Burch: The Marathons of War

Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:32pm
By Michael R. Burch

The recent tragedy at the Boston Marathon has me thinking about the limits of human endurance.

Human beings are not among the better athletes in the animal kingdom, except when it comes to long-distance running. Men can outrun cheetahs, if the distance is long enough, as the lightning-fast cats quickly overheat or drop from exhaustion.

But man’s ability to run long distances is greatly eclipsed by his ability to wage war, long after the reasons for the conflicts have been forgotten. The longest war on record lasted 335 years, although it was a bloodless conflict between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. But there have been very real, very bloody conflicts that continued for extended periods of time. Rome and Carthage were at war from 264 B.C. to 146 B.C., or 118 years. That war only ended when Rome finally managed to destroy Carthage and annex its territory. The Hundred Years’ War between England and France lasted almost as long, 116 years, from 1337 A.D. to 1453 A.D. The Greco-Persian wars lasted from 499 B.C. to 448 B.C., more than 50 years.

The Battle of Marathon took place during the first Persian invasion of Greece. According to legend, a messenger named Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory, whereupon he immediately died of exhaustion. The story is probably apocryphal, but the name “marathon” lives on with us, nonetheless.

It remains to be seen whether what happened at the Boston Marathon has anything to do with America’s wars in the Middle East. If so, the conflict goes much further back in time than Sept. 11, 2001. The root of our problems in the region goes back 65 years to 1948, when Harry Truman changed his mind at the last minute and decided not to veto the U.N. resolution to partition Palestine.

On Sept. 22, 1947, Loy Henderson, the director of the State Department’s Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs, had strongly warned Secretary of State George C. Marshall that the partitioning of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states would lead to disaster. Henderson informed Marshall that his views were shared by “nearly every member of the Foreign Service or of the department who has worked to any appreciable extent on Near Eastern problems.” Among the points Henderson made were:

“The UNSCOP [U.N. Special Committee on Palestine] Majority Plan is not only unworkable; if adopted, it would guarantee that the Palestine problem would be permanent and still more complicated in the future.”

“The proposals contained in the UNSCOP plan are not only not based on any principles of an international character, the maintenance of which would be in the interests of the United States but they are in definite contravention to various principles laid down in the [U.N.] Charter as well as to principles on which American concepts of Government are based. These proposals, for instance, ignore such principles as self-determination and majority rule. They recognize the principle of a theocratic racial state and even go so far in several instances as to discriminate on grounds of religion and race against persons outside of Palestine. We have hitherto always held that in our foreign relations American citizens, regardless of race or religion, are entitled to uniform treatment. The stress on whether persons are Jews or non-Jews is certain to strengthen feelings among both Jews and Gentiles in the United States and elsewhere that Jewish citizens are not the same as other citizens. We are under no obligations to the Jews to set up a Jewish state. The Balfour Declaration and the Mandate provided not for a Jewish state, but for a Jewish national home. Neither the United States nor the British Government has ever interpreted the term ‘Jewish national home’ to be a Jewish national state.”

The idea of a Jewish state, where Palestinians are forced to live as third-class citizens, is like the idea of a white American state where people with darker skin are forced to live as third-class citizens. Americans tried such a system for nearly 200 years, and it obviously didn’t work. White Americans should not have been surprised that some Native Americans and African-Americans resorted to violence when they were denied equal rights and justice. And Americans today shouldn’t be surprised that when we support racism, inequality and injustice in the Middle East, some Middle Easterners choose to retaliate.

Whether or not the Boston Marathon tragedy was related to our nation’s injustices in the Middle East, it seems obvious to me that there will continue to be acts of terrorism against the United States as long as such injustices continue. When we finally created a more just system at home, terrorist groups like the Black Panthers soon faded from sight. If we require Israel to create a more just system, the same thing might well happen with Hamas and Hezbollah.



Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices

46 Comments on this post:

By: MusicCity615 on 4/19/13 at 2:22

Interesting article.

It is confirmed that the cowardly bombers were muslim radicals.

Honest question- how come America never gets any credit for aiding Afghanistan when Russia was trying to take over their country? Don't you find it ironic that many of the weapons the radicals use against America today were supplied by American to Afghanistan to fight the Russians?

