Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day 2014

The First World War nominally ended on November 11th. First celebrated as Armistice Day, it became Remembrance Day for the Commonwealth to honor those who had fallen. In the United States where Memorial Day already commemorated those who died defending our country it became Veteran’s Day to also honor the veterans who came home.


Lord Grey, the British Foreign Minister described the beginning of the war as "The lamps are going out in Europe". The immediate costs in dead and treasure of this ultimately pointless war were horrific. The horror of the trenches scarred the psyche of the Western world. The resulting despair allowed political movements to come to influence and power, which have changed for the worse Western culture, the holocaust and gulag being just the tip of the iceburg. Too many of the lamps are still out.

It is a hard truth that this is an especially appropriate day to remember our veterans living and dead. One of the very few bright spots were the solders and sailors whose dedication, loyalty, and valor shamed the politicians and “statesman” who sent them to war. They should always be remembered.

But also we need to remember that in other wars it was this same dedication and valor that bought our Freedom and Liberty, certainly against the forces released as a result of the First World War.


Enjoy the holiday, but remember to think of and pray for those who served.




In 2007 David Duff objected to the war being called pointless. El Jefe Maximo responded. Their interesting and informative discussion is a must read.

Related posts:

Le Soldat Americain dans Afgaistan
Soldiers are People, too
The Last of the Light Brigade.
The Bivouac of the Dead
Roy Nickerson
11/11/1918 (From Kingdom of Chaos)
Rembrance Day - where They Fell HT:David Duff
Requiem for Tommy HT: Anna Racoon



Labels:WWI and Veterans Day posts

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Set to scenes from The Nativity Story... O Holy Night - by Josh Groban. Video Created by Youtube channel Tonycdrive.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Celebrate Christ's Mass

and

Keep Christ in Christmas.

















Click here forMass times and places




HT for video: Dymphna's Road

Monday, December 02, 2013

He is Coming!





Jesus adent ultrasound christmas

"We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

In general, whatever relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects. There is a birth from God before the ages, and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time. There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece, and a coming before all eyes, still in the future.

At the first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels.

We look then beyond the first coming and await the second. At the first coming we said: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. At the second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

The Saviour will not come to be judged again, but to judge those by whom he was judged. At his own judgement he was silent; then he will address those who committed the outrages against him when they crucified him and will remind them: You did these things, and I was silent.

His first coming was to fulfil his plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion. This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom by necessity.

The prophet Malachi speaks of the two comings. And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple: that is one coming.

Again he says of another coming: Look, the Lord almighty will come, and who will endure the day of his entry, or who will stand in his sight? Because he comes like a refiner’s fire, a fuller’s herb, and he will sit refining and cleansing.

These two comings are also referred to by Paul in writing to Titus: The grace of God the Saviour has appeared to all men, instructing us to put aside impiety and worldly desires and live temperately, uprightly, and religiously in this present age, waiting for the joyful hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Notice how he speaks of a first coming for which he gives thanks, and a second, the one we still await.

That is why the faith we profess has been handed on to you in these words: He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

Our Lord Jesus Christ will therefore come from heaven. He will come at the end of the world, in glory, at the last day. For there will be an end to this world, and the created world will be made new."

Catechism, St Cyril of Jerusalem, cira 350 A.D.
Office of readings, First Sunday of Advent Second Reading









Monday, November 11, 2013

VeteransDay 2013

The First World War nominally ended on November 11th. First celebrated as Armistice Day, it became Remembrance Day for the Commonwealth to honor those who had fallen. In the United States where Memorial Day already commemorated those who died defending our country it became Veteran’s Day to also honor the veterans who came home.


Lord Grey, the British Foreign Minister described the beginning of the war as "The lamps are going out in Europe". The immediate costs in dead and treasure of this ultimately pointless war were horrific. The horror of the trenches scarred the psyche of the Western world. The resulting despair allowed political movements to come to influence and power, which have changed for the worse Western culture, the holocaust and gulag being just the tip of the iceburg. Too many of the lamps are still out.

It is a hard truth that this is an especially appropriate day to remember our veterans living and dead. One of the very few bright spots were the solders and sailors whose dedication, loyalty, and valor shamed the politicians and “statesman” who sent them to war. They should always be remembered.

But also we need to remember that in other wars it was this same dedication and valor that bought our Freedom and Liberty, certainly against the forces released as a result of the First World War.


Enjoy the holiday, but remember to think of and pray for those who served.




In 2007 David Duff objected to the war being called pointless. El Jefe Maximo responded. Their interesting and informative discussion is a must read.

