Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

23 OCTOBER, REAGAN, THE WAR OF JENKIN’S EAR, ETC

leave a comment »

Some interesting stuff happened on 23 Oct. Well, I suppose there’s always interesting stuff on every date in history, just not of interest to me. On October 23rd, jackpot. So, we’ll start with The War of Jenkin’s Ear. In 1731 a Spanish privateer captured a British ship, accused them of smuggling, and cut off Captain Jenkin’s ear. The ear was exhibited in British Parliament, people were outraged, and the British declared war on Spain. That’s the story, and a great story it is. It is however, just a story. Yes, the unfortunate Captain Jenkins did have his ear cut off. And he may have testified in Parliament. There is no evidence he waved his ear around. And while there was outrage over the incident, the war didn’t start until 1739. And Jenkin’s ear had little or nothing to do about it, it was mainly about trade conflicts with Spain in the New World. In fact it wasn’t even called ‘The War of Jenkin’s Ear’ until over a century later. One wonders what future historians will rename current events.

In 1812 one French General Claude François de Malet launched an attempted coup, claiming Napoleon had died in Russia. This was a new one to me. The general recruited others into his plot, and made some progress, but Napoleon loyalists quickly determined that despite the good general’s claim, letters had been received from Napoleon that post dated his supposed death. The general and a number of his co-conspirators were tried and executed by firing squad. They had planned on returning the monarchy to power, though honestly it seems like it was a pretty harebrained scheme to begin with. Napoleon was very popular, and I can’t imagine support for the coup doing anything but collapsing once it was discovered that Napoleon was still very much alive.

Harebrained is the correct spelling by the way, but hare-brained is also acceptable. Not hairbrained though, even though lots of people apparently labor under the impression that this is the correct spelling. Nope, hares, not hair. IE rabbit brained, hares not being known as particularly smart animals. Oddly enough hare (the rabbit) was once acceptably spelled hair, in Scotland particularly. So at one point hair-brained was acceptable, but no longer. English, fun language.

In 1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont flew the world’s first heavier-than-air aircraft in front of hundreds of witnesses in France. The first person to invent and fly an airplane! The fact that the Wright brothers preceded him by some months took awhile to sink in. Who cares. Both parties independently built a flying machine, a remarkable achievement for the era. Mr Santos-Dumont was a pioneer in both lighter and heavier-than-air craft and worthy of the fame he has. Sadly he killed himself at 59, partly because of the use of aircraft as weapons in World War One. Yikes.

In 1942 the 2nd Battle of El Alamein began. This was a British offensive against Rommel and his Afrika Korps in North Africa. The British had such an overwhelming advantage in men and equipment that the outcome was not in doubt. Sometimes great generals have won battles when outnumbered two or three to one. Seven plus to one, not aware of any large battle won at those odds. At least with reasonably well matched opponents technology wise. The battles of Guadalcanal and Stalingrad were raging as well at this time. Basically in late 1942 it became clear that the Axis were not going to win World War Two.

And in 1944, after it was clear the Axis were going to lose World War Two (The greatest martial arts contest ever held) on this date the Japanese launched their Leyte Gulf offensive. This was an attack on the US forces invading the Philippines, occupied by Japan since the start of World War Two in the Pacific. The attack caught the US by surprise, since their intelligence branch had concluded that Japan was no longer capable of large scale offensive operations. The War in the Pacific version of the Battle of the Bulge. While possibly more realistic than Hitler’s lunacy in The Bulge, Japan’s Leyte Gulf attack was also a fail.

Lastly, and nicely timed, Reagan. On October 23 the Marine barracks in Beirut Lebanon was attacked by a truck bomb, killing 241, 307 including a simultaneous attack on French troops. God rest their souls. So much to say, huge event at the time. Pre-Internet days, my wife and I were living in our truck. We saw the headlines in a newspaper in a newspaper box. The US was there as part of a peacekeeping mission. Forgotten by most now.

By most. Came across an article titled “21 Reasons Why Ronald Reagan Was a Terrible President.” I was so horrified by it I refuse to link to it. Principles and all. I didn’t read it all, but what I did read basically said Reagan was a terrible president because he didn’t launch the “War on Terror” after the Marine bombing in Lebanon. Right. Not launching the most pointless, destructive, expensive, and counterproductive “war” in American history makes him a terrible president? I’m no fan of Reagan, but pulling out of Lebanon after the bombing was the wise thing to do. The Lebanese Civil War was a horrible mess, especially then after the Israeli invasion. When your soldiers aren’t achieving anything positive, and they are coming under attack, time to bring them home. Good going Reagan, wish today’s leaders had as much sense.

Basically the whole article was neocon propaganda, the “all war all the time” philosophy that has taken over Washington. Moving right along, in today’s news, Trump has been credibly accused of treason. I guess I will blog about that Friday. Vaguely interesting in the pulling off a bandage way, right? Washington just keeps getting weirder.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: “The explosion of the Marine Corps building in Beirut, Lebanon on October 23, 1983 created a large cloud of smoke that was visible from miles away.” Credit: USMC. Pictures taken by Federal employees in the course of their job are Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 23, 2019 at 5:35 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: