Friday, February 18, 2011

Im Westen nichts Neues

Did you know about the firefight today?

Sounds like some of the guys in Kunar Province, way out in the eastern edge of Afghanistan, had a rather trying day today. Some of the local badmashes - probably Afghan Talibanis, possibly Pakistani Talibs, possibly just locals with a case of the ass - shot up their "outpost" (whatever that represents in military terms; a patrol base, a checkpoint, an LP/OP...) with rifle and grenade fire.According to the press release the boys reacted pretty well; they returned fire and shot up their attackers, who presumably grabbed a hat; at least there's no mention of the position being endangered.

So presumably it was just another day at the office for the guys out in Bar Kunar.

In the late Twenties a former German soldier published a book about his life in World War One. The main point of the story was to show the many civilians who had no idea of the lives their soldiers had lived in the war. His title was a piece of vicious irony; the phrase "Im Westen nichts Neues" was used by the Imperial German Army to describe a "normal" day of fighting on the Western Front lines. In such a day anywhere from a handful to hundred of men would have died and more ripped up by bullets, shells, bombs, and mines while others slowly weasted away from disease and exposure. For those men, "nothing new" meant everything; the end of life, or health, or youth. In the "news" the civilians received - it meant just nothing. All this death and injury were just another day at the office.

But the guys who lived through it came back home with a head's worth of nightmare composed of boredom, hardship - ranging from discomfort to misery, stress, fear, hate, and all the other assorted crap that war stuffs into your brain housing group.

And their wives, kiddies, parents, friends, and bosses - whose heads had been stuffed with "nothing new" and marching-song bullshit for four years, had no fucking idea why the guys seemed a little tense now and then.

So I don't know why the fact that our cabinet wars have disappeared off the public news irks the hell out of me. It's nothing new, and certainly nothing shocking. Armies, countries, governments have tried stuffing the dirty work their soldiers do down the memory hole probably since Ramses' day.But it still irritates the shit out of me all the same.


  1. Actually there was another shooting incident involving Bundeswehr soldiers near Kunduz today as well. Three dead and seven wounded German soldiers as a result . . .

    Why are they there anyway? Oh yea, now I remember we had to find something new for NATO to do in Bush's Great War on Terror . . .

  2. chief,
    Look at the pic you used today-isn't that a country to die for?
    Would you accept that town as your property-if they gave it to you?

  3. Ah yes, the media tossed the Anti-War Left under the bus the moment Obama won. The Anti-War Right had already gotten smeared, so we were already ignored. That's certainly not 'Change you can believe in' or 'Change that you can bank on', is it?

  4. seydlitz, jim: Yeah, the great War on (some forms of) Terror (when practiced by some people). What the fuck good will control of that mess of mud huts do? But the guys there are not the problem; they're busting the ass like good soldiers and for what we know about it they might as well be fighting for control of Barsoom.

    BRL: The "media tossed the anti-war Left" under the bus back in 2002. The Left hasn't been taken seriously in this country since 1972, despite being fairly well on the money since...well...1972. Obama's election was a triumph of irritation with Dubya and his idiot mouse circus, not a refutation of the antiwar hippies; they were NEVER taken seriously.

    I was writing back in 2008 that if you believed that whole "Change" slogan you were kidding yourself; the only change was that the reckless, stupid group of leaders were being exchanged for a more cautious, more intelligent group. Not, obviously, intelligent enough to see that fighting land wars in Asia is a Bad Idea. But it's a tribute to how fucking gormless the Cheney Administration was that it couldn't even see THAT...

    And NOW you tell me there WAS an anti-war Right?

    You're shittin' me.

    Where the hell were they? I'd have loved to have heard anyone to the right of friggin' Cokie Roberts giving me some hugs over at the old Intel Dump instead of calling me a Bush-hating Commie Peacenik Faggot.

    No disrespect intended, but three people with a "Get out of the U.N. now" sign doesn't constitute an "anti-war Right"...

  5. And NOW you tell me there WAS an anti-war Right?

    Yes, we used get tarred with the label 'Isolationist' because we take to heart the idea of 'Friendship & Free Trade with all Nations, Men & Religions; Entangling Alliances with None'. We're Non-Interventionists and the most prominent/visible person of our 'group' is Dr. Ron Paul.

  6. BRL-

    OK, Ron Paul, we got that. What about Al Gore?

  7. Wouldn't really call Al Gore a 'right-winger'. Besides, I dislike Gore in the extreme because he's a lying weasel that is no different than Obama or Bush in my opinion. Speaking of our departed former President, its funny (odd, not haha) to look back on the George W. Bush people forgot...

