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OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)

Art Thieme 16 Nov 01 - 04:44 PM
wildlone 16 Nov 01 - 05:05 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 01 - 05:36 PM
53 16 Nov 01 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,John Gray / Australia 16 Nov 01 - 08:13 PM
Little Hawk 16 Nov 01 - 09:51 PM
Art Thieme 17 Nov 01 - 12:01 AM
Willie-O 17 Nov 01 - 10:57 AM
GUEST 17 Nov 01 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Fiver 17 Nov 01 - 01:40 PM
Irish sergeant 17 Nov 01 - 04:27 PM
Little Hawk 17 Nov 01 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,colwyn dane 17 Nov 01 - 08:26 PM
Little Hawk 17 Nov 01 - 11:05 PM
Art Thieme 18 Nov 01 - 12:17 AM
Little Hawk 18 Nov 01 - 05:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Nov 01 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,colwyn dane 18 Nov 01 - 08:14 PM
Art Thieme 18 Nov 01 - 08:41 PM
Little Hawk 18 Nov 01 - 09:31 PM
GUEST,McGrath of Harlow 18 Nov 01 - 10:12 PM
Little Hawk 19 Nov 01 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,colwyn dane 19 Nov 01 - 08:43 PM
GUEST,Stavanger Bill 20 Nov 01 - 05:15 AM
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Subject: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Art Thieme
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 04:44 PM

In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, Generalisimo Franco and the Fascists rebelled against the crown. Volunteers came from all over the world to join up with the loyalists to fight Franco. Called, generally, the International Brigades, in the U.S.A. it was called the Abraham Lincoln Brigade--in Germany the Thielmann Column, etc.. (We've talked about these folks in other threads.)

Back in the 1930s, the American government turned their back on Spain and the volumteers from all over. Adolph Hitler supported Franco's fascists with his airforce (Luftwaffe)and, many say, turned the tide of that war and allowed Franco to take over as Spain's dictator---a position he held until he died in the latter part of the 20th century.

In Afghanistan the U.S.A. has aided the Northen Alliance in order to facilitate our own agenda of fighting back at terrorists for what was done by them on 9/11.

Yes, I'm seeing definite parallels here----parallels highlighted by the glaring differences between the U.S.'s different responses. Also, the similarities between Hitler's actions then and ours now.

I DO BELIEVE that Hitler could've been nullified if the response then had been like our actions now !!! WORLD WAR 2 Might've been avoided. (And 1600 members of the Lincoln Brigade and mtany from the other groups might've lived out their natural lives.)

Wha'd'ya thibk??

Art Thieme

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: wildlone
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 05:05 PM

Art, this has allways been the problem with represive regimes and dictators, the taliban were brave freedom fighters when fighting against the Russian invaders, Tito was a hero of the west fighting the Germans, The US and UK sent aid to both.
It is so easy to see ones mistakes after the event.
I only hope that in aiding the Northen Alliance we are not ridding Afghanistan of one dictatorship in order to put another in its place.

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 05:36 PM

I only hope that in aiding the Northen Alliance we are not ridding Afghanistan of one dictatorship in order to put another in its place.


You can hope like hell, but to no effect. We have another dictatorship whom American's decide that they like today.

Re-read this post in a month, if you don't believe me

"When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn"

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: 53
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 07:36 PM


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: GUEST,John Gray / Australia
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 08:13 PM

Yes Art, I agree that if the world had taken a unified stand against Hitler / Franco they wouldn't have caused the mayhem they did. But the times were different then. It would have been damn nigh impossible to get all the major countries to agree on a unified course of action. Just imagine convening a meeting, in 1935 say, with the Americans, Russians, Japanese, French, British, Italians and Poles and expecting agreement on a plan against Hitler.
Today of course we have the benefit of rapid communications and much better educated masses. The horror of the Twin Towers was transmitted "live" around the world. It enabled people to quite clearly see that this was terribly wrong and that some positive course of action had to be taken. It made for a unifying of major nations with a common cause and, whilst the events haven't fully played out yet, it would seem that a reasonably successful outcome is not far away. Of course there will always be internal and internecine strife in Afghanistan, that's the nature of the beast in a country where a clapped-out Kalashnikov is more cherished than a combine harvester.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 09:51 PM

It would have been a very good idea for the western democracies to help the Spanish Republican forces in the 30's and prevent Franco's victory. That they did not was due, I think, primarily to their hostility toward socialism (the Spanish Republicans were socialists). The west was basically more anti-socialist than anti-fascist at that time, all things considered. After the main event (WWII) started, that situation changed radically.

