Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Telling reception for Afghanistan War critique

How memoirs are received often tells us a great deal about the present.
Retired UK special representative to Afghanistan, Sir Sherand Louis Cowper-Coles just released a very tough assessment of the Afghan war entitled “Cables from Kabul: The inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign.”  Reviewer Julian Glover of the Guardian wraps up his analysis with this stark observation:
Cowper-Coles's is, subtly, a bitter critique. Had this book been written a few years ago, he would have been ostracised by a diplomatic establishment whose instinct is to belittle former colleagues who go rogue. How telling, then, that last week's book launch in London was packed with confident, clever people in expensive suits: the pick of the diplomatic establishment.
“They know the Afghan war is lost. The coming battle is to deal out – and dodge – the blame.”
Career strategists and insiders in Washington and other capitals are probably busy now re-calibrating their profiles on this sad file.

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