Author Topic: An historical snippet that keeps popping into my head.  (Read 107 times)

jumbojak

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An historical snippet that keeps popping into my head.
« on: July 16, 2017, 07:21:42 PM »
Sort of a cross between history, politics, and what's on my mind. I thought it best to leave this here as it's a passage that will likely stay with me for the rest of my life. I'm sure the same thing has happened many times for and since. Callous politicians enabling indifferent individuals to do their dirty work until something doesn't fit with "the plan" as they see it.

From Bush War Operator by Andrew Balaam:
Quote
Our short period of peace and quiet came to an abrupt end. The heavens opened and down came the politicians, from both South Africa and the Transkei, closely followed by the heavies from the Transkeian army and the South African security police, all jumping up and down, all frothing at the mouth. Our little training camp was as busy as a shopping centre on Christmas Eve.

“YOU HAVE CAUSED AN INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT!” they all shouted.

I was confused. What did they think sending an armed group or two of so-called freedom fighters into an innocent neighbour’s territory was? Offering a helping hand maybe? Of course it was an international incident: what was the matter with them. But it appeared I was missing the point.

The armed groups, the landmines, the destroyed trucks, the dead people, were not the problem. We could carry on killing people, blowing up trucks, planting landmines for as long as we wanted. But under no circumstances were we to take cattle from the Royal Herds of Lesotho! To steal cattle from the good old locals was fine, but the Royal Herds – definitely not! I sat there and stared at them in disbelief; I could not believe my ears: here were my bosses condoning all the acts of terror carried out by the various groups against a by-and-large innocent civilian population, but throwing their toys out of the cot over a few head of cattle! God help them, I thought. The hypocrites had more blood on their hands than I ever would.

After the delegation had left in their big, shiny cars, acting as if they had just averted the Third World War, I spoke to Major Bob to find out the finer details of what had happened. According to what he had been told, John’s group had killed the herder looking after the cattle which, according to Major Bob, did not seem to bother anybody too much: it was all about the cattle and the fact that they had been tracked to the South African border. It is important to mention that Lesotho did not recognize the Transkei as an independent country, so, as far as they were concerned, the transgression was committed by South Africa. Hence, an official complaint was presented to the South African embassy in Lesotho, causing the floodgates to open.

I just can't wrap my head around looking at the world that way. Killing people!e being fine but stealing cattle is a bridge too far.
 

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Gloucester

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Re: An historical snippet that keeps popping into my head.
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 09:10:13 PM »
Basically all politicians are shit-heads.
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Re: An historical snippet that keeps popping into my head.
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2017, 10:47:32 PM »
I saw this thing on CNN called "The Ninties" while I was at the gym. And it surprised me to find out the Bill Clinton organised NATO to kill innocent people while showing they're treating them nicely on the news. CNN put it that they would give them candy and smile on camera with them but as soon as cameras were off, they executed them.
But, uh...well there it is.
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Re: An historical snippet that keeps popping into my head.
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 02:50:59 AM »
I saw this thing on CNN called "The Ninties" while I was at the gym. And it surprised me to find out the Bill Clinton organised NATO to kill innocent people while showing they're treating them nicely on the news. CNN put it that they would give them candy and smile on camera with them but as soon as cameras were off, they executed them.

That sounds more like what partisan groups did during the fighting in the Balkans. There are verified incidents of NATO bombing killing civilians during that conflict, but I question the accuracy of what you say about how "Bill Clinton organised NATO to kill innocent people."
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Gloucester

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Re: An historical snippet that keeps popping into my head.
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 04:17:24 AM »
I saw this thing on CNN called "The Ninties" while I was at the gym. And it surprised me to find out the Bill Clinton organised NATO to kill innocent people while showing they're treating them nicely on the news. CNN put it that they would give them candy and smile on camera with them but as soon as cameras were off, they executed them.

That sounds more like what partisan groups did during the fighting in the Balkans. There are verified incidents of NATO bombing killing civilians during that conflict, but I question the accuracy of what you say about how "Bill Clinton organised NATO to kill innocent people."

In warfare everyone is in danger, especially if there are small groups of fighters, friendly or enemy, infiltrating civilian areas. This kind of "distributed" warfare could be a response to the attempts at surgical strikes via cruise missiles, drones or laser guided weapons. If you have an HQ, a "Command and Control Centre" remote from residential areas one hit can take it out and a near miss does little "colateral damage".  So embed it over a square mile in the town - plenty of cheap-one-time-use phones and walky-talkies on the market.

