GREAT EMPIRES COVERING LETTER

johntarttelin@msn.com

Souladream Productions

December 11th 2015

 

 

 

Dear Sir,

The enclosed critique is self-explanatory. I have been a member of the National Geographic Society for about 25 of the last 30 years. In recent years it has been impossible to ignore your extreme and unwarranted bias. You have persisted in portraying Napoleon in a malignant light and in a highly cavalier and arbitrary manner. Your writers obviously know nothing about the French Emperor or his times and I resent the fact that my financial contributions are blatantly misused for their repeatedly negative and hostile character assassinations.

 

In the interest of natural justice and fair play I demand that you refrain from this odious practice immediately.

 

Save the tiger, save the whale, save the planet indeed, but do not use funds donated for charitable purposes to malign an historical figure who has no chance of a right of reply. Malicious and mendacious myths should be left to amateurs and social media and not propagated by the Society that I joined to help encourage archeological excavations, conservation and other worthwhile measures designed to aid our planet.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

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GREAT EMPIRES BOOK REVIEW

An Illustrated Atlas

National Geographic

(2013 Edition)

 

 

Dear Sir,

I have just read your Atlas that purports to be an accurate account of World history. There is throughout this book a blatantly biased and dismissive account of Napoleon and an utter disregard for his empire.

Modern humans have existed for about 200,000 years and today there are about 7.3 billion people. Some 7.5 billion individuals have lived on this planet. In all that time and amidst all those numbers only three historical personages have been known widely by their first names. They are, in chronological order: Alexander, Jesus and Napoleon.

After the Bible and its references to Christ, there have been more books written about Napoleon than any other person who has ever lived. He died less than 200 years ago yet there are now at least 250,000 books on Napoleon and 1,000 more are added every year. In your own country more than a dozen settlements have been named ‘Napoleon’ in many different states.

The renowned German writer Goethe called Napoleon: ‘The greatest man of the C19th.’ He was the hero of the German Jew Heine. And he was William Hazlitt’s hero in contemporary England. Yet your Atlas virtually ignores him. Worse than that, your writers choose to slander his name and vilify him at every opportunity. This is what your hacks write:

‘In truth, he was one of the many meteoric conquerors with supersize egos throughout history who dazzled the world briefly before they came crashing down, achieving little of lasting significance compared with those who built enduring empires.’ (Page 271)

This statement is absolute tosh, and a consummate travesty of history. Your writers are certainly not historians and if that is the best they can do they should stick to fiction.

Napoleon gave Jews equal rights in his empire. If he had done nothing else, his memory would have been worth preserving for this act alone. He was also the first person to suggest that Jews be given a homeland in the Holy Land. No wonder he was Heine’s hero. And no wonder that 150 years after his death the Jewish historian Ben Weider set up the International Napoleonic Society to honour his memory and to counteract all the lies and misinformation spread about him over the past two centuries.

Ben Weider studied Napoleon and his times for over fifty years. I have been studying Napoleon and his times for over forty years. I simply do not recognize the cartoon character referred to by your jejune and unqualified writers. What academic qualifications have they? And what peer reviewed historical papers or books have they produced? I have read over two hundred books about Napoleon and I have never in over forty years heard of your lamentably informed staff.

Without Napoleon the discipline of Egyptology would not exist. He took 177 savants to Egypt and they produced the brilliant Description De L’Egypte – a work of the utmost importance and a cultural icon. Any nation would be proud of such a monumental work of impeccable scholarship. From the start, Napoleon wanted his Egyptian enterprise to be more than a military conquest. What other general in human history has ever undertaken such a venture that redounded to the intellectual benefit and glory of all Mankind? Yet what do your hacks write:

‘… imperial glory seekers such as Napoleon, who invaded Egypt and marveled at monuments that would continue to dazzle onlookers long after the sun set on his ambitions.’ (Page 55)

Napoleon’s Description De L’Egypte will last as long as there are people who actually know a little bit about history – it will last forever.

Because of Napoleon’s own insatiable intellect, Egypt became the magnet for countless archeologists, writers, painters and historians. And without Napoleon there would have been no Howard Carter, no Tutankhamun’s tomb and no Rosetta stone. Discovered by a French officer during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign this tri-lingual stone led to the unraveling of the mystery of Hieroglyphics by another great Frenchman – Champollion. There is more extant carving in Egypt than all the other countries in the world put together. Recent satellite imagery has indicated that 97% of Egyptian ruins remain to be unearthed. Without Napoleon’s own intellectual passion that launched the study of Egyptology none of this would even be known.

