Category Archives: History

So who can Americans and Europeans trust in the Middle East?

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Most of you have declared among yourselves you’d never trust an Arab, which is prudent.  And Israel’s certainly made it plain over the past few decades that it, also can’t be trusted.  Which shouldn’t come as any surprise now that DNA proves they’re all the same folks, Israelis and Arabs.

But surely, you might be saying to yourself, there’s SOMEONE over there who can be trusted.

Well, in fact there might be people with a more trustworthy gene pool than that found among the Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, etc.  In Lebanon.  People more European genetically.  Probably descendants of Crusaders who occupied a bit of the region for a couple of centuries.

That is to say, if you’d trust a descendant of a Frenchman, Italian, or Englishman.  Or German, Spaniard, any of those bastards as far as you could throw them.  Trade a headache for an upset stomach, I suppose, and trust the Lebanese.  Send them a few thousand tanks and helicopters, artillery.  Flack jackets and M16s.

Pat them on the back and tell them to bring some European style honor, justice, compassion and ethics into the region.  Crusader style.

There’s not enough confusion going on over there at the moment.  Even with Syrians running amok with weaponry, Israelis grabbing every inch of territory they can see and killing anyone standing in the way of it, chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Russia forgetting what WWII felt like, there’s room for US diplomacy.  US leadership that’s proved itself time and again in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, you name it.

Time for the US  to either get behind Lebanon or get out of that entire part of the world the way we got out of Vietnam when the going got tough.  Hanging off helicopters while the getting was good.

Besides, those Lebanese are probably headed for hard times when the cousins quit fighting long enough to notice Lebanon’s not family.  Bunch of dirty Europeans occupying territory which rightfully ought to belong to Israel or Palestinians.

Old Jules

Are Palestinians behaving like Jews? Jews behaving like Palestians? What would Jesus say?

Hi readers.  If you’ve been noticing the Hamas terrorists and the Israel government sponsored terrorists composing their military all seem similar, there’s a reason.  They’re all genetically identical.

Israel is behaving the way the fanatics in the countries around them behave because they’re all just kinfolks.  There’s no difference in them aside from a sprinkling of religion, mainly Judaic in nature.  All going back to the ancient Abraham who was ready to sacrifice his son with a knife on an altar.  Because he thought he heard God tell him to do it.  Is it any mystery Muslims and Jews have a lot of issues with THAT seething down underneath it all?

Hell, there are probably legions of modern-day self-proclaimed holy men over there on both sides declaring God’s telling them they have to sacrifice their genetic cousins.  And legions of others on both sides listening and believing.

It sure as hell wouldn’t surprise me.

And I should mention, legions of people in the church-houses all over Europe and the US are cheering for Israel.  Because there’s a trophy if Israel land-grabs the temple mount and builds a new temple where the Mosque sits.

Got that?  Tears down the Mosque on the temple mount which doesn’t belong to them.  And rebuilds the Hebrew temple that used to sit there.

The prize, Christians believe, is the Second Coming of Christ.  As predicted by John the Divine or someone.  When Solomon’s temple is rebuilt Christ will return.

Well jeeze.  No wonder everyone’s ignoring these temporary acts of savagery Israel’s doing on the cousins.  It’s only temporary because everything will be set straight when Christ comes back.  According to the Bible or something, I reckons.

Need to read through this again, or have you got it tucked together in your minds in ways you can understand it?

Old Jules

The Third Opium War – China’s long memories

A part of what the British and French troops destroyed to punish the Chinese dynasty.

A part of what the British and French troops destroyed to punish the Chinese dynasty.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

We can thank our lucky stars the Chinese aren’t barbarians.  Otherwise we’d need to batten down the hatches on the British Museum, the Louvre, the Met, the Smithsonian, et al.

Because the Chinese are getting damned tired of their shipments of opium and heroin being intercepted and confiscated by French, British and US law enforcement people.  Wars have already been fought over the subject.

The second Opium War is a good example.  When the Chinese intercepted a million or two pounds of opium the British were attempting to sell to Chinese and confiscated it, all hell broke loose.  French and British troops invaded the Summer Palace, burned and looted 8 miles square of priceless art objects, gardens and artifacts as old as 3500 years.  It took a couple of thousand British and French troops to get the fires going all over the place to destroy it.

And a lot of what wasn’t destroyed is privately held in France and Britain today, as well as in the British Museum.  So it’s a clear precedent.  All that Chinese poppy has a right to make it into France, the UK, and the US.  Provided the Chinese are powerful enough militarily to cram it down the throats of the folks who did the cramming in 1860.