My prayers go out to Boston.

By: govskeptic on 4/19/13 at 3:13

I agree with your major point here, Mike. It is America's fault this happened and
especially the fault of those injured runners and 3 deceased young folks.
The country that gave these two bothers more chance at a decent to good life,
than anyplace else in the world, along with some free College Scholarships
just wasn't enough. Maybe it was the 10 yrs spent around the self proclaimed
Blue Bloods of Boston that was the trigger.

By: yogiman on 4/19/13 at 3:44

I agree the Black Panthers have faded from sight and aren't visual, Mike, but they are still in the background.

By: Rasputin72 on 4/19/13 at 3:53

Some people dark and white feel personal responsibility for their success and their lives in general. Others are stalled at the welfare and entitlement level. It appears that the darks have a greater percentage of their population stalled than any other minority.

A nine year old mentally challenged kid in my neighborhood as I grew up said tp me one day. "There will be wars and rumors of wars for as long as mankind exists." I asked him why he thought that and he said. "Diversity"

I always wondered what happened to that boy.

By: yogiman on 4/19/13 at 4:42

He obviously wasn't mentally challenged, rasputin72. There has been few years of peace since WWII.

The end of each 'conflict' was simply time to prepare to get ready for the next conflict.

By: yogiman on 4/19/13 at 7:02

The last young man has been taken into custody.

By: Ask01 on 4/20/13 at 3:39

An interesting concept.

The Allied Powers helped set the stage for World War II at the end of "The Great War" aka World War I or, more ironically, "The War to End All Wars."

The crippling reparations and territorial forfietures insisted upon by France, and to a lesser extent Great Britain, combined with the devastating effects of a global depression created an environment enabling the NSDAP, Nation Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazi's to take power.

The United States opposed such severe sanctions, favoring a rebuilding program, but was unable, or unwilling to apply sufficient pressure to sway the nation's intent on extracting their pint of blood.

The result was a defeated, demoralized, and embarrassed nation which, when a smooth talking political strongman emerged, was all too willing to follow. The initial program to regain their national pride and emerge from the depression worked. Once the nation was well on the road to recovery, well, we all know what happened next.

Likewise, our complacency at the end of the Second World War did indeed lay the ground work for many of the present problems confronting the global community.

I don't honestly believe there was then, nor is now, any intentional malice held toward any people by most American citizens. Even our recent mis adventures in the Middle East, at least as far as most citizens are concerned, I believe were well intentioned at the start. (A desire for avenging 9-11 was also a substantial motivating factor.)

The intentions of elected politicians, professional bureacrats, and profiteering corporations are an altogether separate matter and highly suspect.

I believe we are being swept along by events, just trying to maintain an even keel, faced with a delima. We have the desire to be left alone, but experience has shown ignoring external international events will draw us into conflicts we wish no part of.

I believe we as a nation need to find a balance allowing us to avoid costly foreign conflicts while maintaining situational awareness of events. The preferable circumstances would be the ability to sufficiently influence events without creating additional animosity toward America.

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 4:40

Good morning, Nashville....and Happy 4:20.

Excellent missive, Mike. Truman realized that Israel would be a dumping ground for the world's unwanted Jews; as Th. Herzl, the founder of Zionism, claimed it would be....hoping that every Jew in the USA would suddenly pack up and move to Palestine, the racist POTUS recognized the Zionist enterprise in Palestine....no more to it than that.

The partitioning of Palestine picked the old scab...blood immediately flowed from the old wound....the Neo- Crusades, to liberate Palestine from the Muslims, had begun....

Chechnya and Degestan may not be in the ME, but the Holy War between the Muslims and the Judeo-Christians has spread all across the globe...to claim that the Israel-Palestine conflict, for example, is not part of this global faith-based conflict is simply untrue...it is actually germane to the worldwide struggle.

BHO's recent trip to Israel reaffirmed the "unshakeable bond" between the USA and the apartheid, nuclear-scofflaw, Jewish state.

