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Triumphal arches, parades, panem et circenses.. and now it's starting to affect things that really matter.

Commemorations of historic military events could put current force at risk, internal documents say
By Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News January 10, 2014

OTTAWA — The federal Conservative government’s plan to commemorate a large number of military battles and accomplishments in the coming years poses a threat to the Canadian Force’s ability to do its job, according to internal Defence Department documents.

The Conservative government has come under fire in the past for emphasizing Canada’s military past at the expense of other social, technological and cultural achievements.

But this is the first time anyone has indicated that celebrating Canada’s past military contributions could actually undermine the Canadian Forces today, which opens a whole new avenue of questioning for the government.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced this week that the government will be holding cross-country consultations in advance of celebrations over the next four years to mark a large number “defining moments” in Canada’s history.

While these moments will include some non-military milestones such as Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, the majority will center on the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Second World War’s 75th anniversary.
Read more... )

I really have to question commemoration of some of these events. Fenian Raids, Second Ypres, The Somme, the Halifax Explosion, Hong Kong, these were comical non-events (well, just the Fenian Raids) or Canadian disasters. And again, why observe the beginnings of wars?
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You may have heard, or not, that the Canadian Museum of Cvilization, once known as the Museum of Man, will be renamed, repurposed and cleaned out and moved into a new building in time for Canada Day 2017.

It will be renamed the Museum of Canadian History (NTS: check name later, the Net is acting up and I can't have mopre than one fershlugginer window open at a time) and will shift its focus to, well let's say more national topics, including highlighting Canada's military history and our relation with the British monarchy.

LAWRENCE MARTIN (yes, that's how he writes it) weighs in on this in today's Globe and Mail:

***

Don’t curate the peacemaking out of Canadian history
LAWRENCE MARTIN

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012, 2:00 AM EDT

In keeping with their wish to refashion the national consciousness, our arch-conservatives have an eye on museums.

As reported in this newspaper, changes will see the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the largest museum in the land, become a history museum with an emphasis on showcasing our great deeds.

Other museums, according to the report, will be asked to do more to reflect past glories. It’s expected there will be an emphasis on the military and conflicts, such as the War of 1812. In keeping with this, the government has announced it is renaming buildings in Ottawa in honour of 1812 veterans. The monarchy will be given a greater place in museums, as will our sporting heritage, particularly hockey. At hockey games, we’re now expected to stand and cheer thunderously when military personnel are introduced, as though it’s the 1940s.

The retooling of museums – the Museum of Civilization, anthropologically dreary, does need a facelift – may well be a commendable exercise. There’s nothing wrong with making our past as storied as possible, especially given the historical vacuum in which large segments of the population reside.

But given the Conservatives’ proclivities, as reflected in their confrontational foreign policy and their affinity for old wars, there’s concern that they won’t get it right, that a lot of our history will go missing.

As fine an idea as it is to celebrate our armed forces and wartime contributions, what about our opposite inclinations? Our postwar history, before the arrival of the Harper government, is predominantly a story about Canada as peacemaker, bridger of differences, conciliator. We were never a bellicose, aggressor nation, not before this period either, and we should never be portrayed as one.

In Ottawa, we already have a big spanking new war museum. To go along with it, far be it from anyone to suggest we have something like a museum of peace. But if we did, we could fill it with some praiseworthy stuff.

For the half-century in question, we could start with the exemplary work of Lester Pearson, who, having urged restraint in Korea, was the key player in bringing about a close to the perilous Suez crisis. We could showcase his government’s opposition to the Vietnam War, particularly the Temple University speech calling on Lyndon Johnson to halt the bombing.

It’s curious that the Tories are naming an icebreaker after John Diefenbaker. Far from being a militarist, Mr. Diefenbaker, who had a peacenik foreign minister in Howard Green, went about opposing (though in a foolhardy manner) the stationing of nuclear warheads on Canadian soil and challenging John Kennedy’s adventurism at every turn.

Then came Pierre Trudeau. He pushed to slow the arms race, made an opening to China, got far too cozy with Fidel Castro and staged a world peace mission in the early 1980s. His efforts to get the superpowers to the bargaining table were ridiculed by some. But Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev eventually got around to the kind of consultation and co-operation Mr. Trudeau had advocated.

Under Brian Mulroney and his effective foreign minister, Joe Clark, came a strong stand against apartheid and American intervention in Nicaragua. Through these decades, Ottawa pressed for multilateralism and disarmament, the prominent role played by the Chrétien government in the international treaty banning land mines being just one example.

