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05 December 2013

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The Twisted Genius

PL,

I agree revolutionary war and COIN campaigns inevitably prove that war is an abomination. I've seen what it does in many villages in the Chouf Mountains. I'm also opposed to such violence. But then I think of my relatives and their stories about their fight against the Soviets. One of the things done was to mine the farms of Lithuanians that were killed, imprisoned or "resettled" in Siberia by NKVD troops. The Russian peasants that were forcibly resettled on these Lithuanian farms often suffered from these mining operations. Others were burned out. One of my uncles told me the LFA (Lithuanian Freedom Army) purged the nation of weak and undesirable elements before operating in earnest against the Soviets. I never asked him what he meant by that, but I imagine it included things that make this kind of war an abomination. Yet, I'm still proud of my family's part in this brutal war. I'm sure there are Irish kids in Boston that feel the same way about their relatives in the IRA and that struggle. It's an emotional and tribal thing, but it's certainly real.

As you noted, the greatness of Mandela and de Klerk was to rise above their inner beasts and do what is right for their country. The Peace and Justice Commission was indeed a work of genius. If not for both these men and the self discipline they displayed, South Africa would have devolved into a prolonged civil war as kxd said.

Tyler

Another liberal who calls it "colonization" when its Westerners building a society but screams about how immigration is a human right when its the third world pouring into first world countries.

Tyler

How could it have been much worst? SA is a damn mess!

Tyler

That's a lot of handwaving to try and disguise the fact that SA is now a basketcase of a country.

de Klerk and the rest of the elites brave? Please. They turned over the rulership of the country knowing full well what was going to happen next, and then either fled the country or sheltered down into guarded and fortified fortress suburbs. Those who could not afford fortress neighborhoods or to haul stakes were literally tossed to the wolves.

"Tried to minimize civilian casualties"? This is more white washing of history. The ANC was bombing busses and massacreing farmers, and you're claiming he tried to "minimize civilian casualties"?

A civil war might have been better for all involved. The TRC was a joke - de Klerk and the rest got what they wanted (amnesty and to get their invitations to cocktail parties), while the rapists and murderers were let go.

Obviously there's a parallel to what our "elites" are trying to do here. "Into the Cannibal's Pot" is a non fiction book for a reason.

Tyler

Sir,

The only thing to hope for is that perhaps the next time things turn it will proceed differently.

Tyler

The equation I'm trying to balance here is how many raped/murdered white farmers in rural SA and black diamond miners have to die before it begins to outweigh the sense of "moral superiority" Western countries thousands of miles away feel whenever they talk about apartheid.

http://takimag.com/article/heart_of_darkness/#axzz2mdUydk00

Tyler

Go take a walk in Johannesburg one night if you feel like the end of apartheid was such a boon, and then get back to me.

If you somehow survive, I have a feeling your opinions on this matter will not.

Stephanie

De Klerk was capable of recognizing the changed reality on the ground, which was certainly not true of all of the country's white elite. Mandela had small use for de Klerk personally, believing, with some reason, that de Klerk was complicit in the killings conducted by "rogue" elements of the army and police even as the negotiations for the political transition were ongoing.

Amir

The greatness of Mandela is his magnanimity in victory as well as his sense of justice ( http://www.theamericanconservative.com/millman/practicing-magnanimity-in-triumph ).

He broke free at last…I am happy to day that my country of birth, was even willing to cut in it's own flesh to assist the ANC in contrast to Reagan.
After the revolution, the ties with the Apartheid Regime were broken in light of the deep entanglement of the latter with Shah. Iran, at a dire moment of it's history, halted the shipment of oil to South-Africa and supported ANC militarily, despite the Saddam's War brewing.

turcopolier

stephanie

"the changed reality on the ground," What was that? Demographics had changed? Liberals in American and Europe were unhappy? The South Sfrican economy was in decline? What? pl

turcopolier

TTG

IMO resistance warfare fought against foreign occupation is quite differed from revolutionary warfare. pl

turcopolier

mark Logan

The first KKK was never more than a nuisance to the occupation army in the former confederate states. The occupation ended because Democratic Party politicians in the North wanted allies from the South . To achieve that the occupation had to end and former Confederates had to be given back their voting rights. this had nothing to do with the first KKK. pl

turcopolier

fred

The hostility of the North towards the South is culturally based and seems immutable. pl

steve g

IMHO the cultural hostility works both ways.
It depends of the individual person and locality.
My dad was from Arkansas and my mother from Minn-
sota. Two completely divergent cultures in that
period in history. My southern relatives never
really accepted her or me for that matter as we
were all G*& D%#@m Yankees to them. Visting there
many times in the fifties as a youth one out of
all accepted my as their cousin. A pretty humbling
and humiliating experience.

Both sides play to stereotype. My wife's relatives
on her fathers side are from Alabama. The older
generation gave you the outlier treatment on first
blush to test you. Once they found out you were a
normal human being with a different dialect they
accepted you more warmly than most. Many Midwest-
erners still reference the so called buffoonery of
the South. Shows like Duck Dynasty might not help,
although the head Duck is worth 20Mil! A transplanted
Bostonion has lived here 25 years and still thinks
we are bunch of frostbitten naves(could be!)

The more things change, the more they remain the
same as the saying goes.

The Twisted Genius

PL,

You said, "IMO resistance warfare fought against foreign occupation is quite different from revolutionary warfare."

