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Literature by namesRUNdry

Writing by DreamFutureAis

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November 11, 2012
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Remembrance Day originates at the end of World War I. The idea is to honor those who died in the line of duty, defending their country from enemies. For all its pompous words and fancy granite memorials littered with colorful flower bouquets, Remembrance Day and others like it have failed miserably in achieving this goal.

I've often been criticized as having no respect, and that can be an impediment when discussing certain topics. However, I am often in luck – hypocrisy deserves no respect. What changed as a result of the enormous sacrifice of those who died in WW1? As the first bombs of WW2 fell just two decades later, millions once again obediently lined up under various pieces of colored cloths to slaughter and be slaughtered. It became obvious that absolutely nothing had changed, and that the millions of WW1 had died in vain.

Most would agree that all that lip service paid to the sacrifice between the two world wars wasn't good enough. To truly honor their sacrifice would be to create a world where another world war is impossible due to the moral and intellectual development of the populace. That is what I mean by ending remembrance: a ceasing of wholesale slaughter, a further step in the direction of civilization. The holiday would become pointless within a few generations.

If a politician tells you to pick up a gun and kill someone who was told to do the opposite by another leader, are you really doing the honorable thing by following through with it? In normal situations, civilized people agree that using violence is the insecure thing to do. But apparently, if a politician says so, killing or getting killed is suddenly an honorable and virtuous course of action. That's what the society around you believes – but, of course, not seen in these bullshitless terms. The more I've studied history, economics, and philosophy, the more obvious it became to me what the honorable thing for both parties actually is. That's for the soldiers on both sides to refuse fighting, assert that might doesn't make right, and demand that the politicians resolve their differences in a mature, reasonable, and logical manner.

I am not a moral relativist, and I believe in the existence of an objective reality. Almost all countries around the world honor their fallen soldiers in a similar vein. The revelation is that as we honor those who died, someone across the pond honors those sent to kill them – and vice versa. Is it surprising that most people in country X think that country X was on the right side of history, while those in country Y think the opposite? Sadly, although the facts are not determined by geographical location, biases are.
This is the horrendous "us versus them" mentality, the evolutionary remnant in the primitive part of our imperfect brains riddled with cognitive biases. Do you strongly consider yourself an American or Canadian, a fan of certain basketball or hockey team, race, gender, religion, etc? Do you view others as parts of groups rather than individuals, even unconsciously? Look at the world around you, and the answer for the vast majority of people is an unambiguous 'yes'. That is precisely why it's so easy for politicians to rally people around the flag and legitimize murder.

I enjoy a certain comfort in knowing that we all share our humanity. One should not feel differently towards someone across that imaginary line on the map. It's nothing but an extension of other primitive lies, such as racism. I strongly reject the notion that patriotism is a virtue in any sense of that word. Before you criticize this opinion, admit that if everyone shared it, there would never have been a single world war. A patriot loves his government, or possibly his countrymen, and is easily exploited and controlled in the presence of a real or imaginary external threat. A humanist like myself does not suffer this folly.

Bathtubs, car accidents, and many other run of the mill things kill way more people than terrorism does (yes, including 9/11 into the count). However, most people would not be willing to live with a Patriot Act to fight bathtub drowning. Notice the name of this glorious document – it is so Orwellian. War truly is peace. Just imagine Obama seeking authorization for a Camera in Every Bathroom to Keep America Safe ©. It's too stupid to even pass for an April fool's joke. But just bring the concept of a bearded foreigners in, and they can get away with assassination without trial, no questions asked.

What of the famed War on Terror? Aren't we, the West, the good guys? Don't be so naïve. The moronic Islamic savages who are ready to kill for virgins in heaven are almost evenly matched by our willingness to allow the death of the innocents as we take out the supposed enemies of civilization. Collateral Murder. If these words don't ring a bell, watch this YouTube video, and realize that these soldiers did nothing illegal under US law. Their actions were within the rules of engagement. In other words, the military is freely admitting that this is how they operate. If you live in the United States, and you pay your taxes, then you are the one who funded the above actions. As drone warfare continues to expand more and more civilians are getting killed in Pakistan and Yemen. Don't get me wrong, this is not the firebombing of Dresden, but neither is the enemy nearly as vicious.