Our current Prime Minister, given his initial enthusiasm for a coalition of the willing, won’t wish to see much museum space devoted to Jean Chrétien’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq. But we were on the right side of history there, as was the case with Vietnam.

We did fight in some conflicts, and admirably. Not all our efforts at peace-brokering can be said to have been well-advised. But there’s a lot of proud history in that half-century of restraint. Our museums and other accountings of the Canadian record should reflect it.

***

The thing that really upsets me about all this is the continual editiing, revising, and altering of our history, really rather blatantly when you think about it, in the service of a very particular mindset.

I suppose more people would be upset about this if they knew what was being changed, de-emphasized or just cut out, but they don't.

And now, like as not, they won't.
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Tories plan War of 1812 monument on Parliament Hill
STEVEN CHASE

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Sep. 11 2012, 3:53 PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Sep. 12 2012, 11:03 AM EDT

The Liberal prime minister who famously declared the 20th century would belong to Canada will soon be sharing a corner of Parliament Hill with a new Conservative government monument to the 19th century.

As part of a nearly $30-million spending binge to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the Tories are erecting a memorial to the long-ago conflict that pitted the United States against what would later become Canada.

In a call for bids to design the monument released Tuesday, Ottawa unveiled plans to situate it just metres from a statue of Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh prime minister.

The 1812 edifice should dwarf the Liberal politician’s likeness, judging from sketches unveiled by the federal government. The selected site measures about 50 square metres.
Read more... )
This is amazing.
Over 3/4 of a million dollars for a monument, as part of a $30 million bill to commemorate a half-hearted clusterf**k of a border skirmish that achieved pretty much nothing?
The historical revisionism and skewed priorities on display here are breathtaking.

I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of the designs the committee will entertain will be in the form of a triumphal arch.
Large, in-your-face and kitschy: Fascist aesthetics.
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Some sobering thoughts in print, echoing what I have been thinking for some time now.

"Who controls the present controls the past;
Who controls the past controls the future."

- George Orwell, 1984

Making Canada's past a slave to power
JEFFREY SIMPSON
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 04, 2012 2:00AM EDT

Citizens can be almost certain that, when governments use public money to write history, the result will be a deformed version of the past. So it has proved to be with the Harper government, with more rewriting to come.

The Conservatives display two-facedness in the telling of history, systematically reducing the role of the informed and the neutral in explaining the country to Canadians, while enhancing the capacity of the government to cherry-pick what it chooses to highlight.

In the last budget, for example, funding was reduced for Library and Archives Canada, the CBC, Telefilm Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Parks Canada by a government that had already scrapped plans for a National Portrait Gallery. (The government also is eliminating support for scholars in other countries who study Canada.)

The government spared the National Gallery, the national museums in Ottawa and the Canada Council, but the net effect on the ability to explain history in an unfiltered way through people and projects funded by public institutions was reduced by the cuts.

By contrast, the government found money in a “restraint” budget for projects that will allow it to highlight those scattered and fading (or faded) remnants of our history that suit the government’s political agenda: recreations of the War of 1812 (a political civil war on each side and a cross-border military conflict), medals commemorating the Queen, and yet another royal visit, this one offering Canadians (or at least the handful of them who will care) the emotional surge of seeing their future king and queen: Charles and Camilla.

For the Harper Conservatives, there’s no sense of contributing to a new or evolved sense of Canadian identity, but rather a reaching back and dusting off of fragments of the past that suit their politics – which is why the military and the monarchy are their favoured subjects for historical attention.

There’s also the enigmatic legend of John Diefenbaker, the Progressive Conservative prime minister from 1957 to 1963. In reaching back for Mr. Diefenbaker, Canadian Conservatives are contorting themselves as U.S. Republicans do.

For them, the two Bush presidencies have been airbrushed from public incantations of Republican history. Instead, Ronald Reagan has been placed atop the pedestal of Republican adulation, his missteps resolutely forgotten, his triumphs retold, his rhetoric repeated, his ideology extolled, even if that ideology was frequently at variance with his deeds.

Mr. Diefenbaker was a weak prime minister, or at least that’s what Canadians came to believe after seeing him in office for a while. They handed him the largest majority then recorded in Canada in the 1958 election. Halfway through its mandate, his government was tearing itself apart, and Mr. Diefenbaker was flailing and failing.

