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A date which will be quietly forgotten

2006-12-08 20:12:23.595894+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

Yesterday, December 7th, was "a date which will live in infamy". But it isn't, not really. The local papers all had interior stories somewhere about how the few remaining veterans of the attack are worried that the history will be forgotten, and aside from Jay, I didn't see it mentioned on any of my regular blogs.

But today Elf had some harsh words for John McCain's refusal to accept talks with Syria and Iran, and I wondered what we're losing of the cultural wisdom that those attacks may have brought us.

One thought I've seen is that every generation rollover or so there's a big war. It takes those who went through the last one dying off to let the society forget enough to try for another one. Yet since WWII we had Korea, and Vietnam, and I'd hate to cast off either of those as "small".

However it sure seems like we're destined for another big one. Like the collective idiocies of humanity are lining up for a big slugfest with lots of bodies on the order of the War Between the States, or the First World War, or the Second, and for all of the flaws of that generation and its culture, I've got to wonder what else we're losing as they die.

[ related topics: History Sociology War ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-08 21:55:36.406164+00 by: ebradway

You know - I used to think the whole issue of bashing a presidential candidate because he lacked experience in the armed forces was just the warmongs talking. I now realize that the best way to ensure peace is to elect a commander-in-chief who's actually been on the battlefield.

Unfortunately, we are getting too far away from the last truly "just war" (WWII - although Afganistan might meet the criteria) to have electable candidates who saw enough horrors to want to avoid them at all costs - and only send our troops in if the horrors can't be avoided.

And I think it's really taking a big mess in Iraq for the lessons of Korea and Vietnam to be realized. Those "wars" weren't "lost" because Congress and the government was divided (although it sure didn't help). Those wars were "lost" because we didn't really have a dog in those fights.

We entered WWII only when it became abundantly clear that we needed to - i.e., we were attacked directly or our close allies were attacked directly. We entered Afganistan for similar reasons - we were attacked albeit not directly by that nation but by those close enough to almost be considered agents of that nation.

Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq are simply examples of our hubris taking hold of our common sense. War is really, really bad - even if you win. Peaceniks (like myself) don't protest these "wars" because we feel we are weak. It is because we are strong enough to want to find other ways of dealing with crises than the old tried-and-true method of going in with guns a-blazing. Of course, the atomic bomb (and the other end of today's infamy) created a peace in a way no one really predicted (or if they did, I'd like to read the reference!). If the "guns" are overwhelmingly big, a kind of shaky peace can develop. But in Iraq, the problem is with "guns" that are so small they can be carried in a tube of toothpaste (or so we are told).

Of course, I may be eating too many brownies...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-09 01:31:18.680575+00 by: Larry Burton

In Afghanistan we told the leaders of that country that we wanted those people that were responsible for the attacks on our World Trade Center and our Pentagon. The leaders of Afghanistan, the Taliban, told us we would have to come through them first. We decided it was worth it to do so. With that in mind you could very reasonably state that we were attacked by Afghanistan.

About remembering history, I asked a co-worker yesterday if he knew what had happened 65 years ago. His response was, "Uh, D-Day?" I told him that was the wrong theater so his next response was "The Invasion of France." This man is in his early 30s with an engineering degree. I was disheartened over this.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-09 13:25:07.187969+00 by: DaveP

When I suggested that a proper after-work activity on Thursday was "hey, let's go out and get bombed on kamikazes", there were about an equal number of blank stares and groans.

Those older than mid-30s knew why I made the suggestion and groaned. Those younger had to have it explained. I don't remember hearing about any big change in history curricula at the time, but find it interesting that those who grew up with the internet (or at least net-news) during college were the ones who didn't know history. Causation? Dunno. Correlation? At least in our office.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-11 11:07:56.243423+00 by: jeff

The "big one" has already started.

As long as we're inappropriately aligned with Israel, and as long our policies continue to exacerbate distrust of US in the Middle-East, and as long as we continue to live in an oil-dependent economy we're going to be faced with the ENDLESS probability of war over "America's addition to oil." Muslim nations currently control 60-70% of the world's proven reserves.

Why haven't we built a consumer nuclear power generating facility in over 30 years? I believe France gets over 80% of its electricity from nuclear power.

