"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In Memory of September 11

Like most Americans, I watch videos of the Twin Towers with horror. Seeing the Trade Centers
crashing to the Earth, I feel like something in me is going down with them. Why did they do that? Why did they attack the America of 2001: peaceful, rich, and employed?
I don't think the skyline of New York is as good without those Towers, once the highest in the world. Without them, our greatest city is not as brilliant; not as beautiful. Now, not only is the skyline altered, but it is darkened by the deaths of 3000 people. Every time I see New York without the Towers, I think of 9/11, and every time I see New York with the Towers, I wonder how many people who were in the Towers when the photo was taken perished on September 11. To think that terrorists were even able to do that sickens me. Their motives sicken me more. These people attacked the civilians of the United States, the workers, the businessmen and women. They thought that to combat America, their only hope was to kill her people. People who believe in this doctrine are vile creatures, and so far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as a "war crime" against them or those who support them. Mercy is not to be shown to those do not intend, and did not show mercy to us.
On September 11, a beautiful Tuesday morning, two hijacked American Airline planes crashed into the Twin Towers: one at 8:46 a.m., and another on 9:03 a.m. The South Tower fell at 9:59 a.m., and the North followed at 10:28 a.m. Both taking with them thousands of workers, fire fighters, and policemen. 2,606 people died in the Trade Centers, 411 of them were emergency workers, and the remaining 2,195 were civilian businessmen and women.
I have often thought about how I would have escaped these burning towers if I was above the point of impact, and I usually concluded that I would have gone to the roof, but I recently learned that the doors to the top level were locked. Imagine the horror of finding that you had no hope of escape. 90% of the casualties in the towers were at or above the points of impact. In the North Tower, about 1,355 people were trapped above the point of impact, and subsequently died. Only 107 people below the point of impact died, leaving to imagination how many actually escaped from below the crash. In the South tower, 630 people died, partially thanks to the fact that people left the building or did not enter the South Tower when the North Tower was struck, and that one stairway remained intact,  so some of those above the point of impact were able to escape.
90 nations lost citizens in the collapse of the Twin Towers, along with the other attacks on September 11.  The North and South Towers, World Trade Centers 3 through 7, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the Deutsche Bank Building, and two buildings of the World Financial Center all suffered significant damage or total destruction.
Personally, I am not ready to forgive for the destruction of the Twin Towers. Whenever I think about this subject, anger builds inside me, not so much for the loss of 3000 people (this, while ghastly, has been sustained by the United States, and many other countries before), but by our incredible inability to pinpoint and punish those responsible for the attacks. The killing of Osama bin Ladin should not be the end of America's hunt for justice. Unfortunately, the deaths of 919,967 people in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of 9/11 is only further adding to the death toll of that horrible day in September. Every soldier, civilian, or policeman who dies in our War on Terror is another death caused by the attacks on September 11. Is justice being done? I personally do not think so.
Rest in peace to those who died, and rest in peace to those who died as a result.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A House Divided

Abraham Lincoln said: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
This statement is true on a good many accounts. When people are set against each other, they cannot cooperate. They cannot work towards a common goal. Instead, they work to undermine and discredit the other. I believe whole-heartedly in his statement, and off of it will I base this post.
I will try my best not to voice any opinion in this post, but simply to point out a striking similarity and possibly an impending difficulty. The Republicans and the Democrats run American government, they work in the Senate and the House of Representatives and pretty much run the entire system. It is from them that a President is produced, and it is from them that deals are passed etc. However, they are brutally set against each other. The recent crisis in Washington reflects this. Have these two parties ever been so set against each other that they are willing to fight to the bloody end for the sake of a relatively minor deal? Have they ever been so against compromise between them? Under President Reagan, the debt ceiling was raised something like 18 times. According to a firsthand account (my parents) there was very little debate on this. The Republicans and Democrats simply examined what they thought was best for the country at that time, put party inclinations away, and made a decision. Why can't we do that today?
As I read a Civil War book, Battle Cry of Freedom, I was startled by how similar the actions of the Confederate and Union politicians resemble the actions of modern Republicans and Democrats. I am not saying that a secession is likely, but it is alarming how divided our government is. Can we stand "united" when we cannot decide to raise the debt ceiling? "United we don't stand" is more like it. Never have the difficulties in our government alarmed me as they do now.
When Abraham Lincoln said that a house divided cannot stand, I believe he was right. In his case, he was, and a massive war resulting in thousands upon thousands of American casualties resulted. Does history repeat itself? Can a divided house stand now? I do not know, but I wish to bring to the attention of any/all of my readers how strangely similar the unwillingness to compromise just before the Civil War, and just recently in the debt 'crisis' has become.
What do you guys think? Delusion theory? Possible Theory? Let me know in the comments, please. Don't worry about controversy, this a controversial blog. However, I will not tolerate insulting and/or fallacy ridden posts, such as those in the "Odyssey Dawn" comments below; be polite guys. Any such posts will be promptly removed. Once is all I need. Twice is too many.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Cemetery Theory

