Archive for May, 2017

Viet Nam War – A Viet Namese tells McNamara where he went Wrong …

Posted on May 28, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, From a Services Career, Personalities, Searching for Success |

This is Mr Xuân Thuỷ, Foreign Minister of North Vietnam (1963 to 1965), during a 1995 meeting with former US Secretary of Defense, serving from 1961 to 1968, Robert S. McNamara.

“Mr. McNamara, You must never have read a history book. If you’d had, you’d know we weren’t pawns of the Chinese or the Russians.

McNamara, didn’t you know that? Don’t you understand that we have been fighting the Chinese for 1000 years? We were fighting for our independence.

And we would fight to the last man. And we were determined to do so. And no amount of bombing, no amount of U.S. pressure would ever have stopped us.” 

From – The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara:

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A Wartime Civil Mil Relationship …

Posted on May 25, 2017. Filed under: Personalities, The English |

Gen Brooke commanded II Corps in the British Expeditionary Force and had a pessimistic view of the Allies’ chances of countering a German offensive. He was sceptical of the quality and determination of the French Army. This appeared to be justified when on a visit to some French formations he was shocked to see unshaven men, unkempt horses and dirty vehicles.

After Dunkirk,in his first conversation with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Brooke insisted that all British forces should be withdrawn from France. Churchill objected but was soon convinced by Brooke.

In July 1940 Brooke took over command of  Home Forces to counter any invasion. Contrary to his predecessor, who favoured a static coastal defence, Brooke focused on developing a mobile reserve which was to swiftly counterattack the enemy forces before they became established. A light line of defence on the coast was to assure that the landings were delayed as much as possible.

Brooke believed that the lack of a unified command of the three services was “a grave danger” to the defence of the country. Despite this, and the fact that the available forces never reached the numbers he thought were required, Brooke considered the situation far from “helpless” in case the Germans invaded.

“We should certainly have a desperate struggle and the future might well have hung in the balance, but I certainly felt that given a fair share of the fortunes of war we should certainly succeed in finally defending these shores”, he wrote after the war. But in the end, the German invasion plan was never taken beyond the preliminary assembly of forces.

In December 1941 Brooke became Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) and member the Chiefs of Staff Committee and in March 1942 its Chairman. For the remainder of the Second World War, Brooke was the foremost military adviser to Winston Churchill.

As CIGS, Brooke was the functional head of the British Army, and as chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, which he dominated by force of intellect and personality, he took the leading military part in the overall strategic direction of the British war effort.

His relationship with his Civilian boss was a turbulent one. He describes Churchill as a “genius mixed with an astonishing lack of vision – he is quite the most difficult man to work with that I have ever struck but I should not have missed the chance of working with him for anything on earth! “

Churchill on his part said about Brooke: “When I thump the table and push my face towards him what does he do? Thumps the table harder and glares back at me. I know these Brookes – stiff-necked Ulstermen and there’s no one worse to deal with than that!” 

It has been claimed that part of Churchill’s greatness was that he appointed Brooke as CIGS and kept him for the whole war.

A general complaint from Brooke was that Churchill often advocated diversion of forces where the CIGS preferred concentration. Brooke was particularly annoyed by Churchill’s idea of capturing the northern tip of Sumatra.

But in some cases Brooke did not see the political dimension of strategy as the Prime Minister did. The CIGS was sceptical about the British intervention in the Greek Civil War in late 1944, believing this was an operation which would drain troops from the central front in Germany. But at this stage the war was practically won and Churchill saw the possibility of preventing Greece from becoming a communist state.

 The most serious clash between the Prime Minister and the Chiefs of Staff, was regarding the British preparations for final stages of the Pacific War. Brooke and the rest of the Chiefs of Staff wanted to build up the forces in Australia while Churchill preferred to use India as a base for the British effort. It was an issue over which the Chiefs of Staff were prepared to resign, but in the end a compromise was reached

Despite their many disagreements Brooke and Churchill held an affection for each other. After one fierce clash Churchill told his chief of staff and military adviser, Sir Hastings Ismay, that he did not think he could continue to work any longer with Brooke because “he hates me. I can see hatred looking from his eyes.”

