Veterans Day: ‘I’m glad they didn’t use my bomb sight.’
‘A holiday is when the whole people celebrate one thing at the same time together’: Rosenstock-Huessy (Rosenstock, ERH) It should celebrate a specific event, such as Armistice Day, rather than a general idea. A completion.
The themes of an ERH-taught a course on American Social History was the re-integration of the veteran of war into the peace-time society. The veteran voted both for himself and for those who died.
Hero: The hero, he explicitly reconciles opposites. Now ERH said that peace is the explicit reconciliation of opposites. When will we have peace?
There was a difference between war-time and peace-time, and there were some standards of conduct that prevailed even in war-time.
Rosenstock said that we would lose the ability to speak in
America. By ‘speak’ he meant words that one put one’s
life behind. Vows.
Now, we in
have been unable to declare war since 1941.
Instead, we are in a kind of ‘perpetual war for perpetual peace’.
The question is this, since we have a militarized ‘state,’ and militarized ‘police,’ who has won the wars we have fought?
Is there a peace-time society, since we do not speak, that is, we do not put our lives behind our words, societally, in far too many cases, and in the most important ones, war and peace.
How then can we re-integrate our veterans into peace-time society?
I give one example: Protestors for peace used to say—‘Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?’ Some now say—‘Suppose they gave an Obamacare, and nobody signed up?’ (Parallels are deliberate).
Finally, a wise one has articulated 4 generations of modern warfare (and others see a 5th).
The 4 are these. 1—Massed armies in Napoleon’s time. 2—Artillery. 3—Tanks. 4—Insurgents with media (
Viet Nam?). A fifth is ‘nets and jets,’ that is that
there are no hierarchies, and jet planes and other such methods can carry
biowar and nanowar around the world quickly.
There’s also cyberwar, food war, etc. Such misnamings as War on Poverty, War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on Cancer seem to not be what William James and ERH meant by ‘The Moral Equivalent of War’.
This inability to distinguish leads to destroying the village to save it, disregard of rights to maintain freedom, etc.—you know what I mean The veterans of wars should not want that.
We also miss something when we think that sports entertainment on Sunday should be adorned with war themes, when the reason, I maintain, for the popularity of such is that the church is not militant…but, do I digress, or is that the point, and the pont (the bridge?)?
What follows is something NOT to celebrate: After 9-11, in a Sunday School in a small church in rural
someone mentioned the 3,000 killed. A
quiet man softly spoke: 'They didn't use my bomb sight, and I'm glad'
'There weren't any more military targets, and we there wasn't any government that could surrender, so they loaded up the bombers with napalm, and the others came after with bombs, and they just created a firestorm'.
'I'm glad they didn't use my bomb sight'.
"The Allies – mostly the
United States – firebombed a
defenseless German city, day after day, in 1945, a city with no military
significance in 1945. At least 25,000 civilians died in the resulting
firestorms, with 350,000 left homeless in winter. Our fighting men did this
from air in streams of hundreds of bombers, when there were no German fighter
aircraft to defend the city. "
'I'm glad they didn't use my bomb sight.'
Everything but the casualty figures is a paraphrase from a bomb sight mechanic in WWII.
Dresden is the subject.
The Norden bomb sight allowed precision bombing, and is widely credited with being very significant in winning WWII.
Yes, all joined together by true speech/vows can declare and celebrate holidays, when the whole celebrates one thing at one time together. Civil magistrates (civil governments), churches, families, individuals. A wise use naming is that of Martin Luther, born on the day celebrating Martin of Tours.
Speak true speech, put your life behind your words, and we will have peace, Lord willing.
Charles Howard Hartman
PS: I’m speaking true speech by making a 4-phase ‘revolution,’ after the revolutions of the West of ERH, outlined in Chapter 5 of Gardner’s ‘Beyond Belief,’ and other such.