Wars are fought–soldiers die–to testify to the truth of a society’s sacred ideal. If so many people die for an ideology—it must be real.
Filed under accountability, Al Qaeda, american imperialism, fundamentalism, life stories, LTTE, mass conscription, meditations, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, power politics, prabhakaran, propaganda, psychological urges, security, self-reflexivity, suicide bombing, Tamil Tiger fighters, unusual people, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes, World War II, World War One, zealotry, Zen at war
Q and A reprinted courtesy of Berghahn Press … at … http://ht.ly/VIYQM … This post is the transcript of an electronic interview between D. S. Farrer and Michael Roberts. Farrer is the special issue editor for Social Analysis Volume 58, Issue 1, and Roberts is the author of the article “Encompassing Empowerment in Ritual, War, and Assassination: Tantric Principles in Tamil Tiger Instrumentalities” appearing in that issue. Below, Roberts answers a series of questions related to her article in Social Analysis.
This is the seventh in a series of interviews with contributors to this volume. Find the previous contributions on our blog.
Doug Farrer in action Continue reading
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Tissa Jayatilaka, courtesy of Groundviews, 14 August 2015, anniversary marking Japan’ surrender in World War Two … and thus its end. See Editorial Note at end. In GV the title reads “Sights of violence, sites of memory: Reframing the past.”
The subject of war, memory, memorials, memorialization and the violence of the state has been rekindled both domestically and internationally in recent weeks. Sri Lanka’s ongoing general election campaign has focused on our long and brutal internecine war and the need for reconciliation. Internationally the 70th anniversary of the awful events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been observed. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It serves as a memorial to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945. Over 70, 000 is reported killed instantly and a similar number is said to have suffered fatal injuries from radiation. Bombs were dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August, 1945. Nagasaki’s Atomic Bomb Museum was built in 2003 around the only structure left standing near the bomb’s hypocenter. Some locals opposed the building of the Atomic Bomb Museum while some others were for it. It is now 70 years since the dropping of atomic bombs by the United States. Postwar Japan limited its military to self defence. Now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’ plans to loosen the restrictions on what Japan’s military can do. Opinion is divided as most in Nagasaki and Hiroshima continue to be supportive of peace and disarmament. According to the Mayor of Nagasaki Tomihisha Taue , there is ‘widespread unease’ about Mr. Abe’ s legislation that will alter the constitutional requirement limiting Japan’s military to self defence.
Kanchanaburi cemetery in Thailand
Dawn at SL Army Memorial Elephant Pass
Tamil maaveerar at Vadamaratchchi Tuyilam Illam, 2004
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- “It was an adventure,” said an old Australian soldier to the camera during a TV sequence retailing the tales of enlistment for war during the 20th century in the course of the massive media coverage leading up to Anzac day on 25th April 2015 one hundred years after the disastrous Australian participation in Allied operations against Turkey at Gallipoli.
- “Are you a terrorist?” asked the film-maker in the course of a relaxed interview with an Algerian migrant from Britain netted by the police in Frankfurt before he and his colleagues embarked on a bomb-planting operation at the Christkindelsmärik beside Strasbourg Cathedral in 2000. “No, I am a mujahid” said the young man quietly in firm denial.
Enlistment for War: Australian Visions
One of the vignettes above highlights one thread in the mix of motives that prompted Australian males to enlist in the Australian forces committed to support Britain and its Allies in the First World War in 1914. In surmise one could say that some young teenagers who bumped up their age in order to join the brigades were particularly inspired by a spirit of reckless adventure in embarking on this deadly pursuit. Continue reading
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Rob Stuart, courtesy of http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vo7/no4/stuart-eng.asp where the title is “Leonard Birchall and the Japanese Raid on Colombo”
Air Commodore Leonard Joseph Birchall, Member of the Order of Canada, Member of the Order of Ontario, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Distinguished Flying Cross, Canadian Forces Decoration, Officer of the United States Legion of Merit, passed away in September 2004 at the age of 89. His passing was reported in most Canadian newspapers, and all of them noted that he had been nicknamed ‘the Saviour of Ceylon’ for having spotted a Japanese fleet approaching Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on 4 April 1942 while on patrol in a 413 (RCAF) Squadron Consolidated Catalina flying boat. Unfortunately, few accounts of Birchall’s actions that day paint a full picture of the combat operations in which his sighting report played an important factor. The aim of this article is to put Birchall’s discovery of the Japanese fleet into the full context of the operations conducted off and over Ceylon between 26 March and 9 April 1942. Leonard Joseph Birchall in the cockpit of his Catalina– CMJ Collection
ON FUTURE WAR, London: Brassey’s, 1991 ISBN 0 08 041796 5
An examination of the nature of war and its radical transformation in our own time. The author argues that the Clausewitzian assumption that war is rational is outdated, and that strategic, logical planning is unrelated to the current realities of guerrilla armies, terrorists and bandits. He sets out to demonstrate that our most basic ideas of who fights wars, and why, are inadequate – because man has a need to “play” at war. Van Creveld also wrote “Technology and War”, “Command and War” and “Supply and War”
- Extract from Flap Abstract of the Book, 1991
- Michael Howard: “Famous Last Screams,” a review of On Future War
This item is meant to set the stage for both blog comments and short essays in this site in the near future. Standing now in 2014 we are in a position to comment critically on the views of this famous historian who resides in Israel. It is not unconnected to the items (a) “Where In-fighting generates Fervour and Power: ISIS Today, LTTE yesterday” and (b) “The Psychology of Totalitarianism via Skya’s Treatise on Japan’s Holy War”. Standing now in 2014 we are in a position to comment critically on the views of this famous historian who resides in Israel. Apart from the advantages of hindsight, several visitors to this website will have one advantage over van Crefeld: their experiential compass will not be in the heartland of international power, the West (and its offshoot Israel). They will be located in the peripheries of international clout and be backed by knowledge of the four Eelam wars in Lanka. Continue reading
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Buz on the Declassified plans for the WW II invasion of Japan: Operations “Downfall”, “Coronet”, et cetera
For those interested in WWII, it’s a good short read. Now that the documents have been downgraded I’m sure there are going to be many new books both pro and con on this subject. Interesting!! The magnitude of the planning and operation is unbelievable!!
Deep in the recesses of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., hidden for nearly four decades lie thousands of pages of yellowing and dusty documents stamped “Top Secret”. These documents, now declassified, are the plans for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan during World War II.
American troops disembarking at Okinawa
Only a few Americans in 1945 were aware of the elaborate plans that had been prepared for the Allied Invasion of the Japanese home islands. Even fewer today are aware of the defenses the Japanese had prepared to counter the invasion had it been launched. Operation Downfall was finalized during the spring and summer of 1945. It called for two massive military undertakings
to be carried out in succession and aimed at the heart of the Japanese Empire. Continue reading
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Rowan Callick, in The Weekend Australian, 17-18 September 2011, under different title: “Manchurian ties bind ol’ blue eyes, blue lotus and boy king”
They are all linked with Manchuria in northeast China, which is the site of an important anniversary tomorrow that has prompted numerous films, conferences and speeches. On September 18, 1931, a Japanese army lieutenant, Kawamoto Suemori, laid dynamite near Liutiao Lake, along a line of the South Manchuria Railway owned by the Japanese government, and detonated it at 10.20pm. He did a poor job. Five minutes later, a train from Changchun steamed across the dynamited section of track, and arrived safely in Mukden, present-day Shenyang, at 10.30pm. But the pretext had been established for a war in which 25 million people, mainly civilians, died throughout Asia and the Pacific islands – and in Australia — before it ended in 1945. Continue reading