The only other major reference to Napoleon in the Atlas is also on Page 271:

‘Despite Napoleon’s smashing victories on the Continent, he remained hemmed in by the British navy, which shattered his fleet at Trafalgar in 1805. When Russia joined the British in opposing him, he launched a disastrous invasion of that country in 1812 and was forced into exile. Attempting to return to power, he was crushed at Waterloo in 1815 by Britain’s Duke of Wellington.’

There is simply no context to this threadbare account of Napoleon’s time in power. He brought peace to France after the Revolution, signed the Concordat with the Pope, instituted the Bank of France, built roads, canals and bridges and beautified cities and had not Britain paid millions to persuade other countries to attack him who knows what else he might have achieved? It was due to Prime Minister Pitt’s malign influence that war in Europe became endemic. Millions from the Bank of England poured into the impoverished coffers of Austria and Russia. They were bankrupt and without this financial aid would never have been able to attack Napoleon in 1805.

The British reneged on the treaty of Amiens in 1803, Napoleon was attacked in 1805, in 1806 by Prussia, in 1807 by Russia, in 1809 by Austria and in 1815 the so-called Allies declared war on him despite his plea for peace sent to all the European monarchs who had opposed him in the past. In 1811 Tsar Alexander hoped to attack France but found that nobody else was interested. In 1812, driven to distraction by the Tsar’s treachery (he who was implicit in the murder of his own father and who slept with his own sister), Napoleon launched his ill-fated 1812 campaign. He hoped for one decisive battle – like Austerlitz in 1805 – that would sway the duplicitous Russians back into the fold, but the coldest Russian winter for 100 years doomed the enterprise from the very beginning.

The hacks mention Waterloo without any reference whatsoever to the Prussian involvement in the battle. More Germans fought that day than either French or British. Of Wellington’s 69,000 troops less than 24,000 were British. It was a great German victory. Tim Clayton’s excellent recent book Waterloo shows how Wellington’s decimated troops were pushed way back on the ridge of Mont Saint-Jean and without the arrival of Blucher and the Prussians there would have been no Allied victory.

As all proper historians know, Napoleon was attacked because he was anathema to the Divine Right monarchs of his day who dreaded that France might export the Revolution to their countries. Napier, the great British historian of the Peninsula Wars says so at the start of his monumental work. And the English historian Walter Runciman stated that if Great Britain had left Napoleon alone and not rejected his calls in early 1805 for peace with such overweening arrogance, then the two countries could have co-existed in peace. But the National Geographic hacks obviously know nothing about all this.

In the timeline at the back of the Atlas there is only one tiny reference to Napoleon – again derogatory:

‘1812 Tsar Alexander I withstands invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte.’ (Page 355)

The Atlas does not mention Catherine the Great’s hatred of the Revolution, nor Russia’s attacks on France by Suvarov, Tsar Paul and Alexander himself in 1805, 1807, the putative attack in 1811, or the 1815 Coalition against Napoleon.

There are many more omissions in this book supposedly about great empires. There is no mention of the Anglo-Saxon empire of Athelstan – the grandson of Alfred the Great – who after the Battle of Brunanburgh in AD 937 affectively created the English nation. He was dubbed the Emperor of the whole world of Britain at the time because of his great victory over the Northern Coalition. England has been a nation for nearly 1100 years but the National Geographic doesn’t seem to realize the fact. There is also no mention of the great Viking Dark Age empires. Without the Vikings who had a settlement in Greenland as late as AD1450, Columbus would have known little of what lay across the Atlantic.

According to the hacks, Napoleon was an inconsequential nobody – even though 1,000 books are written about him every year! Yet the Atlas has pages on the so-called Comanche empire and the like and it enthuses about the Dominians of the Mali and Songhai and other household names like the Asante Osei Tutu Opemsoo – what a consummate dude he was. I can’t see a brandy being named after him for quite a while…

Throughout, the Atlas reeks of Political Correctness – which is anathema and poison to a genuine historian. It is interesting that Emperor Bokassa of the Central African Republic copied Napoleon’s coronation ceremony exactly when he crowned himself emperor in 1977. This homage to Napoleon nearly bankrupted his country. He did not bend over backwards to emulate our friend Osei Tutu Opemsoo. Didn’t Bokassa know that Napoleon was a ‘nobody’? Perhaps the National Geographic forgot to tell him.

