Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Germany started the Great War, but the Left can't bear to say so
In this centennial year, it's more important than ever that we treat the truth with respect
By Boris Johnson
I think Boris is being a little contentious below. The German declaration of war on Russia was the final nail in the coffin of peace but the actual first strike in the war was the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia. That itself may not have come to much but for the Tsar -- who immediately ordered the mobilization of his forces. It was only that mobilization which caused Germany to declare war. At the risk of sounding like The Skibbereen Eagle,
I personally blame the Tsar. -- JR
One of the reasons I am a Conservative is that, in the end, I just can't stand the intellectual dishonesty of the Left. In my late teens I found I had come to hate the way Lefties always seemed to be trying to cover up embarrassing facts about human nature, or to refuse to express simple truths - and I disliked the pious way in which they took offence, and tried to shoosh you into silence, if you blurted such a truth.
Let me give you a current example of this type of proposition. It is a sad but undeniable fact that the First World War - in all its murderous horror - was overwhelmingly the result of German expansionism and aggression. That is a truism that has recently been restated by Max Hastings, in an excellent book, and that has been echoed by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary. I believe that analysis to be basically correct, and that it is all the more important, in this centenary year, that we remember it.
That fact is, alas, not one that the modern Labour Party believes it is polite to mention. According to the party's education spokesman, Tristram Hunt, it is "crass" and "ugly" to say any such thing. It was "shocking", he said in an article in yesterday's Observer, that we continued to have this unacceptable focus on a "militaristic Germany bent on warmongering and imperial aggression".
He went on - in a piece that deserves a Nobel prize for Tripe - to mount what appeared to be a kind of cock-eyed exculpation of the Kaiser and his generals. He pointed the finger, mystifyingly, at the Serbs. He blamed the Russians. He blamed the Turks for failing to keep the Ottoman empire together, and at one stage he suggested that we were too hard on the bellicose Junker class. He claimed that "modern scholarship" now believes that we have "underplayed the internal opposition to the Kaiser's ideas within the German establishment" - as if that made things any better.
Perhaps there was some more "internal opposition" to the Kaiser, as Hunt thinks. Whoever they were, these internal opponents, they weren't much blooming use, were they? It was Germany that pushed Austria to make war on Serbia. It was Germany that declared war on Russia, on August 1 1914. It was Germany that decided it was necessary to invade Luxembourg, and it was Germany that deployed the Schlieffen plan (devised in 1905, incidentally) and sent her troops smashing through neutral Belgium and into France.
Why was it necessary to follow up some rumpus in Sarajevo by invading France, for heaven's sake? It wasn't. The driving force behind the carnage was the desire of the German regime to express Germany's destiny as a great European power, and to acquire the prestige and international clout that went with having an empire. That is why Tirpitz kept increasing the size of the German fleet - in spite of British efforts to end the arms race. That's why they tried to bully the French by sending a gunboat to Agadir in 1911.
That, in a nutshell, is why millions died in the trenches of the western front and elsewhere, 15 million in all. It was an even greater tragedy for Germany, and for the world, that within two decades of the end of that conflict there should arise another German leader who decided to revive what was essentially the same military/political objective - a massive expansion of German influence in Europe and beyond; and though Hitler was admittedly even more nasty and militaristic than the Kaiser, it was no coincidence that he used a very similar plan: first take out France and the Low Countries, then go for Russia.
In both wars, huge numbers of British people, military and civilian, lost their lives in the struggle to frustrate these deranged ambitions. They were, in essence, fighting on the right side, and it should not be forbidden to state that fact. The Second World War arose inexorably out of the first, and in both wars I am afraid the burden of responsibility lies overwhelmingly on German shoulders. That is a fact that we should not be forbidden from stating today - not just for the sake of the truth, but for the sake of Germany in 2014.
Hunt is guilty of talking total twaddle, but beneath his mushy-minded blether about "multiple histories" there is what he imagines is a kindly instinct. These wars were utterly horrific for the Germans as well as for everyone else, and the Germans today are very much our friends. He doesn't want the 1914 commemorations to pander to xenophobia, or nationalism, or Kraut-bashing; and I am totally with him on that.
We all want to think of the Germans as they are today - a wonderful, peaceful, democratic country; one of our most important global friends and partners; a country with stunning technological attainments; a place of incomparable cultural richness and civilisation. What Hunt fails to understand - in his fastidious Lefty obfuscation of the truth - is that he is insulting the immense spiritual achievement of modern Germany.
The Germans are as they are today because they have been frank with themselves, and because over the past 60 years they have been agonisingly thorough in acknowledging the horror of what they did. They don't try to brush it aside. They don't blame the Serbs for the 1914-18 war. They don't blame the Russians or the Turks. They know the price they paid for the militarism of the 20th century.
