Medal Reverse - They are chasing, you guessed it - Osama Bin Laden...! Ah, wait, wrong man, wrong war; this time they are chasing Ayub Kahn...
(Sorry for the mix-up. It's other white guys, from far away, later on, who will be chasing Osama in this same place, and need we add, with the same inevitable results. If there's one thing that is predictable, in this world, it's that Afghanistan always wins - though at a fearful cost to its families - and that the foreign invaders always have to leave, defeated, leaving mounds of dead behind.)
The Second Afghan War - 1878-1880
By the 1870s the Russians were pushing south, and were bending the ear of the then Amir, Sher Ali Khan, in Kabul, while he gave the British the cold shoulder. In panic, Britain sent a military mission which was refused entry to Afghanistan at the Khyber Pass. So the British invaded, starting the 2nd Afghan War.
The first campaign from Nov, 1878 to May, 1879 saw a string of British victories, resulting in the Treaty of Gandamak, in May 1879, and a parallel installation of a new Amir, Yakub Khan, at Kabul (Sher Ali having conveniently died.) Yakub Khan appeared more tractable, and even agreed to accept a British military mission there. It was, alas, speedily sent.
Only four months later, in Sept 1879, the British envoy, Sir Louis Cavagnari and his mission, were massacred in a tribal attack in Kabul. The war was on again... And Lord Roberts was on the march from India to Kabul to arrest the murderers and exert British control over the area. (This campaign and his fight through the mountain passes to capture Kabul, he was to say, later in life, was a far tougher and more perilous assignment than his later more famous March to Kandahar.)
With the Kabul region subdued, the British decided to subdivide Afghanistan, to install a new Amir in Kandahar, create there, a separate polity, and send in a new Indian army contingent to garrison the city.
So General Sir Donald Stewart marched north, out of Kandahar, to join Lord Roberts' forces in Kabul, preparatory to both retiring back to Pakistan (India). On the way there he suffered a near defeat at the Battle of Ahmed Kel, in April 1880.Only three months later, the most horrific British disaster of the entire war - and the Afghans' biggest victory - occurred at the Battle of Maiwand, July 27, 1880, when the army of General Burrows was defeated by Ayub Khan, suffering some 900 soldiers, and some 1500 followers, killed. Gloom settled over the Empire and the remainder of the British forces in Afghanistan. A buoyed Ayub Khan now besieged the remaining demoralized British forces in Kandahar. But Bobs, in Kabul, would have none of it.
At the head of some 10,000 troops (a quarter were British) he marched south, out of Kabul, against the Afghan army surrounding Kandahar, accomplishing one of the most storied marches of a conquering army in history. The march in oppressive summer heat, with virtually no rest periods, was superbly organized thanks to Bobs' long experience as Quartermaster-General of the Indian Army.Bobs banned wheeled transport and wheeled artillery in favour of more mobile pack animals (horses, mules and donkeys) and men on foot and horseback. In stifling summer heat his army covered better than 15 miles a day, traveling some 310 miles in 20 days and allowing only one rest day instead of the traditional 3 for such a time period. The men marched for Bobs.
A surprised Ayub Khan fled to regroup, but Bobs gave him no time; within a day of arriving at Kandahar, and relieving the garrison, he carried the battle to the Afghan war lord and soundly trounced his forces. But he could never catch Ayub Khan who disappeared into history... (His brother, the Amir Yakub Khan, had been packed off to exile in India.)
The Second Afghan War was over. Britain saw Abdur Rahman installed as a more tractable Amir, and then withdrew its armies, back to India, gaining the peace it so desperately wanted, along with some territorial concessions.
Bobs went back to India and home to recover from a bout of fever. He was given a hero's welcome, and a legend was born called "Bobs"
But at least Afghanistan was free of British occupation and carried on largely independent of British military influence over the following decades. But the British never did win the hearts and minds of the Afghan population...
