Armistice Day – reflections by one reader

Instead of trotting out the Armistice Day story again, a story at the end of this link well worth reading by the way, I was sent a piece by one of the [more or less] regular readers at this site, The Underdoug and I asked if I could use it on my Remembrance Day post.

Doug:

I was struck this Remembrance Sunday by people talking of the sacrifice of the armed forces over the past century (and perhaps even further back). I’ve been pondering what those soldiers thought they were giving up their lives for. In WW1, there was no conscription at first, just the wonders of peer pressure on volunteering, and perhaps intriguingly, the knowledge that one got better training if one volunteered early, rather than the hurried crash courses given to later conscripts.

In WW2, conscription occurred right from the start. In the first volume of Spike Milligan’s autobiography, (Hitler, My part in his downfall), the author describes the interrogation he receives from his superior officers to be for apparently arriving tardily at his barracks after being called up. Introducing himself, he adds that he has ‘come to fight for [his] King’, provoking derision from his interrogators.

Whether this story is embellished or not, I feel quite sure that the cynical regard for the sentiment expressed by Milligan was true. Some soldiers truly felt that they were fighting for their country, many fighting to protect the future of their loved ones. Soldiers as brothers in arms would give (perhaps not always willingly, but if no-one else would pay the price, they would pay it) their lives to protect their comrades.

As brothers in arms, they might be reduced to the lowest common denominator of motivation – just simply surviving with their comrades. But I wonder, how many thought, how many had the slightest inkling, that they were protecting ‘them’, enriching ‘them’? Sure, the average soldier probably had a good idea that the firing of ammunition enriched those who manufactured and traded such weaponry, but how many thought that the suppliers of both sides were indirectly linked (the Bush family, anyone)?

That wars could be started and prosecuted with the ultimate aim of enriching arms manufacturers and their associates?

Maybe such machinations have been going on for centuries. Perhaps with the invention of central banking a way was found to confiscate the wealth deriving from the economic productivity of the masses.

Maybe the trick of using inflation for such a purpose was understood and foreseen. And thus was a modus operandi, the circle of li(f)e formulated. Economic productivity allows the masses to generate wealth, with an increasing proportion of that wealth residing with the masses. Taxes can’t be used to confiscate it since excessive taxation results in a disincentive to create the wealth in the first place. To avoid killing the goose that lays the golden egg, one first scares the bejeesus out of it.

With its attention thus occupied, it is less likely to notice 3 out of 4 golden eggs in its nest being stolen. So ‘them’ being ‘them’, a reason for war is invented, a war is started and, during its prosecution, the need for money drastically rises, mostly to pay for armaments.

Money gets printed, inflation goes through the stratosphere (because the same fundamental resources used to generate economic activity  are now represented by dividing them into smaller units of measurement – by fresh printing of more of the same units of measurement – therefore each piece of paper is worth less) and the group in control of resources and the money supply end up accumulating a larger proportion of the total printed money (and perhaps economic resources) than they had before (since inflation usually means that the prices charged for armaments will also rise stratospherically).

Thus the masses have their wealth confiscated en-masse. The generation that created the wealth that was confiscated come up to retirement, and with the exception of the privileged few, have a less than carefree old age. With war over, economic activity rebuilds with the next generation – those who lived through the war and now think that they can make everything better this time.

When that generation of wealth creators are closer to retirement, ‘them’ decide it’s time for a repeat performance; higher economic activity with wealth accumulation in the masses ripe and ready for confiscation. And so the cycle goes on: Crimea -> Boer -> WW1 -> WW2 -> Vietnam -> Gulf War 1 -> Gulf War 2, etc. etc. (I know I’ve missed out Korea – and probably other conflicts too – perhaps it does fit in as a small intermission before Vietnam).

The thought that ran through my mind today was ‘Are we celebrating our soldiers as heroes, or are they truly victims of the deep machinations of ‘them’?’ I would like that it be the former, but I despair and fear that it is the latter. Did the soldiers sacrifice their lives voluntarily, or were their lives well and truly stolen under false pretences? If the latter, then what are we commemorating? The ultimate victory of evil over the lives of many (often heroic) individuals? If so, one should be thankful that we are not all enslaved as yet.

I am nominally a Catholic. I say nominally in that I go through the motions, but now wonder whether since the admission of a certain Anthony Charles Lynton Blair into the fold whether I can square his presence with my conscience. Going to communion means being in communion with the whole of the church. Being unable to accept the Blair person into church of my birth and upbringing (basically for Iraq) means that I am not in communion with the church. I still haven’t worked out what to do.