They don't try to mitigate, palliate, or spread the blame for the conflict. They tried that in the Thirties, and they know that way lies madness. The Germans know the truth about the world wars, and their role. They have learnt, and they have changed. It would be a disaster if that truth became blurred today. I can hardly believe that the author of this fatuous Observer article is proposing to oversee the teaching of history in our schools.
If Tristram Hunt seriously denies that German militarism was at the root of the First World War, then he is not fit to do his job, either in opposition or in government, and should resign. If he does not deny that fact, he should issue a clarification now.
Buffering out the right to hear
by Jeff Jacoby
EVIDENCE THAT misery doesn't love company is common at pro-life gatherings, where women holding poignant signs - "I Regret My Abortion" - urge others not to make a mistake that haunts them.
As the US Supreme Court prepares to hear a constitutional challenge to the Massachusetts abortion-clinic "buffer zone" law this month, the justices are being reminded that the First Amendment protects more than just a speaker's right to express ideas. It also protects a listener's freedom to hear those ideas. Stifling that freedom near abortion clinics can mean - as 12 women argue, from personal experience, in a compelling friend-of-the-court brief prepared by Carrie Severino of the Judicial Education Project - that individuals in a crisis pregnancy are denied essential information at the moment they may need it most.
There is nothing eccentric about the idea that the Constitution shields the right to receive information. "The dissemination of ideas can accomplish nothing if otherwise willing addressees are not free to receive and consider them," wrote Justice William Brennan in 1965. "It would be a barren marketplace of ideas that had only sellers and no buyers."
But the practical effect of the Massachusetts law, which forces pro-life protesters, advocates, and counselors to stay at least 35 feet away from the entrance to any abortion clinic, is to make a reasonable exchange of ideas extremely difficult, if not impossible. The law, signed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007, makes no allowance for peaceful or quiet protest. It doesn't permit an individual to simply stand in silence, holding a sign or offering pamphlets. It forbids approaching even a willing listener who would like to hear - who might be desperate to hear - about a realistic alternative to abortion. The 35-foot boundary is marked with paint, and anyone who steps over it can be arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced to as much as 2« years in prison.
Anyone, that is, except for "employees and agents" of the abortion clinic. They're exempted from the buffer law, and can approach pregnant women or prospective patients at will. Planned Parenthood, for example, deploys official "escorts" at its large Boston facility. They function, in Planned Parenthood's description, "like ushers in a theater: They help people figure out where to go and keep foot traffic moving."
Meanwhile, prolife advocates are kept so far away that they have to call out to be heard - they can't initiate a normal conversation, in a gentle voice with a reassuring smile. Yelling from a distance is rarely a good way to engage in a respectful dialogue about anything with anyone. It is surely not the best way to offer support and empathy to a woman on the point of getting an abortion. Even someone deeply ambivalent or anxious about ending her pregnancy is unlikely to respond well to messages shouted from 35 feet away.
The result, not surprisingly, is that sidewalk counselors like Eleanor McCullen, the 76-year-old lead plaintiff challenging the Massachusetts law, are far less successful than they used to be at persuading women to consider alternatives to destroying their unborn baby. That, in turn, means more abortions - and more women who end up regretting them.
Women such as Paula Lucas-Langhoff, whose story is one of those recounted in Severino's amicus brief. Pregnant at 19, she was under pressure by her boyfriend to get an abortion. But the prospect filled her with trepidation. "The night before the abortion, I wandered the neighborhood looking for someone, anyone, that I could talk to who could help," she recalls. She had been assured by the abortion clinic staff that the procedure would be "easy"; in fact it was physically excruciating and emotionally traumatizing.
"I would give anything to change the past," Lucas-Langhoff tells the court in her sworn statement. "If pro-life counselors had been outside the abortion clinic that evening, my child would be alive today, but I was too young and frightened to know what to do. . . . My baby died because I was alone and had no one to help me."
Abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood insist that "most women ultimately feel relief after an abortion." But there are many women who are left with lifelong regrets, and who assert that they would never have chosen to have an abortion if only, at that last, critical moment, they could have received a different message. The Constitution protects their right to receive that message - whether the Commonwealth of Massachusetts likes it or not.
A very sick woman
She appears to be unaware that most women enjoy sex. Her term PIV stands for "Penis in vagina"
Just to recall a basic fact: Intercourse/PIV is always rape, plain and simple.