Blair, the Butcher of Basra
Like many white men who have made war on Muslims, it is now British Prime Minister Blair's turn to retreat, and announce his own ludicrous Mission Accomplished fiasco pull out for 2007, short months before he stepped down from office, completely discredited, before Man and History.
Coming in loud with bumptious Christian righteousness in 2003, with all guns blazing, to make Iraq safe for democracy, he has accomplished only in reducing the entire country to a burning, bombed out wreck, strewn with the smouldering corpses of hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi men, women, and children, not to mentions scores of young Brit service people.
This is entirely Blair's doing, his legacy, not Saddam Hussein's...
He put the steel in George Bush's back, when it should have been the knife, and bolstered one of the worst human rights violators in modern times, in his violent excesses by aiding and abetting the ruthless extermination of peoples simply because they were Muslim. All on lies that the entire educated world knew were ludicrous fabrications long before the wars started.
(Dr. Hans Blix, as Chief UN Weapons Inspector, and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Commission (Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2005), were far from the only experts, who, early on, before the shooting started, loudly denounced the Blair-Bush raison de war (WMD & nuclear weapon development, Al Qaeda links to Saddam Hussein) as being totally trumped up and unsubstantiated according to their research.
They are among many others who now say the evidence clearly shows that Blair and Bush have made the world less safe for everyone, and boosted terrorism around the globe. They echo UN Secretary General Koffi Annand's stinging indictment, saying that Blair-Bush have made Iraq a worse place than it was under Saddam Hussein. Even the British medical journal Lancet believes the duo have killed off some 650,000 Iraqi men, women, and children, and counting. They make Saddam Hussein look like a piker when he is found complicit for involvement in the deaths of 148 Shia in Dujail, and is hanged for it. Then what should their punishment be?
This is Britain's finest hour!
Now, tail between his legs, the pit bull-poodle-cross Blair abandons the Iraqis to contemplate a pile of smouldering corpses, saying he has liberated Basra, and, which he now says, was his original mission, even though no one else can find his original speeches where he says the liberation of Basra - a tiny bit of the whole of Iraq - was, all along, his intended goal post for success. Talk about redefining utter failure on every level as a positive... Simply another gross example of the utter corruption of democratic "Western European" politicians of every stripe endlessly repeating blatant lies that are so utterly apparent to average voters, the most informed and educated electorate in history.
(This does not, of course, include the United States, the most propagandized society in history; after all they elected George Bush in the first place, re-elected him a second time, supported him holus-bolus to start the war against Iraq. This includes the so-called liberal Democrats who love Americans fighting wars as much as the Republicans - and only started to turn on Bush, and haul out their liberal duds, when he made America look like losers again... like in Vietnam.)
Certainly Blair leaves office saddled with a record of human rights abuses that is worse, by far, than any other previous British Prime Minister. He makes Maggie Thatcher's pathetic war against the Argies a joke by comparison.
And he leaves the British Labour Party discredited as never before in its history: first for picking a man as leader solely for his vote-winning personality, and then sticking by him though he was clearly a lying and ruthless human rights abuser internationally - has racism now become a central plank of British Labour? - and a failure as a socialist at home by directing billions that could have been used for social programs for killing Iraqi men, women, and children. Yes, yes we do understand, that actually much of this money would otherwise have gone in social programs to Britain's growing underclass: Blacks and Muslims...
In the first and last analysis, Tony Blair bombed Muslim men, women and children in Iraq, before any Muslim had even threatened, let alone carry out any hostile act on British soil. (To jump ahead - an no foreign Muslim ever did.)
To follow his logic, when he joined the war against the terrorists, he should by rights have bombed the non-white ghettos of England, where the tube bombers, the real terrorist attackers of Britain, came from, seeking revenge for Blair's genocidal war against Iraqis. The local Brits were the terrorist threat to Britain, not the foreigners Blair derided in his news conferences. They were all home grown, in Tony Blair's carefully nurturing hot house.