Only Communist Russia made a serious national effort to help the Spanish Republicans, and their aid was outmatched by the German and Italian forces which assisted Franco.

The Luftwaffe gained valuable experience in Spain, which they later used to good effect in their blitzkrieg warfare.

I don't see much parallel between that situation and the one in Afghanistan, though...

The situation in Afghanistan is rather bizarre, in that the USA originally financed and helped establish the very Taliban fanatics whom they are presently attempting to dislodge and destroy. We all know that...but how does it compare to Spain in 1937? I don't much think it does.

I see one parallel, though. Spain sits in a very crucial spot, geographically...positioned at the gateway to the Mediterranean and the British base of Gibraltar. Hitler no doubt expected Franco to join the Axis forces in WWII, in which case the British would have had a hard time holding Gibraltar. If they had lost it, they would have lost the whole Mediterranean theatre.

Similarly, Afghanistan is in a very important spot, since it is the overland route to some vital oilfields in some very unstable little countries.

In the case of Spain, Franco was clever enough to avoid getting into an international conflict altogether, and his dictatorship survived.

In the case of the Taliban, they were not that clever...quite the contrary. It only remains to see if the West can exploit the strategic possibilities of Afghanistan without falling into a quagmire there. We shall see. The Russians tried and failed, but no superpower is helping the Taliban now, so the West may well succeed.

- LH

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 12:01 AM

Good points. It is a stretch to find any real parallels. It just has always seemed obvious to me that it was, at the very least, simply wrong to leave Franco with the people under his fist all those decades. Franco and his ever-present Guardia Civil and their ever-present machine guns held sway so very long there. ------- It almost seems like---could it be---a lucky break(?) for the people (mostly the women) of Afghanistan that the U.S. got so outraged that there was simply no possibility the angry retalliation for the WTC attack wouldn't happen and, also, just for the hell of it, almost by accident, take out the injustices there almost like collateral damage sadly affects innocent bystanders? Bad luck and good luck---two sides of the same coin--yet another paradox--visible eddys in the swirling chaos of existence that form, haphazardly, the seeming solidity of our lives.

I hope I'm saying what I mean--what I want to say here. I doubt I am--because these ideas aren't very solid in my head right now. I'm using this forum to try to make some kind of sense of it all--to get my head together and coherant.

I do appreciate your tolerance of these ruminations.

Art Thieme

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Willie-O
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 10:57 AM

Strange but true, Art, your last post. Even though the nasty short bombing campaign made us leftists more than somewhat uneasy, it seems to have had a positive effect judging from the happy people in Kabul today. That makes me even more uneasy. No simple answers.

Your other point--that there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that the US wouldn't make a sharp military response.--is also valid.

I doubt that the innate strategic value of Afghanistan really had anything much to do with it. Having gotten involved in that wasted land now, we are in for a long and difficult process of "what do we do now".


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 11:04 AM

This US is still much more anti-socialist than anti-fascist, as the current administration illustrates so well. Whether it is through the WTO, the UN Security Council, the US Attorney General's office, or the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the real war on now is against anyone who challenges capitalism, not totalitarianism.

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: GUEST,Fiver
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 01:40 PM

Parallel with Spanish Civil War is that Afghanistan is a war of complex alliances--what happens on the ground really is a reflection of who has worked out what with who--The secret to resolving this, for once and for all, will be in keeping control of governing process after the Taliban are gone--if we hand everything over to anyone and walk away, things will be a mess again soon--

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 04:27 PM

This war isn't over yet. keep that in mind before making assesments about what will happen. Kindest regards, Neil

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 04:41 PM

GUEST at 11:04 - I concur with your points entirely. For both the British and the Americans in WWII Russia was merely an ally of convenience until the Nazis were defeated. From the Russians' point of view, the same was true regarding the West. It was a very cynical and pragmatic business all around. It was fascinating to observe Churchill, who had always detested the Communists, suddenly switch to praising the heroism of their forces and their people....following the German attack on June 22/41. Of course, Churchill was doing simply what had to be done under the circumstances...the Nazis were a dire threat to all concerned and had to be defeated. Still, it was an extraordinary transition in rehtoric.

As soon as Germany was occupied by the Allies the old enmities quickly emerged, and communism/socialism was once again the sworn enemy of the capitalist west.