The POTUS has assured the Israeli PM that "we have your back", if and when they strike the Iranians...this is a green light to attack the Persians. What that means is that the Commander-in-Chief of US forces is allowing the Israeli Prime Minister to start a war that will suck in the US....more holy war at Israel's behest....in effect, the Israeli PM, not the POTUS, is the functional Commander-In-Chief of US forces....and the Israeli PM, not the POTUS, will decide on when and how to start the next phase of this Neo-Crusade.

Obama is nothing more than a grovelling tool to the War Super Lobby: Defense, Israel & Energy...DIE....and Israel is the brains of the terrible trio....how did we allow this to happen?

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 5:30

Gov, your sarcasm falls flat....Mike never blamed the victims...he did connect some of the dots in this big picture....Harry Truman screwed up royally and the nuclear-bombing racist should be held responsible for his terrible decision regarding the recognition of a Jewish theocracy in the middle of Muslim country.

Aid to Israel violates the Constitution...we Establishing a religion using public monies...that is illegal. The Establishment Clause has been circumvented and now we are paying the awful price.

President Truman should have invited the Holocaust victims to settle here as US citizens....apparently, he thought that the US already had enough Jews, so he embraced Zionism.....as if that was the humanitarian thing to do.

America failed to deliver for the victims of the Holocaust....we told those people to go home...to their ancestral homeland....in effect, we paid them money to stay away from America and to go and kill or displace the native Arabs of Palestine.

The 2-state solution was dead on arrival in 1947...the Arabs never agreed to it.....and the Jews always coveted the other half of the 2-state deal.....they grabbed that in 1967.... they have illegally annexed some of that and brutally occupied the rest.

Today, some 65 years after its "birth", the UN's stillborn idea is a nuclear-armed zombie....it cannot live, but they won't let it die....the UN's oldest zombie is a killer and its being kept alive by the American taxpayers and armed at the behest of the US Defense and US Energy lobbies......and still, some wonder why so many people hate the USA.

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 5:43

No matter what the topic may be, Rasputin schlepps in his "diversity" schtick....he's a one-trick pony, if ever there was one....too much Grey Poupon has rotted his brain....too much champagne and foie gras....the high-rolling bon vivant has been reduced to this.....a victim of his own "success".

By: Ask01 on 4/20/13 at 6:32

Both excellent posts, Loner.

Regarding the second post, however, I think other substances have contributed to the hallucinations.

Perhaps too much Green Puopon, aka very expirec Grey Poupon, and an excess of Mad Dog with souse.

More in line with his actual income level.

By: bfra on 4/20/13 at 6:34

Ask01 - I skip the Mad Dog, but I do like good souse. LOL

By: Rasputin72 on 4/20/13 at 6:44

LONER.............I think you may have overlooked your own treatise just posted about Israel and the Jews. Is that treatise not "diverse" in context with the views of our federal government.

Diversity by my definition is at the heart of all socio/political and military escapades.

I see Diversity as being a general problem and you only apply it to your specific bias.

I am as guilty as you in the application of diversity.

I stand firm in my belief that diversity in general will cause the collapse of democracy in the United States. That includes not only your divergent views but mine and the hundreds of other passionate divergent views tugging on the overall culture of this country.

By: Rasputin72 on 4/20/13 at 6:49

ASK01.....It seems that your divergent views are in conflict with my divergent views.

The difference is you want what I have and I don't want you to steal it.

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 7:27

t us examine Rasp's central premise: "Diversity by my definition is at the heart of all socio/political and military escapades."

I Googled the word, "diversity" and found this:

noun \də-ˈvər-sə-tē, dī-\
plural di·ver·si·ties
Definition of DIVERSITY
: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : variety; especially : the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization
: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities : an instance of being diverse

Examples of DIVERSITY

The island has more diversity in plant life than other islands nearby.
The city is known for its cultural diversity.
The school aims for diversity in its student population.

