Notes From the Margins…
Posts Tagged Afghan war
Spain and the Origins of ‘People’s War’

Spain and the Origins of ‘People’s War’

  • August 19, 2021
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Watching the collapse of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, I’ve been rereading Albert Jean Michel de Rocca’s powerful memoir of the Peninsular War In the Peninsula with a French Hussar.  This might seem a little tangential, but bear with me.  Sous-Lieutenant de Rocca was a Swiss soldier who enlisted in Napoleon’s army, whose regiment the...

Addicted to War

  • January 06, 2015
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War is a serious business, or it would be if we took it seriously.

If war was treated with the seriousness it deserves then wars would not be begun lightly on false pretenses.   They would have clear and realistic strategic objectives and timescales.   They would be based on a very clear understanding of the...

ISIS: Made in Washington?

  • June 23, 2014
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As a result of its continuing offensives in Iraq, the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIS) has become the latest Islamist threat to civilisation.   If the rightwing Internet website World Net Daily is to be believed however,  the US government may have inadvertently played a direct role in ISIS’s creation, through a...

Why Has the Ministry of Defence Tried to Ban Its Own Book?

Why Has the Ministry of Defence Tried to Ban Its Own Book?

  • April 13, 2014
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When democratic governments attempt to ban books it rarely work out well for the government.   When the Thatcher government tried to ban Spycatcher under the Official Secrets it ended up looking ridiculous and impotent when the book was published abroad – even in Scotland – for three years before the ban was lifted, so...

Dan Hodges Wins the Afghan War

Dan Hodges Wins the Afghan War

  • March 18, 2014
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The Telegraph‘s Dan Hodges has offered his readers some spectacularly dumb reflections on  the British contribution to the Afghan war.  It would be more accurate to describe   Hodges’s column as a collection of words thrown together and arranged into sentences rather than thoughts, since there is little evidence of thinking at all in this...

Sergeant Blackman’s Heart of Darkness

Sergeant Blackman’s Heart of Darkness

  • December 08, 2013
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Human kind/ cannot bear very much reality, observed TS Eliot, and societies that send young men to kill and die on their behalf are particularly unwilling to bear the often brutish reality of the wars they fight.

One way in which British society conceals or distances itself from its wars is to emphasize the dying rather...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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