Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Futility of War - Part 2

Harry Patch put no gloss on bloody conflict

Published Date: 28 July 2009

WAS Harry Patch struck, like me, by the irony of Russian helicopters being loaned to British forces in Afghanistan? The enemies change but the horror of war continues as the deepest stain on human history. Once they begin military conflicts tend to run on until one side has the advantage and negotiations are offered. That point has now thankfully been reached in Afghanistan, but we should not gotten into this position in the first place.

The roots of the present Afghan conflict lie in the great game fought out there between Britain and Russia in the 19th century and the habit it gave the great powers of dabbling in other people's lives for strategic advantage. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the west supported anybody, including the Taliban, who would fight the Russians. After the Soviets withdrew, the CIA continued to train, arm and fund fundamentalists to destabilise Mohammed Najibullah's successor regime.

Najibullah was close to concluding a UN brokered deal with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic mujahidin leader known as the lion of Panshir, when Massoud was murdered by the Taliban. The repercussions of funding extremists as an easy way of damaging Russian interests are still with us. At the outset, using religious fundamentalists to fight as western provos may have seemed easier and quicker than diplomacy, but it created a Frankenstein which is still costing lives in a situation from which it is hard to withdraw.

Conflicts, once started, continue until it is clear who has the upper hand. Then a deal becomes possible but the bitter consequences can last generations. That is what happened in Northern Ireland where, after a long slow attrition, the IRA and the DUP were eventually compelled to cut a deal which they would have denounced as treachery a few years earlier. The pity is that the conflict was allowed to erupt in the first place - it could have been prevented by reform and compromise in the early years, before the IRA and Sinn Fein gained support.

Harry Patch is honoured as the last WW1 Tommy, a symbol of a noble and remarkable generation - but he put no gloss on the horrors of conflict. "War is organised murder, and nothing else", he said, dismissing Remembrance Day as "just show business". He died last week, shortly after the 90 second anniversary of the start of the battle of Passchendaele in which he fought. Passchendaele lasted until November 1917, killing and crippling hundreds of thousands of men who fought across bloody marshland to take a single ridge.

Britain "won" but Patch took little satisfaction from that. His proudest memory of the battle was that, on the one occasion when he had the opportunity to kill a German, he let the man live. He wrote off the origins of the war as "a family row" and said that victory had not been worth a couple of lives, never mind hundreds of thousands.

That conflict, which few would now say was unavoidable, seeded many of the problems we are still dealing with. Hitler fought on the German side at Passchendaele.
His political rise and the origins of the Second World War can be directly traced to the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the war by imposing crippling reparations on defeated Germany. The bitterness that so much sacrifice by German troops could produce such an outcome led to the scape goating of the Jews and the holocaust.

That in turn fuelled the demand for a Jewish state and the flight of holocaust survivors to Israel, resulting in the long running Middle East crisis and the ongoing horrors of Gaza. WW1 entailed the fall of Tsarist Russia and the Bolshevik revolution. That, in turn, gave us the cold war, a section of which was fought on behalf of the west by Taliban proxies. The Taliban’s victory gave Osama bin Laden a safe base from which to plan the bombing of New York and other western targets as well as creating the conditions for our streets to be flooded with Afghan heroin.

We can all imagine instances where violence seems justified. Patch said he would have shot Hitler given the chance, but victory can seem empty given the cost. Leo Tolstoy, himself an ex serviceman, summed it up in War and Peace:

“The aim of war is murder; the methods of war are spying, treachery, and their encouragement, the ruin of a country’s inhabitants, robbing them or stealing to provision the army, and fraud and falsehood are termed military craft.”

1 comment:

nemesys said...

A pal of mine, in the BNP, posted a video on JooTube a few days ago. He’s in the military. He posted a tribute to his fallen Brethren. It’s heart-breaking. So many pure young Anglo-Saxon faces, sluaghtered for Jew evil and bloodlust. Again. The DevilJew war on Whites – on the TRUE Israelites (whose Nature and Destiny has been stolen and subverted) has raged on for almost 200 years, in this latest incarnatoin. Moloch’s desire for pure blood is accelerating.