You Have Been Warned!

In Israel, and by no means only in Israel—see the recent shitstorm around Robert Kelly—the man-hunt is on. Not a day goes by that does not bring new stories about men who sexually harassed, attacked, abused, and, yes, raped. In every single case women, are presented as clueless victims. In every single case, asked to explain why they did not do something—such as slap their alleged attacker or at least get out of his way—the woman claims that he has “enslaved” them, “taken away their souls,” “brainwashed them,” “turned them into robots,” etc.

Strangest of all, the media do not try to expose these creatures for the miserable wretches they are. Instead they, the media, keep praising the “courage” with which, often flanked by entire armies of female psychologists, social workers, and lawyers, they turn on their alleged tormentors and denounce them. Following which, the man in question is finished when he is found guilty and also when he is not.

As a former professor who has witnessed several of his male colleagues accused, put in front of a kangaroo court, and punished for alleged “sexual harassment,” I have some experience in the matter. So here is a list, admittedly a very incomplete one, of recommendations for other men to follow.

Never, ever, buy a woman a drink. That is because, if you do, she may later complain that you put something in it. Let them buy their own drinks (and yours as well, while she’s at it). If you are together and she wants to go to the restroom, make her take her drink with her.

Never, ever, give a woman a ride. Several of my acquaintances did so, only to have the woman in question try to blackmail them later on.

Make sure you never, ever, find yourself alone with a woman in an elevator. Not even one made of glass, as many nowadays are.

Remember good old St Thomas Aquinas? A man, he said, can do anything a woman can; but the opposite is not true. Rare indeed is the woman whose skills are such that she cannot be replaced by a man. If, in spite of this, you have no choice but to hire a woman (if only because the law, in the name of “equal opportunity” and diversity” obliges you to do so), never ever speak to her in person or allow yourself to be alone in the same room with her. The best thing to do is to have her, of them, in separate room or rooms with a sign, “out of bounds for all male personnel” on them. Communication with the female employees to be solely by computer, which will record every word.

Don’t ever compliment a female employee and do not give her a dressing down. If you do either, there is a fair chance that she will turn it against you, either by claiming that you have tried to make her or by way of avenging herself on you for not accepting her advances. Prohibit your male employees from talking to their female fellow workers; instead, let all communication pass through an elderly female employee you feel you can trust. That incidentally, was the method many firms used before 1950 or so.

If you are a physician, or psychiatrist, or psychologist, or some other kind of psychotherapist, avoid treating women as much as you can. If again in the name of “equality,” you are forced to do so, make sure you take appropriate defensive measures. Such as having another woman (one you think you can trust) present, recordering everything on video, etc.

Ditto if you are a teacher, instructor, coach, physiotherapist, or a member of a similarly dangerous profession.

If you must have sex, visit a prostitute. The last thing prostitutes want is trouble. As a result, they tend to more honest and less likely to go after you than most women are. Or else, better still, get yourself a sex doll. They are improving all the time. In any case, given all the cosmetic procedures women undergo these days, the distinction between them and sex dolls is steadly being eradicated.

If, in spite of everything, you are going to make love to a woman, have her sign a form first. The form should specify that she is doing what she does while in full possession of her faculties, without coercion and out of her own free will. To make sure, have her sign it in front of a notary. Better still have her sign two forms, one before, one after. But do not kid yourself. A woman can always claim that she signed under duress or else while drunk or otherwise mentally incapacitated (as, it seems, many women are most of the time). So the protection this measure affords is limited.

In case, which is quite possible, all these precautions are no avail and you are made to stand trial, the following measures may help a little:

Hire the best available female lawyer but only after you’ve checked, and checked again, that she can be trusted.

If there is to be a jury trial, have your lawyer make sure, as far as possible, that the jury is made up of young men and elderly women.

Have your female relatives and acquaintances sit in on the trial and show, at every opportunity, how unafraid of you they are and how much they love you.

If, which is very likely, you are convicted and sent to jail, forget your male pride. It will only land you into more trouble. Instead, use every opportunity to show how contrite you are, how much you regret your beastly actions and sympathize with your “victims”, and so on. Doing so is the only way to gain an early release or be put on parole.

Good luck.

“Disaster Area”

Hanging in my kitchen I have a so-called “New Zealand Tourist Map of the World.” Like other humoristic maps of its kind, it carries a brief description of each region. New Zealand, painted green, is best of all. It occupies an entirely disproportionate part of the map and is marked as having such things as “the biggest fish,” “the muddiest mud,” and “the friendliest mermaids” in the world. By contrast, Australia is a “desert island populated by a backward tribe known as strines.” Japan has “earthquakes,” the US, “hamburgers,” and Africa, “wild women.” These are just examples; most of the world has more than one epithet applied to it. Not so the Middle East, which is summed up in just two words: “disaster area.”

Fun aside, for a hundred years now the Middle East has in fact been a disaster area, much to the loss of most of its unfortunate inhabitants. Nor, the recent agreement between Presidents Trump and Putin notwithstanding, does there seem to be any immediate prospect for the turmoil to end. In this brief article I propose, 1. To trace the conflicts themselves; 2. Explain, very briefly, the factors that have prevented peace; and, 3. Say a few words about the probable shape of the future.

*

Many of the problems in the Middle East go back far into the nineteenth century. For our purposes, however, a good starting point is formed by World War I (1914-18). In 1916-18 the British, coming from the Sinai as well as the Persia Gulf, defeated the Ottomans and overran the entire Middle East. Next they divided the spoils with their French allies. France got Syria and Lebanon, whereas Britain took the rest.

The aftermath of the war saw the establishment of the colonies—which later developed into independent states—of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the Gulf, and Trans-Jordan (as it then was). Saudi Arabia, which was never occupied by either Britain or France, became independent by default. Last not least the Balfour Declaration, which was issued in November 1917, promised that His Majesty’s Government would “view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” As one Arab resident wrote to Winston Churchill, who as colonial secretary had been entrusted with fixing the various borders and toured the country in 1922, as long as the Declaration was not repealed peace would “never” return to that country.

Since then the peace to end all peace, as it has been called, has remained the source of endless trouble. First the British had to cope with Arab uprisings in Palestine and, on a much larger scale, in Iraq. No sooner were those revolts suppressed than trouble broke out on the border between Trans Jordan and Saudi Arabia, an entirely artificial line on the map that the local tribes refused to respect. In 1927-29 it was the turn of the French to cope with what is still remembered as the Great Syrian Revolt. Additional Arab revolts broke out in Palestine in 1929 and 1936-39 and in Iraq in 1940.

No sooner had World War II ended than Palestine witnessed another anti-British revolt, albeit that this time it was the Jews who revolted. The establishment of Israel in 1948 was immediately followed by an entire series of Arab-Israeli Wars that lasted until 1973. But trouble was not limited to Israel and its neighbors. The British having gone, during much of the 1950s and 1960 the Kurds in Iraq waged more or less open warfare against the central authorities in Baghdad, a problem that has still not been resolved. The Kurds also tried to break loose from Turkey, another problem that has still not been solved.