By 1962, with the cabinet in revolt, his party was reduced to a minority. A year later, Canadians booted him and the Progressive Conservatives from office. It took four excruciating years to drag Mr. Diefenbaker from the party leadership.

Historian Denis Smith, who has written by far the best biography of the PC leader, Rogue Tory, said Mr. Diefenbaker lived a life of “turmoil, rebuff, failure, disappointment, and bitterness more than of triumph and satisfaction.”

Mr. Diefenbaker’s time in office was judged by a majority of his countrymen at the time, and by almost all historians, as largely a failure offset by a few triumphs. But by carefully selecting episodes from his life and certain of his successes, his admirers managed to construct a modest legend around Dief the Chief, a legend that does a disservice to historical fact but offers a fillip of inspiration to those who idealize his memory.

The legend leads the Conservatives to slap the Chief’s name on ships, buildings and other bits of contemporary Canada, a response, one presumes, to all those Liberal names across the country.

History is never written in stone; it’s always being checked and rechecked, written and rewritten. Arguments about the past never cease, and it’s intellectually worthwhile for such arguments to be made by those who learn history and/or write it, often with the support of the very institutions the government’s now cutting.

When governments take up the pen, fill it with the ink of public money, and start rewriting the past, political agendas chase the search for historical understanding.
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From today's Glib & Stale:

Spain grants citizenship to Canadian veteran of the Spanish Civil War
adrian morrow
AURORA, ONT.— From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 8:02PM EST
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 8:19PM EST

On a spring day in the hills near Valencia, Jules Paivio stood before a firing squad.

The young Canadian was a long way from home, the woods of Northern Ontario, but he was ready to meet death. He had known when he volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War, in the fall of 1936, that he probably wouldn’t return alive.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, Mr. Paivio and several fellow prisoners raised their fists in a show of defiance. But a sudden stroke of luck saved his life. In fact, Mr. Paivio came out of the war unscathed. Today, he is the last surviving Canadian brigadista – one of the men and women who came from around the world to defend Spain’s fledgling republic from the fascism of General Francisco Franco.

Read more... )

On Remembrance Day last year, after the main ceremony I took Aki to the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion memorial near the Legislature. This was put up in 2000, the second one in the country.

In my reading about the Mac-Paps, I noted how many of them were of Finnish extraction, and how many came from British Columbia.

Anyway, after this last honour for the last Canadian brigadista, bestowed by a foreign government at that, I wouldn't look for much more recognition or remembrance from our own.
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I wonder if they specifically waited for the 70th anniversary of the battle to apologize.

***
Canada accepts Japan's apology for Hong Kong POWs

CBC News Posted: Dec 8, 2011 6:04 AM ET

Canada has accepted the Japanese government's apology for the treatment of prisoners held during the Second World War for five years after the Battle of Hong Kong.

An official statement of regret was delivered in Tokyo on Thursday by Toshiyuki Kato, the Japanese parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs.

Four veterans of the defence of Hong Kong visit Japan to receive that country's official apology Thursday. They are, from left, Gerry Gerrard, Ken Pifher, Derrill Henderson of the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association, and Veteran George Peterson (seated). With them is Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney (second from left). SubmittedVeterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney and a delegation from the Canadian Veterans of the Battle of Hong Kong travelled to Japan for the apology and a ceremony on Thursday.

"This important gesture is a crucial step in ongoing reconciliation and a significant milestone in the lives of all prisoners of war," Blaney said in a release. "It acknowledges their suffering while honouring their sacrifices and courage."

More than 50 per cent of the Canadians sent to defend Hong Kong, then a British colony, against the Japanese invasion during the Second World War died, either during the 17½-day battle or during the years of imprisonment, hard labour and deprivation that followed.

"The terrible pain and heavy burden of the Second World War have given way to a mutually beneficial, respectful relationship between Canada and Japan as mature democracies — a legacy of all who served in the Pacific campaigns," Baird said in a statement.

"Today's apology will help in healing as our two great countries move forward."

The allies' battle to defend Hong Kong ended on Christmas Day in 1941, and the survivors were imprisoned either until their death or the end of the war. They were imprisoned in Hong Kong until early 1943, and then in Japan until liberation in September 1945.

Of the 1,975 Canadians who went to Hong Kong, more than 1,050 were either killed or wounded, says Canadians in Hong Kong, a booklet published by Veterans Affairs Canada.