Now, think about the soldiers in the above helicopter video. Suppose that just as they fired their last shot, the engine on their chopper had malfunctioned and they perished in the fiery crash. Do you really feel comfortable commemorating their "sacrifice" and honoring them for their service? What a profoundly disturbing notion. They show themselves to be murderous trigger-happy thugs, just waiting for an excuse to open fire on unsuspecting victims. If you were an Iraqi standing there with a bazooka and a clear understanding of what's about to happen – should you not take that chopper down? Now, if you were an American with a good conscience standing there, wouldn't you do the same? If there was any substance to the word "traitor", it just evaporated. What these pilots did had absolutely nothing with defending anybody from anything. If committing treason means protecting the innocent from the military industrial complex, that says something about the world we live in. Granted, this is an exception (not as rare as one may hope for), but have you ever heard anyone suggest on Remembrance Day that not all of the troops are honorable, brave, and worthy of respect?

World War 1 is ancient history, but the sad part is that nothing has changed after World War 2 either. There was no shifting of consciousness, no move by the populace from its historical role of pawns, ready for slaughter on a politicians' whim, to moral sentient beings that we ought to be. Let's all give a hand for nuclear weapons which I believe prevented World War 3 from breaking out – for now. That possibility is, sadly, as real as ever.

In many wars throughout history, there is no "good" and "bad" side. This is very obvious in WW1, where the subsequent outcome could very well have been more prosperous and less violent if Germany won the war. It's a complex geopolitical situation out there. The world is not a Rambo movie where the good guys win, and everyone can be happy. In fact, the closest you can come to such a classification would be the populations of both countries at war being "good", and the government in bed with the military industrial complex on both sides being "bad". Viewed in that sense, the bad guys always win if a war breaks out. The only way for the good guys to win is to reject the bullshit, and refuse to fight.
Here is a brief sampling of the atrocities committed by the US government for those of you who think that the United States is a shining beacon of freedom in the world. I don't mean to single only one country out, but a similar list could be compiled for almost any nation on earth on almost every side of any demarcation line.

1) The genocide against the Native Americas, including the infamous Trail of Tears.
2) Exposing unknowing US citizens to radiation poisoning, chemical, and biological weapons. This boggles my mind, since I would initially dismiss anyone who claimed such things were possible. Keep in mind that nobody was ever punished for any of it, since the governments are typically above the law.
3) Nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 200,000 civilians. Without a doubt, if any German or Japanese made that order, s/he would have been considered one of the worst war criminals in history and sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials for crimes against humanity.
4) Overthrowing various peaceful and democratically elected governments around the world, such as Mossadeq's in 1953 Iran. This led to unintended consequences, such as the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

If the thought of me hating America enters your mind just because I listed the above facts, without detailing the various abuses of Great Britain, France, Germany, USSR and Russia, etc – I promise you that it was only for brevity's sake.

So what is my idea for properly honoring those who perished? We out to promote the following -

1) Strong moral beliefs which preclude blind obedience to any authority
2) Critical thinking skills for anyone with the mental capacity to master them
3) Humanism over patriotism
4) A universal respect for human rights (sorry, Mr. Obama – no drone assassinations for you)

It's plainly obvious to me that almost no government would be willing to promote the above, as it would instantly make many functions of the government irrelevant and useless. Don't hold your breath for it to show up in the pathetic government school systems all around the world.

If people are universally exposed to these ideas, large scale warfare is unfathomable.
Can we honor those who died in a conflict without glorifying war ever so slightly? I don't think so. One day, I hope that all armies of the world will run out of recruits, and nobody would think that killing for any cause can ever be honorable. Wouldn't that be just swell, and end remembrance?

In memory of George Carlin (1937-2008)
One can hope!

