Mittwoch, September 15, 2010

Worth the read...

This in the Weekly Standard is worth the read. Seriously: Read.The.Whole.Damn.Thing. The indictment of parts of the French military is damning, and it would have taken so little to change the outcome. So very little indeed.

The incompetence of politicians...and the resulting futility of sacrifice. That one led to mutiny and revolt, the collapse of a government and a military dictatorship.

"We had been told, on leaving our native soil, that we were to defend the sacred rights conferred on us by so many of our citizens settled overseas, so many years of our presence, so many benefits brought by us to populations in need of our assistance and civilization. We were able to verify that this was true, and because it was true, we did not hesitate to shed our quota of blood, to sacrifice our youth and our hopes. We regretted nothing, but whereas we over here are inspired by their frame of mind, I am told that in Rome factions and conspiracies are rife, that treachery flourishes, and that many people in their uncertainty and confusion lend a ready ear to the dire temptations of relinquishment and vilify our action. I cannot believe that all this true, and yet recent wars have shown how pernicious such a state of mind could be and to where it could lead. Make haste to reassure me, I beg you, and tell me that our fellow citizens understand us, support us and protect us as we protect the glory of the Empire. If it should be otherwise, if we should leave our bleached bones on these desert sands in vain, then BEWARE THE ANGER OF THE LEGIONS!!"

This is attributed to being from a letter written by Marcus Flavinius, a centurion in the second cohort of the Augusta Legion serving overseas, to his cousin, Tertullus, in Rome, quoted in the Prologue of Jean Larteguay's, "The Centurions." However, it is unclear whether this quote is actually legitimate (largely due to the phrasing: if it is indeed based on an actual letter, then it has been heavily transliterated over the years into something more powerful than a probable original (I know from my Latin that this would be a very heavy text indeed).

That said: those who would throw away military accomplishments - indeed, victories - in the name of political gain and who would vilify soldiers for doing what they do should bear this well in mind.

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