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01:19 PM on 07/08/12 
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Seosan
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Juba's bitter anniversary.
A year after South Sudan gained independence, its dreams of peace and prosperity lie in tatters.

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On Monday, the world's youngest country celebrates its first birthday. After four decades of war, the Republic of South Sudan won independence last year on 9 July, in a burst of celebratory gunfire that resonated across the African continent. A year on, the independence dream of peace and prosperity lies in tatters. As of this month, the dusty international airport is the scene of a humanitarian airlift operation to feed 5 million people. Outside of the capital, Juba, the wooden markets are shuttered and bare. The newly minted currency is worth less every day as inflation soars. Salva Kiir, the new president, has demanded the return of £2.6bn stolen by public officials since independence.

Meanwhile, the streets that last July smelled of fresh paint are choked with NGO vehicles headed for a refugee crisis in the north-east – an influx of 120,000 people displaced by war raging across the border in Sudan's Blue Nile state. Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières and others say the country is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the north-south war in 2005. There is not enough clean drinking water to support the refugees, who are poised precariously on a floodplain as seasonal rains lash the powdery dust to thick mud. Surrounded by filthy water, families face the mortal irony of dying of thirst.

03:06 PM on 07/08/12 
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Nuns On A Bus
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Pretty much exactly what I assumed would happen to them. Kind of a bummer, but not really surprising at all. Here's hoping that the protests in Sudan itself can bring some change to the country although it seems pretty unlikely.
04:01 PM on 07/08/12 
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Yeah, the whole South Sudan thing isn't surprising, but it is still a bit of a shame.


In more depressing African news...

DR Congo rebels seize strategic town of Rutshuru.
Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have seized the strategic town of Rutshuru in the east of the country.

Quote:
On Friday, 600 Congolese soldiers were reported to have fled into Uganda after M23 rebels seized the DRC side of the border town of Bunagana.

The rebels, loyal to renegade Gen Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, took up arms in April.

"We appeal to the international community to do something to protect the civilians who fled the fighting and are living in fear," Omar Kavota, a local official in Rutshuru, said to the Associated Press.



Also, if you're not familiar with these troubles, here is a little Q & A
04:09 PM on 07/08/12 
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Nuns On A Bus
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Hey George: what is the general English opinion about the Argentinians wanting the Falkland Islands? Is it something the average person would support fighting a war over if it came to that again?
04:20 PM on 07/08/12 
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Hey George: what is the general English opinion about the Argentinians wanting the Falkland Islands? Is it something the average person would support fighting a war over if it came to that again?

Britain should protect Falkland Islands 'at all costs', say 61% of voters.
Guardian/ICM poll: Conservatives most strident in opposition to negotiated handover as war's anniversary approaches.

Cameron has also said that support for Falklands will 'remain steadfast' and he's apparently got the backing of the US, so I would hope that would provide a big enough deterrent for the Argentinians.

Personally, it isn't an issue I feel particularly strong about. I'm happy for the islands to remain British, but it isn't something I feel is worth a second war. Hopefully it won't come to that.
05:16 PM on 07/08/12 
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Something I have been wondering about for a while... have any countries besides the US and Rome actually utilized scorched earth warfare? (Sherman's march to the sea, nuking japan, firebombing Dresden, etc. For the former and Carthage for the latter). Yes Dresden was something not exclusively in US hands but still a large contribution to those kind of tactics. Also browsing this thread has brought me more up to date on world politics than hours of watching aje or democracy now every day used to
05:39 PM on 07/08/12 
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Britain should protect Falkland Islands 'at all costs', say 61% of voters.
Guardian/ICM poll: Conservatives most strident in opposition to negotiated handover as war's anniversary approaches.

Cameron has also said that support for Falklands will 'remain steadfast' and he's apparently got the backing of the US, so I would hope that would provide a big enough deterrent for the Argentinians.

Personally, it isn't an issue I feel particularly strong about. I'm happy for the islands to remain British, but it isn't something I feel is worth a second war. Hopefully it won't come to that.

Gotcha. It honestly baffles me that the Argentinians still make such a fuss over islands that they have almost zero real connection to, not to mention that they're willing to completely ignore the people who actually live there and obviously want to remain British. I guess their government has to distract their people somehow though.

Something I have been wondering about for a while... have any countries besides the US and Rome actually utilized scorched earth warfare? (Sherman's march to the sea, nuking japan, firebombing Dresden, etc. For the former and Carthage for the latter). Yes Dresden was something not exclusively in US hands but still a large contribution to those kind of tactics. Also browsing this thread has brought me more up to date on world politics than hours of watching aje or democracy now every day used to

By this, do you just mean countries practicing total war, meaning that more or less nothing is off limits as a target? Anywhere you look in WW2 there are examples of shit like that coming from every side. In my opinion, the Americans were one of the more restrained countries in the war when it came to some of the shit that went down seeing as we at least would try to target military targets, until the very end of the war at least.

