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spikegifted - Random thoughts

 

It's about time!

September 9, 2003

Eh... Hold on a minute... Isn't the whole point about democracy, freedom, liberty, justice, etc is that you, the kids and everyone else get to make up his/her own mind what's good and what's beneficial... So telling people/school kids how great these things are is contradictory to the ideals of democracy, freedom, liberty, justice, etc... No? 

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September 10, 2003

That's not quite hit the mark, a debt is a debt, but we've to put things into context... The Marshall Plan for helping continental Western Europe and Japan was put in place because the US did not want the a continual march of communism westwards in Europe and lossing Japan to them as well. Loosing the Czechoslovak state to the Communist was a blow and now it is knocking at the door of the 'Western World'. To add to that France, Belgium, Italy had very strong communist following and there's a left-wing tendency in the UK also. If the living standards were not raised substantially over a very short period of time, people will be very upset - just coming out of a war, not withstanding. At the same time, the position of Japan was threatened by the presence of large Soviet built up just across a small stretch of water and possibly China.

So the Marshall Plan asked the American people to pay for the administration's political objective. Ok, it also happened to have benefited the lives of Western European and Japanese citizens.

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September 10, 2003

At the same time:

rid North America of its indigenous population through making and breaking of / not honoring treaties;
through lies and deceit to conned land out of the Indians;
choose to ignore the rights of the people who have spend hundreds if not thousands of years living there (so much for property rights!);
interned a substantial proportions of Japanese descendants who are really Americans but did not put in place such policy against immigrant Germans/Italians;
removed statutory policies on racism but not rid itself of the institutional aspect of racism, hence creating a political and economical underclass...

Need I carry on?

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September 10, 2003

It is unfortunate that history is often looked in such a way. However, you've to bear in mind that it is often the case that a particular nation is remembered for all the wrong-doings but not the positive things. For everything that is good about a country/culture, someone will be able to come up 5 or 10 negative ones.

We all know that democracy is a Good Thing (tm), but it is a relatively modern concept. Sure the Greeks and Romans have democracies and republics, but do we really know how it worked? History is recorded in such a way that we're allowed to forget the difficulties of the ordinary people struggling to survive in the Greek and Roman world. It is only through modern democratic ideals that societies open up and authorities, in turn, allow negative aspects of societies to be allowed to be aired in public.

History is a difficult thing to handle. It is only through time that the politics or political influence is removed from history and allow people to look at history as it stands. We're all colored by politics and our politics are hindering us from seeing events in true historical context.

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September 10, 2003

Mr. bin Laden is very much alive, despite all the efforts to blow him away... Just saw a clip from al Jazeer (you need Arabic fonts for this site... or you can go here) of a video of him hiking up in the Afghan mountains...

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September 11, 2003

Thanks to the British Empire, lots of countries were asked by the United Kingdom to contribute to the WWI effort - Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Indians, etc... However, many of the formations were wasted by deploying them through charges over the trenches - a tactic that has proved completely ineffective and most (over 80%) of the troops were shot or wounded by German machine gun fire. However, Marshall Haig persisted with this unsuccessful tactic, believing that the sheer number of bodies thrown at the machine guns will eventually overwhelm them. Complete waste of human lives and complete disregard for human lives!! The Marshall should've been removed from command and court marshalled, but instead he was decorated and was seen as an able commander.

To the point regarding US involvement in WWI - the US contributed over 4 million of personnel to the Allied effort, which is not insignificant, considering both France and the UK contributed around 8.5 million each. However, one needs to consider the duration of involvement and the casualty levels of the combatants. By the time 1918 came along, the UK has lost just under 3 million through death, injury or missing in action. Likewise, the French has lost over 5 million personnel! Throughout the entire conflict, US losses totalled less than half million. I'm not suggesting we should look at contribution through the level of casualty, of course not. However, you need to take morale into consideration and fighting conditions. Yes, the US did contribute to the defeat of the Kaiser's armies, but in terms of total contribution, it is to be put into perspective of the big picture.

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September 11, 2003

Sure, I'm incline to agree with your assessment. The point I wanted to get across was that the introduction of US troops in the theater kind of give the French, British and the rest of the fighting troops a 'morale boost'. After 3.5 years of trench warfare, the commanders were desperately running out of ideas. With the exception of the introduction of the tank (although poorly deployed), tactics have remain unchanged from the first day of war. Things were a little stale, so to speak. The arrival of American troops at the front line basically upped the fighting spirit and gave fresh ideas - the point that US commanders refused to allow the troops to be broken up and fed piece meal to battles also made a difference.

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September 11, 2003

By the same logic, since China is so over-crowded and but labor cost so low, won't it be more productive and cost effective to simply 'give' California to immigrating Chinese (say about 25m, the population size of Shanghai) and let them produce as much as they want to flood the American markets...


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