The job of an historian is to tell it all as it really was, without fear or favour. Even though I am English, I believe the rule of Napoleon was far better than that of the corrupt and unrepresentative oligarchy that controlled Britain in the late C18th and early C19th. The English politician Canning ordered the British Navy to bombard neutral Copenhagen in 1807 killing 2,000 unarmed civilians – and they also stole or destroyed the whole of the Danish fleet. Nelson had dozens of Neapolitan rebels executed on his own orders in 1798 – murdered in effect. And he was rewarded with the Dukedom of Bronte by the Bourbons for his pains. The British invented concentration camps during the Boer War and hundreds of Boer women and children starved to death in them.

There is enough shame and horror to go around. The Germans inaugurated The Final Solution and gassed millions of Jews during the Second World War. That ‘nobody’ Napoleon gave them equal rights. The American empire gave us the My Lai massacre, Agent Orange, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo – and the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis in the search for non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Finally, a look today on Google led to 73,100,000 references to Napoleon. The National Geographic has blown both its feet off with its misleading and untruthful caricature of Napoleon. Unfortunately it has a ‘history’ of such things. I add a review I did of its take on Waterloo, a programme entitled Napoleon’s Last Battle shown on British television on March 11th 2009. It was almost physically painful to watch such an embarrassing excuse for proper history.

 

John Tarttelin Teaching Certificate (history and geography), B.Ed., (history), M.A. (history), FINS (Legion of Merit) author of the Real Napoleon – The Untold Story and 45 years of reading about Napoleon.

 

 

NAPOLEON’S LAST BATTLE
ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TELEVISION
MARCH 11TH, 2009, UK

 

 

I have just watched an appalling programme about Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo on the National Geographic Channel. It was replete with all the usual lies and misrepresentations that are made about him. I was so moved by its one-sidedness that I immediately sent the email below in protest. As Ben used to say, the same untruths are constantly repeated – but one expects better from the National Geographic!

Members of the INS might be surprised at just how high some of the same old nonsense comes from.

 

Dear Sir,

I have just watched your programme about Napoleon. It was a bigger disaster than Waterloo! This one-sided travesty of a programme is unworthy of the high standards that the National Geographic normally stands for. It was a truly awful production, full of mistakes and factual errors. And there were massive and glaring omissions.

The final comment: ‘A life written in blood’ is absolutely pathetic and woefully biased against Napoleon. Your programme is an exercise in character assassination – whatever it is – it certainly isn’t objective history as I understand the term. Your revolting portrayal of the French Emperor cries out for a reply. It is easy to slander the dead who cannot fight back.

Your partisan film is worthy of the worst of English High Tory arrogance and nationalism. I expect better from a nation that owed its very existence to the French navy at Yorktown. Without the money given to the Americans by French officers, and the support of De Grasse’s navy, Washington, would never have taken Yorktown. (Source: Jay Luvaas P. 152 Clues to America’s Past (1976) – National Geographic books).

Not once in your ‘programme’ did you mention the fact that Napoleon was nearly always attacked first by the Allies. It was the British that broke the Treaty of Amiens by refusing to evacuate Malta, and it was the British Cabinet and Pitt who paid for the terrorist attacks upon Napoleon perpetrated by the Comte d’Artois the evil younger brother of Louis XVIII, and his infamous group the Chevalier de la Foi. Many innocent French civilians were murdered in these assassination attempts – but absolutely no mention in your dreadful programme.

You did not mention the fact that the British paid millions of pounds in subsidies to the Austrians and Russians to encourage them to ATTACK  Napoleon in 1805. Your coverage of the Battle of Austerlitz was very vague – no mention of the Pratzen Heights. It was because the Russians and Austrians took control of these that they were convinced that Napoleon was planning a retreat. That led to their overconfidence and their subsequent drubbing.

After Napoleon’s victory, Emperor Francis of Austria said: ‘The English are traders in human flesh’. By then he realized he had been duped into fighting by the British. You say nothing about this.

There was no mention of the fact that Prussia ATTACKED Napoleon in 1806 – no mention of Prussia at all until 1815.

You skate over the plebiscite that gave Napoleon the position of Consul for life by 3,000,0000 votes to 8,000. Why did you not mention that no other country in Europe had any elections whatsoever? The most glaring error in your film was that there was not one mention of divine right believed in by all the monarchs of the period. They believed their right to rule came from God himself! THAT is why they were fighting Napoleon and constantly attacking him. The last thing they wanted was for the French to have a Republic (like the one those French officers helped bequeath to you Americans).