Related to DIVERSITY

assortment, diverseness, variety, heterogeneity, heterogeneousness, manifoldness, miscellaneousness, multifariousness, multiplicity, variousness

alikeness, analogousness, analogy, community, likeness, resemblance, sameness, similarity

Related Words
disparateness, disparity, dissimilarity, distinction, distinctiveness, distinctness, otherness, unlikeness

Near Antonyms
homogeneity, homogeneousness, likeness, sameness, similarity; fewness, paucity

By: govskeptic on 4/20/13 at 7:29


It's too bad that those settling things after WWII didn't have the hindsight and
rear view mirror knowledge that you and Mike have in how all should have
been settled. Instead we had a very sick President Roosevelt and a Vice
President Truman that had been kept in the dark through most of the years
of phase one in Europe and North Africa.

By: Rasputin72 on 4/20/13 at 7:42

LONER........Diversity......The state or fact of being diverse in opinion

A point of difference


By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 7:42

I think that sameness sucks....diversity is good. Mother Nature agrees.

With a diverse gene poll, we get hybrid vigor, as opposed to getting the negative effects of inbreeding...the mutt dog is often smarter, saner and healthier than the inbred pedigreed dog.

America's strength lies in its diversity.

Rasp, Heaven has no diversity....you'll just have to wait until this diversity-filled life is over....then, your desire for eternal uniformity will be realized.....you'll get the same harp and halo that every other dead hominid gets...same white gown....sing the same hymns....and everyone will share the same blissful countenance.....the weather will always be perfect too...no diversity there either...enjoy!

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 7:56

Gov....true, Mike and I have the benefit of looking back with hindsight.

Harry Truman had been given sound advice when he was advised to not become entangled in a holy war between Jews and Muslims...he foolishly ignored that advice....for political reasons.

Truman knew that bringing the Jewish Holocaust survivors here, to the US, would have cost him the election.....America was a segregated xenophobic nation back then...rounding up Japanese Americans...we had segregated armed forces and segregated sports leagues... the KKK was openly marching and lynching in Dixie....Jews were not welcome here then....and Truman knew it, so he went with Zionism, as opposed to inviting the world's Jews to come here and assimilate....that terrible decision reveals a glaring character flaw, in my view and that sort of thing cannot be excused because of the times one lives in.

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 8:06

My 8:27 cut-paste definition came from Merriam Webster...in hindsight, I see that I did not cite the site...that was an oversight on my part.

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 8:55

Ask01....thanks for the kind word in your 7:32 post.

You are probably right....Green Poupon and Mad Dog....gives one the shivers just thinking about that.

Mad Dog, of course is the street name for Mogen David wine....MD 20/20....20% alcohol by volume....20 ounces....favored by millions of Gentile winos.

The Mogen David...or Magen David.... is the star of David...the national symbol for the Jewish state.

Odd that the Israelis would put the logo for a bum's wine on their national flag....maybe that is what the alcohol-hating Muslims are pissed off about?

Israel is the Mad Dog state? Drunk on power...nuclear power....with Uncle Sam on the end of their leash....Sam's the real mad dog....crazier than a shit-house rat.

By: Rasputin72 on 4/20/13 at 9:05

LONER.......I refer to your 8:42.......98% of the people on earth must wait until they die to experience heaven. There are a few of us who enjoy heaven on earth and guard it zealously against interlopers.

I somehow just cannot see you in heaven. Too many rules and so many protests to carry out is my tbought. You may be surprised to find yourself surrounded in Hell with a lot of people like me who are more interested in developing some kind of caste system .

Diversity is fine as long as it never comes in contact with unlike humans with unlike desires.

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 9:25

Rasp, now you are making sense....guys like me would not go for the gown, the harp & the halo of heavenly life....we like Harp beer, and in Heaven there is no beer, just harps.....we like hops, not harps....we like chicks in hot outfits, not angels in gowns....we don't want the glow of a halo.....we want the glow of Cannabis in the peace pipe....the holy smoke humanity.

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 9:27

.....the holy smoke of humanity, that is....my humanity is now showing...missing preposition....mea culpa.

By: Rasputin72 on 4/20/13 at 9:30

Commonality the arch enemy of Diversity.

Have a good day!

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 9:43

I am often accused of being a Jew-hater, because I do not accept the legitimacy and efficacy of Zionism...which is the idea of the return of the Jews to an ancestral homeland in Palestine, a state where any Jewish person can claim automatic Israeli citizenship and enjoy the privileges that come with that elevated status.