Tony Blair "put" the bombs in the tube in London; they didn't go off in neighbouring Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, or Switzerland. He shed the blood of innocent Brits who, in all likelihood, opposed the war against the Muslims in Iraq that Blair coveted and promoted, and who paid with their lives for his folly in toadying up to the vests of wealthy anti-Muslim American special interest groups.
Domestic critics also note the fast rising crime rate, the growing alienation of minorities and the doubling and tripling of the prison population of the most disenfranchised minority groups since he took office.
No wonder many claim that Britain's social welfare system for middle and lower class people is in tatters... That encroaching privatization has made medical care only affordable for rich men like Blair who will soon pick up directorships by the handful for being a faithful servant, to whom else, the American Israeli business lobby that, for decades, has promoted war against the Muslims.
All part of the institutional racism of white men in suits, that threatens world peace everywhere.
And now, the British Prime Minister, who has killed more Muslim and Arab men, women, and children, than any of his predecessors, and certainly more than any of his successors ever will, fancies himself qualified to be the peace envoy to settle an Arab/Muslim-Israeli conflict.
And other white men in suits agree with him.
The mind boggles with what stupid white men - a phrase gaining more currency with each passing year - will come up with next...
The British in Afghanistan
Afghanistan, is nothing if not the tomb of the British Army.
The only bright spot is Lord Roberts' legendary March from Kabul to Kandahar. He, single-handedly, with his epic march, first to Kabul, and then to Kandahar, saved the British from total annihilation in Afghanistan in 1880, during the Second Afghan War.
Annihilation had happened before, in Afghanistan, more than once...
Retreat from Kabul - In 1842, in one of the British army's worst disasters of all time, an entire British Army was wiped out by Afghan tribal fighters. The whole army of 16,500 (including some 700 British soldiers), was exterminated after Afghan warlords had given it permission to retreat from Kabul to India; legend has it that only one, Dr. Brydon, survived, forever captured in oil by Lady Elizabeth Butler, as the last remnant of an army, below left appearing alone at the gates of Jalalabad
But the British are slow learners.
Maiwand - In July 1880, General Burrows, aggressively driving deep into the Afghan tribal territory of Helmand province, found himself confronting 15,000 turbanned Muslim tribesmen. His army was overrun. Over 900 British troops - not to mention 1500 camp followers - were hacked to death and the wreckage of the defeated army littered the ground all the way back to Kandahar where the survivors, totally demoralized, holed up waiting for rescue, as the Afghans rallied to finish their job.
The subsequent British report of the incident noted that Talibs were involved in orchestrating the massacre. Hmmmh... sounds familiar...
Lord Lytton, the Viceroy in India at the time, ordered Lord Roberts to pursue the Afghans with every brutality. "Every Afghan brought to death, I shall regard as one scoundrel the less in a nest of scoundrelism." (Great line, but, hey, clearly no match for the jingoistic rhetoric of Canada's own General Hillier see below.) So Bobs launched his famous march but the British never gained control over the landscape of Afghanistan and the hearts and minds of its people.
The British, still slow learners, came back for more.
And the Canadians, not much brighter, did too...
Maiwand Revisited - In March, 2007, six Canadians were blown up, at once, on the very ground where the forefathers of the people that live in the area had annihilated the British force of General Burrows that was doing exactly the same kind of sweep against the local tribesmen in 1880. It was the worst day of casualties for the Canadian Army since the Korean War 55 years before.
No press reports anywhere, that we could find, noted the historical fact, let alone the irony of foreign invaders - this time white Christian Canadians - being again repulsed by local Muslim guerrillas called Talibs in the Maiwand region.
Notable Canadian cheerleaders for the war, like Rosie diManno - whose background is in jock talk sports reporting, where reading skills are not that popular - is promoting the Toronto Star's editorial mantra to keep the war going. No use to alarm the public with downer history - if the Star or Rosie were even aware of it.
What's that about those who forget history are doomed to... something or other...
