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Debates Forum

  1. Zugzwang
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    17 Oct '15 18:511 edit
    "It is well that war is so terrible; otherwise, we should grow too fond of it."
    --Robert E Lee (1862, at the Battle of Fredericksburg)

    Many books have been written about the horrors of war, and I would not
    dispute that war is terrible or that it's important to warn people that it's so.
    Yet some pro-pacifist writers seem to act as though no one enjoys being
    at war, which does not necessarily mean enjoying killing or craving martial
    glory as much as savoring the comradeship and sense of purpose that war can bring.

    In the USSR many people said that the Great Patriotic War (despite the
    enormous casualties) was the best time of their lives because it was the
    only time that they felt exactly the same as their government (led by Stalin).
    They were not fighting because the government had commanded them to do it;
    they were fighting because they wanted to do it and understood exactly why.

    In his war memoir, Eino Luukkanen (1909-1961), one of Finland's greatest
    fighter pilots, wrote of war as a way of gaining a deep understanding of oneself:
    "We had virtually forgotten what it was like to be at peace; to enjoy regular meals
    undisturbed; to have eight hours' continuous sleep....Our world was the 'alert'
    room, overheated and full of stale tobacco smoke, and the cockpit of the
    Fokker D.XXI ... We had ceased to wonder when or how it would end, or
    what the future held. We were living from our hour to the next, and now
    that the war was entering its fourth month, we all felt as though we had aged
    at least ten years. Indeed, perhaps we had crammed a decade of experience
    into barely more than a dozen weeks. We had learned the true meanings
    of comradeship, fear and sorrow, but, most important, we now knew ourselves,
    our capabilities and our limitations." (p. 68)

    And at the end of the Continuation War, he writes nostalgically about it,
    as if knowing that never again would his life have such clear urgent purpose:
    "After four years of fighting its ending seemed an anti-climax. Aerial combat
    had become our life and everything had been subjugated to the task of
    fighting the war....How were we to adapt ourselves to the staid existences
    of farmers, insurance agents and car dealers, reliving our battles in our dreams?
    We would hear the staccato chatter of machine-guns in every road drill;
    the deep-throated roar of our Mersus (my note: Messerschmitt Bf-109Gs)
    in every slow transport aircraft crawling across the sky, and every clear
    winter's night we would gaze up at the stars and remember." (p. 188)

    And Eino Luukkanen wrote those words after many of his friends were killed in the war.
  2. Subscribersonhouse
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    22 Oct '15 14:21
    Perhaps the era's of peace that comes about in every country in every time is what generates the apathy for war and when a new enemy comes in they lose because they have basically forgotten how to fight.

    I am thinking of the last days of the Roman empire when Odoacer deposed Emperor Romulus Augustulus. I guess the Byzantine empire was the leftovers of the old Roman empire but still, I would think the Romans had grown a bit lax in the preparations for war.

    I wonder if lead had anything to do with the fall of the Roman empire, in that they did not know lead could make people stupid and sick, and they used leaded glass to hold wine, doing that for centuries.
  3. Cape Town
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    22 Oct '15 15:04
    I was at university during the gulf war and there were suggestions that it would trigger World War III. I didn't really believe it would, but at the same time found the idea exiting and to some extent wanted it to happen. There are, I think, a number of psychological factors involved in actually wanting war. One of them is the idea that you no-longer have to worry about many of the things you have been worrying about up till now. This same effect was very much apparent at university where many students would have relished getting out of studying etc.
    When war or other crisis does happen, then the sense of camaraderie is certainly a big factor. When even a small crisis occurs where I live, then it tends to cause neighbours to talk more, get to know each other more and can often leave a greater feeling of community in its wake. One can live for many years without even saying hallo to your neighbour, but a crisis occurs and soon you are practically close friends.

