British Legion Poppies

borderpolice

Well-known member
Sure, the commanders and political elite who directed Britain's involvement in the world wars were fully complicit in colonialism, but the poppies aren't to comemmorate them, because they didn't fight on the front line, or at all. I don't really see how some 20-year-old milkman or farm hand, who was conscripted to fight in a war whose origins he dimly if at all understood, could be called 'inolved' in colonialism.

You are right. They were victims themselves. Just like the soldiers who fight in Irak today are in some sense poor souls, that may pay with their lives for something they probably don't believe in. But at the same time, without these farmhands, the whole thing would not have happened. In fact, without them, Europe might have been colonised by the Aztecs for all I know. That is the tragedy of war. Maybe my deepest reason for opposing poppies is that it does not make this tragedy explicit.

Well sure, there's nothing wrong with that: that's why we have events like the recent comemmoration of the abolition of slavery, for example. Britain, on the whole, is a lot more apologetic about its imperial past than many countries.

I agree, and that's a very good thing.
 

crackerjack

Well-known member
The european war was hardly the only war ever fought. It is difficult to see why you keep on ignoring this context.

No, but I doubt you'll find many people wearing poppies because they're proud of the massacre at Amritsar. The poppy as an emblem specifically commemorates the dead of WWI and is worn at the time of that war's armistice.

It is easy to use selective quotes. The substantive issues about colonialism remain.

It's quite possible to make these connections and reminders (as several people here have done - in fact has there been a single poppy-wearer on this thread) without the sweeping accusatory and language you've used. I see you've now accepted this yourself, so I'll echo Tea.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"You are right. They were victims themselves. Just like the soldiers who fight in Irak today are in some sense poor souls, that may pay with their lives for something they probably don't believe in."
Well, while I agree with that to some extent you must see that there is a difference between soldiers who have chosen to fight and those who were conscripted.

"But at the same time, without these farmhands, the whole thing would not have happened. In fact, without them, Europe might have been colonised by the Aztecs for all I know."
Yes, but it wasn't that easy to just say no. Put yourself in their place, would you have been able to refuse to fight in the army and go to gaol for your principles? I'm not sure I would, especially if my friends and neighbours were going off to war and to die.
 

borderpolice

Well-known member
Well, while I agree with that to some extent you must see that there is a difference between soldiers who have chosen to fight and those who were conscripted.

I sure do. We had a thread here about "mercenaries" (cant remember its title) a few months back.

Yes, but it wasn't that easy to just say no. Put yourself in their place, would you have been able to refuse to fight in the army and go to gaol for your principles? I'm not sure I would, especially if my friends and neighbours were going off to war and to die.

I was conscripted and said no, and had some negative consenquences because of it. Although not very serious. It is possible.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Let's not beat about the bush here: without the efforts of millions of British servicemen and women in WWII we'd have been completely fucked. However anti-colonial and anti-imperial your stance, you surely accept that Nazi Germany was in some absolute sense worse than Britain in 1940? That, on the whole, it's probably a good thing that we won?
 
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vimothy

yurp
I'm having trouble seeing how blaming WWII and the rise of Nazism on colonialism and the USSR relates to not wearing a poppy, TBH.
 
I sure do. We had a thread here about "mercenaries" (cant remember its title) a few months back.

Iraq: U.S. Troop and Mercenary Escalations - http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=5853

I was conscripted and said no, and had some negative consenquences because of it. Although not very serious. It is possible.

Yes, conscription during WWI had huge consequences: it was the origin of both the rise of Britain's Labour Party [anyone remember that BBC TV series from the 1980s, The Monocled Mutineer, starring Paul McGann?) and Ireland's Sinn Fein (and subsequent war of independence). Interesting that neither Germany [loser in both wars to boot] nor Japan have any corresponding "remembrance day" despite having suffered vastly greater casualties. But I'm intrigued by the associations between war and 'poppy': it isn't enough to attribute the poppy emblem to the poppy fields that sprung up in Flanders following the bomb-ravaged upturned soil on the blood-soaked battlefield. The (opium) poppy was also associated with the American civil war: some 500,000-600,000 war wounded during and after that war were dispensed liberal doses of poppy-seed derived morphine, becoming the world's first morphine [metabolized heroine] addicts ...
 