Brooke responded to Ismay: “Hate him? I don’t hate him. I love him. But the first time I tell him that I agree with him when I don’t will be the time to get rid of me, for then I can be no more use to him.” When Churchill was told this he murmured, ”Dear Brookie.”.

The partnership between Brooke and Churchill was a very successful one and led Britain to victory. According to historian Max Hastings, their partnership “created the most efficient machine for the higher direction of the war possessed by any combatant nation, even if its judgments were sometimes flawed and its ability to enforce its wishes increasingly constrained”.

Brooke’s diary entry for 10 September 1944 is particularly revealing of his ambivalent relationship with Churchill: ...”And the wonderful thing is that 3/4 of the population of the world imagine that Churchill is one of the Strategists of History, a second Marlborough, and the other 1/4 have no idea what a public menace he is and has been throughout this war! It is far better that the world should never know, and never suspect the feet of clay of this otherwise superhuman being. Without him England was lost for a certainty, with him England has been on the verge of disaster time and again…… Never have I admired and despised a man simultaneously to the same extent. Never have such opposite extremes been combined in the same human being.

The Alanbrooke diaries also give sharp opinions on several of the top Allied leaders. The Americans Eisenhower and Marshall, for example, are described as poor strategists and Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander as unintelligent. Among the few individuals of whom Brooke seems to have kept consistently positive opinions, from a military standpoint, were General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Field Marshal Sir John Dill, and Joseph Stalin.

Brooke admired Stalin for his quick brain and grasp of military strategy. Otherwise he had no illusions about the man, describing Stalin thus: “He has got an unpleasantly cold, crafty, dead face, and whenever I look at him I can imagine his sending off people to their doom without ever turning a hair.”

After the war, the Brookes’ financial situation forced the couple to move into the gardener’s cottage of their former home, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

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The Smart Kid …

Posted on May 23, 2017. Filed under: Light plus Weighty |

This kid will be a success ! He is brilliant!                                                                                    ..

Q1.. In which battle did Napoleon die? …  * His last battle

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Q2.. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed? … * At the bottom of the page
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Q3.. River Ravi flows in which state? …  * Liquid
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Q4.. What is the main reason for divorce? …* Marriage
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Q5.. What is the main reason for failure? …* Exams
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Q6.. What can you never eat for breakfast? … * Lunch & dinner
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Q7.. What looks like half an apple … * The other half
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Q8.. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what will it become?… * Wet
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 Q9.. How can a man go eight days without sleeping ? …* By sleeping at night.
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Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand? …*   You will never find an elephant that has one hand.
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Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have? … * Very large hands
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Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it? … *No time at all, the wall is already built.
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Q13. How can u drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it? … *Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.
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CHEERS!
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Trumps’ WaterGate??? …

Posted on May 23, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Uncategorized |

From the NY Times

Now that Robert Mueller III has been appointed special counsel to investigate ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, Democrats and even a few Republicans are drawing comparisons between the present mess and the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon.

Senator John McCain of Arizona pegged the president’s problems at a “point where it’s of Watergate size and scale” after reports surfaced that Mr. Trump had pressed James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, to quash an investigation of Mike Flynn, the Trump loyalist and former national security adviser. David Gergen, who was a White House aide to four presidents in Republican and Democratic administrations, contended that “we’re in impeachment territory now.” A few other Republicans have broken away from their party’s blind defense of the president and called for deeper investigations.

The national interest and the integrity of the democratic process are undeniably at stake in the investigation. And it may turn out that the president and his associates have engaged in an attempt to obstruct justice; really bad stuff could turn up. But Watergate? We’re not there yet. That’s a word that summons obstruction on a monumental scale, with evidence to prove overt criminal acts — not least the White House conspiracy to burglarize the Democratic Party headquarters. Scores of administration officials were indicted or jailed when President Nixon had to flee from office on the eve of certain impeachment.

