Monday, August 07, 2006

MegaDeaths — Not a Sleazy Metal Band

For umpteenth time in various comment streams, I have to remind some reluctant readers that the great disputes between conflicting ideologies have been resolved only by a bloody set of arguments that left millions of corpses as their proof. Here’s a little review of just the 20th Century, for those readers just emerging from an extended deep coma:

• The Great War (i.e., the periods up to the half-time break in the European Civil War) reduced the strength of participating nations by some fifteen and a half MILLION deaths, and about twenty-two and a half million wounded.

• The Japanese invasion of China in 1931 killed twelve and a half million Chinese and a little over one million of the Japanese invading military.

• WWII killed off about sixty-two and a half MILLIONS, including armed forces and civilians, combat, disease, and concentration camp deaths.

• In the “U.N.Police Action” on the Korean Peninsula, ending as it did in an extended “cease-fire” rather than a decisive conclusion that would have allowed for proper documentation, seems to have killed between just over one million, to three million six hundred and forty thousand deaths of military and civilians on all sides.

• Several generations of fighting in French IndoChine from the end of WWII until the general retirement of United States forces, produced at least three million military and civilian deaths FOR Independence/Unification and about an equal number Against.

I’m going to let you, dear readers, add up all those millions and millions of victims of tyranny and the repeated struggle to contain it.

But WAIT! There’s MORE!

When not otherwise occupied with defending his vast territories from various external intrigues, Stalin managed to while away the hours devising highly interesting ways of liquidating, executing, starving, and otherwise murdering his subjects in ton lots. The forced collectivization of agriculture in the Ukraine was unpopular with the Kulaks, and to encourage the process, Stalin sent in troops to confiscate all the food and livestock, killing and murdering tens of thousands immediately, then guarding the borders to ensure the people he meant to starve would damn well go ahead and starve like he meant’em to. By the time the Germans invaded, Stalin had killed off anywhere from five to ten million of his own citizens. “What the heck!” He mused, “That was so good, I’ll try it with the Red Army!” and he then went on to liquidate 30,000 of his army’s senior officers, with show trials, forced confessions, and creative executions. (Stalin went on to kill lots more victims, but, heck, you get the picture...)

Mao Zedong, literally the driving force behind the consolidation and success of the Communist the People’s Republic of China, spent the lives of his fellow Chinese like a Democrat spends tax revenues. After chasing Chiang Kai-Sheck from the mainland, Mao imposed communist collectivisation and soviet systems on the country with the same sort of enthusiasm as Stalin had in the USSR. The Hundred Flowers Campaign and The Anti-Rightest Movement are reckoned to have silenced with extreme prejudice the voices of insufficiently cooperative educated, intellectual, social, industrial, and academic leaders numbering in the millions.

The so-called “Great Leap Forward” launched in 1958 — a second grand Five-Year-Plan in the Soviet tradition of brutal central planning and extreme disincentives for non-compliance — so disrupted the Chinese agricultural system that the central government simply confiscated the food it could and left the peasants to starve in their gasping millions, distributing the food in the cities to prevent unrest there. External students of these events can only make rough estimates of the suffering. From statistics that have dribbled out, a picture has been constructed that indicates that at least several tens of MILLIONS of Chinese died of avoidable disease and starvation as a result of the misrule embodied in that “Great Leap.”

And, oh yeah, the ”Domino Theory” turned out to be absolutely right. For instance, after the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia, they imposed a radical “back-to-nature” rigidly doctrinaire communist regime, and forced about a third of their population into “re-education camps.” Within those camps, people were worked to death on starvation rations, and if they didn’t die fast enough to suit their masters, they were dispatched by bullets. The Khmer Rouge did an excellent job of documenting their work, and their photographs and written records of the torment of their countryfolk is now enshrined in various museums around the restored Cambodia.

(Try googling “Boat People.”)

I’m not sure Rwanda fits into this rant, except as a fine example of the utter uselessness of the United Nations, which meme is relevant, but not central. At least, it shows how the absence of an armed and determined force for civil ORDER allowed humans to chop almost a million other humans to bloody morsels using garden implements.

Hmmmm. Now we have the Khartoum Government dispatching hundreds of thousands of black African animists, pagans, and Christians in Darfur, with the gracious assistance of gas warfare specialists from Syria. Presumably, Syrian President Bashshar Assad does not perceive those folks as a strategic or existential threat to his bottom.

Yeah, Muslim fanatics seem to have taken up the challenge that Communism has in its defeat let slip. So far they’re just gathering momentum. A few score killed in London bombings, a few hundred Hindus in seven simultaneous train station bombings in Mumbai, a few more hundred Hindus killed by a handful of martyr-bombers earlier at a Hindu festival in New Delhi, a few score tourists and servicefolk at a Bali restaurant, a schoolbus here, a wedding party there, a couple of Indonesian school girls beheaded, a few thousand “little Eichmanns” in the WTC... Not much to brag about compared to the totals of Stalin and Hitler and Mao, but, Hey! Keep it up and after a while you’re talking about some real numbers!

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It is simply wishful thinking of the most dangerous sort to imagine that Islamic Jihadis and their complicit supporters can be dealt with rationally or gently. The lessons of history are if anything, pretty darn hard to misunderstand on this point. Evil doesn’t quietly put down its weapons. The fire-bombings of Dresden, Hamburg, Lubeck, and *67* Japanese cities were done primarily to persuade the GOVERNMENTS of Germany and Japan to quit the fight. The obvious difficulty is that those governments (like the Jihadis) had no concern whatsoever for the suffering of their own people and were un-moved by the loss.

Of course, the acquisition of nuclear devices, achieved by discipline or art, skews the calculus. Time to go back and review “The Three Conjectures.”

We’re told from census figures that there are about one Billion Muslims around the world. If only one percent of those are fanatical Jihadis, that’s TEN MILLION right there that are not likely to meekly lay down their violent agenda.

I’ve accepted the likelihood that the West will not respond decisively to Islamic Jihad until they kill a few million people at a stroke. It seems most likely that any lasting resolution of the great conflict of this era will be the occasion of a bloodletting on a scale comparable to earlier upheavals. Clearly, the sacrifice of just a few thousand in the attacks of September 11, 2001, didn’t resolve matters. The West hasn’t been intimidated into submission, nor has it been aroused enough to put paid to the Islamic fanatics. It has been done. It can be done again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your understanding of nthe situation is 100% correct because it is based on facts rather than wishful thinking. I came to this blog from BC where you posted in response to Jamies Kiellands posts.


7:21 AM  

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