maandag 6 augustus 2012

In memoriam Sir John Keegan

Gedeeltelijk overgenomen uit The Guardian:

"The military historian Sir John Keegan, who has died aged 78, possessed a rare ability to describe warfare from the standpoint of the frontline soldier. For this he depended in great part on imagination, since poor health prevented him from wearing a uniform. It was only in 1984 that he acquired a close-up view of battle (in the Lebanese civil war), which he described as physically disgusting and very frightening.

His third book, The Face of Battle (1976), made his name as a fine writer and is still widely regarded as his best despite more than 20 other works. He portrayed the life of the common soldier in three great British battles: Agincourt (1415), Waterloo (1815) and the Somme (1916). He used original sources to bring out the physical and mental aspects of warfare, including bloodlust, fear, comradeship and the ugliness, dirt and even stink of the battlefield. ... 

Histories of both world wars, of military intelligence and War in Our World, the printed version of his Reith lectures of 1998, added to an impressive body of work. However, there was controversy too as Keegan drew criticism from colleagues for his emphatic rejection of the doctrine of the Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz that war was a continuation of policy by other means. He was sometimes accused of political naivety.

But his journalistic output was very influential. Highly conservative, at least in the non-political sense, he overcame initial doubts to become a strong supporter of the Falklands war in 1982 under the nom de plume (he was still employed at Sandhurst) of Patrick Desmond in the Spectator, and of the first Iraq war eight years later under his real name. He was appointed OBE in 1991.

His support for the second Iraq war in 2003 was unconditional even though he was highly critical of the lack of an exit strategy. He viewed western intervention in Afghanistan as justified if also highly dangerous, but thought premature withdrawal would make matters worse. Unsurprisingly he was strongly in favour of the British nuclear deterrent and its renewal, but was surprised and disturbed by the idea of a British nuclear strike against pariah states such as Iran and North Korea, as envisaged by Geoff Hoon, the Labour defence secretary, in 2002.

Keegan was knighted in 2000 and further honoured with membership of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He took to writing a whimsical column in the Telegraph magazine about rural life as seen from his 17th-century manor house in Wiltshire. More ill-health dogged his later years when he was struck by a spinal failure, then had a leg amputated. Using a wheelchair, he continued to visit the office once a week and write articles. In April 2009 he suffered a stroke, but made a remarkable partial recovery".

Kennisname van de werk van Sir Keegan is zeer geboden voor wie wil overleven in RKK NL. Nog belangrijker is het stevig te studeren op de geschiedenis en werkwijze van de Maffia. Al decennialang verdiep ik mij zowel in de militaire geschiedenis als de werkwijze van de Maffia. Therefore: "Stay tuned the best is yet to come!" Amen!