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Conor M

Nine Killed In Burmese Crackdown

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Well, that's it, Hyderabadi, if Burma had something that the USA wanted, you know we'd be sending the Marines about now. <sigh>

I will write to Shimla this evening and tell him we are all thinking of him.

<wondering how to package democracy for export>

Edited by WonderWomanUSA

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wwusa, thanks for keeping us linked to shimla, although as you say that might be somewhat problematic now that the net and mobiles appear to have been blocked.

I don't think you can export democracy, as you said, you have to want it enough you are prepared to put your life on the line for it.

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I think that the Chinese government might be able to put pressure on the Burmese regime - can't see the Western powers getting involved with all the problems they are having in Iraq and Afghanistan. Burma's other neighbours probably prefer the status quo, sadly.

Please pass on all our kind regards to good hearted Shimla WWUSA - I am sure that he will get back to us all in good time.

China has expressed its extreme concerns and have called for restraint.

ASEAN has also expressed "revulsion"

The troops have occupied monasteries and cut public Internet access.

The junta's violent response is surely an indication of what would follow when the "United front" comprising of clergy, students and activists take to the srteets. I am afraid a lot of young men will loose their lives.

As dzibead said.... "If there is any justice......"

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May be this might be perfect time for India to take lead, and show rest of the world, what the next super power is able to do, obviously non violent way...ahimsa

Edited by webswami

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Dear Friends,

We sigh and curse the junta, but very few of us understand the context and history in which they were formed. Indeed, we understand very little, or choose to, of Burmese history in general, all the impulses and memories of the past that influence the present. Somehow, we only look at a situation as presented by " liberal media" and sigh. From the proximate point of view, that may well be correct, but as to why this did happen, we sometimes ascribe to sheer chance or bloody-mindedness.

My mother's family was resident in Burma, my grandfather a leading oficial of that country. my mother was born and brought up in pre-war Burma, along with her siblings. Thus, I have a particular attachment to the country. At the outbreak of WWII, some friends of the family chose to remain and fight with the Indian national Army, some members began the trek on foot that included several hundred thousand Indians through the mountains of Arakan and Assam. In the process, tens of thousands died, no count was kept. Dorman-Smith, the governor, washed his hands of the whole affair, even as he fled with his pet monkey. Let us remind ourselves that Japanese generals, cut off by American forces in the Phillippines from one part of the island were nevertheless held responsible for starvation and other acts of administrative failure, as an army of occupation. These then could be prosecuted as "acts of waging aggressive war" in the Nuremberg gtrials, and were. Death penalties were issued and carried out precisely on these grounds. Dorman-Smith and the British soldiery were hailed and rewarded, as they are to this day. Their complete failure, contempt for, and disregard for their subjects, and adding to their deaths by facilitating their own retreat, stands as one of the great crimes in history.

A few months later 17,000 Indian troops died over a 3 -months long siege at Imphal, killing 70,000 Japanese in return. This prevented the japanese invasion of India. Dazzled by American war movies that show the US singlrhandedly winning WWII, few appreciate that 2.5 million Indian troops fought in it from Italy to Burma, and that Japan's Asia campaign was of enormous strength and significance, to rival the German advance into Europe.]

For example, I have been reading, "The trouser people : a story of Burma" by Andrew Marshall [Washington DC, Counterpoint, 2002]. He unfortunately, cannot free himself from the prejudices of either culture or that of a typical modern Western/liberal journalist. First, he forgoes any research into Burma's history save his own undersatanding derived from the pages of British colonialist and mindlessly presents to readers as fact all the calumnies that were created by the English to justify the overthrow of Thibaw, the last king of Upper Burma. All the lies about him and hia queen are right there in this modern travelogue by marshall, repeated as fact. I was amazed and utterly disgusted. Who will people tend to beleieve? A published author, a smart young British journalist, sporting all the right "liberal" credentials, sighing over all the horrors of the present junta, or someone like me or another Burmese who protests at his many inaccuracies or wrong representations? We shall immediately beshrugged off as strident idiots and apologists! I can see it happening right this moment!

Therefore, I strongly urge those who are interested in a more in-depth understanding of Burmese history and the elements that have led upto the current political situation to read this book.

The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma (Paperback)

by Thant Myint-U (Author)

List Price: $15.00

Price: $10.20 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

The author is a grandson of U Thant, the secretary of the UN from 1961-71, and a thoughtful and erudite historian.

Then, it will become clearer why suggestions like "sending in the Marines" are not just outrageous but ineffective as well. Here is where our ignorance, hubris, as well as idiocy begins to show: who are we, Olympians, to dictate sending in forces to cure ills? What if various groups in the world determines that it is the US needs to be "cured" of sundry ills? After all is that not what al-Qaeda is working towards? I really feel deeply sickened by this suggestion of sending in the marines. It is little different from the media frenzy created in Britain more than a century ago, to send in the British forces.

That effort succeeded, and for purposes far from altruistic. let us never fall into the error that the marines ever have been employed in war for any altruistic purpose. Wars are never fought for that reason. Pepole need to get their head examined for suggesting such garbage. More, Burma has one of the largest armies in the world, 400,000 plus. It is well armed, well trained, much better motivated than the Marines when fighting for the motherland. It is not as well equipped, as far as lethal armamnts and war fighting capabilities are concerned. Don't underestimate the Burmese soldiery: they broke the back of Chinese Imperial forces, then the greatest empires and military machines the world had ever witnessed.

This is another myth that some people from norther California should get into their heads: marines, and the Us army in general, on an infantryman level, have poor quality soldiers and poor officer material. They cannot accept even 30% casualties, not 10% by what I hear from Iraq reports without loss of command and control. That is sought to be compensated by extraoedinary firepower, artillery and air support. Plus, unbelievable logistics, and a 10:1 support. For every Iraqi insurgent killed 250,000 bulets have been spent. The Us cannot keep up with bullets without dipping into its strategic reserves, and so has to contract out to Israel. And this for a penny-ante operation like Iraq, not a full-blown war!

To people who speak blithely about sending in the marines, they have not the slightest understanding of what war means. It is the boast of US infantry officers that the US has never lost a battle. I personally would cashier those officers and whoever trained them. It speaks of fatal flaws in understanding how warfare really is conducted. About men, material and logistics. If this is the quality of fools that we are attracting into the services, we should fold up business and go home. I see the publications of the Combined Terrorism Group from West Point and wonder why they even bother.

I don't think you understand the strategic importance of Burma to China and other countries, and that news stories have several layers of intent behind them. So please understand the history of Burma so you can understand the absence of good faith in all the players, be it the US, China or others that apparently are waxing sympathetic over the plight of the Burmese. it is all part of a Great Game.

Edited by gautam

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I really shouldn't get into this Gautam, but since you seem to know all the problems, can you actually suggest any solutions?

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