  8. BRL-

    Well, yea, I wouldn't call Al Gore a "right-winger", whereas I would call him a moderate conservative, which is the point. Kinda like anti-war conservative covers a lot of ground whereas "anti-war right" means what exactly? When did this "right" start to be "anti-war"?

    "I dislike Gore in the extreme because he's a lying weasel that is no different than Obama or Bush"

    You don't see any difference between Gore and Bush? That says a lot.

    Gore's actually a pretty good litmus test . . .

  9. BRL: between 2001 and 2004 (the critical period for the Bush foreign policy fuckups Dr. Paul was like the dog in the nighttime.

    While the DFH were out marching in the streets (and being either dismissed, mocked, or ignored) or writing brilliantly prescient like Jim Fallow's "The Fifty-First State" ( - and being dismissed, mocked, or ignored) I'm sure that Paul was making a speech or two. Or three.

    But I was following politics pretty closely and I not only don't remember anyone in the GOP engaging and rebuking Paul, I don't even REMEMBER Paul. He was so far below the radar that he was practically on sonar.

    That's been my problem with the entire non-Cheney Right and still is; when the stakes are down, they have either folded or been distracted by bright shiny objects (guns, abortion, immigrants).

    There really SHOULD be an alliance of convenience between the non-interventionist, individualist, anti-corporate Left and Right. But the so many of the Tea Parties have been captured by the birther/bircher/gold-standard goofy-cons AND has been so bombed by the hate-the-hippies rhetoric of the Becks and the Malkins that it hasn't happened.

  10. @seydlitz89 - When did this "right" start to be "anti-war"?

    There has been a tradition of principled opposition to war from 'the right' since at least World War I (since before that time, the notions of right/left get muddied a bit). They were called 'Isolationists' (which is the usual pejorative slung at us now). The more visible 'Anti-War Right' really gained traction with Senator Robert Taft during World War II.

  11. @FDChief - between 2001 and 2004 (the critical period for the Bush foreign policy fuckups Dr. Paul was like the dog in the nighttime.

    Of course. Thats the nature of the beast with our corporate media. Ron Paul was also the lone Republican to (correctly) state that Impeachment of Bill Clinton SHOULD have been for his illegal interventions such as in The Sudan and Afghanistan.

    That's been my problem with the entire non-Cheney Right and still is; when the stakes are down, they have either folded or been distracted by bright shiny objects (guns, abortion, immigrants).

    Well, you have to remember that we usually get ignored though that has changed radically with the rise of social-networking the likes of which I truly think scares the ever-loving drek out of the elites in this country. You also need to be sure to distinguish us from the Social Conservatives that usually fall in with the NeoCons while playing lip service to 'libertarian ideals'.

    But the so many of the Tea Parties have been captured by the birther/bircher/gold-standard goofy-cons AND has been so bombed by the hate-the-hippies rhetoric of the Becks and the Malkins that it hasn't happened.

    Well, the Tea Party really is about 50% Paul and 50% Palin/Beck (what we call The Tea-o-Cons).

    And, as an aside, sorry, but the Gold-standard is for one thing the ONLY thing the Constitution allows (its an either ALL or NOTHING document...cherry picking is deceitful ignorance at best). And by that I point to Article 1, Section 9: (No State shall) emit Bills of Credit (fiat money); make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.

    The Federal government, having meddled with our money since asshole FDR took power, has been in direct contravention of this clause. Removing us from The Gold Standard is why we have devalued crap passed around (fiat money) and is the real reason we have stagnated wages. And I hold 3 Presidents responsible for this evil that has been visited upon you, me and the entire nation: Woodrow Wilson for The Federal Reserve Act, Franklin Roosevelt for invoking that vile Trading with The Enemies Act (which made it illegal for US Citizens to own gold) and Bretton-Woods I, finally Richard Nixon for putting us on a totally Fiat Currency (Bretton-Woods II).

    There is no freedom without economic freedom. There is no way to restrain the rapacity of The State to wage war without restraining the power of government to devalue its currency. You wanna end The Warfare State? Gotta cut off the blood supply: money. Anything else is just pissing in the wind.

  12. BRL-

    "There has been a tradition of principled opposition to war from 'the right' since at least World War I"

    I'd refer to this as a conservative anti-war position.

    You still have not defined what you mean by "right-wing". I hear your term and I instinctively reach for my H&K. ;-)> What does that tell you?

