My usual spring freak out including WW2 battleships, Iran, living and dead sailors, terrorism, history, foolish leaders, and a lot of prayer
24 May 1941, in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Greenland.
A friend once said to me “You freak out every spring Doug.” Well, yes. I don’t regard it as freaking out, I regard it as concern. Spring is the traditional start of the military campaigning season in the northern hemisphere. Who knows what sort of crazy ideas have been hatched in the world’s capital cities during the winter. Not to mention more than a few caves, jungle bases, refugee camps, and the like. So I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging, I have just been thinking a lot. I’ve learnt an incredible amount the last year, in readings on my own and in suggestions and comments left by esteemed readers. I’ve even changed my views on a few issues, softened my opinion on others, hardened them in the rest.
And this year is not a good spring on the peace and war front. There is fighting going on in several fairly large wars, and more on the horizon. And then the added excitement of the captured British sailors in Iran. Yet the more I study history, nothing changes. People have been making the same mistakes since the time of Alexander the Great, and using the same excuses to justify war and conquest. All just lame variations of “We’re civilized, they are less-than-human barbarians.” Pretty much every human thinks this way whether they admit it or not, I think it’s what separates us from the animals. And we’ve all got it half right. The second half.
Speaking of history and British sailors, I came across the amazing picture above. This is a picture of 1400 guys dying, the worst single ship naval calamity in history. The HMS Hood, the world’s largest battleship, the ultimate weapon of its time…exploded and sank in less than three minutes. Three British sailors survived. It was hit by a single fifteen inch shell from the German pocket battleship Bismarck, fired from nine miles away. The above is taken from actual footage of the event, filmed from the German Cruiser Prinz Eugen.
As for Iran seizing the British sailors, is Iran trying to start a war? This is not a good thing. I mean, the British are nuts, they went to war over some guy’s ear once, they are about the last people on the planet to get belligerent with. I can see the scene in Iranian high command now, it was all a big mistake, they thought they were seizing American sailors, all those westerners look alike… On the other hand, the British making threats and refusing to negotiate isn’t helping.
Iranian politics is complicated, there are several layers, I’m not even going to try and penetrate it. Suffice it to say, extremists appear to be running the show at the moment, but anything could happen. The exact location of the sailor’s seizure is moot. There are a lot of poorly defined borders in the world, this particular one has caused wars before. If the Iranians release the sailors unharmed, it basically becomes a no harm, no foul situation. That’s certainly how I hope this particular crisis ends.
Moving right along, the other thing that scares me this spring is the fact that Bush has spent the last six years urging Americans to be afraid. Hollywood has enthusiastically joined the fray with such shows as 24 and Jericho. I think the conspiracy people are mostly nuts, but if there was another 911 event while Americans are so worked up, I fear what might happen. Both domestically and internationally.
Sometimes I think is ultimately Bush’s greatest crime, instead of telling America to get back on its feet after 911…Bush spun an epic good vs evil world war two style fantasy and launched America on a quixotic quest to rid the world of evil. Who knows what sort of orgy of senseless destruction might ensue if the US was “attacked” again. And in the real world, shit happens. You do your best and go on. We need a Lincoln, and we have a Mussolini dreaming of riding into Cairo on a white horse. For if there was ever a leader who destroyed his nation by launching foolish wars, he’s the man. He didn’t make the trains run on time either.
I pray things get better in the Middle East, not to mention America. I pray we don’t see the modern version of the above picture in the Persian Gulf. I pray we don’t see mushroom clouds anywhere this spring. I fear we ain’t seen nothing yet, and there’s too many storm clouds on the horizon. I pray.
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is an historically important image, it’s not being used for profit, and is central to illustrating the post. Plus the regime that held the copyright expired in 1945, wouldn’t that make it public domain?)