Hello readers! I just returned from two weeks in the wilds of New Mexico. I was doing a backpacking trip with my Boy Scout Troop out in Philmont Scout Ranch, a legendary piece of property within the BSA.
Anyway, I checked my email and found this spectacular comment to one of my blog posts:

"I recently stumbled across your blog while researching the American Normandy Cemetery. I'm certainly impressed with the quality of your writing and of your thoughts. Keep it up!

That said, I wanted to leave my comment where the post was most relevant, even if several months old. I'm actually looking for an answer, and maybe someone as drawn to history as yourself can shed some light on this curious enigma: when I visited Normandy Cemetery, it came to my attention (as far as I could discern on my walk through the gravesite and from subsequent attempts to discover an explanation) that no Muslims were buried there. An official website states that only crosses and Stars of David act as gravestones (and, if it is relevant, the graves all face the direction of the U.S., "looking home," as it were) but remains eerily silent and unspecific on the "all others" (presumably with respect to faiths) marked beneath "stylized Latin crosses": http://www.abmc.gov/commission/history.php
It is my conjecture that "all others" is limited solely to denominations of Christianity, and also to soldiers who professed no religious affiliation.

Yet it remains a certainty that Muslim-Americans fought in WWII. Where are they buried, if not here, and why on a separate site?"

Well, I am hardly qualified to answer such a question, however, one can always have a theory. In 1945, Germany, Russia, and America were on the world's radar. For sure, these three countries are primarily Christian. The Jewish 'crosses' were probably placed in the cemetaries for various reasons, but one of the most relevant would probably be the fact that millions of Jews had just been killed, and the last thing any country wanted to do was to disrespect their faith in cemeteries. If a religon had just suffered a genocide, those of that faith are going to be buried with all rights pertaining to that religon.
I cannot really explain why those who planned the cemetery didn't simply place a Muslim wing in the cemetary itself, or just mingle the Muslim gravestones with the others. However, after even further research, I found that there is actually a cemetery where Muslims and Christians are buried together. It still doesn't really explain why the main American Cemetery doesn't have a Muslim wing, but... there is a seperate Muslim Cemetery somewhere in Normandy:

If you want a better answer than my theory, you should probably contact the Muslim American Veterans Association. They are a pretty big group and take part in such events as honoring the gravestone of a Muslim Sergeant who was killed in Normandy. If you are interested, here is the link to the site: http://www.mavapost2.com/.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Killing of Osama Bin Laden

On May 2, 2011, four choppers full of U.S. Navy seals mobilized and took off. Their destination? Abbottabad, Pakistan, thought to be the location of Osama Bin Laden, mastermind of the September 11 attacks and leader of the Taliban. Bin Laden was rumored to be inside a large, two story compound with multiple guards and high walls. The compound itself was about 100 yards from the Pakistani Military Academy, the West Point of Pakistan.
As the helicopters descended on the compound, shots were fired, and a firefight occurred. One of the helicopters, ordered to land inside the compound, had technical difficulties and crash landed. President Obama said later that memories of Black Hawk Down flooded his mind. However, the forty SEALS rushed into the compound, and forty minutes later had secured it and killed Bin Laden. There were no American casualties. Four people and Bin Laden were killed, one rumored to be his son, the others were his body guards and wife. Bin Laden resisted, and was shot twice in the head by one of the SEALS.
The men who flew the helicopters were part of the 160th Special Ops Air regiment, and the SEALS who carried out the operation are thought to be Team 6, a unit stationed in Afghanistan. The joint American operation was commanded by the CIA.
As news of Bin Laden's death spread, thousands of Americans cheered in New York, in Washington, and all over the country. Bin Laden's death has boosted the morale of the entire nation. Al Qieda is likely demoralized, and will hopefully remain so for as long as possible.
God bless America... and don't mess with us.

