The Drums of War

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The Drums of War

Postby dai bread » Thu Jan 30, 2003 11:36 pm

I'll start this with some statistics. <P>According to a survey carried out here between Jan 23 and 28:<P>Should the U.S. attack Iraq? <BR>Yes, with U.N. approval, 58.3%<BR>Without it, 6.4%<BR>Not at all, 32.3%<BR>Don't Know 3.0%<P>I'm sure the CIA knows this already, and we are about to be really screwed like the French did when we caught a couple of their agents after they sank Greenpeace's "Rainbow Warrior" in our harbour.<P>What's this got to do with music? Well, it linked with my recent meanderings through "Rule Britannia" and, believe it or not, "God Save The Queen". Don't read the last verse of that if you have Scottish ancestry or are a Scot.<P>Music has a long association with war, from the jungle drums to symphonic heavyweights and the stunning "Memorial to Lidice" (sp???). Beethoven wrote a piece called "Wellington's Victory" and of course the "1812" stands above all. But there are more humble items too; songs sung by the troops and by those whose job it was to "Keep the Home Fires Burning". Most seem to date from either the U.S. civil war or WW1. There aren't many from WW2, and none later. I wonder what that tells us? Were we becoming disillusioned, or just unmusical since we stopped making our own and bought it on shellac, vinyl or, later, cd?<P>In my neck of the woods, the (more or less literal) drums of war are used at rugby league matches to drum up fervour for the home team. They work well. Swords into ploughshares?
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby shostakovich » Fri Jan 31, 2003 12:26 am

I think you hit 2 nails on the head in one sentence. That we are becoming unmusical is the heart of several past threads. As for "disillusioned", you bet. Up to WW II communications were not widespread, and could be controlled for propaganda purposes (all nations). The Korean war was not a "noble" conflict. It was largely a paranoid reaction to communism, which carried over into McCarthyism. It was also in the papers and on TV.<P>The Viet Nam war was not only in the media regularly, but combat photographers brought the actual war into our living rooms via nightly TV. Seeing real war footage, as opposed to scripted war movies was such a shock that the powers that were wound it down, leaving a second Asian country in a shambles.<P>There followed a period of looking for the clay feet of previous heroes: Kennedy, MacArthur, Eisenhower. We're still in that period, and there is much skepticism about the need, value, and justification of a new war.<P>Several people on the boards participated in recent wars, and may be in a better position to evaluate need, value, and justification. My viewpoint is from the sidelines as an observer. I was not in the service. Lucky for our side because I would have been the world's worst soldier. <BR>Shos<P>By the way, the real Shos was quite anxious to serve in the military. In later life he was much more cynical about the war and its leader.
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby shostakovich » Fri Jan 31, 2003 12:39 am

As an example of heroes taking a hit these days, the following joke traveled the internet. <P> Four ex-presidents were swept up by tornados and deposited in Oz. The wizard greeted them and asked if they had wishes he might grant. <BR>Carter said "I think I could use more courage". "Done", said the wizard.<BR>Reagan said "I need a brain". The wizard said, "Yes, you do. You shall have one".<BR>Bush Sr said "I've been told I need a heart". The wizard agreed and gave him one.<BR>Then Clinton came along and the wizard asked if he wanted anything. "I was just wondering, is Dorothy here?"<BR> :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby shostakovich » Fri Jan 31, 2003 1:04 am

Getting back to music and war, it may be surprising for some of us to know that music IN battle (as opposed to music ABOUT battle) was employed to urge the troops on for centuries. For most of those centuries fighting was close combat. Then guns and cannons made killing less personal. Adding bombs, there was no way of even seeing who one killed. Now it's not even necessary to be in the same country to kill. Obviously music has no place IN battle any more. <P>As for music ABOUT war, Victory at Sea was a tribute to WW II. Korea had no musical tribute I know of. Arnold Rosner's My-Lai Elegy (like Martinu's Memorial to Lidice, already mentioned) addressed the HORROR of war. I know of no Gulf war music. Maybe music ABOUT war has fallen on hard times, too.<P>I'm glad there's a UN, created just after the last "noble" war. I would like to think that some day the UN will be to nations of the world what the US is to the states, with a strong central government. But I can't. I'm too cynical.<BR>Shos
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby OperaTenor » Fri Jan 31, 2003 1:43 am

Let's not forget the Levites. They always led the Jews into battle. Their vocation? Musicians.<P>BTW, I'm so glad you started this topic, DB.
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby bignaf » Fri Jan 31, 2003 4:33 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by operatenor:<BR><STRONG>Let's not forget the Levites. They always led the Jews into battle. Their vocation? Musicians.<P></STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>the Israelties would be the proper name. (picky picky)
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby OperaTenor » Fri Jan 31, 2003 4:36 pm

No, the Levites were one of the twelve tribes of Israel (the sons of Levi).<BR> :p
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby 911brad » Fri Jan 31, 2003 7:38 pm

