Monday, August 02, 2004

Advice From the Past, Echoes Current Strategy

Some would say that history repeats itself. Others might not agree, but it would seem that somethings still hold true.

In an August 20, 1917 Bulletin, TE Lawrence (ie, Lawrence of Arabia), puts forth some advice to his contemporaries:

Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them. Actually, also, under the very odd conditions of Arabia, your practical work will not be as good as, perhaps, you think it is.

'Twenty-Seven Articles', Arab Bulletin, 20 August 1917

While he was speaking of the tribesman and Bedu of Arabia, during World War I, it would seem that his advice holds true in the struggles of current day Iraq and is echoed by Ambassador Negroponte in a recent article in the New York Times:

"Us not speaking as much as we have been in the past for the situation in Iraq may be one of the things we can do," Mr. Negroponte told reporters on Saturday afternoon. "Let them speak for themselves."

Captain Tom Pugsley of the First Battalion of the First Cavalry Division, shows the overall attitude of the strategy:

"When they see us with them, they're more apt to believe things are going the way we've been saying, that we're turning over sovereignty."

You must wonder if they read TE Lawrence or if he has been relegated to an historical period with a side note of "just another Englishman in a kaffiya" that could not possible know what he was talking about. In which case, history oft repeats itself because we avoid looking at it like the plague.


The 27 Aricles of TE Lawrence

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