Saturday, August 31, 2013

Poison Gas? Positively Churchillian!

This is hilarious. Here's Israel-loving court historian,* Andrew Roberts (of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 fame), a bloke who just can't reconcile himself to the decline of that colonial flight of fancy, the Anglosphere, getting stuck into Syria's Bashar al-Asad for allegedly "deploying chemical weapons against opponents of his regime":

"Only 4% of all battlefield deaths in the Great War had been caused by [mustard] gas, yet the foul nature of those deaths meant that gas held a particular terror in the public imagination. Since 1925, it has only been countries that are recognised to be outside the bounds of civilisation that have taken recourse to it. The latest outlaw to do so is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who deployed chemical weapons against opponents of his regime in the suburbs of Damascus last Wednesday... The first was Benito Mussolini's fascist Italy, which unleashed mustard gas on the Ethiopian subjects of Emperor Haile Selassie in the Abyssinian campaign of 1935-41.** The gas dropped by the Italian airforce was known by the Ethiopians as 'the terrible rain that burned and killed'." (Time for Obama to step in on Syria's gas attack on civilisation, The Australian/The Wall Street Journal, 27/8/13)

Note the two-word sleight of hand here: "since 1925." Fascinating! Why 1925?

While the crafty Roberts doesn't say, there can only be one answer. That was when his Chosen People,  the Britz, had finally finished 'pacifying' those Iraqis who'd had the gall to reject British control over their particular patch of God's green earth.

From 1920-1925, the Britz forced colonial rule on rebellious Iraqis by means of the Royal Air Force. As a British colonial official candidly admitted at the time:

"If the aeroplanes were removed tomorrow the whole structure [of British colonial domination] would inevitably fall to pieces." (Britain in Iraq: 1914-1932, Peter Sluglett, 1976, p 91)

No, the Britz weren't showering Iraqis with leaflets on the need to swap their particular brand of native 'barbarity' for the virtues of British 'civilisation'.

As you'd expect of the jolly old RAF, they were showering bombs on these surly sandniggers. And not just your kosher common and garden bombs either - you know, the ones that merely tear their human targets limb from limb.

Oh, no, your paragons of civilization, the political ancestors of David Cameron and William Hague, were dropping - wait for it - mustard gas.

Hey - and this is where the hilarity of Roberts' insufferable sanctimoniousness kicks in - those political ancestors I speak of weren't just your common and garden political ancestors either. The greatest of all modern Britz; the one who took on Hitler in World War II and delivered us - those of us who really matter anyway - from the horrors of Nazism; the most civilised of the civilised; the subject of many a tome by the adoring Robertz, the Grand Poobah himself, Winston Bloody Churchill, gave the orders to unleash "the terrible rain that burned and killed" 15 years before Mussolini:

"One of the main features of British forces in the area would be increased use of the Royal Air Force. In a letter to Sir Hugh Trenchard of 29 August [1920], Churchill made a decision which has now become notorious, mentioned in virtually every television documentary in recent years, but never published in full. This is the complete letter: 'I think you should certainly proceed with the experimental work on gas bombs, especially mustard gas, which should inflict punishment on recalcitrant natives without inflicting grave injury upon them.' One can look at this infamous request in two ways. Yes, Churchill wanted to gas the rebels. No, Churchill did not want them killed, just put out of action. In fact, it would have been hard to drop mustard gas on Arab rebels without 'inflicting grave injury upon them,' and this proved to be the case, since many hundreds of Iraqi rebels died in the attacks." (Winston's Folly: Imperialism & the Creation of Modern Iraq, Christopher Catherwood, 2004, p 85)

Since 1925, eh? What a phony!

[*For a look at the work of another British partisan court historian click on the Niall Ferguson label below; ** Roberts can't even get his dates right. This particular war went from 1935-1936.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Churchill approved the use of gas during the campaign to subdue Afghanistan in May 1919. He rejected any objection of the India Office: "The objections to the use of gas against the natives...are unreasonable. Gas is a more merciful weapon than high explosive shell and compels an enemy to accept a decision with less loss of life than any other agency of war. The moral effect is also very great. There can be no conceivable reason why it should not be resorted to". (Clive Ponting, Churchill, 1994, p.258). Exquisite!