War Seen from the Grassroot Perspective
by Hermann Friedrich Honold,
Table of Contents
- A poem
- The wars of the elites
- Armament's Role
- But those security zealots...
- Pacifists, fighters for peace and peace researchers
- The leaders, the commanders
- The ranks
- Civil War
- The further development
- The role of the historians and of their kin
- Scenario of the future
Dedication to my comrades, both Pironjes
Instead of an introduction a poem:
...most people think keeping and withholding one's own opinion for oneself to be wise discreetness or at least noble egoism, but it is nothing else than fear and dull nonsense.
(Clausewitz in a letter to Fichte commenting on the latter's Machiavel)
I am looking on war from the grassroot perspective, and therefore - in a way differring from the mood of historians and peace researchers - I do not stare at the motives which lead to war. I take war as a mere matter of fact. If, sometimes, I am touching the motives then I do it not because I would pretend being sufficiently competent to dissect or even to criticize the goals of political and military elites, but only because of the effect which those motives once had and still have on myself and people like me: the affected, people with personal experience on the front, people who are - not only by that reason - opponents of war.
The chosen bottom-up approach is essential in se,
because the sublime, the "halcyon" view of statesmen and military commanders delivers only one aspect of war, their sight often being narrowed by their understanding of history, by ambition or mere routine. The readers of this book must have learned to take cover, creeping to work themselves forward and backward and, despite of, maybe because of that, to survive.
He who speaks i. e. writes about war in such a way is forced to uncover himself, to leave cover and step out into the open field. At least once, he must counteract the intuitive discipline of both World Wars which the majority of poilus, GIs, Iwans, Tommies and Landsers had had to apply, and which consisted in running or creeping from cover to cover, in pressing the body as close to earth as possible until the volley had passed overhead, to "win" space as military men use to say, in most cases forward, sometimes backward, then dash out until the noise of the bullets flying was heard or one toppled over, hit by one of them. There were soldiers who understood by "seeking cover" also to screen themselves from their own leadership. Their number grew with the approach of the war end.
As reguards my comrades and me, we were drafted, 18 years of age. At that time nobody thought any more at youth and youth movement, not even our "priest", and if he did it was the movement of his confession. He liked to play organ and he knew it. At the place of our drill, in Brittany, on Sundays we used to walk to one of the parishes and ask whether he would be allowed to play the organ. It was never denied, though we wore the uniform of the enemy, maybe because we were still so young.
Another of my comrades dreamt and sang of the roses at home which at that time of the year must just set buds. He had left back a cousin, with whom, awaking, at holidays, he had made harmless "pillow battles" in bed. They had made him recognise female charme and love it, still without desiring. He was the guy who was unconditionally decided to turn home after the war. He died returning from the field hospital. Coming back from behind the lines was always the moment of highest risk. In Vietnam there was a saying among GIs: the life of a new man has little value.
We were just and downright young in the way of the time. At collective showering I was always teased because my penis did not witness to have yet had intercourse with a woman.
At the time when the almost forgotten American Varian Fry on the opposite side tried to and really helped people excluded, not yet expelled from the German society, to emigrate more or less legally to America, I, being a little younger, frequenting the Mirabeau pubs was trying more childishly than childlike to convince the French visitors of what I was still believing in. I looked like having some success because they were discontent with their own government, and I too young as to be taken as false.
We were sent to Russia in order to be deployed at Stalingrad. Too late for those there, for when we arrived the ring was already closed. We did attack but could win only the right bank of the Donez river. From then on speech was about trench warfare.
From our trenches obove the river I very often had to observe the bank wood of the opposite side for movements of men. One day, suddenly, maybe attracted by his own look, mine hit in the foliage of a tree a blackened human face, the eyeholes left blank: the observer of the other side. I was startled but did not shoot. He, too, must have been frightened and disappeared.
There did not exist an order from "obove" but a silent understanding to kill heavily wounded prisoners of war. But I was enraged and very sad when, coming back from reporting to the battalion, I got to know that they had shot the young Russian, whom we had made prisoner when he was laying just 20 meters in front of our trench, hit at the belly - as far as I could see in the hurry, fatally - during the Russian counterattack on ours against their trenches. I was close to kill the comrade who had fired the deadly shot. For we were motivated for killing not for human behaviour, even those amongst us who remained humane. But I was no "superior" but a common soldier as he was. And - I was too much a coward as to do it the same.
I liked shooting e g aiming with tracer bullets at the houses just beyond the bank wood on the opposite side of the Donez river with their straw roofs until someone caught fire.
There were soldiers amongst us not able to withstand an order given to them. These people were not able to "organize", that meant to steal or to embezzle in order to be better off than their comrades or unknown other soldiers.
My repeated crossing - on order - of the open country behind our lines, open also to the sight and the shots of the Russian snipers, where I could advance only by short leaps taking advantage of the reaction time of the sniper, brought me in a decoration and the remark of a sergeant not destined to my own ears, to be the "most pig-headed fellow of the battalion".
I had a comrade. He had come from the punishment battalion where he had been posted for injuring a superior by calling him a "prize catch". He was an experienced soldier and it was he who took me, the youngest of the company, on to his self-ordered reconnaissance patrols between the lines.
We thought about the war and how we both would get out of it unscathed, and how the Germans not too heavily. The question of guilt was at that time no subject of our reflection. We had no feeling for the way to get out which the German General von Seidlitz, then Russian prisoner of war, night after night, when the "Stalin organs" were silent, tried to intimate to us over the loudspeaker across the front.
We knew very well that "those beyond" were the same poor fools as we on this side. We had got this knowledge also from General Wlassows forlorn crowd with whom we made sometimes raidings behind the Russian lines: they lived and died like us. We did not hate "Iwan", at most we knew some sporty ambition against him: we felt that we had joined and suffered the same fate.
When the Italian, the Sicilian writer Sciascia is right - and my own experience tells me that he is - then war has a result much different from that politically intended: it makes man human, even more humane, because part of his - national - superstructure is dismantled, may even disappear, something which the Caliphs had tried to achieve by poverty and humility and seldom had reached. Lawrence of Arabia had observed the same: to try to evoke hatred against the enemy in a British soldier meant to make him hate war.
Sciascia discribes strikingly the state of mind of the common soldier, in Antimonio. The fighting motivation is transformed to a matter of honour: no fear, no surrender, to hold the own position. He derives from this fact, better, he makes his protagonist find, the conclusion that in war all men, independent of the side on which they are fighting, become men without nation, without nationality, without ideology, without religious denomination, and that every soldier tries only to keep and safeguard his personal dignity, i e to "play" his own life well and to accept the rule of death's game. This is also the moral of Zuckmayer's Devil's General, projected on the level of the poilu and the Landser, the common soldier.
We were ready to do the about-turn. But only with flaggs flying, with beat of drum and flourish of trompets to our Tauroggen. But we lacked a general courageous enough to lead us there.
Whether Yorck von Wartenburg, the Prussian Tauroggen general, really deserves an interest similar to that of the French Vietnam and Algeria general Salan, seems to be doubtful despite of all his honourableness. Because he had not to change his souvereign but only his enemy and to make Napoleon the real one. That is true even if Clausewitz might have supported his decision.
We had seen how leaders whom we would have followed even to hell had been corrupted by trench warfare. They had asked for women to be brought to their secure dugout, had ordered the sergeant major to spare goods to be sold to all soldiers at the front, for their exclusive personal use. Finally we had realized that the interior break down had already occured before it became apparent.
Or eyes had been opened for things which they had not seen or realized before: the incompetence, the cowardliness and meanness of those who were appointed to lead. This was especially the case when the erstwhile officers who had been able to carry us away were dead or wounded or posted to other places, and the gaps had been filled up with reservists from behind the lines.
One of my battalion commanders, reserve officer, cattle dealer in civilian life, was such a slavedriver. He showed it by giving in-executable orders, maybe without personal guilt because unable to judge feasability. His behaviour was the less bearable the more he lacked military competence, something which the "Kommisköppe" (the blockheads among the brass) kept intact even when they maltreated their inferiors. I carried a deep wrath against him, but he was fortunate enough in attacks never to move in front of my barrel.
We saw it and doubted if things like these were valid only when a long and heavy war comes close to the end; or whether it is true for and imminent to every strained and worn collective, which an army in war always is; or whether it is part of the human character pressed into such a collective. Anyhow, we common soldiers of the second World War could not imagine a new beginning.
When the new beginning eventually was made with a new German army despite our doubtful eyes we called back our war memory and began anew to reflect. The following is the fruit of those after-war reflections.
The wars of the elites
The big wars which sovereign states wage against sovereign states, because their elites believe that their goals are worth a war -"they cling to the believe that they are a favoured elite, alone know what is best for the country", thus the Economist put it once - degenerate by armament reasons to steamroller wars, to a series of material battles. They are a phenomenon of technical feasability and therefore a problem of controllability, of monitoring. They are made for "reasons of security". Clausewitz had realized this fact, when in his already cited Machiavel letter to Fichte he mocked at the growing importance of "defence weapons".
Whenever we human beings behave like machines we become replaceable by machines. The method to make masses of men to o n e machine, the war machine, is called drill, military drill. But as Turing saw a limit to the simulation of physical processes, also the mechanization of war will hit at a border. Lawrence of Arabia gave this border the name bionomical.
What is order? The location of things at places congruent and parallel to the contents of memory. That is the practical aspect. Beyond that, is it game, self-fruition of the steward? Even subconsciously and unconsciously we are more orderly than we believe. We realize it when we catch ourselves placing bottles or other things in a row. This must be the compulsory attitude of military men in front of the "government issue" soldier.
The third World war, the untold story, of Sir John Hackett astounds more through the dead weight and momentum of weapons than through his analysis of potential causes and triggering factors of a third world war. Sir Hackett thus sticks to his metier, his job as a soldier of high rank. Maybe he even is right, for the accumulated and sophisticated weapons almost demand the next big war with its immense input and destruction of material.
The other remarkable thing in his book is his total lack of illusion about the inertia of such a mass of material and, as men depend entirely on it, their own moment of inertia in learning a new weapon system to the point of mastering it. Here is speaking the experience of a general. He seems not to have the slightest doubt as to the meaning of such an accumulation of destruction potential, as little at least as any ancient Roman has ever had about the stockpiling of territories or a capitalist might have as to the hoarding of capital.
But when he itentionally did not want to think or to reason in public so far, the logical step would have been to see war as a recurring event of the succession of human generations on earth what they like to call history. History, we know, is the excuse of every generation for not too glorious a past. Napoleon with good reason called it the "fable convenue".
But if war is not avoidable, a man in the uniform of a general, a warrior by profession, ought to ask himself how war could be made more humane by putting aside all rhetoric about pacifism and prevention of war, all peace studies, but also all worship of heroism, any reminiscence and every personal interest, and put the plain question, how weapon systems could and should be remodeled to the human being, without restricting the competition between potential opponents in a war; how the social acceptability of so many people killed or mutilated in war could be diminished to the point of banning war, how strategy and tactics should be revised or even rewritten, up-dated in order to spare, as far as possible, men, to spare life in general, but maintaining the necessary consequence of war, which is not identical with the aims of war - this is said to prevent misunderstanding - viz to leave untouched and intact the readiness of men to live together in peace, at least for a while.
To admit, even to further with all means available, that some kind of war for a while should be waged with other means, economic and political means; and, finally, - after the experience with the atom bomb - how big the menace and threatening potential, down to the families of politicians and generals must be for the maintenance of this mental situation for as long as possible a period. The pressure of the enormous costs for construction and maintenance of modern weapons might be helpful but is alone not sufficient.
"Conventional" war is carried on to the surrender or exhaustion of one of the opponents. To make war until exhaustion is reached could be considered to be but usual human behaviour. Even individuals do not stop litigation before one of them is weakened to the readiness to compromise. Big wars, however, are "slaughter" wars, as Lawrence ( E.T) called them, whose aim is to kill or to cripple as many people wearing the uniform of the opponent, to make them unfit for fighting, even to weaken the civil population in order to diminish the moral of those fighting.