Mr. Trump has made the parallel easier to draw as he complains of a “witch hunt,” tramples ethical standards and shows no sign of the reasonable political behavior the nation sorely needs from him. Like Mr. Nixon, he regularly denounces real and imagined “enemies”; his White House is full of sycophantic assistants pressed to defend fantastic claims and policy distortions, as was Mr. Nixon’s. Like the Nixonites, Trump loyalists in the administration are clearly fearful of crossing their boss by attempting helpful criticism as the president plays daily with political fire.

Yet the differences are also worth noting. The public learned then that the Nixon team had plunged into rank criminality, discussing a million-dollar bribe for the burglars after they demanded ransom money for protecting the White House. And the political realities in Congress were of a different order. Back then, the Democrats enjoyed subpoena power through majority control of both houses so that, unlike now, they could freely investigate the scandal. Bipartisanship was such in 1973 that the Senate voted 77 to zero to create the select Watergate committee once the F.B.I. established the burglary’s connection to the Nixon re-election campaign.

In contrast, current Republicans revel in tooth-and-claw partisanship. Democrats remain a largely powerless minority as Republican leaders pretend they have no grave doubts about Mr. Trump, hoping to survive next year’s elections despite his unpopularity.

Most striking of all in the Nixon impeachment was the deus ex machina revealed unexpectedly in the Watergate hearings that gripped the nation on television and radio — Mr. Nixon’s supreme folly of crafting his conspiracies before the attentive microphones of a White House taping system to record his utterances for some imagined high place in history. When the Supreme Court ruled that the tapes were fair game for investigators, the nation finally grasped the extent of Mr. Nixon’s scheming. Denials from his “silent majority” base became pointless.

President Trump has hinted threateningly at the existence of tapes; so far it sounds like his characteristic bluffing. (Ironies abound. Mr. Trump’s complaints to the F.B.I. about damaging leaks recall that Deep Throat, the ultimate Watergate leaker to The Washington Post, was revealed to be W. Mark Felt, then the associate director of the F.B.I.)

Watergate remains a tall bar. The Clinton and Reagan scandals couldn’t come close. In President Bill Clinton’s case, an independent counsel capitalized on his writ to wander widely into the president’s sex life, elevating a sex-and-mendacity saga into a perjury trial in which the Senate calmly voted to acquit, finding it all insufficient reason to evict a popular president. In the Iran-contra affair, President Ronald Reagan was never convincingly depicted as the mastermind of the illegal arms-for-hostages scheme run by his aides.

For Democrats, too much indulgence of impeachment notions could prove a distraction from the more workaday and politically achievable challenge at hand. Their main job is to rouse the public to use Mr. Trump’s unimpressive polling numbers as leverage on Republicans, who already are citing the Mueller investigation as reason to slow down congressional inquiries into the Trump and Russia affair. Beyond that, they and other critics should be working hard to win back a majority next year in at least one house of Congress. This would secure them the subpoena power to shed far better light for the nation on Mr. Trump’s and his enablers’ sorry deeds.

COMMENTS

  1. Consider the Clinton Administration. A President of the United States has oral sex with an intern. At first he denies it, then he lies to… Cheekos

2. There is one final pint that I would make, but only after considering:1. Donald admitted that he had shared sensitive classified Intel,… Azalea Lover

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Out Reach by the Supreme Court …

Posted on May 16, 2017. Filed under: Indian Thought |

Aditi Kumaria Hingu

The Republic of India has a federal government, comprising of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.  This structure is based on the Constitution of India. 

