Wednesday, January 24, 2024

April 25, 2014 was the 99th Anniversary of the Disastrous Battle of Gallipoli By Gary G. Kohls, MD

 ..........Many years ago I read portions of a book entitled The First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Myth Maker by Phillip Knightley.

Knightley points out in that book that in order to start (and then perpetuate) a war, a nation’s leaders have to lie, and the lies usually start with the war correspondents or “embedded” journalists who obediently only tell pre-approved sugar-coated, heavily censored versions of what is really happening in the war zone. Conservative editors, who are sensitive to the demands of patriotic advertisers, typically edit out the unpleasantness that has been written by their more progressive journalists, who want to write the truth, even if it is gory truth.

It is a historical reality that aggressive nation-states often cunningly provoke their intended nation-victims into drawing “first blood”. That is a tactic that most bullies employ, even inexperienced playground bullies.

All militarized aggressor nations that are spoiling for a fight try to find ways to lie themselves into war, often by claiming “self-defense”. Invasion, occupation and colonization can easily be obfuscated by the nation’s propaganda machine by calling it “liberation” or “protective custody” rather than criminal acts of theft, rape and murder.

Sadly, whistleblowing truth-seekers who try to expose the dark underbelly of war usually are silenced and accused of being unpatriotic or subversive or, in the case of capitalist and fascist nations – “soft on communism” and insufficiently punitive.

Promoting lies and half-truths about a nation’s wars has certainly been true of most kingdoms, empires, dictatorships and other totalitarian states, and that includes the Greek and Roman Empires, the British Empire and the various Fascist imperialist powers like Hirohito’s Japan, Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany, and it has also been true of almost every American war in recent memory.

Part of the propaganda campaign to glorify American war-making via propaganda was the change in the name of the pre-World War II Department of War to what is now benignly, and falsely, called the Department of Defense. Tellingly, the DOD has been behind many overt wars and hundreds of covert acts of lethal violence, many of which have met the definition of international war crimes and/or crimes against humanity – none of which have even come close to fulfilling the Christian Just War Theory precepts.

<<<Lies for Which Soldiers Kill and Die (in Vain)>>>

Examples of the “Lies that Men Kill and Die For” would include the following short list of just the last two American wars. In the first Gulf War, President George Herbert Walker Bush lied when he claimed that US satellite photos showed Iraqi troops massed on the border of Kuwait. Then he promoted the false testimony of a Kuwaiti girl (actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US) who tearfully told a lie about Kuwaiti babies being thrown out of their incubators by cruel Iraqi troops. Both these and a number of other propaganda stories were soon shown to be lies, but most of us gullible Americans had already bought into the stories and enthusiastically endorsed the illegal invasion, led, of course, by paid war correspondents and uber-patriotic retired generals on CNN and all the other major media outlets.

In the second illegitimate Bush-led Gulf War (George W. Bush’s Operation Iraqi Liberation), this short list of lies was aggressively spread and dutifully repeated by the media: 1) Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (no WMDs were ever found); 2) Hussein had plans to build a nuclear weapon (no yellow cake uranium or aluminum centrifuge tubes existed); 3) Hussein was allied with Osama bin Laden (they hated each other’s guts); and 4) Hussein’s military threatened the US. Bush also lied about his intention to ‘liberate’ Iraq and form a truly democratic government.

Then Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, along with their assorted henchmen and henchwoman, lied about the progress of the war. They lied about the torture, the “extraordinary rendition” and the true economic costs of the war, and they refused to discuss the psychological, physical and spiritual costs to the returning soldiers. It seemed like there were more lies told than there were truths.

<<<Gallipoli and the ANZAC Spirit Myth>>>

A young Australian actor named Mel Gibson starred in a movie titled Gallipoli. The film superficially told the story about the ill-conceived plan to invade World War I Turkey in 1915. The plan was hatched by the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, who, after realizing that the war against Germany had turned into a stalemate in Western Europe, assigned the King’s Navy to reinforce the Eastern Front where Britain’s ally Russia was losing its war against Germany.

The ill-conceived plan was to open sea lanes to the Black Sea (in order to supply Russia with armaments) by invading Turkey and conquering Istanbul, one of the choke points in gaining naval access to the Black Sea. The necessary first step was to conquer and occupy the narrow sea lane that was called the Dardenelles strait, which was bordered on each side by land that was held by Turkey, an ally of Germany.

The Gallipoli peninsula, on the Adriatic side of the Dardenelles, was the initial target of Churchill’s invasion plan, and on April 25, 1915, a massive invasion force of mainly British Empire soldiers, including green Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (aka, ANZAC) troops. It was the first time Australian and New Zealand conscripts had fought a major battle, and they found themselves, on day one, suffering massive casualties as they tried to disembark from the ships. Those that managed to get to land found themselves trapped on the beach below the machine gun nests of the Turkish army that inflicted massive casualties. The water turned red with ANZAC blood.

35,000 Anzac troops died in the 10 month campaign, with the troops mostly immobilized beneath the well-protected cliffs above them. The botched invasion was a military misadventure of huge proportions and a logistical nightmare that should have been seen by the military strategists beforehand. A total of 120,000 deaths (and 250,000 total casualties) occurred among all combatants before the campaign ended in humiliating defeat for the United Kingdom.................

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