This kind of bloodbath, that of mass war, is not intended by somebody. On the contrary, it is regretted, even condemned - but accepted, at least tolerated nevertheless. Zoroaster once ascended to the gods and asked them to redeem the animals, the bulls especially, of the sad fate which man hat laid on them, and to liberate them. An English soldier in the first World war suffered with the recruited horses the pain they were condemned to in the war of the human race.
When at least we could reduce the bloodbaths to their historic function! Midrash Rabba in a Gospel commentary 100 years b C reported that a leprous Egyptian king took baths in children's blood. The bloodbath thus has a totally unwarlike even if heinous and rejectable history. But ours are not only rejectable, they are criminal, the crime in them being the means of mass destruction, the products of armament.
The wide-spread believe that with the end of the cold war the big wars are nothing anymore than history, is erroneous, is outright wrong. It is true that the industry of weapons and military goods all over the world had to shrink considerably, especially in the US, both in production capacity and manpower, and the restructuring has not yet come to a standstill. In 2000 80 % of the big producers will have disappeared, not only by liquidation or production shift to civil goods, but by merger, too. In 1994 capacity utilization was 35-65 %. Conversion to civil production in some sectors has proved to be impossible. That is the case in the US, not yet, however, in Russia.
The necessity to re-structuring, however, will not follow automatically after the end of immediate threat. Sure, the Gulf war has been fought with the weapons of the second world war. But the development is not slowed down, but accelerates in the direction of a still more enhanced long-distance effect: in the direction of weaponry conception since spear and arrow. The future belongs to the un-manned remote-controlled weapons on the side of the attacker, and differentiated, but crowded targets on the defender's side. They will be press-button weapons.
Consequently, also the command and controlling centers will be in danger. Thus one of the most beneficial effects of nuclear war seems to be preserved. But the main targets will be airports, radar equipment, power stations, also nuclear ones, and production plants for essential military goods, chemical and bacteriological weapons included, all crowded with men.
The US manufacturers are concentrating their research and production capacity on such weapons by means of "simultaneous engineering", also out-sourcing all non-essentials. Concentration processes in the weapon industry are also unavoidable because of progressing costs. In Western countries this process is today a cross-border phenomenon and is, in addition to the economic integration, a means to prevent wars between co-operating countries. This hope, however, is dwarfed by the experience of those countries which cannot, at least not entirely, themselves cover their armament requirement, at least not the more sophisticated one, like e. g. Israel, Egypt and South Korea: their dependency on spare parts for military goods is bigger than it is in civil production, let aside ammunition and training.
Armament dependency may reduce nationalistic feelings with equal and cooperation-willing neighbours. But even there somebody could once begin to ask: why that when we do not have any more an enemy of the "adequate" size? Will they then turn their weapons against each other? Or will the inevitable clash assume other not belligerent forms? (As far as datas and facts have been used in the above text they all stem from the survey Military Aerospace in the Economist edition of Sept. 9th, 1994)
One man's lack could be another man's instrument. According to Jacques F. Baud, NZZ 5/11/95, the export of military goods is also an instrument of foreign policy, for it creates dependency. This, however, he does not say within the same causal connection. Embargoes might not be of much usefulness.
Even organized crime serves as an excuse and motive for the 20 to 25b $ armanent business p. a., even if rather neglectible in comparison to the drug consumption of 300b $. The tendency cannot be overlooked: the military men - even in neutral countries - try to arrive undamaged in a time where they once more will be considered to be indispensable. Bosnia has contributed a lot to their necessity in the eyes of the public.
Laser weapons which - in the form of Cobra-Laser-rifles - since some time tested in the US will blind, make blind the eyes hit. That is their reason to be. Tey are not visible though working with the most perilous kind of light. Once they will be produced in quantity it will not take much time until "terrorists" and even common criminals will have - and use - them. Latest news justify some hope that they will be banned.
Sweden, Germany and the Red Cross are endeavouring for their incorporation in the list of "inhuman weapons". This is laudable but does not convince the experienced sceptic. At best the outcome will be a convention like that of the non-proliferation of nuclear material. As long as their making will be as sophisticated as it is now, a ban may mean that they will not be produced, for a while at least. But they, too, are "proliferable", prone to proliferation; as was bronze making in early history.
Conventions which try to exclude the haves serve little; if something will help, then self-restriction, of the haves, too.
"War waged by proxy" is an expression used by Sir Hackett. As soon as weapons exist they must be tested. For those generals who want their weapons, the weapons which the politicians have apportioned to them, to be tested in praxi, on the body of a human being, the proxy wars are helpful, even a necessity. Nobody seems to be much interested in getting to know how much the utilization of those new weapons makes wars worse for those involved, as well as few cosmetic or pharmaceutical manufacturers, even physicians are caring much for the lot of the test animals.
The Germans - the Nazi, too, were Germans, at least by origin - depended too much on "secret and miracle" weapons. In doing so they contributed more to future wars than to their own. In the "Mittelbau Dora" the allied army found ready-made "A4", otherwise and publicly called "V2" missils, fit for use. The Americans had swiftly shipped 100 pieces of them to the States together with two know how-carrying technicians. The Russians satisfied their requirements afterwards. If war is made effectively boot weapons may be more important than self-made ones. This has been said by General Giap of Vietnam.
To make spoil is part of warfare. The North Yemenites did it some time back even in the museums of South Yemen. Then they re-sold their booty, to the advantage of the interested international art connoisseurs, to the same museums.
Even the Russians feel some pangs of conscience as to the things they took from German Museums. But it is a long way from remorse to the readiness to restitute them to the - if no more legitime then at least - former owners. Of similar German compunction I did yet neither hear nor read.
He who speaks of non-proliferation, be that fissible material or the know how to produce nuclear fission or dual-use-goods for military and civil use as machinery, components and spareparts bares always the firm conviction that only the morally higher endowed is allowed to possess them because he will use them only for his highest moral purposes. In simpler minds this means: he who has weapons has also the moral strength to use them.
Israel's still not admitted nuclear weapons could be the stumbling block where real peace in the Middle Orient might be wrecked. They are the "constructive equivocation", which sovereign states think to need in a hostile or suspect environment. Historical experience seems to confirm this.
The convention banning nuclear weapons has had some positive effect despite of the proliferation of the production know-how to Israel, India, Pakistan and maybe Iran. To a certain point. But to believe that a country threatened really or by the imagination of its responsibles would be deterred from the use of nuclear weapons, if it can get or produce them, is one of those "useful illusions" which mankind harbours because some countries by what reasons ever are complying. Nevertheless, there are newly interested countries in nuclear weaponry. The threat of nuclear weapons is "in being". Nonproliferation has eventually been successful in one sector: nobody is menacing with their use. The havenots will be protected by the haves. But interpreting an old German proverb about pecking ravens one could ask: also against haves?
Up to not too distant a time Sacharow was the "Father of the Soviet Atom Bomb". Now there is rumor that this has been Kurtchatow, according to Sacharow a science apparatchik, who knew of nuclear physics as much as the CEO of a chemical plant of scientifical chimistry.
As was to be feared the future of the nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty is rather bleak. Nobody seems to be interested in a "permanent" solution. All want to be able to opt out, least of all the haves, understandably. They have what others want: menacing potential. Whether the scientifically possible distinction between weapon and energy plutonium will augment security has still to be proved. The great stir in Germany about the plutonium smuggle is rather counterproductive: it makes controlling more difficult.
Anyhow, also nuclear weapons must be tested, even if 40 % of the people living in the surroundings of a test area suffer already from some kind of cancer. No further comment.
Mass and material war has other problems, too. 25 000 to 40 000 US Army containers had to be opened after unloading at the Gulf: for stocktaking, because nobody did know what they contained. There had been a similar confusion in the US-American/Spanish war. The formula to change this unsatisfying situation reads "Total Asset Viability", TVA. The fate of the forwarding agents who yearly mislead from 20 to 30 per cent of the about 10 million containers is still open.
"Technical wars" have also another not only bothering but abominable feature: button pressing makes the - psychological - distance between cause and effect still larger as it has already grown by the former long range guns. This kind of war raises a kind of political leaders and military commanders who are not able to imagine the difficulty of wresting only a small peace of territory from an obstinate opponent and how much more difficult it is to keep it in his counterattack.
The Americans who, however possible, think in market catagories have had a magnificent idea - grand even if for the moment only applicable in their own country - , viz to impose to all weapons producers some kind of product liability, not only for the frictionless function of their products but also for the consequences of their application.
That is utopian. But if only part of it could be implemented worldwide, the wars which for the sake of mass psychology are indispensable could be reduced to scuffles in which Clausewitz saw the true and honorable wars. One of the main motives of warfare, viz to be able to defeat the enemy on distance, would be obsolete.
All the better if we could lay a similar product liability upon the manufacturers of land mines and chemicals.
Another reflection follows suit, it rather prostitutes itself: Kevin McAleer has written a book on duelling. The most remarkable in that book is the assessment that this custom raised among the idle officers of the Prussian Army after the wars of 1870, together with the pertaining "Code of honour". Would it not be an attracting idea to finish if not all but at least most wars if we would give a Prussian style code of honour to the military men, the brass, of all countries? Unfortunately this seems possible only in legends and sagas.
War is a wholly unsuitable means to "regulate" the differences of interests and opinions of human collectives. But if we cannot outlaw war we should try to outlaw some weapons, not only nuclear ones.
>But those security zealots...
Security is derived from securus, something of which nobody will have to care or would have to apply "cura" to. The political and military zealots cannot imagine that there can never be more security on earth than that of a "security" in the financial market after "securitization": the security of mass, of the bulk. We knew a better and still more dangerous one at the front: just "under" the enemy, immediately before him. So we got the shells from both sides or none, a little less than half the possible ones. But the zealots need security as a sinecure.
The Swedes have proven how emotive the security question really is. Experts had made clear that what drifted through the skerries could not have been minks. But something strange was there. So a Russian submarine after all? In a situation of foreign policy when the Russians probably had not to do better but more important things! But at least a reason to meliorate defense, to spend money for unproductive scopes to charge them onto the people, in favour of the professional warriers.
Two Swiss political scientists asked history how safe the former instrument of collective security, the balance of power, has been, and how safe the present, based upon two international organizations, the Uno and the CSCE, really is. Their answer to the first question is: temporarily safe. And to the second: being without power of enforcement the two should better try to prevent conflicts than to mediate.
Even the Swiss do not want disarmament, at least not reduce their army by half, as the Socialdemocrats had hoped and proposed. In a world which was now post-communist after all but otherwise unchanged, where everyone can cook his own broth as long as the other crows keep one eye closed, one of them to Chetchenya, the other to Nothern Irak, they do not feel secure enough.
Däniker, Kilchberg, a Swiss military expert, in the NZZ of May 22nd, 1995, derogatorily hints at the pleonasm "defensive Verteidigung", in English "defensive defense", without even mentioning the contradictoriness of "foreward i e aggressive defense". He mocks of the now obsolete - really? - search for the "infallible defense weapon". Then he attacks the "search for peace by means of self-weakening action" and speaks sarcastically of the "understanding of all elites". He characterizes "honest targets or objectives" as "military nonsense". Like the Korff of the German poet Morgenstern he concludes with incredible logic that there does not exist a bypass to traditional war. War cannot be outflanked.
Däniker himself makes part of the elite in his own understanding, the cognizant ones, because he attaches no importance, whatsoever, to the peace twaddle. He must hold on to traditional war, because he is belonging to the military elite in a wider sense, to those who order war, wage war and command it: Lawrence's armchair warriors.
When you scrutinize the faces of those who wage the wars, politicians and generals, you recognize only a few disagreeables and still less brutals, no more than in the average population. These are people who have never seen the brains of a human being splashed about by a shell or the intestines quell out from a stomach slit open by a bullet or the black scars of a child crippled by a land mine. They have avoided such an unpleasant sight. Otherwise for them, too, war would be as hideous as for those who have. And this mental distance of war is its main problem.