The Constitution framed a system of governance in which the powers conferred by the people are not vested in either a single person or a single institution. Therein came the principle of ‘Separation of Powers’ among the three pillars of democracy – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.
The Executive comprises the Prime Minister and his council of ministers (the temporary executives) and the Civil Servants and other officers (the permanent executives). They have the sole responsibility to ensure daily administration of the nation/state. They propose policies, and once approved, ensure that policies are implemented in a timely and effective manner.
The Legislature comprises the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). It is the policy making body of the country where all bills proposed by the Executive get discussed, debated, amended, approved or rejected.
The Judiciary is the adjudicating body which is independent of the Executive and Legislature. The bills proposed by the Executive and the laws passed by the Legislature are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court of India. The Judiciary has the power to declare a law null and void if it violates the constitution. 
However it is a matter of national shame that the very Judiciary which is tasked with ensuring that the Constitution is followed is now flouting its principles on a regular basis with impunity.
Three recent judgements made by the Supreme Court of India come to mind –
In November 2016, the SC mandated that the National Anthem must be played in all theatres prior to screening of movies. Neither was the ruling well thought through, nor was it made clear as to how would this be enforced.  Movie-goers were confused whether they should stand up in case the National Anthem is played as part of a movie. Physically disabled members of the audience were assaulted for not standing up when the anthem was played. It took clarifications and notifications from the Ministry of Home Affairs to clear the air on this issue.
The Honourable SC seemed to have forgotten the fact that patriotism cannot be enforced. If at all, it does need to be enforced, who will be the enforcing agency? Should the Indian Police Force, which is under-staffed and over-worked, be asked to let go of their current duties during movie times?
The second judgement was the April 2017 ban on all liquor vending outlets, including Hotels and Restaurants, within 500 metres of National and State Highways. If people drink and drive, accidents will happen. The source and distance of liquor purchase is not a variable that impacts the casualty rate. It will be worthwhile to monitor road accidents for the period of April 2017 – March 2018 and compare it to the same period, a year ago. There is very high probability that there will not any significant reduction in the casualty rate.
However there would be another metric that would have dropped significantly – the rate of employment.  It is estimated that around 1 million jobs will get impacted in the hospitality industry due to this law. Assuming an average family size of 5 members, this law directly hits at the livelihood of 5 million people. Not only is this a silly order, it is also a clear case of judicial overreach since the prohibition of consumption of intoxicating drinks is a directive principle which is under the aegis of the duly elected government.
Lastly and the most dangerous example of judicial overreach has been the SC’s decision to reject the curative petition of the government and uphold its earlier direction of 8th July 2016, wherein registration of FIR against Armed Forces Personnel has been made mandatory for every encounter death. This includes disturbed areas where Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) is in place.
The Army and paramilitary forces are deployed in sensitive areas due to the breakdown of civil machinery. Apart from helping maintain order, they also serve a humanitarian role – hospitals in the Himalayan region, the Goodwill schools in Ladakh, the roads maintained by Border Roads Organisation are just a few examples. Yet, our Honourable judges chose to paint the soldiers with the same brush as they would a common criminal.
No soldier wants to kill his own countrymen. But if there is a threat to the country’s sovereignty, he will risk his all and fight. He will either kill or get killed. Now, with this judgement passed by the SC in its hallowed portals at New Delhi (far away from the harsh realities of Siachen and Sukma), the soldiers have no option but to either let the terrorists escape or get killed themselves.
It is indeed a sad day for the Republic of India when one of the pillars of democracy, the Judiciary, itself becomes an enemy of the nation. Not only does it break the norms established by the Constitution by its acts of judicial overreach, it also harms the country’s freedom of expression, economy and security.
The enormity of the Judiciary’s misplaced zeal becomes even more obvious when one considers the abysmal track record of justice dispensation in India. There are 30 million cases pending in India. Even if one assumes that a case involves only two people, it is tantamount to 60 million people waiting for justice. Despite these millions of people waiting for justice related to criminal and civil matters – murders, rapes, criminal intimidation, property disputes, cheating – the highest court in India, decides to focus its energies on when the national anthem should be sung, where should liquor not be dispensed and how should soldiers fight wars. If this is not a mockery of justice, what is?
(Aditi Kumaria Hingu is a marketing graduate from IIM Calcutta, currently she works in the corporate sector. She comes from an army background.)