Including the US, though only some US Naval vessels were involved then.  Mainly it was just clear where the sympathies of the US found themselves.  Although the US commander wasn’t under orders to intervene for the French and British, he justified his action with the words, “Blood is thicker than water.”

Fact is, we westerners really don’t mind anyway, so long as US politicians get the right cut of the action.  Heroin and opium are on the rebound because they aren’t so bad as cocaine and meth about destroying the nasal tissue and passages of the users.  The Chinese have plenty of poppies and history on their side.

Along with an economic ramrod and a Russian built aircraft carrier.  Drones, submarines, and dozens of factories working 24/7 manufacturing US flags to fly as they approach the coasts.

Israel can count itself lucky it didn’t share any borders with China so’s to be tempted to snatch a little free territory.  They’d be looking at having their school kids shooting heroin down between pistol range practice and waterboarding Palestinians.

Anyway, the rubber monster toys and SUPPORT OUR TROOPS ribbon things couldn’t last forever.  Something was bound to replace them as Chinese imports.

Old Jules

The best and the worst

A significant percentage of US voters believe Ronald Reagan was the best president in US history.  Despite Iran/Contra, arms for hostages, and trickle-down economics.  History is not the long-suite among high school graduates in the United States.

A significant percentage of US voters believe Ronald Reagan was the best president in US history. Despite Iran/Contra, arms for hostages, and trickle-down economics. History is not the long-suite among high school graduates in the United States.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Yahoo News conducted a poll of +-1400 voters and asked who was the worst president in US history.  The results were that 33% believe the guy in the White House now is the worst.  28% believe the guy who was in there before him was the worst.

The pollsters used subtle methods for determining what percentage of the voters believing the guy in there now is the worst did so because he was black.  They concluded +-5% simply could not stand the thought of a black man serving in the White House except as a shoe-shine boy.

Which leaves the question among non-racist voters precisely equal:  56% of US voters believe one of the last two US presidents was the worst in US history.  28% Bush, 28% wossname.

All of which should raise some alarming questions in the minds of everyone else.  When did they quit teaching children US history in school?

Sheeze! The freaking Civil Freaking WAR was fought during the watch of one US president!  Two were impeached!  One was responsible for the Trail of Tears and moving the aboriginal tribes east of the Mississippi the-hell anywhere west of the Mississippi and stealing their farms, barns, equipment, animals, crops for white people.  Even though those Cherokees and some other tribes were already doing their best to BE white people.  Hell, a few years later they even had a Cherokee general commanding troops during the Civil War.  Chreeeeeist!  They even owned slaves!  What the hell do you have to do to be civilized?

Then there’s Lyndon Johnson, faked the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and used it to justify carpet bombing of North Vietnam, had South Vietnam President Diem assassinated by the CIA, and did the Great Society.

There’s John freaking Kennedy, son of a damned bootlegging smuggling NAZI supporter during the pre-WWII years.  Responsible for the Bay of Pigs, among other fiascos.

Hells bells, there’s Clinton for Christs sakes.  Got a blowjob in the Oval Office.  No Jennifer Oneal, her, either.  Shot up Ruby Ridge, murdered a couple-score Branch Davidians outside Wacoi, and smuggled huge amounts of coke and crack into Arkansas on CIA aircraft.  Got almost impeached because of shady real estate deals he and the little woman were up to their asses in.

These two guys now and just before him are pikers.  Except where deficit spending and fruitless military adventures are concerned.  These two couldn’t find their asses with flashlights when it comes to real corruption.

Old Jules

“If those Japanese could have held out through one more atomic bomb we wouldn’t be eating this crap!”

Hi readers.  Here’s wishing you a fulfilling independence from having the British for your bosses ordering you around and making you drink their damned tea.  If our ancestors hadn’t won their independence from the British we’d have had to fight on their side during WWI and WWII, the way their other colonies did.

Anyway, that WWI museum got me thinking about what GIs used to eat.  There was a long shelf of displays of their mess kits, carved fancier than a POW would do.  Beautiful designs and artwork produced while their feet were rotting off in trenches between having the bejesus shelled out of them and being sniped at across no-man’s-land.

 In Korea, at least in the First Cavalry Division, what we ate in 1963-1964 whenever we were on field rations was all left over from WWII.  1945ish WWII.  K Rations.

