Tag Archives: Political Correctness

Moral Relativism and War

If you are of liberal political leanings you will probably not like this piece as I am going to proceed to attempt to demolish several sacred cows of contemporary liberal thought.  I unreservedly admit that I am politically conservative and further admit that I am not trying to be unbiased in his piece.  I am essentially venting my spleen at the half-truths and outright lies I so often find in books that purport to be histories but that are in reality only thinly disguised attacks on historical actors.  I find it typically liberal that such attacks are often made on those that cannot defend themselves, such as historical figures long dead.  I personally find the practice repulsive and try very hard to avoid doing the same thing in my own historical writing.  Then again, if you are liberal and don’t like it, I do not particularly care either.

I am currently reading House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power by James Carroll.  The level of moral relativism within this book is unreal.  I figured it would be a leftist take on the Pentagon because there is a blurb of praise on the back cover from Howard Zinn, the ultimate leftist historian.  What I did not count on was the sheer level of Western hatred disguised as objectivity that I would find within the cover.  That being said, this is not a review of this book in particular but an examination of leftist historiography, particularly when it comes to military history, in General.

I have read many leftist histories over the years from Isabel Hull and Iris Chang to Thomas Fleming, Paul Fussell, Dave Grossman, and Howard Zinn.  One thing they all have in common from my perspective is a formless hatred of all things Western and a lack of a solid grasp on reality.  They don’t write history, so much as polemics designed to convince the reader that they know the big T truth and if you disagree with them then you are part of the problem. In short,  Leftist history is activist history.  It is the type of history that would have you believe that the best thing that could have ever happened to the world is if the population of Europe had been destroyed during the Black Death, if not even earlier, say perhaps before the Dorics moved into Greece during the second millennium B.C.

If you read leftist history everything not Western is great and everything that has the touch of the West on it is evil incarnate from the Greek settlement of southern Europe to the European colonization of the Americas and just about everything in between and since.  They would have you believe that Westerners deliberately introduced disease to the New World to decimate and subjugate the natives to deliberately keeping the peoples of Africa down since de-colonialization to economically exploit them some more.  That everything having to do with the Christian church is evil incarnate while Atheism is cool and Muslims are peaceful little sheepherders.  Every group out there with a grievance against the West is justified in not only having it but in doing whatever they can to attack the West and they are willing participants as they seek to undermine Western culture itself from the inside.

It is as if liberals truly believe that contemporary morals have a place in describing the actions of people in the past who ascribed to a wholly different moral code and that they are unable to make the distinction that while they personally find an action immoral, at the time it was made, the action may have been considered fully justified.  That is not moral relativism; that is reality.  Today we don’t think exposing unwanted children to die on a mountainside is morally justified but the ancient Spartans did and it is stupid in the extreme to condemn ancient practice on the basis of contemporary morality.

Let’s take just a few examples from popular Western history that have gained the currency of Truth in leftist circles.

1. Western Genocide against Indians – This one is so laughable I don’t even understand how the idea got so much currency.  Leftists would have us believe that Westerners deliberately introduced diseases such as smallpox into the New World during colonization to kill off the inhabitants and clam the land for themselves.  Of course that presuppose that 15 Century Spanish, Portuguese, and English explorers understand how diseases were transmitted.  That the Germ Theory of Disease did not gain wide scientific currency until the mid to late 19th century is conveniently ignored.  The most common invective hurled is that of the US Cavalry giving out smallpox covered blankets during the Indian Wars.  This claim was given credence by the now discredited Ward Churchill and has been pretty well destroyed by Thomas Brown in the Journal, Plagiary.Despite the subsequent disgrace of Churchill’s corpus of work the myth continues that the US Army deliberately triggered an epidemic of smallpox among native Americans to “get them out of the way.”  That claim is made elsewhere about Indians throughout the Americas.
While epidemics did occur, as Jared Diamond so persuasively argues in Guns, Germs, and Steel, it did not take deliberation for European diseases to decimate native populations.  All it took was one sick European infecting unknowing natives.  Widespread epidemics and subsequent population loss did occur in the Americas after the arrival of Europeans, that was the natural result of American populations being exposed to diseases for which they had absolutely no resistance, because heretofore these disease did not occur in the Americas.
The narrative that Europeans deliberately killed off huge populations of Indians suits the left though, so they will keep it alive and it is easy to do because so many people take the claim at face value and never bother to research it for themselves.

2. The sanctity of civilians in wartime – There is a persistent assertion among both leftist historians and the media that throughout history the lives, property, and persons of civilians has been sacrosanct in war and the large scale killing of non-combatants is a new phenomenon.  Nothing could be further from the truth, the difference in modern times is that it is easier for a few men to kill lots of civilians, not that civilians have never been a legitimate target. You will not hear a liberal admit that anytime soon though.
You will never hear a liberal acknowledge the Mongol policy of massacring entire cities that refused to surrender.  That the rule in medieval Europe was that a city that had to be taken by force was sacked for 72 hours, that for hundreds of years Muslim slave traders preyed on European shipping in the Mediterranean, or that the ancient Goths and others who preyed on the edges of the Roman Empire routinely slaughtered entire villages as a way of solidifying their control of areas by spreading terror.  There has never been an absolute prohibition on killing civilians in warfare and what protections civilians have had, especially in modern times, comes out of the Western, specifically, Roman and Christian traditions.

