Turmoil in the Holy Land

ShowImageThe Holy Land is in a turmoil. Certainly not for the first time, and almost certainly not for the last. For those of you who have forgotten, here is a brief timetable of the Palestinian-Jewish/Israeli conflict over the last century or so.

1860 –              Palestine, divided into three separate districts that also include parts of what today are neighboring countries, is governed by “the Unspeakable Turk.” Perhaps 80 percent of the population is Arab, mainly Sunni. But there are also some Christians—around 15 percent—and Jews. Christians and Jews are treated as Dimnis, second-rate people with fewer rights than Muslims.

1860 –              Following the Crimean War the Porte comes under pressure by the Western Powers. The latter demand, and obtain, concessions for their own citizens who live in Palestine as well a native Christians and Jews. As a result of the “Capitulations,”, as they are known, these minorities start drawing ahead.

1881 –              Jewish immigrants, mainly from Russia, start arriving and establish some new settlements. Right from the beginning, these settlements come under attack by local Bedouin who have always lived by plundering the peasantry. Thus the immediate background to the clashes is not political but socio-economic.

1897                The First Zionist Congress is held in Basel.

1904-1914       The so-called “Second Wave” of Jewish immigrants starts arriving. Zionist activists buy land, often from absentee landowners who live as far away as Beirut. The local fellaheen, seeing the land on which they have lived for centuries sold from under their feet, try to resist.

1914                Turkey join World War I on the side of the Central Powers.

1917                The Balfour Declaration, in which His Britannic Majesty’s Government recognizes the Jews right to a “National Home” in Palestine, is issued. As a result, the conflict, while still mixed up with economic, social, and religious issues, becomes political par excellence. Two peoples—“Arabs” (not Palestinians, a name that only gained wide currency during the 1960s) and Jews claim ownership over the same land. As they still do.

1918                The end of World War I leaves Palestine, along with Jordan and Iraq, firmly in British hands.

1920-21           The first Palestinian Arab Uprising, directed against the Balfour Declaration as well as the Jewish settlement.

1922                Winston Churchill, in his capacity a Colonial Secretary, arrives. He and his staff draw the borders between Palestine and the neighboring countries.

1929                Another Palestinian Uprising, triggered by a conflict over the Wailing Wall, breaks out. It is directed against both the British and the Jews. It is suppressed, but not before two Jewish communities, the ancient one at Hebron and the new one at Motza, right across the road from where I live, are wiped out.

1936-39           “The Arab Revolt” (note that people still speak of Arabs, not Palestinians). It, too, is directed against both the British and the Jews. It, too, is suppressed. But not before London makes important concessions. Those include 1. An end to Jewish land-purchases. 2. Limits on Jewish immigration, which from this point on is to bring in no more than 15,000 people per year for five years. 3. A promise of “evolution towards independence” within ten years.

1947-48           On 1 December 1947, a day after the UN decides to partition the country, the Jews and Arabs of Palestine go to war. By the middle of June, by which time the remaining British have withdrawn and the State of Israel has been official proclaimed, the Arabs have been substantially defeated. Armed intervention by the neighboring Arab states, aimed at assisting their brothers, also fails to achieve its purpose. By the time the war ends in January 1949 some 600,000 Palestinian Arabs, about half of the Arab population west of the Jordan, have been turned into refugees. The State of Israel is an established fact. However, it does not include either the Gaza Strip, which comes under Egyptian military rule, or the West Bank, which is annexed by Jordan.

1967                The June 1967 Six Days War brings the Gaza Strip, with an estimated 500,000 people, and the West Bank, with an estimated 1,500,000, under Israeli rule. With the west Bank comes East Jerusalem which from this point on becomes the focus of the conflict. Since then the population of these two territories combined has grown to an estimated 4,000,000.

1977                The Right Wing Herut (later Likud) Party comes to power in Israel. The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, which until then was very small, starts skyrocketing.

1979                The Camp David Agreement between Israel and Egypt proposes a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict within five years. In practice, though, nothing happens.

1987                In December the first Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, breaks out. At first it takes the form of demonstrations and mass riots. Later there are stabbings, shootings, and some bombs.

1993                Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Liberation Front (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat sign the Oslo Agreements. Parts of the West Bank come under Palestinian rule; parts, under mixed rule; and parts remain strictly under Israeli control. The Agreements also provide for a five-year transitional period during which the parties will try to end the conflict.

