Trivialities, concoctions, distortions and awards -More.
Objective 'side' looks. Dayan Jayathileke responding to my article 'Trivialising the victory of May 2009' (Sunday Island 29 Aug) has as usual with well practiced skill not contested the main issues I raised regarding his article misleadingly titled 'Tamil politics.' (Island 25 Aug). Once again he flings inaccuracies, fantasies, odd if not ridiculous comparisons and even much straining of the truth, in another 'piece'(8 Sep) which was to be an 'Objective Look' at the last Eelam 'war' but was anything but. Much of it was once again to trivialize not only the victory of May 2009 but also to apply thick paint to cover up flaws in his previous piece. There also appear to be some dodgy intellectual aberrations and serious nit picking.
"The difference lies not in new ideas but in escaping from old ones" Lord Keynes
Much of it was once again to but also to apply thick paint to cover up his previous flaws. There also appear to be some dodgy intellectual aberrations and serious nit picking.
Venom and vitriol 'pieces'. DJ being a doctor(but not like DJ's icon Dr. Che Guevara who after executing a 16 year old boy describes making diary notes in clinical detail of the progression of the bullet into the skull of that unfortunate) states in an even much longer 'piece' that I 'have in a long piece' countered his gushing 'piece'. He doesn't exactly spew venom or vitriol but blasts of with little subtlety 'silly', 'braggadocio', 'absurd argument', ignorance', 'arrant nonsense', 'bundling', 'silliest of syllogisms' to score what has again been a hat trick of own goals while also writing one thundering page of- 'arrant nonsense' (reverse pass).
Castro and Cuba-reality check. My article was critical of Castro and his rebels, (insurgents, guerillas or terrorists). The rebels got lost and were sea sick getting into Cuba but routed Batista's army that was already running ('hooking off'/ bugging out).Since then Cuba has bred Olympic running champions. Castro has also now realized the earlier well rewarded Soviet economic model he adopted has failed. I laid emphasis on Castro's main 'strategic' victory of continuing as a dictator for nearly 50 years, imprisoning and brutally torturing over 20,000 'political dissidents' daily for over half that time.DJ offered no contest.
Strategy at Singapore brunches. While I commended the victory of the SL Army in May 2009 over a crack terrorist force, DJ attempted to take the gloss out of that victory by stating that the SL forces could have taken Jaffna town from the LTTE earlier(1987) even though not a shot was fired. Did he avoid being taken for an 'ignoramus' at that thoroughly impressive Singapore brunch gathering 'last Sunday' apparently hosted by the Singapore Prime Minister and another politician Lord Patten (now of Oxford) and 'us seniors of NUS' by not repeating this 'could have been if and but' war story?
Kaplan but not Gen McChrystal backs DJ. DJ quotes from an essay by American Robert Kaplan, (who I met in Colombo last year), in a sorry attempt to contest my opinion that the SL Army's performance was unique. Kaplan has imagined that the conflict was Buddhist v Hindu. He was described as 'ill informed and intellectually shallow'. DJ intentionally or not has however refrained from mentioning another of Kaplan's essays written after May 2009, shockingly titled 'Buddhism's Savage Power' which will give a succinct idea of Kaplan's thinking and DJ's shrewdness. DJ believes that as Kaplan condemned the 'SL (army) model', apparently saying 'no western military ..should ever conceive functioning along such lines' and also that 'there are no take away lessons from that war', the SL Army's performance was 'short lived'. Kaplan's latest book 'South Asia's Geography and Conflict' does not mention SL or the Maldives which 'is a significant gap in his knowledge and a major weakness in his assessment'.
It is unlikely that DJ's research or resulting opinions mean much to most outside Singapore 'brunch' dates. Nor will the SL Army miss a step as a result. Kaplan if not DJ would have known since, from what happened to Gen Stanley McChrystal, that the USA too has learned little from its present wars.
Geneva-short circuit. Wonder what DJ told Geneva about the SL Army then and why he now quotes Kaplan's serious allegations of 'killings', 'disappearances' and 'attitude' to the media' as though the meaning of that 'attitude' was not clear. Ironically DJ's stint in Geneva opposing most of Kaplan's views, was also 'short lived if not short circuited.