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Gen KS Thimayya or Just Timmy …

Posted on May 15, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Pakistan, Personalities |

Gen KS Thimayya remains one of the Three Greatest Chiefs of the Indian Army along with Field Marshals KM Cariappa and Sam Manekshaw.

Timmy’s  misfortune was that Nehru’s blue eyed boy – the machiavillian V K Krishna Menon was the Defense Minister whose sole aim was to belittle the Chief and destroy the moral fabric of the Nations’ Army. Menon had even gone to Sam when he was GOC 26 Div, to enlist his help to bring down Timmy. Sam had of course point blank refused to be dragged down to such heinous villainy. As a consequence an enquiry was instituted against Sam when he was Commandant the Staff College and his promotion delayed by a year and half.

Timmy had foreseen the 1962 War and had got Gen SP Thorat to do an Appreciation to evolve a plan for the defense of NEFA. Gen Thorat had in the event recommended that we fight at the existing Road Heads in view of the poor communications and our lack of wherewithal. Gen Thimayya agreed with Gen Thorat and went on to recommend to the Govt that Gen Thorat take over as Chief after he retired.

However Nehru and Menon had different plans which was to make an Army Service Corps officer, Gen BM Kaul, a Kashmiri related to Nehru, Chief after Timmy retired.. The result was that toe indian Army touched the Nadir of its Great History.

\Bare bone facts re Timmy – a military legend in his own right and by any standard.

Born 30th Mar 1906. Died 17 Dec 1965 after he had seen the Debacle of 1962 and the 1965 War.

He was the first Indian to command an Infantry brigade during WWII.

His elder brother Ponappa served in the INA, while his younger brother Somaiah was killed in action  in Kashmir.

In the army he had a running feud with British officers over their snobbery/racism.

He wanted to quit the Army and join the Freedom Movement  but was dissuaded by Motilal Nehru – father of Pandit Nehru.

During the Quit India movement he ordered troops not to fire on the protesters.

He oversaw the surrender of INA at Rangoon, his brother was one of the POWs.

After the Korean War, he played a major role in repatriation of POWs winning plaudits from Gen Douglas Mc Arthur.

During the Kashmir War in 1947, he personally led from the front in a tank for ohe capture Zoji La Pass.

He asked Nehru for just thoree months to retake the whole of J and K but Nehru referred to the UN.

Had a running feud with the Def Minister V.K.Menon over his undue interference in the Army.

Had the foresight to recognize the dange from China along with Sardar Vallabhai Patel much before any one else..

His proposal to appoint Lt.Gen Thorat as Army Chief was shot down by Nehru, who instead appointed Pran Nath Thapar to ease the way for Biji Kaul.

He spent his last days in Cyprus, as part of UN Peacekeeping Force during their Civil War. Passed away in Cyprus on 17 Dec 1965, aged 59. No important person from India attended his Funeral. He was buried in the  Wilson Garden cemetery.

When General Thimayya died in Cyprus, the Cyprus Govt. declared a 10 day mourning and the their Flag flew at Half Mast.

When the President of Cyprus, came to India, specifically to Honour him, our government, woke up and hastily erected a memorial, in ASC Center, Bangalore.

Jai Hind

Gen KS Thimayya remains one of the Three Greatest Chiefs of the Indian Army along with Field Marshals KM Cariappa and Sam Manekshaw.

Timmy’s  misfortune was that Nehru’s blue eyed boy – the machiavellian V K Krishna Menon was the Defense Minister whose sole aim was to belittle the Chief and destroy the moral fabric of the Nations’ Army. Menon had even gone to Sam when he was GOC 26 Div, to enlist his help to bring down Timmy. Sam had of course point blank refused to stoop to such a despicable. As a consequence an enquiry was instituted against Sam when he was Commandant the Staff College and his promotion delayed by a year and half.