For instance, here's what Warsaw, Poland looked like after WW2 once the Germans had their way with it:



Also there's all the fun stuff that the Germans did to the Polish/Ukranians/other unlucky Eastern Europeans, and then what the Soviets did to them when they came through toward the end of the war. Like the millions of women who were gang-raped across Germany as the Soviet troops came through. Or the near-constant human rights abuses at the hands of the Japanese pretty much anywhere they went during the war. I'd argue that the complete devastation brought about by all sides during that war is why there really hasn't been a true total war since.
05:43 PM on 07/08/12 
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Didn't the Soviets pretty much burn the Steppe as they retreated during Barbarossa?
05:50 PM on 07/08/12 
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Yeah. Good thing the USSR made sure to murder tons of people too! After all, it would have been pretty inhumane to let the Ukrainians live after the Soviets burnt everything.
05:55 PM on 07/08/12 
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Scorched earth is a little more extreme than total war, its when the effects leave the area incapable of/greatly slow recovering and when this is done purposefully. (The south's infrastructure is still damaged from the war especially in manufacturing and railroad infrastructure which were burned purposefully, Rome salted the earth around Carthage to prevent it from ever being a threat again). Burning crops, etc. falls under this - it does have a military impact but the long-term implications are the more real threat.
06:04 PM on 07/08/12 
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Ah, I gotcha. I wouldn't really consider the bombing of cities in WW2 to be scorched earth by that definition though. Japan and Germany were bombed to destroy their ability to wage war, not to simply devastate the countries to the point that they could never recover. They actually both were able to get back on their feet in just a few years. Eastern Europe was devastated for decades in some areas though, and that was drawn out purposefully by the Soviets, so that might be closer?
07:59 PM on 07/08/12 
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Ah, I gotcha. I wouldn't really consider the bombing of cities in WW2 to be scorched earth by that definition though. Japan and Germany were bombed to destroy their ability to wage war, not to simply devastate the countries to the point that they could never recover. They actually both were able to get back on their feet in just a few years. Eastern Europe was devastated for decades in some areas though, and that was drawn out purposefully by the Soviets, so that might be closer?

Well, eastern Germany still has some issues. I do agree that its not as close, especially since eastern Germany's issues are probably Soviet based( there is an article somewhere talking about how Germany is so reluctant to invest because they invested in eastern Germany and it wasn't effective enough, and those are their fellow countrymen as opposed to Greece or etc)
. The nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem closer, just on a smaller radiation based area. (More people died from us fire bombs in japan but the nukes made those cities uninhabitable)
10:07 PM on 07/08/12 
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Well, eastern Germany still has some issues. I do agree that its not as close, especially since eastern Germany's issues are probably Soviet based( there is an article somewhere talking about how Germany is so reluctant to invest because they invested in eastern Germany and it wasn't effective enough, and those are their fellow countrymen as opposed to Greece or etc)
. The nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem closer, just on a smaller radiation based area. (More people died from us fire bombs in japan but the nukes made those cities uninhabitable)

Oh definitely, although I wouldn't credit WW2 with doing that. The subsidization of East Germany since reunification by West Germany is a pretty complex issue, but I really don't see how it can be blamed on any "scorched earth" policy on the part of the Allies. The Soviets just ruined the entire half of the country, and it still isn't even close to getting back onto the level of the West.

I think you're wrong in claiming that Nagasaki/Hiroshima had anything to do with a scorched earth policy. The fact that we detonated the bomb up in the air rather than on the ground--thus making most of the radiation go into the air rather than sticking around on the ground-- and the fact that the city was repopulated within a few months both seem to run counter to the idea that we were trying to make the area uninhabitable. Apart from the first few weeks of deaths from radiation poisoning (in addition to many more problems) and the higher amount of deaths from cancer in the first decade or so after the bombings, the area really wasn't that differently affected by the bombings than cities which had been destroyed by fire bombing.
04:18 AM on 07/09/12 
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Something I have been wondering about for a while... have any countries besides the US and Rome actually utilized scorched earth warfare? (Sherman's march to the sea, nuking japan, firebombing Dresden, etc. For the former and Carthage for the latter). Yes Dresden was something not exclusively in US hands but still a large contribution to those kind of tactics. Also browsing this thread has brought me more up to date on world politics than hours of watching aje or democracy now every day used to

William the conqueror used to destroy entire towns, kill the inhabitants and destroy all food stocks, so any survivors would starve to death. This killed an estimated 150,000 people and it took a long time for the areas to recover. This was done in the north of England.

The entire Irish area of Munster was destroyed during the Desmond rebellions. An account by a poet named Edward Spencer can be read:

Quote:
In those late wars in Munster; for notwithstanding that the same was a most rich and plentiful country, full of corn and cattle, that you would have thought they could have been able to stand long, yet ere one year and a half they were brought to such wretchedness, as that any stony heart would have rued the same. Out of every corner of the wood and glens they came creeping forth upon their hands, for their legs could not bear them; they looked Anatomies [of] death, they spoke like ghosts, crying out of their graves; they did eat of the carrions, happy where they could find them, yea, and one another soon after, in so much as the very carcasses they spared not to scrape out of their graves; and if they found a plot of water-cresses or shamrocks, there they flocked as to a feast for the time, yet not able long to continue therewithal; that in a short space there were none almost left, and a most populous and plentiful country suddenly left void of man or beast.

During the Napoleonic invasion of Portugal, the retreating Portugese people destroyed everything, so that the French could not use it. A similar thing happened when Napoleon tried to invade Russia.
02:27 PM on 07/09/12 
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Bit of a surprise:

Libyan elections: moderate Mahmoud Jibril poised for victory
Return of former National Transitional Council chief would defy expectations of victory for the Muslim Brotherhood.



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