2000                No progress has been made towards finding a solution. Triggered by a visit by former Israeli Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount, the second Intifada breaks out. Its hallmark is suicide bombings. By 2004 it is more or less suppressed with enormous damage to the West Bank City of Jenin in particular.

2005-6             The Israeli Government, under Ariel Sharon, withdraws its forces from the Gaza Strip. The latter comes under a Palestinian Faction known a Hamas. Hamas chases the PLO out of Gaza and vows to continue “resisting” Israel, which is “besieging” the Strip by exercising strict control over the movement of people and goods. In response, Hamas fires mortar rounds and rockets, later missiles, into Israeli territory.

2006-14           Repeatedly, Israel launches military operations in an attempt to put an end to Hamas’ attacks. Repeatedly, it fails. Still, Operation Protective Edge, which was launched in July 2014 and wrought vast destruction in Gaza, does seem to have taught Hamas a lesson of sorts. Since then the border, though not quite peaceful, has been relatively calm.

2015                The third Intifada, whose hallmark so far has been knifings carried out by individuals, breaks out.

Outlook: Eight times during the last century—1920-21, 1929, 1936-39, 1947-48,1987-93, 2000-2005, 2008-14 (Gaza), 2016—did the Palestinian Arabs try to match whatever armed forces they had against those the British Empire/the Jewish Community in/Palestine/Israel. To no avail, since Israel, its Jewish population having grown almost a hundredfold during the same period. With one of the world’s more powerful armed forces, it still continues to “besiege” the Gaza Strip and occupy the West Bank. This is an Ur-clash between two peoples that claim the same land. Even should the present disturbances come an end, a political solution of any kind is not in sight.

What should be done: Speaking as an Israeli now, given that real peace is out of reach for a long, long time to come, there seem to be two courses. The first would be for my country to complete the wall it has built around the West Bank in such a way as to get rid as of many Palestinians, specifically including most of those who live in East Jerusalem, as possible. That done, it should tell the settlers it is withdrawing and take as many of them as possible along. If, after that, the Palestinians in the West Bank still cause trouble, then Israel should deal with them as it dealt with Gaza in 2014. This has long been my own position; however, unless pressure is applied form outside it is very unlikely to happen.

The second would be to hope for the collapse of the Hashemite Kingdom and its occupation by Daesh or some similar organization. That would create an opportunity to repeat the events of 1948 and throw the Palestinians of the West Bank across the River Jordan. This is the “solution” a great many Israelis secretly favor. And the longer the present uprising lasts, the larger their number will grow.

What will it be?

A Thirty Years’ War?

For those of you who have forgotten, here is a short reminder. The Thirty Years’ War started in May 1618 when the Protestant Estates of Bohemia revolted against the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand II. They threw his envoys out of the windows of the palace at Prague. Fortunately for them, the moat into which they fell was filled with rubbish and nobody was killed.

imagesHad the revolt remained local, it would have been suppressed fairly quickly. As, in fact, it was in 1620 when the Habsburgs and their allies won the Battle of the White Mountain. Instead it expanded and expanded. First the Hungarians and then the Ottomans were drawn in (though they did not stay in for long). Then came the Spaniards, then the Danes, then the Swedes, and finally the French. Some did less, others more. Many petty European states, cities, and more or less independent robber barons also set up militias and joined what developed into a wild free for all. For three decades armies and militias chased each other all over central Europe. Robbing, burning, raping, killing. By the time the Treaty of Westphalia ended the hostilities in 1648 the population of Germany had been reduced by an estimated one third.

The similarities with the current war in Syria are obvious and chilling. This war, too, started with a revolt against an oppressive ruler and his regime. One who, however nasty he might be, at any rate had kept things more or less under control. At first it was a question of various “liberal” Syrian factions—supposing such things exist—trying to overthrow Bashir Assad. Next it turned out that some of those factions were not liberal but Islamic, part of a much larger movement originating in Iraq and known, for short, as IS or Daesh. Next Hezbollah, which in some ways acts as an extension of Assad, and Iran, which had long supported Hezbollah against Israel, were drawn in. The former sent in fighters, the latter advisers and arms.