You did not mention that Austria ATTACKED Napoleon again in 1809, thinking that he was preoccupied in Spain. You do not say a single word about Spain – another glaring omission.

Talleyrand virtually handed Paris over to the Allies in 1814. Napoleon lost power in 1814 because he was betrayed. He was not defeated militarily, and he was not technically a ‘prisoner’. He voluntarily gave up the throne after several of his Marshals betrayed him as well, notably Marmont, the Duke of Raguser. That very word in French today means traitor.

When Napoleon landed in France, you rightly say it was a ‘gamble’ but you made little mention of the sheer elation felt by millions of French people at his return. Louis XVIII was loathed by the French – and unlike Napoleon, nobody had ever voted for him.

You say the Allies flocked to Belgium – palpable nonsense. Only the Anglo-Dutch-German and Prussian armies where anywhere near the crucial fighting zone. The reason Napoleon attacked was precisely because he hoped to defeat these two armies in turn before any other of the divine right monarchist armies could enter the fray.

Why did you not mention the fact that the first thing Napoleon did on his arrival in Paris in 1815 was to write to the Prince Regent in England and the other Allies requesting peace? Were you trying to blacken his name on purpose? He wanted peace – he needed peace. France was a basket case under the Bourbons – they who learnt nothing and forgot nothing.

You then make a terrible conflation of two battles. You go on about Ney and the cavalry and then talk of Marshal Grouchy going after the Prussians. Hopeless! In fact, despite having a hangover on the day of Quatre Bras, and being slow to get his men to the vital crossroads, Ney held his own. Wellington was lucky that one of his commanders disobeyed a direct order and reinforced Quatre Bras with Allied troops. Wellington hadn’t a clue what was going on until the fighting for the crossroads was well underway, and then he had the sense to reinforce those men established there in contravention to his earlier direct order.

You stated several times that Napoleon hoped to re-establish his Empire when he returned to France in 1815. The fact is he was fighting for his very survival having been proscribed by the Allies at the Congress of Vienna. He had no other option than to fight because they were going to ATTACK him. This international proscription was illegal even in 1815 and Wellington later had the grace to say it should not have been done.

You state that Napoleon was the ’cause’ of six million dead in battle. That is demonstrably a lie. As I have detailed above. MOST of the time, he was the one attacked!

Your utterly biased, prejudiced and one-sided character assassination is unworthy of the National Geographic. It plays like a rather evil Walt Disney production – bearing little reality to what actually happened during those momentous years. You ought to be ashamed of this ‘programme’ of defamation. It is an utterly appalling waste of the money given in magazine subscriptions by people such as I. Shame on you!

 

P.S. I have read nearly two hundred books about Napoleon and yet I have never come across any of your ‘contributors’ in the thirty-five years that I have been researching the period.

 

Yours sincerely,
John Tarttelin (M.A History) Sheffield, England. FINS.

© 2015

A Souladream Production

 

 

 

 

 

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A REVIEW OF THE REAL NAPOLEON BY JEAN-CLAUDE DAMAMME


JEAN-CLAUDE DAMAMME

damcontact

REPRESENTATIVE FOR FRANCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL NAPOLEONIC SOCIETY OF MONTREAL 

Reviews  THE REAL NAPOLEON: The Untold Story 

At the I.N.S., I personally know a good number of “Napoleon’s soldiers” and valiant are they all, but without wishing offence to the others, I think there is one who has demonstrated exceptional merit.

   In fact, John Tarttelin is a “Soldier of Napoleon” cut off in enemy territory, that is to say in this particular context, England – not an easy task – and he belongs to that select cohort of the most active members of the I.N.S., and as such is an honorary member.

   English-speaking visitors to our site (not forgetting that you can read some of his writings translated on our French site) are familiar with his articles that are in equal measure erudite and scathing, and always solidly argued. This makes them a formidable challenge. And unacceptable to some. And those “some” are numerous.

   John practices the profession of historian, and how controversial he is in his own country, as mentioned earlier!

   In France, just giving Napoleon an image different from the stereotype of bloodthirsty tyrant, etc. is a herculean challenge, a “rash” act that immediately arouses accusations of “Napoleonatry.”1So, imagine the energy that John had to deploy to try to have his work published and I do not think that I am betraying any confidences by here briefly mentioning his endless “arm wrestling” with his publisher, because in so doing, I merely wish to pay tribute to his perseverance during a long “manhunt” in which he was “taken for a ride.”