The technical term of the military for the diversification of warfare, down to the peace-keeping missions, is "multipurpose suitability": "A kind of armament which is marked by operational and strategic mobility, the capability for prompt attacks, even outside the own borders, and far-reaching precision firing" according to Lutz Unterseher, a German theorist, Bonn. He sees a boom in intervention groups which grew from very modest beginnings to 3 strong corps. He observes that many commanders recognize an element of military retaliation in a massive reaction to a crisis like the Gulf War. Maybe we can take as fortunate that the building up of big intervention forces needs time - of which there is never enough - and therefore is done rather hastily, "evidently more as a result of national status competition" than by rational causes. Still the military men seem to follow the German military theorist's Bonin pattern of thought, viz to avoid "the de-stabilizing spiral of provocation and counter-provocation". But how long they will that and how long they can? With the re-approximation to traditional war the importance of multipurpose suitability is already diminishing.
The Russian intelligentsia as many others experiences once more the "misery of power", writes the non-conformist German writer Jutta Scherrer in the Neue Zürcher of May 2nd, 1995. The intelligentsia in front of the psychological conduct of the war in Chetchenya recognizes hysterization of the masses by defamation of the opponent, psychological preparation of the population for the victims of the own evidently justified cause before "the danger which the fatherland is running", and - as a consequence - a higher military budget. Democracy? - Gone! Once more the State prevails. The question is only whether gosudarstvenniki or ne- gosudarstvenniki.
The Chetchenyan hostage-takers of Budjonnowsk will have to tolerate that they are called terrorists, for their working instrument is terror, the angst of uninvolved men. They made terror their weapon in an uneven struggle. But these valiant fellows did not merit to be branded with a term which in the dayly language has far transgressed the litteral signification.
Occasionally they are even called criminals, but not war criminals, certainly not because they did not commit the crime of war. The NZZ sees the "Dudajew regime" being of a criminal nature. But there is no such regime and has never been. The defamation campaign of the hounds of the sovereign states against those who dared to break out from one of them is running and takes pace. The international applauders, the media, clap their hands, bar some of them.
The Bosnian Serbs are depicted in the international press as something which they are not: criminals. And if, then no more than the Croats. But to call them such may be already the preparation for the revenge of which they are thought to and will be victims when they happen to drop their guard.
At present they are not more and not less than irregulars with the very precarious legitimacy which the sovereign states have apportioned to them, but also the liberties which such people can take, hostages for instance. Unsaid and untouched may be left that they - like all small ethnic entities surrounded by people of different behaviour - are capable of extreme hatred which they cannot refrain from releasing from time to time. The Swiss who often smell a rat think that the alliance Nato in Bosnia is already prisoner of its own intentions. Let us hope that they are wrong.
The US rebuke the Iran for the application of offensive organizational patterns in their sea manoeuvres in the Arabian, former Persian Gulf. Escalation often starts with such reproaches, irrespective of their substance. Fortunately, the Iranians escalated downwards, without saying it, of course.
Our juridical, our "juridified" world believes to be able to do something in favour of peace by setting up courts of justice like the court for war crime in Den Haag and the court for violations of human rights in Geneva. In reality we pursue proliferation of a pseudo-law which we can enforce at best partially, but which is giving a false security to people.
These interjections admit that those theorists are right who believe that the forms of state power will reside in a "grey zone", as did the one time German "Freicorps" in the Baltic States. This may have induced the well known German writer Enzensberger to think on and write about "The possibilities of a civil war", which, according to Sciascia, is the most upright and honest kind of war.
The current opinions about war, those against war, too, all guide to the next one. From the perspective of people whose hide is at stake I deny expressively the legitimacy of all "big" wars. Though and because I do see their attraction for well proportioned, technically and organizationally interested young men. With Fichte's words I belong to the "common, natural and ignorant people for whom the last, if there is any, scope of life" is life itself. And with Lawrence of Arabia I believe that war releases the lowest instincts in man, and demeans him.
Like him I believe, too, that the life of the individual is much too personal a thing, as to be touched by somebody, another man or a collective of men. Therefore, I cannot accept that wars could be justified by any reason, whoever may pretend that, still less that they could be just and holy. I also refuse to any elite the right to send another man's son to war, even if that is declared to serve a "peace securing" purpose. This is especially valid for all self-appointed elites.
The mass, to be a member of an amorphous mass, makes man to lose his inhibitions. Even in a decent man it can free instincts which he normally does not know. I have seen it with my own eyes.
How contagious mass can be and often is, can be read from the incidents within the meanwhile dissolved Canadian parachute regiment at the Somalia deployment: a parliamentary commission not only located lack of discipline and racist attitudes, but even ritualized homicide of natives. The lesson to be learnt from that is: as little mass as possible. But how in traditional war which is a mass phenomenon?
War must be rejected - here I contradict explicitly the Greek philopher Heraclitus, though I understand fully and appreciate his argumentation - because war puts men in a mental condition which renders them capable to do things inhumane, even if they use to call them divine and solemnly celebrate together the anniversary of its beginning or end. As little as von der Goltz (People in Weapons) I can see a correlation between cultural progress and the perfection of warfare.
The Russian philosopher Shestow in Potestas clavium is still more precise: "War is pure nonsense. It serves no interests, on the contrary annihilates all interests... Youth is mown down by the millions, and goes thither where it is more recognized and appreciated than here on earth. This is the true sense of war, and, not that America may have more gold and the Germans less colonies" or, let me add: Bosnia her state integrity. Shestow is also aware of the role which the professional historians play in this fatal process: "Today's historians know beforehand exactly for which evident and understandable goals it will be waged."
Shestow did overlook one thing: those who mow and those who are mown down are both young, mutual reapers. Those behind the lines lead and enjoy a more secure life.
Pacifists, fighters for peace and peace researchers
I estimate highly not only pacifists but those people who are ready to fight for peace, whose prominent champion has been Lord Russell. That is true a little less for peace researchers, because they try to research in advance something which only afterwards is accessible to research. The Sigmund Freud of war as a mental disease has not yet been born. That is the reason why a therapy, even a precarious one, against war does not yet exist. Von der Goltz, a German war theorist before the first World War, in his book "The Defeat of young Turkey" warned of the peace dreamers who thought to settle the vital questions of nations by the mutual esteem of the rights of other nations .
Now, the field, more precisely the screens, radar screens included, seem to be deserted of war researchers. Low flying aircraft again dominate the sky, the army the barracks. It seems now to be agreed that wars are accessible to research only in their progress and not in their coming into being; and if, that man, even a politician, does not have the means to prevent them.
Mr von Senghaas, by Neue Zürcher Zeitung rather reverently apostrophized as "specialist for questions of armament and disarmament, for war and peace research", - once more - surpasses everyone. Backed up by the German philosopher's Habermas "new confusion" ("Unübersichtlichkeit") he recognizes "a growing complexity, a deeply fissured construction", the elements of which shall additionally be "interrelated". He might be right if he had avoided "deeply fissured" which gives the impression as if somebody unknown would have cleft something man-made. That owns the smack of church congress diction.
It is rather difficult to agree with his "ambivalent nationalism", because nationalism ex definitione never is ambivalent. He seems to be afraid of his observation that the civilisations are drifting asunder. Why not? That would give to them, or to that which follows, the chance to re-combine anew - and differently.
Much worse is the voluntary exclusion of groups of the society. Whether he and his equals will never see that exactly the standardizers, the representatives of the sublime national unity are those who give us this perspective. Still it is true what the Italian Renaissance believed: natura per troppa variar è bella (Nature is beautiful by differentiating, by varying too much)
Mr Georg Kohler on May 8th, 1995 teached us contemporaries a century lesson about the second World War. This war to him is the point of intersection (may be the historians') between the big - he means great - warlike conflicts which reach back to the nineteeth century and which have become the area of origin (the language of the new historians) of those forces and tendencies which will keep active and agitate our continent far beyond the third millenium. As he did not say "will motivate" one is tempted to say Amen. But he will be much surprised when seeing the real developments. Fortunately, people forget more swiftly than historians are used to think.
Mr. Stürmer, instead, as was to be expected, has "mixed sentiments" in view of the 8th of May. No wonder, of this "utmost catastrophy" he is unable to see a beginning, but only an end: unconditional surrender (of the Germans). He, too, will be illuded, because there is no end, at most a new beginning. Let us hope that he will not miss the connection.
According to H.K. (NZZ April 29th, 1995) history, which to Napoleon - as already mentioned - was but une fable convenue, has unmasked the wholesale anti-war engagement of people as misdirected. Right, but this does not mean that we must by all means accept war in its today possible technical form, as K seems to think. We want war only different.
From the course of the civil war in former Yugoslavia we learn that the Bosnians are by no means inferior to the Serbs and the Croats, provided they have the same weapons. Peace policy is also policy of armoury.
The Serbs, those of Serbia and Bosnia taken together, own 1200 tanks, 284 pieces of war aircraft; the Croats 248 and 20 respectively, The Bosnian Moslems have 40 tanks. As soon as it was clear that a civil war was no more avoidable it has not only been unfair but rather criminal to give the latter no weapons. Civil wars have their own function, especially if they are wars of secession. The earlier they end the better for all participants. Only Mr. Kinkel could have been mistaken as to this fact.
The US troops in Haiti were in charge of restoring democratic order. Doing this they had to co-operate with the armed men of the old regime, because state is state, irrespective of its legitimacy. The problem of the Americans was to get out unscathed, as it will become true for the American and European troops in Bosnia.
Once again Shestov: According only to probability, men, those eternal followers of Sysiphus, after five or ten years, will again seize hold of the boulder of history and with pain try to roll it uphill to the peak so that the catastrophy and all those disasters of which we have been witnesses will repeat themselves.
This has been written in Potestas clavium just after the first World War. Like all prophets Shestov was mistaken as to the time of fulfilment of his prophecy. The time lag between the first and the second World War was after all 25 years. The third one is already discernible but the second is now back 50 years.
Mao Tse-tung had a peace imagination of his own:
If the sky would provide me a standpoint
(the point of Archimedes to stand on)
I would draw my sword and
split you (the world) into three peaces:
one as a present for Europe,
one for America
but one I would keep back for China
and peace would rule the world.
One is tempted to add: pax sinensis. To know what this means have a look on the Chinese character for peace.
There is never a drôle de guerre, and if, only for generals and State's people, because always men are slaughtered and crippled, in any case maltreated.
The great wars need grand troop commanders, whose task is not scrutinizing or even considering the aims of and motives for war, but winning battles. For them the task is narrowed to logistics at best.
My best example for this argument is the former US minister of defense, Les Aspin, a man of excellent intelligence and integrity. He did not even conceive an idea or show any sentiment about the consequences of his doing for the persons affected in the States and abroad. From a leader we demand command but not meditation about consequences.
The second World War, unequivocally instigated by the Germans, but seen by the Allied as a punishment action against them all, not only the Nazis, caused the death of 50 million people and additionally 6 million Jews and further millions of different faith, thus the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Whereas the others celebrate anniversaries, the Germans quarrel if they have been liberated or just defeated. Will they ever get it?
The entire calculable loss of people may even amount to 60 million. Most lost the Russians: 8 million soldiers and 16 million civilians, Poland 123 000 and 5,6 million respectively, China 1,3 and 3 million, Japan 1,3 and 1 million. Germany lost 3,5 million soldiers and 700 000 civilians. 75 % of its casualties occured on the eastern front. France lost 123 000 soldiers and 350 000 civilians. The French seem to be a little ashamed about their relatively small share. I should like to praise them. The Japanese, however, are far from having the same pangs of conscience as the Germans, who suffered additionally the expulsion of 12 to 14 million persons from their homes.
War literature is blooming: Weinberg published at Cambridge University Press a weighty tome of 1 187 pages with the title A World of Arms; Calvocoressi, an intelligence officer, even of 1 3 60 pages (Penguin, Total War); Neilland contents himself with 352 pages (The Conquest of the Reich, Weidenfeld & Nicolson + NY University Press). Evidently a subject which finds its readers. That seems to be true even for weighty volumes. The most interesting remark in Gilbert's The Day the War Ended (HarperCollins, 473 pages) is that the Russians wanted their own surrender cermony, and a seperate day of rejoicing. Really, they had the greatest merit.