Perhaps he will make enough statements about how the church should be democratised (the recent put-down by Archbishop Vincent Nichols – being new to the faith, he hasn’t got the hang of this being a Catholic business yet – was a source of encouragement) to merit his excommunication, but I suppose I will get pushed out first (or I would v. quickly if I was anyone important).

My guess is that the book of Revelation in referring to the prince that spoke for the beast was pointing to the likes of Blair. Perhaps Revelation is not necessarily a warning of one time in the far future, but a warning for each succeeding generation. There will always be a prince that will speak for the beast, i.e. ‘them’ who like to remain in the shadows, lest the appearance of the beast upsets too many people.

Perhaps we are in a unique time with a unique awareness, thanks to the internet. One of the tests will be if the powers that be start trying to make the internet multi-tier (and then eventually restricted to approved sites only – pr0n controlled by ‘them’ included). Then we can be more certain of the thought behind it and the intent that flows from the thought. As for what one can do, I am searching for information and ultimately guidance, so long as I can be sure that the guidance isn’t coming from ‘them’.

Augustine of Hippo wrote that he expected wars and other tribulation to always be, since man was fallen by nature. Even if every one of ‘them’ was exterminated, the vacuum would be filled. After all, power corrupts. Perhaps the best one can hope for is a slow generation by generation progress towards a more enlightened state of tolerance to one another.

One might not be able to eliminate conflict, but one can remove the incentive to artificially create it. My hope is that we would truly honour those lives spent in war by minimising the likelihood of further war (I suppose this was the original sentiment behind Remembrance Day – although the Goon Show in the ’50s referred to WW1 as ‘The First World War for lasting peace’). We’re just about getting an F- “could do better” at the moment.

Sorry for rambling like this, I had no idea it would be this long. And I’m sure much of the conspiraloonery is easily demolished.

Kind regards, Doug

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10 Responses to “Armistice Day – reflections by one reader”

  1. James Higham November 11, 2009 at 07:36 Permalink

    I printed this letter of Doug’s because of the original motivation for this site, Nourishing Obscurity. My reply to this is in my own post which appears nearby – My Father.

    There are particular and very personal reasons for my savage response to war. Please read that before calling me a traitor to the fallen. I feel I’m the opposite – speaking for them from wherever they are.

  2. MTG November 11, 2009 at 08:10 Permalink

    His overwhelming sincerity makes this a far more appropriate post than the usual lashings of expectant hypocrisy.

  3. xxxl November 11, 2009 at 08:51 Permalink

    ‘Are we celebrating our soldiers as heroes, or are they truly victims of the deep machinations of ‘them’?’ I would like that it be the former, but I despair and fear that it is the latter.

  4. xxxl November 11, 2009 at 09:25 Permalink

    Doug:
    ‘Are we celebrating our soldiers as heroes, or are they truly victims of the deep machinations of ‘them’?’ I would like that it be the former, but I despair and fear that it is the latter.

    You are celebrating all soldiers as heroes. Your celebration is a sign of your respect, your thanks, for their response to a perceived threat.
    It is personal to you.

    Another part of you knows of all the manipulation of perceptions. It does not lessen the value of your celebration. It increases your resolve to remedy “them”.

    Did the soldiers sacrifice their lives voluntarily, or were their lives well and truly stolen under false pretences?

    Better to say their lives were indeed stolen, but they were unaware of the theft, so they were sacrificed voluntarily. Your knowledge of the theft increases your resolve to remedy “them”.

    You are nominally a Catholic. Are you aware that it was the Vatican that part funded William of Orange?, at the request of English High Anglicans?

    The BofE, founded in 1694, was founded with the specific intention of debt creation for war funding. The desire originated with politicians, the request was answered, the mechanism created, by bankers. The bankers family lines at that time are not the lines behind the present chaos. Eventually the bankers and politicians develop a symbiotic relationship. This relationship, given the fraud of banking, can only thrive on lies, manipulations and theft.

    Revelations speaks of the Beast. The Beast is the symbiotic relationship, and all the methods of population control that have now evolved to further the wealth of the Beast. Think of Jesus and the Temple money changers! Evidently the symbiotic relationship is as old as trading societies. But also factor in the evident collusion of the then Temple Authorities in only allowing a certain currency to be acceptable! And you thus begin to realise the extent of the Beast.

    Perhaps we are in a unique time with a unique awareness, thanks to the internet. One of the tests……]

    Yes, we are in unique times. We should use the internet intelligently and rapidly, before it too is controlled, to pass knowledge to all capable of understanding the reality.

    Today we remember the dead, and their sacrifice.