In the 1960s Yemen was devastated by a civil war (as, at present, it is once again). In 1970 the Syrians briefly invaded Jordan which was just then engaged in civil war against the Palestinians in its territory. Six year later civil war broke out in Lebanon, and six years after that Israel launched a massive invasion of the latter country. It took until 2006 ere another massive Israeli blow finally brought hostilities in southern Lebanon to an end—and even so there is no guarantee that they will not break out again at any time.

The 1980s saw a massive war between Iraq and Iran. No sooner had it ended than Iraq made a grab for Kuwait and had to be expelled by the United States and its allies (1991). In 2003 hostilities in the Persian Gulf resumed. This time not only Iraq’s armed forces but its government was smashed, leading to chaos that, fourteen years later, shows hardly a sign of abating. Worst of all is the situation in Syria where civil war broke out in 2011. As of this writing it has succeeded in turning much of the country into a wasteland from which t will take decades to recover, if indeed it ever does.

*

How to account for all this trouble? Perhaps the most important answer is the extraordinary complexity of the region. A complexity which the new states, lacking firm roots in the population as they did, never succeeded in controlling. There are, of course, Egyptians and Syrians and Iraqis and Saudis and so forth. But there are also Israelis and Palestinians. And Arabs and Kurds. And Egyptian Muslims and Egyptian Copts. There are Sunnis and there are Shi’ites (and there are Allawi’s, whom some do not recognize as Muslims at all) and there are Druze. There are also many kinds of Christians. True, the Christians’ overall role in the region is declining into insignificance. But how strong the hatreds among them are can be seen on major feast days when monks belonging to different denominations at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher regularly take up cudgels and bicycle chains and go after each other.

Had the men—there were no women among them—who made the modern Middle East back in 1915-22 been as saintly as Christ and as wise as mandarins, they would have been hard-put to take all these complications into account. Let alone bring them to an end. If anything, the contrary. Operating on the old, old principle of divide et impera, as when the French separated Lebanon from Syria and the British in Egypt favored the Copts, often they did what they could to accentuate them.

Next, poverty. Early in the twentieth century the countries of the Middle East were, without exception, poor and undeveloped. So much so that, by one estimate, per capita income in what later became Israel, which even then was starting to emerge as one of the more developed regions, stood as just four percent of the US figure (currently it stands at 56 percent). Israel apart, no country in the Middle East has managed to cross the threshold into a mature industrial, let alone post-industrial, society. An antiquated social structure, based on extensive ties between extended families and clans, acts as both cause and effect of this fact.

True, over the last century agriculture has declined and urbanization spread. Yet most of the urban population remains very poor indeed. Nor do most of these people have the kind of education needed to create and maintain a modern economy. As a result, what wealth there is owes its existence mainly to the primary sector. Chiefly oil and related products such as natural gas.

But not all Middle Eastern states possess significant reserves of the precious black liquid. Both in those that do and those that do not, income is so unevenly distributed as to act as the source, not of progress but of conflict, some of it armed. These conflicts in turn are tied to the fact that, again with the exception of Israel, no Middle Eastern country has ever succeeded into converting itself into a true democracy. Meaning one characterized by popular elections, a freely elected parliament able to supervise the executive, human rights anchored in law, and an independent judiciary. Iraq and Syria until they were torn apart by war, and Jordan and Egypt right down to the present day, were or are run by a team of four: namely the head of state, the ruling party, the army, and the secret services. Security of life and property exist, if at all, only to a very limited extent. And liberty is a very occasional guest.

To the internal factors must be added external ones. From antiquity on, the Middle East has always been an extraordinarily important region, geopolitically speaking. The reason is because through it passed the lines of communication leading from north to south and from west to east. With the discovery of oil early in the 20th century, which led to some of the greatest concentrations of wealth in history on one hand and to the most intense competition on the other, its role became even greater. Going back at least as far as 1918 and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, not for five minutes has the Middle East been free of foreign intervention.

At first, as already explained, the leading role was played by the British and the French. After 1945 it was mainly the Americans and the Soviets who called the shots. Both superpowers sought to extend their own zone of influence and expel the other. Now by treaty, now by economic aid, now by assisting a rebel group to mount a coup and overthrow a government, and now by having their respective clients fight one another. Nor were the US and the Soviet Union, later succeeded by the Russians, the only ones with a finger in the pie. As is exemplified by the fact that, currently and at any rate on paper, no fewer than 68 countries are officially committed to fighting Daesh.

Many of the countries in question are at odds not only with their local rivals but with each other too. Take, as an example of the resulting complexity, the case of Syria whose regime has been fighting its own citizens for the last six years. In Syria alone there are said to be some fifty different militias, some fairly large, others very small. Though all or most seem to have this in common that they hate President Assad’s government, many also reflect various religious, ethnic and local interests. The Russians, the Iranians and the terrorist organization Hezbollah (which has its roots in Lebanon, and is made up of Shi’ite fighters operating in Syria, which is mostly Sunni) have all been consistently supporting Assad.

The Turks claim to be fighting terrorists, but in reality they are more interested in keeping the Kurds down and the Iranians, out. The Saudis, bent on bugging Iran wherever they can, are determined to get rid of Assad and provide the Syrian rebels with weapons by way of Jordan. Ostensibly to prevent the war from spreading to that country, the US has stationed troops there. It is also bombing both Assad and his opponents, Daesh. To not much avail, as far as anyone can see. With the US are, as so often, some of its NATO allies playing the role of the jackal. As for Israel, up to the present it has managed to keep out of the conflict. But this does not prevent it from constantly calling on others to topple Assad and so, hopefully, pulling its own chestnuts out of the fire.

*

Niels Bohr, the Nobel-Prize winning Danish nuclear physicist, is supposed to have said that prediction is difficult, especially of the future. The Talmud concurs, saying that “the gift of prophecy is handed out to fools.” One does not, though, need divine insight to understand that, the abovementioned agreement between Trump and Putin notwithstanding, the Middle East is indeed a “disaster area” and likely to remain so for a long time in the future. To proceed in reverse order, one reason for this is foreign intervention which has often aided and abetted local conflicts. Then there is the absence of democracy, representative government, and human rights; all of which, along with the frequent presence of thuggish rulers, are rooted in societies most of which have never succeeded in overcoming their tribal character. Thuggish rulers—in truth, it is hard to see how anyone but a thug could govern the countries in question—are responsible for the fact that free economies could not develop and the distribution of wealth is as unequal as it is.

These facts and many others like them explain many things. They do not, however, explain everything. Some years ago I had the pleasure of coming across a book by the aged doyen of “oriental studies,” Bernard Lewis. Titled What Went Wrong and first published in 2002, it tried to explain how and why the brilliant civilization of the Middle Ages had declined until, finally, it reached the point where the epithet “Arab” is positive only when applied to a horse.