But this is not Jj's point I think, his is the desired "deniability" of grey to black ops, probably with a less than precise brief. And if given to a less than 100% trained and disciplined militia or mercinary group (lot of those around in Africs, then and now) then rules slide. Kill a few extra local humans, so what? Offend the local bigwig by shooting his cows - almost a war crime!
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jumbojak

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Re: An historical snippet that keeps popping into my head.
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 09:03:25 AM »
Exactly Gloucester, they probably wouldn't have cared about the cows if a complaint hadn't been lodged. Heck, a complaint probably wouldn't have been lodged if the politicians had provided food. There was a limitless supply of ammunition and weapons for training and operations but almost no food and absolutely no clothing provided.

They insisted that these men launch attacks in the middle of winter with nothing but rags wrapped around their feet, no jackets, and tattered shirts and pants. I guess that when they were successful the politicians decision was vindicated. If frostbite can be treated why worry about boots?
 

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Re: An historical snippet that keeps popping into my head.
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 01:20:14 PM »
Let’s face it human kind is garbage…don’t know if we’ve always’s have been this way, maybe back in the beginning we were decent to each other, possibly too busy trying to stay alive to fuck with each other too much, but I don’t have much faith in our chances of surviving very long as a species.

We’ve learned nothing from the past, and are doomed sooner or later to repeat it. The massive loss of life during the last world war, not to mention the global genocide that took place after for years and years has done nothing to raise our collective consciousness at all.

I can still remember my Father, who was a veteran of WWII telling me this very thing, that hundreds of millions who died during WWII will mean nothing to later generations, especially now that we have the bomb (Advanced Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare)

Prominent scientist like Fenner and Hawkings give us less than 100 more years before we go extinct, whether from climate damage, or nuclear war. Hawking’s when asked which human shortcoming would you most like to alter responded, "The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all,”

Of course a major nuclear war will likely end civilization, which is what I predict and it will probably wipe out the human race.

Hawking when asked which human quality he would most like to magnify he chose empathy, because "it brings us together in a peaceful, loving state.”

I don’t see us doing that, so we are doomed I think, it’s sad, but there’s really nothing any of us can do about it, not when the governments and politicians control the nuclear weapons, and we keep making and developing more. Can we trust people like Trump, Kim Jung-Un or some crazy religious group not to start a nuclear war (Crazy religious group could be ISIS or some similar band of Islamic terrorist or simply the Republican Party)?

I personally give us about one percent chance to survive, one fucking percent…might be the best thing anyway, I mean if there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe that is thriving and living peacefully do we really want to chance letting ourselves loose on the rest of the universe?

We kill, we destroy, we devastate with hardly a conscience at all, it's easy really. If it wasn't we wouldn't have wars so often, we wouldn't waste lives with such impunity, without any fear of consequences whatsoever.

You point a gun and shoot, you throw a grenade and watch it tear peoples limbs and bodies apart and so you rationalize better them than me, they deserve it, they are the enemy and deserve death. You have to rationalize it this way you know, there is no other way to be utterly brutal, to be a down and nasty killing machine...once you do this than there are no consequences at all, whether you are on the battlefield or not, whether you are the politician issuing the orders or the soldier pulling the trigger, or the silo commander releasing the bombs.

As long as we hold that to be true, that some of us deserve death, that killing can be rewarding there is nothing at all to hope for us as a species.


We've embrace this culture of death, we actually enshrine it, and award it as a virtue...when it's actually the least noblest of anything we've ever done, because we're killers, the real Shiva incarnate; except it's not one individual man who has become the destroyer like Oppenheimer said, it's all of us.

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Gloucester

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Re: An historical snippet that keeps popping into my head.
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 01:38:02 PM »
Exactly Gloucester, they probably wouldn't have cared about the cows if a complaint hadn't been lodged. Heck, a complaint probably wouldn't have been lodged if the politicians had provided food. There was a limitless supply of ammunition and weapons for training and operations but almost no food and absolutely no clothing provided.

They insisted that these men launch attacks in the middle of winter with nothing but rags wrapped around their feet, no jackets, and tattered shirts and pants. I guess that when they were successful the politicians decision was vindicated. If frostbite can be treated why worry about boots?

You have to think about the traditional attitude to livestock, in parts Africa cows are almost sacred; they are currency, provide food and milk, fuel fir fires, leather for clothing, boat making and other uses. An extreme of this is the Dinka people of Sudan and the Nile basin. Their cattle are signs of their personal wealth and worth and almost family members.

In most places to kill a cow is a personal insult. And these places are not exactly democracies, the cow could be worth several farm labourers to the owner's sense of self-esteem amongst his peers. Doesn't make it right but in terms of politics - well, you know my opinion of politics and politicians.

Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.