Tag: Disaster

What Will We Call This Debacle?

 

I know almost nothing about fighting a war. In earlier times, it seems that wars usually had two sides; both sides knew that the other was the enemy. Both sides knew what they were fighting for. Both sides knew there was a plan to go in, to fight, to win, to leave. But who is the enemy in Afghanistan? The Taliban? al Qaeda? Our leaders?

What is this “thing” in Afghanistan? Does anyone remember the original plan for going in? Who decided we should stay once al Qaeda was “defeated?” There are some who say we didn’t want to nation-build; others say that nation-building is the only way we would have stayed. These were an illiterate people who couldn’t read an instruction manual or a newspaper headline, but they were desperate to rid themselves of the Taliban. We wanted them to be free of these barbarians, too. Was that our purpose—to free the Afghans of these monsters, who could hide for months or years until their opportunity to raid and savage the country re-appeared? And what about the women and girls who have had a taste of freedom? Will they now be tortured and killed because they now understand what it means to live free? Must those memories be destroyed?

The Tragedy in Halifax at 100

 

The city of Halifax, Nova Scotia sits on a peninsula between the Bedford Basin and the Atlantic Ocean. One hundred years ago, with Canada a vital member of the British Empire, she was a city at war. Every night, submarine nets were stretched along the opening of The Narrows, a thin strip of water that connected the basin to the great ocean and separated the cities of Halifax to the south and Dartmouth to the north. By the end of the day on December 6, 1917, the city would lay in ruins, the result of the largest man-made explosion before the invention of the atomic bomb.

At the heart of this story is two ships, the SS Mont-Blanc and the Norwegian SS Imo, then working for the Belgian Relief Commission. The Mont-Blanc was loaded with war supplies:

  • 500,449 lbs. of TNT
  • 3,527,396 lbs. of wet Picric Acid
  • 1,200 lbs. of dry Picric Acid
  • 12,345 lbs. of Nitrocellulose (also known as guncotton)
  • 491,630 lbs. of Benzol

Normally, she would never have been allowed anywhere near the basin but she needed to hook up and take her place in the convoy to France.

Member Post

 

You know how it goes: life seems to be moving along just fine, the kids get their periodic colds, spring flowers are starting to peek out, the weather is warming up, and then BAM! Disaster strikes! You or someone in your life has been diagnosed with a deadly disease; a close family member has been […]

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Member Post

 

Time is short so I’ll get right to the moral of the story. Why failure? Is failure real or is it an imposter, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, in his poem If? This excerpt from that poem is installed over the Wimbledon players’ entrance to Centre Court: “If you can meet Triumph and Disaster Preview Open

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