3. Dropping the Atomic Bomb on Japan – The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II is a topic that has come in for considerable debate.  I have even read people that claim America should apologize and perhaps pay reparations for the bombing.  I am flabbergasted by this.  I simply cannot understand how America should in any way apologize for ending the war that Japan started or the manner in which they did so.  This argument even goes back and claims that Japan was goaded into war by American policy.  That is the “West is at fault argument” taken to its absurd extreme.  What is even more ironic and silly is that many of the folks who make this claim condemn America and then turn around and condemn Japanese wartime conduct out the other side of their mouth.  These people would have you believe that America is in the wrong for civilian deaths at Saipan and Okinawa during the war and that any place with civilians nearby was not a legitimate target.
I hate to disappoint people, but people die in wars, sometimes the dead are even civilians.  Civilians are not normally targeted but they are legitimate targets as civilians are the lifeblood of any society and nothing can convince a people that they have lost than seeing that their military cannot defend them.  Targeting civilians is a legitimate act of warfare.  Unsavory yes, but still legitimate.  The arrow, bullet, or bomb that can always miss a civilian has not been invented and probably never will be.  It would be imprudent in the extreme for a military force to hamstring itself out of fear of causing a single civilian death.  If they do that they might as well surrender because the military is then of no use to the society that sponsors it and it is to the sponsoring society that the military must answer, not that of the enemy.

 Rant over.  Feel free to comment, I am more than happy to debate on this.  (the usual comment rules apply)

1. Brown Thomas. Did the U.S. Army Distribute Smallpox Blankets to Indians? Fabrication and Falsification in Ward Churchill’s Genocide RhetoricPlagiary:  CrossDisciplinary Studies in Plagiarism, Fabrication, and Falsification. Vol 1, 2006 pp. 100‐129

 

Image credit CNN.com

Women in Combat-Part 5

This is an issue I feel strongly about so every time there is a development I will be posting updates.

Marines delay female fitness plan after half fail

Yet more evidence that women are not physically capable of performing the combat tasks required of ground combat soldiers.  There are jobs in the military that women can do and do well.  Combat is not one of them.  Why is women in combat being pushed so relentlessly?  I am left with only the conclusio that liberals and PC types would rather see more women come home in body than admit that there are in fact differences in capabilities between men and women.

 

Never say the USMC aint Full of Smart Officers

Marine Corps to open infantry training to enlisted women

Female MarinesWho said Marines are stupid?  Letting female Marines attend Infantry training as it is right now, before it is feminized is one of the smartest moves they could make.  When females drop from the course lke flies it will make a strong argument to keep women out of front-line infantry jobs.  As the story points out, the Marines allowed females into the Infantry Officer Course last year and all that have tried it have washed out so far.

Never doubt though that regardless of the evidence that comes out of any studies on the rle of women in combat, it will happen.  The political masters have decreed that women can do anything men can do and they will rig the game to make it so.  Heck, women can even pee standing up now, if not quite write their name in the snow.  All they need is the Go Girl Female Urination Device now being sourced to female troops in Afghanistan on FET’s and convoy duty.

 

Image credit CNN.com

Women in Combat-Part 4

This is an issue I feel strongly about so every time there is a development I will be posting updates.

According to Women in combat no later than 2016, Pentagon says, the latest timeline for women being introduced into combat positions is 2016.  Maybe the slip to the right means clear heads are having second thoughts and hoping that pushing the implementation into the next administration means that the next SecDef will see the idiocy of the idea and backtrack.  I doubt it though, the slip is probably the result of planners realizing they need more time to 1. figure out how to neuter standards, and 2. figure out how to spin said neuterization such that they can say standards have not been compromised.

I still have not seen any data on how or whether the move to allow women into combat (WIC)will affect retention of male soldiers.  I would also guess that such data will not be forthcoming until long after implementation and will say what WIC proponents want ti to say.  I will point that empirical evidence from friends of mine who are still in says that most men in combat arms are seriously rethinking their commitment to staying in the military and some have decided to get out before the military becomes intolerable.

The changes made in the new Unisex ACU.
The changes made in the new Unisex ACU.

The last and most amusing: Unisex Uniforms Debut As Army Opens Units To Women.  Let’s examine some of the changes in the new ACU.  Narrower shoulders, a slightly tapered waist, adjusted chest to conform to the female form, and more space in the hip area all seem designed to make the uniform fit both men and women better don’t they.  I know lots of guys with thunder thighs and big breasts who this uniform will fit better.  Of course, I was busy putting such guys out for being physically unfit but I am sure that before long someone is going to claim that kicking fatboys out is discrimination and get that policy changed too.

The military is being destroyed by liberal policies before the very eyes of America and very few are making a stink.  I am glad I retired when I did because the current leadership of our nation and military makes me want to cry.

The push to have women in combat is driven not by requirements but politics and those pushing it don’t care or could care less if this policy negatively affects combat readiness in the military.

Come on people! Sound off if you think I am right or wrong on this.

Book Review: The Lotus Eaters by Tom Kratman

The Lotus Eaters is the third installment of the Legio del Cid series by Mr Kratman. The book picks up after the Legion has successfully pacified Pashtia and returned to Balboa. Its takes place mainly in Balboa as the Legion prepares for their inevitable showdown with the corrupt rump regime protected by the Tauran Union in their enclave near the Balboan Transitway.

This is an obvious stepping stone book that fleshes out the story and provides more background rather than really advancing the plot line of the series. If I were a cynic I would say that this appears to be a mash up of all the mini-plots Mr. Kratman put together as he developed the main story line. I do not know that to be the case however. This is almost like the most recent Honor Harrington book in that it essentially goes nowhere in an entertaining manner.

All that being said, I like this book. I particularly like the development of the glider and submarine as well as finding the discussion of the way in which the Isla Real is fortified to be not only interesting, informative as well. This may not be the book that I wanted to read, but it is excellent nonetheless. All in all, another great read from Mr. Kratman. My only complaint is not with this book but rather with the wait between this book and the next one. This book ends with a teaser that leaves the reader wanting to know more. The next volume is titled Come and Take Them and will be released in November and it’s about damn time. eARC’s should be available on Baen a few month’s before that.