Do battles really do any good anymore? - The Daily Reckoning
The Daily Reckoning by Bill Bonner
On This Day - 24 October 2014
Do battles really do any good anymore? A  A  A

Baltimore, Maryland

    Rode a tank, held a general's rank
    As the blitzkrieg raged, and the bodies stank

    -Sympathy for the Devil
    -The Rolling Stones
Dear Diary,

Yesterday, Canada was the latest nation in Christendom to come under attack.

At least that was the way the Wall Street Journal put it.

"Terror in Ottawa," began the security industry's chief shill:
    "...the Global War on Terror remains very much global. The war now being half-heartedly waged against ISIS and other jihadist groups is not some faraway struggle, but the part of a war also being waged on Western streets."
We will return to the battle on Western streets in a moment, but first let us talk about the battle on Wall Street. It is a battle between the Fed and the market. The Fed wants stock prices high and going higher. We don't know what Mr. Market wants. He will declare himself in good time. But we have had the weakest economic expansion on record. From 1791 to 1999, growth averaged 3.9% per year. In the first half of this year, US GDP has grown at an annual rate of only 1.2% -- not even a third the average.

And the typical household, upon which the whole edifice of a modern consumer economy rests, has less income today than in 1997. How could that possibly power higher earnings for corporate America? Why would stocks be near an all-time high? Where will new growth and profits - which might justify such high prices -- come from?

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Hard to say. Which is what makes us guess that Mr. Market...when he gets a chance...will kick the stool out from the stock market and leave investors hanging.

Yesterday, however, the Fed was the winner. The Dow rose 216 points. Curiously, gold fell $13. If stocks are rising in anticipation of more QE, what is gold doing? It should be rising too. But who knows? Maybe Mr. Market is just messing with our minds...

Meanwhile, the trouble with the war mongers is that they have no respect for it. No appreciation of real fighting or the suffering of real people in war. From their comfy desks at the WSJ or their cushy posts at the Project for a New American Century, they have no experience of real fighting...and no imagination. They've never seen a man blown to pieces...or had a frostbitten foot removed, without anesthesia, by a field hospital surgeon with a dull knife.

War is hardly a noble undertaking, but it is at least an honest one. People fight - usually over trivial stakes - and die. It is what it is. But today's military boosters degrade the whole enterprise into a nothing more than comic larceny. The poor grunts are sent on fools' errands for the sake of money, status and a clownish power that only an oaf could appreciate.

Too bad they couldn't have been in Atlanta when William T. Sherman showed up, almost exactly 150 years ago. He had 34,000 troops under his command. General John B. Hood, of the Confederate States of America, had 40,000 ill-equipped and underfed soldiers in the Army of Tennessee. They were no match for Sherman. And when the battle was over one in 8 of the rebels was lying dead and Atlanta was burned to the ground.

That was real war. Something real was at stake, too; the sovereignty and independence of the Confederacy. And in Sherman's words, it was Hell.

Or maybe a little time travel could put their fat derrieres where the blitzkrieg raged, in Leningrad, 1941. The battle for the city pitted 28 fully armed, trained and determined Wehrmacht divisions - with rifles, machine guns, artillery, aircraft tanks - you name it - against an even larger but less well organized Soviet force. The city was encircled by the Germans on September 8th. By November, the civilian population was out of fuel, power, and food.

"The city must die of starvation," said Adolf Hitler on November 8th.

It almost did. People ate cats, dogs, rats...and then each other. Over a million people died. Cannibalism was not uncommon. Without heat or fuel pipes froze. There was no water. And no way to bury the dead in the frozen earth. People stumbled over corpses...

An 11 year old girl, Tanya Savicheva, left a record. She noted that her sister, then her grandmother, then her brother, uncle, another uncle and then her mother all died of starvation. Her last three notes: "Savichevas died." "Everyone died" and "Only Tanya is left." She died a little later.

The siege lasted two and a half years. When it was over, the cost of real war was tallied. In addition to the civilian dead, more than half a million German soldiers were casualties and nearly 3.5 million Soviets. And Leningrad was still governed by the same incompetent sociopaths who had control of it before the war.

And now a man who said the devil "put voices in your head," has killed another man in Canada. Is that war? Don't make us laugh.

But why such a hysterical and outsize response from the WSJ? Why would a single crime, the perpetrator of which is now at room temperature and no further threat to anyone, cause a whole nation and its giant neighbor to the south to panic? In 3 words: because it pays.

More to come...

Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.

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