    Al Gore for instance is a conservative, and has rendered considerable service to the conservative cause. So, what does that tell you?

    That's there's people out there who have no idea of conservative values. What effect that would have on one's politics . . .

    Nothing close to right-wing, essentially the enemy of right-wing following Rauschning. Remember right-wing for many of us is Empire, or even worse empire's stooge . . .

    Conservative is not so much a left/right "political" distinction, as much more a set of shared values meant to maintain and cultivate the national heritage for the prosperity of all, make sure that what had been seen in the past as American values somehow survive and prosper in the future. That isn't the same as Empire, in fact far from it. For a clear statement of what I mean read this . . .

    Simple idea right?

    You're not going to get anywhere near it attending "conservative" conferences that give Toonces the driving Cat Rumsfeld awards . . . Back in the 1930s such things were known as "sucker rallies".

    But then you are also mired in a school of 1930s social thought (von Mises) . . . so go figure . . .

    You're a movement in search of a leader, and sadly Ron Paul is probably all you're going to get . . .

  13. Seydlitz: You're a movement in search of a leader, and sadly Ron Paul is probably all you're going to get

    The very idea of the Tea Party being under a single leader is like anarchists getting organized to form a government. Ain't gonna happen. Far too many Tea Partiers are simply having a cathartic "We are against....." experience. If there was some coherence in their goals, perhaps they could find a leader, but the general disarray in their objectives will ultimately pit them against one another.

    That said, they can and probably will do some damage between now and melt down.

  14. Al-

    I'm referring to BRL's branch of the Tea Party not the Sarah Palin/Rabid Idiot Beck side of it. Ron Paul's about the best the GOP has at this point, but that's not saying much is it? At least he does operate in the realm of ideas and not so much self-deceptive illusions/prejudice masked as virtue sold to an atomized mass of lemmings (nothing against lemmings have you) . . .

    Still, not a national leader, so where is BRL's movement to go?

  15. seydlitz-

    Since the "movement" is so fragmented, and pandering to such a spectrum of ideas, it's hard to see it as a "movement" in terms of coalescing into a political entity of substance. Thus, leadership will always be illusive, as the underlying rejectionist themes would make it difficult for one leader to be sufficiently acceptable for all the people claiming "Tea Party" membership. They may be "contra status quo", but they haven't a clue as to what would be the "novus ordo". That is, if there would be and order at all. As I alluded above, sort of semi-organized anarchy.

  16. @seydlitz -

    But then you are also mired in a school of 1930s social thought (von Mises) . . . so go figure . . .

    Whose advice managed to stave off the complete destruction of the Austrian economy due to hyperinflation. I consider that a site better than shit slug around by the likes of Paul Krugamn (a Keynesian) and people like Alan Greenspan/Ben Bernanke (The Chicago School).

    You're a movement in search of a leader, and sadly Ron Paul is probably all you're going to get . . .

    I guess I don't consider that a hindrance. It will all depend on if he decides to run for President or decides to head to The Senate as to how he will affect US policy.

  17. OK, I'm calling the jam here. We're supposed to be talking about the guys we've went to do our dirty work in the ass end of the central Asian plateau and here we are being just as bad as the rest of the U.S.; forgetting the guys in our political infighting.

    No wonder the poor bastards get off the freedom bird and wonder who this "we" is that is at war...

  18. Not that the questions of political economics are not worthwhile or major ones. But let's start a new thread, if that's what we want to discuss.

  19. Yes, First Sergeant! My wrong for engaging a target of opportunity rather than exercise battlefield discipline. Ravages of old age.

  20. @FDChief - Not that the questions of political economics are not worthwhile or major ones. But let's start a new thread, if that's what we want to discuss.

    That's why I said we gotta starve the beast. The only way to stop the endless wars is to muzzle the government's ability to either borrow endlessly or inflate its currency into oblivion. That's what stopped the Romans. Hopefully we won't have to face that, though in all honesty I'm not so optimistic on that front.

  21. No sweat-di-dah, guys. The question of economics and politics is pretty freaking crucial, and I know we are all following the events of the Panic of 2008 and its fallout. But I really wanted to keep this one about the guys with the dirty boots.

    But on the subject of economics and politics, if you have a moment, drop by GFT and see if you think that this post ( would be worth cross-posting here.

    I'm honestly not sure; it's just a lot of hot air from me, which we get enough of around here, but it might spark some good commentary. Let me know what you think - I trust your judgment, and if you think it's worth airing out I'll cross-post it.

  22. I'd say bring your "hot air" post on over, Chief. I think it's good.

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