The Middle Ages, Myths, Colonialism, Hitler, Vietnam, and King Harold has an Excruciatingly Bad Day
A myth is born…King Harold plucks an arrow from his eye.
I got this delicious comment on yesterday’s post:
mullah cimoc say usa media so control for keep ameriki stupid.
for education himself ameriki needing for read:
a man called intrepid, by him william stevenson
inside the company, a cia diary, by phillip agee
then google: mighty wurlitzer +cia
soon all him news faking so obvious.
Apparently Mullah Cimoc has pissed off a lot of bloggers as Googling his name will show. I just think it’s funny, I don’t know whether it’s just an elaborate joke or what. Cimoc is comic backwards. I didn’t even try to parse what he is saying, sounds like ultra conspiracy stuff. I don’t really buy into the “fascists are about to turn America into a police state” argument. The people ruling America already have all the money and power, so they don’t need to turn the country into a police state. I could be wrong but I’m not planning on fleeing the country any time soon. However, even if Mr Cimoc a famous troll in some parts, it means interesting people are reading my blog.
I realized something the other day in my endless cogitation about history and the state of the world. Why is it that the people who make the biggest deal about how Muslims have intractable cultural differences from westerners…are the same people who think we will be able to transform Iraq into a western style secular democracy? If they are so different than us that we can’t even consider negotiating with them, and we are doomed to fight a “war of civilizations” with them, how can we possibly expect them to adopt western style government? Just seems like a glaring contradiction to me. In fact I still see in Iraq what is basically the colonial mind set still at work, the USA is trying to “civilize” people we consider to be less than civilized.
Speaking of old mind sets, I was also musing the other day about how our operation in Iraq really is very similar to good old style feudal occupations. IE, one builds castles in the land one is trying to control, and heavily armoured knights ride out to keep the locals in line. The weapons and armour are far more sophisticated than in days of old, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same thing. As I study history and step back more and more, it’s easier to see how things really haven’t changed a whole lot in the last few thousand years. Every age likes to think that it is new and different, but for the most part just the trappings have changed.
Which leads me to the UN and the code of chivalry. People like to think of the UN as something new, but not really. There have been attempts to set up similar bodies, though not global in scale of course, since at least the middle ages. The code of chivalry was part of such efforts, and while it sounds all well and good, in practise it sanctioned violence by the ruling class and legitimized the order of things. And we see the same in the UN, it is entirely run for the benefit of the United States at this point. Note the sanctions against Iran for the merest wild suspicion that they might be developing nuclear weapons, while half a dozen other countries are blatantly thumbing the nose against the world with their nuclear programs. India, Pakistan, Israel, and Brazil come to mind for starters.
And one last observation about how things don’t change, there’s a amazing thing that happens in countries that lose wars. (Or after large battles for that matter.) Often a myth arises about why they lost the war, something that allows people to comfort themselves knowing that they didn’t lose because of their own failings. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066 when Normandy conquered England, the myth quickly arose that King Harold was struck in the eye by an arrow. Yes, the whole of England was conquered by a French Duke because the King happened to glance upwards at the wrong moment. In actuality, the French tricked the English into breaking ranks, and a group of specially chosen French Knights rode through a gap in the English shield wall and hacked King Harold to bits.
While the above myth is more or less harmless, some have been far more destructive. After Germany lost World War One, a myth arose that Germany had lost the war because of Jewish fifth columnists. IE Jews had secretly worked from inside Germany to cripple the war effort. And guess what now famous German politician exploited and encouraged this silliness to the max? Pretty much everyone knows about the holocaust, few know its political origins. And of course the myth that the USA “lost” the Vietnam war because “we didn’t try hard enough” and “hippies and peaceniks sabotaged the war effort.”
Sigh. One would think the sheer scale of the carnage and the mind-numbing amount of munitions and chemical weapons the USA used in Vietnam would have scotched that one in the starting gate, but many people apparently have a powerful need to assign blame elsewhere when things go bad. I’ll be blogging about this more because I do believe it is germane to our current situation in Iraq. Plus I’ve been working on my Vietnam War quiz, so the topic been on my mind a lot. I’ll try to publish it this weekend.
Have a great weekend everyone, God Bless and Good Times.
(The above image is from the Bayeux Tapestry commemorating the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The tapestry dates from the same era and is thus public domain.)