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hussaria Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012
Try watching Blackadder Goes Forth. It is great at capturing the absurdity of the Great War.
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Professional Photographer
Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out. In return, see All Quiet on the Western Front (1979 or the original 1930) or read Remarque's novel.
hussaria Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
I will add that to my list, thank you!
koolmonkey12345 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
Hrm this surely makes you think!
sunflower901 Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012
Interesting and well reasoned opinion. Personally I think we have a duty to remember the wars so that they do not happen again. In a way, remembrance day is a way for society to repent sending its civilians to kill each other for the 'benefit' of the State they represent.
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Professional Photographer
Ha, wish it was that way. Now it's glorifying the act, if anything.
Shadowstar88 Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012
Food for thought, Definitely.
Trigati Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
Two world wars in 30 years. Those people did not dream to join the piles of cannon fodder rotting in a sea of mud; or become torn, burnt and gassed zombies waiting for sweet merciful death in stinking field hospitals. They all wanted to live, love, play with their children and generally be happy. They had plans for the future that did not include mass murder and refined agony. But they went to war as they were told, they were lead to the killing fields like sheep – achieved by manipulative posters of stern uniformed men pointing fingers. Do it for your king. Your country needs you. Protect the innocent. Nothing fancy, really. People will follow this behavioral pattern again under the circumstances. Remember that.

And it is not ancient history. It happened less than 100 years ago to civilized people much like us, with elevated appraisal of themselves. They were driving cars, playing gadgets, making photos and discussing abstract notions. In fact, as a culture, they were more moral and restrained then than we are now. Yet, it all yielded mass murder and blind destruction. We do not have anything substantial that would distance us from them to consider their times ‘ancient’. The only thing that holds us from becoming like them, as you said, is the unexpected inconvenience of escalating nuclear warfare – assured total destruction and ensuing total extinction for all without exception. If ‘the powers that be’ could only have a Hiroshima or two once in a while, they would do it without any hesitation. Fortunately for everyone else, nuclear weapons allow for effortless escalation beyond anyone’s ability to ‘win’, if all sides have more than just a few, and no one knows how to win a world war when multiple nuclear armed parties are involved, hence the relentless ‘non-proliferation’ push. And do not forget about bioweapons – the cheap and reliable means of taking one’s enemy with you if all is lost. The impossibility for anyone to survive a total war today is all that is holding the world from having another one. Remember that.

Well-meaning notions will not change the way of things. Wars will happen again, including world wars, for the same reasons they happened before, as people did not change for the better in the last 100 years. Chaos will find a way around obstacles. A drone can deliver a sub-kiloton nuke with surgical precision. EMP weapons can be as destructive and deadly as nukes in urban areas, if economic and social effects are counted, but they would leave no physical trace of their deployment. We have the weapons, now we need you to bring justice and rightful victory. Something like that will do. Only fear and uncertainty stand between us and unleashing of another epic war – but chaos easily overcomes both. And when that happens again, do not become a victim – that will be your personal victory worth remembering for generations.
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Professional Photographer
| People will follow this behavioral pattern again under the circumstances.

Fundamentally, that's the problem.

| And when that happens again

If it happens again, it will be impossible stay out of it. The point is to get the ball rolling now before it's too late. So that when the politicians are ready to destroy the world again, we can just tell them to fuck off.
Trigati Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012
| If it happens again, it will be impossible stay out of it.

By design and purpose of a WW, it must be possible. It was possible in WW1 and WW2 – South America was safe, for example. When nuclear stockpiles build-up preceded understanding of nuclear warfare, WW became impossible due to a sudden lack of safe places. Then became 'work' towards nuclear disarmament that by now reduced major combat-ready arsenals by an order of magnitude to low thousands, with the rest of arsenals in the hundreds each. But still these weapons make WW impossible due to efficiency of delivery systems. Nukes must be secured or disabled, somehow, in order for true WW to become possible. However, a proxy war beyond territories of major nuclear powers is a fair game, and exactly that is already happening for at least a decade straight. That is not a classic WW, but it can go on for decades, kill millions, and deliver occasional heart-stopping moments, like the war of 888 – it is a WW light, a politically tolerable solution. There is nothing that can be said to politicians that could change that. They come and go, but the war continues. When the time for the next WW comes, there will nothing to be said – it will happen, as it happened in the past. The world has already reached a critical moment, a moment of transition, at which continuation of status quo invariably ends. It is the moment of peak growth, peak energy, peak complexity of societies, and some other uncomfortable peaks. It is impossible to transition to the next status quo without major wars, as by the definition of a peak, there will not be enough for all on the other side of it. The prize is life, and for some also power, so a mass nuclear suicide is in no-one's interest or plans – it defeats the purpose. Those countries, regimes and individuals who understand these processes and act, may live. Those who succumb to complacency, inaction and kumbaya, may not. Now that you know, you can act. The first life boats on “Titanic” left half-empty.
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