Look at these guys! Be scared Taliban... be scared.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

War Games

Here is a video that I recorded with my flip. It is a small conflict between myself, my friend (Dexter), and my other friend (Jason). Jason has a very powerful and superior gun, so Dexter and I teamed against him with our slightly inferior weapons. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Operation Anaconda - Shame on the Command

In March of 2002, the eyes of the world were on America, who had recently dispatched thousands of troops into Afghanistan. Because of frustration between the military and press about the slow moving progress in Afghanistan, the Pentagon presented a new American offensive. This plan included truck convoys driving deep into the Shah-i-Kot Valley, where a large number of Taliban and AL Qaeda fighters had gathered in the previous months. The command placed in charge of the operation, CENTCOM, did not want to use Air Support to severely weaken the entrenched Taliban fighters, before sending ground forces in. After a dispute between the Marine and CENTCOM commands, CENTCOM agreed to use some small amount of air power, but not the large amount that could have been used, and needed to be used. Still, the Marine command was very anxious about landing troops on the exposed positions indicated, and desperately requested more air support. It was denied. According to Seymour M. Hersh, writer of the book Chain of Command, General Franks [leader of the operation], simply did not want to use air power. Either this man's ego was too big, or he saw some odd obstruction to air power in the valley, the former is most likely. The excuse offered by General Franks? CENTCOM didn't want to lose the element of surprise; this is simply ridiculous, as the Air Combat Command in Virginia noted, 'it was already known throughout the region that an attack was coming.'
On March 2, 2002, the 10th Mountain division and the 101st Airborne Divisions were to be landed at certain chopper landing sectors while truckloads of American trained Afghan fighters, were to head directly up the highway into the valley. The events that followed justified the caution of the Marine command. The first trucks up the highway, packed with Afghan fighters were obliterated by mortar fire at a fixed point on the road. The Al Qaeda fighters had been waiting for them. The subsequent waves refused to advance, as they knew the first wave had been completely blown away. The American joint ground and helicopter assault fared no better. The soldiers were supposed to jump from helicopters which would then proceed to provide fire support. The Taliban and Al Qaeda would then have been caught between Afghan land forces [the ones that were obliterated by mortar fire] and American troops. Instead, terrorist fighters fired on the American troops as they tumbled from the helicopters, they knew that they were going to land in the area, and there had been no American air support to wipe them out. Right at that point, there was, according to a former C.I.A. counter terrorism official, "A complete breakdown at the tactical level. It was a disaster." A Marine officer added, "The chain of command froze. Young soldiers cried and threw down their weapons. There was a total unit failure." The attack was a complete failure with the landing zones littered with weapons, backpacks, supplies, and radios as the panicked American troops fled down the mountain to safety. The result was fourteen American casualties and large numbers of wounded before helicopters and coalition troops were permitted to rescue them. Had Australian S.A.S. commandos not left their mission and driven off the Afghan troops, a former Marine officer says, "we would have lost the entire team." Not only is this operation a shame, but reports indicate that most of the soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division were not even prepared for combat.
The soldiers who fought in Operation Anaconda were valiant men placed in the wrong situation. In this case, the greatest soldiers in the world were given horrible leadership and training. They were not prepared for the situation they were sent into and neither were their commanding officers. I wish to forever memorialize the valor and sacrifice that those men made, and to forever remember the pathetic efforts of their commanding officers, who were willing to sacrifice the soldiers of the United States of America in the way that they did.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Odyssey Dawn

