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The War Nerd June 29, 2007
 
Om Der Man!
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
 

Last week in the office somebody was saying, "If only we could get all these terrorists in one place and just drop a daisy cutter on them." I've heard that a million times -- the Great White Wet Dream.

Well, it's not going to happen -- the stupid terrorists are already dead, and the rest aren't going to step out from the alleys and put up their dukes to face the A-10s. The only people who are "strong enough in their faith" to run into automatic fire with spears these days are way down in Uganda with the Lord's Resistance Army, and -- funny enough -- there aren't nearly as many of them as there used to be. Believing that God or Allah's made you bulletproof just isn't a winning strategy.

But there was one time when us whitey Westies got our way and had all the Islamists in one kill zone. That's the happy tale I'm telling today: the battle of Omdurman near Khartoum, Sudan in 1885, when it was Faith vs. Maxim Guns, spears vs. long-range artillery. Box score: 20,000 Jihadis dead or captured as against 48 British KIA. The Brits were lucky enough that day to be dealing with the followers of a nutcase named Mohammad Ahmad, aka the Mahdi. This Mahdi came out of Darfur, believe it or not -- "Darfur, Cradle of Wacky Slaughters" is their tourist motto -- swearing to push the pesky redcoats out of Sudan.

The "Mahdi" fantasy is strictly a Shia obsession these days, which is why Fatso Sadr's thugs in Iraq are called the "Mahdi Army." But back in Queen Victoria's day, Sudanese Sunni Muslims were desperate enough to resort to it. Whenever Muslims, whatever variety, get really scared, they suck their thumbs with this fairytale about a "Mahdi," who's supposedly the 12th and last Imam, popping out of some cave where he's been sleeping for 1200 years, to stomp the wrongdoers, like Batman showing up when the local Imam beams a big green "Allahu Akbar! Help!" calligraphy on a cloud.

And with the Victorian Brits pushing down from their puppet regime in Egypt, the 1880s Sudanese had good reason to be scared. The Eurofags are so feeble now that you have to remind yourself how scary they were before they committed mass suicide in 1914-1918. Hard to believe today, but by 1910 whites were 40% of the global population and had a much higher birth/survival rate than the wog remnants. Trendy books were coming out of London, Paris and Berlin about how sad it was that "the dying races" were winking out. And the Sudanese were facing the Brits, by far the smartest, slyest and most ruthless European powers. The Brits were the best for all kinds of reasons, but most of all because of the way they handled the propaganda side of colonizing the world. When they had to, they wiped out troublesome tribes all over the map, but instead of rolling home with bloody scalps and gory stories like some dumb Nazi boaster, they soft-pedaled the killing and only talked about their own casualties, even if there were only a handful. They used the press to turn their losses into martyrs on a scale no clumsy Shia amateur could ever manage.

So the Brits handled their campaign to squash the Sudanese Islamists by turning their most famous casualty of the campaign, Charles Gordon, into a huge martyr, a combination of George Armstrong Custer and Bono.

Truth is, Gordon's story is actually the most interesting part of the whole Sudan war. The battle of Omdurman itself was pretty simple stuff, like slaughtering infected cattle. But the lead-up, and the climax with Gordon's death in Khartoum, is such a classic they even made a movie of it with Chartlon Heston. I haven't seen it and I'm sure it sucks, but this story deserves a movie or two. In fact, and this is the key here, Gordon actually ran his last campaign like a movie he had planned -- and he always had the ending in mind, where he died nobly, holding off the Arab hordes. He knew that propaganda was the key to asymmetrical warfare like this.


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Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
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