Timmy had foreseen the 1962 War and had got Gen SP Thorat to do an Appreciation to evolve a plan for the defense of NEFA. Gen Thorat had in the event recommended that we fight at the existing Road Heads in view of the poor communications and our lack of wherewithal. Gen Thimayya agreed with Gen Thorat and went on to recommend to the Govt that Gen Thorat should take over as Chief after he retired.

However Nehru and Menon had different plans which was to make an Army Service Corps officer, Gen BM Kaul, a Kashmiri related to Nehru, Chief after Timmy retired.. Incidentally Gen Kaul was the first recepient of the PVSM.His citation read

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1962 War – Gen BM Kaul …

Posted on May 14, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Timmy had foreseen the 1962 War and had got Gen SP Thorat to do an Appreciation to evolve a plan for the defense of NEFA. Gen Thorat had in the event recommended that we fight at the existing Road Heads in view of the poor communications and our lack of wherewithal. Gen Thimayya agreed with Gen Thorat and went on to recommend to the Govt that Gen Thorat take over as Chief after he retired.

However Nehru and Menon had different plans, These were to make an Army Service Corps officer, Gen BM Kaul, a Kashmiri distantly related to Nehru, Chief. As a stop gap, Gen Thapar was made Chief after Gen Thimayya retired.

General Kaul was well known in Army and Political Circles to be a “personal favourite” of Jawaharlal Nehru since his junior officer days. He reportedly received a number of undue professional favours throughout his career due to this personal connections. He made full use of this opportunity with utter disregard to the Army organisation.

He managed to keep himself away from hardship and learning the nuances of a ‘fixer’ rather than as a Commander since his days as a junior officer and also later in service, he managed to grab important Army senior command appointments due to his “pull”.

Gen SK Sinha, the noted historian, who was a G-3 when Sam and Yahya Khan were G-1 and G-2 respectively, also served as a junior to Gen Kaul. He candidly and admiringly writes of Gen Kauls energy and ‘Go – Getter’ abilities to get things accomplished as long as things pertained to administration and with dealings with the civil and political sectors.

Leading men in battle is the forte of the Thimayya and Manekshaw types of this world!

His involvement with Jawaharlal Nehru later turned out to be the major reason for the shameful loss and massacre of Indian troops at the hands of the Chinese in the 1962 War.

During the 1962 War he was GOC iV Corps and at critical stages of this barely month long war, he fell sick and had to be evacuated. At the Battle of Walong, he insisted that 6 Kumaon attack on 14 Nov as it was Nehru’s Birthday and a Gift had to be given to the PM. The CO had remonstrated that the unit had barely arrived by late evening of 13 Nov and needed tome for recce and preparation. The CO was told that he would be sacked if he did not attack. As a result the unit lost over 200 men and was itself attacked on 17 Nov. It ceased to exist as the routes to the rear had been cut. A full account is given in  the Post tittled ‘Battle of Walong’.

The War ended Gen Kaul’s career as it did to the power play of Krishna Menon. Nehru too became a broken and shattered man and died barely a year and half later.

Earlier on Gen BM Kaul was the first ever recipient of the Param Vashisht Seva Medal instituted by the Indian government in 1960. His citation reads –

‘For successfully completing the project ‘Amar’ which entailed the construction of 1,450 quarters for troops in Ambala. This was the first project of its kind and was completed through hot weather and the monsoons in the face of numerous problems. Lt.-Gen. Kaul overcame these difficulties by dint of hard work and initiative of the highest order. He displayed organising ability, drive, and resourcefulness. It was by his determination, leadership and personal example that the task was completed by due date’

What can be sillier or sadder!

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Gen Giap and the Media …

Posted on May 14, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, From a Services Career, Personalities |

General Vo Nguyen Giap. was a brilliant, highly respected leader of the North Vietnam military. He is credited with defeating the French and then the US. This quote from his memoirs is seen in the War Memorial in Hanoi:

‘”What we still don’t understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for a little longer, we were ready to surrender!  It was the same at the battle of TET. You defeated us!  We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was helping us. They were causing more disruption in  erica  than we could on the battlefield. But for your media we were ready to surrender. You had won!'”

