In a message dated 11/15/2002 1:41:29 PM Eastern Standard Time, [log in to unmask] writes:
> From: Carrol Cox
> > While most wars are pretty outrageous in one way or another, that war
> > was one of the stupidest ever fought. Almost the only "leaders" who kept
> > their honor even minimally were the Irish revolutionaries, the Debsian
> > socialists & the wobblies in the U.S., Rosa Luxemburg & Karl Liebknecht
> > in Germany, Bertrand Russell in England, & the Bolsheviks in
> > Russia.
> A remarkably mixed bunch, I would say. And I'm not sure how the Irish
> revolutionaries kept their honour in the bargain. Pacifism? They were simply
> delighted when the war broke out, since they thought an Irish uprising had
> greater chances of succeeding. They were slightly mistaken about that, of
> It's only recently that Ireland has started considering the tragic
> involvement of many Irish people in the conflict. Before that, the war was
> rather a blind spot in Irish history - or a continental side show for
> Britons while the real thing was happening in the Post
> [log in to unmask]
I don't know, Raphael. If you don't object to giving props to the Bolsheviks and Rosa Luxumberg, it's hard to see your objection to doing the same for the Irish revolutionaries.
I don't think it is hard, if one is of a mindset that permits it, to see what Carro's point was in this regard. (Apologies all around if I get it wrong.) As I see it, it was not to praise the IR's for their pacifism -- they started a military uprising (howevery ineptly), so that could hardly be it. Rather, the "honor" was in taking a stand against a powerful entity that they considered oppressive, under circumstances where their chances for success (in any conventional sense) or survival were extremely dim. Presumably, they did so because they believed in a cause, like the Bolshies and Rosa. Whether or not one agrees with any of them or any of their causes, bold action in difficult circustances based on principle seems a fair formula for honor.
In this regard, I would say the list of leaders who kept their honor in WWI should include Pilsudski (whose memoires I've started reading based on Eliot's reference to them in the early 30's.) I do not know enough about his post-war record to comment on that, but his conduct during WWI and the war with the Soviets that immediately followed appears honorable.