As to their prisoners of war the Japanese seem to have been worse than the Americans, worse even than the Germans against the Russian prisoners. This may also be learned from their strange enrolling procedure for the inmates of their soldier brothels. Undecided may be left who ate whom when there was no other possibility to survive. All in all "a page on inhuman history" (Economist February 11th, 1995)
The Polish historian Batovszevski gives in his NZZ report of May 8th 1995 some rather unknown details: Polish deads from war and German occupation 2 million, 25 per cent of the priests and as many scientists, 20 per cent of the teachers, the 2,3 million of deplaced Poles and 2,5 million of forced labourers not counted. 200 000 children to be "Germanized" have to be added, of whom 75 000 did not come back home.
The Allied legalized the Polish boundary against Russia: Poland in despite of indemnification with former German territory had shrunk from 389 square kilometers to 312. Batoszewski thinks that the same fate of being expelled will bring Poles and Germans closer to each other.
This would be possible if there were not the "Landsmannschaften", the organizations which care for the memory to the pre-war home of their adherents. Batowzevski backs his hope by the two treaties with the new Germany: confirmation of boundaries und good neighbourhood. This hope will be well founded as long as the German politicians will be able to keep heaven overhead.
US secretary of defence Perry promised to the Poles that they may become members of Nato but he left open the time when this would materialize: "maybe to the end of the decade". Before, the accession conditions have to be stipulated.
The third world war will cost more because of the much heavier mass involved, but not yet much enough as to be a remedy for the explosion of the world population. Even this trump of population politics of those prepared to war will not take.
The Germans after World War 2 understood how to wheel, something which others had done already during the war. That swing subdued them to de-nazification on behest of the Allied but no court action against the war criminals down to military command. This kind of war criminals remained rather unshorn and escaped this peril as soon as the former adversaries thought German soldiers again wanted.
Orwell saw this already. But this fact leaves untouched the moral basis from which the Germans accuse the Japanese and others: even relatively simple-minded television moderators charge the Japanese of war crimes which they really had perpetrated. Because the Japanese - differently from the Germans - are lacking the chance to treat the question as settled by the conviction of a few, and to say that to later prosecutors. After all those Japanese have been careless enough to create a Wirtschaftswunder which for a long time seemed to dwarf the German one!
What they really lacked was the decimation which has obligatorily to follow every defeat. For the conviction of war criminals is nothing else than that: a moralized decimation, the juridical form of that.
Those who have to bear the consequences have to think about. The Americans remember the Vietnam war as the Europeans recall the second World War. None of both has yet finished with. The Vietnam defeat for a long time could be justified in affirming that this was not a war with the small and rather unimportant Vietnam but a war against the world communism incarnated there. It will be a rather interesting lecture what justification will be found after the incarnated communism has broken down. McNamara tried it shortly before dying, but not convincingly, with the domino theory of old.
Conscience always awakes later. Very often much later. So also in the case of Hiroshima. The excuse still is how many American soldiers have been saved, how many soldiers of the own nation could have been spared by that techno-barbarism. It would be much more convincing if the question were: how many human lives, those of the own nation, those of the adversary and those of third nations. The Smithsonian Institution has made a projection and even tried to exhibit the results before the broad US American public. The House of Representatives brought it back into line. No comment.
The citzens of Hamburg have - contrary to most of the other Germans in this question - courage. Their Institute of Social Research dared an exhibition called "War of annihilation - crimes of the Wehrmacht 1941 to 1944".
It is open whether the result, compared with the intentions of the institute, has been satisfactory. Suspicion is nurrished by the fact that the German media are silent about it, with the exception of some marginal remarks. Evidently they see indecency in treating this subject. May even be that they suffer angst.
Those, however, who have seen the exhibition nevertheless might have a bifurcation of thought. One branch will read: the Wehrmacht after all was not thus clean. Fortunately we have now a new army.
The other branch, the rarer one because containing more truth, will read: Circumstances allowing, any army will develop that way. Let us take care, as far as possible, that we do not have one any more, or if against expectation we shall, that this new army may not happen to come in situations similar to those of Wehrmacht - partisan war e. g.. As is showing Chechnya, this is close to impossible.
The comfort women of Asia rebel: the Korean, the Filipinas, the Chinese. The Japanese had only systemized what some other belligerents did individually: germna front officers had ordered young Ukrainian women, who - in contravention of the Den Haag rules for territorial war - had been forcibly recruited for trench digging, to their shelters in order to make love to them with the help of champaign which they had - also illegally - reserved for themselves. Otherwise, the Germans had the same institutions for doing love service to not too exhausted a soldier. But they seemed to pay better, because they could find enough volonteers.
The Japanese parliament cannot find consense over a clear-cut apology against the Japanese adversaries and by-standers in the Pacific war. Maybe they can wholly avoid it and forget about: the victims are withdrawing, some of them after indemnification, the rest out of need for the Japanese.
The wars waged in the meantime have also left their scent mark. There exist 100 million "eternal" or quasi-eternal terrorists: the land mines which even after the end of the hostilities remain where they have been buried for defence. They do their destined work also afterwards, but with the wrong ones: children and farmers. And farmers, these are mostly women and their children.
The Swiss and others are thinking about banning land mines. Such a ban would have some results because large scale production and sale would become less easy. But they will not disappear. They are too "practical", too easily to handle. In Angola, whenever they can, people migrate to the cities. Not because cities would make them free as did medieval European cities, or because they hope and might find work there as today in many places of the world, but only to live on and to beware their limbs. The mines very often cannot be removed, because nobody anymore knows exactly where they lie. It is anyhow too expensive. The available financial means are needed for other purposes by the politicians deemed more stringent.
Even the contents of human memory change with time: very often in the upstart of a rebellion or even war, when it it is still very dangerous, nobody will have to do with. The activists as often are either prisoners or dead. But afterwards, everybody claims the role which he would like to have played in it.
No nation will fall short of the "mental level" which it may have ever reached. The Russians recall more and more the position of strength which they had as USSR: they may be not reasonable, rather stubbern, even brutal as long as others will tolerate it. Not only because they want not only to eradicate but to annihilate the steadfast Chechen people. They even want the West's assent, no, it's approval for more traditional troops and weapons than the CFE treaty admits. They want both as "a defence dispositive for the South flank" of Russia. Chechnya could not yet awaken the West. It does not look probable that the new Russian claim will.
France is more and more dragged, sucked into the Algerian civil war. Maybe it had better believe the general Salan. A cynic might say that the Algerians cannot endure a pax Numidica and are in need of a pax franca.
After wars of any kind worst off are the mutilated veterans, the crippled. Also those from guerilla. In Mozambique's camps there are hundreds of former Renamo followers. What will, what can the country do with them?
Will they become a case for the missionaries? To the new army of the "liberated" country only 10 000 volonteers have enrolled, though 15 000 of each Renamo and Frelimo were deemed necessary. Moreover, people who do understand nothing else than war, viz officers and sergeants. This perhaps is a good omen. Those acquitted from the army got as a leaving present a machete and a capulana, a scarf for their wives. We have still to get ours.
What will be done with the child-soldiers, those minors forced to warfare? Indignation, as somebody may think, will not suffice. More interesting than our outrage is the fact that a healer may acquit the children from their guilt to have killed a man. Those children have had the experience and the honour of Clausewitz' hand to hand fighting.
Should we not better think about how adults can have the same experience, in our times, where long-range weapons can overcome ever greater distances, when our wars by the range of our weapons become remote wars, wars of disconnection and disengagement?
The Vietnmese veterans did not fare better than the Erytrean and all the others: discharged soldiers without a possibility to earn a living. One of them, himself a veteran, lives from the pension of a son killed in the war.
A private veteran organization has started an investment program on the countryside. This is less unusual than one might think, because even the Ministry of Defence is active in business. A Vietcong colonel puts it like that: The spirit of determination in the war must now be used in this life of market economics.
Vietnam would not have come off worse under the French or the Americans than under its own communists. Not even its minerals would have been exploited more. The achievement of discipining the own people seems to be rather doubtful. The immense human performance and the loss of men would have been worth a better goal, if the care which general Giap showed in the liberation war would have applied to economic development.
Instead the leaders relied on the communist ideology, certainly useful for liberation, the Russian experts and Sowjet money. As soon as all this had stopped, the Vietnamese were forced to take mental and material credit from the former mortal enemy.
Even the Swiss have not always been immune against racist extremism and radicalism. After all, 900 of them served in Waffen-SS, 200 of those were killed. Their modern Reisläufer, as the Swiss called those in foreign military service in former times, did not come off better than the German Waffen-SS members. They had been "excluded" (from the society) much earlier.
Swiss Reisläufer were active as far as India, as British military. They faught several battles there. The most important was Srirangapatna. How they could become thus peaceful as they look now?
As if man would not already be sufficiently broken, former epidemies arise again: the bubonic plague in India, malaria in several places. Such epidemies may be multiplied by others not yet known, which may emerge of combinations of those known. The reasons are evident: greater mobility, changes of behaviour and dismantling of rather all tabus in more and more populations.
Microbes in a different invironment may be more active than in the old. The virus of animals herded together exchange virolency. Annihilation of human diseases can only be achieved where there is no animal reservation. Together with the spreading of men animal reservations become rare. A droll thought: The means of self-annihilition grow in proportion to the population explosion. Even by an involontary, a spontaneous contagion diseases may be spread amongst the people paticipating in war.
In 1994 in the centre of the Indian plague epidemy in only five days the number of railway tickets sold had reached that of a whole year. With intact or slightly damaged traffic infrastructure infected people make sure spreading: Surat counted 47 plague deads, the country 1400.
Even a neutral country, a country which may successfully avoid being dragged into other countries's warlike quarrels, will have problems to convince them of its importance for the belligerents. The Swiss were able to offer "good services", all juridical, before and after conflicts: adoption of the function of protection power, mediation, amicable settlement, organizing investigation commissions and arbitration. They have good reasons to be proud of their contribution to the Alabama arbitration procedure or of the role which the Swiss Oliver Long had played in the French withdrawal from Algeria. Prominent as these pre- and post-war activities may be, during the conflicts the Swiss have had some recognizable difficulties.
The president of the Swiss Federation at that time has made a remarkable speech. He made it as head of state and uppermost politician: He believes that Swiss people, who during the war behaved only humanely and not merely as Swiss nationals, of whom some have been even sentenced for what they had done, felt only obliged to "human values" which "later were the basis for international and Swiss asylum law". As a human being and not as a head of state he could have given to his exposition a slightly different tenor: more sceptical. As a statesman he ought at least have recognized and commented on the annexation of the former outlawed by the contemporary state.
A brave man ought to be honoured, because personal courage is so rare. That is true for the Swiss Louis Höfliger who liberated the prisoners and detainees of the Mauthausen camp, as a Swiss Red Cross assistant, a helper. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported extensively the deed, but even this honourable newspaper could not hinder that he was treated shabbily by the institutions of his country. Even courage has its merit, its compensation in itself.
The Swiss have their own war time experience, however, in most cases not dangerous for their lives, but nevertheless deemed worth to be reported. Their wives who, in the meantime, had worked the farms and wrecked their backs, keep rather silent. Anyhow too much posthumous Swiss war cry.
The leaders, the commanders
Sporting and playing games for man are ways of passing his time, at least for the voyeurs among them, who in former times were called "fanatics", which expression shows the danger implicitly contained in sport, otherwise they are but a profession. Sport and game in man develop the capacity to keep rules and - as a team member - to achieve things for which the capacity of an individual is not sufficient.
Just as important but maybe less known and less respected is that sport and game show and make acceptable the pecking order which becomes apparent in any collective of equals, animals or men. In the pecking order those members capable of commanding and those of obeying show up. And perhaps those who keep to themselves.
However, leadership aptitude alone, contrary to the prevailing opinion, does not suffice. Only a disciplined man is able to lead. Discipline is acquired by reasonable external coercion, which is internalized. He who does not possess this kind of discipline does not have the quality to lead, even if he should have absolved many courses.
The most difficult lesson which a diciplined leader must learn is to step back into the rank and to leave the command to another. The big leader is the disciplined lonely. Whenever he can he leads indirectly. He allows the ranks to have a say in things to be done, like the Vietnamese general Giap. He withholds direct order for the indispensable.