1 A small experience of my own along the same lines: through a professional contact, I sent my book on the 1812 campaign in Russia to a well-known, major London literary agent, Andrew Nurnberg. I was looking for an opening abroad, but definitely not in England. After expressing his appreciation of the work, his verdict was that my book was “too favourable to Napoleon and too hostile to England.” No comment needed!

A PUBLISHER-CENSOR

   Two examples: John, who reveres Ben Weider as much as I do and in fact dedicated his work to him, discovered that his publisher had, without consulting him, added an appendix to his text. And not just about some detail, but about the famed “discovery” of eminent Swiss scientists, who concluded, after measuring his pants, that the Prisoner of Saint Helena had indeed died from his iconic stomach cancer.

   How could John possibly accept such a dishonest and dishonourable compromise? A second example: after eight months of procrastination, he had another surprise, an unpleasant one as you might suspect. When he received the proofs for correction, he found that this same publishing wheeler-dealer had of his own accord cut 3,000 words from the original text, and – coincidence? – including everything that was favourable to Napoleon, all references to the I.N.S., and all articles citing the “affair” – meaning the poisoning of Napoleon.

   Who could still doubt that on the other side of the Channel also, this is a topic that must be suppressed?

 “GO LOOK ELSEWHERE!”

   Obviously it would take a very cynically minded person to suspect for an instant that there may have been the slightest connection between the publisher in question and the Fondation Napoléon, where, unless I am very much mistaken, two of the officials are… English.

   You should also have a dirty mind to suspect any possible collusion between this British publisher, panic-stricken to see such “heretical” material bear his imprint, and the reigning authorities of Napoleonic studies in France, who are known for their great honesty on this subject, together with their relentless efforts to impose a stony silence using all means at their disposal – and I assure you, they are many.

   For the last straw in dishonesty, the publisher, without informing the author – the mind boggles at such contempt! – began to advertise this adulterated manuscript on a major online site, Amazon US and UK, not that I wish to mention any names.

   And we thought censorship was a thing of the past! It continues to thrive where Napoleon is concerned. And this is just as true in France.1

 1 In contrast, the sordid pamphlet in which Claude Ribbe gleefully spews his venom over Napoleon has had no difficulty in being republished.

   John gave instructions that his manuscript be published as provided for under the terms of the contract. The only response from the publisher, taken aback by the author’s resistance to his dictates, was, “Go look elsewhere!”

   If, as often happens in France, where many more or less amateur authors are willing to accept any conditions in order to get published, John had indeed given way, his book would had been published, but in a completely emasculated form. Ultimately, he decided to appeal to Amazon’s publishing platform that, not much bothered with these absurd and dishonest disputes, published the book whose cover you see below.


CREATESPACE COVER NAPOLEON

A PLEA FOR THE TRUTH

   More than a book in the ordinary sense of the term, “The Real Napoleon – The Untold Story” is above all a passionately argued, factual refutation that consigns to the trash, where it rightly belongs, all the dishonour heaped on the memory of Napoleon since his death in 1821.

   I shall not dwell on what John Tarttelin has written on the career of the Emperor, but I do note his original approach in recounting some major episodes of what we justly term the “Epic” of Napoleon’s life. He draws upon the accounts of two icons of the Grande Armée, Coignet and the endearing and intelligent Sergeant Bourgogne of the Imperial Guard, the great “reporter” of the Russian campaign.

   And John’s tirades, what verve!

   Tirades against the bad faith and dishonesty of so many English historians, authors and journalists, who, in the tradition of the cartoonists and polemicists of the time, heap insults on Napoleon that we French have the imbecility and cowardice to take for granted, without ever questioning or refuting or even protesting the attack. So Tarttelin rejects the alleged atrocities – don’t be afraid of the word, it’s in common use – which Napoleon was supposed to be guilty of. I shan’t go over it again, we all know how that tune goes. So the author counterattacks where it hurts and takes on England’s two “superstars” – Nelson and Wellington.

   The author gives us a timely reminder of what can only be called the Massacre of Copenhagen in 1807. Since Denmark did not want to join in the anti-French crusade, its capital was attacked without any warning or declaration of war by the combined forces of the army and the Royal Navy, at the head of which we find the names Wellington and Nelson. This constituted an act of piracy that was unprecedented in the ethos of the time, which caused some two thousand civilian casualties and reduced to ashes over half of the city.

   Was Napoleon ever guilty of such a violation, or such a crime, to be more precise?

   And on the question of Wellington, John Tarttelin clearly demolishes the clever manipulation that has always tried to pass off the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo as a victory for England’s symbolic hero. Completely overlooked is that detestable thug Blucher, who “saved his skin!”