Helmand - There is strong evidence that the current British occupying force in Helmand province (where Maiwand is located) has, itself, come close - twice - to annihilation, and was only saved by massive air strikes it called in which destroyed virtually the entire village in which they were holed up. But the mostly patriotic British press has chosen to ignore this near disaster. Like CNN, they want to be cheerleaders first - not to mention wanting to be seen to be cheerleaders by their corporate bosses - and journalists - what's that? - not next, last... if ever...
I Told You So - Meanwhile, fulfilling every rational prediction, even in the European world, the number of civilians being killed by Canadians and Americans are rising rapidly, as is the xenophobic rage among guerillas and local Afghans against the foreigners. Terrorist attacks are rising steadily year by year, even - especially - in areas the Canadians had thought they had made safe.
It's now only a matter of time till Canadians and Americans will have to retreat, totally defeated by Afghan democracy in action. Make that the third war in a row that the Americans will have lost to "terrorist insurgents" - read angry local citizens (Vietnam, Iraq). Time to put up two more walls in Washington to memorialize the real terrorists of the 21st century, whose one success no one can dispute - a body count of hundreds of thousands of dead Muslim men, women, and children.
And Hillier's War will be the first loss for the Canadians.
Left, "Saving the Guns at Maiwand," a famous exploit during the battle; the British military's spin on a defeat, retreat, and massacre at the hands of primitive Afghan tribesmen in 1880.
And it is Hillier's War... The Newfie's Dream
Canadian journalists of every stripe have pointed out how effectively this smooth talking general has spun circles around his civilian masters so he could get a war he wanted. He cleverly used every opportunity...
He had pushed a desperately weak Prime Minister Martin, who was looking for a vote-getting formula, and was eyeing preference for a Canadian UN participation to help stem the genocide in Darfur, into sending Canadian Forces to Afghanistan, assuring the vacillating Prime Minister that this move would not interfere with his ability to give him his Darfur contingent should that be needed. Of course he lied... Later he said the CF is too stretched to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan...
Well we commiserate with the general. What self-respecting professional soldier wants to ride around in white jeeps with blue flags fluttering, saving a bunch of starving Blacks in some God forsaken backwater, when you can ride, à la John Wayne, into battle with huge tanks and artillery blazing, making the ground shake and people quake, right beside your "Shock and Awe" American pals...? Yaaaahoooo!
Clearly the good general was hell-bent on a single-minded mission, that had nothing to do with Canadian security, nothing to do with the threat of terrorism, nothing to do with using tanks to put Afghan women in schools, or bring democracy, or water wells, or better agricultural practices, to Afghanistan.
He had only one aim: rehabilitate the Canadian military in the eyes of the world. To remove, at all costs, decisively, the cancerous specter of inept "Blue Flag Generals" by which he felt personally contaminated, and which tarnished the reputation, and mocked the real fighting ability, of the Canadian Forces, at least in the eyes of Americans and Belgians...
Hillier cleverly upped the ante, when Martin's government fell, with a Conservative Government that had no expertise, and no confidence, after a dozen years out of power.
Journalists agree, he gladly supplied the chutzpah for Canada's military deployment; he told government ministers were to go, and that was Afghanistan. And it was he who pushed Canadians into the lethal southern battle area of Kandahar, an area studiously avoided by some 20 other - much smarter and more educated - NATO partners because they did not have his blood lust, and did not want to put the lives of their service men and women at risk for a clearly useless campaign, they knew was clearly foredoomed to failure.
It was he who is therefore responsible that the Canadians have suffered the highest mortality rate of any NATO member in Afghanistan.
He told the government what arms he wanted; he got them. To an inexperienced Minister of Defence - no Conservative Government Minister has been so profoundly pilloried on all sides as a bumbler who should have resigned many times for incompetence - he was a godsend! Here was a general who expressed such overwhelming military expertise in everything. He would do the thinking; he would do the press conferences; he would direct the war effort; he would deliver the victory; they would just sign the cheques.
The Conservatives - encouraged by their Big Business pals - had only one goal: please the Americans - and this guy talked tough as if he were an American himself right.
Never in Canadian history had a general dictated war and peace for Canada.