General Giap confirms what most Americans knew. The Vietnam war was not lost in Vietnam — it was lost in the US. A biased Media can cut the heart and destroy the will of a  Nation.

A truism: – Do not fear the enemy, for they can take only your life. Fear the media,  for they will distort your grasp of reality and destroy your honor.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sam Manekshaw – Background to the 1971 War …

Posted on May 11, 2017. Filed under: Pakistan, Personalities, Uncategorized |

Again from Sam’s lecture at the DSSC –

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal and being dismissed. There was this Cabinet Meeting and when I was asked to attend, I thought that now they have sent for the Prince while so far  they were playing Hamlet with out him.

A very angry Prime Minister read out messages from Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. All of them saying that hundreds of thousands of refugees had poured into their States and they did not know what to do.

The Prime Minister turned round to me and said: “I want you to do something”. I said, “What do you want me to do?” She said, “I want you to enter East Pakistan” and I said, “Do you know that means War?” She said, “I do not mind if it is war”.I, in my usual stupid way, said, “Prime Minister, have you read the Bible?”

And the Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh (a Punjabi Sikh), in his Punjabi accent said, “What has Bible got to do with this?” and I said, “In the first Book, the First Chapter, the First Paragraph, the First Sentence, God said, ‘Let there be light’’ and there was light. You turn this round and say ‘Let there be war’ and there will be war. What do you think? Are you ready for a war? Let me tell you – It’s 28th April, the Himalayan passes are opening, and if the Chinese gave us an ultimatum, I will have to fight on two fronts”.

Again Sardar Swaran Singh turned round and in his Punjabi English said, “Will China give ultimatum?”  “You are the Foreign Minister. You tell me!”

Then I turned to the Prime Minister and said, “Prime Minister, last year you wanted elections in West Bengal and you did not want the communists to win, so you asked me to deploy my soldiers in penny pockets in every village, in every little township in West Bengal. I have two divisions thus deployed in sections and platoons without their heavy weapons. It will take me at least a month to get them back to their units and to their formations.

Further, I have a division in the Assam area, another division in Andhra Pradesh and the Armored Division in the Jhansi-Babina area. It will take me at least a month to get them back and put them in their correct positions. I will require every road, every railway train, every truck, every wagon to move them.

“We are harvesting in the Punjab, and we are harvesting in Haryana; we are also harvesting in Uttar Pradesh. And you will not be able to move your harvest. I turned to the Agriculture Minister, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, “If there is a famine in the country afterwards, it will be you to blame, not me.” Then I said, “My Armoured Division has only got thirteen tanks which are functioning.”

The Finance Minister, Mr. Chawan, a friend of mine, said, “Sam, why only thirteen?” “Because you are the Finance Minister. I have been asking for money for the last year and a half, and you keep saying there is no money. That is why.”

Then I turned to the Prime Minister and said, “Prime Minister, it is the end of April. By the time I am ready to operate, the monsoon will have broken in that East Pakistan area. When it rains, it does not just rain, it pours. Rivers become oceans. If you stand on one bank, you cannot see the other and the whole countryside is flooded. My movement will be confined to roads, the Air Force will not be able to support me. And, if you wish me to enter East Pakistan, I guarantee you a hundred percent defeat.”

 “You are the Government”, I said “Now give me your orders!”

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have seldom seen a woman so angry, and I am including my wife in that! She was red in the face and I thought, “Let us see what happens”. She turned round and said, “The cabinet will meet four o’clock in the evening”.

Everyone walked out. I being the junior most man was the last to leave. As I was leaving, she said, “Chief, please will you stay behind?” I looked at her. I said, “Prime Minister, before you open your mouth, would you like me to send in my resignation on grounds of health, mental or physical?”

“No, sit down, Sam. Was everything you told me the truth?”

