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January 24, 2013

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    (4/5/2015) For some reason, a mercenary Greek army and the Persian prince who hired them thought it a good idea to march 1,500 miles on a shoestring budget to fight the king (the ambitious prince's brother) close to his capital - fricking Babylon! This worked out miraculously well and the Greeks got the best of the fight until the prince was killed in battle. Then came the march home, the long way through mountainous terrain, poorly-clothed (and -shod), hungry, without pay, and with the pissed-off (and probably embarrassed) king and all his petty satraps on their asses. Did I mention that the Greeks were mercenaries who thought that the army was a democratic institution? Good times!

  • Émile Zola: I Accuse!

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    (3/20/2015) From Germany and France to eastern Europe to the Middle East to China and Japan, the Treaty of Versailles screwed the pooch pretty thoroughly. Wilson was so hung up on the creation of his League of Nations that he couldn't be bothered with trifles such as justice and principle – except the ‘principle’ of his own ‘Fourteen Points’, which didn't exactly impress – and Clemenceau was insufferably demanding. (E.g., the ‘indemnity’ – charging Germany not just for reparations but also for the economic value of lost Allied men – was unhelpful and contrary to existing and stated principle. But the French were in no mood for forgiveness.) But Keynes's concern about the supposedly unbearable size of reparations was baseless. Unfortunately, the German people took Keynes's BS seriously, another terrible injustice among many as they saw it.

    Another failing was the absence of proper war crimes trials for, at the least, the officers responsible for the murderous German behavior in Belgium – Falkenhayn, Ludendorff, and Bülow spring immediately to mind – rather than simply forwarding their names to the German government for trial at home (!) where they were either acquitted or allowed to escape and disappear without official trace. (!!) Also, allowing the German army to march home in good order, rather than forcing them to surrender publicly in the obvious disarray of defeat, encouraged the German public to believe that they had not really ‘lost’ but had rather been ‘stabbed in the back’ by traitors and Jews. Merde! (****)

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