The Iraq Study Group findings, widely publicized in the Middle-East, have already emboldened the Arab street and media there. Many in that region claim Iraq has already been "lost" by the Americans, and they are most likely right. But that would be a subject of a different thread.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-11 11:55:20.626411+00 by: meuon

Warning: Ranting Lunatic

"I believe France gets over 80% of its electricity" - France: 60 Million people, 547k sq kilomters "just less than twice the size of Colorado".

I have an issue with making comparisons with small densely populated countries and the United States, Which, when you look at it is huge, with population clustered on the West Coast, and the Eastern States. - Very different issues.OK, I'm over that petty point.

Big issues: Yep, we -have- to stop being foreign (and native) oil dependent. We also have to stop being righteous, arrogant, invasive. This country needs to revisit it's roots of both personal freedoms and personal responsibilities. It needs to be the friendly nice big guy, whom has a big friggen baseball bat in his hand. Earning respect, not demanding and bullying for it. Being fair in import and export trade practices. we need to understand the "Earth is not flat" and that we need to support business, industry and manufacturing inside of this country for it to survive, let alone prosper.

First step: We have to dilute the politically active fundamental Christian's influence the next election. The current Democractic party is not as liberal as it needs to be, to offset the last 8+ years, but it is a start. Let's flush the idea that the President and Congressmen should be "pure of heart". I want to vote for real people, that have made mistakes, learned from them and own up to them. Not people that have learned to cover their affectations and weaknesses.

I'd vote for a President that has had a few real jobs, owed the IRS, and been to war and killed a few people, dragging a few buddies back to the medic and/or the morgue. He'd understand the true costs of war and military power as an enforcer of foreign policy. He'd know what was really important. Our elite ruling political class has been 'born and raised' into politics, they are corrupt disconnected hypocrites. We -CAN- change this if we try. That is what makes America great.

[rant off] - Thanks, I feel better now.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-11 12:46:17.685161+00 by: jeff

RE: Nuclear Power. My only point about France is that "IF they can do it, so can we." They have 1/5 our population, but nuclear power scales better long-term than the current energy production mix for a country of our size. It's frankly quite embarrassing that we haven't built a nuclear power generating facility in over 30 years.

IMHO, the two-party system is "dead," and has been for quite some time. Many will say that no meaningful legislation has been passed in the last sixteen years. I want policy decisions which are non-polarizing, and which effect positive "real change" in our country and society. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen with the current American political organization--so closely bedfellowed with big global businesses.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-11 13:19:48.39053+00 by: meuon

Jeff, That is why I've tried to vote for independants. And if I thought I could effectively run for office (not even win, just do it well) I would. The difference between the Republicans and Democrats is mostly laughable and my seat of the pants feeling is the Democrats are now where the Republicans were 20 years ago. We need a "Responsible Party".

Regarding Nuclear: Note: Watts Bar Nuclear Plant went online just a few years ago (1996) I think there are much better designs out there now than the job-program-monstrocities TVA build in this region . The word at the local Engineers Club meetings is: we will be building next generation smaller nuclear plants soon. the Japanese and USA both have designs for "assembly line" nuclear power plants that are mostly "factory built" and assembled on site, mostly underground. Getting Government approval is another matter. Dealing with the waste.. That is still a problem although we have fired LOTS of 'spent uranium' bullets in the Middle East. The USA gets rid of a two problems at once.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-11 17:14:25.429653+00 by: jeff [edit history]

I couldn't agree more about a "responsible party." And the need to have much greater restrictions on campaign contributions.

As for nuclear power, the technology is not the problem (other than waste disposal, and the French have largely worked that out too), it's pure asinine politics--both at the local and federal levels preventing quick re-adoption of a sorely needed energy source. And the traditional "dirty" technology energy companies (i.e. coal, gas, oil) want to ensure their energy distribution monopoly is not usurped in any way.

As long as we're functionally dependent and addicted to foreign oil, we'll likely be involved in wars over it until the cows come home. But that's not the entire reason we're stuck in a quagmire named Iraq. I'm afraid that's going to be a household term for at least a generation to come; it's not something that's going to be easily forgotten.