Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Why The White House Should Have Read T.E. Lawrence ...

23 July 2007

Why The White House Should Have Read T.E. Lawrence ...

Shown below is Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888–1935) aka Lawrence of Arabia.


Shown below is a snip (or two), from a recent piece written for 'The Independent' by media hero, Robert Fisk.

Robert Fisk: TE Lawrence had it right about Iraq

'Rebellions can be made by 2 per cent active and 98 per cent passively sympathetic'


Published: 14 July 2007

Back in 1929, Lawrence of Arabia wrote the entry for "Guerrilla" in the 14th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It is a chilling read - and here I thank one of my favourite readers, Peter Metcalfe of Stevenage, for sending me TE's remarkable article - because it contains so ghastly a message to the American armies in Iraq.

Writing of the Arab resistance to Turkish occupation in the 1914-18 war, he asks of the insurgents (in Iraq and elsewhere): "... suppose they were an influence, a thing invulnerable, intangible, without front or back, drifting about like a gas? Armies were like plants, immobile as a whole, firm-rooted, nourished through long stems to the head. The Arabs might be a vapour..."

How typical of Lawrence to use the horror of gas warfare as a metaphor for insurgency. To control the land they occupied, he continued, the Turks "would have need of a fortified post every four square miles, and a post could not be less than 20 men. The Turks would need 600,000 men to meet the combined ill wills of all the local Arab people. They had 100,000 men available."

Now who does that remind you of? The "fortified post every four square miles" is the ghostly future echo of George W Bush's absurd "surge". The Americans need 600,000 men to meet the combined ill will of the Iraqi people, and they have only 150,000 available.
(snip)
So we are going to have yet another war in the Middle East, this time against Hamas - democratically elected, of course, but only as a result of what Pipes calls "the Bush administration's heedless rush to Palestinian elections"? It's good to see that the late Tony Blair is already being dubbed a "savant". But shouldn't Pipes, too, read Lawrence? For insurgency is a more powerful "vapour" than that which comes from the mouths of illusionists.
Never mind Pipes -- shouldn't someone in the White House and someone in the Pentagon have read Lawrence too?

Before
their Iraq bloodbath blunder?!

Read all of Robert Fisk's excellent article right here.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous kiwi said...

He was an even more amazing man than I thought.

He descibed al-Queda perfectly ~ how many years in advance?

3:30 am  
Anonymous phil said...

Some people live in abject poverty but do have a TV which relentlessly portrays a lifestyle they have no real comprehension of yet alone experience of or benefits from ~~ yet they asscociate themselves as part of that same society which ensures they stay deprived.

Why? Because they have nothing else but their feeling of 'belonging' to a 'wonderful' society. And that's exactly how the rich want things to remain.

It's a crying shame that the spirit of the founding fathers is now so lacking. They dumped King George for far less neglect than they now recieve.

Bread and circuses is STILL the order of the day.

10:15 am  
Anonymous martha said...

Richard, some great stuff there but did you notice the silly typo? Some sub ed at the Independent want his/her bum smacking.

When saying it's good that 'the late Tony Blair' a savant -- it obviously should have read 'the late T.E.Lawrence'.

Still, none of us are perfect I suppose. :-)

12:55 pm  
Blogger gordo said...

Perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect of Bush's Iraqi debacle is that it was all predicted by those who actually knew a little something about the region and about warfare. But the Middle East experts were dismissed as being a pack of "blame America firsters" and "Arabists." To quell dissent among the military professionals, Bush had to fire his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Rumsfeld had to threaten anyone who had the temerity to draw up a counterinsurgency plan.

So because their analysis was inconvenient for the pro-war crowd, our most knowledgeable people were marginalized and ignored. And now the Iraqis are paying the price.

7:37 am  

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