Disciplination is indispensable, especially for the future leader. Military education and drill, however, does not leave to the person affected the distinction between training, even mere repression of the individual will, and bullying.
Chatting up his inferiors is the most stupid behaviour a superior can show. Before all he must be fair and a real man. His inferiors must be frank enough to talk of him as of "that above."
What most displeases the former soldier in the pseudo-epic lyrics of Minh's book "The Sorrow of War" is that the Vietnamese seem to have had only executives who acted on behest of a god. This is even true for the following peace: the policemen are acting accordingly. Order to the fighting Vietnamese could not have been a problem: there were never wrong orders. Gods do not order wrongly.
By this reason the Vietnamese never could understand themselves as sacrifice and were not able to see the grandness of one such, even not the most sublime one which the son of man could show, that to die at the cross for others. Might the conception, the motive of sacrifice arise only in connexion with an order felt as such?
For Lawrence of Arabia (The Seven Pillars of Wisdom) uniform is the livery of death. It is the exterior sign that the bearer has sold his will and his body to the state, and committed himself to a service which does not grow impressive by the fact that he serves volontarily. In the perspective of peace he stays below the human level.
The soldier with his deployment undergoes a change: discipline is modified, strengthened or even swallowed by his fighting will. The latter brings victory, morally and often physically.
In deployment, the soldier functions as part of the mass, though equipped with the means of a sophisticated technique which widens the abilities of man. Just these technical aids demand and create the appropriate conditions.
Scientific warfare with the employment of technique sacrifices the possibility of an - individual - masterpiece for a secure and calculable collective achievement. The individual man counts only as a part of the collective, the troup.
Ethically, soldiers as a rule are young citizens of a state who on its order and behest are drilled to kill citizens of another state, those likewise soldiers with the opposite order. Only an intellectual like Tucholsky could call them murderers, who for an appropiate time was in jail for that. But potential killers, in the case of war and insurrection even actual killers, cudgels, they are really. The endeavours of the state, better of public servants in the widest sense, to make their citizens believe that killing on order of a collective, the state, is a wholly different catagory, lacks logic. Even a general might not get past this realization. If he is unable to recognize this fact he must be told.
But in honour of the barrack square slave drivers must be said that drill has an additional scope which Lawrence did not see: the hardening for own wounds and those of others, physical and metaphysical ones.
Leadership may comprise to say no. This often requires more courage than to say yes. The German Stalingrad general ought to have had that kind of courage. In Chechnya a Russian general refused to advance towards Grosny. There also 500 Russian officers are said to have been dismissed "dishonorably" because of refusal to obey orders. They ought to be decorated, if not by the Russians then at least internationally.
Leadership does also mean to get up of the armchair and to be with the ranks in the dirt. The German generals may be proud of the battle of Monte Cassino, even if they fought under the wrong flag: they did not distroy the monestary, they were not even militarily present there. The distroyer was a New Zealander, who wore the German name Freyberg.
The report of the Isaeli military historian Katriel Ben Arie is in favour of the German generals: The allied generals chiefly were studying the maps whereas the Germans were present on the fighting ground. Only he who has been there can imagine what this might have meant for the individual soldier involved. Orders à la carte are often orders out of ignorance or lacking knowledge. There are certainly similar examples, on either side, too. However, they are not so well and so internationally documented.
Military men all over the world are deemed least susceptible of corruption. This might be the reason why they are rather often invited to lead governments, too. Geagea, the commander of the Libanese militia Forces libanaise, seems not to figure amongst those. Millions were in question.
Military service is no more only a task for men. The Swiss grant themselves the achievement that within their army the differnces between the sexes are disappearing. They even believe that the presence of female soldiers will favour mental flexibility instead of drill and preemptory tone. A seduction for women?
No wonder when in our times of bisexuality someone investigates the same-sex unions, nor that he who does it is an Englishman. Less interesting is that similar unions existed long before, but the Victorian moralists did not know another justification of sexual relations than the outcome of heirs and s o l d i e r s, at least one more than the Pope, though we do not know whether in his deliberations the members of the ecclesia militans might play an appropriate role.
Universal conscription, the levée en masse, owns a special problem which Lawrence did not see and perhaps was not able to see: the incompetence of the reserve officers which is worsened by their compensating their deficiency by hardness which very often must and does produce unreasonableness.
To depend on, to be pray of fools or cowards is never and nowhere an enviable position, but in war it is highly dangerous, for the individual fighter and for his comrades on whose dependability he is forced to rely. Charles Darwin (cited according to von der Goltz' Das Volk in Waffen) saw it and expressed it clearly: "The superiority which disciplined soldiers possess over undisciplined masses is a consequence of the trust which everyone has in his comrades." That is exactly the answer which one of the German members of IFOR gave to a journalist on his question.
Formal discipline, subordination is indispensable to a soldier. But formal discipline is a virtue of peace, a sign, a label which stamps a man to what he ought to be: soldier, a man shortened of his humanity.
According to Lawrence the question is not to inform the soldier about the will of the leader, to make clear to him that his own will has to second that of the leader, because this transfer of will produces that break which characterizes the irregular: a break for digestion, for the internalization of a thought which comes from outside, a pause necessary to transform the reluctant will of the individual into active following.
Drill instructors for this reason make obedience to an instinct, to a mere mental reflexion, which follows order thus immediately and swiftly as if the individual willpower would have been absorbed by the kinetic energy of the unit. In case of emergency commanders rely on the hope that the order will descend the whole military hierarchy frictionlessly until the older of two survivers takes it up for execution.
The aforementioned Sicilian writer Sciascia would have been able to think impartially about military obedience if his socialism would not have prevented him to do so. Thus he could not even raise the question why people of the much loved and esteemed masses become the most insupportable public servants, though he comes very close to this thought in the Teruel section of Antimonio.
Sciascia does not deal with abstract war, war as an abstraction, but with fighting and the individual within. This makes him much more profitable as a writer on war than others. An unwilling conscript may draw rules of comportment from his writings. It is surprising why the radiation of his thoughts about the Spanish civil war and the role of the Italians in it was too modest as to influence the Italian soldiers of the second World war.
According to Sciascia, in the Spanish civil war the "conscripted volonteers" were able to rid themselves of some of their officers and "stinking" sergeants during an attack. Italian units in which Sicilians faught in the first World War are said do have lost by that more of those than by the Austrians. They must have had individual courage. There is no reason to doubt American Vietnam reports: there the same observation could be made, though less often.
In the question of killing Sciascia comes close to omertà, the Mafia code of honour: enraged man is capable of killing anyone, being in full possession of one's faculties he can also kill a mean man, because this too is honourable. But according to Sciascia a kind of thinking, usual with foremen in the Sicilian sulphur pits who were paid by both workers a n d owners, was detestable. In war, however, this ambiguity acquired honourability and came close to human dignity. The Spanish civil war rendered the Italian "volonteers" accessible to the case of the communists.
For training new soldiers the fact that even the highest German court did not protest against when rather unreflected than unpatriotic writers and their second rate followers are calling soldiers "murderers". The soldier of today has to understand himself as protector, rescuer and helper. It will prove rather difficult to convince a Chechen that the Russian soldiers are his protectors; not even an impartial Westerner will be able to believe the Russian assertion that the deployment in Chechnya only serves the goal to brace Russia "against the trend of political disintegration". Politicians, however, might, for different reasons.
British courts of justice seem to be more honest: they sentenced several British soldiers doing service in Northern Ireland to jail for life only because they had shot when shooting was not necessary for self-defence, not caring that they might have done it for angst. "Murder as a juridical dilemma" wrote the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on the 14th February 1995. A more suitable headline would have been: "Military as a juridical dilemma". This dilemma might be the reason why the "inviolable" institutions of the sovereign state have been given their own jurisdiction: the military and the administration of the state.
Wars can be won only as far as their goal is seen in the exhaustion which make both sides "peaceable", capable of peace, a state of mind prevailing also at the end of the second World War.
Even with a war won, according to human experience, little is won. This is one of the reasons why man should not engage in war. Most of the war aims, anyway, are formulated afterwards and in retrospect. These are the real war lies.
When, however, wars cannot be won and - what is worse - every war bears the germ of another in itself, for war creates always an "irredenta", a mental situation which calls for revenge - then logic requires the conclusion: war is not the continuation of politics with different means, as Clausewitz postulated, but an inappropriate way to make international policy, a way to be abolished. If this is not possible - which might be awaited considering the human character and the structure of human societies -, the maxim must read: to minimise the consequences of wars, at least reguarding body and life of human beings and animals.
Wars are least won by those who wage them. The second World War proved it: if we do not take fare-dodgers as such the winners were the loosers. Wars are waged, not won. If we cannot prevent wars we must change them structurally.
Armies with hierarchical commanding structures are stiffened by tradition and changeable only as to the armoury, the arms applied in them.
The more flexible kind of warrior, however, does already exist. He has posted himself soundlessly beside the generals of the big wars: the isolated fighter, the man of the "small war", the guerillero, who does not know what to do because somebody has told, has "ordered" him, but by insight. His aim is to spare human lives because everyone has one only. Occasionally and momentarily he slips into the overall of the saboteur.
No second and third generation of Discoverers and Coronas, or however they might be called, and no Sirius will spot him: he is too small a mass.
He is adaptable in an unlimited mood: to derail railway trains may no more be up to date - too little important things are transported by rail - but perhaps to muddle radar screens and all the rest which serves to transfer orders, orders in the widest military sense. For those brave people who try to obstruct transports of ugly things with their bodies he has left only a mild and cynical smile: he foresees the recurrence of times when the bodies of men do not have value and will be flattened. They will not even more be stuck into plastic sacks as the Americans did in Vietnam in order to transport them by helicopter and aircraft back to the States. Instead, they will be thrown into mass graves, not because of piety but for danger of epidemies; in winter they will be stacked to staples like pieces of fire wood until spring when the soil can be dug open again.
La guerre en terre de Maya of Yvon the Bot, ED Karthala, Paris 1992, shows all too obvious, Between two Americas in the Ixil Towns of Guatemala by David Stoll, Columbia University Press, NY, with sufficient clearness that guerilla arises not out of the exuberation of political violence against the civilians, but from pre-existing mobilized social groups.
Even social conflicts do not lead "naturally" to guerilla. Of much assistance can be the "mobilization" of social groups, mobilized by the church e g, and sometimes it has been: the "travel language" of other guerillas has had a much more beseeching effect on the deeply religious Indios of Central America than the class struggle slogans of Marxist revolutionaries; and it were these which made possible the "quantum leap" to armed insurrection.
According to Bot not "revolutionary impulses" induced the Mayas to assist the guerilla, but rather the hopeless situation which the surviving characterize as "between two fires". For the upstart, rebels use to chose "arreared" regions of underdevelopped statal power. The overreaction of this statal violence then pushes the reluctant population into the arms of the rebels.
The Zapatists of Chiapas were not only autochtone mayas but the mass of land-hungry men, who had been expelled somewhere in Mexico by religious and economic reasons (construction of dams for hydroelectric purposes), filled up with catholic padres believing in the theology of liberation, and some urban intellectuals. This mix began to ferment fiercely and broke open the top after the breakdown of the coffee price, for Chiapas has 64 000 coffee growers.
The "processing", the "tuning" of the masses for war is essential. According to the Economist of September 9th, 1994, in former Yugoslavia Tudjman and Milosevic were the first to preach hatred, long before the outbreak of the civil war: another case of the ionisation of big numbers of people, which always precedes war.
The Russian military men had the illusion Chechnya to be a kind of Russian Haiti. They were wholly disillusioned. Maybe the fact that Dudaev, a man of untouched integrity, for nearly twenty years was accustomed to think in the catagories of conventional war and had worked his way up to become a general in the Sowjet army, did not favour the case of the Chechens. It seems to be a wonder that his integrity has not suffered from that.
If from the beginning he had relied on the instinct of his people, on guerilla, what could have been destroyed by the Russians, his former comrades? Even the casualties, despite the greater unreported numbers in guerilla warfare, might not have exceeded a fraction of the actual ones. And the civilians would have suffered much less, likewise the mothers of Russian soldiers as well as the victims of military hostage-taking.