A dangerous precedent, in a democracy, to let a general tell the civilian authority when and how to make war, and lest we forget, fashion war propaganda, in a conflict opposed by the vast majority of Canadians. Not to mention by the other NATO allies, repeatedly pilloried by Canadians, Brits, and Americans, for hiding in the safe parts of Afghanistan. They have good reason. The home populations of many NATO partners also oppose the bloodletting their politicians have committed their troops to, in Afghanistan. (86% of Poles have been opposed, and in October 2007 elected a government that pledged to withdraw its fighting troops from Afghanistan.)
Canada is now on the level with the banana republics to the south, and about as respected, anymore, among democratic peoples of the world, for associating a Canadian flag with indiscriminate war against Muslim Afghan men, women, and children. What else can you expect when Canadian artillerymen shoot their guns at a terrorist 30 kms away, and blow away a mother and her children in the process.
Not a good PR move, in the 21st century...
Hillier's War will fail; that has always been a certainty, like those of the other Bushite generals, none of whom understand non-white, non-Christian peoples, or even democracy as it works internationally. And all of whom, have, one after the other, fallen by the wayside in professional disgrace, for failure to deliver a military victory for their President.
After several years of futile effort, Hillier watchers note that the general, who with biblical outrage set out to "kill the scumbags and detestable murderers in Afghanistan,'' by launching a bloodletting of his own, has now signaled his failure as a general capable of delivering the military victory he promised when he started.
In early 2007, cloyingly copying the American pattern in Iraq, he showcased his exit strategy and rationale for losing the war in Afghanistan. "Hey, we're not there to fight a war to defeat the Taliban...."... Whaaat? "No, no!" he now says, "We're there to train the Afghan Army and police!!!!"
Great move! Clever cover...
It means you can pull out any time you say "mission accomplished"... Hey, they're now trained! You have saved your face, if not the billions of taxpayer's money you blew up, and the scores of Canadian lives you wasted.
The civil war you promoted, the thousands of dead Afghan women, children, and men you leave behind, are now merely acceptable collateral damage resulting from a "Canadian Afghan Army training exercise."
What an unforgivable and total waste of the lives of over seventy young Canadian men and women who had the misfortune to sign up for service in the Canadian Forces during its worst deviation from the National Will since Canada was founded in 1867.
But the newly announced change in Canada's military aim is just political twaddle for the masses. Some public relations spin doctor clearly told the general and government to just start telling the people of Canada we're there to train people to help themselves. That has three wonderfully beneficial effects:
First it will bring a huge group of middle-ground moderates, who oppose the war - but not helping poor people - onside with the government and the military about Afghanistan. Killing no; training OK. The spin is intended to kill much of the groundswell of opposition to the war on the home front.
Secondly, It will buy the government time to do whatever it wants while the electorate, and the media, muddle about wondering what the change really means, what the Canadian Forces are doing differently in Afghanistan, and what they should think about it?
Thirdly, and best of all, it allows General Hillier to continue his killing war against the Afghan Taliban tribesmen without fear of upcoming restraint from public opinion at home. In one clever move he has killed off much vocal opposition to the war in Canada, giving him the freedom of action for the combat war he personally craves. He continues to be in charge, and direct policy for the ground war, for the Canadians. And Afghan civilians continue to die...
But the failure of a general need not be the failure of a nation, if the Canadian government reclaims control over the military authority, and directs foreign policy on behalf of the 75% plus, and growing, of Canadians who oppose the war against the Muslims, instead of for a gung-ho Bushite general who clearly loves his job of making war...
Don't count on it. Canadian democratic - as opposed to right wing- politicians, are no more noble than American Democrats, who, in the beginning, virtually unanimously voted for the race war against the Muslims in Iraq. This includes almost all the so-called humanitarian democrats like Hilary Clinton. And that in spite of almost universal condemnation, for the move, by hundreds of millions of people around the world. The American invasion caused, probably, the biggest anti-war demonstrations ever seen in European countries and America.
