“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
May 23rd, 2009
1) Curtis LeMay, the 20th century and the age of mass: Curtis LeMay was one of the fathers of strategic bombing. He innovated the use of mass bombing during the second world war and used it to terrible affect against Japan. His life and legacy says much about the 20th century and the era of mass destruction. It is in great contrast to the wars of the 21st century.
2) A model success: The defeat of the Tamils: The defeat of the Tamils and the death of their phenomenal leader is a major event. After 26 years of savage war the Tamil Tigers have been defeated. During the height of their power they controlled a great swath of Sri Lanka and even ruled their own mini-state. But following break down in a ceasefire the government launched a massive offensive in January. For the Hindu minority, who the Tamils represented, it is a tragedy, but their seeming lack of protest in front of the army offensive may show their disillusionment with what seems to have been a short-sighted and immature use of the chance at self government the Tigers once achieved.
Curtis LeMay, the 20th century and the age of mass
Seth J. Frantzman
May 16th, 2009
Warren Kozak’s recently released LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay reminds not only of one of America’s most controversial generals but also of man whose epic use of weapons was emblematic of the 20th century. LeMay lived in the 20th century, he was born in 1906 and died in 1990. He is credited with being the father of Strategic Bombing, was called various “Old Iron Ass’ and ‘Bombs Away LeMay’ and is credited with partially causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians through his the bombers he unleashed against Japan in 1944-1945.
LeMay became a pilot in the U.S air force in 1939 and in 1942 he was dispatched to the U.K as part of the U.S commitment to help defend England from a Nazi invasion. Although a high ranking officer he chose to personally lead most of the bombing missions that he dispatched to bomb German cities. It was here between 1942 and 1944 that he first grasped the logic of using total war and strategic bombing to destroy the economy and will of the Germans to fight the War. Transferred to the Japanese theatre in 1944 he became the ‘father’ of strategic bombing, ordering one bombing of Tokyo that supposedly took 100,000 lives. After the war he was in charge of the Berlin Air Lift and advocated the use of strategic bombing against North Vietnam, a tactic that eventually proved successful when Nixon unleashed it in 1972. For those opposed to his militant policies and total war approach LeMay represented all that was bad about American power and war.
But LeMay is emblematic of the 20th century. His approach to war says much about what the 20th century was and what the 21st century is not. The 20th century was a century of mass movements and mass death tolls. It was a century of extremes and social engineering. By contrast the 20th century is one of precision guided weapons, ‘small wars’ and even smaller death tolls. It is a century of chaotic terror organizations fighting high tech armies and it is a century where the battle of the births is more important than the battle fought with the rifle.
Whereas William T. Sherman was one of the American ‘fathers’ of the use of Total War in 1864 he was not emblematic of the 19th century which was merely a playground of death tolls compared to the 20th. Consider that the 20th century was brought in with the Boers languishing in British concentration camps in South Africa and the German genocide of Africans in Namibia. It ended with the savagery of Rwanda and the Balkan wars. When the century opened many of the world’s peoples lived in multi-ethnic empires. When it ended most lived in nation states with porous borders. The great events of the 20th century, the Holocaust and the Cold War exist almost in a vacuum, for most of the world’s peoples and most of the important events taking place today they have no connection. The rise of Islamism and China, for instance, took place completely outside of the two. Although most Westerners speak of “Nazis” all the time as a point of reference for everything from bad coffee to conflicts in far off places, they have no connection, real or imagined, to the Second World War.
It is hard to imagine that LeMay’s bombers incinerated from 100,000 people or that he supposedly wounded another 450,000 and left 8 million homeless when he was done with Japan. There are still large death tolls today, such as from the Tsunami in Asia. There are still large population movements, but most of them are scripted and fabricated by a media that thrives on chaos. The supposed “100,000” Pakistani refugees from fighting in the Swat valley are but one example. Compare them to the actual 10 million refugees wandering around Europe in 1945 and the 9 million Americans under arms the same year and the ridiculousness of ‘civilians may be harmed in fighting in Sri Lanka, UN warns’ is apparent. The even more ridiculous shrill outcries over 8 dead children in Gaza becomes evident. The 20th century witnessed real violence and real mass movements of people. The 21st century is more the century of the whining victim than of the real victim.