Though I read it twice, I still do not know.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Unhealthy Foods*

A stands for alcohol (of course), artichoke spinach dip (remember Popeye the Sailor Man?), avocado (if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding).

B stands for bacon, bagels, baked beans, beer, biscuits, boxed pancake mix, bran muffins, burghers, butter.

C stands for cake frosting, candy (of course; the rules we do not ourselves stick to we have to inflict on our hapless children), canned soups, canned tomato sauce, chips, cereals, cheese, chicken wrap, chocolate, chocolate cakes, cholesterol, coffee creamer, colas (including both coca and pepsi), cookies, Corn Dogs, corn syrup, couscous, crackers, croissants (I really hate this prohibition, because my wife loves them), croutons.

D stands for deli meat, dipping sauces (most of them), donuts (of course, given how popular they are), Doritos, dried fruit, Dr. Pepper.

E Stands for energy bars and used to stand for eggs (except that the latter have now been declared healthy).

F stands for fast food, fish sandwich, flavored instant oatmeal, flavored nuts, flavored soymilk (apparently anything that has a flavor is bad for you), French fries, fried foods, frozen meals, fruit cocktail, fruit juices, fruit snacks (anything with fruit in it, it seems).

G stands for gin and tonic, gluten-free products, granola, grilled portabella sandwich.

H stands for hot dogs, hummus, hydrogenated oils.

I stands for icecream.

J stands for jams, jellies, junk food.

K stands for ketchup.

L stands for lemon (bad for the teeth), lunch meat (much worse than dinner meat, I suppose).

M stands for Mac (a coloring agent used in cheese), margarine, mayonnaise, microwave popcorn, monosodium glutamate (what one earth is that?) Mountain Dew, muffins (both low-fat and ordinary), multigrain bread, multigrain chips, mushrooms (and I do not mean just the poisonous ones).

N stands for nonfat cottage cheese, Nutrasweet.

O stands for olive oil, orange juice, organic snack foods.

P stands for packaged cookies, packaged turkey, parfait, pasta, pizza (both ordinary and veggie), Pop Secret, potatoes (according to the head of Harvard University’s Nutrition Department, no less), potato chips, pretzels, processed meats, prepared salads (the alternative, of course, is unprepared salads; however, even my late bitch, Sandy, who always had a healthy appetite, rejected them), protein bars.

Q stands for quiche. Yuk, if you ask me.

R stands for ranch dressing, Ramen noodles, red meat, Reduced-Fat Italian Salad Dressing, reduced fat peanut butter (makes you wonder how healthy non-reduced fat peanut butter can be), rice crackers, rice milk.

S stands for saccharin, salt (without which, however, life is impossible), 7Up, Slim Fast Shakes, smoothies, soda, sodium, soy products, spinach pasta, sport drinks, Sprite, sucralose, sugar (and its opposite, sugar-free products), sunflower seeds, sushi (never mind that Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world), sweetened milk.

T stands for tea drinks, trail mix, transfat, turkey burgher.

V stands for veggie omelets, veggie patties, Vodka (a Russian drink, which God forbid).

W stands for white bread, whole wheat bread, wine.

X stands for Xanthan (for those who, like me, didn’t know, it is a common thickener)

Y stands for yogurt.

Z stands for zucchini, if it is fried.

Is there anyone out there who has avoided all these foods and managed to stay alive? If so, please stand up and be counted.

*Compiled from a variety of websites. Any additions to the list will be welcome.

Just Published! Hitler in Hell

I, Adolf Hitler, am in Hell, the place to which the victors assign their dead opponents. Not just the dead ones either, but that is a separate topic. Hell, let me tell you, is neither “a dungeon horrible” nor “torture without end” as John Milton, whom I read in German translation after my death, imagined. Far from it! In some ways, it reminds me of Landsberg Prison, where I spent almost all of 1924. The main difference is that here I have no visitors and can receive no presents. That apart, conditions are quite similar. Not luxurious, but for a person like me, one whose material demands are moderate and who has always lived in a fairly austere manner, adequate.

There are no windows, and my spirit, or whatever it is, is not free to leave the compound, if it is one. As a result, I have no idea where it is located or what it looks like from the outside. If, indeed, it has an “outside.” The light, which is artificial and on all the time, never varies. It seems to come from all directions at once, so there are no shadows. And there are no sounds, except for the few we handful of inmates make as, ghost-like, we flutter about. Even those seem to be muffled in a strange, unearthly way. For eight hours out of every twenty-four I am locked in my cell by guardian devils. They never, never answer any questions; but they never do me any harm either. That is more than one can say for many people on earth. At other times I can do much as I please. Who cares? I have no needs, I have no worries, and I have no one to fight. I suppose that accounts for my relatively mellow mood.

The souls I miss the most are those of my shepherd bitch, Blondi, and Frau Eva Braun. As to the former, there seem to be no dogs in Hell. That depresses me a bit, for I have always liked them very much. The scene in a certain film, where I am shown thoughtlessly shooting a little dog just because it was bothering me a little, is based on pure invention. My first dog was a white terrier. I found him in the trenches, where he was chasing a rat. Originally, he had belonged to an English officer and did not understand a word of German. I called him Fuchsl, and he was with me for about a year and a half until someone stole him, causing me much grief. Several others followed. I was proud of them and taught them all sorts of tricks; when asked what young girls do, Blondi, who was the last of the lot, would roll on her back and lift her legs in the air. As to the latter, her most ardent wish had long been for me to marry her. Unfortunately, my duty to my people did not permit us to spend as much time together as I—and even more so she—would have liked. But what if I had done as she wanted? Throughout the war, I lived mainly at my various military headquarters. There, she would have been badly out of place with nothing to do all day long. All around were hundreds of males, many of them starved for sex, who would have stared at her. And gossiped. And sniggered.

I kept in touch with her by a daily telephone call as well as letters. But I saw to it that our correspondence should not fall into the wrong hands. As, for example, Napoleon’s letters to Josephine and the telephone conversations of Prince Charles with his lover Camilla did, thereby revealing their intimate secrets for everyone to enjoy and slaver over. My chief adjutant Julius Schaub, whose loyalty to me dated back to the very first days of the Party, and Eva’s sister Gretl, were a great help in this respect. Shortly before the end of the war Eva defied my wishes for the first and only time. She had her car covered with camouflage paint, left Berchtesgaden, and took us all by surprise by unexpectedly turning up in Berlin, specifically in order to die with me. Doing so was an act of courage and love. At the time, just thinking of her made me happy; it does so still. Poor woman, with my modest needs she never knew what to give me as a present! Where she is, if she is, I have not the faintest clue.