Well, after a series of unsucessful threats, Libya has been struck. As much as I hate the idea of military action while we are already engaged in a very expensive war, I have to say: eat it, Libya. This operation, awesomely named Operation Odyssey Dawn, has seriously damaged Libyan forces. I do not know all of the details, but I do know that this operation was performed expertly. Not only were ground forces not engaged, which would have been a dangerous gamble, but my USAF theory was semi-proved right! Backed by naval Tomahawk Missles, United States (and coalition, but... mostly United States) planes utterly crushed Libyan airpower and military resources. This is, in my opinion, exactly the kind of operation that the United States should engage in. Why put large amounts of American lives in danger when we can make the enemy eat the damage and the casualties. The ground forces that were used also operated in a very admirable fashion; they rolled in, rescued two pilots whose plane had malfunctioned, and rolled out. The US passed complete control of the Operation to NATO, but while we may no longer be leading the strike, we led and coordinated the initial Operation. Despite this, our units are in the extreme majority.

File:USS Barry fires Tomahawk missile Libya.png
                    The USS Barry firing a Tomahawk Missle. E pluribus unum.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Architecture and Irrigation Conspiracy

Does anyone ever wonder, when driving casually down a road in either the city or the country, how easy it would be to fortify? Think about it, if you look at any city road, there is usually elaborate walls, hedges, and sometimes even statues and sunken parks all around them. Then take a country road, think about how, most of the time,  irrigation ditches ride along both sides.
If there ever was an invasion of America, I am assuming that the Americans would take up arms (I know I would) and assist the military. What better place to fight then along these roads??? Cover everywhere, you've constantly got an architectual wall, a ditch, a fence, a hedge, to hide behind!
Is this the work of the government? Did they plan this? IS THERE AN IMPENDING INVASION OF AMERICA????? I don't know, but if I had to fight off an invasion of the homeland, it seems like it would be awful convenient.
*This is a ridiculous post, I just felt like posting something like this. It does seem kind of interesting though... next time any of my readers are driving, look along the roadsides and see if there is ever anywhere where one could take cover, I'll bet you'll see quite a few.

This is a picture of me in front of a bridge called 'Le Merderet' in Normandy, France. On June 6, 1944, this bridge was occupied by American paratroopers and there was a very heavy battle, including tanks, bazookas, and machine guns, all around it. In the end, the handfull of American paratroopers managed to hold off large numbers of Germans and four tanks. If you look closely, you can see the ground sloping away from the road, forming a small irrigation ditch, which leads into the stream that the bridge crosses. In 1944, this ditch was much bigger and wider and, during the battle, it was filled with American troops. The American troops won the battle, and their side of the stream had the ditches... does that say anything about my theory?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Neglect of the U.S.A.F.