The delegation to Tokyo this week also visited the graves of Canadian soldiers at the British Commonwealth Cemetery at Yokohama.

***

Busy Times

Feb. 21st, 2011 04:27 pm
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Busy times indeed. What's been going on...

Read more... )
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A couple of weeks ago issue #8 of World at War magazine, featuring a leading article and full-size wargame on the subject by Yours Truly, hit the stands. Yes, you probably missed it because the mag has a circulation of only about 7,000, but it was nice to see some of my game work hit the relative big time.

https://www.strategyandtacticspress.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=64

And you know, it wasn't long after the magazine came out that I got an e-mail from the publisher, passing on an e-mail he had received from a person billing himself as a visiting professor in Spanish studies at Indiana University. He had found the magazine at a Barnes & Noble and had written in to correct me on where he thought I was wrong, on separatist movements in the autonomous regions of Spain, and suggesting I refer to the works of Stanley Payne and Pio Moa, a Spanish writer. They were fairly minor points but Stanley Payne (who I did not use) has defended the work of Pío Moa, a controversial writer who is viewed by many academics as a pseudo-historian, revisionist writer and apologist for Franco. It's obvious that the war is not over yet!

I've been writing articles for this magazine's sister publication Strategy & Tactics for 16 years, and I have to say this is only the second time anyone has commented to me on the content of the article - and the first time it was to complain about a misdrawn provincial border on a map of 1848 Germany that I never even saw until it appeared in the magazine!

One of the best references I did use in writing the article was Anthony Beevor's relatively recent book The Battle for Spain. I found an interesting review of it online (from The Independent, published: 21 May 2006), not least for his comments on Kids Today:

Antony Beevor: On the joys of history

The Left isn't going to like Antony Beevor's book on the Spanish Civil War, but he's used to controversy - his account of the fall of Berlin elicited heated protests from the Russian ambassador. Danuta Kean talks to him about the joys of digging in the archives, his despair about history students today and his brush with Jackie Onassis

Antony Beevor is horrified, but, for once, it is not accounts of rape, torture or political betrayal uncovered in the archives of Berlin and Moscow that exercise the author of Stalingrad. What angers him is the state of British education, especially the teaching of history. "Britain is the only country in Europe, with the exception of Albania and Iceland, where history is no longer compulsory after the age of 14." His words are rapid as machine gunfire. "There is an extraordinary conviction, which has come partly from teacher training colleges, that history is elitist and reactionary and not worthy."

Read more... )
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An interesting interview with Margaret MacMillan, author of the abovementioned book (and Paris 1919, somethign I have to get around to reading one day):
http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/macmillan.html

Two final questions in the interview, to connect with t'otherday's post about the history writing prize:

Q: Do you think there is more interest in history now from the public and publishers?

A: Science was big with publishers several years ago; now, it’s history. History can be fun and it has great stories. I think also there’s a growing interest in ourselves. People want to know their ancestors. The boom in genealogy is extraordinary. I think it is partly just interest in where we come from, but maybe it also appeals because it all seemed simpler back then. The world has become really complicated since the end of the cold war.

Q: In The Uses and Abuses of History, you talk about professionals abandoning history writing and leaving it to amateurs. How can you tell good history writing from bad?

A: I think good history asks good questions, looks at the evidence. If there’s an awkward thing, it doesn’t gloss it over. So if you’re writing a history of Winston Churchill, you don’t say he was always right. That seems to be bad history. Good history is grounded and confronts awkward issues. It’s not been easy, but French historians have confronted the role of French collaborators in the Second World War. That’s good history.

***

I'm feeling worse today and my back is killing me. Also, a big chunk broke off one of my teeth. Fortunately, I can get it looked at (but not fixed) today, but there's little else worse than going to the dentist when you have a cold. Okay, there's a lot worse things but that doesn't make me feel any better. Wah, so there.
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Former Montrealer sets up $75,000 prize for history writing
Last Updated: Friday, April 18, 2008 | 10:12 AM ET

A former Montrealer has established a lucrative new literary honour designed to shine a light on the genre of non-fiction history writing.

London-based investment manager Peter Cundill, a graduate of McGill University, has unveiled the $75,000 US Cundill International Prize in History.
Read more... )

About bloody time!
I haven't read any new good fiction in years, except maybe William Gibson. Yet non-fiction writing continues to improve. Most new books I buy these days are non-fiction, usually history.
But I acknowledge I am in the minority.
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Thus starting The Hundred Days.