All of us here seem to be staying the same age. We are indestructible. No one ever gets sick; no one ever dies. Nothing ever happens. To understand what a horrible torment that is, one must either have experienced it or have been with Gulliver on his trip to the land of the immortals. I am alive, yet I am dead; I am dead, yet I am alive. The main problem is what to do with my time. That is one very important reason why I decided to write this book. Now as in 1924, the faithful and artless, if sometimes moody, Rudolf Hess is helping me with my work. But there are a couple of differences. When I wrote Mein Kampf, I was still a comparative newcomer to the political scene. Imprisoned, I possessed very few personal documents. That is why much of what I wrote in volume I, which, unlike volume II, is largely autobiographical, had to be based mainly on my memory. Which, let me say, is excellent indeed.

Here in Hell things are very different. To help me keep up with what is happening, I have with me a couple of the world’s leading experts on the Internetz, the so-called “Black Internetz” included. Germans and faithful followers, of course. They are better than those two mavericks, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, combined! They provide me with access to everything. Meaning absolutely everything that has ever been written, filmed, recorded, videotaped, or whatever, right down to the present time. With the result that they can help me document my life and times much more thoroughly and much more faithfully than I could then.

So vast is the inflow of material that mastering it all might actually fill the unlimited time I have stretching out in front of me. More, much more, keeps being added day by day. There are books about my youth, books about my women, books about my alleged mental and physical diseases, books about the movies I did and did not like, books about the medicines I took, and books about my headquarters and my performance as a military commander. There is even a book about how hard it is to write anything new about me! Not to mention an avalanche of books (and TV programs) about my alleged escape to South America after the war. I am told that, when I started working on this project in the spring of 2015, on Google I had about a hundred million “hits.” Stalin only had thirty-three million; Mao Zedong, a paltry million.

But there is also another more important reason why I write. History, Schopenhauer said, is as riddled with lies as the body of a prostitute with syphilis. In this volume I am determined to tell my side of the story, set the record straight, and get even with my enemies—both my contemporaries and those who fed on my legend later on. And, on the way, I will put that bunch of feckless liars, meaning the countless “historians” who have done their best to present me as the worst monster in the whole of human memory, to shame. I shall beat them into a pudding, as Goebbels used to say. Doing so is my duty and my right. After all, isn’t that what people occupying positions similar to mine have always done? Think of Julius Caesar, whose memoirs schoolchildren are being made to study right down to the present day. Or of that lying drunk, Winston Churchill. He even got a Nobel Prize for his efforts.

Finally, all my life I have believed in the “unconquerable will” (Milton again). Though I may be in Hell, “to bow and sue for grace, with suppliant knee”—that glory my enemies will never extort from me. “For the mind and spirit remains invincible.” Down to the last breath I took, I gave my all fighting on behalf of the German people. Since then, I am told, there has come into being something called Godwin’s Law. Meaning that, the longer two people argue, the more inevitable it is that at least one of them should call the other “Hitler.” Countless lesser folks apart, those to whom my name has been (miss)applied include Egypt’s President Gamal Abdul Nasser, Soviet President Nikolai Bulganin, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (known, in his own country, as “The Monkey”), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, America’s President Donald Trump… Reductio ad Hitlerum, one might say. The Israelis, who always claim to have a corner on suffering, especially like to play this game. I am, however, gratified that their enemies have caught on and are using the same tactics against them, as, for example, when someone calls a chatterbox like Prime Minister Netanyahu “Hitler.” They wish they had just one percent of my stature. Each and every one of them.

Unfortunately, there is no way we here in Hell can contact those we have left behind. Thus pushing the latter in the right direction appears out of the question for the time being. But I am not about to throw in the towel. Not me! Ever since the first humans started walking the earth, they have always tried the most varied methods to get in touch with the dead and to learn what they have to say. There now exists a whole branch of science, if that is the word, whose aim is to do just that. You may be certain that, if and when the time comes, my voice will be heard. Loud and clear.”

Nemesis

The name Enoch Powell is unlikely to strike a chord with most of those who are under sixty years old. Yet at the time I took my PhD in London (1969-71) he was all over, frequently appearing on TV (“the telly,” as people used to call it), radio, and the papers. Today it pleases me to write a few lines about him. My reasons for doing so will become clear by and by.

Enoch Powell was born at Stechford, a borough of the city of Birmingham, in 1912. The family was lower middle class; his father, Albert, was an elementary schoolteacher, his mother Ellen, a housewife. Their somewhat constrained economic circumstances did not prevent Enoch from receiving a first class education, first at home—it is said that by the age of three, he could already read fairly well—and later at various grammar schools. Typical of the age, the most important part of the curriculum was formed by the classics, especially ancient Greek (a thorough mastery of Latin was considered self-evident) in which Powell soon revealed himself as a real prodigy. Later, at Cambridge, he not only received the highest possible, and extremely rare, grades but added German, modern Greek, Portuguese, Welsh, Urdu, and Russian.

In 1937 Powell, having completed his studies, went to Australia where, employed at the University of Sydney, he became the youngest professor in the entire Commonwealth. From there he sent letters to his parents expressing his disgust at Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s “terrible exhibition of dishonor, weakness and gullibility” in his attempts to appease Hitler. “The depths of infamy,” he added, “to which our accurst ‘love of peace’ can lower us are unfathomable.”

Returning to England as soon as World War II broke out, Powell joined the army which appreciated his linguistic skills and put him into its intelligence service. By the time he got out in 1945 he was a brigadier general, the youngest in the entire service. Entering politics, he was elected to Parliament as a conservative member, making several speeches against Constitutional changes which, the way he saw it, were slowly but surely leading to the breakup of the British Commonwealth and of Britain itself. He wore his immense learning lightly; his measured, eloquent and, above all, extremely clear delivery—I remember watching him on TV—soon turned him into a star performer. Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s he occupied a variety of senior positions, reaching the peak of his career in 1962 when he was appointed Secretary of Health under Harold Macmillan. This post he occupied until 1964 when Labor under Harold Wilson won the elections, pushing the Conservatives into the opposition. In 1965 the Conservative leader Edward Heath appointed him shadow Secretary of State for Defense.

It was during his time in the opposition that Powell first started drawing national attention by pointing out the danger of unrestricted immigration from Commonwealth countries. Especially Kenya which, over the previous few decades, had become home to many Indians and Pakistanis. Discriminated against and oppressed by the country’s new African rules, the people in question sought refuge in Britain. At the time I was living in Kilburn, a relatively poor neighborhood in northwestern London where I often encountered them. On one hand there were the Indians who set up small neighborhood shops and, by working themselves and their families very hard indeed, started their way up the social ladder. Contrasting with them were bands of young Moslems who, the papers said, were sometimes subject to what was popularly known as Paki-bashing.

It was a year or so before my arrival, on 20 April 1968, that Powell gave the speech for which he will forever be remembered:

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’ [referring to the Sybil in Virgil’s Aeneid]. That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the 20th century. Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now.

The reaction, both in Parliament and in the media, can be imagined. The day after he held the speech Heath, as leader of the opposition, took Powell’s post as shadow minister of defense away from him. The same Heath, however, later admitted, in private, that Powell might have been “prescient.” He remained a member of Parliament until 1987, but was never again offered a cabinet post. From then to the present, in spite of warnings more numerous than the stars in the sky, no British government has dared taking the “resolute and urgent action” required. Instead, it contented itself by inventing reasons why such action was not required.

And now, feeling abandoned to their fate, some of Britain’s people are beginning to take matters into their own hands.

A Modest Proposal

As my readers will know, I have long been interested in the question as to whether women can or cannot, should or should not, participate in ground combat. Not that I have a personal interest in the matter. If some women, driven bonkers by penis envy, insist on entering the most strenuous activity known to man, who am I stand in their way? They want to go to some of the least congenial, most dangerous, places on earth; so let them go to some of the least congenial, most dangerous, places on earth. Their feminist leaders, whom they follow to the end of idiocy (supposing there is such a thing), want them to get killed; so let them be killed. Since they want it so much, they have my blessing.

Still I want to use today’s post in order to sum up, once again, the various problems that such participation gives rise to.

* Recruitment Problems. As countless students, a great many of them female, have noted, no sooner do women join any group, institution or organization than the prestige of the organization in question starts declining. The outcome is difficulties in attracting first class manpower and a loss of fighting power. And so on in a vicious cycle that points nowhere but downward.

* Physical problems. Women on the average only have seventy percent of men’s lower body strength, fifty-five percent of upper body strength. Thinner, lighter bones make them more vulnerable to injuries and stress breaks. Shorter arms make them less adept at stabbing, whereas different elbow and pelvis structures makes it harder to throw objects and run respectively. The movements of many women are hampered by their pendulous breasts. A different anatomical structure makes them more vulnerable to dirt and infection. Smaller lungs and the resulting lower aerobic capacity mean they are less suitable for operating at great altitudes. The last-named problem in particular can also lead to amenorrhea (cessation of the periods) and sterility. As at least one military woman I used to know did develop these problems.

* Training problems. Given the physical differences, training women along with men, and holding them to the same standards, is impossible. Not holding them to the same standard is unfair. The former course will lead to any number of injuries, some of them crippling. The latter will turn women into a liability precisely at the place, and at the time, when such liability can least be afforded. It also means that female soldiers will enter combat without the kind of training their male colleagues have received. Which, of course, is more unfair still. In practice, the outcome is going to be lower standards for everyone. As, to use a particularly ludicrous example, when American and British commanders are ordered to balance readiness against lactation time.

* Problems of motivation. For as long as men have existed on earth, one of their key motives in joining the forces and fighting has always been to prove themselves as men. By definition, a group, or institution, or organization, which also has female members does not allow them to do so. As more women join, men move out. The more men move out, the more the powers that be are compelled to replace them with women. In this way recruiting women often achieves the opposite from what is intended, which is to alleviate a shortage of men.

* Problems of cohesion. For a unit to be cohesive, all its members must be treated equally. The physical characteristics of women, as well as the erotic ties that will necessarily form among men and women living closely together in the same unit, make doing so impossible. Anything else is an illusion. Or why else didn’t the Catholic Church establish co-ed monasteries?

* Sexual harassment problems. The recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have given rise to a new problem: military-sexual trauma. Real or, in view of the possibility of obtaining compensation, fake. Whether a female soldier who is traumatized because a fellow soldier made a pass at her is fit to participate in the most strenuous and most dangerous activity on earth will not be discussed here. As things are, a situation has been created where many male soldiers fear and hate their female colleagues more than they do the enemy—and with good reason.

* Finally, and perhaps worst of all, any male member of the military who so much dares as hint at the existence of these and similar problems will find himself targeted by the thought police and disciplined. As a result the entire military, precisely the organization most dependent on mutual trust right unto death, is built on lies, lies, and more lies.

So far, the facts. Over the years, I have often been asked whether anything could make me change my views on this topic. For an answer, I turn to Karl Popper. Popper (1902-94) was an Austrian-born, Jewish, philosopher who made quite some contributions to his field. Among the most important was the idea that the validity of natural laws can never be conclusively proven; the reason being that, however numerous our experiments, at some unknown time and place there may always be an exception. Accordingly scientific progress, and with it an improved understanding of the world, is achieved by using experiments in order to invalidate “known” laws. In other words, by showing that they are false.

This kind of testing may work fine in the natural sciences, and indeed some scientists have gone on record as saying that, for them, it did just that. However, applying it do the social sciences is much more difficult. There are several reasons for this. First, as the above discussion also shows, there is normally more than one cause behind any effect. Second, cause and effect tend to be so closely intertwined as to be inseparable. Absent an “independent variable,” as the saying goes, tests are often impossible to design and carry out. Third, even if they can be designed and carried out, changing circumstances mean that they can never be repeated in exactly the same form. For Popper that means that most, perhaps even all, social science is not science but literature.

No two wars, no two campaigns, have ever been exactly alike. That is why measuring the performance of gender-neutral units against other kinds is impossible. I do, however, have in mind a modest proposal that could provide an answer. In many technical fields, one of the first steps in validating a new idea is to build a small-scale model and putting it to the test. So let there be formed, by way of a model, some mixed-gender football teams. And let them play both against all male teams and against mixed-gender ones. If they work—if the field is not quickly littered with badly injured female bodies—so should mixed combat units.

Setting up such an experiment, or test, would be easy, cheap, and, if so desired, repeatable. So why hasn’t it been done? Because we take sport much more seriously than we do war; and because everyone knows the outcome ahead of time.

Guest article: Young Girls in the Porn Industry

by Renzo Verwer*

Recently I watched the 2015 documentary Hot Girls Wanted on Netflix. It is also available on You Tube. Fascinating!

I learnt a lot about the rapid turnover of 18-year old girls. After a few months in the industry demand for their services declines, so that most of them have no choice but to stop and get out. But by that time a new cohort of 18-year olds is standing ready, eager to take their place.

Many of the reactions to the film are predictable. They start from the assumption that the girls are “victims.” Doing so, they ignore the fact that the girls volunteer for the job—indeed they queue up for it—and work at it without any compulsion. They get paid for what they do and enjoy some other advantages as well. So why should we feel sorry for them?

Riley, the pimp who appears in the documentary, is quite disgusting. On the other hand, he may simply be showing off in front of the camera. People often do that, you know.

Still remaining with the documentary, Roosh V, the author of several well-known books on how to pick up girls and “bang” them, has the following to say about the topic:

 

“In terms of the sexual market place, these girls are subconsciously maximizing the value of their vaginas, especially when considering that on average, they are no higher than a hard 6 (without excessive makeup). In a Midwestern town, the best a 6 can do is get pumped and dumped by a handful of bad boys before having to settle down with a normal man and take care of the family home, but that simply isn’t enough for a girl who was taught to believe that she’s capable of anything. The alternative is for her to live in Miami, have thousands of followers online, and become used as sex meat.”

I, too, noticed this. Of course the girls are 18 years old and quite attractive. But they are far from being the most attractive among their age group. They stand little or no chance of hooking a super-rich or special (in their eyes) man. Entering the porn industry enables them to taste a different world, at least for a time.