   Regarding Nelson, John recounts a little known, or rather, carefully concealed fact: in 1799, in the kingdom of Naples, he hanged – yes, I say hanged like a bandit – the Neapolitan Admiral Francesco Caracciolo, Duke of Brienza, off the yardarm of the frigate Minerva. They were brothers in arms, since both had fought the French under the command of Admiral Hood!

 THE TRUTH? “A CASUALTY OF THE PROPAGANDA WAR

Chapter 13 opens with a statement that I think deserves to be quoted:

“In his lifetime, Napoleon faced the most vitriolic and scabrous attacks imaginable from the British press and Establishment. No lie was too big, no exaggeration too outrageous, no defamation was beyond the pale. English gold for the sweaty palms of his would-be assassins was not enough, the Cabinet and the warmongers in parliament wanted to ensure his political assassination as well. Even today, this pathetic one-sidedness continues – and from people who consider themselves historians. Correspondents and academics, some with titles and others without, seem to be writing as if they still lived in the C19th. To them it is as if the British Empire still exists. To many, truth is a mere casualty of a continuing propaganda war.”

   The quotation has a painful relevance when one knows the appalling vileness that has always characterized, and continues to typify, the British press, and not just the aptly named “gutter press”.

SORDID COMPARISONS

   A few representative examples.

   Here is a contemptible comparison with the “Emperor” of the Central African Republic, Bokassa the First, described by the Daily Mail as an “imperial clown” following in the footsteps of his “hero.”

   And guess who that hero is!

   In the Daily Telegraph, a review of a book on Napoleon and his family was titled as follows by Nigel Nicholson, the name of the journalist (sic): “Childhood of a Monster.”

   The same individual does not hesitate to state pedantically that “Napoleon saw nothing of the retreat from Russia.”

   Another journalist (still sic) named Peter Vansittart of the Sunday Telegraph flings in his readers’ faces the supreme insult to Napoleon, the one that gets Claude Ribbe licking his lips and on which he bases his business:

“It’s not a great distance from Napoleon to Hitler.”

   Utterly repugnant.

   Our friend Tarttelin also takes the opportunity to issue a timely reminder that the real “inventors” of the evil of concentration camps were not the Nazis but… the English during the Boer War (1899-1902), and that another English hero, Lord Kitchener, interned some two hundred thousand people in camps in order to break the resistance of the Boer people.

   At least twenty thousand women, children and old people perished miserably of hunger and disease. The brave fellow! But he is not an “ogre” like the detested Napoleon I.

 A COURAGEOUS BOOK AGAINST DISHONESTY

   I shall cease quoting examples and leave readers to discover in this uncompromising work all the charges of infamy – unparalleled in history – by means of which the British government wanted – and still wants – to destroy a good man by spitting on his memory, while accusing him of being guilty of all the evils that England itself had wrought. Shame on it and its ministers!

   However, make no mistake, “The Real Napoleon – The Untold Story” is not a book against England – which would be rather unpalatable from an English writer – this is a book against dishonesty, against misinformation, and against meanness, cynicism and manipulation of all kinds.

   One could also write the same, and doubtless worse, about France.

   No, this courageous book is the work of a man of honour, saddened to see his country compromised in a degrading plot to discredit the most famous person in history, not only in France, but in all of Europe.

   This is a salutary volume for history in general and, more specifically, for the man to whom Ben Weider dedicated this site: Napoleon.

   A book you must read.

© 2013 Jean-Claude Damamme

in association with

SOULADREAM PRODUCTIONS

 

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CENSORSHIP IN FRANCE TODAY

HISTORY THROUGH A

DISTORTING LENTZ

A PERSONAL VIEW BY JOHN TARTTELIN

Image

 Ben Weider (1923-2008) 

“No historian who believes strongly in their profession or their passion, having looked at the various arguments and seriously investigated the documents, can believe a word of these poisoning or substitution theories…” (Thierry Lentz)1 

There exists today a conspiracy between Thierry Lentz et sa bande to muzzle opposition and confine to the outer darkness all those views and opinions that do not accord with their own. From his arrogant Olympian heights he descends like a new Moses with his tablets of stone and cries: “L’histoire c’est moi!” 