Related posts:

Le Soldat Americain dans Afgaistan
Soldiers are People, too
The Last of the Light Brigade.
The Bivouac of the Dead
Roy Nickerson
11/11/1918 (From Kingdom of Chaos)
Rembrance Day - where They Fell HT:David Duff
Requiem for Tommy HT: Anna Racoon



Labels:WWI and Veterans Day posts

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Fourth Of July 2013

The Declartion of Independence



 
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
 

When in the Course of human events,

snip

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

 
That whenever
any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,
it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,
and to institute new Government,
laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established
should not be changed for light and transient causes;
and accordingly all experience hath shewn,
that mankind are more disposed to suffer,
while evils are sufferable,
than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they re accustomed

snip
 
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,

That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;

snip
 
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

















See also:
Storms - Stoplights - Equality
Freedom

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ft Sheridan Cemetery
Post Cemetery, Ft Sheridan, Illinois.

Let us Pray


Father

Today, though we are not worthy, we remember those who died in the service of their country, for it was your Son who taught us that he has no greater love than he who gives his life for another.

We ask You grant:

Eternal rest to those who have died, and that your perpetual light shine upon them.

Strength and comfort for their families.

That those missing and captured may soon be returned to their families.

That the wounded have a speedy recovery and a long and happy life.


We thank you for those who have retuned safely home.


Lastly
we ask that we will never need to add to those we remember this day.

Thy will be done.

We ask this through our Lord and Savior, your Son Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit.

Amen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lindsey Stirling - Merry Christmas

Celtic Carol





Silent Night

Purchase her sheet music and music

Visit her YouTube Channel Lindsey Stomp

He is Coming



Jesus adent ultrasound christmasGrant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect 1st Sunday of Advent, New Translation.




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Veterns Day 2012

The First World War nominally ended on November 11th. First celebrated as Armistice Day, it became Remembrance Day for the Commonwealth to honor those who had fallen. In the United States where Memorial Day already commemorated those who died defending our country it became Veteran’s Day to also honor the veterans who came home.


Lord Grey, the British Foreign Minister described the beginning of the war as "The lamps are going out in Europe". The immediate costs in dead and treasure of this ultimately pointless war were horrific. The horror of the trenches scarred the psyche of the Western world. The resulting despair allowed political movements to come to influence and power, which have changed for the worse Western culture, the holocaust and gulag being just the tip of the iceburg. Too many of the lamps are still out.

It is a hard truth that this is an especially appropriate day to remember our veterans living and dead. One of the very few bright spots were the solders and sailors whose dedication, loyalty, and valor shamed the politicians and “statesman” who sent them to war. They should always be remembered.

But also we need to remember that in other wars it was this same dedication and valor that bought our Freedom and Liberty, certainly against the forces released as a result of the First World War.


Enjoy the holiday, but remember to think of and pray for those who served.




In 2007 David Duff objected to the war being called pointless. El Jefe Maximo responded. Their interesting and informative discussion is a must read.

Related posts:

Le Soldat Americain dans Afgaistan
Soldiers are People, too
The Last of the Light Brigade.
The Bivouac of the Dead
Roy Nickerson
11/11/1918 (From Kingdom of Chaos)
Rembrance Day - where They Fell HT:David Duff
Requiem for Tommy HT: Anna Racoon



Labels:WWI and Veterans Day posts

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Remember to Vote November Sixth


 

Listen therefore, O kings, and understand;
learn, O judges of the ends of the earth.
Give ear, you that rule over multitudes,
and boast of many nations.

For your dominion was given you from the Lord,
and your sovereignty from the Most High,
who will search out your works
and inquire into your plans.

Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly,
nor keep the law, nor walk according to the purpose of God,
He will come upon you terribly and swiftly,
because severe judgment falls on those in high places.


For the lowliest man may be pardoned in mercy,
but mighty men will be mightily tested.
For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of any one,
nor show deference to greatness;

because he himself made both small and great,
and he takes thought for all alike.
But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.

To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed,
that you may learn wisdom and not transgress.

Wisdom 6: 1-9.

 

It is nice to think of our leaders as the “Kings and Judges”
especially when they are from a different political party
and consider the wrath of God with unjust joy.

But This is a democracy; and at least on Election Day
we all are the “Kings and Judges,”
as servants of His Kingdom will we
rule rightly when we vote?

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Taking a break

Savage Anschutz 54 Sporter I have things I need to do,
Things I want to do.
Maybe when the weather is to cold for shooting. 22 LR at 50 Yards I was going through old things and found the rifle I got for my 16th birthday. Either sell it or shoot it. Shooting is a lot more fun.
UPDATE 29 June 2012:  I took first in our clubs spring .22 LR league.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

City of Rome Founded - Great Future Predicted!

