Growing up as a kid in the 1980s, with the very real threat of imminent MAD hanging over our heads all the time, it was natural for me to start playing war-games focusing on the conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. I loved tactical and simulator games, especially the ones from Microprose, and one of my favorites was Red Storm Rising, based on the book by Tom Clancy.
I must have played hundred of hours of this game, and loved the tension and excitement of controlling a nuclear attack submarine, patrolling for Soviet surface groups or submarines, and having to sneakily avoid the inevitable counterattack after launching torpedoes or missiles at the enemy. It led to some very intense gaming moments.
Today ANZAC Day is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand, in honor of the soliders who have served in the countries’ wars. The day’s origin was as remembrance of the ANZAC corps’ ill-fated landings at Gallipoli in Turkey, on April 25, 1915.
In 1972, folk singer Eric Bogle wrote a touching song about a solider’s experience at Gallipoli, and of the madness and futility of war, called And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. The song has in turn been covered by Irish folkrock band The Pogues, from whom I first heard the tune. This is a sad and moving song which brings a tear to my eyes whenever I hear it.
But the band plays “Waltzing Matilda,”
And the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday, no one will march there at all.
… there’s only one man for this job: ol’ Soddom himself. Sure, there might be a problem explaining to the American voters why we blew a trillion dollars and a thousand GIs’ lives putting the guy we ousted back in power. But hey, just wrap the flag around Saddam. He won’t mind, he’s a flexible guy. And we’ll fall for it. We’ll fall for anything.
Great and thought-provoking writing as always, and be sure to check out the previous articles for more insight on the harsh realities of modern warfare.
Baghdad Year Zero by Naomi Klein (author of No Logo). This is the story of how the US government in alliance with multinational corporations and neoconservatives are pillaging Iraq under the false pretenses of Operation “Iraqi Freedom”. A long article, well researched and definitely worth the read…
A country of 25 million would not be rebuilt as it was before the war; it would be erased, disappeared. In its place would spring forth a gleaming showroom for laissez-faire economics, a utopia such as the world had never seen. Every policy that liberates multinational corporations to pursue their quest for profit would be put into place: a shrunken state, a flexible workforce, open borders, minimal taxes, no tariffs, no ownership restrictions.
Kristen Nygaard, professor at the University of Oslo, passed away this weekend, at the age of 75. Together with Ole-Johan Dahl, who died in June, he was the inventor of Simula, the first object-oriented programming language. He was also one of the main people in the campaign against Norway joining the European Union in 1994.
This follows close after Edsger W. Dijkstra, who died from cancer on the 6th of August. That’s three great minds and recipients of the ACM Turing Award gone in a little more than a month. Sad indeed, and also a sign that the pioneers of the computing age are slowly passing away. Rest in Peace.