In an interview given to Delage Irène in April 2009, the new Messiah espouses his philosophy with a forthright and practiced brio. He states that: “Napoleon was poisoned! Despite historians’ best efforts, Rumour(sic) continues to flourish, endlessly seeking to make the transition between Myth and History… In recent years, the poisoning and substitution hypotheses have resurfaced, driven by the death of Ben Weider…”

In a classic ‘guilt by association’ trick, Lentz tries to connect Ben Weider’s life’s work on the poisoning of the Emperor with nonsensical stories about a substitute for Napoleon’s body having been placed in his tomb – as if the two cases were the same. Lentz looks through a glass darkly and refuses to countenance what he has not discovered himself. He literally ‘won’t see’ what he doesn’t want to know. 

Then, in the same interview, in a phrase that could have come directly from the mouth of the Korean Great Leader he says: “Jacques Macé and I …want to close these debates, once and for all.” So much for unrestricted historical enquiry and freedom of speech – it would appear that Lentz would burn those books that he disagrees with if only he had the chance. 

Lentz continues: “What is important, and certainly the most worrying, about the substitution and poisoning theories is the way that the media coverage surrounding them has given them an air of validity, of incontrovertability. As a consequence these “false truths” have painted and continue to paint historians who do not believe in them as “has-beens”…” Here we have it: one protests a little too much Monsieur – are the Ugly Sisters whining because they haven’t been invited to the Ball? 

The late Ben Weider is not here to defend himself and speak out against such a travesty of his life’s work. So I shall do it for him.

I might add at this stage that I wrote an article on the poisoning of Napoleon at Saint Helena in 1995 entitled Hairsay and Heresy, long before I had ever heard of Thierry Lentz. Theories, stories and evidence pertaining to the Emperor’s early demise have been building up for decades. If Lentz thinks he can trash the research and study of a great number of historians and toxicologists with a few puerile comments in an interview, he has got another think coming. 

Napoleon was a singular phenomenon, the greatest man of the C19th. Admired by Germans like Goethe, Heine and Nietzsche and Englishmen like Hazlitt and Byron, his early death was mourned even by his former enemies like the British Peninsular historian Napier, and Wilson, the British attaché to Kutozov’s army during the Campaign of 1812. When graffiti appeared in the streets of London in 1821 asking people to mourn the passing of the greatest genius of their day, many Englishmen wept at the Emperor’s passing.

Napoleon, that mass of energy, a one-man nuclear furnace, who was able to work for twenty hours a day, day after day, and who needed very little sleep, died at the age of 51, an early death even for the beginning of the C19th, let alone for someone so full of life. He died on an outcrop of rock lost in the South Atlantic, having often declared that he was being poisoned by his British jailors. Napoleon was no fool and he obviously had suspicions of his own. Indeed, the Governor of the island, the reptilian Hudson Lowe, was a creature of the night if ever there was one. However, the Emperor was actually poisoned by one of his own, betrayed yet again by someone he had trusted. 

In 1982 Ben Weider and David Hapgood published The Murder of Napoleon. Perhaps Lentz has heard of David Chandler, the former doyen of Napoleonic scholarship in the English-speaking world? This is what Chandler said of the book: “Fascinating and deeply researched. The story the authors unfold and the scientific evidence they furnish are more than enough to justify careful thought and reconsideration. This book could well lead to considerable changes in the history of Napoleon’s last years.”2 

Let’s take a closer look at that assessment by a man who knew more about Napoleon than McDonald’s knows about hamburgers. Chandler says the volume is “deeply researched” and he speaks of “scientific evidence”. Lentz says the poisoning debate is a result of a “vast media circus”. If that is the case then his contribution and that of his coterie amounts to little more than the entrance of the clowns. Chandler had more academic gravitas in his little finger than Lentz has in his whole body. 

Chandler gave an interview to the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph on June 25th 2001. He was quoted by their reporter Thomas Harding as follows: “A leading British expert on Napoleon has given his backing to the theory that the deposed French Emperor was assassinated by his fellow countrymen.”

   “ Dr. David Chandler, considered the foremost living authority on Napoleon, believes that history books should be re-written to include a final chapter on the conspiracy behind his death.”3 Before he died Chandler had become convinced that Napoleon has been poisoned. 

Another commentator on Ben Weider’s The Murder of Napoleon, Michael Baden, M.D., former chief medical examiner of New York City remarked that: “This fascinating account shows how modern forensic scientific techniques can be applied to help resolve old mysteries.”4 

In a germane contribution to this discussion, Jean-Claude Damamme, the Representative for France of the International Napoleonic Society said that: “Recently, various media reports have referred to a joint Swiss-Canadian-American study that rejects the “now largely discredited” (quotation) theories of Napoleon’s poisoning by arsenic. In this regard, one must ask who discredited these theories?”5 It wouldn’t perchance be Lentz would it?  And here the media circus is clearly against the poisoning of Napoleon, and not all for it as Lentz would have us believe. 