The Chechen high commander Mashadov did learn his lesson from the history of his people: The Russians use aircraft and heavy guns and try to fight on distance: "We try to come close to them in order to prevent them to make use of their heavy weapons". For the Russians the real dilemma of old: a regular army against guerilla. They might not overcome it, for guerilla is war without distance.
To organize guerilla out of a lost conventional war is difficult. Also Ho Chi Ming has had his grave set-backs, but he never did wage conventional war exclusively: he kept the guerilla forces strong. The theorists of traditional war, though outdated, everywhere still have the upper hand.
The problem of the irregular fighter is not so much weapons and ammunition than his legatimacy, his distinction from the terrorist and from the criminal, which the adversary is inclined to stamp him to. He must try eventually to be accepted as combattant.
According to Carl Schmitt, the Theory of the Partisan, Clausewitz was the theorist of guerilla warfare, at least of the national uprising of a whole people against an oppressor; and not of conventional war, as everybody believes. Schmitt deals thoroughly with the legitimacy of the partisan, which has been enlarged again and again and even was favoured with an entry into the Haague Land Warfare Convention. This legitimacy depends on the causa justa, which the guerillero claims. This, however does not mean that he is accepted as justus hostis, because theory still pretends that states only can wage wars. Only states have causas justas.
Even if now some doubts arise. Two assistant professors at the university of Zürich see the classical state prerogative, the right to wage war, not only restricted by international law in the framework of the United Nations, but also really by a great number of constraints. Those, however, who earn their living by making security policy, might stay calm and quiet: the two of the Zürich University will have the same fate as the team of scientific collaborators of Ludwig Erhard who rightly, even acceptably, but nevertheless not acceptedly thought about the modalities of the re-unification of Germany: oblivion.
In Prussia a partisan was a maroder, a franctireur, the irregular fighter a criminal. About that the Germans had controversies with France and Belgium. Nobody was able to understand the German freedom fighters, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and - Clausewitz; nobody even tried to understand them. Only the war of the state with its clear distinctions between war and peace, military and civil, enemy and criminal, is "cared for", is protected.
Even when the unconventional Prussian officers - whose kind survived to the second World war; the more and more forgotten Treskow was one of them - obviously started from the experiences of the Spanish war of succession against Napoleon (reglamento de partidas y cuadrillas) which were used to legitimize the people's insurrection of the Empecionados, were forced - and maybe interested - to accept that the Prussian state took the national uprising as its own, repealing quickly the king's legitimizing edict for partisan warfare.
There was some readiness to see the partisan "cared for" in the Haague Land War Convention if he at least wore an "improvised" uniform, if he had responsible superiors, carried on himself a far visible badge and his weapons openly; if he came as close as ever possible to the civil servant for the scope of bloodshed, the soldier. Thus only he could keep his right to exist under the conditions of irregular warfare. If he lacked them he had to be stripped of the right to be treated as a soldier, a combattant.
All this taken together meant in many cases the exclusion of irregular warfare; this might even have been intended. The irregular was and had to be misunderstood.
This conception remained unchanged and might have been rather strengthened by the at that time new knowledge of the already cited Pascha Goltz, who was busy as German military instructor in Turkey, namely that irregular war could be more dangerous than the regular one. That exactly had been the opinion of Lawrence of Arabia.
The National-Socialists, too, could not make up their minds for the recognition of partisan warfare. However, in 1944 they had passed "Guidelines for Partisan Warfare". But their stipulations were so much pro-statal and in the "Prussian" way correct that even former adversaries took them over for their own.
This is but the juridical viewpoint. In reality and fact the partisan and his closest relative, the guerillero, remain terrorists, criminals, even if they do not have or show any egoistic motives, until the state recognizes them as combattants. Chechnya proves how difficult, how improbable this might be.
Also humanitarian international organizations as the Red Cross need steadfast statal institutions, even the military ones. Where such institutions do not exist, as in Somalia, humanitarian organizations are out of place and withdraw.
The present conflicts have less "structure" than former national and imperialistic wars. International interventions for the restitution of peace or at least readiness to negotiate under an armistice very often usurp the label "humanitarian". Bosnia can be taken as an example. The next one might be Chechnya. The camouflage of help as humanitarian serves the combattants to save face, especially those who represent the power of the central state.
Liberation of partisan warfare from the yoke of the state did achieve only a leader who did not stick to the state, who even wanted to abolish it by lifting all which others took as exclusive state functions to the seemingly higher level of his party: Lenin. He did that, as every impartial bystander would have expected, by incorporating partisan warfare into the communist revolution, in his article "Partisan Fighting", first published in the periodical "The Proletarian".
According to this article the partisans thus incorporated into the revolution are peace fighters and heroes, the anarchic ones but Lumpengesindel, rabble. Only "woina", real war, is worth of the partisan; "igra", game, is not allowed to play a role in what he does. Only he who is capable of absolute hostility against the class enemy, the bougeois, the capitalist, according to Lenin can be partisan.
After all, his success was sweeping, however, not prior to Stalin, when the principle which Carl Schmitt called "telluric", rooted in the soil, joined the revolutionary one: a few thousand partisans tied up 20 German divisions. Long before the Russians, not the Sowjets, had made the same experience in - Chechnya. But obviously they have not learned the lesson.
The man who, from the very beginning, took the telluric principle into his account was still more successful: Mao Tse-tung, with his "Strategy of Partisan Warfare against the Japanese Invasion" (of China).
Reading Carl Schmitts Theory of Partisan Warfare (which, by the way, is not a theory, at least not in the philosophical or epistemological sense) the personality of interest is the French general Salan, chief and maybe founder of OAS, shield-bearer of Charles de Gaulle, who thought to be forced personally to declare civil war to his beloved France when the latter prepared to withdraw from Algeria; the person who, by doing that, fell between two stools, who, however, did not possess the mental freedom at least to try - as Sciascia would have said - farsela da se (do it by himself).
Raoul Salan had understood the message of Ho Chi Minh. But he could not recognize or not live to see that his own assessment in his book Indochine Rouge, namely that the emphasized war successes very often, if not in most cases, are futile, must be valid also for Ho Chi Minh's twofold liberation war. Today we would ask whether a march of the Vietnamese communists through the bourgeois bureauracy would not have kept the sacrifices of this valiant nation a lot smaller even when the people had had to undergo however many purges.
Salan knew well that anti-guerilla-chasing against the flowing and quick behaviour of the guerilla can bring only shortlived success. Dudaev knew as well that freedom has to be fought for and hard won, and is not given as a present; now he will make the experience of the Vietcong that freedom cannot become real as long as a bourgeoisie ready to conciliation does exist.
The third thesis of the Vietnamese communists, that a war of liberation can only be successful when leaned on proletarian revolution, today is obsolete, at least is no more valid in this form. To lean on an ideology which is internationally despised and banned would have a defamatory effect. To lean on real or supposed like-minded movements and states is recommendable as long as it does not mean subjugation. The latter could be the trap in which the Chechens could step if they would lean on the doubly misunderstood Moslem jihad.
Dudaev should have read Giap, too: "We are nothing without the people. Therefore we must shield and assist them." The distinction which Giap makes between "campagnes longues" which rely on quick decision, and the strategy adopted for a long lasting war, with swiftly decided rather isolated battles, the Chechens should have taken to heart. The indispensability of an outstanding morale for irregular warfare which Giap stipulates could have been studied half a century before with Lawrence when he, together with the afterwar king Feisal, "tuned", brought the Bedus in the right mood.
The necessity to arm a guerilla by thrown-away and captured weapons in Vietnam, however, was more urgent than in Arabia. In Vietnam, it was vital to maintain an atmosphere of confidence and friendship within the cadres, by relying on discussion in which the leaders had to participate, without any mental reservation, about all political and military problems whatsoever. The leaders had only to start this "déformation militariste" and then withdraw themselves on the level of equals. In any way the urge of the military and political leaders to speak themselves and alone had to be cut back to a "military democracy": all teach all in order not to lose even the slightest suggestion. This might have been the successful collectivization of the lone fighter, the guerillero.
As in regular war the goal was to beat the enemy, even to annihilate him, at the lowest possible own cost, by preventing him, whenever possible, to follow up his own intentions, and forcing him to accept the least favourable starting position. In all that there is a smell of the Chinese theorist of old Sun Tsu . Che Guevara characterizes strikingly the nimbleness and agility of the guerillero: "The partisan is the Jesuit of warfare".
Like Lawrence Giap sees clearly that guerilla alone cannot bring victory: at last the spiritual form of war, the guerilla, must be transformed into mobile warfare, the guerillero must become a soldier. This most nimble and agile, even most pliable of all fighters has to be given perseverance in his contribution to the struggle, opinâtreté, in the steady contact with the enemy, for by instinct he knows better how to disappear than to chase the enemy.
And the most important of all: he must be taught the military discipline of obedience, which the regulars learn by drill.
For surrounding, encircling the enemy which is essential for his annihilation, the irregular brings with him only speed. But, before the hour arrives when speed is wanted he must be ready and capable to take on again the clothes and to return to the fighting tactics of the guerillero, if need be repeatedly. Giap requests his partisans to do what Lawrence saw as the most difficult, even impossible thing, that is to become a regular when the military situation urges to, and the still more difficult, to return to guerilla if necessary and possible.
Salan recognized the new and specific feature of this kind of warfare so thoroughly, that he felt necessary to advise de Gaulle against giving up Algeria. The present situation there seems to show that he was right, even when there has not yet developped an Islamic guerilla. But Salan as a French general was too much under the misapprehension of the traditional way of thinking of the professional military as to be able to see in the warfare of the Vietnamese that kind of war which may dominate the conflicts of collectives of men for some time.
The Chinese are not and were never better men than we Westerners, even not intellectually, but smarter, more subtle and more cautious. Like us they found the ways to circumvent their morale codices; if more elegantly, I should like to leave open.
Sun Tsu, their Clausewitz, a lot of generations earlier, had stipulated: Be subtle, even go to the limits of the formless. Be infinitely mysterious, even go to the limits of the soundless. Thus you may become the master of the fate of your adversary.- Therefore, the utmost perfection in building an army is to achieve formlessness. When you do not have a form, even the most secret espionage, in modern terms: intelligence service, can find out something and even the highest wisdom will not be able to find a strategy. - Lawrence called that "the secret of the desert war". Giap practised it to the point where even Americans panicked.
Further with Sun Tsu: there are ways which you should not go, armies which you should not attack, fortresses which you should not besiege, and territories for which you should not fight. And there are orders of the civilian government to which you should not obey. If the last phrase would only read "orders, which you should not follow", his advice would have been still more couragious, but he was a general, i.e. a soldier.
Clausewitz was well aware of the importance of irregular war without being in a position to apply it in praxi, namely that some partisans who dominate a territory may be called an army.
The Turkish proceeding against the PKK, in despite of mass emigration off the Alp regions, did up to now not bring any visible achievement, if we are not ready to take bloodshed and impoverishment as such. The active PKK members were only some thousand, but they engaged an army of up to 250 000 men. The Turks should have learned from Lawrence's Arabian campaign. He would have told them that they were eating soup with a knife. Since the times of Pascha Goltz nothing seems to have changed: Turkey still is his own greatest enemy.
Kendal Nezan, Kurdish Institute of Paris, thinks, that the shift of fighting the Kurds from the political field to military confrontation, if anybody, served only the Turkish army: professional military make use of every opportunity to enhance their own status.
The Turkish Kurds as PKK might be rather not sympathetic and surely are undiplomatic in the management of their foreign relations, but two years ago they were active in 14 of the 76 Turkish provinces, today they are in 24. By the emigration of the non-militant rural population to the cities, Istanbul has become the largest city of Kurds. Their will to fight seems unbroken. Even women greet journalists making the victory sign.
On the side of the new states of Eastern Europe bad examples become the accepted thing. The inscrutinable Croat Tudjman, obviously by imitating the troops of the Russian Ministry of the Interior, has created an anti-terror police. It was already present in Slavonia, and maybe in the Kraijna, too: a camouflage of war as "interior matter".
