Saturday, 4 April 2015

Philistines Guide to Nature (3)

The Philistines Guide are a series of occasional postings giving my sometimes jaundiced view on the many different issues of the day. Usually humorous, retold with the candour of a type that is typical of a 'Lad from Yorkshire'

Continued from the Philistines Guide to Nature (2)

Man is a brutal species, everything else on earth only has a worth value.  The possession of money and land is power and influence. Power is the unitary measurement of success. The control of wealth and natural resources is the aim and goal of many countries. How you gain that control is through the time honoured and simple expedient of waging war. Mother nature has nurtured a whole new breed. A move away from hunter gatherer has established farming which in turn brought about individual ownership rather than a natural commonwealth.

Roman Britain came about as a result of Roman expansion into most of Europe a sort of land grab on a massive scale. The Romans were quite sensible and tried to assimilate the existing people into the Roman culture. With a minimum amount of military intervention. Later in England, the Norman Conquest resulted in a kingdom ruled by a French nobility. Vast numbers of the existing population were put to the sword. The Normans invaded Ireland by force about a hundred years later and soon established themselves throughout most of the country. Likewise, Scotland and Wales were subdued to vassalage at about the same time, though Scotland later asserted its independence.  Throughout this period and later ones the church provided the reason for war. It was based upon educating the barbarians into one form of Christianity or another.

The crusaders spent time trying to bring their flavour of Christianity to a people who were already more than happy with their own flavour of beliefs. The Crusades were quasi military campaigns. Sanction and conducted on be half of the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. The First Crusade was commissioned with the intention of restoring Christian access to holy places in and near Jerusalem. After the First Crusade there was a 200-year struggle for control of the Holy Land. There were a further six more major crusades and numerous minor ones. However, the conflict ended in failure with the fall of the last Christian stronghold at Acre. The Roman Catholic church mounted no further armed crusades.

Early forms of warfare as you might expect, were responsible for relatively low numbers of casualties and death. That was until the outbreak of the first world war. Where casualty numbers surged due to the development of 'modern armaments' and the willingness of politicians and the army to look upon individuals as expendable. It was a form of mechanised slaughter the likes of which we had never witnessed before. After the hostilities ended, the first world war was to become known as 'The War To End All Wars'. The victors returned to a land fit for heroes.

However, once again man was too slow to learn the lesson of the first world war. In 1939 and the outbreak of world war II. Warfare was taken to a whole new level and this time it included the whole population of countries.  The German war machine even turned to the mechanised slaughter of non combatant populations. Based upon opposition to their religious ideology and resulting in what we now describe today as the holocaust.  

Today, wars are high technology conflicts conducted at long range with a minimum amount of hand to hand combat. Cruise missiles and other precision munitions are now laser or GPS guided to their targets. A country can be pushed back almost a 1000 years in time. Through the simple reduction to rubble of items such as power stations, road and rail bridges, water and sewage treatment plants.  

Now conflicts are planned where casualties are preferred to death. As this provides a heavy drain on any available resources for the enemy. Casualty numbers also aid in the psychological warfare.  But they also provide a motivation to other family members to seek some form of retribution.

There has been yet another change - now religion has returned once more to the battlefields after a long break. As religious ideology is the main driver for the current round of discord. Different ethnic tribes are fighting amongst themselves. To a point the west is encouraging this conflict by supporting one side or the other. 

But there are also other groups who are playing the same game as the west. However, they are doing this by subverting the disaffected to join in with their activities and to accept their aims. Terrorist have been a problem in conflicts large and small. But through the advent of almost instant communications around the world. Terrorism has under gone a technological change.

There is a problem that first raised its head in Vietnam. When public executions of prisoners out of hand were organised for war photographers. Many war photographers had to tread carefully to avoid executions being done to provide them with materials. Now, every mobile phone and every phone owner in a theatre of war is a war correspondent. The internet provides the media for dissemination of executions. Now its beheading of prisoners by nationality or belief. Combatant and non combatant alike. The more brutal the method the better. The mind games continue through the use of an old world war II technique - the divine wind of the Japanese forces.  The use of suicide bombers where once again their actions are videoed and released to the media. 

We know a great deal - but we have learned very little. 

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