Posted in moral philosophy, tagged Benny Thomas, cause and effect, collateral damage, fallen state, l'affaire Dreyfus, moral compass, moral imperative, Napoleon, no man's land, waterloo on November 4, 2015|
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In the previous post we discussed about no-man’s land where old rivalries and unfinished business of history are filed away. For anyone who studies history it shall become apparent no war has ever finished with a clean cut. A battle would require some ten thousand little skirmishes which may not catch the headlines. In the ignominious defeat of France in June.1940 lay the devil-seeds of the unsettled business of 1793-94 coming to fruition. The nation that set out to bury the Bourbon dynasty will grovel themselves before imperialist ambitions of Napoleons. Having lost the moral compass what do such genuflections mean? Some glory! some shameless antics!
Napoleon had lost the battle of Waterloo even before it was waged. Napoleon Bonaparte who assumed the title of the emperor of France showed by a series of victories he was worthy to be included among the immortals such as Alexander and Julius Caesar. His brilliant victories created such a condition he could not have sat idle with such a powerful army battle hardened and disciplined under his command. Thus he was caught in the crest of a wave that took him to his Russian campaign. Disaster was the result. What went wrong? Napoleon was weighed in the balance of humanity and was found wanting. Like the king in the book of Daniel.
Morality of man is not without reason compared to a compass. It covers the entire spectrum of man’s conduct through time and place. When Napoleon’s humanity,- and it can only be judged in his interaction with others, there was a serious problem. His ambition did not see people as people but as means to aggrandize himself. (Same mentality can be seen in the manner the French Army threw Captain Dreyfus to ignominy in order to protect its avaunted ‘gloire.’) This moral fault is worse than blindness. Your soul is affected. Physical blindness robs you of vision but leaves the harmony of celestial spheres in tact. It paints in fact colors that the world with its lurid colors can never match. Moral blindness is terrible. It makes you miss your place in the moral compass. You look at it and whatever you see there is anything other than your own humanity. It is almost a hell you have created even before you gave up your ghost, to use the expression in the Bible.
Each of us is like man with one foot in the sticky mess of morass of our own making. On a moral plane our culpability is that of being part of humanity. ‘No man is an island’ as Donne said it famously. This is collateral damages we need accept on a moral plane. In terms of Christian theology we need see it also refers to our fallen state.
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Posted in war, tagged abstraction, Benny Thomas, Cluster principle, collateral damage, economic sanctions, low tech vs hi-tech, Russia, technology, Ukraine on May 6, 2014|
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Some 70,000 Iraqis died as an indirect consequence of the 1991 war in the Persian Gulf and a Harvard University study determined that another 100,000 people, mostly children died in the following year.This high incidence of infant mortality was caused by economic blockade against Iraq.
When questioned about civilian casualties General Tommy Franks seems to have said, “We don’t do body counts.” When war goes hi-tech civilian death becomes an abstraction. In the evolution of war we see in Ancient Greece the concept of glory held certain personal ability, courage and character essential for challenging man in eyeball to eyeball confrontation. In this combat dying constituted glory for soldiers. No wonder we read of Alexander of Macedon hurling himself into the thick of battle to set an example for his men.
In the First World War heavy casualties of men in the trenches was so high both Germany and France shrank from such a strategy. Technology of co-ordinated attacks using armored tanks and infantry moving quickly with air power to pulverize anything that stood in the way. Blitzkreig showed technology very useful.
In our century technology of warfare is such it is more hi-tech versus low tech. It is same story of rifles against bow and arrows that determined in the Americas. Colonialism was ushered in with the help of technology. In these days war would mean imposition of a culture with claims to ‘liberal and democratic’ values over another less endowed culture and belief-systems. For this purpose human casualties are merely an abstraction.
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The plume from Fukushima nuclear pant became alarmingly dense and lethal. The Ancient of the Days was in council and He had 5 nano sceonds to decide. The angel representing Japan kowtowed before God and said,’ Don’t let it fall on Japan. Already they had been hurt in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.To afflict them once again would be double jeopardy and illegal.’
‘It’s true.’God was sure that Japan should be spared from it.
One angel who acted as the devil’s disciple said,’ But nuclear leak creates a cloud and it must break on somewhere.’
God created a tornado out of it. Instantly the angel representing the USA complained, ‘ No Lord,’ said he,’ our land has become a dustbowl already. Send it somewhere else.’
God thought and said, ‘Great.’ He converted all that pestilential nuclear cloud into rain and it had to go somewhere.
The Council quickly concluded:’There must be someone who cannot resist a bargain and shall do anything to get it all free’.
Meanwhile on the earth a man suddenly woke up and said ‘Free!’
Much of the day he thought over it and went to a giant tree and cut it down. Sure enough he found a hoard of gold coins. Hauling it home he went into business.
‘Goldstein & Co, Bankers.The Corporate heads were from all across the globe. Isidor the President and his CEO a Turk knew they held all the aces.
There was a credit crunch going on. And the gold held by the Banking house was like water from a bottomless well. The Bank was sure that they could charge interest as high as he could go. They specialized in financing wars wherever it occurred across the globe. People saw how lavishly the bankers lived and none asked their source. None drew a parallel with the countries and the money they had at their disposal to decimate the population before time. No country ever thought of peace but money and power that war brought to it.
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‘The war in Afghanistan is in danger of becoming a forgotten conflict because of events in Libya and across the Middle East, David Miliband has warned.
The former foreign secretary told the BBC more effort was needed to find a political solution before British and US troops are withdrawn in 2014’.(April,13-BBC news.uk)
How forgotten a war could be? I wanted to find out answer to this myself. So I unearthed the address of my schoolmates, the Ghazni brothers, who came in the eighties to do Engineering. They had scholarship and were in affluent circumstances. Their bulging wallet made all the boys root for them. Moe the Gregarious never lacked friends. Unlike Mohammed, his twin brother Ummer the Moaner just brought motherly instincts out of any girl. Ummer had his harem of weepers who comforted the fatherless boy while Moe threw money around despite a terrible tragedy.
Under occupation he lost many of his relatives. His father and his grandfather were lined up against a mud wall by the Soviet Army for retaliation. They were picked at random and shot. As sop to the outrage the Americans sent many helter-skelter on special grants to study. The twins were beneficiaries of that impersonal windfall. Moe celebrated life in honor of the dead. Ummer felt the loss of his dear ones with all the intensity his sensitive nature could bear. They both felt their loss last time I met them at the turnstile of our adult lives. Ten years ago they had moved over to their hometown in order to add their expertise for the village once again under seige. Five years ago Moe was killed by Taliban because he refused to be cowed down. He despite threats sent his daughter to College and for it he was executed with a bullet at close range. Ummer lost his family impersonally by a drone attack. They were on their way to attend a wedding. It was all a mistake, the news said so. I could get Ummer and asked if the Afghan War was a forgotten war. ‘How can I ever forget the death of my brother, my right hand? How can I forget loss of my wife. My heart is ripped apart?’ Later he said,’ I am part of a growing army of dead,-and the dead never changes opinions’.
For once he was dry eyed and said in the end,’The dead can only think of what made them dead’. No war can be forgotten by those who are in the line of fire. Thinking it over Ummer had run out of tears and it must yet rankle deep within.
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