Remembrance and Hypocrisy
By David Halpin
" It was Remembrance Sunday here in Britain. The
shorter ceremonies took place on the eleventh day. Poppy and empire
are garnered in Whitehall, by the Cenotaph and a stone's throw from
the seat of power at 10 Downing Street. David Dimbleby has inherited
the gravitas and fluency which march impeccably through the screen
of BBC 1. The Portland stone of the Cenotaph is shining in the sun
and it is framed by plane trees that are still in green leaf. This
stone of the Jurassic period is reaching across 450 million years to
these men and women, one of whom has his finger on the instrument
which can blast us back in time, and beyond those deep seams of
limestone and clay.
The massed bands in their immaculate grey and the bearskins play
'Flowers of the Forest', 'Nimrod' by Elgar and 'When I am laid in
earth' by Edward Purcell. The emphasis is on the sacrifice of those
who lost their lives in the two world wars, those who were bereaved
and those who returned disabled. After the Last Post, the wreaths
are laid starting with the Queen. Her uniformed relations follow,
and then the actor Blair. He is followed by Howard, the leader of
HM's opposition who supported his political colleague in his
treacherous plans for war on that country they had disarmed and laid
waste already. Post Paisley, comes Straw. He is clutching a wreath
which has flowers in it from every part of the Commonwealth. How
good it is to think that those folk who have felt the stamp of these
boots and the flash of those bayonets, should show their dying
gratitude. And how apt that he should be the bearer; the latest
thespian to sell that little country down the Jordan we gained
mandate over in 1922.
||There are vignettes from the war graves of
France, headstones stretching far, with British children
being educated to remember and Frenchmen recording their
debt to allies. One of the nine British veterans of WW1 is
seen saying ' war is a waste, when will people ever learn'
but he is not laying his wreath after the Queen. He has
never forgotten his dying comrades. A debonair artist and
survivor from the long hell of a Japanese POW camp shows the
beautiful pictures he concealed from his captors. He recalls
how he talked to an emaciated maths lecturer until he
breathed no more. They buried their friends, covering them
with simple rice sacks. Dimbleby speaks of the new Battle of
Britain memorial by the Thames, a battle for national
survival in which one in five pilots perished. 'A father I
never knew'. And Churchill 'Never was so much owed by so
many to so few'. Churchill's words in Iraq in 1925 were not
recalled, and the word Iraq did not emerge.
Remembering pleasurable things is, well, a pleasure.
Remembering personal and national sacrifice in a war of
defence, as so many of us do for WW11, is right and proper
but only if there is analysis and lesson. At the end of the
broadcast, Dimbleby spoke of the children who were being
called upon to remember with their elders. But he said 'as
war breeds endless war, how can we forget?' The latter would
of course be served, and lessons drawn, if the people were
fully informed about the machinations that lead to war eg on
Iran, existing international law and the atrocities being
committed by their own nations. In spite of gigawatts of
transmission power and record weights of newsprint, there is
great ignorance of the war on Iraq within the British
population. Many perceive Blair as a liar and can rightly
guess that he pulled pretexts out of thin air to justify it?
But searing fury is not widely shown.
*Latin - /hypocrisis/ and Greek – /hupokrisis/: both
meaning play acting or pretence. WP*
and lesson. At the end of the broadcast, Dimbleby
spoke of the children who were being called upon to remember
with their elders. But he said 'as war breeds endless war, how
can we forget?' The latter would of course be served, and
lessons drawn, if the people were fully informed about the
machinations that lead to war eg on Iran, existing international
law and the atrocities being committed by their own nations. In
spite of gigawatts of transmission power and record weights of
newsprint, there is great ignorance of the war on Iraq within
the British population. Many perceive Blair as a liar and can
rightly guess that he pulled pretexts out of thin air to justify
it? But searing fury is not widely shown.
Growing numbers are reading the truth over the web,
but they will remain a minority. They could show their kinsfolk
'We were out of sand bags. We didn't have enough sand bags to
protect our holes from small arms fire and things like that.
Conveniently, there was a flour truck driver riding a truck down the
highway that was full of canvas flour bags. And sand bags are made
out of canvas, so this was perfect for sand bags. We were ordered to
open fire on this man - just say, a working family man, and to use
his flour bags as sand bags. A lot of guys in my platoon opened fire
and the man was killed. And the individuals who didn't open fire on
this man were ordered to remove his body from the truck and throw it
off in a ditch on the side of the road and throw some dirt on top of
'They arrested me in my house in front of my family, covered my
eyes, and tied my hands to the back on October 5, 2005 in the
morning, during the last attack on Haditha (360 kilometers west of
Baghdad). They occupied the hospital for 8 days and made it their
office. The first day they beat me on my eyes, nose, back, hands,
**Shake 'n' bake** re. Fallujah
Every day since they started firing rounds into the city, other
Marines have stopped by the mortar pit to take a turn dropping
mortars into the tube and firing at some unseen target. ( HE and
white phosphorus) Like tourists at some macabre carnival, some bring
cameras and have other troops snap photos of their combat shot.
*Even the battalion surgeon fired a few Saturday, just for sport.*
Everyone wants to "get some," the troops explain, some joking that
Fallujah is like a live-fire range.
Did Blair foresee the misery and catastrophe ahead when he was
tucking into ribeye steak in Crawford in April 2002. As narrow eyes
met even narrower eyes, was any of the terrible pain of future loss
and wound to be felt as the bloody juices ran? Unlikely. The host
and commander in chief is a known hypocrite having shirked the draft
to Nam and having since received messages from his God which Christ
would shun. And we know Blair is a hypocrite; the evidence appears
daily. Just after his 90 days internment bill was mauled by MPs, he
appeared on C4 News to speak of the great risk of 'Mass Casualty
Terrorism'. Amariyah was furthest from his mind, and so was Fallujah,
or the train bombed in Serbia.
Actors are for acting. Any principle displayed and sentiment shown
are make-up thick. Real remembrance is for us, the foot soldiers.
The tommies were said to be 'lions led by donkeys'. Oh would that
our leaders were donkeys. The whole shebang is much worse than this.
The gang which pulled the strings in this worst of wars, the
Wolfowitzs, Perles, Edelmans, Feiths, Boltons etc etc are neither
donkeys nor actors. They are psychopaths; they have an abnormal
response to the suffering or loss in others. Will our populations
learn first, and remember later?
David Halpin FRCS is a retired trauma and orthopaedic surgeon. He
is not an absolute pacifist. He does believe in his motto 'Do your
best to heal and not to harm.'
Footnote. Immediately after this Remembrance Sunday broadcast, there
was a trailer for 7/7 – the Day the Bombs Came, with Blair's image
first. How apposite.
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