Breakfast Unit  Canned meat product Biscuits Compressed cereal bar Powdered coffee Fruit bar Chewing gum Sugar tablets Four cigarettes Water-purification tablets Can opener Wooden spoon

Breakfast Unit
Canned meat product
Biscuits
Compressed cereal bar
Powdered coffee
Fruit bar
Chewing gum
Sugar tablets
Four cigarettes
Water-purification tablets
Can opener
Wooden spoon

Camp Howze, Korea, had an enormous bunker chock full of K Rations of the nostalgic variety dating from before the Japanese surprised us with a surrender while we still had an atomic bomb and one-hell-of-a-lot of K Rations left.  I can testify from personal experience the US Army was patriotic and continued eating those rations 20 years after the premature and cowardly surrender of Japan.

Dinner Unit  Canned cheese product Biscuits A candy bar Chewing gum Powdered beverage Granulated sugar Salt tablets Cigarettes Matches Can opener  Wooden spoon

Dinner Unit
Canned cheese product
Biscuits
A candy bar
Chewing gum
Powdered beverage
Granulated sugar
Salt tablets
Cigarettes
Matches
Can opener
Wooden spoon

 Our quonsot hut had a corner filled with Ks still in the cartons so we could fill those long winter nights with partying song, beer, and anything worth eating in a crate of Ks.

Supper Unit Canned meat product Biscuits Bouillon powder Candy Chewing gum Powdered coffee Granulated sugar Cigarettes Can opener Toilet paper Wooden spoon

Supper Unit
Canned meat product
Biscuits
Bouillon powder
Candy
Chewing gum
Powdered coffee
Granulated sugar
Cigarettes
Can opener
Toilet paper
Wooden spoon

The cigarettes in ours weren’t Chesterfields.  Ours were Lucky Strikes in a Green package.  As in the old radio WWII jingle, “Lucky Strike green has gone to war!”  Lucky Strike changed colors after the war to red and white, but Luckies kept right on fighting in green until all those damned Ks were consumed by GIs.

Ahhh.  Nothing like sparking up a Lucky out of a carton of Ks, working fast to inhale a little tobacco smoke before it burned down to your fingertips.  Those smokes were 20 years old and we never found a way to add enough moisture to keep them smoking instead of burning.

And the chocolate!  The godforsaken chocolate turned white with age.  We didn’t care.  Everything in those Ks got tried and nobody ever died from them.  And I never heard of anyone getting drunk from them.

Fact was, a person with extra money could go to the PX and get crackers, but if he did he’d have to share with the whole hooch.  Same with sardines.  And we had KATUSAs in our hooch.  Four of them.  Korean Augmentations to the US Army.  And those bastards could go through a case of crackers, cans of sardines, quicker than you could make a grab for a can before they were gone.

But even the KATUSAs couldn’t make remarkably short work of a case of Ks.  There was always enough for everyone, along with some leftovers to munch on guard duty.

Damn.  These modern all-volunteer military guys are spoiled.  Except maybe in Korea.  Hell, in Korea they might still be eating Ks and wishing to hell the Japanese had gutted out another atomic bomb.

Old Jules

WWI Museum, KC

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Yesterday I rammed my way through physical therapy and came away feeling like a million bucks a hundred bucks.  When I arrived back at Jeanne’s house I had life left in me I hadn’t squandered yet, so we decided to brave the heat and visit the National WWI Museum.  The day was warm, but a lot cooler than the average first week of July would have a person expecting.

 Anyway, that museum is impressive.  Didn’t attempt to dream up any serious rationale for that war having been justified in any way.  On the part of any of the parties involved.  Didn’t do any more flag waving than old propaganda posters high enough on the walls so’s a person had to stretch the neck to view them.  And some were in French, German.

Sure, they did have a copy of the Zimmerman telegram on display, translated.  But nobody trying to keep a straight face saying it justified the US entering the blood bath.  Too much has happened since then to allow any rosy cheekism on that score.  Been far too many Zimmerman telegrams written in US English over the century since.

What they did do was display roughly a thousand small arms, hand grenades, field artillery, aircraft, mortars, vehicles and several thousand photographs.  Firearms were redundant and soon became a blur.  A home made reproduction of shell crater 20 feet deep with a lot of war debris in it was graphic, made for a nice demo.  Peep holes into trenches watching men doing war things in trenches also.  The kids visiting loved it, and I didn’t think it was the worst way to get across a concept that is WWI.