DJ praises Russia etc not SL. DJ goes to town to describe with great
relish the deeds of Russia, mineral rich Angola (where he says in an earlier 'piece' his favourite Russian funded - at $1000 per Cuban soldier of which the soldier got only $20 - Castro's Army did not commit atrocities in Angola!) and brutalised Algeria. He uses the words 'smashed,' 'decapitated' and 'crushed' to describe their respective 'victories'.(There was however a massive bomb in South Russia on 9/9 ). He doesn't say what Kaplan or any other 'piece' writer thought of those descriptions.
Decapitating bundling of guerrilla and terrorist war. DJ makes a big issue with what he calls my 'bundling 'of terrorism, insurgencies and guerilla war. He should ask Gen VP Mehta (who DJ never fails to say he knows) what the difference is. Gen Mehta will put it succinctly and simply but will DJ the doctor agree that 'terrorism is an act of violence against innocent people or non combatants committed by a non state actor'? But of course for DJ the lines were never blurred even when he as a 'minister' did a stint with we all know who. I bow to his assumed superior knowledge on such matters. After all DJ's lot, (who later declared UDI), as IPKF armed puppets first started forcible recruitment of children. Was this not a war crime? Did Patten and Kaplan know? Did DJ rush his 'piece' because another former IPKF Indian Army Chief (was he impressed?) was visiting SL and not because he wanted to 'decapitate, smash and crush' selected sections of last Sunday's article.
Doctrinal debates-supercilious view. Doctor DJ pronounces that I am 'utterly unaware of doctrinal debate among leading political and military professionals in the USA. between counter terrorism and counter insurgency strategies'. He may not know that had the USA, concerned only with General (nuclear) war strategies, not taken such studies off the training schedules/manuals after Vietnam until Iraq 2, it would not have been in the stinking mess it is now in Afghanistan. Meanwhile those in the Commonwealth military including SL studied and engaged in such training and were actually operationally involved in the real thing almost continuously. Like the Mandarin General in Fletcher's 'Golden Journey to Samarkand' who was 'reading great books on war while the enemy was at the palace gates', DJ may concede this US debate is going to be a waste of time. I must disappoint him too on his ill advised conclusion of my lack of 'awareness' of what he may have thought are worthy of more' brunches'.
Gen VK Singh on SL's Army. While DJ continues to belittle SL Army's victory making sure that he is not taken for an 'ignoramus' at every high society 'brunch 'in Singapore on a Sunday, Gen VK Singh in the traditional, impeccable gentlemanly manner of a Rajput Indian Army General and CGS, unlike DJ, had many sincere, kind and generous thoughts to convey on the performance of SL's Army. As DJ prefers Herodotus to the home grown I too prefer what the Indian CGS had to say about the SL Army to that of the 'doctor in the house'.
Leonidas. The version of Thermopylae in my 'piece' could never have been of my own making as DJ asserts. I'm unaware of where DJ gets his cracked up versions of military history. He does not contest my point that rubbishes his erratic view that Castro with his 300 'rebels' was greater than Leonidas and his 300 Spartans. Had he made this observation not in safe SL but at the 'brunch' he would have made Oxford's Patten (ex HK) and Singapore's PM and other 'NUS seniors' think DJ was what I think he is for saying so.
Thermopylae. The Persian order of battle at Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis included Arabs, Indians, Sogdians, Ethiopians, Caspians, Thracians and a host of others including Greeks. To defeat the Greek phalanx, Greek courage or enlisted Greeks or new tactics were needed. Greek mercenaries served Xerxes. The coastal route from Thessaly passes through the defile of Thermopylae. Yes DJ, according to Herodotus the Persian force numbered 1,700,000 infantrymen and 80,000 horsed cavalrymen. However at the defile at Thermopylae, where Leonidas made his epic stand, the true infantry strength was unlikely to be more than 180,000 as I stated and cavalry (Libyans) about 20,000 .So DJ's choice of versions should never again be so painful.