According to the Official History of the Roman Republic, today in 753 BC Romulus founded the City of Rome


From the History Teachers at History for Music Lovers





Topic: Rome

Sunday, April 08, 2012

He is Risen!



Truly He is Risen!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Pray for President Obama

Let us pray for President Obama,
that God may guide
his mind and heart, so
that all men may live in true
peace and freedom.

(Silent prayer.)

Almighty and eternal
God, you know the longings
of men’s hearts and you protect
their rights. In your
goodness watch over President
Obama, so that people
everywhere may enjoy religious
freedom, security, and
peace. We ask this through
Christ our Lord.

All –Amen!

Adapted from the Good Friday Liturgy Petiton IX For all in public office

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Good Friday: Were you there?




Song: "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord"
Song by: Tatiana (I Thirst)-album
Movie Scenes: "The Passion of the Christ"
Directed by: Mel Gibson
20th Century Fox Film






Related
Forsaken
Good Friday
God Does Not Wait
Movie Review: The Passion of the Christ

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A New Constitution

From Political Punch at ABC News.

Picked up on open mikes, a conversation between Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and American President Barrack Obama


President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.


Let's see the nicest thing to said is that the President promised he would give up without cost a key negotiation item.

A more common interpretation is that his he will not announce his real post election agenda during the election, it may cost him to many votes. Who knows.


/SatireMode=On

What makes that interesting is this just floated into my computer from an alternate universe.

-----------------------------------------

Draft Executive Order to be issued the day after election (win or lose) by the President of the United States on his authority deriving from being Barrack H Obama.


The Constitution of the US is amended as follows:

Preamble

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We, Barrack H Obama, in Order to form a more perfect Commune, establish Fairness, insure domestic Tolerance, provide the Nomenklatura's Defense, promote the Welfare system, and secure the Benifits of Multiculturism to ourselves and our (unaborted) Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article 1 Section 8

1: The Congress shall have Power [Delete to end and replace with] to legislate the wishes of Barrack H Obama
Section 9
2: The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
2. No privilege of Habeas Corpus shall be granted.
3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
3. Bills of Attainder and ex post facto laws may passed.
7: No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.Except at the direction of President Obama, Statements and account of the receipts need not be published.

Article II Section 1

1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. Barrack H Obama. He shall hold his Office ,during the Term of four Years, for life


Article III Section 3
1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. Lesse Majesty against Barack H Obama

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, except for secularism, or permitting the free exercise thereof; or allowing the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
shall not be infringed.
shall not be tollerated

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Privare property is an oxomoron thus it shall always be subject to searches and seizures for any reason or no reason, with or without cause.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
A person may be put in jeopardy as often as necessary to obtain a conviction, shall not have right to due process of law.


Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be tried at a time and place convenient to the prosecution,   need not be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; be confronted with the witnesses against him; have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, or have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The powers that Barrack H Obama does not delegate to the States or the People are retained by Barrack H Obama.

Admendment XIII Section 1

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

Amendment XIV Section 1

1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside
Barrack H Obama is a Natural born Citizen of the United States and the State in which he resides

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

To promote the policies of Barrak H Obamma a state may abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;any state may deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; and  deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

/SatireMode=Off

Better Living Through Computers



HT: Don McClarey at the The American Catholic

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Genocide in Cambodia?

Douglas Levine tells us of his recent visit to Cambodia at at NRO Online.


I went to Cambodia primarily to see the ancient temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. They were built in the 12th century, when Angkor was the capital of the Khmer empire and the largest city in the world, with a population of one million. I had first read about Angkor Wat in a Buddhist-art class in 1972. By then, Angkor Wat was off limits to foreign visitors, shrouded in mystery and veiled by war. By some miracle, it and the other temples in the region were untouched by the long years of war. Several hundred years of neglect in the jungle have taken a toll, however, and in recent years many foreign universities and governments have sent experts and aid to help in the restoration of these spectacular wonders of the ancient world.

snip

The other reason to visit Cambodia was to see the killing fields. During their five years in power, the Khmer Rouge killed somewhere between 1 and 2 million people, out of a population that had stood around 10 million. This didn’t come to light until after the Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia and drove the Khmer Rouge out of Phnom Penh. Pictures of piles of bodies and bones, reminiscent of Auschwitz, began to appear in the world press. Since then, many details have emerged about the Khmer Rouge’s killing spree. Everyone refers to this as the Cambodian genocide.

snip

But calling these murders “genocide” troubles me.