I am not the most knowledgeable military strategist in the world, not even close, but I am sure of one thing: air superiority is always the key to victory. If an army has control of the air, they can obliterate any ground unit in sight. In World War II, the Air Force, while not given much credit, saved the lives of thousands of soldiers by hitting the Germans before they could hit us. According to Lt. George Wilson, veteran and author of the WWII novel If You Survive (which is a great book, by the way): "I wonder if the Air Force ever received enough credit for its awesomely effective job. One can only speculate how many infantry lives the Air Force saved. For all that, I am willing to admit that I always resented the extra pay and comfortable living of the Air Force boys. I am now prepared to declare my deepest, most profound appreciation for the work they did and for the incredible risks they took every time they were in the air." There it is, straight from the mouth of a veteran of one of the most vicious wars of the 20th Century; the Air Force has protected the lives of thousands of soldiers in the past, and continue to do so now.
However, now that we have addressed the value of the Air Force, I wish to go one step further and elaborate on a theory of mine concerning the Air Force's role in modern day warfare. Today, the Air Force spends millions of dollars on drones, high tech fighter jets, etc, however their budget is diminutive compared to the Army's. The Army spent 243.9 billion dollars in 2010 to update, control, and maintain their equipment. However, the Air Force, in my opinion, a much more important unit, spent 170.6 billion dollars to update, maintain and operate their equipment. There is a difference of just over 100 billion dollars there! Now, according to the EOD Memorial Foundation, 12 airmen have given their lives in the current War on Terror. Let us compare, according to Wikipedia, a whopping 4,392 men of the U.S. Marines and Army have killed in action, not to mention the 31,827 men wounded. While Wikipedia may not be the best source, we can still see the difference in loss of life for the Air Force and the U.S. Army and Marines. Just in terms of men killed and wounded, the Air Force is a much more efficient unit, but let us go one step further. If U.S. planes swarmed the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan during the day and night, the insurgents would be afraid to leave their caves. One may say that they could still operate effectively as terrorist organization in their caves, but then I will answer with this: if we cut 100 billion dollars from the Army and restrict them to just defense of America herself, give 50 billion of those dollars to the Air Force, and then put the remaining 50 billion dollars into U.S. border protection, the security of the U.S./Mexican Border would increase, and terrorists would have a much more difficult time getting into the country itself. Not just this, but the U.S.A.F. would have a huge surge of funding, and therefore of technology. The U.S. would be foremost in air superiority, not to even speak of the potential innovations that would result. Also, with Marines and Army pulled back out of combat zones, U.S. casualties would plummet, and many more people would support the War.
This is my theory concerning the potential power of the U.S.A.F, and while it is immensely powerful now, I believe the unit could become the best fighting force in the world if we just give it some funding.
Thanks for reading everyone! I know I have one U.S.A.F. veteran among my readers but if there are any others or U.S.A.F. enthusiasts please tell me if you think this theory has potential or is simply ridiculous. By the way, no offense to any Army or Marine soldiers, I just happen to believe the U.S.A.F. is a more valuable unit when comparing firepower and casualties.

This video does not contain open violence, but it does show a vehicle being blown up. If you are sensitive to this, do not watch it. This video shows U.S. Marines pinned down in a street by the vehicle down the road. They are in Mosul, Iraq. If you listen you can hear the Marines talking to each other and the cracks and pings of bullets hitting their Humvee. This camera was mounted on the bumper of the armored vehicle that they are firing from. This video shows the awesome power of the Air Force. If you pause it at 0:25, you can see the missile coming towards the vehicle. After watching it, consider how long it would have taken for the Marines to do the same job the F-16 did in seconds. This does not even bring into consideration the potential wounds and loss of life that may have ensued. Enjoy everyone!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why Is Everyone Afraid of the Military?

One of my premier interests is chemical engineering - however I am very passionate about the military. As a result, if I go into the chemical engineering field, I will probably be working with or for the military. However, when I mention this to my homeschooling friends, many of whom are very well educated, the majority of them recoil in astonishment or surprise. I have yet to meet a homeschooling family that supports or even understands my passion. This is unfortunate, because what the modern military needs are innovative thinkers, people who can anticipate and understand situations, then react to them before anyone else can. No offense to any schoolers who read my blog, but the best thinkers of this generation have been coming from homeschoolers. Why then, are homeschoolers so afraid of the military?
What I have come to believe is that the military scares people. Despite their advertisements pushing 'honor' and 'duty,' the military cannot really distract people from the casualty list. Yet, there are approximately 2,278,895 soldiers serving in the United States Armed Forces as of September 2010. Of these troops, 68,000 are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Info. from U.S. Department of Defense.) That's only 33% of American forces. That is a big percentage, but it becomes even smaller if you consider the number of men who actually go into combat. If you sign up, there is a better chance that you will end up manning base in the U.S. then fighting in Afghanistan.
I, for one, am determined to help support my country by serving or helping those who serve. I have subscribed to the National Defense magazine, and after doing this I have become even more caught up with the military. Not only do you work with thousands of other men and women towards a common goal, but if you stay in long enough, you could potentially change the way America itself functions. This is appealing to me, as America indeed needs change, and only the new generation of thinkers and politicians can do this. Although I do not intend to fight on the front lines of American liberty, I do intend to help those who do. Perhaps some of the homeschoolers who previously recoiled in distaste at my decision will understand why I think the way I do, and maybe even consider a career involving the military.

