classical" types of terrorism are employed (so there must be degrees of terrorism when used as a military tactic?).
The point you make here is one that I totally agree with:
"In my opinion, those who use terrorism are fighting a war by the means they have."
If the tables were turned, I believe the Israeli's would be using terrorism against the Pals, but they have helicopter gun ships and F-16s with sophisticated weapons to attack the Pals with. I find their statements about terrorism to mimic ours - they also sound ridiculous.
The part about how our leaders and the media portray terrorism as evil baffles me - war is evil and always has been. Isn't it disingenuous for us to speak in this way about terrorism and terrorists, as though we are somehow better then they are? We too have been terrorists - duh! I'm sure that much of the rest of the world looks at us as an immature culture that pretends to have the moral high ground - after all, we do provide a huge supply of weapons to the world for purposes of killing and maiming countless thousands of people. We truly are a pompous lot. This must come from our English roots - Ta Ta.
Cheers - Will
I didn't say the Israelis would be different. I just have a problem with the whining in the media about the poor Pals and how they are justified in hating the Israelis. Apparently the other Arabs don't think too highly of them either, or else they could have been resettled by now. After all, 56 years have passed since the partition in 1947. Many Israelis as well as Americans, realize there is a war going on. It has been going on for at least 30 years and it is designed to destroy the West. For most of those years, only the Israelis fought back. IN the US, we treated terrorists as a police problem, not as military targets.
As far as the Serbs, I am still trying to figure out how Kosovo was vital to American interests and we could go to war there but Iraq wasn't vital. Kosovo, by the way, was a pre-emptive war since none of the attackers had been attacked by Serbia nor were they likely to be and Kosovo was an undisputed territory of Serbia. I guess that is okay for all of my neighbors to attack me but wrong for just a few of them to do so.
In my opinion, the Dems attack on Bush concerning Iraq is without merit, designed to get them back in power and will backfire when the whole story on WMD emerges.
Let me pose a question. You know Eric Rudolph? Suppose he had been discovered holed up in a house with other people. Should the government use force to capture him even if it means that "innocents" may be harmed or killed?
Change the name to David Koresh?
Seems to me that leftists change the rules according to the politics of the "freedom fighter".
By the way, have you noticed that the US Military seems to be inundated with traitorous Moslems? How many Moslems do you imagine were stationed at Camp X-Ray, yet two have been accused of espionage? I have a long time Moslem friend who lost his security clearance a couple of years ago through what I think is ethnic bias. I have been trying to help him get it back. At the same time, I think it is a crock that we are overlooking obvious threats.
A few weeks back, I flew to Florida. I watched airport security pull old women out for checks and never one of the young Middle Eastern males. Don't tell me we are discriminating against Moslems.
Monday, September 22, 2003
A weekend worthy of Mr. Possum. Friday, I drove to Meridianville and borrowed a friend;s Dodge pickup, then on to Fayetteville, TN for a car trailer and then back Huntsville. The Dodge is a really big truck with a Cummings Diesel, four wheel drive, extended cab and long bed. I estimate it at about 25 feet total which is a lot of truck.
Saturday, up early, off to my brother's to get a winch and some heavy duty tiedowns then over to the farm to load my car. First I had to pump up the tires and get the car out of the barn. I found that a cable from the car to the trailer hitch on the truck tied the two together real well and low range, four wheel drive worked good to yank the car out of the barn. Took a couple of hours to get it loaded and it was getting hot by then.
Oh, while this was going on, I had to learn to back the trailer since I had to back up my driveway at home to unload the car. After the car was loaded, I sold my Mother-in-law's pickup, loaded some furniture she is giving my son, helped move some boxes my wife had packed and drove back home, getting back about twelve hours after I left. Backed the trailer into the driveway in one pass and stopped about a foot from my shop door. Nothing like a big cow pasture to practice backing in. Backing a trailer is something that you need to do fairly often or you lose the touch.
Sunday after Church, a friend and I managed to unload the car from the trailer. It was trick since it doesn't run, doesn't roll too good and the driveway is up hill. We ended up unhitching the trailer, blocking the wheels and lifting the front with my engine hoist until the car rolled off. It stopped dead where it dropped off the trailer. Now I have to figure out how to get it into the shop.
After I got the car off, I took the trailer back to Tennessee, the pickup back to my friend, came home and got my brother's tools and took them back to him. Got home at eight last night.
I drove 400 miles and didn't go anywhere.