"... the Croats do not purge (in Slavonia) by the sledgehammer method, as did the Serbs before, expelling the non-Serbs by means of murder and rape". They do it the Central European way by arrogance, bullying and the question "why you are still here?" This is reported by a newspaper which pretends to be international.
The still Columbian president Samper - at least in this matter - seems to follow a better advice: he urges "his" guerilla to humanize its warfare. This might be more easily done by a guerilla than by a big regular war machine: less mass has to be moved, the way between will and deed is much shorter.
For guerilla, more than for regular war, success is a must. Because, when it is not as successful as Lawrence's in Arabia, it becomes, it changes to plague: gang war, street robbery, swindle, as the Khmer Rouges practise now in Cambodja. Even that guerilleros, and especially their leaders have to think about.
As we are unable to change man and his most powerful collectives, the states, the conclusion can only be: still more guerillas because they satisfy the longing of man for fighting, but only move small masses and, as a consequence, produce less mutilation than war, because they devastate less territories needed for nurrishing and homing people, and grant the reponsible big powers a substitute for war: regional and worldwide policing.
National sentiments are understandable, as long as they are necessary to win and to maintain freedom. As soon, however, as within nationality a system of domination rises and gets form felt as oppression, it must be taken like foreign rule. Every state is such a foreign rule for its citizens, how democratic it may ever project an image. Basically, nationalism ist but a convenience supported and claimed by those who profit from it.
Civil war is but a variant on irregular war, at least as long as neither of the parties might declare the other party a non-combattant. Where the problem is to achieve national independence, guerilla might pay for it; but where states start to unfold, civil war is the choice.
There are places in the world where the scenario hints already to civil war. The US militia may as well refer to an amendment of the constitution, and they do it even where questionable. It were the militias which, in 1775 at Boston, opened the liberation war against the British. Madison, in 1791, brought in the amendment which stipulates a well regulated militia as necessary for the security of the state. The amenders, however, thought at the militia of the State, for the state is power and not an academy for the development of human virtues, as von der Goltz maintained.
The weapons toting crowds which today refer to the amendment, playing war games are not - may be not yet - the state. When sufficiently substructured racistly and fanatically, even religiously fanatic, they might vise to a second civil war which - according to Sciascia - is the most honest kind of war.
Homo bellum ludens: high noon in Texas. In Fort Wellesby, a capable showman has paved the way: in the historical Freight Pacific House everybody, on fee, is allowed to play Western, shooting small color balls with an airgun. And it is done, with one own's eqipment, risk and even peril! Preferred are bank raid and break-out. Paintball games are wide-spread in the US. They are done everywhere, even war games. Well now, humanity is not yet lost: the world policeman diligently trains himself, so to speak from childhood.
The whole world - and most of all the Americans themselves - are appalled by the Oklahoma attack. But since long US short-wave transmitters are spreading hatred. The authors belong to moderators of the extreme right-wing: George Putnam, Gordon Liddy, Mark Koernke, called Mark of Michigan, William Pierce and the neo-Nazi Ernst Zündel, living in and acting from Canada.
Their customers are relevant organizations: far right-wing anti- government people, "patriots", anti-taxation factionists, radical opponents of abortion, armed citizen militias, in brief militias, racist groups, among them anti-Semites and neo-Nazis.
In the programs transmitted definite instructions might be given how to strangulate a policeman using a nylon rope. Gordon Liddy has been decorated by the National Association of Radio Talk with the Freedom of Speech Reward, though shortly after the Oklahoma attack he had explained how federal officers could be shot dead.
This kind of moderators is conjuring up the vision of a civil war against Jews and Blacks. The anti-Semites are allied with the Institute of Historical Reviews. But the Wiesenthal Center keeps watch. However, historians cannot be "kept under supervision".
As little as dramatists might. The Jews already are rehearsing the second holocaust. With virtual Nazis, of course.- Where? - In New York, where the share of the Jewish population amounts to 1,5 million - and only in the theater.- And how? - With a piece of Bruce Jay Friedman : "Have you spoken to any Jew lately?" The telefones during the performance are switched off - because of the Mars Men effect -, or they are emitting in the meantime fundamental Christian programs.
Even crime assumes paramilitary features. The "gang" arrives at the youth. The bosses only are a little older. The gangs are organized more toutly, like companies into "crews" and "posses", they have financial committees and boards of directors. In 1992 there were 5000 of them with 250 000 members in 79 of the biggest US cities, perhaps more. Ethnographically broken down: Blacks and Hispanics prevale. Their principal source of revenue is drugs. Their brutality increases, even because of the youngsters, who want to be recruited, by fear, or because of the income and more simply because wanting a hold. Moreover, youngsters are less severely punished.
The second reason for the growth of brutality and the number of victims is the availability of modern, automatic guns. All over the world gangs like these are growing in number and volume, everywhere where the traditional institutions, family, school and Church have broken down. The non-integration, the exclusion of the lower classes takes revenge, in the United States and at every place where similar conditions exist.
This is already some kind of civil war, though nobody will grant the gangsters this rather honourable term. Only if their motivation were higher they might be called thus. But when every higher motivation lacks and nihilism is what favours the membership in such criminal organizations, the distance to mercenaries is no more thus big. What might still lack is one of the great motivators, "state" or idiology.
In South Carolina near the Stars and Stripes flag is still flapping that of the Confederates, the flag of the South during the civil war. Why not? This might be the sign for their common ground and the fact that both have finally recognized the impossibilty of a one-sided solution of their differencies.
A distant observer of both guerilla and civil war can only gain the conviction that even the liberation war must be freed from any kind of usurpation, as well of the statal as of the ideological one. The latter is but a continuation of the wars of religion. They all are dead ends. Otherwise, how could it then be possible that irregular war receives its "sense from enemity", as Carl Schmitt established.
War must become again what Clausewitz has seen in it: the continuation of policy with different means, the means of violence when all peaceful approaches have failed, when even no future Mao will be able to find the Archimedean point to stand on in order to bring peace into the world. But it has to remain policy. War must be ripped out of the jaws of the all-devoring statal or ideological Moloch which renders it inhuman, and must again be opened to human kindness, as Lawrence has put it in another context.
The further development
Peace hope is as old as the reasoning of man about peace. Even the elder philospher Emanuel Kant drew up a writing about peace. He thought peace achieved in the community of peoples which he - in his times - thought thus all-comprising and sensible that the breach of right in one place would be felt by all and everywhere. How he was mistaken as to the time!
Peace is a human imagination, a fantasy which lures even philosphers, to say nothing of politicians. In reality, peace is a precarious equilibrium of contending forces, as the King's Peace of the Middle Ages or peace as in a Chinese character which is also in use in Japanese: there is always some, but only some oppression in it, as it was in the Pax Romana and other "paces".
Today we can observe a wave of confessions: Clinton confesses his faults before the Senate, Kohl the guilt of war and holocaust, Villiger that even Switzerland has not been free of errors, but now finally it is; the last is Havel, who admits a Czech share in the responsibility for the Nazi atrocities against Roma and Sinti. What else will thus see daylight? But as reassuring might be seen, that now all is much better, because we have grown better, and none of those ugly things can occur once more!
The plaintive cry about the past and the confessions of the readiness for peace still prevale. But who can assure us believably, that the war cries will not anew resound? Responsible politicians are speaking of "more war", for the time being in Bosnia. But there are also other allarming bodes as well.
Even around Nato policy. Had we not believed to extend Nato to the Baltic states and even to be able to win the Russians to participate in the CSCE! Wrong. He who thinks to have the better morale - the morale accepted by the majority - thinks always, even the deviant ought to recognize that morale.
The military alliance Nato as to its eastward extension has stipulated the devise: "No second Jalta in the East". This reads in other words: All either Nato- or NACC- or PFP-members from Finisterre to Kamchatka. But if, where is then the enemy? Should all those caring minds in their interior think of China? Or shall the whole be only an institute for disciplining the adherents? This would be reasonable.
According to a marginal remark in a report to the Nato Assembly about Nato expansion], membership also means stationing of troops from the member states and storing of nuclear weapons. And in despite of that we are wondering why Yelzin is thus refractory. Because it smells encirclement though it surely is only intended to the protection of the frightened would-be new members.
Plans for Nato extension to the Northeast has already induced Byelo-Russia to stop - at least temporarily - the disarmament of conventional weapons: more security, you security zealots, might bring less of it.
The great advantage of a publication like the Economist is that these people think foreward, even statistically. In 2020 the strength of the Chinese economy will be 140 per cent of the USAmerican. Japan's will then have 40 % of the US size. Continuing the comparison, the next will be India, then Indonesia and then Germany before South Korea, Thailand, France, Taiwan, Bresil, Italy, Russia, the UK and Mexico.
And still the worker's unions of the industrial countries try to ward off increased imports, though they should know that the alternative is capital export, the relative slowing down of the national economy's development by the corresponding diminished capital investment, and the acceleration of growth on the side of the competitors, especially the Asians, by the inflow of capital from the industrial countries. Capital import into the industrial countries has reached anyway the point of culmination already in 1990 and that of the development countries has increased.
When politicians read or hear something like that they sense need of action, especially that for restrictions, since we have advanced rather far on the way to exchange trade privileges against labour market and ecological concessions. Even economically we come closer to a pre-war situation. The question is only which country will first freak out.
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung has left one precious page of its edition of January 1st, 1995 to the "chameleon war" of Mr Bruno Lezzi. This gentleman really has to say something, at least concisely, what others have said in more words. He starts with: "Clausewitz is back" and he understands by this, war as the continuation of policy by other than peaceful means.
In the context he comes back, as was expected, to a "Renaissance of the Military". Ernst Otto Czempiel, even less surprisingly, in an analysis of security policy, says more or less the same, for "security policy" is the only label, under which military policy today can be traded.
This is the very reason why - according to Lezzi - "measures to prevent war" and "disarmament agreements" are in the forefront of all relevant discussions. "Big war" which the strategists would like to treat exclusively, however, remains as a possibility, even if only of an "abstractly theoretic nature". Though the British general Sir John Hackett had already marked out the battle grounds of a third world war. According to the understanding of the military, at least the theorists among them, contemporary people are too much indifferent to the military's sorrow of security.
The German professor of philosophy Otto Marquard calls this indifference "unworldliness", though he as an appointed philosophy professor should have an understanding for the fact that military men do not have anything other to offer than bloodshed, even if this ought to serve only to prevent worse things. Lezzi thinks - modern as he is - this to be but a general virtualization.
As the big wars of the strategists in the near future seem not to come into being, they must concentrate their present endeavours on intervention troops. In order to prevent polarization between intervening countries, troops of different nations must take part which leaves a problem of synchronization. In the field of "stability of security policy" crisis management gets priority.
For deployments other than for "People and Fatherland" the soldiers are in need of a new basis of legitimacy, since the handed down concept of the enemy gets more and more blurred. The Swiss Däniker and the German Naumann for this reason deem necessary formulating new models for the soldier's task, his ethics.
The ballot democracy has the outstanding advantage of evening out differences of opinion by the ballot paper. As long as this functions. When once it does no more, politicians are swiftly ready to find a scapegoat outside. The extreme nationalists will show the way: a new concept of the enemy arises. And exactly that is the way leading to war. The future devils are already looming.
The theorists who believe that the statal forms of violence exist in a "grey zone", like the erstwhile German Freikorps, the irregulars in the Baltic after the first World War, seem to be right. That might have induced the German writer Enzensberger to vent on the "Prospects of a New Civil War". Carl Schmitts "Theory of the Partisan" fits well.
Even the Russians, accustomed to masses, evidently try to dissolve their conventional big military entities into smaller and more flexible units, because in a big army the single soldier even of a democratic state is sentenced to incapability of acting.
For the scope of the intended flexibilization of the troops, also for interior conflicts of the nation no more Foch, the warrier of mass, is the hero, but the French strategists for colonial war, Lyautey and Galliéni. Nobody remembers Lawrence of Arabia, maybe because he was too humane, no professional or only not understood. I hope, this book will earn him more respect.