N

nomadologist

Guest
Iraq: U.S. Troop and Mercenary Escalations - http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=5853



Yes, conscription during WWI had huge consequences: it was the origin of both the rise of Britain's Labour Party [anyone remember that BBC TV series from the 1980s, The Monocled Mutineer, starring Paul McGann?) and Ireland's Sinn Fein (and subsequent war of independence). Interesting that neither Germany [loser in both wars to boot] nor Japan have any corresponding "remembrance day" despite having suffered vastly greater casualties. But I'm intrigued by the associations between war and 'poppy': it isn't enough to attribute the poppy emblem to the poppy fields that sprung up in Flanders following the bomb-ravaged upturned soil on the blood-soaked battlefield. The (opium) poppy was also associated with the American civil war: some 500,000-600,000 war wounded during and after that war were dispensed liberal doses of poppy-seed derived morphine, becoming the world's first morphine [metabolized heroine] addicts ...

Let's not forget Vietnam and the lovely poppy fruits!! Go into any clinic and it's still the same 50-100 Vietnam vets who got addicted in Vietnam sitting there waiting for their methadone.
 
Let's not forget Vietnam and the lovely poppy fruits!! Go into any clinic and it's still the same 50-100 Vietnam vets who got addicted in Vietnam sitting there waiting for their methadone.

Yes indeed, and coincidentally, go watch the otherwise narratively conservative Ridley Scott's latest return to form, American Gangster - misleading title, as unlike, say, Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, its not a gangster movie at all - rather its based on a true story from the late 1960s - of how the Vietnam war facilitated both the production and the influx of cheap heroin into the US, just as, strangely enough, the invasion of Afghanistan has today led to that country now producing 87% of all world-wide opium/morphine/heroin. And the comparison is not with cartoon-OTT bling-culture provoking Scarface (much less The Godfather or Goodfellas), but with Mann's Heat, or with LA Confidential (or even The French Connection), ie a cat-and-mouse narrative consisting of parallel stories of both the criminal and the cop on his trail. Expect loads of US/UK vets from Afghanistan (and Iraq: didn't opium use originate there thousands of years ago, circa 3,400 BC?) to repeat the Nam legacy.
 
N

nomadologist

Guest
Yes indeed, and coincidentally, go watch the otherwise narratively conservative Ridley Scott's latest return to form, American Gangster - misleading title, as unlike, say, Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, its not a gangster movie at all - rather its based on a true story from the late 1960s - of how the Vietnam war facilitated both the production and the influx of cheap heroin into the US, just as, strangely enough, the invasion of Afghanistan has today led to that country now producing 87% of all world-wide opium/morphine/heroin. And the comparison is not with cartoon-OTT bling-culture provoking Scarface (much less The Godfather or Goodfellas), but with Mann's Heat, or with LA Confidential (or even The French Connection), ie a cat-and-mouse narrative consisting of parallel stories of both the criminal and the cop on his trail. Expect loads of US/UK vets from Afghanistan (and Iraq: didn't opium use originate there thousands of years ago, circa 3,400 BC?) to repeat the Nam legacy.

Yeah, I wondered if AG might be worth watching. Unfortunately, my family was a big part of how cheap heroin got in the U.S. around that time. So were JFK's friends.

My friend Hector told me they used to cook up shots in gun barrels...
 

mistersloane

heavy heavy monster sound
I wouldn't wear a poppy, but as a token, it's probably one of the best symbols around, and I like the fact the idea for it was taken from a poem. The AIDS ribbon was kinda cool as an anti-war thing, but I hate those stupid bracelets.
 
Yeah, I wondered if AG might be worth watching. Unfortunately, my family was a big part of how cheap heroin got in the U.S. around that time. So were JFK's friends.

My friend Hector told me they used to cook up shots in gun barrels...

CIA connections? [JFK's friends? Though given that JFK's dad made his fortune by smuggling alcohol from Canada during Prohibition, I'm not surprised].

The CIA facilitated and oversaw heroin trafficking during the Vietnam war:

During the Vietnam War, operations in Laos were largely a CIA responsibility. The agency's surrogate there was a Laotian general, Vang Pao, who commanded Military Region 2 in northern Laos. He enlisted 30,000 Hmong tribesmen in the service of the CIA.