Don't worry! That's not me manning a bunker, that's just me posing for a shot in Normandy. By the way, if anyone has specific reasons why they dislike the military, please post a comment as to why. Thanks!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inception Deception

Unfortunately, this blog post will not be about the movie Inception, as I have not seen it. However, it will be about an equally exciting topic: deception.
From the earliest of times, deception has been used to defeat the strongest of enemies. From biblical times to modern day, the generals have deceived their enemies to achieve a victory. However, one of the most interesting examples, to me, is that of Julius Caesar's actions during a particular battle of the Gallic Wars. Now, many people think of Julius Caesar as the statesmen assassinated by his friends, or maybe even the canned dog food featuring a pristine white dog on the cover, but, Julius had an extensive and successful career before he got into politics, or the dog food industry.
Julius Caesar was marching with his legion somewhere in France enjoying the lovely weather, tasty wine, and fanatical tribesmen... fanatical tribesmen? Indeed, he was constantly attacked by armies of Gauls, but this particular army was much bigger than any of those he had faced before. However, Caesar did not lose hope, instead, he selected the most advantageous position for a camp he could find, and began scheming. His first move was to shrink the size of his camp. He made men share tents and he reduced the widths of the roads within, causing the Gauls to believe he commanded a much smaller army then he actually had. After he did this, he ordered all of his men to feign confusion and disorder. When the Gallic army arrived, they found a tiny camp populated by seemingly terrified soldiers. Once they observed this, they held Caesar and his army in contempt. So arrogant were they, that they sent one division of cavalry out to confront the fort. Caesar replied by sending out cavalry who were specifically told to break and flee in terror after a minute's worth of combat. This done, Caesar made an extravagant show of bracing all of his walls with earth, including, so the Gauls thought, the gates. The Gauls, thinking that Caesar had piled earth against his gates, by doing so hemming himself in, began to act very reckless, assuming that Caesar was trapped within his fort. They took up a disadvantageous position and began to stroll about without their weapons. Finally, they attacked with a portion of their army, thinking that Caesar's army was very small, and very demoralized. Instead, they met with brutal resistance, and as they attempted to scale the walls, Caesar and most of his camp burst out of the supposedly blockaded gates. Caught by surprise, the Gauls were mowed down before Caesar's army. After a short battle, the entire Gallic army fled into the forests.
As you can see, this episode of deception was carried out with such skill so as to trick an entire army and eventually defeat them. This, while not the inception of deception is still one of the best early examples of a small army deceiving a much larger one, and by doing so obtaining victory.

    This is a photo of the town of Sancerre, in central France, taken by me when I went to study French there.
As you can see, the geography of the area involves extensive forests, and if any of my readers are wondering why Caesar let any of this large Gallic army escape, you now know why. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Elephants, Pigs and Bugs, Oh My!

Aristotle never handled a computer, and Plato never touched a microchip, but the learned Greeks still managed to use biological warfare. In the ancient world, bilological warfare began with the creative use of a wide array of animals, especially elephants, pigs and bugs.

Elephants were a huge part of biological warfare in ancient times. In fact, war elephants are known to have been used in India as early as 1100 B.C. However, they were not used in Europe until Alexander the Great stumbled across them while casually invading India. Despite some ethical problems, Alex was a great general, and he immediately incorporated these behemoths into his army. Ever since, the Greeks all demanded at least a few elephant soldiers to join their army, or else they would end up seriously disadvantaged. Frankly, the elephant was a terrifying, grey tank that destroyed everything in its path. Elephants crippled cavalry because most horses, (unless brought up about elephants), cannot stand the scent of them, and flee from the giants as quickly as possible. The Greeks became familiar with elephants long before their Roman neighbors.

When Greek General Pyrrhus invaded Italy during the aptly named Pyrrhic Wars, he brought with him several war elephants. The Romans quickly learned that they needed to come up with a solution to fight these horrid beasts, and this led to the creation the oiled pig... and perhaps, bacon! Herds of pigs would be drenched in oil, set on fire, and driven toward the elephants, causing the giants to run away in great fear. The feelings of the poor piggies may harm sensitive readers so I won't mention them here!  The burning pigs gave the Romans a surefire way to drive away the massive elephants, and eventually, Pyrrhus left, having lost too many men. As you can imagine panicking elephants fleeing don't mind trampling anyone in their path and Pyrrhus could not afford to keep losing his soldiers.

