Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Castle...

...Drogo, built between 1910 and 1930 for a wealthy merchant in Devon, England, overlooking the River Teign. As far as twentieth century castles go, it's the best (read: only). Designed by Lutyens, it actually is pretty impressive, with beautiful gardens, surrounded by heather-covered hills. The most memorable part, at least to my sensibilities, is perhaps the humblest. A small bedroom, decorated with the artifacts and mementoes of the owner's son, who died in World War I.

Europe had suffered wars for a thousand (or more) years, and would have to endure another after "The Great War". In those wars, being born wealthy or into a high class did not preclude military service. After this millennia of bloodshed, the native peoples of Europe, and the languages they spoke, and the areas they inhabited remained more or less the same. Some countries grew and prospered, only to be reduced after each new conflict. The sixty year European peace (excepting internal conflicts in places like Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and Cyprus) is unprecedented. Whether it is because of increased political harmony, economic inter-dependence, a realization that there is no point to it, or a combination of these factors, it may be the civilization's greatest achievement in the twentieth century.

In the twenty-first century, the United States has entered into a different kind of war. A war for profit, disguised as a war on terror, which has become a war of terror, fought by lower class citizens, directed by an arrogant and short-sighted elite, with no possible outcome except defeat, alienation and death. There are tens of thousands of families with an "empty room" where a family member once lived. In Viet Nam it was necessary "To destroy a village to save it." In the Mideast, will it be necessary to destroy a country to save it? Or a region? Or the World?

By Professor Batty



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