Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for May 6th, 2011

Obama rocks Campbell

Posted by Charles II on May 6, 2011

Obama’s speech at Ft. Campbell was noteworthy not for what it said, but for where and to whom it was said. Ft. Campbell has suffered enormous grief from men who took their own lives from the stress of war and, very recently, from four deaths due to a suicide bombing. The 101st Airborne and other Ft. Campbell units, including a battalion of the Nightstalkers (the organization on the bin Laden raid) represent 20% of the soldiers in Afghanistan. Perhaps the 101’s proudest moment, one that will endure when people ask “Osama who?”, was when it helped to liberate Little Rock Central High School from the dark forces of oppression.

Obama’s message was pretty simple. He did not boast about killing bin Laden, but connected it seamlessly to the actions of the 101 in Afghanistan in 2001-2. He made it clear that there will be no abrupt change in troop levels in Afghanistan. In effect, he promised the men that the US will have a military victory over the Taliban, although that may be by means of Aghan proxies. And he told the troops and their families that we have to tough it out through the deaths, the recession, and all the other sorrows. He told the inspiring story of a girl who was four years old when her father called her from the World Trade Center, where he was trapped. He told her that he was unlikely to make it out, and that he wanted her to remember always that he loved her and would be watching over her. Today, she is doing well in school, looking toward the future, and helping younger students.

There are some pretty tough people at Ft. Campbell–the soldiers, too. But one could see some tears in the eyes of the men, men who had been given hope that someday this will be over.

May it be so.

Posted in Afghanistan, Barack Obama, military, Osama bin Laden | 1 Comment »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on May 6, 2011

Princess Mia, enthroned.

Princess Mia, enthroned

Posted in Friday Cat Blogging, guest cats | 2 Comments »

By their fruits. Franco’s legacy.

Posted by Charles II on May 6, 2011

The Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, is not someone that most Americans know. But he should never be forgotten. He was the one fascist leader of the World War II era who, for pragmatic reasons, the Allies left in place. A hero to the Catholic Church of that era under Pope Pius XI and especially Pius XII, he was a mass murderer just as evil as the rest of the fascists. The fruits of the evil he sowed keep sprouting up. Giles Tremlett, The Guardian:

The bones of 62-year-old Severina Gómez and 23 others whose remains had lain together for 75 years, surrounded by bullet cases and with hands tied behind backs, have finally been removed from their mass grave in countryside near the central Spanish village of Loma de Montija.

After a decade of bitter debate over how to heal the wounds left by conflict and dictatorship without stoking ancient hatreds, Spain’s government on Thursday published on the internet the first countrywide map showing the location of more than 2,000 mass graves from the civil war.

Other measures by the government have included removing 570 Francoist monuments and symbols from public places, awarding 13,400 pensions to people orphaned or sent into exile as children and giving Spanish nationality to 188,000 descendants of exiles.

So far, about 250 of the more than 2,000 mass graves have been excavated, with 5,400 bodies found.

Last month the British historian and Franco biographer Paul Preston published, in Spanish, a definitive study of the repression on both sides of the civil war called The Spanish Holocaust, which is to be published in English later this year.

He distinguishes between the impulsive violence of uncontrolled thugs and leftwing extremists among those defending the republic and the systematic, deliberate nationalist repression which one Francoist general called an attempt to eliminate “all those who do not think like us”.

“A programme of terror and annihilation constituted the central plank of their plan,” says Prof Preston.

The so-called “Spanish holocaust” was part and parcel of the larger Holocaust. The role of Franco and of the Catholic Church under Pius XII should never be forgotten. While Pius XII was a complex figure who has been commended for having helped save some Jewish lives, one can judge the man’s heart by his attitude toward the illegal, violent overthrow of a legally-elected government. In this matter, unlike in his dealings with Hitler, Pius XII was not under compulsion. His praise for the Franco regime speaks for itself. Against the claims of the defenders of Pius XII stands the silent testimony of thousands shot to death, their hands tied behind them. A

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A footnote. To this day, Franco’s defenders argue that his rebellion was a consequence of the “Red Terror.” No question that left-wing forces killed a lot of innocent people. Nor is the fact that Franco killed many more people any justification for the ones killed by left-wingers. However, three things deserve consideration. First, the Catholic Church elevated Franco, a man notorious for his brutality long before the Civil War and an accomplice of Hitler and Mussolini. And the Church supported him as he continued his repression. Second, whatever the faults of the left, Franco did not even attempt to pursue a non-violent path; he simply overthrew a legally-elected government. Third, there’s no question that repression on the right was organized from the top, as one would expect from a fascist organization. There’s debate about the degree of organization of violence on the left; what violence there was was wrong, but it’s not at all clear that it was organized by the government. So at best, right-wing defenders of Franco are reduced to saying that both sides did it. They cannot admit that what he did was wrong, independent of what the left did.

Nor can the Catholic Church admit its sins in Spain. There was over a century of anti-clerical ism before Franco, and even after a half-century of severe repression, it continues. It’s time for the Church to confess that it has had a role in inspiring the sentiment against it.

Not that that will ever happen.

Indeed, much of the concern expressed over Opus Dei and figures like Josemaria Escriva–concern such as the involvement of the Cardinal of Honduras in Opus Dei and in the coup against Manuel Zelaya– have to do with the ties of Escriva and Opus Dei to fascism. As novelist William Faulkner said, the past is not even past.

Posted in fascism | 4 Comments »

 
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