DJ Talks. DJ states he has despite SL having only one, given talks to 'SL Military Academies' but he did take Batista's army (1958/9) to the Korean war(1949-51) in a time machine and construed a triumph in Jaffna without a shot being fired. When this was pointed out DJ held his 'powder and shot' as he was recovering from the after effects of a back blast of minor delusions. He states that he has spoken to 'select audiences' of Green Berets and the SL Special Forces. Hopefully Patten of Oxford and Gens Mehta and VK Singh will take note. Military officers too can write as DJ condescendingly concedes 'it is quite in order for an SL officer writing to the SL papers to do so'. So DJ deems only SL papers are 'in order' for SL officers. In Cuba if one were to write you might have to use a bed pan for a dining plate while enjoying Castro's hospitality. DJ may find out (from the Army schools, colleges and Military Academy) that officers not only speak but also train and lead other officers, officer cadets and soldiers in the performance of their duties and not only in SL. They also 'speak' to the police including the STF.
Mao. DJ has confused himself, this time thoroughly on Yenan and Mao. He artfully tries to correct me. He states that "The Long march took place before Mao got to Yenan and it is indeed to Yenan that Mao marched.'.What the devil is he saying? He continues"In 1945 Mao's forces were way over 200,000 mentioned by L.F.". He fantasizes that Mao marched to Yenan 'in 1927', when 'his urban insurrections (Nan- ch'ang notably DJ) were defeated'. Mao began his 'march' in 1934 when he was surrounded by 700,000 of Chiang's men at Kiangsi where he had in 1931 declared a Chinese Soviet Republic and where his guerillas formed the nascent Red Army. This Red Army then had 45,000 men and 200,000 militia and not 'millions organized into Armies' as DJ pronounces once again confusing his timings and bearings and this time his figures too. The Red Army millions were built up during the 2nd WW (1939-45) when Japan invaded China. I reiterate the figures I gave (100,000 troops) are absolutely correct when Mao broke out from Kiangsi and carried out the Long March to Yenan on the Soviet border and not 'the millions' as DJ hopelessly attempts to show. If Mao had 'the millions' as DJ says why did he retreat to Yenan when facing only 700,000 KMT soldiers of Chiang?
DJ's smoke screens cover 'arrant nonsense'. DJ brings down copious smoke to cover his tracks. He quotes a CIA man in order to rave about Castro but it does not erase one word of what I had said about that dictator who 'gated' and deprived generations of Cubans a meaningful life. What the Cubans did after the Russians paid them to be their proxies in Angola is another tale which interests me not. Except that DJ curiously quotes CIA men and Kaplan to speak of Cuba and SL. DJ sure knows how to butter American bread and blow holy smoke from Cuban cigars.
Unique victory. Since he defeated the IPKF (1987), inflicted massive defeats on the SL forces, forced the IPKF to withdraw and nearly ran the country economically into the ground with his audacious guerilla and terrorist attacks, VP (V Prabakaran) was for many years thought to be the world's number one terrorist/guerilla. That is a fact even if in DJ's memory it has had a 'short life'. DJ, now that VP is gone, wishes to give the impression that VP was not such a great terrorist leader and thus SL's victory over the LTTE was not that impressive. When DJ belittles VP, he appears to have forgotten that VP decided to take on the world's 4th largest army not when it was in India but in situ in Jaffna in 1987 and he did lick the pants off them. When the US warned Russia and DJ's Castro to back off during the Cuban missile crisis (1961), both dropped their pants and? Castro now appears to have lost his shirt with the Russkis too. It was a Western diplomat as late as 2008 that had the audacity to tell SL's top Defence people that the LTTE could never be beaten by its Army. An Indian General, smarting under the IPKF failures, chipped in to say the same thing pontificating that it in Mullativu the LTTE was impregnable. But SL after 26 years and 100,000 killed, given uncompromising leadership, developed the will to win, that not even the deaths of 7,000 soldiers in the last 18 months of the conflict, could deter it from vanquishing the LTTE and all its leaders in its very lair in Mullativu. For DJ that is not unique.
Conclusion and Canonization. I am not in the canonizing business as offered by DJ who could however recommend Castro if the Pope, a former Hitler Jugend member, gets a recommendation from DJ. While SL is still euphoric, DJ is not, as he prefers to keep step with Castro, Cuba, the CIA, the West and Kaplan.
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