Friday, November 06, 2009

COMMON SENSE



In the third century before the birth of Christ, the Samnites succeeded in trapping a large Roman army in the Claudine Forks. Possessed of a glut of prisoners, the Samnite ruler asked his father, Herennius, what he should do with them.
"Let them all go," replied the father. The son said that this was impossible. "Then kill them all," countered the father.

This was equally impossible, said his son, and asked for some middle course.

"There is none," said the wise father, "for a middle course would neither make the Romans your friends nor deprive you of your enemies."

[Erich Eyck quoted in The Kings Depart by Richard M. Watt]


Because it was then at Kut el Amarah, after a futile siege of 147 days, that thirteen thousand British and Indian troops surrendered to the Turks and began a horrifying march into captivity.
Kut el Amarah was the most humiliating disaster to have befallen a British Expeditionary Force since 1842 when, in a lunatic retreat from Kabul, sixteen thousand men died because of the decision of one half witted general...........

.....but it was not military ineptitude alone that precipitated the tragedy. Years of political ineptitude had also played their part.

..........and the King Emperor himself grumbled that he should have remained with his troops at Kut, to share their fate, there could be , and was no hope for him.
So he became a Member of Parliament.

Generals have over their troops a power of life and death that is terrifying. Against that power there is no right of appeal.

Passages quoted from The Siege by Russell Braddon.

Please no more disastrous campaigns under disastrous generals, and let us remember our history, and use some common sense.

4 Comments:

Blogger Margot Kinberg said...

Well-said!!! Santayana said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. I hope that doesn't continue to be the case...

6:31 AM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

I don´t often read about war, but sometimes I use Tennyson´s The Charge of the Light Brigade, and I certainly also hope we have grown wiser than that.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Margot. I feel physically sick when I hear politicians say we have to rebuild X or Y or send democracy to Z. That means they have no real strategic plan except to prop up yet another corrupt regime with the lives of brave men and women.

Thanks Dorte, the Charge of the Light Brigade and the whole Crimean War was yet another complete waste of human life as 50 years later Britain and France had changed sides and were Tsarist Russia's allies against the Ottoman Empire in the First World War.

Have we grown wiser yes, but our politicians haven't.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Margot. I feel physically sick when I hear politicians say we have to rebuild X or Y or send democracy to Z. That means they have no real strategic plan except to prop up yet another corrupt regime with the lives of brave men and women.

Thanks Dorte, the Charge of the Light Brigade and the whole Crimean War was yet another complete waste of human life as 50 years later Britain and France had changed sides and were Tsarist Russia's allies against the Ottoman Empire in the First World War.

Have we grown wiser yes, but our politicians haven't.

8:44 AM  

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