Veterans Day 2019 1

The First World War, which ended 101 years ago today, was an utterly unnecessary war. It was started for no better reason than to satisfy the vanity of kings.

According to War History Online:

There were around 8 million Frenchmen fighting, 13 million Germans, 9 million Austro-Hungarian men, 9 million British soldiers, 18 million Russians, 6 million Italians and 4 million from the United States.

Here’s the “official” break down [of dead and injured in the engaged armies]:

France: 1.4 million dead, 4.2 million injured.

Germany: 1.8 million dead, 4.2 million injured.

Austria-Hungary: 1.4 million dead, 3.6 million injured.

Russia: 1.8 million dead, 5 million injured.

Britain and British Empire: 900,000 dead, 2 million injured.

Italy: 600,000 dead, 1 million injured.

Serbia suffered the greatest losses [proportionately] to their military. Nearly three quarters of their soldiers were either killed (130,000) or wounded (135,000).

The battles of Verdun and the Somme in 1916 left 770,000 and 1.2 million (respectively) missing, wounded or dead from both sides.

Some of the most devastating losses were caused in the beginning weeks of the world war. In one day, August 22, 1914, nearly 27,000 French soldiers were killed. That day remains the deadliest day in France’s history in regards to military men killed.

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I: about 40 million.

It was a vast blood-letting that started the ever accelerating decline of Western civilization.

It destroyed a great part of a whole generation of men.

It facilitated the turning of Russia into a Communist torture-chamber and graveyard, and source of sepsis for the whole world, still spreading.

It led causally to the Second World War, which the allies had necessarily to fight, and in which there were even greater numbers of dead and injured.

Yesterday Queen Elizabeth wept as the customary wreaths were laid at the foot of the cenotaph in memory of the men and women killed in the two world wars.

Today in America we honor all those who have served and serve now in the US military.

It was because America came to the aid of Europe twice in the last century, that liberty was preserved for our world. Whether it will survive much longer remains to be seen. Half the voters of America seem to want to live under the tyranny that was militarily defeated in the last century.

We do well to remember, as Europeans mourn their heroes and Americans honor theirs, how precious and rare is the liberty they fought for.

Posted under Austria, Britain, communism, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, liberty, nazism, Russia, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, November 11, 2019

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The price of war and peace 0

From the Heritage Foundation on Veterans Day:

This national holiday warrants a diversion from discussing domestic priorities to take a closer look at what Congress and the White House are doing about many pressing defense issues.

Some policymakers seem want to keep defense and military issues out of the headlines, choosing instead to continue cutting the defense budget to fund domestic programs. This observation is based on actual outcomes from this year’s defense budget debate.

During the past few months, Congress and the President effectively shut down the purchase of next-generation equipment for the military. That includes: the Air Force’s F-22 fifth-generation fighter aircraft, the most sophisticated in the world; the Army’s ground vehicles designed to replace a combat fleet built in the 1970s and 80s; two types of helicopters-one which fulfills the unique duty of rescuing military personnel held behind enemy lines; and large cuts to the missile defense program designed to thwart the threat of long-range ballistic missiles from hitting U.S. shores and cities.

What’s likely next year? Jack Reed (D-RI), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently opined that the Department of Defense should buckle up for some (more) “painful adjustments”-as if any more could be borne by those in uniform-and get ready to do the following:

  • sacrifice defense dollars to pay for TARP, the stimulus bill, domestic programs and the federal debt;
  • hand over another chunk of the defense budget to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for civilian aid or “soft power” programs; and
  • delay or cut weapons programs that are not “absolutely essential.”

Unfortunately, Congress set a horrible precedent, having given the President so many of his defense cuts during a time of war. That just makes more devastating cancellations likely in the coming years.

The problem is that, since they have no new weapons systems to slash, politicians will need to start eliminating equipment that today’s troops are using everyday. This includes replacements for tanks, trucks, ships and planes that are already worn out after nine years of consecutive warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In short, finding further “savings” in the defense budget would require cutting to the bone and hurting those in uniform. Having a world-class military and truly honoring those who serve requires policymakers to provide the same technologically-advanced equipment to defeat any enemy when necessary and protect those in harm’s way.

Providing the military just enough to barely get by is dangerous, and an outright dereliction of duty by federal policymakers whose first job is found in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution: to provide for the common defense of the American people.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 0

Written on many war memorials in the lands of the erstwhile British Empire are these lines from a poem called For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

We hope they will be remembered. We are not sure they will be for much longer.

Posted under Britain, Europe, United Kingdom, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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Remembrance Day in Britain: ‘what was it all for?’ 1

 Ninety years ago today, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the First World War came to an end. In Britain good men and women wear poppies in commemoration of that day, and of the ending of the Second World War. The poppy was chosen as a symbol of the sacrifice that the soldiers, sailors and airmen made because so many were buried in Flanders fields where the poppies grow among the graves. Annually the Queen lays a wreath of poppies at the foot of the Cenotaph in Whitehall on the nearest Sunday to the Day of Remembrance. There are parades of veterans. (Three from the First World War are still alive in Britain.) At exactly eleven o’clock in the morning, as Big Ben begins to strike the hour, a ceremonious minute of silence  is observed for those who died defending their country.

The wars ended in victory for Britain, with the indispensable help of America; and so, along with the mourning on this day, there was always a sense of pride among the multitudes at the Cenotaph, and throughout the country, among the descendants of the heroes who had died and of those who had survived. 

But not now. 

The country so many fought so valiantly for has given away its sovereignty, permitted occupation by aliens, been abandoned to criminals. The elected representatives of the people, the politicians, prompted and cheered on by intellectuals in the academies and the media, shrill ideologues of ‘human-rights’ and ‘political correctness’ and ‘multiculturalism’, have betrayed the British people and brought them to shame, impotent anger, bitterness and despair.    

Leo McKinstry writes in the  Daily Express about Britons asking, on this Day of Remembrance, ‘What was it all for?’  (Read the whole story here.)

The question was put to me with stark simplicity.

“What was it all for?” asked the elderly lady, a wistful look in her eyes. “The country that they died for has gone,” she continued, glancing down at the red poppy on her lapel. I had fallen into conversation with her on the steps of the Imperial War Museum in London. Against such a backdrop, dominated by two mighty naval guns at the main entrance, it was inevitable that our thoughts should turn to war and sacrifice. She explained that she had lost close relatives in both World Wars and as a teenager had endured the horrors of the Blitz. Mixed with her admiration for family heroes who had lost their lives in conflict, she also felt utter despair at the state of Britain and a profound sense of betrayal. Although her loved ones had given so much for their country, she now felt like an alien in her own land, living in constant fear of crime and surrounded by foreigners with whom she had no sense of mutual belonging or trust. Her insistent question –  “What was it all for?” – has also been echoing through my mind as I research a book about Bomber Command during the Second World War. It mounted perhaps the most bloody and dangerous British offensive of the conflict, as crews of the heavy bombers flew night after night over Germany through vicious flak from the ground and from Luftwaffe fighters.  Their long-term chances of survival were minimal. More than half of all men who served in air crews were killed in action. The courage required to step into those aircraft for the long journey in blackened night skies over enemy territory is almost beyond imagination.  Thousands of young Britons volunteered for this hellish role, motivated by their deep love of country and an abiding sense of a higher duty to others. They died for their nation but that nation barely exists any more. It has been destroyed by the politicians, its sovereignty handed over to an unelected continental bureaucracy, its economy sold off to foreign interests, its heritage traduced or ignored, its cities turned into modern Babels full of discordant tongues and wailing mosques. 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 11, 2008

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