Closing Thought–30May17

Gentlemen Start Your Engines!

I hope everyone had a good holiday weekend…..that family and fun went hand in hand…..

Me?  I had the perfect weekend…..especially on Sunday… see I am a auto racing fan….and Sunday had it all for me….GP2 race…..Monaco Gran Prix and the Indy500…

Most Americans know very little about the world of auto racing if it is not NASCAR then it is not racing….well that is bullshit!

NASCAR is thrilling but I prefer Formula One, GP2, GP3. Indycar series, sports car racing like Le Mans and Rally car racing……unfortunately if you live in the US you get very little news about most of the racing I enjoy….so I have to subscribe to a couple racing mags from Europe and dammit they are expensive…but it is worth it for the info I get every week.

My love affair with auto racing began when my family lived in Europe and I got to go the the French Gran Prix in 1959 at Reims France……and since that day I have been a Ferrari race fan……

The Monaco GP was a bit boring but at least Ferrari finished 1 and 2 ….when I say boring I mean this race is usually who leads at the start usually wins…but not always…..

GP2 is the “minor league” of Formula One and a helluva race….these guys only have 30 laps and they drive all out….makes for an interesting race indeed.

Then there was Indy500….as always a fantastic race…..I usually do not care much for oval racing but in this case this race is always worth watching.  It has everything… speed, blown engines, wrecks and some amazing driving.  The only thing I do not understand is the winner gets milk not champagne….why?  I mean do know how hard it is the spray the crowd with milk?  Where’s the fun in that?

A little history for you….it was American racer Dan Gurney that started the tradition of spraying champagne on the crowd after his 1968 win at Le Mans in the Ford GT…….in case you were wondering.

All in all I could not ask for a better day on Sunday.

Monday was a somber day for me……it was Memorial Day and I spent in remembrance of my 3 fellow LRRPs from my team that died in Vietnam.

That closes out my day……thanx everyone for you visits and your comments….you guys are what makes this blog a joy to write…….

See you guys tomorrow…….chuq

Finally Coming Home!

A Navy pilot who died in Vietnam 52 years ago is finally coming home….

Deborah Crosby touched her father’s flag-draped casket as her three brothers hugged her in a tearful embrace on the tarmac at the San Diego airport Friday — ending a more than half century search to find and bring home the remains of Lt. Cmdr. Frederick P. Crosby, shot down as a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War.
Deborah Crosby, now 58, was only six when she was sent home from the first grade to learn her father was presumed dead, though his body had not been found.
Her mother could never talk about that day, but she gave Crosby and her brothers a binder with articles about her father’s plane zooming low through the clouds on a bomb damage assessment mission before it was gunned down by North Vietnamese ground forces in 1965. The 31-year-old pilot was armed only with cameras, his daughter said.
A year ago, military investigators found his remains in a fish pond in north Vietnam. On Friday, Deborah Crosby fulfilled her promise to her late grandmother.
Deborah Crosby walked forward, touched the casket and embraced her three brothers. The aviator’s elderly sister, Sharon, and brother, David, also hugged, and he wiped an eye.
“I’m just overwhelmed with seeing the plane drive up and all of the uniforms and all of the respect and the honors that he’s receiving,” Deborah Crosby said.
The sailors saluted before the casket left in a hearse.
On Sunday, Frederick Crosby will be buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery with full military honors and a Navy flyover.
(Navy Times)
Welcome home brother may you now find the rest that you deserve.

On Randolph Bourne’s Birthday

We are in the middle of the anniversary of World War One……the Great War….the War to End All War…..America was a Johnny come lately into the war……we entered in 1917 and it ended in 1918……so we did not suffer the massive deaths and injuries that our allies did…..but there is NO reason that this war should be ignored.

Today is the 131st birthday of a intellectual from those dark days….Randolph Bourne…..

When World War I erupted it came as a surprise to the overwhelming majority of American intellectuals. Its barbarity stuck them as anachronistic and they tended to view the conflict as a temporary sidetrack in the march of civilization, an expression of residual animal instincts. The dawn of the Enlightenment and the tremendous progress made in the Nineteenth Century made war seem quite uncharacteristic (in their view) of humanity’s evolving nature.

Of course, they saw themselves as important and instrumental in defining and fine tuning that nature. On the leading edge of political and social brilliance, ivy-league educated, born to lead and with the silver spoon in the mouth to prove it, they were socialists. And when President Woodrow Wilson (who had been re-elected as a peace candidate under the slogan, “He kept us out of war”) opted to throw the full weight of the country’s resources into the European conflict, they rallied to his support.

Randolph Bourne, who was to die in the flu epidemic shortly after the Armistice, cried out alone against the betrayal of the values of civilization by his fellow writers. He and his magazine paid a heavy price and, of course, he did not live to see the backlash following the war. The damage had been done.

Source: Randolph Bourne 1886 – 1918

Today (May 30), as we mark Randolph Bourne’s 131st birthday, it seems an especially appropriate time to step back from the noisy distractions of the ongoing public debate over American foreign policy and reflect quietly for a few moments on the larger picture. For what larger picture do we see when we contemplate war, peace, and the institution of coercive government – the State – and what we have learned over the past century about their myriad interconnections and interrelations?

