Thoughts on Armistice Day (Veterans Day)

in FreeSpeech3 months ago (edited)

New York Times 11-11-1918

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...I loathe war, not only for its pain and misery and life wastage, but for its enthronement of the second-rate-in men, standards, and ideals.

James Hilton

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A Brief History Lesson

European governments were a morass of inbreeding and rivalry, resulting in a tangle of alliances and treaties in the early 20th century despite the appearances of peace, growing prosperity, and increasing freedom.

On June 28th, 1914, a Bosnian nationalist shot the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The aftermath of this assassination led to war which raged across Europe for four years as rulers sent their subjects to kill and die in droves.

Taxes, inflation, and shortages were inflicted on everyone back home while waste and destruction reigned on the front. Despite the possibilities hinted by the Christmas Truce, the "war to end all wars" continued to stagnate into trench lines with artillery, poison gas, and senseless charges into machine gun emplacements as men and machines were ground down.

Finally, after all that bloodshed, an armistice was declared for the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The victors pinned the blame on Germany and held that country hostage with mines in the seaways until they knuckled under, setting the stage for Evil Mustache Man to kick off the sequel in two decades.

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Suicide In The Trenches

by Siegfried Sassoon, circa 1917

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

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I am fascinated by the advancements in technology during World War I, particularly in firearms, and aircraft, but the surrounding circumstances deeply anger and sadden me. So much waste and destruction, to say nothing of lives lost, all in the pursuit of political ambitions of an aristocratic class of plunderers. Men who had no quarrels were given rifles and sent to fight anyway.

Lies and half-truths dominated, and still dominate, discussion of the topic. Great Britain waged a massive propaganda campaign to bring neutral nations into the war on their side while suppressing inconvenient facts. The Lusitania was using passengers as human shields while transporting munitions. Woodrow Wilson ran for re-election on a platform including neutrality, and then promptly went to war after his victory.

None of this is who say the Central Powers were justified or innocent victims, but as the old saying goes, truth is always the first casualty in war. Despite the purported protection of the First Amendment, men were imprisoned in America for speaking out against militarism once their self-professed betters determined a course of carnage.

In the USA of today, Armistice Day has been transformed from commemorating the end of a bloody conflict to a civil religious "Veterans Day" holiday where past and present government enforcers are lionized. In the Europe of today, Russia is waging war in Ukraine, and agitators want to embroil the rest of the continent plus Europe and Asia in this conflict. Such belligerent nationalism may be the doom of us all in the nuclear age.

I thought I wrote about this more before, but I only found one post using the search tool. The death god of the State is insatiable. Mars still receives sacrifices. Refusal to worship at that altar is still condemned. Why not advocate peace for a change. Stop generating new generations of veterans. Address the real problems of PTSD and suicide instead of waving flags and celebrating militarism while calling for more war.

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Thanks for posting some thoughts, once again, within the Free Speech Community @jacobtothe.

I'm an old Vet and had a grandfather who fought in that first world war, mentioned. He came home with the pain of shrapnel buried within various parts of his body. A greater pain - less obvious - was not of the flesh. Those wounds laid hidden behind sad eyes... never celebratory...

There are a few types of people who are gung-ho for war. As far as I can tell, that is

  1. People who have never actually experienced life-or-death situations, and instead have a wholly fictionalized idea of combat.

  2. People who were in rear echelon duties who think they missed out on something heroic thanks to military culture.

  3. Politicians and other psychopaths, although the former tend to scrupulously avoid placing themselves in any real danger.

People who actually experienced combat don't tend to talk about it, and older generations especially tend to bottle up the trauma.

A quite accurate assessment. The horrific injuries seen/experienced under wartime conditions certainly affects the human psych obtuse to that in which Hollywood movies depict.

Your second point, are people often found in leadership positions of such organizations like VFW and the like. In many cases, they were cooks, clerks, supply personnel, etc. There are numerous rank members who join these orgs. for entirely different reasons though.

Thirdly, you're right on target regarding politicians, many who display various degrees of psychopathy.

Enjoy your day.

Still reckon the "self-professed betters" should lead by example or shut their stupid faces.