“Yes, it is my job to tell you the truth. It is my job to fight and win, not to lose.” She smiled at me and said, “All right, Sam. You know what I want. When will you be ready?” “I cannot tell you now, Prime Minister, but let me guarantee you this that if you leave me alone, allow me to plan, make my arrangements, and fix a date, I guarantee you a hundred percent victory”.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, as I told you, there is a very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal and being dismissed.

Now, those of you who remembered what happened in 1962, when the Chinese occupied the Thag-la ridge and Mr. Nehru, the Prime Minister, sent for the Army Chief, in the month of October and said, “I want you to throw the Chinese out”.

That Army Chief did not have the moral courage to stand up to him and say, “I am not ready, my troops are not acclimatized, I haven’t the ammunition, or indeed anything”. But he accepted the Prime Minister’s instructions, with the result that the Army was beaten and the country humiliated

A word or two re leadership; men and women like their leader to be a man, with all the manly qualities or virtues.

The man who says, “I do not smoke, I do not drink, I do not ….. (No, I will not say it)’, does not make a leader. Let me illustrate this from examples from the past.

You will agree that Julius Caesar was a great leader – he had his Calpurnia, he had his Antonia, he also had his Cleopatra and, when Caesar used to come to Rome, the Senators used to lock up their wives.

And you will agree that he was a great leader. He was known in Rome as every woman’s husband yet he was a great leader. Take Napoleon, he had his Josephine, he had his Walewska, he had his Antoinette and Georgettes and Paulettes. And you will agree he was a great leader.

Take the Duke of Wellington – do you know that the night before the battle of Waterloo, there were more Countesses, Marchionesses and other women in his ante – chamber than staff officers and Commanders. And you will agree he was a great leader.

Ladies and Gentlemen, a thought has just struck me. All these leaders- Caesar, Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington- they had one facial feature in common, all had long noses!

And now about the end. After the 1971 conflict with Pakistan, which ended in thirteen days and we took 93000 prisoners, my fans, the ‘yes-men’ around me, the sycophants, kept on comparing me to Rommel, to Field Marshal Alexander, to Field Marshal Auchinleck, and just as I was beginning to believe it, the Prime Minister created me a Field Marshal and sent me packing to the Nilgiris.

And then a hard-headed, no-nonsense wife deprived a psychiatric home (what we in India call a lunatic asylum), of one more inmate.

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The Civil – Mil Divide …

Posted on May 7, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Pakistan, Uncategorized |

From the Blog of a Rimcollian – Gp Capt Unni Kartha –

A few yrs ago when some of my course mates got AVSM and PVSM, I was invited as a personal guest to Akash Mess where the Def Min Anthony was giving an official reception and dinner.

The brass from all three Service were there in their finery, medals, collar tabs, auguets, gold burnishing, gold buttons, Sam Brownes, what have you – some even had their swords.

In spite of a smart business suit and my miniature medals, even I felt undressed in front of such an august and very impressive uniformed crowd.

Anthony arrived late – after we had already downed 2 Ls. He was wearing a simple white bush shirt with a traditional Malayali dhotie – luckily not at half mast.

He was taken around the august collage of military brass and introduced to them by the Def Secy. Afterwards I saw him standing alone in a corner with the Def Secy. His knees were shaking.

I went to say hello. ‘An-Thony Sare,’ I said with due diligence. ‘Why are you standing as if you have swallowed a spear – your knees are shaking ?’ (Literally translated from Malayalam), I asked without tact.

‘Ayyo Kartavu Sare’, he replied equally frank. ‘I am frightened of all the costumes here, it looks like Satan is having a party’ (Malayalam translation).

At that moment I think I understood the crux of the politico-military problem. If only the services dress up like very ordinary people, say like the Chinese Army in the 60s, with drab uniforms and less frightening pomp, I think the political may even get to like the military.

I have noted on TV that when Gen Kayani goes to meet the Paki PM, or the Paki Prez, he goes in a simple jersey without a frightening visage. He doesn’t even seem to carry a cane or baton.

I think we must learn to emulate the Paki man, though Kayani is frightening even when undressed!

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