As for Afghanistan, I suspect there will be intertribal warfare there for some time hence, as various groups run around trying to grab the goodies and settle old scores...much like in the Balkans. This may lead to an extended western military presence there, in a "peacekeeping" role...which will not be easy at all.

And in the meantime...what about Iraq?

- LH

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: GUEST,colwyn dane
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 08:26 PM

At the end of the European war in 1945 it now appears that Stalin was going to play the 'might is right' card -
and 'liberate' from capitalist rule the rest of Europe, and given that he had 477 divisions and 35,000 combat aircraft in that theatre he probably would have been successful.
The US estimated that Stalin would be able to conquer Europe in 45 days; the Soviets thought it would take upto 2 weeks.
A colonel of the NKVD,on Victory Day addressed his men thus:
'For some people,perhaps,the war was over,but for us Chekists this was not so in any sense.
The real war,to bring about the final destruction of the capitalist world, was only just beginning.'
A session of the Politburo was devoted to the question of whether the USSR should conquer all Europe.
Marshal Budenny said the the Red Army had made a bad mistake in halting at the Elbe,
that they ought to press on and that this was not very complicated from the military standpoint.
According to an officer of the First Byelorussian Army Group, D. Samoilov:
'Conquering the rest of Europe and going to war with our allies
did not seem at all unrealistic either to me or to my comrades-in-arms.
Our victories,our feeling of invincibility,our offensive spirit which had not yet been weakened,
all encouraged us to suppose that conquest of Europe was possible.'
The development of the atomic bomb negated those 'might is right' plans
and a large part of the Red Army was redeployed to the Far East to prepare for war against Japan.

Beria - Stalins 'Himmler' thought that Churchill was the greatest British statesman since Disraeli:
'He is a man dominated by feeling and capable of making mistakes when he acts under the influence of his
emotions. He has a stubbornness that is dangerous for a statesman, but his political flair is incredible.'


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 11:05 PM

Interesting stuff. Beria was dead right about Churchill, who was absolutely the key figure in holding the line against the Axis in the early war years. He made some specific errors in strategy at times, but his overall psychological effect on the British will to fight was incalculable. He was definitely THE thorn in the side of the Axis.

I wouldn't doubt that Stalin had thoughts about moving west in 1945. On the other side of the line, Patton had similar plans to move east and drive the Russians right out of western Europe and even to the gates of Moscow. He was also hoping to immediately reform the German Wermacht veterans under western Allied command and use them to help fight the Russians. Had this been done, the Germans would have fought more than willingly beside the western Allies. They had been hoping for such an alliance against the Soviets for some time, but could find no political way to arrange it as long as Hitler was alive.

Patton's superiors were so rattled by his bellicose talk of attacking the Russians that they cashiered him to other duties as quickly as possible...putting him where he could "do no harm", so to speak.

So there were strong ideas on both sides (in various quarters) for continuing that war into a Red Star vs White Star conflict.

However, I don't think the Russians would have found it easy going, even had there been no atom bomb. Their weaponry on the whole was not as advanced, particularly their aircraft. In my opinion, based on decades of wargaming, the Allied Air Forces would have made hash out of them, and the American and British heavy bomber fleets would have bombed out most of their industrial centres in a year. Russia was getting tired by 1945, feeling the beginning of a pinch in manpower, and much of their country was devastated, while the USA was undamaged and producing arms at an unprecedented rate.

The Russian troops in the field, on the other hand, were filled with confidence after their victory over the Germans, so I'm not surprised they felt optimistic.

The Germans would have volunteered en masse to re-enlist in the Allied forces, and would have been well supplied for a change, with plenty of new equipment...and they would have fought like hell against the Russians.

Allied air power would have been the crucial factor, as it was against the Germans. They were the most skillful and experienced army on the ground in '44 and '45, but Allied air supremacy hamstrung them on every occasion, pinning them down, cutting their supply lines, and destroying their panzers. I expect the same would have happened to the Russians.

It would have been a very bloody and protracted business, though. No cakewalk. Not for either side.

For all I know you may be right that the Russians had the strenght to win in western Europe in '45, but I doubt it. They would probably have fought to an eventual stalemate somewhere in the middle of Eastern Europe.

And another 20 million would have died. Good thing it didn't happen.

- LH

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 12:17 AM

Amazing discussion. Looking at what went down and what might've gone down "if". So where is the present situation going to lead us?

I doubt that the Soviet people were anti-Socialist. How, then, did that baby get thrown out with the washwater when, as I've always felt, they were really trying to get rid of totalitarianism and not the positive aspect of Socialism??