No music in battle? Are you kidding? When we go out for manuvers we wire an old stereo into our truck and blast the tunes!<P>Nothing like putting hot steel down range to some AC/DC. <P>On a more serious note, you make a very interesting point. I suppose this all ties in to the reason each branch still has their own bands hey?<P>GO ARMY!! Sorry OperaTenor, I know you were a squid. Had to throw it in there.
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby dai bread » Sat Feb 01, 2003 1:16 am

Don't knock WW2. It's one of the few I can think of that was justified. We simply couldn't allow Hitler and Hirohito to continue their expansionism, and anyway the U.S. was directly attacked and so didn't have any choice. The discovery of the Death Camps in 1944 simply confirmed the correctness of Britain's decision to declare war in 1939, and you don't want to know what the Japanese did in China. It's a mystery to me where all that evil came from. And of course in 1939 where Britain went, the rest of the Empire went too. Even India, which wasn't too keen on being part of the Empire by then.<P>Did you hear the story about the Gurkhas? A regiment of them was sent to Britain and told that they were going to be dropped from an aircraft and would then attack the enemy. The aircraft would be flying at 1000 feet. The Gurkha commander demurred at this, and asked if the plane could fly lower. The British officer explained that if the plane flew lower, the parachutes wouldn't open in time. "Oh", said the Gurkha, "well, if we're going to have parachutes......."<P>I think you're right about communications, Shos, but I like to think that, if confronted now by expansionists like Hitler and Hirohito, we would make the same response we did in 1939.<P>Yes, we have military bands, and very fine musicians they are. I know a trumpeter in the NZ Army band. They went to the Edinburgh Tattoo last year and were very well received. But nobody writes music for them. All the new music they play is for civilian brass and "military" bands, or arrangements of other pieces like "Amazing Grace".<P>I heard "Memorial to Lidice" live once. After the piece had ended, the audience sat in silence, absolutely gob-smacked. Eventually we decided, more or less collectively, that we should show our appreciation of such a powerful performance, and applauded vigourously.<P>This could get a bit grim. I have just remembered the video that went with Gorecki's 3rd Symphony; something I'd sooner forget. I think I'd better stop.<P>Let's have some cheerfulness!<BR> :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby OperaTenor » Sat Feb 01, 2003 3:42 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by FirefighterBrad:<BR><STRONG> <BR>GO ARMY!! Sorry OperaTenor, I know you were a squid. Had to throw it in there.</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><BR>That's "Bubblehead", bucko!<P> :(
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby OperaTenor » Sat Feb 01, 2003 4:07 am

Hi DB.<P>I too am distressed at the prevalence of evil in the world. I'm not a warmonger really, but I feel that something has to be done to try to put the situation into some kind of balance, and to try to regain some of the sense of security we had as a global community before 9/11. I'm aware as Americans we'd had a relatively easy time of it up until that time, but that doesn't keep me from wanting that easy time back. It also seems to me that there isn't really a consensus globally as to how to deal with the problem.<P>This may be an unfair comparison, but what if our leaders at the time had not acted decisively in WWII? That there was the same stifling lack of direction we seem to have now? I know there was controversy then, but I believe it pales to what we're seeing now.<P>I don't pretend to know the answer, but I have to have a little faith in our leadership at this time. The optimist in me says they must know something we don't, to take the posture they've assumed. It could be very well that I'm naive and idealistic, but I don't believe they're doing this for economic reasons.<P>I recall about a month after 9/11, GWB made a speech, and in it he stated that this war on terrorism we were embarking on was going to be prolonged, and would take turns no one could predict. I have to wonder if this is the fruit of that prediction.<P>It seems we will never be free of war somewhere on this planet in our lifetime, or the lives of our children. Perhaps there could be some hope if, as a society, we could come closer to acknowledging our collective depraved nature (I'm borrowing from you, Ethan).<P>Sorry for the depressing ramble. :(
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby barfle » Sat Feb 01, 2003 1:21 pm

There's a piece by Eliot Goldenthal titled "Fire, Water, Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio" that I saw performed live by the Pacific Symphony and the Pacific Chorale. It was recorded (on Koch, I believe) and I've seen it on a few CD-seller websites, so maybe it's available. I found it to be a very powerful piece.<P>Count me as a skeptical supporter of a potential US invasion of Iraq. My skepticism is twofold: I don't believe Iraq presents a threat to the US and we don't have anyone who might view them as a threat asking us to help, and we really should be concentrating on Afghanistan.<P>But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby 911brad » Sat Feb 01, 2003 3:40 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by operatenor:<BR><STRONG><P><BR>That's "Bubblehead", bucko!<P> :(</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Of course you understand that's only good-natured ribbing. A close friend of mine who's in the guard now served 11 years in the Navy. 9 of those were aboard the USS John C Calhoun as a missile tech. I don't subscribe to the usual cross branch bickering. I have equal respect for all the branches... Except for the Marines...<P>The likelihood of my activation hinges on the level this escalates to. Our unit is a high priority combat arms unit (MLRS) These days 60% of the Army Field Artillery units are National Guard (post Clinton) leaving the active Army units spread VERY thin across the globe. To put it in another light, the unit that fixes our broken stuff was activated only last week. The reason for their activation: To get our equipment combat ready.<BR> <BR>As for "Ride of the Valkyries" we play it over the armory PA all the time. Gets us all pumped up. You'd be surprised how many classical nuts we have in our unit. Very smart bunch. Charlie Battery 1st Battalion 121st Field Artillery, Wisconsin Army National Guard. Best battery in the state!!!<BR> :D :D<p>[ 02-01-2003: Message edited by: FirefighterBrad ]
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby bignaf » Sat Feb 01, 2003 8:25 pm