    As for war, in Africa coups are very common, but it is noticeable that they are far more likely to occur if they have occurred before. Where I come from, Zambia, we have never really had real war, nor a successful coup.
  4. The Catbird's Seat
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    22 Oct '15 15:48
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "It is well that war is so terrible; otherwise, we should grow too fond of it."
    --Robert E Lee (1862, at the Battle of Fredericksburg)

    Many books have been written about the horrors of war, and I would not
    dispute that war is terrible or that it's important to warn people that it's so.
    Yet some pro-pacifist writers seem to act as though no one enjoy ...[text shortened]... . 188)

    And Eino Luukkanen wrote those words after many of his friends were killed in the war.
    Every war has its enthusiastic volunteers, as well as reluctant conscripts. I read a statistic about the American Civil War. The CSA employed the services of 1 in 4 military age men. Actually, I thought it might be greater than that, although that percentage was considerably higher than was true of the Union side.

    Some time into the War, Union recruits were reaching the end of their tour, and the fear was that raw replacements could not sustain the efforts of those veterans. Many of those veterans surprisingly signed on for another tour. The sense of shared sacrifice, comradery in arms, and being a part of a larger effort are surely motivating factors in soldiering, especially in wartime.

    This may have been even more of a factor in the Confederate army, which was always outnumbered and out-gunned.

    I forget who said it. Old men start wars, and young men fight them. Forgive me if this isn't an exact quote.
  5. The Catbird's Seat
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    22 Oct '15 15:55
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I was at university during the gulf war and there were suggestions that it would trigger World War III. I didn't really believe it would, but at the same time found the idea exiting and to some extent wanted it to happen. There are, I think, a number of psychological factors involved in actually wanting war. One of them is the idea that you no-longer have ...[text shortened]... red before. Where I come from, Zambia, we have never really had real war, nor a successful coup.
    Where I come from, Zambia, we have never really had real war, nor a successful coup.

    http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/zambia-facts/
    According to this, there was an attempted coup in 1997, not successful, probably prompted by alleged improprieties in the previous election.
  6. Cape Town
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    22 Oct '15 16:14
    Originally posted by normbenign
    According to this, there was an attempted coup in 1997, not successful, probably prompted by alleged improprieties in the previous election.
    Yes, we have had a number of attempted coups. They are usually stopped because not everyone in the the army goes along with them. I think that if we had a successful coup in our past, we would have experienced more attempts and more successes since then.
  7. The Catbird's Seat
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    22 Oct '15 16:28
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Yes, we have had a number of attempted coups. They are usually stopped because not everyone in the the army goes along with them. I think that if we had a successful coup in our past, we would have experienced more attempts and more successes since then.
    Interesting, the same site give the median income as $800 USD. I could live like a king on my Social Security there.
  8. Subscribersonhouse
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    22 Oct '15 16:46
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Yes, we have had a number of attempted coups. They are usually stopped because not everyone in the the army goes along with them. I think that if we had a successful coup in our past, we would have experienced more attempts and more successes since then.
    What language to you speak? English for sure, but what about Bemba or Nyanga? I see a Wiki saying there are 73 languages there! I hear in Cameroon there are over 200!
  9. Cape Town
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    22 Oct '15 17:35
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Interesting, the same site give the median income as $800 USD. I could live like a king on my Social Security there.
    Yes, you could. My father lived like a king on his British pension. Of course we are talking 'relative king' ie richer than your neighbours but poorer than the average american.
    My sister had the opportunity to move to the US, but says she would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. I chose to move to SA and dramatically increased my income and expenses, but overall it was worth it.
  10. Cape Town
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    22 Oct '15 17:42
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    What language to you speak? English for sure, but what about Bemba or Nyanga? I see a Wiki saying there are 73 languages there! I hear in Cameroon there are over 200!
    I can only speak English. There are 4 main language groups Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga and Lozi. I started learning Nyanja in Grade 2, then moved to Livingstone in Grade 3 where we were supposed to learn Lozi. However it wasn't taught well, and at least half the class couldn't speak it. I now understand quite a lot of words of Nyanja, but do not speak it. I am not good at languages. Everyone speaks English reasonably well and I speak the local dialect of English well. Education, newspapers, tv, official documents, shops etc all use English as the primary medium.
    I have tried to learn Chinese and can read subtitles in tv series quite well (with a pause for each line), but cannot follow the dialogue based on sound, nor can I speak it.
    I can read Korean characters and understand quite a lot of words, but haven't put a lot of effort into it and am a long way from being able to speak it or even follow basic dialogue.
  11. The Catbird's Seat
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    22 Oct '15 17:55
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Yes, you could. My father lived like a king on his British pension. Of course we are talking 'relative king' ie richer than your neighbours but poorer than the average american.
    My sister had the opportunity to move to the US, but says she would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. I chose to move to SA and dramatically increased my income and expenses, but overall it was worth it.
    One of my regular customers has a son who migrated to S.Africa, and married a Zulu woman. He lives and works in the capital. I've met them both, the mother would love to be close to her son, but said she just couldn't take the cultural differences of S. Africa. I was shown a photo of his residence, and it is apparently a home of one of the apartheid whites, and is to my thinking like a prison or fortress, a very comfortable one. The wife of course is partial to her homeland, so they content themselves with annual visits around Christmas.
  12. Zugzwang
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    22 Oct '15 19:07
    Originally posted by twhitehead to Normbenign
    Yes, you could. My father lived like a king on his British pension. Of course we are talking 'relative king' ie richer than your neighbours but poorer than the average american.
    My sister had the opportunity to move to the US, but says she would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. I chose to move to SA and dramatically increased my income and expenses, but overall it was worth it.
    "..she would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond."
    --Twhitehead