The documentary also allows the parents of porn-actresses to have their say. Most did not know, in advance, that their daughters were going to enter the industry. You see the parents suffering. About this, Roosh wrote the following:

“The parents of one of the girls were especially heartbroken. Their daughter was given every opportunity to have a good life, but unfortunately they did not understand female nature and how it demands boundaries and control from a strong male figure. The father, even when he knew his daughter was doing porn, said that he supported her in whatever she did because he loved her. He was raised in an era where people did the right thing, and only “love” was needed. But those days are gone.”

That is right.

Speaking of “female nature,” Roosh may be exaggerating. And certainly there is no reason why parents, who are given their say in the documentary, should stop loving a daughter just because she is, or was, active in the industry. But why so late? Why didn’t these parents set some limits earlier on? True, parents can’t do everything. There are also peer groups to reckon with. But why didn’t these parents take care to make their daughters understand that a career in porn is not exactly ideal? Is it because they are not supposed to? After all, one of the founding myths of modern education is that young people, boys and girls alike, should be “free,” sexually speaking. Ergo, that working in the porn industry is no worse than any other job. The outcome: every single parent, and almost every single daughter, who appears on the documentary is unhappy. The parents, so they claim, simply did not realize what their daughters were up to and what was happening to them; and that, I think, is the most painful part of it all.

I wonder what other readers think of this documentary.

Finally: The girls in Hot Girls Wanted seem to be egocentric, boring, and bored. I can’t help wondering what they would have done if the porn industry did not exist…

 

* Renzo Verwer (Woerden, the Netherlands, 1972) is an author and a dealer in second hand books. He has published books about love, work, and the chess master Bobby Fischer. His most recent one (in Dutch) is titled Freedom of Thought for Beginners. His website is www.artikelzeven.nu. His books: http://www.amazon.com/Renzo-Verwer/e/B00ITG41ES/

Fifty Years Have Passed

The coming Monday, June 5th, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The one, let me remind you, which led to the Israeli occupation of the Sinai, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank (East Jerusalem included). That is why I thought the time had come to take a second look at it. In doing so, my starting point will be a book, Defending Israel: A Controversial Plan towards Peace, which I published in 2004. What did I get right, and where did I go wrong? Does the central thesis, namely that, seen from a security point of view Israel could easily afford to withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank, still hold?

The background to the book was formed by the Second Palestinian Uprising, or Intifada. Starting in October 2000 and lasting until 2005, the Uprising was carried out mainly by suicide bombings, claiming the lives of 1,137 Israelis as well as 6,371 Palestinians before it was finally quashed, with considerable brutality it must be said, by then Prime Minister Ariel. Sharon. The number of injured is unknown, but must have been much larger still. In addition, tens of thousands of Palestinians saw the inside of Israeli jails where some of them still remain. The economic damage to Israel was estimated at about 15 percent of GDP; that inflicted on the Palestinians, at perhaps 40 percent. Going abroad during that time, I could not help noticing how, at Israel’s only international airport, there were often more security personnel than passengers.

The way I saw it in 2004, and still see it now, the advent of ballistic missiles has greatly reduced the relevance of territory and, with it, the value of the “strategic depth” long seen by Israel as the main reason for holding on to the occupied territories. In any case, the age of large-scale Arab-Israeli conventional warfare was clearly over. Not only because the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan held; but because, as both the 1956 and 1967 wars had shown, should Egypt’s military try to confront Israel in the Sinai then all they would be doing would be to put their necks into a noose. Should Egypt lose a war in the Sinai, then it would lose. Should it win, then it might face nuclear retaliation. Israel is believed to have as many as 100 warheads and delivery vehicles to match. By targeting the Aswan Dam, the people in Jerusalem have it within their power to turn Egypt into a radioactive lake within rather less than an hour of the decision being made.

Having been heavily defeated in the first Gulf War, Iraq was out of the picture and remains so today. This left Syria which, however, was much too weak to take on Israel on its own and has become even weaker since. At that time as now very few Arabs lived on the Golan Heights, explaining why its occupation by Israel never met strong resistance or drew much international attention. Consequently holding on to it was, and remains, relatively easy and need not preoccupy us here.

In what was surely the most daring move in a remarkable career, Sharon, against howls of opposition, built a fence around the Gaza Strip, demolished the Israeli settlements there, and pulled out. It cost him his life, but he effectively put an end to attempts by suicide bombers to enter Israel proper. To be sure terrorism, now in the form of underground tunnels and rockets, did not come to a sudden end. As if to prove the fact that the role of territory was declining, the rockets in particular gained in range and power, causing much trouble. This kind of terrorism was only brought to an end during the second half of 2014 when a massive Israeli military operation (“Protective Edge”) inflicted many casualties and enormous destruction. Since then an equilibrium, albeit an uneasy one, has prevailed in southern Israel. As is shown, among other things, by a tremendous real estate boom in that part of the world.

This in turn suggests that, had Israel launched the operation in question a few years earlier, it might have spared both itself and the other side considerable grief and trouble. Looking on the withdrawal from Gaza from the perspective of 2017, it appears to have been a great success. It rid Israel of some two million unwilling Palestinians, leaving them to govern themselves as best they can and forcing their leadership into what, in practice, is some sort of accommodation.

During the Second Intifada a beginning was made in constructing a wall around the West Bank as well. A measure, incidentally, which this author of had proposed, in public, as early as 1993. But two reasons have prevented its completion. First, through East Jerusalem, which Israel claims for itself, passes the only highway connecting the two “bulges” that forms the West Bank, making it all but impossible to seal off. Second, the Jewish settlers in the Bank, supported by a considerable part of the Israeli government and public, fear that, should the wall be completed, it would herald at least a partial withdrawal from that region as well. And with good reason; doing so was something both Sharon and his successor, Ehud Olmert, actively contemplated.

Whether, had Sharon not died in harness and Olmert not been forced to resign, they would have been able to dominate Israeli politics to the point of carrying out such a withdrawal will never be known. At present any attempt to proceed in this direction is certain to be stopped by Israel’s right-wing government and public. Still the example set by Gaza refuses to go away. Hovering in the background, it is a constant reminder that an alternative to present-day policies does exist.

As Defending Israel argued, and as events since then have clearly shown, the most important problem the West Bank poses to Israel is neither “strategic depth” nor terrorism. The former is rendered all but irrelevant by the advent of ballistic missiles, peace with Jordan, the demise of Iraq, and the Bank’s topography which makes an attack from east to west almost impossible. The latter could be solved by the construction of a wall and a withdrawal. The real threat is demographic. Six and a half million Jewish Israelis cannot go on forever governing an Arab-Palestinian population now numbering some two and a half million and growing fast. In this day and age, indeed, the very idea of an occupation that has now lasted for fifty years is simply crazy. Either pull out, unilaterally if necessary, or risk Israel becoming an apartheid state—which, I hate to say, in many ways it already is.

