From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr
Why do Americans always have to emphasize heroism whenever their soldiers die a senseless death somewhere in the world? The 20-year-old boy who died in the attack at Kabul airport and his comrades would certainly have liked to stay alive. They are not heroes just because they are dead now.
“A dead soldier does not care who won or lost the war.” ***
It would be better to turn one’s own shock at such tragedies into the rationale of how terrible every war is. I’m not sure, but maybe you have to belong to a nation that, like the Germans, collectively got punched in the mouth before they could come to such a conclusion.
The bitter experiences of the World War II generation with whom I sat at the breakfast table have been passed down to those who were fortunate enough to have been born later, as I was. If there is one good thing to be said for the Germans, it is that they have actually learned lessons from their history. That is a fact.
Yesterday’s mistakes should not be forgotten so that they do not happen again. They should serve as a reminder to those who come after us.
***The quote is taken from the West German 1959 movie “Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben” (Dogs, do you want to live forever?”) about the battle of Stalingrad, directed by Frank Wisbar and based on the novel of the same name by Fritz Woess. The classic film is available online with English subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jrn8KsiVkoe
A remark is allowed in this regard:
Certainly, Hitler’s wars of aggression are officially not or only very rarely comparable with military interventions which followed the Second World War (I guess it always depends on who is doing what); although even this difference did not help the dead afterwards. It may be referred therefore at least to the recent USA wars and interventions, which without exception began under flimsy justifications up to lies: Lebanon, Korea, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Cambodia, Granada, Panama, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya, Somali, Iraq – just to name a few. Of the most recent US wars, the one in Iraq alone has cost the lives of 150,100 people, including uninvolved civilians and members of all armed forces involved, as of early 2008.