This is a developed recap from what I've been saying in various comments here and there in the last two years or so. as a radfem I've always said PIV is rape and I remember being disappointed to discover that so few radical feminists stated it clearly. How can you possibly see it otherwise? Intercourse is the very means through which men oppress us, from which we are not allowed to escape, yet some instances of or PIV and intercourse may be chosen and free? That makes no sense at all.
First, well intercourse is NEVER sex for women. Only men experience rape as sexual and define it as such. Sex for men is the unilateral penetration of their penis into a woman (or anything else replacing and symbolising the female orifice) whether she thinks she wants it or not - which is the definition of rape: that he will to do it anyway and that he uses her and treats her as a receptacle, in all circumstances - it makes no difference to him experiencing it as sexual. That is, at the very least, men use women as useful objects and instruments for penetration, and women are dehumanised by this act. It is an act of violence.
As FCM pointed out some time ago, intercourse is inherently harmful to women and intentionally so, because it causes pregnancy in women. The purpose of men enforcing intercourse regularly (as in, more than once a month) onto women is because it's the surest way to cause pregnancy and force childbearing against our will, and thereby gain control over our reproductive powers. There is no way to eliminate the pregnancy risk entirely off PIV and the mitigating and harm-reduction practices such as contraception and abortion are inherently harmful, too. Reproductive harms of PIV range from pregnancy to abortion, having to take invasive, or toxic contraception, giving birth, forced child bearing and rearing and all the complications that go with them which may lead up to severe physical and emotional damage, disability, destitution, illness, or death (See factcheckme.wordpress.com for her work on the reproductive harms of PIV, click on the "intercourse series" page or "PIV" in the search bar). If we compare this to even the crappiest online definition of violence: "behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something". Bingo. It fits: Pregnancy = may hurt, damage or kill. Intercourse = a man using his physical force to penetrate a woman. Intention / purpose of the act of intercourse = to cause pregnancy. PIV is therefore intentional harm / violence. Intentional sexual harm of a man against a woman through penile penetration = RAPE.
If we look at the act in more detail (skip this parag if you can't take it), PIV is a man mounting on a woman to thrust a large member of himself into her most intimate parts, often forcing her to be entirely naked, banging himself against her with the whole weight of his body and hips, shaking her like he would stuff a corpse, then using her insides as a receptacle for his penile dejection. How is this a normal civilised, respectful way to treat anyone? Sorry for the explicit picture, but this is what it is and it's absolutely revolting and violating.
Pentagon’s new warfare: Battle of the sexes
As the armed forces shrink and withdraw from some global hot spots, their agenda for the battle of the sexes grows.
The Pentagon under the Obama administration has devoted considerable hours in public and private to sorting out same-sex relationships, the roles of women in the foxhole and ways to stop sexual assaults. Now, another issue has arisen: gender transformation.
The sexual revolution has some traditionalists wondering whether the Pentagon is taking its eye off the ball — the enemy.
"Every conceivable form of PC is being enforced upon our hard-pressed military with a zeal that only a Russian army zampolit — a political officer — would truly appreciate," said Ken Allard, a retired Army colonel and commentator. "We are seemingly concerned about everything except the most basic thing: how to fight and win the nation's wars. If we have forgotten that constraint, let me assure you that our enemies have not, from the Taliban to the drug cartels to the Iranian Quds Force."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has made stamping out sex abuse a top priority, having met with President Obama, delivered public statements and appointed a board to recommend fixes.
Meanwhile, the Army, Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command have immersed themselves in surveys and studies to evaluate physical standards for direct ground combat. It's a two-year lead-up to putting women in infantry, tank and commando units.
The process is time-consuming and daunting. The Pentagon has made it clear that it does not want to retain irrelevant standards that women cannot meet — and it wants women introduced into combat units in sizable numbers to develop mentoring and female camaraderie.
"Yes, there is too much focus on social issues in the armed forces driven by external proponents with special interests, focused agendas and, in many cases, lack of knowledge about the armed forces," said retired Gen. Carl Mundy, Marine Corps commandant from 1991 to 1995. "The military services are without question the most open element in our society, and the very nature of that openness, together with the fishbowl in which they exist, make them ripe and easy targets for activists with an agenda."
Women and the Corps
The Marines in particular face a challenge in finding enough women, who make up 7 percent of the Corps. Women account for 14 percent of Army soldiers.
Before retiring as Marine commandant in 2010, Gen. James Conway testified before a congressionally created commission on military diversity. He said he doesn't believe Marine women want to be in land combat.
"I don't think you will see a change because I don't think our women want it to change," Gen. Conway testified. "There are certain demands of officers in a combat arms environment that our women see, recognize, appreciate, and say, 'I couldn't do that. In fact, I don't want to do that because I don't think it best prepares me for success if I am trying to do those things against the male population at lieutenant, captain, major and lieutenant colonel [ranks].'"
