Good and bad operations

Published: Mon, 04/11/22

Disclaimer, the events I am describing didn’t actually happen, I am just using illustrations to make a point. (I should not need to say it, but otherwise someone will ask me to pass on their sympathy to my non-existent friends.)

I met an old friend last week and he was walking with crutches. He was missing his right leg which was a bit of a shock. When I asked what had happened I was told that a maniac with an axe had attacked him and chopped off his leg in an insane frenzy. I was appalled and said that I hoped the crazy person would spend the rest of their life in a very secure institution.

Later on I met another old acquaintance and she was in a wheel chair. She had lost her right leg too. She had gone into hospital to have an ingrowing toenail operated on. Unfortunately there was some kind of mix up with the person in the next bed and her whole leg had been amputated by mistake. I sympathised and said that I hoped she was going to get well compensated and that the health trust was taking appropriate action against the staff involved and was overhauling their procedures.

They say things come in threes and sure enough, before the day was over, I met an old colleague who was walking rather unsteadily assisted by a stick. When we chatted he told me that he had lost his right leg too. Gangrene had set in following serious injury and the surgeon had managed to amputate the leg before the damage spread and killed him. I sympathised with the loss of his limb, but we agreed that his medical care had been excellent and the prompt action of the medical staff had saved his life. Now he was learning to walk with an prosthetic limb and was looking forward to getting back to near normal life.

Having a leg cut off is always going to be a horrible thing to happen. However, our reaction to such a situation will depend upon the reason the amputation happened. An unprovoked and violent assault will fill us with disgust and we would hope that the perpetrator would be brought to justice and locked away indefinitely. Losing a leg through a genuine mistake would be something of a disapointment. In such a situation we would hope that the accident will prompt a full investigation, those responsible will be held to account, and procedures will be revised to ensure that such a tragedy is not repeated. If the amputation saved a life then we would sympathise with the loss of the limb, while admiring the prompt and skilled actions which restored overall health and well being.

War might be a similar situation. Going to war is always going to be a horrible thing to do, but it happens and the following questions have to be asked: Has an attack been launched as an unprovoked assault on for no good reason? Has there been a genuine misunderstanding of the threat that another country posed resulting in military action? Has an attack, or even a limited invasion, been launched to prevent something much worse happening to a vulnerable population? These are the questions which need to be considered before approving of or condemning military actions. It is funny how we talk about military operations as well as medical operations which makes me think that my analogy is not totally inappropriate.

Of course the ‘enemy’ always launches unjustified and unprovoked attacks against innocent and harmless populations. ‘Our side’ are always heroically confronting unspeakable evil with great courage and virtue.

And the most important weapon of war in the past 100 years and, probably much longer, is propaganda, through the creation of belief and management of the narrative, the populations of so called democracies learn to demonise enemies and ‘stand with’ our ‘friends’ in their heroic struggles against evil. Maybe it is time we woke up before a nuclear explosion brings us to our senses, by then it will be a bit late.



PS Post from Catlin Johnstone which shows that the powers that be are not even bothering to deny that they are using propaganda, manipulated narratives, and outright lies to manipulate our perception of Russia’s limited military operation in Ukraine.

PPS Not long now until the Beltane Retreat in Lincoln on the 23rd and 24th of April. A chance to camp in the woods, I will be doing some Stav training and there will be lots of great people to meet and fun things to do. Let me know if you are interested and I will pass on the necessary contact details.