Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Afghanistan - Two Churchill Quotes

From his History of the Second World War (I paraphrase) :

"When two armies approach each other it makes all the difference in the world which one owns only the ground it stands on and which owns all the rest. We saw this in the South African conflict, where we owned nothing beyond the light of our campfires, whereas the Boers rode where they pleased all over the country".

And from this post :

"And the young men hearing these things will grip their Martinis, and pray to Allah, that one day He will bring some Sahib - best prize of all - across their line of sight at seven hundred yards so that, at least, they may strike a blow for insulted and threatened Islam."


JuliaM said...

I assume, without clicking the link, that refers to the Martini-henry rifle, and not the drink? ;)

Laban said...

I don't think you can get the vermouth west of the Durand Line ...

Sgt Troy said...

"Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth dismissed the claim that Britain could maintain security by relying on internal measures alone.

"We can't secure ourselves at the borders of Great Britain. If Afghanistan is not secure, then Pakistan will not be secure and Britain will not be secure. That is the whole purpose of us being there," he told BBC Radio 4's The World At One." Telegraph

So then elements of the large and rapidly growing Pakistani population are a threat then, Ainsworth is not the most subtle of politicos when it comes to letting moggy out of the bag

And, extraordinarily, Woolas has claimed that British forces are in Afghanistan are fighting, and dying, "partly to contriol immigration". One would question the necessity of fighting so far forward though. Why can't we secure our borders? Where can they be secured? From a trench in Helmand? What an utterly absurd notion

Howells, who is better than the average Labour politician, is of course absolutely correct in suggesting a policy which another party, whose name we must not speak, has previously advocated
The regime position is collapsing, as indeed will the regime itself in the not too distant future

Anonymous said...

I'm confused by Churchill's quote about the Boer War. Didn't Britain own about a quarter of the world at that time? There are some who say the Boer War was the first of Britain's "pointless" wars.

Anonymous said...

Vietnam - lost

Russia in Afghanistan - lost

Britain in Northern Ireland -lost

Not one guerilla war since WWII has ever been won and yet we insist on fighting them.

We should pull out of Afghanistan, let the Taleban take over - then fight them on the ground in conventional warfare.

Anyway, who gives a stuff about Churchill. Its a Euro-army now and the descendents of the Hitler youth are calling the shots.

Laban said...

Anon1 - the Boer war was perhaps the most pure 'Imperialist' war of all - fought for the diamonds and gold of the Orange Free State. Not terribly moral but hardly pointless.

Anon2 - we didn't lose militarily in NI at all. The IRA were losing. It's just that other considerations supervened (collapse of Brit cultural self-confidence, patriotism etc) - hence Good Friday.

Gordon said...

War in Malaya - won
War in Vietnam lost because the Yanks failed to treat Haiphong and Hanoi the way we dealt with Leipzig and Tokyo.
Rules of engagement- Null Points

Sgt Troy said...

He added: "I have found the return to civilian life humbling. My George Cross counted for little when I tried to find a job in the middle of a recession."

"The usual grumbling by soldiers at the politicians who determine their fate has for me hardened into real anger. When I left the Army, I qualified for a resettlement allowance of just £500.
"In contrast, MPs who leave the Commons receive between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of their annual salary to help them 'adjust' to live outside Parliament. Where is the fairness in that?
"What makes me even more furious is the lack of respect shown by the Government to those who have paid the highest price and made the ultimate sacrifice: the war dead. Why is there no Minister in attendance when our fallen heroes from Afghanistan are brought home to repatriation ceremonies at Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire?
"I couldn't believe it when I read that Gordon Brown had phoned Simon Cowell to ask how Britain's Got Talent contestant Susan Boyle was when she had a breakdown. He doesn't phone any of the bereaved families. I thought that was absolutely disgusting, a real slap in the face for the parents of the hundreds of soldiers killed."

From the Sun

Brown is a truly despicable individual

moriarty said...


The Boer war wasn't just, or even mostly about gold.

There was a whole host of reasons that all came together, including pressure from the gold producers (and their Jameson raid) the Boer governments restriction of the franchise, the British attempts to enforce what they saw as their suzerainty over the area, and most of all the Boers' attempt to retake the Cape colony - with the gold taxes paid to them paying for some of Europe's most advanced weaponry, which mostly outclassed what the British had.