Remembrance Day Thoughts

by Frost on November 10, 2011

I just realized that, coincidentally, the post I scheduled for Remembrance Day contains a paragraph or two that some might interpret as disrespectful towards soldiers. So I’d like to preface it with this post.

Why do we have a Remembrance Day in the first place? Why do we care to honour fallen soldiers but not tuberculosis victims or down-drafted hang-gliders?

The reason is that a healthy society makes a point of rewarding the noble and self-sacrificing with respect and esteem. Soldiers, particularly those who fought in the real wars of earlier generations, exposed themselves to what we would regard as an insanely high risk of death and dismemberment, for only modest financial rewards. They lied about their age and elbowed each other out of the way for a chance to die in muddy trenches on the other side of the world, fighting enemies that hadn’t done anything to them or anyone they cared about. This is a sense of duty and sacrifice that men in my generation can’t even fathom. I have many positive feelings about my country, but I can confidently say I would not climb up a ladder without a spotter for it. Defending my family, friends and property in the event of an actual invasion is a different story. But fighting on another continent because the elites of my country got in a pissing match with the elites of another? Not a chance.

Today for example, I have zero desire to have anything to do with… whatever it is we’re doing… in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are wars with no goals, no strategy, and no end game. I’m sorry if you’re serving, and this offends you. I admire your motives, and I wish you a safe return. But you are fighting a pointless war.

The wars of the late 20th century – Korea and Vietnam – were, in my opinion, good and just. Worth the price we paid? I won’t play the historical counterfactual game here. But as I say, it’s pretty hard to do wrong when you’re shooting at communists.

The two World Wars are trickier.

WWI is contemporarily regarded as a great mistake, an outbreak of excessive enthusiasm, a grand misunderstanding in which both sides made their own errors of judgement. Not the greatest moment in our history perhaps, but certainly no great dishonour. And of course the men who served under their commanding officers imperfect orders were of the highest caliber.

In other words, we are taught about WWI in the same tone that modern-day Nazis would learn about the Holocaust, had they emerged victorious.

Personally, the more I learn about The Great War, the sicker I feel having anything to do with the celebration of any aspect of it.World War I was far worse than ‘pointless’ as it is often described. It was the war that destroyed western civilization, at the cost of a generation of its best men, and fault for it lies squarely at the feet of a political coalition, the perverse and decayed bastard mutation of which bestrides the world today.

World War Two is more complex. The Nazis were evil, and we fought them. But is that enough to make us righteous? Especially considering we fought side-by-side with the greater evil of Russia under Stalin? And it’s not like our hands are clean in the whole ordeal either. We didn’t fight World War II to save the Jews from the holocaust. We didn’t know about it, and to the extent that we did, we didn’t care, judging by our refusal to accept Jewish refugees. So we fought Hitler – the majority of whose crimes we weren’t aware of – so we could divide Germany up between our own empire, and that of a man who we knew had slaughtered millions.

So my feelings on Remembrance Day are complex. Both my Grandfather and Grandmother are career Air Force, the latter at one point being among the highest-ranked women in uniform in the service. I’m desperately hoping my cousin doesn’t finish his training until all our troops are called back home. And regardless of what I think of the goals and outcomes of the wars we’ve fought over the past century, I have great respect for the motives, courage, and strength that our soldiers must possess. In a country of paper-shufflers, Wall-street occupiers, and Warcraft-addicts, the armed forces contain some of the best men around.

I will take a minute today to remember those who have fallen, and I will do the living a small favour, by writing this post in the hopes that it convinces a few others to withdraw their support from an elite that has no problem watching our soldiers die for their own pet political projects.

Happy Remembrance Day!

*

Interested in more of this historical/political stuff?

Read Unqualified Reservations, the single greatest source of history and political philosophy written by anyone alive today, and check out Dennis Mangan, Foseti, Chariot of Reaction, and the newspaper columns of David Warren. Also, follow Kalim Kassam on Twitter, and harass him until he starts a blog of his own. If you want to dive right in to some pre-20th century reactionary literature, here’s your library. If you need the structure of a directed readings course, start here. The Red Pill isn’t just about getting laid, you know.

In any case, we’ll return to your regularly scheduled programming of bitches and cheese tomorrow morning.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kalim Kassam November 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Thanks Frost, I appreciate the recommendation and fulsomely second all your others.

NomadicNeill November 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Yeah, I think Vietnam was just as pointless as the rest. The Vietnamese just wanted to get rid of the French and the Communists were the guys who stepped in to do that.

Now the country is about as Communist as China. Definitely worth visiting when you’re in the neighbourhood.

Anna November 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Wear a poppy with pride……honestly?
Remember the lives which we saved and helped, or remember the lives we destroyed.
Good or evil nothing deserves to me destroyed. We destroyed their families their lives of their children. We made them poorer we killed their honour. We are the fault of their defeat.
Do you like to think about the ‘heroes’ who ‘saved’ our lives? Or do you like to think about the war headed men who killed others and destroyed their lives and families. Think about their children for once and not ours. Think how they see this day.
I can honestly say I disagree with Remembrance Day, I know that sounds wrong, but I do. I don’t like how we can spare a day each year to remember a brutal happening which destroyed many lives and scared many others. We seem to be the only ones who like to remember death when happened in horrible ways. I can understand if we had a remembrance day for an achievement of independence or a over powering of a leader, but why do we honestly remember a brutal happening.
Do you enjoy their deaths? Do you think it’s a good thing we destroyed peoples lives and futures?
Think about the questions and reflect. Do you honestly see a valid reason to remember?

davver November 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Korea ok, Vietnam bad.

I’d back up what Chad Daring said. Back in the yesteryear when WoW first came out and I played it in college it was very popular with former military. In fact they tend to be the highest “performers” in the game. WoWs reward system is very well structured, like the military. Running a guild and doing a raid is like being in the military. Guilds are organized as hierarchical command structures where you have few rights and have to do things repeatedly, like the military.

I’ve always joked that the reason people like MMOs is that there is a clear link between doing what your supposed to do and getting the reward. In the real world, its much messier. Its not suprise that people escape into a world where things are the way we say they should be in the real world, but aren’t.

Chad Daring November 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Fun fact, jarheads love WoW. I was in a USMC guild during my time as a Warcraft player. By far some of the coolest people its been my privilege to interact with.

Ted November 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I’m also a bit curious about why Korea and Vietnam are ok, but not the rest. Our entrances into World War II and Afghanistan can be directly tied to attacks on US soil. No argument on Iraq, nor the subsequent aimless of our leaders in Afghanistan since the invasion. Korea and Vietnam were the largest of a bunch of proxy wars, the ultimate in pissing contests between elites. So I’m having a hard time drawing the same conclusions from your own base assumptions.

Rob November 11, 2011 at 8:33 am

If you disapprove of the current wars because they are goalless and have no end game, I wonder how you can consider Vietnam to be good and just when that conflict also had no goal or endgame? If you think all communists were created equal (that’s your implication), you definitely need to do more reading. You’ve heard of the domino theory, I assume?

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