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January 09, 2007


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And of course the interesting thing is that the "Boers" eventually won.

After the unification of the four South African colonies in 1910 Afrikaner dominated parties controlled South African politics until 1994.


I wrote in my cycle journal 9.11.2002
On this day I feel a need to say something or make a statement. It was about this time, in fact the day after the 30 September 1899, which was the day my father was born, that my grandfather left his family and Ixopo on horseback, and took up arms to fight the Boers.He had to ride some 50 kms to Richmond where the Border Mounted Rifles entrained for Ladysmith only to be besieged by the Boers.It's funny how history looks at events so differently a hundred years on. Milner and Chamberlain had for a long time wanted to spill Boer's blood. In fact Milner was determined to war with the Transvaal Boers no matter what, and so stirred up British sentiments that he was able to get the British Government to send troops from all over the world and to get volunteers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand to fight a war the Boers did not want and did their best to avoid. But Milner had his way. Thirty thousand Boer lives later and thousands of British troops dead, the scorched earth policy left farms, crops and cattle destroyed and the two Republics devastated before that Great Boer War ended. Early commentators including Churchill of course blamed the Boers entirely, but a hundred years on all writer/historians with better research and documents available, put the full blame for the war on Milner, Chamberlain and Britain. Now Bush and Blair are spoiling for war and are determined to have their war no matter what, I wonder in one hundred years where historians will put the blame for the war against Iraq that seems sure to come. There is still hatred in some of the Boer descendants about the events so long ago and I can understand why.

Justin Moretti

Your post makes the error of assuming from start to finish that Bush's decision to go to war was in fact wrong. This assumption is not necessarily correct.

The work that Saddam's Iraq had done on weapons of mass destruction, some of which were used (gas against Iranians and against Kurdish Iraqis), quite probably constitutes a justification; it showed (as did the acquisition of the nuclear reactor that the Israelis thankfully destroyed) that the regime had the ability, the motive and the will to acquire, develop and deploy such weapons. In the light of an unsatisfying and incomplete examination of Iraq under Saddam, removing him to ensure the end of any possible Iraqi WMD program could be argued as the only reasonable option.

In this light, it could be argued that Bush's big mistake has been his failure to act more forcefully on Iran.

Arguments against historical examples of appeasement (e.g. Munich 1938) seek not to compare modern militaristic despots specifically with Hitler, but simply with another militaristic despot. In all cases it is better to challenge and defeat them before they have completed their desired level of (re)armament, and to do the job once only and for all time - hence Bush the Son is simply rectifying the mistake of Bush the Father.

Once upon a time we would have been expected to make these value judgements without hesitation. The fact that refugees seem to preferentially seek access to Western capitalist democracies is to me strong evidence that the value judgements which are made by adherents to those democracies upon the states and organisations responsible for the refugee movements are correct; that they are corrupt and evil, and should be removed from power. Next to them, George W. Bush is small-fry whose days are, thanks to his own nation's constitution, numbered by definition.

Dave Munger

And now, of course, we're bombing Somalia. If one war isn't going well, just start another one.

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