Cambodia is now and was then one of the most ethnically unitary countries in the world: 95 percent of all Cambodians are ethnically Khmer; the remaining 5 percent include Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotians, Hmong, Cham, and others. And 95 percent of all Cambodians, of whatever ethnicity, are Buddhist. Most of the killings were Khmer on Khmer, although the Khmer Rouge did also target Cambodia’s very small Cham Muslim minority.

The term “genocide” historically refers to the mass extermination of a race or ethnicity, as with the Turks and the Armenians, or the Germans and the Jews, or the Serbs and the Bosnians. It doesn’t seem to fit what happened in Cambodia, except for the scale of the slaughter.



He has a point. The UN convention defines Genocide as: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such

Note that economic and political groups are not listed. They were removed from earlier drafts because the communist Soviet Union had murdered millions in political and economic groups in the previous 20 years and they were not going to put themselves in trouble or limit future policy options.

The Communist Khmer Rouge was only doing what had been specifically excluded from the definition.

Levine continues
Why then do Cambodians and the world call the mass murders by the Khmer Rouge “genocide”? I can think of several possible reasons.


snip

However, I suspect that the most important reason for the usage worldwide is that many people in the international media, international agencies, and international NGOs (not to mention academia) are reluctant to face up to the crimes committed by Communism in the name of equality. To do so might call into question the weight attached by them to equality as the most important social value and undermine the multicultural faith that evil is predominantly the product of inequality, racism, ethnic hatred, or religious fanaticism. That cannot be permitted, so such crimes must be either ignored or mislabeled. And, of course, the remaining Communist regimes in the world are only too happy to cooperate in characterizing the killing fields as the products of irrational paranoia on the part of Pol Pot and his gang rather than the perfectly rational result of the quest for perfect equality.

The Khmer Rouge leadership has been charged and tried for Genocide. It seems the Khmer Rouge left documents where they mentioned by name several sub-groups that are protected by the convention, totaling a few percent of those killed. Gregory H. Stanton of Genocide Watch seems very excited at finding a technicality to charge the Khmer Rouge with Genocide. This however only obscures the source of the tragedy. It was not a crime of racial or ethnic hatred, but a calculated policy to implement a political program.

To prevent recurrences we need to understand the actual sources and recognize that nice sounding political programs, not racial or ethnic hatred, that can only be implanted with gross human rights violations, are the problem. It is always necessary to look beyond the idealistic explanation; and ask can this actully promote, and be implemented with, respect to human dignity and human rights.


Related Posts

Death by Government
Never Again and Again and Again
Rwanda and Darfur Compared

More information.

UN Convention on Genocide
What is Genocide

R J Rummel's Power Kills site
Genocide Watch

My Genocide posts

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Just Asking?

When a nation re-awakes, its finest sons are prepared to give their lives for its liberation. When Empires are threatened with collapse, they are prepared to sacrifice their non-commissioned officers.
Menachem Begin, The Revolt 1951. Quoted from Bernard B Fall, Hell In A Very Small Place; The Siege of Dien Bien Phu, 1967

Today it is often commented that virtually none of the students of Ivory League schools serve in the volunteer military. I wonder if this means that our future leaders from these schools don't believe in creating a country most people would find worth living in?

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Book Review: Dien Bien Phu: Hell in a Very Small Place

DIEN BIEN PHU, about 1700, 13 March 1954. The the 141st and 219th Regiments of the 312th Viet Minh Division attack the 3d Battalion, 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade at isolated strong point Beatrice. By 0200 it is over. Only a hundred of the 500 legionaries escape, the Viet Minh lose 600 dead and two to three times that wounded. A sign of events to come.



Hell In A Very Small Place The Siege of Dien Bien Phu
Author:  Barnard B Fall
Original edition publishes by Harper and Row, 1967
This Edition by Da Capo Press.

"Hell In a Very Small Place is the classic telling of the siege of Dien Bien Phu and will probably remain the definitive telling. Bernard Fall follows the siege with a "Date Line: Dien Bien Phu" coverage, but also describes the larger strategic and political questions, ties them together, in smooth narrative that very few authors successfully accomplish.



The Viet Minh held the northern stretch of Viet Nam since 1950. Stalemated for years, the French did not have the strength to drive them back to the Chinese border, and the Viet Minh could only slowly increase their strength to take the Red River valley. (Hanoi and Haiphong).