Even that was only the beginning. Smelling blood, the Kurds, whose territory straddles both Syria and Iraq, tried to use the opportunity to gain their independence. This necessarily drew in the Turks. To prevent its native Kurds from joining their brethren. Ankara started bombing them. To satisfy Obama, it also dropped a few bombs on IS. The US on its part started training some of the “liberal” militias, to no avail. US instructors did no better in Syria than their predecessors had done in Vietnam, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq; what is surprising is that they, and their bosses in the White House, never learn.

Next the US itself entered the fray. Fearing casualties, though, it only did so to the extent of launching drone-strikes, which are more or less useless. The Russians, determined to avoid the loss of their only remaining base outside their own country and to keep Assad in place, launched airstrikes on some, but not all, the militias. The French, hoping to achieve God knows what, did the same. Fueling the conflict are the Saudis who will oppose anything the Iranians support. Too cowardly to send in their own useless army, they are trying to get rid of Assad by heavily subsidizing his enemies.

With so many interests, native and foreign, involved, a way out does not seem in sight. Nor can the outcome be foreseen any more than that of the Thirty Years’ War could be four years after the beginning of the conflict, i.e. 1622. In fact there is good reason to believe that the hostilities have just begun. Additional players such as Lebanon and Jordan may well be drawn in. That in turn will almost certainly bring in Israel as well. Some right-wing Israelis, including several ministers, actually dream of such a scenario. They hope that the fall of the Hashemite Dynasty and the disintegration of Jordan will provide them with an opportunity to repeat the events of 1948 by throwing the Palestinians out of the West Bank and into Jordan.

That, however, is Zukunftsmusik, future music as the Germans say. As of the present, the greatest losers are going to be Syria and Iraq. Neither really exists any longer as organized entities, and neither seems to have a future as such an entity. The greatest winner is going to be Iran. Playing the role once reserved for Richelieu, the great 17th century French statesman, the Mullahs are watching the entire vast area from the Persian Gulf to Latakia on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean turn into a maelstrom of conflicting interests they can play with. Nor are they at all sorry to see Turks and Kurds kill each other to their hearts’ contents.

Finally, as happened in 1618-48, the main victim is the civilian population. Just as in 1618-48, people are being robbed, despoiled, and killed. Just as in 1618-48 the slave trade, especially in nubile females who can be raped and young boys who can be conscripted, is undergoing a revival. Not only in Syria, but in Iraq, where IS is fighting both the local Kurds and whatever ragtag units the Iraqi “Army” can field. Ere it is over the number of refugees desperately seeking to escape will rise into the millions. Many, not having anything to lose, are going to risk life and limb trying to reach Europe. Joining others from Libya and the rest of Africa, at least some will link with the Salafists, an extreme Muslim sect that is already very active in the continent’s cities. Of those who do, some will turn to terrorism. Terrorism, unless it can be contained, will increasingly be answered not just by extremism, the loss of civil rights and the breakdown of democracy—that is beginning to happen already—but by terrorism.

And whom will everyone blame? Israel, of course. But that is something we Israelis, and Jews, are used to.

Guest Article – Sliding Towards Civil War?

Europe: Sliding Towards Civil War?

by Renzo Verwer*

Day by day, thousands of asylum-seekers from Africa and the Middle East are entering the EU in search of their Promised Land. Germany alone expects 750,000 in 2015. Over the first half of 2015 the EU has admitted 400,000. This foreshadows a great increase over the figure for the whole of 2014, which stood at 562,265. To be sure, not all these people will be allowed to stay. Far from it. But many will remain, legally or not.

fighting-chimpanzee-bonobo-pan-paniscus-democratic-republic-congo-africa-36707241As any child can understand, this vast inflow, both legal and illegal, will necessarily have consequences for European society. Yet quite a few European leaders claim that nothing will change. Or even that immigration will have a positive effect on the society in question; for instance, by providing industry with labor. Not so. First, the fact is that each immigrant costs the country in which he or she chooses to settle tens of thousands of Euro a year. Second, their arrival often means that religious and ethnic tensions start being imported. Having seen how these things developed in an Amsterdam flat shared by Ethiopians and Eritreans, I can bear personal witness to this problem. Not nice; not at all.

Take a look at the following piece of news, originating in a mall Dutch village blessed by a center for immigrants in search of refugee status (http://www.nrcreader.nl/artikel/9622/in-oranje-ben-je-voor-of-tegen-de-asielzoekers: in Dutch).

A fascinating quote: “Feije handles the money. Angela [Feije’s wife] has stopped doing so. ‘As a woman, a group of Arab inhabitants did not accept me. They did not want to give me money.’