    I read a story about an elderly German man (who might have been in the army that
    invaded the USSR) who had been accepted as a member of a Chechen community.
    He had converted to Islam and married a Chechen woman. Given his background,
    he could have immediately moved to Germany and received support from its government.
    But he said that he felt happier living in a Chechen village where he was known and
    respected than he would feel living among strangers as a pensioner in Germany.
  13. Subscribersonhouse
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    22 Oct '15 23:351 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I can only speak English. There are 4 main language groups Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga and Lozi. I started learning Nyanja in Grade 2, then moved to Livingstone in Grade 3 where we were supposed to learn Lozi. However it wasn't taught well, and at least half the class couldn't speak it. I now understand quite a lot of words of Nyanja, but do not speak it. I am n ...[text shortened]... t of effort into it and am a long way from being able to speak it or even follow basic dialogue.
    Well, I lived in Thailand for several years and only learned to count to ten and turn left, turn right, how much does this cost🙂

    Same with Israel, lived there 4 years and could MAYBE count to ten, ahad shtim, shalosh,
    Pretty bad eh? That despite the fact that I love languages. I could have easily been a linguist if I had not gotten into this technology thing I have been in for decades.

    In my defense, I was always more interested in their music and really loved the traditional Thai orchestra's I saw there.

    And in Israel, they have a thriving Anglo music community and my family band played a lot of venues from the north by the Kinneret to Elat in the south. All our best friends in Israel are folk musicians.
  14. Zugzwang
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    23 Oct '15 00:53
    Mitsuo Fuchida (1902-1976) was a Japanese pilot who led the first wave of Japan's raid on Pearl Harbor.
    After the war, he converted to Christianity and settled in the United States.
    As a Christian evangelist, Mitsuo Fuchida often spoke to American audiences.

    Yet something tended to embarrass some of his American Christian evangelical friends.
    When he was asked to speak about what he did at Pearl Harbor, Mitsuo Fuchida would tell
    his story in a way that made it clear that he still was proud of what he and his men had done.
    Many Americans expected that Fuchida, a 'humble Christian', should beg Americans for forgiveness.
    After listening to him speak, one American Christian remarked that he could not stand
    Fuchida talking about Christianity because the American believed that "the **** (Fuchida)
    had no remorse for killing Americans at Pearl Harbor". But how many American warriors
    have ever begged for forgiveness from the peoples whom the USA has attacked?
  15. Joined
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    23 Oct '15 01:10
    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.

    Leftist would lead us down the road of the ugliest of things.
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