OT, I know the Levites were an israelite tribe. but the didn't lead only the Jews (tribe of Judah) to battle. they led all twelve.
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby dai bread » Sun Feb 02, 2003 12:28 am

I've chosen the red-faced icon because it's a nice sunny day and there'll be a lot of sunburnt faces around tonight.<P>I fully support the War on Terrorism. the trouble is I don't believe Iraq is a threat to anyone, nor does it harbour terrorists knowingly. I say knowingly because it's quite likely that we are harbouring terrorists ourselves, on R&R. The Iraqis waged war twice, and lost both times. The Iranians held them off for 8 years and I believe even captured some territory. Even Saddam must know that if he unleashes anything serious he and his country are history, U.N. resolutions or no.<P>The real terrorists are fought through the banking system and with stolid unspectacular police work, like that which is slowly picking up the perpetrators of the Bali Bombing.<P>Anyway, if we want to talk about military musicians, how about Joshua and his trumpet?
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby OperaTenor » Sun Feb 02, 2003 2:49 am

Sorry Big, semantical error on my part. I meant "Jews" as all twelve tribes.<P>Speaking of Joshua and his trumpet, has anyone here ever blown a shofar? For those who don't know, it's a horn made from a ram's horn and is used ceremonially in Jewish services. I'm hired by a reformed Jewish temple to be their tenor soloist section leader for High Holidays. I've been invited to some members' "breaking of the fast" party for several years now. At the first one I went to they let me try blowing one, and it turned out I have a knack for it. So much so my friends there made me an "honorary Jew".<p>[ 02-02-2003: Message edited by: operatenor ]
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby bignaf » Sun Feb 02, 2003 1:53 pm

OT,<BR>I said I was being picky-picky.<BR>I blow the Shofar. I own one. I didn't break any walls yet.<BR> ;)<p>[ 02-02-2003: Message edited by: bignaf ]
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby shostakovich » Sun Feb 02, 2003 6:15 pm

In WW II we were attacked. In Korea, Viet Nam, and the "Gulf" we were invited to aid a country, or part of a country. There is no such situation regarding Iraq. I wait with baited breath for Colin Powell's statements on Wednesday. I will believe what he says, and maybe adjust my views on the necessity of war. Bush needs a war now to save face. He has claimed more than once "war is a last resort". That should imply some reluctance rather than a rush toward it. The line I can't cross is war without UN sanction. It's WRONG, and we will become a "most hated nation" by many countries with whom we must deal.<P>As for terrorism, there are NO terrorist NATIONS. Individuals and small groups spread terror. Arafat had little or no control of the suicide bombers. You can NOT wage a PUBLIC war on terrorism. Terrorist groups are not public entities. Only covert methods can be effective, by intercepting and dealing with them (secretly, illegally, unfortunately). At least until Wednesday, I hold that an attack on Iraq will do NOTHING to reduce terrorism against us, and increasing it is a certainty. <BR>Sad Shos<p>[ 02-02-2003: Message edited by: shostakovich ]
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby OperaTenor » Sun Feb 02, 2003 11:49 pm

Hi Shos,<P>I don't mean to refute what you said, nor do I mean to advocate any hostile activity, but do you feel nations harboring terrorists or tolerating their activities should be held accountable to the rest of the global community? If so, how should it be done (in your opinion, of course)? I also don't mean to imply that I feel that Iraq is in that position. <P>I also will feel a lot better if any actions taken are supported by the U.N.<p>[ 02-02-2003: Message edited by: operatenor ]
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Re: The Drums of War

Postby dai bread » Mon Feb 03, 2003 1:04 am

Couldn't agree more, Shos. Colin Powell's arm must be twisted so far up his back that he can scratch his nose. The war against terrorists doesn't have to be illegal. A quiet word in a banker's ear. "We need a loan of $xxxx billions, but we hear Al Qeda is a client. Pity, that. We could do a lot of business". <P>I believe funding for the IRA is pretty well non-existent now, which is why peace in Ireland is now a possiblity.<P>In the meantime, BR is playing, appropriately, the "Mephisto Waltz". I await excerpts from "Faust". Perhaps even the whole opera, though this isn't an opera channel.<P>Does anyone know if you can keep the bulletin board in view while writing a reply? There was something else I wanted to comment on but I've forgotten what it was. I started work at 0600 hours this morning and it's beginning to tell, seeing it's now 1900 hrs. Pity there's no sleepy icon. :cool: :cool:
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