Finally, East Jerusalem. A story, probably apocryphal, dating to the first months after the June 1967 War illustrates the problem very well. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol is touring East Jerusalem. All around him people are beaming with happiness, but he alone keeps a gloomy face. Mr. Eshkol, they ask him, why all these sighs? In response he says that getting in was easy (as indeed it was). But getting out!

And so, indeed, it has proved. There is no way in the world Israel can be persuaded to give up the Old City and its immediate surroundings, the place which, whatever UNESCO may say, gave birth to the Jewish people well over 3,000 years ago. Nor, given the historical record, is there any reason why it should. But Israel should be able, and willing, to let go of many East Jerusalem neighborhoods that were recently joined to the city and have absolutely nothing to do with holiness. Such as Sheik Jarach, Dir al Balach, Ras al Amud, and quite a few others. All are inhabited exclusively by Palestinians and all are poor and underdeveloped. As in the case of Gaza, a withdrawal from them, even if it has to be carried out unilaterally and even if it only leads to a modus vivendi rather than peace, would be a blessing, not a curse.

With the 1967 war’s fiftieth anniversary coming soon, what is the point in waiting?

Soft-Boiled Eggs

In case you have questions, „soft-boild eggs“ is the German title of my book, Pussycats. Recently I gave an interview about it to the Junge Freiheit („Young Freedom“), a Berlin-based, fairly conservative, fairly right-wing, cultural German weekly whose editor and staff I have got to know well over the years. The person who did the interview is Moritz Schwarz, a friend of mine and the best interviewer I have ever met. The interview was done in writing. He put his questions in German, I answered in English. Later my answers were translated into German by the JF staff. Here I have done the opposite. Having translated Mortiz’s questions into English, I left my answers almost exactly as they were.

JF: Professor van Creveld, why is the West always being defeated?

MvC: There are several answers to this question. First, the way we Westeners educate our children, guarding them against any possible danger, preventing them from growing up, and actively infantilizing them. Second, the way we do the same with our troops; through most of the West, „millitarism,“ meaning a healthy pride in one‘s pofession of a soldier, has become taboo. Third, the way women are incorporated into the military, often turning training into a joke and creating a situation where male soldiers are more afraid of being falsely accused of „sexual harassment“ than of the enemy. Fourth, the way post traumatic stress disorder is not only tolerated but encouraged and even enforced. Fifth, the spread of the idea that war is the greatest of all evils and nothing is worth dying for.

JF: But aren’t the West’s armed forces the most powerful in the world? By right, they should have been invincible.                    

MvC: That is true. But the facts speak for themselves, don‘t they?

J.F: Several contrary examples offer themselves. Including the 1982 Falkland War, 1991 war with Iraq, 1991, and the Arab-Israeli Wars. How do these cases fit into your theory?                  

MvC: The Falkland campaign was a conventional one fought by two „Western“ powers among themselves. Israel did indeed use to be an exception—until the performance of its troops during the 2006 Second Lebanon War showed otherwise. As to the 1991 war, yes. But that war was a conventional one of a kind which is very, very unlikely to recur

JF: Could you elaborate on the Israeli case? Is there anything there the West might learn from it?

MvC: To repeat, there was a time when the Israeli Army was indeed a fighting force that used to command the admiration of the world. But that was long ago. Starting with the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, on no occasion did the Israelis defeat their enemies. Not in 2006, not in all their attacks on Gaza. Currently, all its „fighters“ know how to do is gun down a fifty-year old Palestinian woman, the mother of eleven, who came at them with a knife. Judging by the 2006 campaign, indeed, there is good reason to believe that, should Israel ever again come under attack by a real enemy, its troops will turn tail and run.       

JF: How did the basic idea of Soft-Boiled Eggs occur to you?

MvC: As we just said, Western armies are the wealthiest, most powerful , best equipped, and best trained in history. So how come they almost always lose?

JF: Is it possible that, looking back over the last few decades, the West has simply been suffering from a spell of bad luck?

MvC: Let me quote the elder Moltke on this. „In the long run, luck usually helps the able.“

JF: We Westerners start being turned into soft eggs at an early age. Is that simply the outcome of a mistaken ideology, or is it the price we have to pay for living in a highly advanced civilization?

MvC: I am not certain I would describe our own civilization as „highly advanced.“ But yes, we seem to follow the example of many previous civilizations as analyzed by people such as the ancient Greek historian Polybius, the medieval Arab one Ibn Khaldun, and twentieth-century philosopehrs such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee. The main factors are always the same. To wit, excessive material wealth that leads to less severe mores, both mental and physical; growing gaps between rich and poor (the former, says the Roman poet Lucan, will do anything to feed their clients and retain their allegiance; the latter will do anything to stay alive); the growing unwillingness to do military service and a preference for mercenaries, first native and then, as manpower dries up, foreign as well; and a government that is heavily influenced by women, hence oriented towards security, luxury and comfort. Others are political over-centralization, accompanied by excessive bureaucratization; a shift of emphasis from “hard” towards “soft” power; and “imperial overstretch.” The last of these terms refers to the way in which defense commitments tend to outgrow available resources. The outcome is budget deficits, inflation, and devaluation, and so on in a vicious cycle that leads nowhere but down.

Obviously there are differences between one country and another. By and large, though, this is the process that has brought down ancient Rome, Byzantium, early modern Spain and France, Britain, and Soviet Russia. As a friend of mine likes to say, all of them considered themselves exceptional. Until, often rather suddenly, they were not. Currently President Trump seems to feel that it is well under way to bringing down the US too. Or else why his frantic, at times almost desperate-looking, efforts to save it and make it “great“ again?

JF: You point to the way the meanings of basic ideas such as „courage,“ „violence,“ and „victim“ has been transformed. Why do such linguistic changes matter?

MvC: Language allows us to look into the soul of the people who use it. That is why, in the book, I use Google Ngram to show that, in the West, ideas such as „rights“ have long overtaken „duty.“ War, however, has always been, and will always remain, a question of doing one’s duty above all.

JF: You say that, whereas soldiers used to be respected, nowadays they are more likely to be put down and humiliated. Isn’t that going too far?

MvC: Let me speak about Israel. When I tell today’s students that, years ago, the walls here were covered with grafitti reading, „all respect to Zahal,“ they refuse to believe me. As to the situation in Europe—you are in a better position to judge than I am. It is, however, a long time since I saw a German soldier, or even officer, wear uniform when off duty.

JF: You have written extensively about „the feminziation“ of the armed forces. What do you mean?

MvC: In the US, as by order of the former Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, no kind of training is authorized unless women can do it too. In both the US and Britain, commanders have been ordered to balance readiness against „lactation time.“ I think these facts speak for itself.

JF: But isn‘t it true, as you yourself have written, that combat units have hardly any women?

MvC: No. Women’s influence is making itself felt throughout the forces. Particularly in the sense that they enjoy many, many privileges men do not, thus giving rise to resentment. Worst of all, anyone who dares open his mouth about these things will very quickly find himself jobless. Seen form this point of view, the entire Western military is built on a lie—and a house built on a lie will not stand.