Whereas in the 21st century people love to speak of diversity the 20th century, when it began, actually had diversity. Consider the cities of Odessa on the Black Sea and Vilna on the Baltic. These were cities teaming with Jews, Greeks, Roma, Tartars, Russians, Lithuanians, Germans and Poles. Today they are urban wastelands filled entirely with Ukrainians on the one hand and Lithuanians on the other. That was the result of the 20th century. We know what befell Vilna. Stalin removed the Poles in 1939. Hitler killed off the Jews. Then Stalin finished the job by removing the remaining Germans. Odessa too was despoiled. The Greeks and Germans were deported by Stalin. Hitler killed the Jews. All that remained were Ukrainians. There are few cities in the world not thus affected. While there is ‘diversity’ the real remnant of the 20th century is the lack of that value that so many progressives bow down to. What is perhaps more surprising is that LeMay’s Toyo bombing raid where 100,000 died probably had less affect historically than the events of Sept. 11. That says much about the 20th century and much about the 21st.
A model success: The defeat of the Tamils
Seth J. Frantzman
May 17, 2009
In a damn the torpedoes approach and with a clenched fist and a determined military the Sri Lankan government has swiftly put an end to 26 years of brutal civil war in defeating the Tamil Tigers. This despite the best efforts of the ‘international community’ and the BBC to encourage and end to the fighting and a continuation of terrorism and murder.
The BBC was disappointed on May 17th, 2009 when it reported that units of the Sri Lankan army had linked up on the dunes in northeast Sri Lanka, destroying the last elements of the Tamil Tiger’s army. The headline was ‘Pleas ignored: international calls for restraint go unheeded as the war heads to a bloody conclusion.’ The UN’s Gordon Weiss in Sri Lanka had warned of a “bloodbath” should the army finish the job. Perhaps knowing that the West and its BBC and UN allies would never understand and applaud a military victory over a terrorist militia, Mahinda Rajapakse, the president of Sri Lanka, spoke about his victory at a conference in Jordan, where 39 years ago that country used similar tactics to destroy the Palestinian terrorist forces threatening its existence.
The BBC needed to insert its typical shrill statements about “unseen horrors” and “tens of thousands of civilians may be trapped.” Then there was the “no way of knowing for” if the army’s statement was true. There were “children clinging to rafts” and twenty-five thousand “starving” and “wounded” people who had escaped. There were people who “hadn’t eaten for weeks” and children with “limbs blown off”. There was a video that the “military claimed” was a rebel training video. There were captured Tamil Tigers, but there was “no way of knowing for sure since independent journalists are barred from the conflict zone.” Oddly enough there was footage of them taken by the BBC. The BBC journalist got in one last extremism; “aid agencies have grave concern…tens of thousands are trapped facing an unimaginable hell.” This was David Gramaticus’s report from Colombo in Sri Lanka.
The greatness of the government’s victory over the Tamils cannot be overstated. Despite all the typical innuendo about “hell” and “unseen horrors” the government pushed on using its military to its fullest. And it has won and with the victory peace may finally come to Sri Lanka’s civilians. Unlike other governments the Sri Lankan government has put its people, the taxpayers and voters, those the state is supposed to protect, above the “unseen horrors” and “unimaginable hells” conjured up by the media and the UN. An analysis of the reporting of this conflict should serve as a model of how the media works to not only create conflict but to blow it out of all reasonable proportion in order to convey a sense of alarm to audiences throughout the world. The BBC which, when shown terrorist training videos and captured enemy fighters can never seem to “confirm” that they are what they are and always attribute them to some sort of innuendo strewn conspiracy with the word “claim” and quotation marks put before every sentence, seems perfectly capable of making the most shocking statements about an “unseen” horrors and “unimaginable” hells. But if they are unseen then how do we know they exist? Why is the hell not merely another “claim”? Why are there no quotes around these accusations.
The war against terrorism is not merely a war against the terrorists themselves but against the media and the UN as well. The Gordon Weisses and David Gramaticuses of the world are practitioners of the best art of Stalinistic Pravda and yellow journalism, working hard to inflame public opinion so as to allow terrorists to continue their campaigns. Sri Lanka has won the terror war, hopefully, and it remains to be seen if the world can learn from her actions or if the world will continue to be enslaved by the likes of the BBC and the UN. Sri Lanka’s citizens have freed themselves of the shackles of the ‘international community’. We too have nothing to lose but our chains.