Soon after the shock of the bomb blasts in Bombay sunk in, everyone was asking, what would India’s response be? Would we mass our troops along the border in a threatening manner as we did after the Parliament attack or simply issue a dire empty threat again? Would be be implusive and bomb Pakistan to stone age or pressure the United States to rein in its pet? Manmohan Singh delievered a staid address that has been panned by critics. It was a contrast to Bush’s We Will Smoke’em Out. The fact that the Prime Minister had to read out a 3 minute typed address displays insincerity and lack of motivation to respond strongly.
Amit was fearful that the Shiv Sena might exploit this situation to inflame passions and do exactly what the terrorists intended – create an atmosphere of terror and instability. Frankly, you couldn’t blame the Sena. Ask any man on the street who has bloodied and mangled bodies on their way to the hospital and he would have a similar reaction. These days the Gandhian philosophy of turning the other cheek is synonmous for cowardice. That said, I am still not in favor of inciting violence. If you pop up Israel’s example of extracting an eye for an eye each time they are hit with violence, the current episode of strikes against Lebanon being a prime example, I’ll only say that they have been doing so for ages and the issue still remains unresolved.
Much was also said about Bombay’s resilient spirit, like we always do after the rains shut down the city. But as SWB says, we cannot always tout that as our saving grace. Such resilience may in turn be mistaken for apathy, which can also be the case in a bustling city like Bombay. Atanu asks a pertinent question and shares a pertinent speech:
A General Talks to His Army
“Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. ALL REAL Americans, love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers.
Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in Hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Now, an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap.
The bilious bastards, who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post, don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating. Now we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world.
My God, I actually pity those poor bastards we’re going up against. My God, I do. We’re not just going to shoot the bastards, we’re going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel. Now some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you’ll chicken out under fire. Don’t worry about it. I can assure you that you’ll all do your duty. The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood, shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo, that a moment before was your best friends face, you’ll know what to do. Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We’re not holding anything, we’ll let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly, and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose, and we’re going to kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time, and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose. Now, there’s one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, “What did you do in the great World War Two?” You won’t have to say, “Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana.” Alright now, you sons of bitches, you know how I feel. Oh! . . . I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That’s all.”
General George S. Patton, Jr.
3rd Army speech
England, 31 May 1944
6th Armored Division
This is a typical American reaction and in our present circumstances, we would be likely to identify with it. But remember that George Bush closely identifies with such a philosophy and is roundly hated for just that. Atanu, I believe writes on the lack of an aggressive spirit among Indians. We are more likely to accept things as they are and move on with our life rather than plan out an elaborate response. Is it a desirable trait? In other situations, I might think so but if done over and over again, it just doesn’t come off as tolerance.
Don’t give me the cliched “Lets attack them and bomb the hell out” solution. In today’s changed world where a nuclear bomb makes thousand tanks redundant, let me know if you have an appropriate response that India can make; not just to assure its citizenry but also to send out a strong message that would act as a deterrent. I don’t think there is one in sight yet but doesn’t hurt to try to think of one, does it?