13 November 2010

War


Over the last few years Dr Grumble hasn't had the opportunity to buy a poppy. So this year Dr Grumble gave much more than he might otherwise have given and was offered a silver poppy. What a silver poppy looks like he never found out. Grumble settled for the usual paper version.

  • You can support the victims of war without supporting the wars they had to fight in
  • You can remember the consequences of conflicts without glorifying war

  • You can condemn the politicians who created wars without forgetting those that did their dirty work

11 comments:

Sam said...

Hear, hear Dr G, you explained it a lot better than me ... but I hope we support the 'victims' of war from everywhere regardless of whichever side they were on. All who fell or were injured physically and mentally and those grieving for them too... that will be when we will learn lessons and learn that war 'is not the answer'.

Thank you

:-)

Dr Grumble said...

Agreed, Sam. We should remember the dead of both sides.

One of the things that grieves me about the Iraq war is the tactics that were used. The place was blown to smithereens in order to minimised deaths on our side. It seems a laudable aim but vast numbers of innocent human lives were lost as a result and the infrastructure of Iraq was decimated. The result was to cause a worse breakdown of law and order than might otherwise have been the case and, as it turned out, the continuing loss of innocent life and maiming on both sides as well as ongoing misery for the people of Iraq.

We shall not forget the dead. And I shall not forget those few individuals in positions of great power who must now take responsibility for their bad decisions. These evil leaders have been around since the dawn of our history. It may be wars are sometimes inevitable. But the key lesson of history is surely that many wars could and should have been avoided, many wars could and should have been fought without such great loss of life and that those leaders responsible for such appalling carnage on unimaginable scales could and should be vilified.

This does not mean that we do not remember and respect all innocent victims of war. This point is important because I think bad leaders avoid condemnation because people think criticising war decisions is disrespectful to the dead and wounded. My own feeling is that we owe it to the victims of war.

Sam said...

There is a war poem that I used to like but can no longer remember, so I went searching in Google. Never found it, but found this one; written by an American student in 2009:

"Another cold stare into the night.
He had honor,
Now dead in the sand.
No one to keep his body warm,
But the red, lifeless sand.
Where is the honor?
All I see is blood.
All I see,
is war.
I ask not for peace;
I ask for war as a last resort.
I ask for war when peace has been tried a thousand times.
For a thousand rejections are better than the pain of losing one Human being.
Not an American, not a Taliban.
But simply to avoid the cold black stare.
Fight not with honor, but with justice.
Fight not with a sword, but with compassion.
Speak not to your ally, but listen to your enemy.
These are the words which will fall upon deaf ears
As men and women around the world pour their blood into the sand.
Never to be held again,
Never to be cherished.
Wasted---in the name of what?
All I see now is a cold black stare."

Jordan B. Hodgson
2009

I thought it was more appropriate to post it here rather than on your new post.

Simon said...

War is never pretty
War is hardly Glorious
And no one really ever wins.

But that does not mean we should not support those service men and women who put their lives at risk, so that we may have a safe life. It does not matter if the current conflictsmeet those aims in our opinion, they are carrying out the wishes of our government, if we disagree with those wishes we should inform the government and not have a go at our service personel.

Dr Aust said...

Agreed on all counts, Dr G, and with your reply to Sam.

The only thing about Remembrance Day that sometimes gets up my nose a bit is the politicians and tabloid editors lining up to try and be holier-than-thou about the whole thing, and the media circus if anyone is seen to be "out of step" - remember poor old Michael Foot and his car coat. Too many politicians who have given the orders use Nov 11th - and the respect people rightly feel for the forces folk doing a perilous job on our behalf - as a kind of retrospective absolution for their own deeds. You can probably guess who in particular I am thinking of.

Sam said...

On another point Dr G ...

what has Imperial College's opening a 'Medical School' to train doctors to care for the sick in Singapore got to do with a British writers's '6 week' predicament following his open critique of Singapore's record on capital punishment and whether same is applied fairly or not?

... I am assuming that there must be a relation since they both appear together on your shared list?

Dr Grumble said...

The newspapers used to put stories alonside each other to make a point they were not allowed to make. Perhaps they still do.

In this case there is no real connection. Just two things about Singapore in the news one of which is topical and the other medical. I happen to be very uncomfortable about the death penalty which is why I juxtaposed the two stories.

Sam said...

"I happen to be very uncomfortable about the death penalty"

Sure, and I respect that, although I may not be in agreement in 'some' notorious cases where there is proof beyond 'any' doubt.

That said, I wouldn't like to live with the Taliban, for example, because of how they treat women as second class. But, that doesn't mean that if I was there for any reason, which I have never been, that I can openly criticise the way they live their lives simply because 'I' don't approve! You either abide by the rules or just do not go [When in Rome ...]

I think this writer was wrong to so openly criticise their judicial system in Singapore. And, ironically, while he got away himself on six weeks imprisonment, a local may have been hung on those robes for that very same offence! Food for thought ...

There are international organisations, like Amnesty, for this type of work and it is not up to foreign individuals to take over!

Dr Grumble said...

If somebody thinks they perceive an injustice I don't see why they shouldn't point it out wherever it happens in the world. You could argue that they have a duty to point it out.

Amnesty International relies a lot on foreign individuals writing letters. I have written a few myself. What's wrong with that? You cannot ignore the plight of fellow human beings just because they live in another country.

Sam said...

When did I say 'ignore'?!


And how about him getting away with 6 weeks in jail, while a local could've been hung for the same offence?

What message does that send to the locals? ... and make them feel too!

And it is not the same you writing a few letters for Amnesty while you are 'here' Dr G, very different from being on foreign soil, criticise then, when they react, very mildly in this case, one cries wolf!

I think this writer was very lucky. Luck would not have been in such abundance had he been a local or of another non EU or US nationality! Precicely the point this writer was making, while at the same time being fully aware his passport will get him off lightly if he gets in trouble! ... hypocracy?

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