The French had recently granted independence to Laos.  General Navarre, the French Theater commander ordered a "blocking position" at Dien Bien Phu on Route 41 to keep the Viet Minh from moving into Laos. General Cogney, the commander of the Northern comand decided the way to implement that directive was to use Dien Bien Phu as a "mooring point" to launch attacks  against Viet Minh activities in the area. It was never the plan, as often assumed, to set up a strong point to draw the Viet Minh into a trap. General Giap, the Viet Minh commander saw this as an opportunity to inflict a major defeat on the French. His units were moving even before the French occupied Dien Bien Phu.

The French parachuted and captured Dien Bien Phu on November 20 1953. By January the "blocking position" mission was shown to be unrealistic, a full Viet Minh division easily bypassed it and went into Laos. The "mooring point" mission was shut down by increasing Viet Minh pressure.  It was obvious by mid-January that if the French stayed there they would be defending against a major siege. Since the plan had been for a "mooring point" the base had not been constructed to withstand a siege and by January it was physically impossible to import enough material to properly fortify it. The French could have evacuated at that point but do not appear to have considered the possibility. At some point the operation slipped from a side show to the central action defining success or failure for the French in Indochina.

The siege started on March 13. After a month and half of intense combat it was obvious Dien Bien Phu would soon fall. The government in Paris issued orders that it would not surrender, the Americans surrendered at Corregidor, the British at Singapore and the Germans at Stalingrad but the French would not surrender at Dien Bien Phu.   On May 7 the garrison commander, to save his wounded, announced that a unilateral cease fire would take place at 1730, the French destroyed their weapons, the Viet Minh walked in without opposition. There was no formal surrender or white flags.

The heart of the book is the story of an inadequately staffed garrison, in incomplete fortifications, with constant shortages of food, ammunition, medical supplies, and most everything, fighting desparate odds with bravery and skill. Almost every day these worn out soldiers would fight off a an attack then get up and counter attack.  Of the 15,000 in the garrison only 3000 returned to French authority.  Fall treats the soldiers of the Vietminh with equal respect and sympathy.

Some interesting items.

While the larger war was a guerrilla war in the tradition of Mao Tse Tung, in the Viet Minh dominated areas where the battle took place the only guerilla activity was French sympathizing tribes fighting the Viet Minh. The battle was a conventional war siege resembling the trench warfare of WWI or the formal sieges of the 17th and 18th centuries. The massive influx of Viet Minh regulars destroyed the French guerilla forces in this area.

To defend the airfield, key to the position, the French should have defended an area twice as large, with a correspondingly larger garrison, to large to be supplied by the means available. Parachuting supplies kept the the garrison going at a subsistence level. New units were parachuted in to replace losses. 

How to build defenses to withstand modern artillery was published in everyones manuals since WWI. The French only tried to ship in one tenth of the needed engineering materials, the rest of the available cargo capacity was required  for food, ammunition and other essentials; even if all the flights were dedicated to engineering materials there still should not have been enough to complete proper fortifications.

The French force was a multinational and multicultural; French mainland, Foreign Legion, Moroccans, Algerians, other Africans and Vietnamese. The French mainland units were 25 to 50 % Vietnamese. Vietnamese were the largest single group. The Foreign Legion at that time was mainly, eastern European Spanish German and French. This crated a number of problems, rations had to be parachuted in there were several different menus then distibuted to the correct units.. Any thing that looked like favoritism or not recognizing unit characteristics could have ripped moral to pieces.

The Viet Minh were taking a considerable risk. They committed over half of their regular force. They barely had the capacity to supply these five divisions. Their rations were no more generous than the garrisons. Casualties were heavy, but they had virtually no medical infrastructure beyond unit the level. Veteran units at the beginning of the battle filled with barely trained conscripts for the last phases. Morale was often poor. At the end of March Giap realized that the casualties from direct assults were so heavy they would destroy his army. He called a halt to direct assaults and adopted the 18th century tactic of sapping and mining (dig trenches successively closer to the fort.) If things went wrong their war effort would be put back years if not lost. Fortunately for the Viet Minh the French never fully realized the opportunity and did not have ability to take advantage of it.


This books reputation as a classic in it's genre is well deserved.   A superb presentation of a story that will be told for centuries, long after the issues of the war are forgotten.   Fall is both fair and critical at the same time of people and decisions and makes a balanced analysis's of plans and events. There are excellent maps, and appendixes. It is clearly written, and leaves the reader with a good understanding of what happened and why. Readers without much interest or background in the subject might find the very detailed approach challenging. Other than that it is an excellent book and is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

Related:
Maothought or Who is Winning
TET 1968: A personal Narrative
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