Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Great Divide

The Vancouver Sun ran a profound article about a civil war reenactment called North-South divide still runs deep. The civil war reenactments help open up the dramatic reality of the event. It was a huge struggle with a huge loss of life. One participant said there are lessons to be learned from the civil war.

"What is the lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan?" I ventured. "We shouldn't be there," Bishop said. "You got to read the book of history. He who doesn't remember history is destined to repeat it. Look what happened to the British. Look what happened to us in Iraq, and we were in cahoots all along with Saddam Hussein, that no-good son of a bitch."

Interesting analogy. I don't think the invasion of Iraq was wrong because it was a long and hard struggle with many casualties. I think it was wrong because it was based on a lie. Yes Saddam Husein was yet another CIA asset who was sold chemical weapons to use on Iran. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Bush said they had Weapons of Mass destruction. He was wrong. Then after all the carnage of a foreign invasion based on a proven lie, his final pep rally displayed a banner that said Mission Accomplished. Mission accomplished alright. The oil companies and Dick Cheney's Haliburton made a fortune which the American taxpayers are now paying for.

Afghanistan was different. If Bin Ladden really was responsible for 9/11 then something had to be done. Yet Bin Ladden was found in Pakistan not Afghanistan. The CIA confession video didn't even look like Bin Ladden. The third tower collapsing into it's own blueprint at free fall speed due to heat and fire is simply unscientific.

There were many irregularities that tainted the Afghan mission. Unicol was one. Not only was the Taliban trained by the CIA to fight the Russians, Unicol were wining and dining them over in Texas trying to win them over so the Taliban would give them the contract for the Central Asia gas pipeline through Afghanistan. Shortly after the Taliban ended up giving the contract for the oil pipeline to an Argentina firm named Bridas, Afghanistan was invaded and that decision was reversed.

The invasion of Iraq was just plain wrong and the war with Afghanistan became very confused and tainted. Handing over prisoners to be tortured and harvesting opium pretty much confirmed the mission went bad. Very bad.

Yet the article was about the historical civil war which it claims was over the issue of Slavery. I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks that is what the war was about. I had always concurred with the brother from Boston who asked, who wants a Union with people who fought a war for the right to keep slaves?

I got in an argument with a biker from Tennessee who used the Southern flag as part of their logo and said it was racist. He claimed many Confederates fought in the civil war for independence not slavery. If that is true that would soften my heart towards the south. Yet the historical realities of the time are hard to deny.

The Irish had sympathy for the Abolition Movement. They opposed British occupation of Ireland and supported the American Revolution. Daniel O'Connell sent word to the Irish in America inviting them to support the end to slavery because it was a cause they as a people supported through their own struggles.

I personally, can't see any good in fighting a war for the right to keep slaves. If the south wanted to be independent then that's fair enough but slavery is nothing to boast about or endorse.


  1. This is a good opportunity, for one to comment on re-enactments of battles, any battle, in this case the savage Civil War fights. I study military history and have done so for 40 years. Civil War historian Bruce Catton is the guy to read.

    Re-enactments seem just crazy to me. These guys WANT to be on a Civil War battlefield?? Why do they engage in this weird dress-up game? To be pretend tough guys? Are we supposed to think they are braver men than the guy sitting @ home watching the game? Do you know why they do it, Agent K? I do not.

    The Civil War battlefields were horrible; beyond any description a non-combatant can imagine. The Minie balls fired just blasted huge ragged bone and flesh wounds, far, far worse than any modern bullet. There was no proper medical treatment for wounds and no anasthetic.

    Do the guys there want to re-enact THAT? Cannons firing grapeshot point-blank into packed soldiers is romantic & nostalgic? The whole idea of trying desperately hard, at any personal expense, to re-create the most terrifying & agonizing time in any human's life is (to me) sick & disgusting.

    These pathetic men are just nuts. In the end, all one can feel is profound sorrow that anyone would be so deeply foolish.

  2. Yeah I dunno. Reenacting D-day would be an emotional time as well. I do think the former battles like the civil war or even older times of hand to hand combat with sword and shield like Sparta or the Braveheart battles were a different time with a different type of man. Modernization has removed the personal element of the loss and sacrifice associated with war. Today it’s become a video game where we sit back and watch people getting bombed on TV. Maybe that’s why they do it. So we don’t become so war hungry it become like watching a video game.

  3. [Deep Sigh]

    No, it hasn't. You can only say this because you and all other civilians have never been there. No loss? No sacrifice? For you maybe. Did you really think this through before you wrote it? I submit that you did not. It's video for CIVILIANS. Not for the people with boots on the ground. The fact that you don't share the experience does not make it other than what it is, and trust me, it's no video game. It's very real.

    You will find very few veterans doing this dress up re-enactment shit. You will find NO veterans of actual combat there, the idea is laughable, same as you find very few veterans in these "militia's" down south. It's largely guys who want to play dress-up at something they'd like to think they could have done for real, except they're not that kind of person. They just wish they were.

    Is it different than the days of sword and shield? Absolutely. Back then you were safe unless your enemy stood before you at arms reach. Now you are never safe.

    Ask the family and friends of every Canadian and American serviceman killed or wounded in the last 10 years if modernization has removed the personal element of loss and sacrifice. Come on dude, you're better than this....

  4. I was referring to a civilian perspective. The ones who elect governments that send troops to war for sometimes noble sometimes questionable motives. From a civilian perspective it has become like a video game watching people get bombed on TV. In many cases ground troops don’t even have to engage because it’s all expensive missiles and jets bombing the enemy including their civilians.

    You are correct in that whether someone dies from a bullet or mine that death is the same death and the same sacrifice if they died from a sword and spear. The combat is different but the end result is the same. I certainly don’t mean that modern death has less value than it did in older forms of warfare.

    I personally don’t do the civil war reenactments. I don’t have a concern with it. If some people want to do it to honour and remember the fallen then it can’t be a bad thing. Especially if they’re trying to remember the loss on both sides and pull the country together.

  5. trailrunner78: "You will find very few veterans doing this dress up re-enactment shit."

    No doubt, says it all, eh...?

    Agent K:

    "If some people want to do it to honour and remember the fallen then it can’t be a bad thing. Especially if they’re trying to remember the loss on both sides and pull the country together."

    That's right; Agent K, you just put this re-enactments business in another perspective.

    It's fair to do this, if one is just re-doing a bit of your family's & neighborhood's history, with the understanding, that you are showing what the soldiers in the fields would've looked like...

    And then, it's just that Americans are different people than us, so best to just leave 'em to it and wish them well.


Comments are moderated so there will be a delay before they appear on the blog.