Edmund Fillingham King's book Ten Thousand Wonderful Things (1853) collected a sampling of French newspaper remarks as Napoleon approached Paris during March:

9th - The Cannibal has escaped from his den.
10th - The Corsican Ogre has just landed at Cape Juan.
12th - The monster has passed the night at Grenoble.
13th - The tyrant has crossed Lyons.
14th - The usurper is directing his course towards Dijon, but the brave and loyal Burgundians surround him on all sides.
18th - Bonaparte is sixty leagues from the capital; he has had skill enough to escape from the hands of his pursuers.
19th - Bonaparte advances rapidly, but he will never enter Paris.
21st - His Imperial and Royal Majesty last evening made his entrance into the Palace of the Tuileries, amidst the joyous acclamations of an adoring and faithful people.

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An interesting bit from CBC, for once:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/iraq/military-contractors.html

In Depth
Iraq
Private military contractors subject to rule of law
Second World War gonzoku provide precedent

Last Updated Oct. 15, 2007
Robin Rowland CBC News

Read more... )

The article highlights Korean and Taiwanese civilian contractor/ collaborators: I wonder about the numbers for mainland Chinese - there were over 1.1 million "puppet troops" who collaborated with Japan during the 1937-45 occupation.

Parallels

Mar. 22nd, 2007 03:32 pm
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This was inspired by something [livejournal.com profile] jackbabalon23 posted about civilian boredom with the Iraq War (though not by his solution of drafting second-tier celebrities to go fight over there).

I keep resisting drawing parallels between Iraq and other American wars - each one provides only a partial analog.

To World War II:

like:
- America drawn into the conflict by a sneak attack (Pearl Harbour, 9/11).
- Stupendous initial public reaction and within 1 1/2 years is engaged in major ground conflict (5/43, 3/03).

unlike:
- US actually declared state of war with one or more nation states.
- Isolationist lobby crushed by massive and enduring popular support for the war in 1942; today many Americans are more xenophobic and isolationist than ever.
- World War II had an end - American involvement in the war clocked in at 3 years, 6 months. Four years and counting in Iraq.
- No rationing; in fact, civilians are encouraged to go shopping by the CinC.
- Germany and Japan bombed flat in war but rise again with moderate American help (the Marshall Plan). Halliburton hasn't helped anyone but the Vice President.

to the Korean War:

like:
- No declaration of war with one or more nation states.
- America was drawn in by its self-appointed "global policeman" role; got stuck in a static war of attrition. Still a large US garrison there today.
- Moderate public reaction initially but within 1 1/2 years American people forget there's a war on, and bravely kept shopping.

unlike:
- Korean War had a sort-of end - American involvement lasted less than 2 1/2 years before armistice.
- Generally positive effect on US economy; launches Japan on its way to becoming an economic superpower.

to Vietnam:

like:
- No declaration of war with one or more nation states.
- "We gotta stop them here or they'll invade Oakland."
- Precipitating incident (Gulf of Tonkin/ 9/11) probably not fabricated but still used as an excuse to intervene.
- After four years of direct US intervention (1965-69), war is entering its "Iraqization" phase as US troops withdraw to huge "firebase" enclaves.
- American combat troops were finally withdrawn in early 1972; it's conceivable US troops could be out by 2010.
- Domestic opposition to the war peaked after 4-5 years; though a majority of Americans opposed the war by 1969-70, there was still a hard core of 25-30% that still favoured all-out military victory.
- Domestic opposition heavily stimulated by revelations of atrocities by US forces.
- Civilians continued shopping, though some paused to refuse to pay the excise tax on their phone bills (this, along with calling in sick on Moratorium Day, being the gesture of popular resistance to the Vietnam war).
- Financing the war while maintaining the "Great Society" at home began US government's slide into deeper and deeper deficit spending (slight difference in that from 1968 on high war and domestic government spending helped fuel a deficit, while today high war spending and regime of tax cuts worsen the deficit)

unlike:
- Reserves and National Guards never mobilized for Vietnam.
- Vietnam War had not only one, but two ends; once when Americans finally withdrew in 1973, and again when South Vietnam fell to a mechanized army that had more armoured vehicles than the Germans used to defeat France in 1940.


Anyway, just some thoughts. I might add to this later.
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Most of you know I've written a fair bit about revolutionary warfare, and "low-intensity conflict" generally. The topic of relations between the army (standing or guerrilla) and the populace is always relevant, and the written codes of conduct that have been adopted from time to time are interesting to scan as signs of what behaviours need to be corrected - normally, notices about refraining from cannibalism do not need to be posted near swimming pools unless that has been both a recurring problem and something the Management wishes to correct.

A compare and contrast exercise:

The Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention

In 1927, Mao Zedong laid down for the Red Army of the Chinese Workers and Peasants the Three Main Rules of Discipline and then in January 1928 the Six [later Eight] Points for Attention. These disciplinary regulations became part of the mythology of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and are still taught as the basic code of conduct for every member of the CPLA.

***

Three Main Rules of Discipline:
1. Obey orders in all your actions.
2. Do not take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses.
3. Turn in everything captured.

Eight Points for Attention:
1. Speak politely.
2. Pay fairly for what you buy.
3. Return everything you borrow.
4. Pay for anything you damage.
5. Do not hit or swear at people.
6. Do not damage crops.
7. Do not take liberties with women.
8. Do not maltreat captives.


***

The Taliban Code of Conduct

In a worldwide exclusive the Swiss weekly, Die Weltwoche, published the new Taliban Codex in November 2006. I have been unable to find what exactly it replaced, but notable along with the many prohibitions (no ransoms, no independent contracting with Non-Government Organizations, no smoking, no young boys allowed in barracks) are the injunctions (share captured weapons and equipment equally, kill teachers who won't heed your warnings, destroy things built by outside agencies, remember to post sentries - what's that doing in here?).

***
Layeha (book of rules) for the Mujahideen

From the highest leader of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan.

Every Mujahid must abide by the following rules:

1) A Taliban commander is permitted to extend an invitation to all Afghans who support infidels so that they may convert to the true Islam.

2) We guarantee to any man who turns his back on infidels, personal security and the security of his possessions. But if he becomes involved in a dispute, or someone accuses him of something, he must submit to our judiciary.

3) Mujahideen who protect new Taliban recruits must inform their commander.

4) A convert to the Taliban, who does not behave loyally and becomes a traitor, forfeits our protection. He will be given no second chance.

5) A Mujahid who kills a new Taliban recruit forfeits our protection and will be punished according to Islamic law.

6) If a Taliban fighter wants to move to another district, he is permitted to do so, but he must first acquire the permission of his group leader.

7) A Mujahid who takes a foreign infidel as prisoner with the consent of a group leader may not exchange him for other prisoners or money.

8) A provincial, district or regional commander may not sign a contract to work for a non-governmental organization or accept money from an NGO. The Shura (the highest Taliban council) alone may determine all dealings with NGOs.

9) Taliban may not use Jihad equipment or property for personal ends.

10) Every Talib is accountable to his superiors in matters of money spending and equipment usage.

11) Mujadideen may not sell equipment, unless the provincial commander permits him to do so.

12) A group of Mujahideen may not take in Mujahideen from another group to increase their own power. This is only allowed when there are good reasons for it, such as a lack of fighters in one particular group. Then written permission must be given and the weapons of the new members must stay with their old group.

13) Weapons and equipment taken from infidels or their allies must be fairly distributed among the Mujahideen.

14) If someone who works with infidels wants to cooperate with Mujahideen, he should not be killed. If he is killed, his murderer must stand before an Islamic court.

15) A Mujahid or leader who torments an innocent person must be warned by his superiors. If he does not change his behaviour he must be thrown out of the Taliban movement.

16) It is strictly forbidden to search houses or confiscate weapons without the permission of a district or provincial commander.

17) Mujahideen have no right to confiscate money or personal possessions of civilians.

18) Mujahideen should refrain from smoking cigarettes.

19) Mujahideen are not allowed to take young boys with no facial hair onto the battlefield or into their private quarters.

20) If members of the opposition or the civil government wish to be loyal to the Taliban, we may take their conditions into consideration. A final decision must be made by the military council.

21) Anyone with a bad reputation or who has killed civilians during the Jihad may not be accepted into the Taliban movement. If the highest leader has personally forgiven him, he will remain at home in the future.

22) If a Mujahid is found guilty of a crime and his commander has barred him from the group, no other group may take him in. If he wishes to resume contact with the Taliban, he must ask forgiveness from his former group.

23) If a Mujahid is faced with a problem that is not described in this book, his commander must find a solution in consultation with the group.

