for billytea - boer war similarities

  1. 130 Posts.

    *** From Tim Freeborn in our London office:

    I've been checking my history books and have found uncanny parallels between the Iraqi war and the Boer war:

    1) An Imperial power, apparently at its zenith, but in fact in serious relative economic decline.
    2) Huge international opposition.
    3) Struggle for control of key resources: gold, oil.
    4) Fairly early conventional victory followed by massively expensive guerrilla campaign lasting two years.

    The London market rocketed when war was declared in 1899. Then, interest rates went up as government borrowing soared. Equities fell on early defeats...and then generally suffered with the economy. In the end, Britain did win, but its economic performance in the following decade was poor.

    *** "I don't like the way this war is going," said Col. Aubray, after Sunday's mass. Rare among the French, the old soldier seems sympathetic to Bush's war. But it brings back bad memories.

    "It reminds me of the Algerian War. You know, we had a huge military advantage. And we actually won the war, militarily. I remember I was stationed at a tiny village...I was the only European for miles around. And they encouraged us to bring our show that it was all very safe and ordinary. So Marie-Noëlle came with me. We had friends in the village. But we were never sure when they might try to cut our throats.

    "And Algeria was not like Iraq. The French had been there for hundreds of was a department of France, like a state in the U.S.. But once the locals decided to get rid of us, we couldn't stop them.

    "And we paid a terrible price. I don't mean just money, either. That kind of guerilla warfare - house to house, where you can't trust the civilians and never know who's going to try to blow you up - degrades an army. Terrible things were done during the Algerian war...on both sides. And in the end, we had to leave. It was just too costly to stay."

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