These tribesmen continued to grow, as they had for generations, the opium poppy. Before long, someone - there were unproven allegations that it was a Mafia family from Florida - had established a heroin refining lab in Region Two. The lab's production was soon being ferried out on the planes of the CIA's front airline, Air America.

A pair of BNDD agents [the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the DEA's predecessor] tried to seize an Air America DC-3 loaded with heroin packed into boxes of Tide soap powder. At the CIA's behest, they were ordered to release the plane and drop the inquiry.

"The CIA's policy of tolerance towards its Laotian allies did not change even when they began producing heroin to supply U.S. combat forces fighting in South Vietnam. In 1968-1969, CIA assets opened a cluster of heroin laboratories in the Golden Triangle region where Burma, Thailand and Laos converge. When Hmong officers loaded opium on the CIA's Air America and the Lao army's commander-in-chief opened a heroin lab to supply U.S. troops in South Vietnam, the Agency was silent. In a secret internal report compiled in 1972, the CIA Inspector General said the following to explain their inaction: "The past involvement of many of these officers in drugs is well-known. But their goodwill considerably facilitates the military activities of Agency-supported irregulars."

All of this heroin was smuggled into South Vietnam. Where? By 1971, according to a White House survey, 34%, or more than one-third, of U.S. troops were addicted to heroin. Instead of trying to restrain drug trafficking by its Laotian assets, the Agency participated in, engaged in, concealment and cover-up. When I went to Laos to investigate in 1971, the Lao army commander very graciously opened his opium account books to me, but the U.S. Mission stonewalled. In a Hmong village where we were investigating opium shipments on Air America, CIA mercenaries ambushed my research team. A CIA operative threatened to murder my Lao interpreter unless I quit my investigations. When my book The Politics of Heroin was in press, the CIA's Deputy Director for Plans pressured my publisher to suppress it. The CIA's General Counsel demanded deletions of all references to Agency complicity." From CIA COVERT ACTIONS & DRUG TRAFFICKING


But modern heroin production and trafficking have their origins in another war - the previous 1950-1953 Korean War [while its war wounded were still being given morphine]:

"Drug abuse was a major problem with Army soldiers addicted to opiates in port towns such as Pusan. Heroin use went from smoking to intravenous injections. The Chinese were believed responsible for the import of the drugs, in an effort to sap the fighting strength of the Americans. In some units, as many as half the soldiers were believed to be addicted." From Psychiatry in the Korean War: Perils, PIES, and prisoners of war

How did this come to pass? The CIA again, whose ties to international drug trafficking originated during the Korean War.: "In 1949, two of Chiang Kai-shek's defeated generals, Li Wen Huan and Tuan Shi Wen, marched their Third and Fifth Route armies, with families and livestock, across the mountains to northern Burma. Once installed, the peasant soldiers began cultivating the crop they knew best, the opium poppy." [This is also the origin of the military regime in Burma/Myanmar].

When China entered the Korean War, the CIA had a desperate need for intelligence on that nation. The agency turned to the warlord generals, who agreed to slip some soldiers back into China. In return, the agency offered arms. Officially, the arms were intended to equip the warlords for a return to China. In fact, the Chinese wanted them to repel any attack by the Burmese.

Soon intelligence began to flow to Washington from the area, which became known as the Golden Triangle. So, too, did heroin, en route to Southeast Asia and often to the United States.

"By the early 1960s, when this CIA operation finally ended, Burma's opium production had risen from fifteen to three hundred tons, thus creating the opium zone that we now call the Golden Triangle."


But today the centre of heroin production has shifted to the Golden Cresent [Afghanistan primarily, Pakistan, and parts of the former Soviet Union, while many of those who control the drug traffic are the militants who were once armed, trained and financed by the CIA], responsible for the current flooding of Western countries with very cheap heroin of high purity. Opium harvesting in Afghanistan now runs to some 200,000 hectares (85-90% of world production), supplying Britain for instance with over 90% of its heroin, while huge numbers of Afghan women and children are now opium addicts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCO95uFf2pk.
 
N

nomadologist

Guest
it's a fucking chemical weapon, and no one cares. everyone's content to keep the vets on minimal compensation, lifelong methadone addicts (it's about 10 times harder to get off methadone than it is heroin), just as long as they don't make too loud a noise about it.

JFK was friends with L Luciano's boys, including Meyer Lansky. He was toast after he decided these things could no longer go on and wanted to do something about it.
 
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