24) It is forbidden to work as a teacher under the current puppet regime, because this strengthens the system of the infidels. True Muslims should apply to study with a religiously trained teacher and study in a Mosque or similar institution. Textbooks must come from the period of the Jihad or from the Taliban regime.

25) Anyone who works as a teacher for the current puppet regime must recieve a warning. If he nevertheless refuses to give up his job, he must be beaten. If the teacher still continues to instruct contrary to the principles of Islam, the district commander or a group leader must kill him.

26) Those NGOs that come to the country under the rule of the infidels must be treated as the government is treated. They have come under the guise of helping people but in fact are part of the regime. Thus we tolerate none of their activities, whether it be building of streets, bridges, clinics, schools, madrases (schools for Koran study) or other works. If a school fails to heed a warning to close, it must be burned. But all religious books must be secured beforehand.

27) As long as a person has not been convicted of espionage and punished for it, no one may take up the issue on their own. Only the district commander is in charge. Witnesses who testify in a procedure must be in good psychological condition, possess an untarnished religious reputation, and not have committed any major crime. The punishment may take place only after the conclusion of the trial.

28) No lower-level commander may interfere with contention among the populace. If an argument cannot be resolved, the district or regional commander must step in to handle the matter. The case should be discussed by religious experts (Ulema) or a council of elders (Jirga). If they find no solution, the case must be referred to well-known religious authorities.

29) Every Mujahid must post a watch, day and night.

30) The above 29 rules are obligatory. Anyone who offends this code must be judged according to the laws of the Islamic Emirates.

This Book of Rules is intended for the Mujahideen who dedicate their lives to Islam and the almighty Allah. This is a complete guidebook for the progress of Jihad, and every Mujahid must keep these rules; it is the duty of every Jihadist and true believer.

Signed by the highest leader of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan


(Editor's note: this Book of Rules was distributed initially to the 33 members of the Shura, the highest Taliban council, at their meeting during Ramadan 2006.)

***

Original Taliban codex translation found at http://www.signandsight.com/features/1071.html

Geisel 101

Mar. 2nd, 2005 11:39 am
ltmurnau: (Default)
It has been brought to my attention that I have missed the 101st birthday of Theodore Geisel, also known as "Dr. Seuss".

Not many people know of the work this gentle, kind man (who never actually had any children of his own and reportedly did not like having the actual article around him) did for the war effort. Here are some samples:





More to be found at http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/speccoll/dspolitic/.

Happy fucking birthday, Dr. T.
ltmurnau: (Lt23)
I found this piece in yesterday's Globe and Mail. Found it strangely ironic.

***
A Jewish revival in Poland without any Jews

Sixty years after the liberation of Auschwitz, Poles are celebrating those who were once victims
Read more... )

Emphasis mine in the above.
ltmurnau: (Default)
I admit I don't follow entertainment news, but this little piece of revisionism tickled my glands:

Read more... )
ltmurnau: (Default)
I have just reached the 10,000 hit mark on my website since it was created in early 1998. Hooah!

Then again, my short article on the Bonus Army of 1932, found off the main page, is north of 23,000 hits barely 13 months after posting it. Despite the small but significant error I placed in the paper, I am sure it is regularly downloaded and handed in under who knows how many different names. Perhaps in time it will become a staple of American fake scholarship - even Jayson Blair had to start somewhere. (Try and figure out that reference in about seven months.)

Yet despite that disappointing statistic, today I helped a student in need. She actually asked permission to use and quote from my short article on the Cultural Revolution - of course I was happy to help, and was duly informed that I rocked her socks! I like talking to people who take the time to ask, they are pretty interesting. I have had enquiries from all kinds of people, from housewives in Germany to people from National Public Radio. This is why I put my little research pieces up on the Net. That and the ego boost, yes.

I'm feeling odd today - woke up with a stiff neck and shoulders, still cracking and popping on me. Have been yawning all day despite sleeping "enough", well more than recent nights for sure. At least it's a lot cooler this week, the heat wave is gone.

I'm getting excited about tomorrow night, a Goth friend is DJing at a cafe that has an upstairs room so at last there will be some good intense music to listen to in Victoria!

My garden is doing really well so far, though I have planted only a few things - daikon, spinach and cucumbers. Zucchini later. My opium poppies are coming up really nice and thick, have to thin them out mercilessly or they will all be eight inches tall. I expect large numbers of red and purple ones this year - the blue ones did not do well last year so not so much seed to go around.

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