Saturday, March 28, 2015

Why are we killing?

A letter published in The National Post March 28, 2015:

Re: A Mission Worth Extending, editorial, March 25.

Your editorial presents reasons why the mission in Iraq should not be extended. It points out that during the past six months, the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham has become even more barbaric. 

In other words, the bombing has done little good. Yet you endorse Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s solution to throw more gasoline on the fire. Despite increased barbarism, you deem the “mission can be judged a success.” You state unless we continue bombing, the bad situation would “spread over much of the Middle East.” Canada’s job is not to defend Israel or any other country in the region. 

You state “the threat is real.” Not to Canada. You state “the international community had to act.” What good did it do in Afghanistan? 

Western nations should stop meddling in Arab wars. It matters little whether the world buys oil from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries or ISIS.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Hell of War

Two pieces of related information.

I once knew an elderly woman who, during the Second World War, lived in a small German village. She told me that the locals could distinguish a German aircraft from one of the Allied air forces. They could also tell from the drone of the engines if it carried bombs.

As sometimes happened, Allied planes missed their targets and headed back to England with a full bomb load. As an aircraft would never attempt a landing with bombs aboard, the practice was to dump them in the Channel.

She told me that on one occasion they heard approaching their village a plane returning from a mission over Berlin or Frankfurt, but still carrying bombs. It flew over her village. No harm done. Over the next non-strategic village, it dropped its bombs killing some of the inhabitants.

                                                                 *   *   *

In the 1950's, my summer job was with the Air Regulations branch of the Canadian Department of Transport.  I assisted the inspectors, all of whom were veteran pilots.I learned that one of them did not drop the bombs of an aborted mission in the channel. He ordered, "As long as they land somewhere on German soil."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Modern Mediocrity

"The brand new mediocrity is more cherished than the shop worn perfection." So wrote Baltasar Gracian in his 1653 A Truthtelling Manual and the Art of Worldly Wisdom.

The Spanish Jesuit anticipated the noise that today passes as popular music, while the perfection of classical music gets pushed aside. Money interests have dumbed down any pretensions to quality still lingering in the modern soul.

An antithetical observation appears in The Austrian Achievement 1700-1800 where  Ernst Wangermann wrote: "It was for the growing number of these amateur performers, with their great thirst for emotional stimulation, that C.P.E. Bach, Haydn and Mozart wrote some of their most inspired music.  For the challenge to discover the accents of the soul . . . was the one that appealed most strongly to their own personalities and to their artistic aspirations."

Would anyone dare to so describe the concoctors of today's musical offerings?

Monday, March 2, 2015

How to Produce Home-Grown Radicals

There is much in the news lately about Canadians fleeing their native land to work and fight for the Islamic State. This reportage is rive with speculation why these young people would place themselves in harm's way.

Experts in such matters have probed deeply into this behaviour and emerged with equally deep and speculative reasons. They do not see the most salient motivations staring them in the face.

One need not be unduly sensitive or idealistic to become disaffected with a society that condones corporate greed, that is laced with pornography, that promotes people parading naked down our streets, along with worker exploitation and government insensitivity. That is what many young people witness in our secular world.

Add to this mix personal grievances --  no job, uninspiring education, aversion to war, poor counselling etc. and we have produced radicals willing to fight to destroy such a society, or build a society more in keeping with their beliefs.

All quite understandable. No experts needed.