Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge. Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clean, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”
-General Douglas MacArthur
Episode 1 tell us how the egos of Maj. Gen. Charles V.F. Townshend, Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery and Gen. Douglas MacArthur led to disaster for their troops.
We have long saluted military genius and bravery. But the other side of the coin is military incompetence – a largely preventable, tragically expensive, yet totally absorbing aspect of human behaviour.
From the Crusades to Vietnam, history is littered with examples of stupidity, obduracy, brutality and sheer breath-taking incompetence. Lack of communication, technological failure and a misplaced sense of superiority have led to the deaths of thousands of ordinary soldiers, let down by their masters and betrayed by arrogance. Using a combination of history, human interest and archive footage underpinned by powerful story-telling, Great Military Blunders charts man’s folly and cruelty in a series of stunning debacles, spanning almost a thousand years of conflict.
Want to watch more full-length Documentaries?
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Content licensed from Digital Rights Group (DRG).
Produced by Darlow Smithson Productions.
His needlessly provocative remarks should take everyone’s breath away.President Trump reserves some of his worst behavior for foreign trips, such as abasing himself before President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki a year ago, skipping a ceremony in France last fall to honor American soldiers killed in World War I (too rainy, the White House said) and insulting the mayor of London earlier this month. Yet even by Mr. Trump’s dismal standards, his performance this week before the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, should take everyone’s breath away. More than yet another demonstration of his erratic behavior, this was also an object lesson in the dangers of his context-free hostility to the world beyond the United States.
Before arriving in Japan, Mr. Trump had reportedly been musing about withdrawing the United States from the security treaty with Japan signed in 1951 and revised in 1960 — the cornerstone of the alliance between the United States and Japan and a pillar of American foreign policy. On Wednesday, asked about the treaty on Fox News, Mr. Trump sneered, “If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III.” Then he added: “But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television.”
Mr. Trump’s comment demonstrates a strategic cluelessness and historical ignorance that would disqualify a person from even a modest desk job at the State Department.
Though Mr. Trump implied that the security treaty favors Japan, it was largely dictated by the United States. After Imperial Japan surrendered to the Allies in August 1945, ending World War II, the country was placed under an American-led occupation overseen by the domineering Gen. Douglas MacArthur. When that occupation ended in April 1952, Japan had turned away from militarism to embrace ideals of pacifism and democracy. Under Article 9 of a new Constitution that was originally drafted in English at MacArthur’s headquarters, Japan renounced war and pledged never to maintain land, sea or air forces.
Furthermore, Mr. Trump insults his Japanese hosts by overlooking how Japan actually responded when the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. The Japanese public grieved for their American allies after the terrorist attacks, which also killed some Japanese citizens. Japan’s conservative and pro-American prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, took the massacre as an opportunity to reconsider Article 9 and urge his country to shoulder more international responsibilities. His government rammed through an antiterrorism law which enabled Japan’s Self-Defense Force to provide support for the American campaign in Afghanistan, although — because of the country’s official pacifism — without fighting or directly supporting combat operations.
When President George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, Mr. Koizumi was one of his staunchest foreign supporters. Although Japan remained constitutionally forbidden from joining in the invasion or taking a direct military role, Mr. Koizumi’s government passed a special law allowing the Self-Defense Force to help in humanitarian support missions in postwar Iraq. Hundreds of Japanese ground troops in Iraq provided water and medical help, and fixed roads and buildings. One might reasonably fault Mr. Koizumi, as plenty of Japanese do, for going along with Mr. Bush’s disastrous invasion — but it is far harder to blame Japan, as Mr. Trump does, for not standing alongside the United States.
Mr. Trump’s words are also a pointless slap to Japan’s right-wing prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who has ardently sought to cultivate a relationship with Mr. Trump and is trying to mediate a way out of the crisis between the United States and Iran. The 1960 treaty was signed by Mr. Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, another prime minister. During a four-day state visit to Japan in May, Mr. Abe flattered Mr. Trump with an extraordinary meeting with Japan’s new emperor, a sumo wrestling match and a lavish state banquet at the Imperial Palace. Yet standing next to Mr. Abe at a news conference in Tokyo, Mr. Trump shrugged off Japanese fears about North Korea’s recent tests of short-range ballistic missiles that could kill thousands of Japanese civilians.
What could Mr. Trump possibly hope to gain from his ignorant, ungrateful and antagonistic behavior? He is unlikely to withdraw from the security treaty. Yet by questioning the alliance with Japan, Mr. Trump encourages North Korea and a rising China to test that bond. His words undercut an essential alliance for no evident reason and erode the stability of a strategic region torn by rivalry.
And we are all so used to it by now that it barely registers.
For a property developer-turned-president, the tête-à-tête, scheduled for Tuesday in Singapore, is a long-anticipated test of Mr. Trump’s conviction that he can slice through decades of diplomatic orthodoxy and strike a grand bargain with North Korea, a feat that eluded his three immediate predecessors.
Mr. Trump, current and former aides said, has been preoccupied with North Korea since his predecessor, Barack Obama, warned him in a closed-door meeting two days after he was elected that the reclusive state would be his No. 1 foreign policy challenge. But he has been tantalized by the idea of solving the North Korea problem since long before that.
.. “If a man walks up to you and puts a gun to your head and says, ‘give me your money,’” Mr. Trump said in 1999, “wouldn’t you rather know where he’s coming from before he had the gun in his hand?”
.. Aides say he has mused about the motives of Mr. Kim, who, like him, is a scion born into wealth and privilege, with a skill for self-promotion and an ambition to be a major player.
.. “This is something that Trump has thought about for a long time, even before the election,” said Joseph Y. Yun, a former top Korea negotiator at the State Department
.. If Mr. Kim makes any moves toward disarmament, he is likely to press for security guarantees in exchange. The danger, Mr. Yun said, is that Mr. Trump does not understand the complex dynamics of security on the Korean Peninsula, where 28,500 American troops are deployed to keep the peace in a war that, as the president himself recently noted with wonder, never formally ended.
.. Mr. Trump left little doubt that he would improvise. “It will be something that is always spur-of-the-moment,”
.. The National Security Council has held no high-level meetings to devise a strategy for how to negotiate with him. In part, officials said, that reflects the recognition that whatever his briefing papers say, Mr. Trump will act on instinct once he is across the table from Mr. Kim.
.. Mr. Trump was steeped in the heroics of a Korean War commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The brilliant tactician who led the amphibious assault at Inchon in 1950, MacArthur later clashed with Harry S. Truman, who fired him for insubordination. At Mr. Trump’s school, however, he remained a hero: When he died in 1964, the class organized a tribute.