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Thread: Who are we to judge?

  1. #1
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    Default Who are we to judge?

    I often think, when delivering my at best half-informed opinions about MacArthur or Blamey or Churchill and various other WWII leaders, how absurd it is that I, as someone who has not and never will get within a squillionth of anything they did, should sit in judgement upon them.

    I can understand the general sweep of various things, but I haven't commanded even a section, never mind a company or battalion, let alone a brigade, division, corps or army (although I was a rather good Patrol Leader of the Eagle Patrol in the Scouts, where I was a dab hand at calculating the height of trees by triangulation or something else which I have long forgotten). I have no experience of the detail or requirements of commanding men and units and formations, that leaders like MacArthur exercised daily for most of their adult lives.

    I rely upon some primary sources but mostly secondary sources for the knowledge which forms my opinions.

    How nice it is to sit, relaxed and with a beer in my hand as I contemplate the vast sweep of history, in judgement upon men who had to act in the cauldron of war.

    But, really, who am I, or you, to wander around the battlefield we have never seen or experienced long, long after the battle was over, commenting upon the performance of the ghosts of those who fought and commanded it?

    None of them fought to lose.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    if nobody studies or judges them,they will be forgotten to history.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    The Primary role of a leader in war is to make decisions. (for good or ill) Usually with incomplete(if that) information to go on. The leader that are remembered are the ones who did not flinch from making a decision when needed, even if it meant relying one one's gut as much as intelligence reports.And usually with full knowledge of who will bear the brunt of the decision.
    Though I have held a command position, Tank Commander, and occasional Battle group (3 tanks) leader, I have never had to hold the fate of an Army, or Nation in my hand. So Bravo to those who take on that burden for the sake of others, and even when they make an error, were brave enough to step forward into the rank jaws of History.I have no place from which to judge them.
    Last edited by tankgeezer; 12-30-2008 at 08:56 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    Though I have held a command position, Tank Commander, and occasional Battle group (3 tanks) leader, I have never had to hold the fate of an Army, or Nation in my hand. So Bravo to those who take on that burden for the sake of others, and even when they make an error, were brave enough to step forward into the rank jaws of History.I have no place from which to judge them.
    As a cavalry grunt machine gunner, all I had to remember was to go to the right or to the high ground, and everyone else would more or less form up on me.

    Even our troop commander (lieutenant) had a huge degree of discretion and independence of action which we grunts lacked, and which gave him a touch of the agony of decision if we'd ever been put into action.

    There was no shortage of battle-hardeneded men in the Australian military forces, and probably in others, who rejected commissioned rank because they didn't want the responsibility, even at the platoon level.

    Then again, sometimes one wonders if those at the division, corps, army and above level had the same degree of concern for the men under their command, and for what they would do to others. I suspect that many of them were no different to politicians, and just as cold hearted.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    To judge the "What if they did this or that?", no problem from my end. As someone who likes history the "What if" question is an interesting exersise. To judge their actions as it relates to their souls' march toward eternity? Never! I'll let God handle that one.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    I do agree R.S. I have met some higher ups that had no concern for the elements they would direct from so far behind the lines.Its all icons, and lines on a screen to them. I am of the Patton opinion, something long the lines of,if you lead from the rear, dont be surprised if your troops turn around, and follow you.
    Should such a slacker type leader venture into the forward area, there is always the anonymous frag waiting he knows not where....

  7. #7
    S.M.I.D Guest

    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    Because we can, because leaving history unevaluated lets evil be vindicated and good forgotten, because people can misinterpret or outright lie about what happened, because judging means drawing conclusions and conclusions equal learning.

    We're thinking sentient beings, to judge and evaluate is to learn, to condemn judgement and discussion is to breed a nation of indoctrinated idiots.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    Evaluation is one thing, but being judgmental is very different.A judgmental attitude bespeaks an unrefined, and ignorant nature,devoid of the vital spark of Humanity.When one judges another, he only judges himself,and most harshly so.

  9. #9
    S.M.I.D Guest

    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    Evaluation is one thing, but being judgmental is very different.A judgmental attitude bespeaks an unrefined, and ignorant nature,devoid of the vital spark of Humanity.When one judges another, he only judges himself,and most harshly so.
    Evaluation means determining the value or significance of an event, person or decision, its the very same thing as judging, judging equals drawing conclusions.

    A judgemental attitude when presented by an uneducated opinionated moron is called prejudice, the same attitude stemming from experience or education is however entirely different.

    Was Hitler a good or a bad man ? Bad.

    Did Allies betray Poland in WW 2 ? Yes.

    See ? Its that easy with hindsight and historical knowledge.

    Judgement based on knowledge is what keeps us from making same mistakes twice, people who shout that judging is wrong are one of two kinds, ashamed of their own decisions they want to avoid being judged or they're just fools who surf on the tide of political correctness and timidity that seems to be so popular lately.

    Judging, discussing and critisizing are signs of a healthy thinking society, sucking up history unquestionably raises barbaric nations like Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany, there's two kinds of people who do not want to inquire and judge, tyrants and morons, typically the former are being selected by the latter due to lack of judgement and evaluation.

    So in responce to the thread maker, who am i to judge ?

    I am a thinking human being who learns from mistakes and succesess of others, in order to learn from them i need to name them, by naming them i judge them and so does every single one of us whether he admits it or not.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    Who are we to judge?
    !!!We are teh internez!!!

    On a serious note: I think historians and hobby-historians are pretty right at judging them. Of course it is a lot easier for us to pass judgment on somebody, simply because we had no direct involvement.
    And at the same time, the simple fact that they were involved makes them the wrong to judge themselves - or worse yet - their enemies, so someone else has to do that.
    The fundamental problem of Democracy is that the majority of voters are idiots fueled by uninformed rage - and the Politicians do everything to cater to them.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Who are we to judge?

    Well, we can't just be expected to absorb facts and data without interpreting them and learning from them; otherwise, history would be a useless narrative and recitation of inchoate facts, and facts without context don't amount to much.

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