‘That is not how we would like to run our shop,’ says Feije. “This is the Netherlands.’ ‘But here is no point in trying to resist,’ says Angela. ‘We have switched roles. Now it is I who do the administrative work, order merchandise, and look for suppliers. Soon we shall start selling toys too.’ They must change, so as to make a living.”

Is this kind of discrimination legal in the Netherlands? In Europe? If not, where is the police? The United Nations, which is always busily fighting Islamophobia, does not say a word. Nor does anybody else. Feije and Angela have accepted the new situation. When I raise the question among anti-discrimination groups on Facebook, or among self-styled opponents of discrimination, many of them—even women—answer by saying: “Yes, the Christian Church did not believe in women’s equality either.” Discrimination used to be prevalent in the past. Ergo it is OK now.

European customs have already started changing. For the better? What do you say?

Or take a look at the following pieces of news:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/16/europe/italy-migrants-christians-thrown-overboard/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3229134/Syrian-ISIS-suspect-sleeping-rough-Calais-refugee-camps-hope-sneaking-UK-wage-terror.html

Life in the refugee camp “jungle” near Calais is hell. Muslims who convert do so at the risk of their lives. Muslims look down on blacks. Those responsible for running the camp are considering separating people of both sexes as well as those belonging to different religions. In other words, we are importing apartheid and social regression. Europe’s key values, such as women’s emancipation and religious freedom, are being thrown overboard.

Conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims (in which the Muslims are often the aggressors) have become part of daily reality. People who oppose immigration and the emergent multicultural society are often called xenophobes and/or racists. The Dutch liberal MP, Alexander Pechold, whose party came second in the polls, has said of them: “What can one do? Some people just cannot take a little fresh air.” The comment is both depreciating and coarse. To believe him and his fellow liberals, the terrifying monster is not IS. No; it is the media and the “extreme right.”

As to officialdom, its “strategy” is to deny reality. In every clash it is the unbelievers who must retreat, the Muslims who win. And the more Muslims enter the Continent, the more true this becomes.

I often think we have already missed the boat. Civil war in Europe cannot be ruled out—even though most of us feel things will not reach that point anytime soon. My own Dutch countrymen are naïve beyond belief. Over a decade after the murder, at the hands of a muslim fanatic, of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh, and politician Pim Fortuyn by an activist, both politicians and ordinary citizens are still astonished by the fact that “here in the Netherlands, such things can happen!”

Tensions between Kurds and Turks, Jews and Muslims, are growing. Many of our people reject our incompetent governments or even despise them. Social life is becoming more and more troubled. As history teaches us, these are just the factors that lead to civil war. In our great cities religious fanaticism and ethnic conflicts are becoming part of daily life. You can see it happening in the suburbs of Paris. And in those of Amsterdam where Muslims are demanding segregated swimming lessons and Jewish schools are being protected by the police.

No, disturbances will not break out in all places at once. Certain parts of the country will surely be spared, more or less. But I think that, 10-25 years from now, the pot will start boiling. Civil war will force people to choose sides… to look away… to fight… to resist… and become friends with farmers, of course.

Civil War is something we in the Netherlands can hardly imagine. Think of armed ethnic and/or religious gangs fighting each other in the streets. Of difficulties with the supply and distribution of goods. Of states within states. Of no-go areas and police forces which refuse to enter certain neighborhoods. Of bands of street fighters robbing, beating up, and killing people just as they please. In particular, being Jewish will not be fun.

And terrible things, things we do not even dare think about, will happen. Those who collaborate with the stronger side will survive. My advice to you good Europeans: accept discrimination against women and start hating Jews. And agree that your Western tradition is in urgent need of modification. Be nice to Muslims, and everything will turn out OK.

It is high time we started thinking whom it is that we admit. Not all refugees are “miserable.” They include a great many assholes as well as people who do not belong here at all.

Or else the day will come when Europe as we know it is gone.

* Renzo Verwer (Woerden, the Netherlands, 1972) is an author and a dealer in antiquities. He has published books about love, work, and the chess master Bobby Fischer. His most recent one (in Dutch) is titled Freedom of Thought for Beginners. His website is www.artikelzeven.nu

In Praise of Self-Publishing

Like almost everything else, publishing has a long and complex history. Nowadays it is based on an elaborate division of labor between author, agent, publisher, editor, copy editor, artist (for doing the cover), printer, binder, wholesaler, and retail seller. But neither have things always been that way nor is there any reason to think that it will necessarily last. Here it pleases me to focus on the alternative, self-publishing. Why I took it up, what its advantages are, and a few hints on how to go about it.

