Previous posts in this discussion:
PostSyria Strike Did Not Go Far Enough (Istvan Simon, USA, 04/16/18 3:43 am)
I am not surprised by Eugenio Battaglia's take on the US joint intervention with France and the UK to destroy Assad's chemical weapons laboratories and storage facilities.
I am a huge opponent of President Trump, as anyone that reads these pages knows. But I support partially his strikes on Assad. My regret is that the President's rhetoric was sharply at odds with the military strikes that were actually ordered.
If I were the president, I would have ordered not only the destruction of these chemical weapons facilities, but I would have destroyed every single airfield of Assad, and his entire air force. The advantages of that approach would have been that Assad's capabilities to murder his own people would have been severely degraded with or without chemical weapons. I would have also destroyed Assad's presidential palace, much like President Reagan, in my opinion correctly, targeted Colonel Gaddafi in Libya after the outrageous terrorist attacks on a civilian airliner over Lockerbie.
On the negative side, the president says that our strikes are for humanitarian reasons. Indeed the attack on children and unarmed civilians with chemical agents is a war crime, and cannot be tolerated. But neither can the destruction of Aleppo which we tolerated without a peep from the then presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Also, it is ridiculous to say that we are protecting civilians from Assad's murderous assaults, and at the same time we close our borders to war refugees. Under this disgraceful president, according to CNN, exactly 11 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the United States in 2018. More than 3,000 were admitted in 2017, and more than 15,000 in 2016. These policies of the Trump administration are disgraceful, inhuman, and at odds with our humanitarian values.
JE comments: Two questions: Is there any way the Allies could have targeted Assad's air force without attacking Russian planes, too? Wouldn't this be an unambiguous declaration of war? The US thought so on December 7th, 1941.
Second, when you bombard a chemical-weapons depot, aren't the health and environmental risks potentially devastating?
Strike on Syria; The Ghastly Olympics of Mass Murder: Mao, Stalin, Hitler
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
04/17/18 4:29 AM)
Lately we have been discussing the topic of who murdered more people. For sure Mao gets the gold medal, the silver to Stalin and the bronze to Hitler for mass murder in the long term.
However, the gold medal for mass murder on a single day, by far, goes to the US, on several occasions. The greatest was the bombing of Tokyo, 9 March 1943, with 100,000 to 200,000 civilians burnt alive. Other attacks on Germany and Japan were nearly as deadly--and of course there was Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (In Italy we had "only" a total of 74,000 civilians killed in the bombings.)
I will give the silver medal to the UK for Operation Gomorrah on Hamburg, 28 July 1943.
Maybe we could give the bronze to the USSR for sinking the hospital ships carrying refugees from East Prussia. The vessel Wilhelm Gustloff on 30 January 1945 had 10,000 civilians drowned (Italy had 5 hospital ships sunk by torpedoes, 3 by aerial bombing and another 5 damaged).
Oh, returning to the missile attack on Syria, if the delegates of the OPCW have just arrived to investigate if there was a chemical weapons attack, by what proof and authority did the US, UK and France bomb Syria?
JE comments: Has anyone heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff museum in Hampton, Virginia? I am not clear if there is a brick-and-mortar place to visit or not, but the website does feature plenty of swastikas:
Unsurprisingly, officials from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have not been allowed full access to the Syrian sites. Doesn't this mean the Russo-Syrian denials will be able to continue indefinitely?
Sinking of "Wilhelm Gustloff": Kraft Durch Freude
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
04/19/18 5:36 AM)
A small additional comment on the vessel Wilhelm Gustloff.
The ship was known in Italy, thanks to a long article in the N° 39 4/II/1942 of La Svastika, the German cultural magazine for Italians. It is not to be confused with the international Signal, which was mostly dedicated to the war. La Svastika introduced and described the "Kraft Durch Freude," modeled on the Italian "Dopolavoro" (Afterwork) program, with a photo of the Wilhelm Gustloff.
The fleet for people's vacations and trips consisted of 10 transoceanic vessels, of which the more luxurious were the Gustloff and the Robert Ley, the first named after the murdered Swiss Nazi leader and the second for the leader of the Kraft Durch Freude.
The sinking of the vessel was a big trophy for the USSR, even if the poor captain of the submarine was somewhat in trouble for a brothel incident. After all the great writer Ilya Ehrenburg said, "If you have not killed at least one German a day you have wasted the day."
JE comments: I knew that Hitler based his Autobahnen on Mussolini's Autostrade, but I was unaware of the Italian provenance of Strength through Joy. Car nuts like myself of course remember Kraft Durch Freude through its automotive legacy, the Volkswagen Beetle.
Tell us more about Dopolavoro, Eugenio.
- Sinking of "Wilhelm Gustloff": Kraft Durch Freude (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/19/18 5:36 AM)