JF: The West has gone far in deligitimizing war. Isn’t that a good thing?

MvC: Should Lincoln have allowed slavery to stand? Or France and Britain, Hitler to do as he pleased? Or Israel in 1967, its population to be massacred by the Arab armies? Aren‘t some things worse than war?

JF: The sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn puts the blame for the West’s impotence on its demography. Societies with a surplus of young men are aggresive; those which have few young men are peaceful. Doesn’t that contradict what you have been saying?

MvC: Not at all. He and I hold similar views. Nor are they at all original. Look, once again, at Polybius. “Men,“ he wrote when referring to his own country, Greece, „turned to arrogance, avarice and indolence [and] did not wish to marry. And when they did marry, they did not wish to rear the children born to them except for one or two at the most.”

JF: Most Europeans believe that, in the US, people are still being educated in a patriotic spirit. You, however, say that is not the case. How do you explain this contradiction?

MvC: Everything is realtive, isn’t it? Besides, upper-class, well-educated, Americans do not send their sons, let alone their daughters into the military any more than their European opposite numbers do.

JF: Why should anyone care about the kind of degeneration you describe? After all, in all modern armed forces combat troops only form a small percentage of the whole. Given the size of the population, recruiting a few thousand fighters should be no problem.

MvC: In theory, you are right. In practice, so bad is the situation that many Western countries, the US specifically included, have been forced to turn to foreign mercenaries. I well remember an American military party I attended here in Israel a few years ago. Every single one of the enlisted men present was a Latino and had a Spanish name.

JF: Given the role of technology, why are you putting so much emphasis on morale? Don’t modern weapons render motivation irrelevant?

MvC: Isn‘t the long, long list of defeats the West has suffered since at least 1953 proof of the contrary?

JF: Perhaps we should turn to mercenaries who still have the „bite“ we need.

MvC: This is already happening. Starting in 2003, a high percentage of US Forces in the Middle East have been mercenaries recruited from all over the world. But whether they represent a solution is another matter. More likely, they will end up by becoming independent, as the late medieval Italian condottieri did.

JF: Suppose we allow the dnagers you describe to persist and to spread. What will be the outcome?

MvC: First civil war, the early signs of which are already visible in Europe; then the collapse of the West.

Nailed to the Swastika

There used to be a time, starting with Frederick the Great and stretching well into World War II, when the Prussian/German military was universally respected, often admired. Foreigners from all over the world flocked to study it—as, for example, US General Emory Upton (The Armies of Europe and Asia, 1878) and British militry author Wilkinson Spenser, (The Brain of an Army, 1895) did. When Japan started modernizing its army in the 1870s it turned to Germany as a matter of course. In several Latin American countries, notably Chile, German military influence is visible (and audible; they love to perform their exercises to Wagner’s music) right down to the present day.

In part, this admiration was due to Germany’s military performance which, starting in 1866. became almost legendary. In part, it was due to the German military spirit. That spirit in turn was anchored in what, in one of my books, I have called Kriegskultur. Kriegskultur is the concrete expression of everything an army fights for. Often the product of centuries of development, some of it spontaneous, some deliberate, it consists of symbols, ceremonies, traditions, and customs; the uniforms, the marching songs, and so on. Between them they form the corset that holds an army together, so to speak. It is they which turn it from a haphazard gathering of unruly men into a cohesive body capable of fighting and, if necessary, dying for the cause.

That, however, was before 1945. True, the War Criminals’ Trials never formally declared the Wehrmacht to be a criminal organization as they did other Nazi organizations, including the Waffen SS. As the years went by and more information came to light, though, its involvement in war crimes—including widespread looting, the extreme mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war, hostage taking, massacres of civilians, and logistic and administrative support for the extermination of the Jews—became undeniable. This involvement caused German Kriegskultur (military culture), long considered exemplary and widely imitated, to fall under a cloud. More so in Germany, paradoxically, than abroad. To provide just one example, in most other countries models of aircraft, tanks, etc. bearing the swastika can be freely bought and publicly displayed. The same applies to books, magazines, memorabilia etc. Not so in Germany where all of this is verboten and can easily lead to criminal prosecution.

To avoid any association with National Socialism, the Bundeswehr’s bases and casernes were cleansed. Not once but repeatedly as successive ministers of defense sought to leave their impact and make headlines. Statues and paintings and old uniforms, flags and standards and trophies, disappeared as if by magic. So, if certain left-wing critics have their way, will the name of anyone who had served in the Wehrmacht. Take the case of pilot-officer Hans-Joachim Marseille. Marseille, whom no one has ever accused of being involved in war crimes or even of being aware of them, shot down no fewer than 158 enemy aircraft. In 1942, when just 22 years old, he was killed when the engine of his Messerschmidt gave up the ghost. In 1975 he had a Luftwaffe base named after him. Now, if the critics have their way, he will be made into an unperson. Such, such are the rewards for serving the German fatherland.

Perhaps it was inevitable that, as time went on, the cleansing process should stretch backward in time to cover not just the terrible years after 1933 but those before it as well. No one who has visited bases and casernes in many countries, as I have, can fail to notice how utilitarian, how bare, how soul-less, German ones appear in comparison with foreign ones. For example, at the Clausewitz-Caserne in Hamburg, home to the staff college, which I last visited some years ago, one will look in vain for any reference to the commanders who, for good or ill, did so much to make Germany into the country it is. Not to Seeckt. Not to Hindenburg. Not to Ludendorff. Not to Schlieffen. Not to Moltke. Not (which God forbid) to Frederick the Great. Not to any of their subordinates. In the whole of German history, apparently the only conflict to receive the kosher stamp are the Wars of Liberation of 1813-15.

Now minister of defense Ursula von der Leyen has begun yet another round of cleansing. Among the victims is former chancellor and her fellow Social-Democrat Helmut Schmidt. A photograph of him in Wehrmacht uniform—he was a junior officer at the time—is being removed from the Bundeswehr-University which, serving as minister of defense (1969-72), he founded. No doubt it is only a question of time before he too is made into an unperson. As usual, the declared objective is to rid the Bundeswehr from anything that might link soldiers with the past. One must, however, ask where, when, and whether the process will ever stop. Also what the impact on fighting power is going to be; given that, to repeat, an army without a military culture is inconceivable.

Nor is the problem limited to the Bundeswehr alone. By committing the crimes it did in 1933-45, the German people nailed itself to the Swastika. Just as Jesus was nailed to the cross. But Jesus was taken down after only six hours. Not so the German people, which is almost certain to remain where it is as long as human memory lasts. Without respite and without hope of leaving its past behind.

That, I well know, is highly unfair to a great many Germans born before 1927 and to all of those who were born after that date. Including my friends, of whom I am very fond indeed. Nevertheless, being a Jew and an Israeli several of whose family members perished during the Holocaust, in all honesty I cannot see how it can be solved.