Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Now tell us something we don't know

This is General James Bucknall, in an "exclusive interview" with The Guardian. One can't help but smile at the self-importance of the newspaper, retailing nothing more than a statement of the bleedin' obvious. After all, even without the benefit of a brass hat and knitting badges, just this morning, we were able to say:
As coalition forces move out and Afghan security forces take over, the Taliban will move in. We will end up with a north-south split, and civil war – within a year of our departure.
But God knows why the paper thinks we should be impressed by a general who has nothing more to offer than what we can work out for ourselves. What might be impressive is a soldier or a diplomat who actually understands something of the geopolitics and comes up with a plan that has a chance of succeeding.

In days of Empire, we had such men – even Abdur Rahman was impressed with Curzon. In this piece, The Guardian does enlist Sir William Patey, Britain's ambassador to Kabul, but he does not strike one as a man of vision, any more than is Bucknall. We are doomed to be served by midgets, attended upon by newspapers which could not even recognise greatness if they saw it.