22 April 2011

Civil War

One hundred and fifty years ago this month the American Civil War started and four years later ended. It was the  first modern and total war and cost 2% of the American population in lives alone. By to days standards that represents over five and a half million men. I say total war because it also involved for the first time, the destruction of the civil populations infrastructure when Sherman's soldiers raped and pillaged and burned cities and farms, on his march to the sea. In the beginning Europe looked on, but when Lea started winning battles, Palmeston, the then Prime-minister of England, together with France considered recognising the Confederacy. However, when Grant also started winning battles they decided to do nothing of the sort. Had they done so I am sure it would have prolonged the war and been even more costly in lives. 150 years ago it was the right thing for Europe to do, to sit and watch and await developments.

Do we ever learn the lessons of history? Today Europe is involved in the Civil War in Libya. The Prime-ministers of England and France are active participants here, but I feel they have not understood the nature of the conflict, which is a true civil war as it is between the western coastal tribes and the internal tribes which support Gaddafi. The Europeans and the Americans have never really ever understood the concepts of tribalism, as history has shown. Or else why are we involved in Iraq and in Afghanistan? These leaders want regime change and think they can bring it about by bombing. Bombing nations into submission was tried by Hitler against England's cities and failed and also by Bomber Harris against German cities and failed. Both only caused wanton destruction and needless bloodshed. Bombing alone has never won wars, only ground forces can win wars. Without Forward Air Controllers (FAC) on the ground in the front line between the forces in the conflict, to coordinate and direct the bombing, it will not be successful.

That Gaddafi is an evil despot who is clinging to power, and that his days are numbered goes without saying. But by getting involved in another nations civil war will only prolong the conflict and add further fuel to the fire of the hatred of some Muslim extremists towards Europe. America has perhaps understood this, or else why is she trying hard not to get further involved and hoping NATO will solve the problem and that NATO should get the flack when it comes, as it will.

What Europe and America has not understood about the uprisings in Arabia, is that it is not all about democracy. It is about young intelligent people, across the tribal system, seeing the corruption in their countries and wanting to change it, but more than that, they want the freedom to work, to feed and clothe their families. These young people have all been infected with the thought  "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This may not mean that they will have democracy as we know it, in the future, but it will mean they will be come a freer fairer nation. Of course we must support them in getting there, but that does not mean we should get embroiled in their civil wars.


Happy Easter