I think I was looking for mushroom clouds as reference for drawing when I came across this photo from July 1945. An amazingly short time later two Japanese cities were laid waste by these gadgets. I am told that killing 150,000 civilians in a matter of days was NOT a war crime. Because it did a greater good….ending the war, saving lives. Such was the logical argument at the time and its been the logic ever since. Is morality accumulative? I mean, if you kill ten people you are 50% more moral than someone who kills twenty. If there are not grades of morality, a granularity to goodness, then its binary. But killing on orders of your government, that doesn’t count toward your score. Friendly fire. I have always wondered about that term. Hey, I just shot one of our guys! Oh, that was friendly fire, don’t count toward your score. You do need a score card, it gets complicated. The Knights Templar had a logic worked out for killing non believers and they got paid well for it. Eventually they got into the banking business, they had so much loose change.
The author of two iconic novels of the recent century, George Orwell, was in Barcelona in 1937. Those novels were the product of Orwell’s souring on Stalinist Communism, “1984” and “Animal Farm”. He also wrote of the Spanish Civil war he briefly participated in. The work was called, “An Homage to Catalonia”. Catalonia being the last province to fall to Franco. He grew sour on the organized left in part due to the absolute chaos of infighting among the groups. The POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista) organized a militia and Orwell joined it as a fighter on the front lines at Zaragoza. After an injury and bullet wound he returned to Barcelona to find he was being hunted by the police. He managed to escape to France. Right away he started writing “Homage”. I wouldn’t call him a “tourist” because he took big chances and almost bought it by bullet…but he was also gathering material.
So I see a parallel because of the international brigade(s) now and then. A couple of years after Orwell’s experience in Spain Hitler invaded Ukraine. Now Putin has. Sadly there might be another parallel. Russia, then the Soviet Union, had a very dysfunctional military, at first. In part because Stalin had purged the top commanders. Anyone who was a leader was also a threat to Stalin. The Germans drove toward Moscow and almost got there. But, the Red Army, got its act together and turned things around. Somebody recently said “The Russians must loose and be seen to loose” (in Ukraine). The sanctions will help slow or make impossible a turn around in their army in this war. Putin seems to have Stalin’s paranoia. Lets hope it is justified.
As a break from the experts being interviewed about the current war in endless cycles I am listening to a post game analysis of the “Great War”. They called it that, or the “World War” because they couldn’t imagine another. The first world war. Nobody expects we will need bothering to number a third world war. The terror frozen from the moment of the Trinity blast to the present is thawing. The unthinkable is tangible. President Biden points to a cordon, a crime scene tape, around an ongoing crime, a war crime. But it is a barrier to intervention and also a barrier to the unspoken danger of loosing of nuclear genie. The primitive peoples of the Americas, heathens encountered by Cortez, sacrificed virgins in bloody ceremonies to appease the gods. This to prevent their wrath and the ensuing destruction the world.