American civil libertarians have been outraged, since, that all mainline Democrats have steadfastly refused to come out strongly against this massive bloodletting of Iraqi women, children, and men, initiated and promoted by their government's Rambo foreign policy against non-white peoples of the world.
It's perfectly understandable; the Democrats, like Hilary Clinton, are deathly afraid, they will lose the voting support of the heartland of America, where "the noose" is still prominently displayed before African-Americans, in 2007, to remind them that over 3,000 Black men and women were hanged and burned by white lynch mobs, for slightly stepping out of line, as late as the 1960s. As American as apple pie - the never ending struggle - to keep America white, and keep non-white people (Blacks and now, increasingly too, the Hispanics) in their place...
And, for spreading of the gospel overseas, there is the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy...
It is nothing, if not a horrific indictment, of the American Left - if there is such a thing - that when they bring the troops home, from another failed American military adventure, against non-white, non-Christian peoples, it will only be because a relatively few American professional soldiers are dying, not because of the hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslim women, children, and men - in Iraq and Afghanistan - that American troops have had, both, a direct and indirect, hand in killing...
But then, says CNN's Lou Dobbs, that's a small price to pay for keeping America free... from illegal aliens, radical Islamists, and foreign languages...
And in Canada, drifting increasingly in the same direction, even the Liberals lack the moral courage to make the long overdue decisive decision to end, immediately, Canada's shameful participation in this race war against the Muslims, featuring an alliance of some 30 plus white and Christian nations in a so-called war on terror which not a single Muslim nation has joined. Why should they, when the alliance war machine is exclusively targeting and killing non-white Muslim men, women, and children.
At least more people are awaking to the fact that in History it is a danger sign for Democracy, when the military, publicly and privately, can clearly be seen to have taken over the direction of national affairs... making it appear, to everyone, more and more, with every utterance of General Hillier, that the top politicians look like fumbling, subservient, inept patsies in the hands of an army general...
Why not make him Prime Minister; he only lacks the title... Hey, he already has the hat...
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|Go to Song for the Canadian Contingent in Afghanistan|
Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has recently preserved.
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|Great Canadian Heritage Treasure|
|Afghanistan Medal - 1880|
|Orig. medal - Size - 36 mm
Found - Toronto, ON
Bar for Battle of Ahmed Khel
|Above, a rare medal commemorating the Battle of Ahmed Khel, April 1880, that was a near thing for the British, gave warning that worse was ahead, and finally led to Lord Roberts' famous March from Kabul to Kandahar.
The fabulous reverse below shows Indian Army lancers, led by a British officer, following a mahout astride an elephant carrying a mountain gun on his back.
This medal is named to Sgt. J Lane, 85th Foot.
European men of Christian backgrounds, for centuries, have felt it was their - what else! - God-given right, to march into the barren wastes of Afghanistan, and, on one pretext or another - each one more spurious than the last - to shoot the place up, leaving thousands of dead tribesmen in their wake. And latterly, many women and children as well.
In every case, sooner or later, no matter how well armed or funded the invaders are, they are always sent packing, as the local freedom fighting tribesmen win again, fueled mostly by a belief in their own God, and a fierce determination to be free of the latest foreigners bent on reducing, what little rubble remains of Afghanistan, into dust. This pattern will continue, in our day, marked, unfortunately, by thousands of Afghan graves, the lamentable cost democracy exacts from those who cherish freedom, and desire to throw back the latest set of arrogant white Christian invading armies.
As Hersyphillis, that ancient and wily commentator on the art of war, noted, at one time or another,
"Nothing is half as attractive, to an inept general, eager to make his mark, as a barren wasteland, peopled by poor, uneducated, and powerless people, against whom he can war with impunity."
No wonder Afghanistan is so popular with European generals, most of whom can recall, in their formative years, at least one encounter with Hersyphillis.
The most famous invader - and easily the most successful - so successful, in fact, that a grateful Queen of the British Empire bestowed on him the title Lord Roberts of Kandahar - was Bobs, Lord Roberts, of later Boer War fame, when he reprised him famous march in Afghanistan with his March to Pretoria.
