This will be a bit of a diffuse post, and a bit related to the Martial Arts as we study them.
It was saddening to note the volunteers headed for the "Suicide Camp" in Iraq talking about using the "suicide weapon" and that no non muslim country has such a weapon. Of course this comment flies in the face of historical fact..
It is this dedication to death that bothers me. Americans make their own pact with Death, but it is not sought out or used as a 'weapon".
The reason for that is fairly simple, suicide charges and attacks eventually physically and morally bankrupt the user.
During the early American Landings in the Pacific, the "Banzai" charge was frequently used as a regular tactic, ie: in a calculated manner not born of desperation.
This actually made it easier for the Americans, and the specific use of the tactic was in decline, except in desperate situations, after the Guadalcanal CAmpaign.
The Commander on Iwo Jima, while not ruling out the tactic, limited it to the desperate last stand, similar to the "Last Charge" on Kiska (Attu) during the Aleutian campaign. The Japanese still particularly remember the men of the last charge in the Aleutians.
Morally bankrupt-that is not a phrase I use lightly. Nor do I mean to say that Islam or Muslims generally are in this spiritual state.
But we forget the terrible carnage on the Western Front in France in the Great War, where many charges were 'virtually' Suicide charges, as were many by the Anzac Troops on Gallipoli.
The Image of troops from the life loving country of "OZ" as they call themselves, spitting their wedding rings and penciled goodbyes and wills on bayonets and driving them into the into the trench Walls before a 'buggered up" charge could be made on the Gallipoli Peninsula is permanently seared in my mind.
I believe the commanders who continued the use of these tactics were "moraly void" and should always be considered as such.
How MANY times have we quoted Patton's Remark: "it's Not Your Job to Die for Your Country, but to make the other bugger die for his".
As crazy as he might have otherwise been, he was right on target on that one and well beffited a man from Hamilton Mass.
The Martial ARts, even when one is "down" as I am with debilitating bouts of pain caaused by FMS, DRAGS you "Back into Life".
One cannot but focus on the here and now in Kata or form or meditation practice and not understand the tendrils that the Art uses to tie you to where you are at that second. That second of being and worrying or caring about nothing else 'at that second' . Time which binds you to life.
We have a pact with death perhaps, as we all must, but Life seizes its moments forever.
"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"
Last edited by JOHN THURSTON on Sat Mar 15, 2003 2:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.