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 05:52 PM

Because the moment the old Communist system fell, the gangsters and opportunists took over....rather the way they did after the old Imperial system fell in 1917. The public became their victims.

Idealists always help to launch revolutions, but power-hungry pragmatists usually hijack them in short order. That happened in the early 90's with the full collusion of the West, which tantalized the Russian public with notions of a wonderful new democratic life, and then assisted various scoundrels in robbing them blind.

My father was on a trip to Russia last year, and he said that the Russians know they've been had, and are extremely cynical about the good intentions of the West, but that almost no one wants to go back to the Soviet system either, because it was a disaster of a different sort which they don't want to repeat. The baby has indeed been thrown out with the bathwater, and it will probably take one or two generations to repair the damage at the very least...given good luck.

The Russian public would have done well to listen to Gorbachev and make a gradual transition to a socialist democracy...but they were impatient. Yeltsin offered them exagerrated dreams he couldn't possibly deliver on, and they fell for it. Now they are paying the price.

Gorbachev, in my opinion, was a man of extraordinary vision, but Yeltsin was a mere demagogue, as well as being a drunk.

- LH

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 07:09 PM

Can't see too many similarities between the present confusion and Spain. Apart from that being confused too.

The fatal political mistake for the US was back in the 20s, turning its back and giving the revanchists in France and England a clear run.

And the fatal economic mistake was a screwed up version of capitalism that devastated the world economy.

But the whole history of the 20th century fits together like some infernal machine. Once the trigger was pulled in Sarajevo in 1914, the whole thing just moves like clockwork.

And finally in 1990 or so there was a chance for a new start maybe. And we collectively blew it. Instead of helping the Soviet system to relax and change and turn into something that worked, the people who own us and run us saw a chance to try to move in for the kill and the looting.

And one way and another we are set up for another tragic century.

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: GUEST,colwyn dane
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 08:14 PM

Patton was probably the 'fightingest' general on the Allied side in WW2
- a Phil Sheridan type - he drove his Army hard and kept them sharp.
He also made the remark,after he was given the green light to break-out, something to the effect
'that he would move so fast, eastwards and then northwards, that the British would be driven
into the sea for a second Dunkirk' this was all tongues in the cheeks stuff
and had to do with projecting an image.
Patton was assigned to the 15th Army - Fifteenth was an army in name only,
a paper outfit with no troops, no equipment and no mission -
was because he retained Nazi Germans in office to run local authorities, 'because they were the only ones who had the experience'
and he went on to compare the Nazi thing as like 'a Democratic and Republican election fight'.
He is buried in Luxembourg and it said that on the third day many gathered by his graveside....

The Red Army (surely the mightiest Army in history?) with its superior armour
- probably only the British 'Centurion' just going into production would have matched the T-34;
with swarms of Yak 3's and Yak 9's to win air superiority - the same planes flew rings around the 109 et 190 opposition;
with its manpower - nearly all of a Soviet division's 'slice' were fighting men;
intelligence services which knew the cards the Allies held and how they would play them.
My forecast: the Red Army to reach the Atlantic in 7-10 days.
Stalin had been kept fully briefed on atomic weapons research and was intelligent enough to know that he no longer held the ace of trumps.

A Warsaw Pact war plan for 1964 and declassified by the Czech government shows that it was estimated,
on the Czech Army front facing US 7th Army and a German Corps, that they would reach Lyons on D+8.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 08:41 PM

I am humbled by my own lack of knowledge of what have been my own life's times. Your perspectives are appreciated and eye-opening. If you folks'd been professors when I was at the U. of Illinois ('59) it's more than likely I'd've stayed around there instead of splitting to become a folksinger. It's never too late to pick up insight I suspect. Thanks so much.

Art T.

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 09:31 PM

I can't help wondering if you're right, Colwyn...about the potency of the Russian army in 1945. They definitely had good tanks, no question, although they were somewhat crude compared to the competition. The JS-II Stalin tank was even much more formidable than the T-34. And you are right that the last generation of Russian fighters (Yak 3, Yak 9, and La-7) were darn good little they had the premier ground attack plane of the war, the Sturmovik to destroy enemy armoured formations.

Maybe they would have rolled over the western Allies...

My impresssion is that the American Pershing heavy tank and the British Centurion were superior to any Russian tank of the day, but there were a relatively small number of them available at that point...most American units still had various versions of the Sherman, and it would have been outclassed by the Russian armour.