"Now that's not to say that we don't have women doing a tremendous job in combat where you have a pretty amorphous environment, no real front lines in a counterinsurgency environment. And their contributions are appreciated and recognized and rewarded," the commandant added.
"In talking to them, I think they feel like that's probably enough. So I don't see the day coming where we would change our culture necessarily and, in the process, go against what I think the vast majority of our women would want to see — stay pretty much like it is."
Since autumn, six female Marine officers have tried to complete the mandatory combat qualification course. All failed or dropped out because of injuries. The Corps now is attempting to compile a checklist of physical attributes that identifies female officers who can perform direct ground combat. It plans to apply the same inventory to enlisted Marine women.
The transgendered soldier
The combat debate was preceded by and now coincides with a running debate on openly serving gays. The Pentagon spent a year preparing every unit for open homosexuals in the ranks. Now it is churning out regulations on gay marriage, authorized leave for same-sex weddings and domestic benefits.
Told of complaints from combat veterans, a Pentagon spokesman said that, in the case of same-sex marriage, the Defense Department is complying with a Supreme Court decision that struck down most of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
"The Department of Defense remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve our country, and their families, are treated fairly and equally," the spokesman said. "Expeditious implementation of the decisions announced in Secretary Hagel's memorandum will help the Department remain true to its commitment."
Elaine Donnelly, who runs the Center for Military Readiness, keeps track of the Pentagon's sex-related bureaucracy — and she says it is growing.
Besides a committee that advises the defense secretary on women's issues and a task force devoted to surveying sex-abuse victims, the services themselves are setting up satellite organizations to do the same things.
"There is also a task force that deals with the service academies alone," Ms. Donnelly said. "And lots of individual committees set up within each service, which spend countless hours conducting internal meetings and writing reports.
"Then there are outside contractors such as Rand Corp., and even entertainers who do shows like 'Sex Signals,' which include edgy language and scenarios that are inconsistent with standards of professional propriety," she said.
Now another social debate is emerging. Army Pvt. Bradley E. Manning, convicted of leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, wants to undergo a sex change while serving his sentence at a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The Army says it does not provide such hormone therapy.
But the gay-rights movement, a big supporter of Mr. Obama, has demanded that the military ranks be open to transgenders as well as gays.
The social focus has emerged amid a military drawdown and retrenchment. The last combat troops left Iraq in December 2011, and most are due to leave Afghanistan next year. Mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration are squeezing a force already slated to shrink.
"It appears to me as if neither the administration nor much of the Congress is focused on military readiness," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, a former Delta Force commando and Pentagon intelligence official. "Yet they tell me that I must sacrifice constitutional liberties in the interest of national security.
"Give that line a rest, because if they care one whit about national security, they would stop the sequestration and social engineering of the most important element of national security."
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff, announced in June that he was eliminating 10 brigade combat teams, with an aim of trimming 80,000 soldiers over four years.
The Navy said it lacked the money to send a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, even though the commander in charge requested it.
The Air Force jet fighter inventory has shrunk by more than 500 over the past 10 years to about 2,000 planes as it consolidates units. Retired fighter jocks have taken to calling it a "geriatric Air Force."
Even though women have piloted fighter aircraft for nearly 20 years, Air Combat Command is not immune to the social agenda. It conducted sweeping inspections of work and living spaces to root out any digital or hard-copy material deemed offensive to women.
The week of Aug. 12 illustrated the Pentagon's dual role as war fighter and social engineer: It held a press briefing on the Afghanistan War on Aug. 14. That same day, it announced policies extending benefits to same-sex spouses of service members.
The Pentagon had to work through the circumstance that not all military couples live in states that permit same-sex marriage. The answer: Those personnel will be granted extra leave time to travel to states that allow same-sex weddings.
"We recognize that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry," the Pentagon said. "That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of traveling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur."
The next day, Aug. 15, top officials briefed the press on sexual assault prevention and response.
That afternoon, the Pentagon put out two statements from Mr. Hagel within seconds of each other.
One dealt with war — the secretary's call to Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the military cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood. The second: sexual harassment.
"Eliminating sexual assault from the armed forces remains one of the Defense Department's top priorities," Mr. Hagel said.
Said Gen. Mundy: "My greatest concern is the impact on the morale and steadfastness to service among some of the finest and most selfless leaders this nation produces, together with the equally fine young men and women they lead who are barraged with being branded as or tolerating sexual predators or anti-equal opportunity. I cannot help but believe that there is long-term impact on the effectiveness of our armed forces from this in terms of morale, recruiting, retention and public confidence and support."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.