Although elephants may be a powerful and destructive war machine, and pigs may be delicious and horrifying foes, there was one animal that could top them all. This animal pulled off an amazing accomplishment; it drove invading Roman forces away from the walled city of Hatra in only twenty days. Now, at the time of this seige, Romans were argueably the best fighters in the world, and they were extremely skilled in seige warfare. If they couldn't storm a city, they would starve the defenders out, sometimes taking years to do so. Yet, one amazing, tiny, creature drove them away from Hatra in a mere twenty days. What was this fierce critter? The little-known assassin bug. Whenever the Romans would advance, the defenders of Hatra would dump jars of assassin bugs on their heads. If the Romans waited in camp, defenders would sneak into the camp and throw jars of assassin bugs onto them. These mini attackers would sting or bite the Romans, causing an extremely painful bite. These bugs also inject a venom which can cause deadly allergic reactions. As a result, the Romans fled from the town of Hatra, with little assassin bugs clinging to their armor and clothes. The Emperor Trajan himself was wounded by an assassin bug in this seige. So, if you find yourself needing to protect a walled city beseiged by Romans, look under some rocks and make friends with a few thousand assassin bugs; they'll rid you of your enemy in no time.

These three animals are just a few of the many examples of biological warfare in the ancient world. Snakes, scorpions and even oxen were used to maim, kill, or defeat enemies. If you ever need to make horses panic, grab some elephants, if you are on the other end of that attack, you can always set some pigs on fire, and if you need to lift a seige in twenty days, call up the assassin bugs, and you'll have no problems except a mighty case of animal cruelty!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oh the Humanity!

Sorry that I haven't posted anything. I was officially chilling for the holidays. Anyway, I figured I would break my 'blog fast' and get back into blogging.

When I visited the Normandy beaches with my family, we visited the American and German cemeteries. At the time, I didn't think anything of it, but when we visited the German cemetery, I was sobered, but not overwhelmed with sorrow. When we visited the American cemetery, I cried. (And I'm not afraid to admit it!) Now that I think back on this, I realize how inhumane this is. Indeed, the Germans fought for an evil ruler, but they were humans too. Maybe they aren't even from our country, but they are still humans. Many of the Wehrmarcht or the common soldiers were forced into service by the SS. The SS were the evil units who carried out Hitler's dirty work, but most of the normal soldiers, the Wehrmarcht, were simply fighting to survive. Why was I not equally sorrowful at the loss of any human lives?

I realize that it isn't just me who generalizes whole groups of people. I see how many people in America seem to generalize Arabs as fanatics who scream 'death to the infidels' whenever they can. However, I have had many experiences with Arabs, and only one time did I meet with a hostile action. Of course, I lived in Abu Dhabi, an American-friendly area of the Middle East, but there were still many Arabs from most of the Middle East living and working there. It troubles me that many Americans simply put off Arabs as ignorant fanatics. However, I believe although some may behave in heinous ways towards non-Muslims, we should return that anger with tolerance and understanding; turning the other cheek would be the first step among many other key actions. This first step will help our nation to once again reach a high moral ground if we attempt to understand a group of people better. There are many experts in the military, but those 'experts' sometimes overlook the fact that when one group of Muslims is threatened or invaded, many other Muslims distrust those who invade or threaten their fellows. The other Muslims may do nothing to help their brothers in religion, but they will hate anyone who attacks a nearby Muslim country. Now, many Muslims throughout Europe, Asia, America, and the Middle East dislike America, and this huge population of people influences the politics of their respective countries. As a result, America begins to loose her moral high ground when we forget not to generalize. If we loose this moral high ground, we could loose our influence in the world, and become another powerful but corrupt nation in the minds of all of those on Earth. Tolerance is key!

              Here is a photo of my Dad and I at the American Cemetery in Normandy
Awful isn't it? All of those crosses....