I agree, but IMO revolutionary warfare encompasses a wide variety of armed struggles beyond the idea of an outside communist vanguard fomenting insurrection where there was none before. I think it includes civil war and revolution waged by a people against their own internationally recognized and legitimate government. In the case of South Africa, the government was still in the process of implementing its full apartheid policies to create weak and dependent bantustans, though nominally independent, that could be harvested for their labor to support white South Africa. I'm not surprised that most of black South Africa found this intolerable. It was IMO far more intolerable than the conditions leading to our Revolution and Civil War, both of which I consider legitimate revolutions. So, to answer a point you posed to me earlier, I do not think leading an armed revolt against that SA government made Mandela a bad man.

Charles I

I didn't use the word progress, my focus was the ineluctable nature of change from below and response to it. Historically, it seems proven you can't keep abusing a huge mass of the locals, whatever their own faults and foibles without consequences, including various conceptions of progress taking hold, even in one's own mind.

One lives as a Mandela, and the government responds. One dies a suicidal Tunisian symbol and the government falls. Doing nothing but the same thing if you firmly come to believe the shite must hit the fan sometime might be hubris or insanity. Even if the best choice, knowable only in hindsight does not assure progress.

In any event, whether progress or hubris, as Mao or Deng is oft quoted about the French Revolution "too soon to tell".

What you're up to there at home with family and all those critters, that sounds like real progress. I'd like to see a Christmas picture of that.

Charles I

I didn't mean to say anything value laden about progress or rightness, never used the words as I tried to explain above. I meant a pot of water gonna be boiling you keep it on the fire long enough, a battery will explode if you toss one in, no wrong or right about it, just is, like physics(until we actually divine Creation) and what's gone before - if that's what you want.

Foreseeable phenomena, replete with historical example and scriptural guidance offer one potential for ill or bad is all I meant, and different responses will serve up different meals.

To me history over the millennium is a wheel of achievement, a striving for organization and progress, and then The Fall , drawn in every iteration of the Creation story from the first Sumerian go at one to the King James. Lack of technological ability in past civilizations to escape their cataclysms, their Flood, their magnetic field reversal, whatever seems to have doomed each. I see no difference now. I have little faith in our ability to maintain the current civilization on its current trajectory in face of the environmental population shifts we will see over the next couple of centuries, let alone other banana peels, asteroids and declining immune systems.

I guess I should have said you can't stop physics.

But I suppose I still hope and bleat for "progress" whatever

Charles I

He'd be limited in his options w/o an Israeli de Klerk.

Charles I

This morning former Canadian PM Mulroney, point man for the whole western pivot, in an interview on CBC Radio's The House, definitively painted Reagan's concern with Mandela and the ANC as Commie based. He expressed concerns to Mulroney over ANC relations with Cuba as the manifestation that precluded acting on his humanitarian impulses against apartheid. Mulroney replied: You support those that support you.

For better or worse.

Charles I

My gramps, father and uncles were there, Grandpa died there. Never spoken of except as too horrific, but clear that they were fighting foreign oppression in total war to victory or defeat and felt legitimate to the end.

Charles I

They seem so often intertwined.

turcopolier

TTG

As Catholics we understand that people are redeemable. IMO Mandela and de Klerk found salvation together whether they liked each other or not.

I realize that I am trying to make distinctions that are hard to see,but I still think that they must be made and insisted on. If your Lithuanian partisan "cleaned up" the communist element in the population that is unfortunates but it should not obscure the basic truth that they were defending their country against a foreign invader and that invader's local fifth column. Neither the American War of independence, not the WBS were characterized by revolutionary warfare of the Maoist/Giap model. they were determined in outcome by the conventional forces on either side. There partisan forces in play but they played a minor role being thought to be somewhat unsavory. IN the CSA case the government in Richmond early on disavowed Quantrill for his actions and revoked his commission. John Mosby's force was directly subordinated to the cavalry division of the AoNV and Stuart watched him closely to be sure that he stuck to his mission of making the Army of the Potomac uncomfortable in their rear areas. Mosby's men were billeted on the population in Fauquier and Loudoun. They seem to have welcomed. they were the "home team." Out in the Shenandoah, McNeill's men took to holding up trains to stay "in funds" but IMO that was acceptable. pl

The Twisted Genius

PL,

Ah your point is now clear… I think. There are standards and rules that should govern all who engage in war. I wholeheartedly agree. Even in the case of the LFA, strict organization, a responsible chain of command and a code of conduct were in place. I did not mean to imply that our War of independence and the WBS were Maoist revolutions in any way, but they were wars against existing governments that claimed sovereignty over those that rebelled. Although there is serious doubt about that claim in the case of the WBS. I just don't agree that a recognized government whether in firm control of the people or not, has any inherent right to continue to govern those people nor do the people have any moral duty to perpetuate that government. I think that's why we swore our oaths to the Constitution rather than to the USG.

kao_hsien_chih

It's not as much of a mess as it could be. (see Zimbabwe.) For all its faults, ANC did go out of its way to maintain a reasonably working legal order for all (although the rates of mayhem, corruption, and criminality do run high throughout society, it isn't quite so terrible vis-a-vis its peers--not just its African neighbors, but, say, Brazil or perhaps Russia.) What I wonder, though, is that, without the gigantic symbolic figure of Mandela (who has always been more useful as a statue than a real person), things could get closer to Zimbabwe in South Africa...

turcopolier

TTG

"I just don't agree that a recognized government whether in firm control of the people or not, has any inherent right to continue to govern those people nor do the people have any moral duty to perpetuate that government." I completely agree. The Declaration of Independence although not law agrees. My point had nothing to do with Afrikaner right to maintain their government . It had to do with the limits of just action on the part of Mandela and the ANC. pl

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