The First Afghan War - 1839-40
Afghanistan was a buffer zone between British India and the Russian Empire's expanding southern border, so the British wanted a sympathetic ruler in that barren country abutting India's northern frontier borders.
In 1839-1840 Britain had fought the First Afghan War hoping to install a malleable Amir there, who, it was hoped, would keep the Russian Empire from expanding its influence dangerously close to British territories in the north west of India/Pakistan.
c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 - 1999
|Great Canadian Heritage Treasure|
|General Roberts - 1880|
|Orig. Vanity Fair litho - Image size - 21 x 36 cm
Found - Reading, UK
Signed Spy, Pub. Vanity Fair, April 10, 1880, "Bobs"
He was already a favourite of his troops who affectionately called him "Bobs."
Bobs was also the smartest general ever to fight in Afghanistan. He knew what he wanted, to capture clear military objectives, in key regions, which he speedily took, not try to conquer the whole damn country! He was smart also - anticipating Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points, two generations later - in recognizing that Afghanistan should be left to Afghans. He believed white Christian Europeans had no business in nation-building in this Muslim state, or imposing their will - however benevolent - on its domestic politics. Hard as it may be to swallow, for some, this nineteenth century general believed in local democracy (self-determination), not imposing a murderous outside military tyranny to enforce a phony stability there.
|Great Canadian Heritage Treasure|
|Lord Roberts of Kandahar -1900|
|Orig. cabinet card - Size - 90 x 140 mm
Found - Archdale, KY
|Great Canadian Heritage Treasure|
|Lord Roberts of Kandahar -1900|
|Orig. Vanity Fair litho - Image size - 21 x 36 cm
Found - Pocono Lake, PA
Signed Spy, Pub. Vanity Fair, June 21, 1900, "Bobs"
A wonderfully prescient piece of picture politics, or saucy political satire, from the Boer War era, shows the old style general using glasses to look for an enemy that he can fight on the battlefield, while in the background, looms the hidden guerilla of the coming wars of the 20th century, an enemy who refuses to fight "old style," and lose, preferring to blend into the landscape or population at large. (The glowering face is Paul Kruger, President of the Transvaal Republic.)
This is entirely unfair to Bobs as an intellectual and a general. Bobs knew all about guerilla warfare and how to fight irregulars in war.
In later life Bobs confessed to being baffled by the public's preoccupation with his March to Kandahar which, he pointed out, was easy compared to his march to Kabul.
In the March to Kandahar he had sufficient troops, the element of surprise, and often flat terrain to work in, easy for scouting and sending out protective flanking cavalry columns. On the march to Kabul he had a totally insufficient number of men, and had to fight, through narrow mountain passes, an enemy that ambushed him constantly because in the terrain he could not deploy his forces to advantage.
On one occasion, operating outside Kabul his force of a few thousand faced a rushing enemy, estimated by his generals afterwards, at not fewer than 100,000 frenzied tribesmen.
Only Lord Roberts' genius as a general was able to prevent the entire British Kabul Expedition from being exterminated then and there, reprising the fate of an earlier British Army in the First Afghan War.
Today, though the old style warfare of professional soldiers fighting professional soldiers has largely disappeared from combat, in the Third World, the old style terminology of war still persists, among journalist paid by the special interests.
Today's fashion, among media barons, is to issue their scribes with news presentation scenarios, complete with labels, that demonize home-grown guerillas, which they once lionized - you know, like the much celebrated Boers fighting the British, the Maquis underground fighting the Nazis - when they are of the Muslim variety (Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, Al Qaeda, etc.) as a cancer separate from the legitimate body politic and hiding out among the population, instead of allowing who they really are, a true expression of poor powerless people themselves, rising up in protest against foreign invaders and their local political and military depredations. Isn't this what democracy was supposed to be all about?
Well not if they're Muslims, in the Middle East, and might interfere with the political agenda that the special interests might have for their rich oil producing territories.