Reminded me vaguely of a cross between the Empirial War Museum in the old Bedlam Hospital for the mentally ill in London, and the Admiral Nimitz Museum of the Pacific War in Kerrville, Texas [before Texas Parks and Wildlife took it over and ruined it].  Which puts it up there head and shoulders above most museuems I’ve ever visited.

No RARARAH we’uns won flagwaving Hurray for the US patriotic idiosyncracies, no hint any lives given weren’t entirely in vain, was pleasant.  And there were maps on the walls allowing you to examine how many countries all over the world were dragged into the bloodbath by the mere misfortune of being part of the British Empire.  How many because they were part of the French Empire, etc etc etc [in the manner of the King of Siam].

Seems to me the yardstick that fit best serves is that repeatedly inside in front of displays and later as we left, Jeanne remarked.  “This was worth it.  I’m glad we did this.”  Jeanne has zero interest in wars, WWI, anything of that sort.

It was worth it.  I’m glad we did it, too.

Old Jules

 

Oooeee baby! Won’t you let me take you on a sea cruise

 

Considered 'not too bad' compared to the worst.

USNS Sultan – Considered ‘not too bad’ compared to the worst.

USNS Breckinridge - one to be avoided.  Take an extension if you have to so's to get a different troopship.  No shuttleboard on this one.

USNS Breckinridge – one to be avoided. Take an extension if you have to so’s to get a different troopship. No shuttleboard on this one.

 Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

 Back in the day GIs made it their business to find out about the troopship scheduling, which ship they would be going aboard, and how to jimmy the travel schedule to avoid the worst ones.  The two above were my homes for roughly 60 days enroute to Korea and coming home.

Vietnam or Korea – Flip a Coin

 Neither of these was a picnic, considering each carried between 1500 and 2500 seasick GIs.  Sometimes those lower decks were enough to make a person vomit just from the odor.  Or huddled on deck with several hundred other guys, top of a swell a guy at the rail hurls and as the ship falls with the wave his puke hangs above his head an hour  or so before a thousand horrified eyes.

And 500 more GIs try to reach the rail in time for the next swell.

Below decks every corner held dice games, every stairwell a 24/7 penny-per-point gin game, or rummy 500 game.  And occasional poker.  No shuffleboard, no whiskey, no female companionship.  But there were some nice stops at Honolulu, Sasebo, Yokuska.

If there’s any motivation to cut down on the number of wars this country gets itself into, one way to do it would be to start hauling the GIs around in troopships again.  Cut down on the frivolous volunteerism.

Old Jules

 

It’s been a long century

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

June 28, 1914, the Coincidence Coordinators [CCs] finally got a belly full of a particularly venal form of aristocratic, dynastic and imperialistic exploitation of world populations.  They pulled the trigger on the first, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, and started a ball rolling that didn’t end until the Berlin Wall went down in the 1990s.  Maybe didn’t actually end then.

But one of the problems with WWI was nobody could figure out what it was all about, so they couldn’t pick a direction and head there, cut out all the middle men.  That’s why WWI didn’t end until the USSR packed up its tents and left eastern Europe all the way back to Moscow.  Told them all to go, and sin no more.  Here’s the keys to this stupid wall we built in Berlin.

Certainly the dynasties are still around because human beings are creatures of habit.  There are still Kennedys and Bushes and possibly a Roosevelt-or-two hanging around threatening to rear their ugly heads.  But the last Century killed off an amazing host of parasites with names such as Romanov, Hapsburg, Magyar, Hirohito, Stalin, to name a few.

The only WWI museum in the US, the National WWI Museum in KC, says that while they’re going to have a lot of special displays and ceremonies between June 22, and June 28, they aren’t celebrating.  Standard cliché of “There’s nothing to celebrate in war.”

In one sense they’re right.  Damned shame all those commoners had to die fighting wars for aristocrats.  But when you think about it, all those dead Romanovs, Magyars, Kennedys have given rise to some opportunities nobody’s likely to take advantage of.  But the opportunity is still there to hang the rest from lamp posts.

Didn’t do much long-term good when the French did it way back in the day, but maybe they weren’t thinking big enough.

Probably not, though.  This guy in the White House now might as well be named Bush or Kennedy for all the difference between him, them, and the ones named Clinton-was, and Clinton wannabe. 

Maybe some black hand organization lurking around out in the bushes will rally around the flag, gather up all the Post Office workers, rooftop snipers and school killers and explain to them they’re killing the wrong people. 

I expect if that doesn’t happen something equally appalling will, and I’m damned glad I’m not likely to have to try to live through it.  20th Century was a piece of cake from where I was sitting.

