RANGER AGAINST WAR: Retour <

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Retour

--Still Life with Three Puppies,
Gauguin
(they're probably innocent) 

It may be useful to remember 
that a peacetime political machine
is built essentially on patronage 
--Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice,
David Galula 

 It seems so easy 
Oh so doggone easy
Yeah it seems so easy
--It Seems So Easy,
Buddy Holly and The Crickets 

Oh, it's a blue, sick world, Rip 
--Dead Reckoning (1947) 
______________________

Subtitle: Retour, or, "Payback is a Bitch".

We love the emotion behind easy statements of solidarity ("Je Suis Charlie") and the laying of stuffed animals, crosses and candles at murder sites. It is all very primitive, as befits an act of primal rage, like murder. It is behavior at the reptilian brain level.

However, beyond soothing ourselves with these rituals, it would be helpful to understand the origins of these rages. In the case of the recent French attacks, one may look at colonial and  neo-colonial actions to find some answers.

In the early 1920's the French partnered with the Spanish in using poison gas against Arabs in the Moroccan Rif war in an act of State-sponsored terror.

War can be seen as the breakdown of rational thought and civilized behavior, ditto terrorism, but the two are separate concepts. During World War II, the French Vichy government and their police collaborated actively with the occupying German forces to round up and send French Jews to their deaths in camps far to the East. Was this an act of war, or was it terror? Whatever we call it, we cannot accurately estimate the deaths caused by these collections and deportations.

In Algeria (1954-62) the French tortured, extrajudicially murdered and otherwise conducted themselves in an often barbaric manner. Earlier this year in the Central African Republic it was reported that French peacekeepers raped young African boys, criminal acts which certainly did not sit well with the Boku Haram branch of Islamic extremists.

But for those who know the history of the French colonial occupation of Vietnam, pederasty of the locals has a long and profane provenance for them. Compare these abuses with the most recent terror incident in Paris, and draw your own conclusions,

Violence is never the answer. Another reality is that none of us are innocent or untouched by the insanity and illogic of violence, whether it is visited in war, or terror, or our own domestic lives.

The recent terror in Paris was not warfare, but there is a cry for help somewhere in the equation. This is not to excuse it, but only to understand.

What makes any man or woman capable of butchery and killing devoid of any greater good?

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