If you are correct, then the main value of the atomic bomb was not its effect on Japan (which was actively seeking a negotiated settlement and an end to the fighting anyway in 1945) but the fact that it kept the Red Army in check.

If so, I'm glad it happened that way.

Patton, who was definitely the fightingest general the Allies had, couldn't wait to get at the Russians, and was certain he could whip them, but Patton was a born optimist. He may have been wrong. I'm sure Zuikov was equally optimistic when it came down to it.

- LH

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: GUEST,McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 10:12 PM

I think if the American government had decided to go after the Russians in alliance with the Germans in 1945, they'd have had a hell of a problem trying to keep the British on side. Or anyone else. Including a lot of Americans.

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 12:12 PM

Well, it would not have been an official alliance...they would have just put the German soldiers in Allied uniforms under Allied officers, I would assume.

The same sort of thing happened on the Eastern front in 41-45 when many thousands of Ukrainians and other former Soviet troops joined the Axis forces to fight Stalin, for example.

But one thing for sure, the western public and soldiers were longing for peace by 1945, and they would not have been happy at a continuation of the war. This would have made no difference, however, if the Russians had launched a full scale attack on the West. Then things would have taken their inevitable course regardless.

Stalin was entirely treacherous and ruthless enough to do it, if he thought he could win. He cynically attacked the Japanese in the last few days of the war, hoping to grab some more spoils in Asia before it was over.

- LH

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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: GUEST,colwyn dane
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 08:43 PM

LH thank you for your enjoyable comments - with the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbour on the horizon I'm sure there will be some issues to discuss then.

This site has a rundown on the last days of WW2 from a Japanese viewpoint.
It would appear that the war would have gone on for a lot longer but for the intervention of the Emperor.
Atom bomb or no Atom bomb, the hawks - not the little ones - wanted to kill as many Americans as possible
The only means left to them at that time was for the US to mount an invasion of Japan.

Germany only quit shortly after the fall of Berlin and it was thought likely, by the Allies, that Japan too would have fought on to the bitter end.
Anyhow it gives a flavour of what was going on in political circles in 1945 Japan

This thread has sped a long way from CW Spain so if anybody would like to discuss the Spanish/Afghanistan question then please steam ahead.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Taliban--Gen. Franco (similarities!?)
From: GUEST,Stavanger Bill
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 05:15 AM

On the original point raised to create the thread, I do not see much similarity beyond supply of airpower by a foreign power and the presence of foreign nationals volunteering as individuals to fight alongside the Taliban.

The Spanish Civil War was seen largely as being just that and was fairly well polarised. At the time no international threat was perceived from the outcome. Germany, Italy and Russia used it to find out how well their new toys worked to the detriment of the Spanish people as a whole.

My comparison to Afghanistan at present is with the state of the Anglo-Scottish Border during the reigns of Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and James VI. There is a very good book on the subject entitled "The Steel Bonnet" by George MacDonald Fraser. The area lived on an near permanent war footing for almost 350 years. The structure was such that the various families had no other loyalty except to family. Alliances, truces and feuds respected no boundary imposed by nationality and at times were downright bizarre in terms of rationality and make-up. In Afghanistan you have tribal leaders and warlords leading their respective tribes and ethnic groups into and out of alliances and pledges of loyalty to suit what ever happens to be the flavour of the day. Should the Taliban head for the hills to mount a guerilla style war it would be very difficult to predict how all these factions would react at any particular time, or circumstance. In my parallel from history, the solution came when James IV of Scotland became James I of England. The pacification of the Borders was brutal and measures against offending "riding families" were ruthlessly pursued. The instruments of law and order on both sides of the border were the appointed Wardens of the March,who on analyses were no better than the brigands they were prosecuting. It did give the population in general some respite and the area began to enjoy some measure of prosperity - it took a long time on the borders and it will in Afghanistan.

As to whether the Red Army would have rolled all over Europe had Stalin continued the war, I think not. They would have been extending their lines of communication through increasilngly hostile territory, their airforce was entirely tactical and their forces had never been subject to strategic bombing. American and British fighter aircraft were superior and the first jets were about to come into front-line service. Russian command and control of their armour and air-power was only marginally better in 1945 than it had been in 1941. An example, when Guderian was re-instated as a commander on the eastern front late in 1944 using effective command and control of extremely limited resources, it required the attention of two Russian armies to counter the defence offered by two German Divisions.

Fortunately, as a last resort, America had the bomb and good old Joe Stalin didn't.

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