41WcoaJq1tLBack in 1999-2000 I wrote my book, The Privileged Sex. The title speaks for itself, so I shall not repeat the contents here. At the time I was on sabbatical in Germany (Potsdam, of course). I had, however, already told some friends back in Israel about what I was doing. And somehow the word spread. The outcome was a memorable telephone-interview with a well-known Israeli female journalist. It was early in the morning and she rang me out of bed; I still have a photograph of my wife took as I gave it, sitting naked on one of those little round Ikea stools right opposite a mirror! For my pains the lady, not to use some less complimentary terms that come to mind, produced one of the most hostile pieces of writing ever done about me. And it worked. Entering my first class of the year a few weeks later, I had to call security to make my way through a crowd of perhaps two hundred who had come to demonstrate against my “male chauvinist” views.

I had little difficulty finding a German publisher for my work. Later a Portuguese-language edition also appeared in Sao Paolo. Both versions made the cover—the cover—of one of the most important news magazines in each country. But in the English-speaking world? No way. Here every word feminists utter, however false and however idiotic, is taken as holy writ. For ten years on end my brave agent, Ms. Leslie Gardner, tried to get the book into print. For ten years on end she met with nothing but refusals.

Early in 2013, encouraged by a Dutch publisher’s request to translate the book, I felt that enough was enough. I decided to take the road so many others have taken before me, i.e. to self-publish the English version. The terrorist road to publication, as someone has called it. The name is apt: self-publishing in many ways is to publishing what terrorism, or guerilla, or insurgency, is to regular interstate warfare. It fits perfectly into the prevailing wind. To me at any rate, fancying myself a terrorist, albeit a very minor one, in the cause of free speech merely added to the attraction.

Two developments made things much easier than they would have been even a decade ago. First, technological change, principally e-books and print-on-demand, has sharply reduced the cost and, with it, the risk. In fact it meant that there was almost no risk involved. Second, technology had got to the point where much of the technical work, such as pagination, copy-editing, indexing and page-shaping no longer demands great expertise. Third, Amazon.com provides a way to sell one’s work without having to go through the chore of begging booksellers to take it, ship it to them, and the like.

The outcome was the English-language version of The Privileged Sex. A book, I am proud to say, as politically incorrect as any that has ever been written. For those of you who care, no. It has not made me rich. But it has more than covered its cost and, two years after publication, is yielding a steady, if small, income. Month by month. Others I know have done considerably better than I. Either directly, because people bought their books. Or indirectly, because those books were picked up by one of the major publishers who otherwise would not have given the author the time of day.

Self-publishing has other advantages too. One is speed. Publishers are often excruciatingly slow. Academic ones in particular never seem to have heard that time is money. By contrast, self-publishing, means that how long it takes is entirely up to you. Another is flexibility, meaning that you can always introduce changes at no extra cost. Last, and to my mind not least, there is freedom. The freedom to say and do exactly as you please with your own work. Having worked with publishers for over four decades, I can tell you: it is intoxicating.

So for those who may be thinking of taking that road—as far as I am concerned, there cannot be enough of you—here are some pieces of advice.

  1. Assuming your Ms. is complete and you are happy with it, you may want an editor. Finding one on Freelance.com is easy. However, beware: editors are an opinionated lot. Very often they cannot agree among themselves as to what does and does not represent good writing. So find a good one and stick with him or her. And remember: you have the final word.
  2. Do not dispense with a copy editor. That is because, Microsoft Word and other programs notwithstanding, finding errors in your own work is very difficult, often impossible. Again, you can easily find one on Freelance.com.
  3. If, like me, you are not an artist, you will need someone to do the cover for you. I myself was lucky in that my wife, Dvora Lewy, is an accomplished painter and just happened to have done a painting ideally suited for the purpose at hand. But I still needed someone to do the rest.
  4. If, again like me, you are more or less computer-illiterate, you will need someone to put the thing on Amazon.com, create the necessary links, etc. Here again I was lucky because my stepson, Dr. Jonathan Lewy, was and still is willing and able to do whatever needs to be done here.
  5. In my limited experience, the kind of organization that promises to promote your work online is all but useless. Better send it to as many friends and acquaintances as possible and ask them to review it. If, proceeding in this way, you can get many reviews during the first week of publication, so much the better.