I reject Zionism because, Concentration invites annihilation....Dispersal insures survival.

If the goal was to save the Jews from annihilation, the founders of Zionism got it backwards.

The Nazis would love to have concentrated the world's Jews into a tiny piece of real estate, so that they could be exterminated more easily....The idea of a tiny but heavily populated Jewish state is Hitler's dream come true?

Concentration of any population into a tiny piece of contested real estate, in the nuclear age, seems especially foolish...time to rethink the whole idea?

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 9:45

See ya, Rasp....enjoy your "heaven on earth"...I will not try to be an "interloper" in your fantasy world....it's all yours, baby.

By: Loner on 4/20/13 at 9:51

I too have stuff to do...hopefully, Mike Burch will come online and respond to our posts....see ya later.

By: yogiman on 4/20/13 at 11:08

Well, Loner,

It looks like we are similar on a couple of things, we are both haters, but quite a bit differently. You hate the Jews because of your reason and I "hate" Obama because of my reason. Ironically, it seems your reasons are more acceptable to yourself than mine.

You hate the Jews because of where they live. I "hate" Obama because he has usurped our Oval Office. And to add to that, I hate Congress for allowing him to pull it off.

I mention the name [Obama] only because that's the name he is claiming to be his name; even though his last known legal name was Barry Soetoro.

So please explain to me, why am I so wrong in my hatred but you aren't.

By: yogiman on 4/20/13 at 11:09

Ah well, back out in the yard.

By: bfra on 4/21/13 at 2:17

The filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission place Romney in charge of Bain Capital from 1999 to 2001, the period in which it outsourced jobs and ran companies that fell into bankruptcy.
Just a little tidbit for the teapubs. Source: AP

By: yogiman on 4/21/13 at 4:56

And you say he would be a worse president than what you have?

By: yogiman on 4/21/13 at 6:19

Well, Loner,

I see where a Iowa mail carrier is apologizing for some bomb threats he wrote and delivered in the mail to boost his stock prices.

Is he apologizing only because he got caught? Would he have apologized if he hadn't been caught? Common sense says no.

None of you ail carriers ever did that in NY have they?


By: Loner on 4/22/13 at 6:08

This litter box stinks....time to change it.

By: Rasputin72 on 4/22/13 at 6:28

LONER...........Did someone post an opinion divergent to yours?

By: yogiman on 4/22/13 at 6:45

Yep, it's obvious if you don't think as he does, you're wrong. Sorry, Loner, but yours isn't the only mind on this site.

And besides, you're an "out of stater" bitching to Tennesseans.

By: bfra on 4/22/13 at 10:00

yogi "the idiot" bitches all the time, so he is jealous of anyone else bitching. LOL

By: yogiman on 4/22/13 at 11:12


If I came across anything posted by you that made any sense, I would not only be amazed, I would be amused.

Have you been teaching dumba$$ or has he been teaching you?

By: bfra on 4/22/13 at 12:42

yogi - Can't find any original words, huh? You are dumb as a door knob!

By: yogiman on 4/22/13 at 1:36

Huh? What in the world are you "talking" about, bfra? But then, I guess I'm too dumb to know what you're going to say before you say it; right?

By: bfra on 4/22/13 at 1:42

Yep you are right, for once!

By: yogiman on 4/22/13 at 3:34

Darn, bfra, since you're a sentencing corrector, your sentencing should have been: Yep, you are right for once. Not: Yep you are right, for once.

Or perhaps you can explain the differences in the meanings.

By: bfra on 4/22/13 at 3:39

yogi - You are too dumb to understand any explanation!

By: yogiman on 4/22/13 at 5:20

Only when the one trying to explain a subject doesn't know what they are talking about. That yacking, ma'am, is not an explanation.

By: Loner on 4/22/13 at 5:25

Filthy litter box.....

By: FaceBook:Emmett... on 4/24/13 at 8:00

Burch once again shows what an utter moron he is. Hard to believe someone gets paid to say such stupid crap. But, then, I have to remember what kind of people are hired by the likes of outfits like MSNBC. Burch may even be as stupid as Al Sharpton