Old Jules

Koreans fighting alongside Japanese in the first tank battle of WWII era

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=my+way+movie+

Hi readers:  I first saw this film on Netflix and it made a big impression on me.  Unfortunately it’s been a while.  I was in the hospital when I watched it first, so some of the details are vague to me now.  But it’s probably the first movie ever to be filmed about Khalkhin Gol.

Khalkhin-Gol: The forgotten battle that shaped WW2

In August 1939, just weeks before Hitler and Stalin invaded Poland, the Soviet Union and Japan fought a massive tank battle on the Mongolian border – the largest the world had ever seen.

Under the then unknown Georgy Zhukov, the Soviets won a crushing victory at the batte of Khalkhin-Gol (known in Japan as the Nomonhan Incident). Defeat persuaded the Japanese to expand into the Pacific, where they saw the United States as a weaker opponent than the Soviet Union. If the Japanese had not lost at Khalkhin Gol, they may never have attacked Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese decision to expand southwards also meant that the Soviet Eastern flank was secured for the duration of the war. Instead of having to fight on two fronts, the Soviets could mass their troops – under the newly promoted General Zhukov – against the threat of Nazi Germany in the West.

In terms of its strategic impact, the battle of Khalkhin Gol was one of the most decisive battles of the Second World War, but no-one has ever heard of it. Why?

http://historyofrussia.org/khalkhin-gol-battle-nomonhan/

The Korean movie industry scored a big one with My Way.  The theme or setting is two kids, one Japanese, the other Korean competing as runners in pre-WWII Japan.  But when the Japanese Kwantung Army rubs up against the Soviet Army in Manchuria both are sent there in time for the earliest tank battle of WWII era.  [Western thought about when WWII began places the battle pre-WWII]

So when the USSR kicks the ass of Japan in the battle, the two are captured and sent to a Soviet POW camp.  Eventually they’re allowed to volunteer for slave labor on the front where the USSR is fighting German troops.  And they’re captured, allowed to fight for the Germans next, because Japan, of course, was an ally to Germany.

As D Day approaches they find themselves on the beaches of Normandy constructing shore defenses.

One hell of a movie.

I see by the clips on YouTube a lot of people agree with me.  Some even say it’s the best movie they’ve ever seen.  Maybe you’ll find it absorbing.

Thank you for your service, all you young Soviets, Japanese and Koreans.

Old Jules

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let the fact you can’t read either of their alphabets fool you

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

If you’re harboring any sweetness and light illusions that the Chinese have forgotten the Rape of Nanking et al, and that they’ve bought into the US post WWII dedication to venerating the Japanese, forget it.  Just go over to Netflix and have a look at what comes out of the Chinese movie industry these days.

Naturally they find a lot of opportunities to make films about Nanking days and the countless dramas played out at the end of Japanese bayonets, downrange from Japanese artillery, rifles and pistols, and underneath Japanese bombers.  That’s to be expected.  Murdering, raping and generally having an orgy of plundering a few hundred thousand people lingers on the minds of their progeny.  Native Americans do the same thing.

But the Chinese make a lot of films about all manner of subjects and genres.  It’s inevitable there’ll be Japanese in some.  Military men, of course.  Business men, martial arts masters, you name it.

But what’s fun about Chinese depiction of Japanese is the consistent, mean, evil, ugly, portrayals whenever a Japanese person rears his ugly head in a Chinese movie.  And incidentally, how much better Chinese-martial artists fare against Japanese martial artists, you name the weapon or method.

I’d almost bet there hasn’t been a Japanese person depicted in a Chinese film since WWII that was anyone you’d wish to meet in a dark alley, or want to marry your daughter.

We in the US accepted the US government approach at the end of WWII, that the Japanese were the best people in Asia whom we loved the most of all of them.  Went about making them richer than they were back when they were killing Chinese with abandon, enslaving the Koreans, and charging US Marine machine gun positions with bayonets.

We rebuilt Japan backward forward and sideways while we helped the Chinese further destroy Korea better than the Japanese ever got around to, then moved down and tried to flatten Vietnam because the Japanese hadn’t really focused on them.

But the Chinese didn’t buy that.  Maybe they have WE WILL NEVER FORGET banners out in the rural towns the way the US used to say about Pearl Harbor, the Alamo, and Little Bighorn.  And the sinking of the Maine and the Lusitania.

Wonder if there are any countries remember us that way.  Besides the Indians, I mean.

Old Jules