Good luck!

When Will They Ever Learn?

For over a year now, the US armed forces have been fighting The Monster. AKA ISIS, AKA DAESH, AKA one of the most ferocious band of cut-throats the world has ever seen. Joining President Assad’s Army, who is the only one with the necessary guts, as of this writing Turkish, Russian, and French forces have all entered the fray. So, in less direct ways, have some 60 other countries. As the growing list of belligerents indicates, without too much success. Fearing casualties, officially at any rate none of the abovementioned interventionist forces have deployed boots on the ground. They prefer to rely on air strikes instead.

article-1292462-0A4255CC000005DC-773_634x483So just to remind those of you who may have forgotten, here is a short list of some of the things airborne devices, regardless of whether they are or are not manned, fly high or low or circle the earth in the manner of satellites, can not do:

Manned or unmanned, such is the cost-benefit relationship that airborne devices have difficulty coping with a widely dispersed enemy. In plain words: one cannot send an F-16 or a Predator after every terrorist, real or, much less, suspected.

Manned or unmanned, airborne devices cannot take prisoners and interrogate people. In other words obtain HUMINT from both enemy combatants and the civilian population.

Manned or unmanned, airborne devices cannot look inside houses and other buildings which terrorists/guerrillas/insurgents use to hide, plan their operations, store weapons, recuperate, and so on.

Manned or unmanned, airborne devices, owing to their inability to look inside, cannot normally block transportation arteries except by shooting up everything that moves on them. In other words, they cannot do so in a discriminating manner; it is either/or.

Manned or unmanned, airborne devices cannot occupy territory and hold it. To quote a World War I saying which still holds true in many cases: They come from the devil knows where; drop bombs on the devil knows what; and disappear to the devil knows where.

The really interesting point, which ought to make us all think, is that none of this is at all new. In fact it dates back to the earliest days of airpower. The first to use aircraft in war were the Italians in Libya from 1911 on. Initially, when the opponent still consisted of the Ottoman Army and most of the fighting took place along the coast, the few primitive airship and aircraft deployed to the theater of war were quite useful in obtaining intelligence and artillery-spotting in particular. Later things changed. Airships and aircraft remained absolutely essential for reconnaissance and surveillance. They were the eyes of the army, as the saying went. Too often, though, the opponents, now consisting mainly of native nomadic Bedouin, adapted and started devising countermeasures. As by taking pot shots at their enemies, forcing them to fly higher and use their ordnance less effectively; as by switching to night operations; and as by using terrain features, dispersion and camouflage in order to avoid discovery. In case they were discovered the small bombs dropped on them often killed combatants and noncombatants alike. Instead of extinguishing the flames of war they stirred them up. So great were the difficulties that, at one point, the Italians decided to forget about bombs altogether but resorted to leaflets instead.

All these problems explain why the campaign, which the High Command in Rome had expected would take up just a few weeks or months, lasted intermittently until 1928. And why, ultimately, it was decided not by aircraft and their pilots, important as they were, but by a quarter million of ground troops sent by Mussolini with license to commit every kind of atrocity (including the use of poison gas) under the sun until “order” was restored.

Do these problems sound familiar? If so, that is because, since then, they have resurfaced so many times as to make me, at any rate, lose count. The British lost first Ireland and then, after World War II, the rest of their colonial empire. Starting in 1946-47, the same fate overtook the French. The Americans, stepping in where their former allies had failed, lost first Vietnam and then the rest of Indochina. The Soviets lost Afghanistan. The Americans were thrown out of Lebanon. The South Africans were thrown out of Namibia. The Americans were thrown out of Somalia. The Israelis were thrown out of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The Americans were thrown out of Iraq. The Americans were thrown out of Afghanistan. Etcetera, etcetera.

The above is just a small sample of a list that could be continued indefinitely. It covers a very wide variety of countries, circumstances, and armed struggles no two of which were exactly alike. What makes it remarkable is the fact that, whatever else, in every single case, the one thing the “forces of order,” “counterinsurgents,” or whatever they called themselves, enjoyed was absolute control of the air. And in every single one, that control availed them little if at all.

When will they ever learn?