Source: On Randolph Bourne’s Birthday – Blog

We Americans know very little about World War One and since it has been a century since it started….I feel that we need to know everything there is to know about any war that we decide that is in our country’s best interests.  There is the possibility that we could learn from the actions of the past……so far we are not doing so well in the remembering part.

“History is Philosophy teaching by example”

The Tinderbox That Is The Balkans

For over a hundred years the Balkans have been a fertile land for armed conflict.  I bring this up because after those hundred years the region is no closer to a peaceful co-existence.

In the beginning of the 20th century there were wars after wars in the Balkans…..

1912–13, two short wars, fought for the possession of the European territories of the Ottoman Empire. The outbreak of the Italo-Turkish War for the possession of Tripoli (1911) encouraged the Balkan states to increase their territory at Turkish expense. Serbia and Bulgaria accordingly concluded (1912), with the aid of Russian secret diplomacy, a treaty of alliance. In a secret annex, the treaty provided for joint military action and the division of prospective conquests. The outbreak of the war (Oct., 1912), in which Greece and Montenegro joined the original allies, was followed by the speedy expulsion of the Turks from all of European Turkey, except the Constantinople area. After the conclusion of hostilities Serbia showed intentions of annexing a large part of Albania, in order to gain an outlet on the Adriatic, but this step toward a Greater Serbia was opposed by Austria-Hungary and Italy and by the Albanians, who had proclaimed their independence. Conferences of the ambassadors of the Great Powers at London created (1913) an independent Albania of fair size, thus cutting Serbia off from the sea. Dissatisfied with these terms, Serbia demanded of Bulgaria a greater share of Macedonia. Bulgaria thereupon attacked (June, 1913) Serbia, only to be attacked by Romania, Greece, and Turkey. As a result of this Second Balkan War, Bulgaria lost territory to all her enemies by the Treaty of Bucharest (Aug., 1913). The Balkan Wars prepared the way for World War I by satisfying some of the aspirations of Serbia and thereby giving a great impetus to the Serbian desire to annex parts of Austria-Hungary by alarming Austria and stiffening Austrian resolution to crush Serbia and by giving causes of dissatisfaction to Bulgaria and Turkey.

Source: The Balkan Wars: 100 Years Later, a History of Violence |

For a more in-delth look at the history of the region…….

Source: • History Online • The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913 • INTRODUCTION.

In the 1990’s war returned to the Balkans after a quarter century of relative calm under the leadership of Tito……better known as the Yugoslav Wars…..if became to a conflict of ethnic cleansing that involved almost all the region…..and of course the US had to weigh in on the conflict…..

In the early 1990s, the Balkan country of Yugoslavia fell apart in a series of wars which saw ethnic cleansing and genocide return to Europe. The driving force was not age old ethnic tensions (as the Serb side liked to proclaim), but distinctly modern nationalisms, fanned by the media and driven by politicians. The crux was that as Yugoslavia collapsed, majority ethnicities pushed for independence, and these nationalist governments ignored their minorities, if not actively persecuted them, e.g. forcing them out of jobs.

As propaganda made these minorities paranoid, they were armed, and stirred into actions which degenerated into a bloody set of wars. While the situation was rarely as clear as Serb vs Croat vs Muslim – many small civil wars erupted over decades of rivalry – key patterns exist.

Source: The Wars of the Former Yugoslavia

I bring up all this history because the war drums are beating yet again….

There are many differences between the Balkans and the Middle East, but they have two things in common. Both regions are former pieces of the Ottoman Empire that have not found stability since that empire receded in the late 19th century. Both also have been objects of serial intrusion by outsiders who impose their interests and then flounder as their policies fail and hegemonies decline.

The Balkan region – a fluid concept with changing “membership” over the past two centuries – continues to struggle to orient itself in the wake of the collapse of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The shards of that country are going in different directions. Slovenia and Croatia have acceded to the European Union (EU) and now give casual advice to EU and U.S. officials on how to stem the West’s serial failures in the region.

Source: Will the Balkan Tinderbox Ignite, Again? | The Cipher Brief

AS the conflict fires heat up the US will once again insert itself into the fray under guise of the NATO charter.

The Fall Of Constantinople

This day in history, 29May1453, the city of Constantinople falls to the forces of the Ottoman Empire ……..(Did not post on the day because it was dedicated to our fallen soldiers)…….

GREEKS still consider Tuesday an unlucky day. May 29th 1453, was a Tuesday; the day that Constantinople, the place they called—and often still call—the queen of cities, or simply “the city” was overrun by the Ottoman forces that had bombarded its mighty walls for the past 40 days.

In the history of warfare, this was a watershed. It proved that gunpowder could batter down the strongest walls enough to let the attackers in; the age of immobile, iron-clad soldiers defending big stone fortresses was over. But far more was over than that.

Source: The fall of Constantinople | The Economist

What is better than learning something new?

I turn to the day…..the day when we set aside some time to remember our war dead…..these troopers gave their all….we can ask no more than from our troops.

May their memories be a source of strength for us all.

Happy Memorial Day.