    Tomorrow we remember what and who created those circumstances, and resolve that it will not be repeated, because we will, to all those who will listen, expose and remedy, the Beast!

  5. Andrew Scott November 11, 2009 at 09:47 Permalink

    It is interesting how in this post and in James’s “my Father” one before it, this blog is suddenly carrying views very similar to some of those shouted out angrily by the guy from The Socialist Party of Great Britain on a street near me. I like the complexity of real debate, and being reminded of the dangers of slotting people into boxes. Party politics stifles proper consideration of each issue on its merits.

    • James Higham November 11, 2009 at 10:43 Permalink

      Andrew, this is precisely the point. What the socialists shout is not wrong in itself but what is wrong is the baggage that accompanies that clarion call in which they join with others. A reverse analogy is in The Mummy, when John Hannah turns and walks and chants Imhotep with all the others but he’s coming from a completely different direction. People who chant Christian, Christian, people who purport to be serving us and are serving themselves, people who chant Allah Akhbar and then slit someone’s throat – the words have always been misused and abused by people with their own agendas.

      This is why JC said to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. You’d know them by their fruits – it’s the only safe way to tell about someone. That and the company they keep.

  6. xxxl November 11, 2009 at 10:40 Permalink

    Andrew.

    I don’t know whether you are placing me inside a political ideal, or not.

    However, I will say from the outset that I regard myself as being a-political.

    Whatever political party I see in the UK currently, they all seek to distort facts for their own motives.

    I condemn any, and all.

  7. Andrew Scott November 11, 2009 at 11:19 Permalink

    Agreed James. And xxxl: I didn’t place you inside anything. I think that’s the point. If we examine each issue on its own we can find all sorts of very unexpected allies, on some issues, who may be our opponents on others. The party political system (which I was not slotting you into, just acknowledging that it is the system that takes decision for us) prevents proper debate of issues, each one on its merits. Real parliamentary democracy would see our representatives un-”whipped” and free to speak and vote as they see fit, after proper debates. And in my opinion they would need to be elected by proportionate democracy, not first past the post. But, dragging myself back to the actual topic of the two posts: I have enormous sympathy for the killed and wounded soldiers and their families, but in the modern era, I have to ask myself that if people choose to join a military force that they know may be sent by politicians with dubious motives into foreign lands to try to kill foreign people, they should not be surprised that some of the foreign people kill and maim them in return. I would like to see all the innocent victims (the bombed wedding parties, the cross-fire victims etc., etc.) of Afghanistan and Iraq and everywhere else given at least as much respect, consideration and honour as Britain’s own war dead, who at least knew from the outset that they were going into someone else’s country with the intention of participating in a bloody fight. On this special day, who is remembering the little lad who had all his limbs blown off, the blinded kids, the countless people in the Batallion known as “Collateral Damage”? I think a couple of minutes of silence for them might be appropriate as well. Not instead of, but as well.

  8. The Underdoug November 11, 2009 at 14:43 Permalink

    Many thanks to all those who have commented so far. I thought that my brand of conspiraloonery would have been torn to shreds, but I am v. pleasantly surprised that it has set people thinking.

    As background to me, I was brought up in a socialist London Borough (Haringey – no, I no longer live there) but I am conservative (small-’c’) by inclination (one of the abiding memories of my youth was a 20-strong pseudo-steamer gang of 12 year olds running around the school playground shouting “Vote Labour” on the day of the 1983 general election and trampling on those who were in their path) – I have never voted Labour but did vote for Ken in the 2000 London Mayoral elections in order to screw Labour (silly me). But by conservative, I no longer mean the Tory party. I resent the fact that so much has happened without so much as a ‘by your leave’ and that the main parties (particularly the political class) have effectively conspired to avoid consulting the people (despite ‘cast-iron’ promises – my gas fired central heating boiler is 25 years old and made of real cast iron: efficiency be damned, it bloody works – touch wood). For me, Europe is now simply a question of in-or-out, ’nuff said. If out, only a fool would place trade barriers between the EU and the UK.

    But in or out, I want my say in a manner that is not conflated with any other issue.

    I have never been in the army. But I know what it is like to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with brothers in arms (even in the trivial sphere of departmental turf wars in business). I might add that Erich Maria Remarque’s ‘All quiet on the western front’ had a profound effect upon me.

    xxxl: Your way of looking at Remembrance Day might be an answer for me – just think of the individuals being commemorated, leave retribution for another time.

    Once again, many thanks.

  9. CherryPie November 11, 2009 at 18:53 Permalink

    Fighting wars on false premises is always wrong, but my thoughts are always with the fallen and their loved ones.

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