The security zealots today use the devil painted on the wall, with the scenario, what would have happened when the bomb used for the World Trade Center in Manhattan would have been a nuclear one, even if only one which would have spread fissile material far enough. To this fearful deliberation they attach their regret that in Europe, with its increasing crisis-susceptibility, does not exist sufficient conscience of the danger, but, before all, none for the "measures" they suggest. This, too, could lead to war.
The role of the historians and of their kin
The historians are the digestive system of the nation. They start their activity already in the latter's embryonic stage. They single out what does not suit to the individual and like bees enrich the usable material by their own juices. They are experts in heraldry and create symbols for the national spirit to grasp at: Flags, state emblems, monuments, names of towns, places and streets, hymns suitable for national ceremonies, memorial holidays. Ever when one of those fades away or risks to be forgotten, its resuscitation is always an achievement of one or more of the masters of this noble guild, the more when before the historian's digging there had been nothing. For also re-dedication plays a role.
Historians understand how to transform pseudo-national phenomena into national values. They are able to create and to give birth to Max Weber's "bundle of national patterns of value", with which the citizens of any state are decorated. They concoct panegyrics of the state as have done their ancesters in the ancient world. Critics of the state you will find seldom amongst them; Tocqueville also in this reguard was exceptional; Prince Kropotkin is forgotten. Never they are enemies of the state because they depend on it.
A picture which they like very much is "the common destiny shared", very often in modern times forced upon the citizens by the very state. Since long historians are bestalled by the state, as well as their handymen, the schoolmasters who - by order of the state - have to impart the outcome of the historians' work to the following generations. We might be fortunate about their occasional disagreements, which give us the liberty to think ourselves.
The explorer of nationalism Ernest Gellner in Thought and Change as well as in Nations and Nationalism goes back to the origins of nations. As the principal features of the modern state and its nationals he recognizes "ethno-cultural homogenity, sufficient territory, a standardized education system and an efficient state apparatus". The "group type" is modeled by the group structure and role patterns, both characterized by status positions and symbols.
The other relatives of the historians are the media. Reasons of productivity demand an efficient communication system within such a creation, a "culture of communication": all citizens fed out of the same information trough. The thus emerging new culture is that of the masses and becomes the motivating force of nationalism and the object of collective identity; the whole is then called "unit of loyalty". Those animals grazing on the wide meadow of the world are considered to be potential disloyals.
Nancy Partner, in the Philosophy of History of Ankersmit and Kellner, shows that nearly-news, half-facts and "docudramas" which might be used in building up nationalism are not thus new: The Greeks, the Romans and the Middle Ages knew them all, almost in a post-modern way. The historians are not all followers of the sober Leopold von Ranke who deemed reportable only what really had happened.
Placed under the obligation of truth they do not shrink back from the defamation of historical personalities. A German historian sees in the first Bundeskanzler Konrad Adenauer a "Rhineland separatist". One may be eager to learn who else of the German post-war politicians will have to expect similar treatment.
Really, they are bold, the historians, especially when attacking their equals. But promptly a mediator is at hand, as with the ravens. The quarrel between the German historians for Mr Müller-Funk is "as well the result of the new moral situation as is the new uninhibitedness in the dealings with the Jewish inheritance...". His "monumental memory" will make it easier to the Germans when internalizing and mourning the murder of the Jews, because it will "provide another perspective". It is really this new understanding of history - after the unconditional surrender we did not have left one - which explains the perverse behaviour of the Eastern Germans when they are annoyed by the fact that the West Germans are unable to understand their latest history.
It goes without saying that the protagonists of global history, the "central leaders", can have a quarrel among historians of their own: thus the United States about Hiroshima. The question there is whether and how far things which could nerve the American public shall be allowed for an exhibition. It looks like the beginning of a process of coming to terms with the past in the most rightious of all countries. In Germany the new generation of historians (Mr Nolte is one of them) meanwhile works into the direction of those Americans who deny the holocaust and who now try to enter their message into the auditories of US univerities.
Compared to those people the Russian ex-general turned historian, Volkogonov, seems to be rather harmless: He has just finished "adjusting" Lenin, Stalin and Trotzki and is now working on Bucharin.
Exceptionally, historians might also furnish deeper insight into the genesis of today's plagues: So Sciascia into the Mafia in La Corda Pazza. Not even the official Italians do know.
In times of real or imagined danger historians are also due to deliver the concepts of an enemy: globally of course in our times of globalization and - in order to underline the lawfulness and regularity - in terms of mathematics, more precisely geometrically. This does Mr Stürmer when comparing the situation in the Near Orient with the cold war. To him the latter was symmetrical, whereas the Middle Eastern, the Israeli one is asymmetrical and characterized by dissonances. He has predecessors: Already Thomas Kuhn had seen "breaks in the tectonics of the European history", some of them certainly brought in by historians.
These people are thinking in "global terms". According to them Western Europe is situated between an eastern and a western arc of crisis. Eastwards of Oder and Neisse (German rivers making up the border towards Poland) are existing alarming conditions of poverty and weakness. In this double arc of crisis might, even will arise dangers which have nothing in common with the former Soviet threat, and regrettably nothing with the means of containment(!), of deterrence (!) and of détente. This could be the speach of militarists, but it is the writing of the German historian Stürmer (Neue Zürcher Zeitung July, 4th, 1995)
Mr Georg Koehler meanwhile teaches us a lesson about the second World War. This, namely, is the point of intersection of the big warlike conflicts which have their "field of origins" in the 19th century and have now become the forces and tendencies which will agitate our continent far into the 2nd millennium. Mr Koehler will be surprised when he lives long enough. But he may remain reassured: men forget more quickly than historians use to think.
Mr Stürmer, in view of the historical date of May 8th, has "mixed feelings". No wonder: he is unable to find a beginning of that - according of his opinion - biggest catastrophy, only an end: the unconditional surrender of the Germans. He, too, might wonder: there will be no end, if need be a transition. Might he not miss his connection!
No wonder that Habermas is worried about the German republic. He rather strangely calls it the Berlin Republic. He paints the return of the myth of a German "common destiny society" onto the walls wiped clean by the historians during their quarrel, citing the cryptical Adorno: conscience never can carry as much undoing as does unconsciousness. And Habermas regrets that in 1945 there had not taken place the exchange of elites, necessary in every revolution.
Scenario of the future
The prognosis is dim, even for the Swiss secretary of state Kellenberger: "We want the wealth of nations, but in parts of the world poverty is rising. We want collective security. But we are unable to avoid a growing number of regional conflicts. We want good governance and are experiencing political instability. Worldwide we register loss of confidence in the political elites."
Kind and shape of wars, their course, protagonists, goals and dimensions are changing. They become more guerilla-like: citizen against citizen of different religion, ethnicity or only political conviction, less reclaiming and winning of territories, more maintenance of the status quo, more "freedom" for the minorities, etc. With the change of contents and course of wars also the tasks of military institutions are changing
The media are full of the military slang; they speak of "military solutions", not realizing that a real solution is seldom military-made. Not only managers and management consultants use the military language. Clerics do it as well in front of the masses of people to administer, especially at Church congresses and visits of the Pope.
The 1995 conference of the Bundeswehr academy for security policy saw two tasks for the security troops: the eastward extension of the EU - with German intensity - and the participation in international policing activities.
The first one could, if the other members would not like to do it as swiftly as the Germans want, lead to a certain re-nationalization of the German foreign policy. The second might prove rather dangerous for the Germans, for policemen are seldom anywhere much loved, especially not those who have once been members of an army of occupation.
The armies are adapted to their new responsibilities. Their main task is no more only exterior but increasingly interior security. Even the Swiss army shall, within "Armee 95", be active in supporting political goals by means of "security creating deployments in favour of the civil administration": protection of key objects necessary for the frictionless functioning of the administration and the provision of the country, taking into account how crises- and catastrophy-prone modern civilisations are. The civil administration has to pay for this kind of civil deployment of the army.
Refunding might not be necessary in the case of civil-war-like clashes between ethnic groups on bad terms with each other. The drill will correspond to the task: hard hand-to-hand fighting, with limbs and weapons.
Likewise interesting as the new military policy of Switzerland is the responsibility of the South African intelligence service: to warn the state responsibles of risks and dangers, "to identify competitors in the political, technological, scientific and economic field and to shed light upon the weaknesses and mistakes of the government itself". If things like these would become the tasks of intelligence and secret services everywhere the citizen would be less free. Even real kings are not wholly secure from their activity.
But thank God: preventive wars have been changed into pre-emptive diplomacy, says Mr van den Stoel, the general secretary of OSCE. However, the dilemma of international organisations is still obvious: big financiers have to say too little and are, therefore, paying sluggishly.
Also the augmenting jurification of war will have a problem: the same as had the Frankonian country folks eager to see hung the famous robber Schinderhannnes at Nuremberg: They will only hang him whom they got. And the courts in Den Haag and Geneva cannot do even that when war criminals have been captured and sentenced. Are they practising virtual justice?
In Germany another problem subsides: soldiers and especially their commanders are sensible to the use of an expression of the former German writer Tucholsky according to which they might be called murderers, which some people deem to be justified by the new German moral rigidity. The German supreme court has twice seen the necessity to forbid it.
Nato has its specific problem in Bosnia: Dayton has shown the way to peace. But the country is not yet placated. How long the Nato will have to stay there, IFOR's task ending in winter 1996?
The long feared conflict in the Western part of the Pacific has been close to outbreak into war between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan, where an ever growing part of the population wants independence from mainland China.
There is still not peace but only armistice between the two Koreas; and South Korea has a centuries old resentment of Japan. The Near Orient is placated but not yet peaceful. And Latin America? Africa?
A third World War would radically change all in comparison to the second: no deadly sick Roosevelt, with the American dream in mind, will negotiate with a Stalin-like - tacitly leading - contracting party; no Churchill will smile complacently. Who will be the unequal partners of the negotiations? Will there be a new order of the world, politically and economically? Will the neo-dirigistes have a chance?
It seems to be sure that history will not have ended and will not end as long as man lives on earth. So might wars. To a certain degree it depends on us, the now living, which and how will be those to come.
Inspite of all this a Third World war is far away - in distance, and hope so in time, too - but still not impossible. General Hackett, who knew conventional war from above had reasons to favour nuclear war. I know conventional war from below, from the grasroots up, and plead for guerilla.
Just in time Kevin McAleer has written and published a book about duelling. The most startling outcome of it is that duelling became a custom by and with the officers of the Prussian Army, idle after the 1870 war. This is true also for the pertaining code of honour. Should we not try to diminish the number and ferocity of wars by giving a code of honour à la Prusse to all the militaries of the world? Or was deciding wars by single combats of the leaders only possible in the sagas and legends?
It might look like cynicism to wish the Kuwaitis that Saddam's army might again come over them, but we, the West, are held back by knowing that we would be involved. 88 % of the Kuwaiti infantry consist of Bidun, otherwise known as Bedu, people without Kuwaiti citizenship and thus mercenaries; brave and valiant people who would make good soldiers if rightly lead and fighting for their home. Might the fate of the Sybarites come over the Kuwaitis. They are not worth the death of one only leatherneck.
One might reproach me to preach defeatism, refusal to do military service, even desertion. I do not, but I do not deny that these might be the consequences of the lecture of my book. I take them as granted: for the sake of humanity, especially the female half of it, the mothers.
Anyway no big damage. The opinion, the experience and the knowledge of those who fought the last war close to the grasroots do not have value any more. The German defence minister Volker Rühe has excluded them in his speech at the 40th anniversary of the Bundeswehr, because they had had the wrong enemy and fought the wrong war.
Did he not think about that he is thus branding us killers, not soldiers, in the service of a "criminal government". Does he really believe to be able - using today's legitimacy - to prevent that his soldiers will once be set "off limits" as we have been.
We understand well. Our exclusion serves the scope to be able to give people "a new reason". We experienced soldiers call that "starting seduction again and anew".
But we excluded, those off limits, tell you and your successors: You, too,
will have the wrong enemy and will wage the wrong wars. Not because there are
men worse than others, but because war is bad. And all those who will take part
in your wars will, when surviving, eventually ask the same question for reason
which the protagonist of the American Vietnam film "Platoon" has put before
Copyright 1995, 96 by Hermann Friedrich Honold