As Jean-Claude Damamme goes on to say, the multi-national “study makes absolutely no mention of the work of Dr. Pascal Kintz, President of the International Association of Legal toxicologists, nor those of Prof. Robert Wennig of the University of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, whose analyses demonstrated – beyond question – a massive concentration of rat poison in the core of the Emperor’s hairs. There is only one explanation for this presence: the toxic substance must have entered through the digestive tract.”

Despite a by now decidedly large dose of Thierry ennui, I shall press on. Lentz says of his own book on the subject, La Mort de Napoléon: Légendes, mythes et mystères : “It is our refusal to allow such a noble and useful discipline as history to be taken hostage by these manipulators of public opinion that has driven us to write this book. We make no attempts to hide our surprise, nor our displeasure, in seeing those who at the same time as crying out “Freedom for History!”, manipulate it for their own media-driven ends.” 

Physician heal thyself! It is Lentz who is warping and twisting the historically objective and scientific studies undertaken by Ben Weider and Sten Forshufvud, so as to discredit them in the eyes of the public and the mass media. He cannot be allowed to get away with this atrocious spin and manipulation. He himself is poisoning the discipline of history by his vile calumnies. 

Just who does this man think he is? 

On one side we have Weider, Forshufvud, Chandler, Damamme, Baden, Kintz and Wenning and on the other – Thierry Lentz. Who would a dispassionate reader believe I wonder?

The man who would like to “close these debates, once and for all” has bitten off more than he can chew. History is not written on tablets of stone proof-read by Thierry Lentz. History is a fluid and inexact discipline, more Art than science, with natural ebbs and flows of belief and conjecture. Occasionally there is an historical tsunami when the views of the many are given spate, are widely accepted, and shortly after are to be seen in full-flood – thus is a paradigm created. Lentz has been whining and dining with the media to affect a seismic shift of his own – but his ‘paradigm’ isn’t worth two cents, it is a plugged nickel as the Americans would say, counterfeit coin. It must not be allowed to be the accepted historical ‘currency’ amongst real historians and the public at large. 

Napoleon was poisoned. “What proof do they have?” Lentz cries. Well Monsieur, proof-read all the above and then read Ben Weider’s book. 

Yet another commentator on The Murder of Napoleon, ‘Steven Ross, professor at the U.S. Naval War College; authority on Napoleonic History’ adds: “An intriguing and well-written book. It makes a strong case and – unless someone has contrary medical evidence – compelling case that Napoleon was poisoned.”6

One wonders if Lentz has ever read any of the books and articles that he would like to bury “once and for all”? It is a strange ‘historian’ who manages to open his mouth and blow off both of his feet at the same time. I shall not dwell any longer upon the antics of the clown prince of Napoleonic history. 

When Ben Weider published The Murder of Napoleon in 1982 he was nearly sixty and he had devoted a lifetime of study to the subject. That same year Lentz was twenty-two and a total unknown. He still is, thankfully, in most of the English-speaking world. 

There follows the article I wrote back in 1995, after having engaged in a lot of research of my own. By coincidence it was the same year that Ben Weider formed the International Napoleonic Society. Many years later in 2008 he read my review of his book The Wars Against Napoleon on Amazon and invited me to become a member of the INS. 

I was lucky enough to know Ben for five brief months. I only ever had two phone conversations with him and never met him in person. He was a kind and generous man, especially with his time – despite being incredibly busy. I will not suffer his memory to be impugned and dishonoured by a person who seems immensely jealous of the organization Ben inaugurated and who has none of Ben’s integrity and sense of honour.

© 2011 John Tarttelin

 M.A. FINS (Legion of Merit)

 

NOTES

1.     See www.napoleon.org/en/fondation    THE MAGAZINE/NEWS    THIERRY LENTZ: THREE QUESTIONS ON THE “MYSTERIES” OF ST. HELENA ( Interview by Delage Irène, April 2009 ) All Lentz’s quotes are taken from this article.

2.     Quoted on the back of the book   The Murder of Napoleon (New York, Congdon & Lattès, Inc., 1982).

3.     See INS website www.napoleonicsociety.com  under Poisoning  and Doctor David Chandler, FINS, on the poisoning of Napoleon. The Telegraph article is posted here.

4.     Quoted on the back of The Murder of Napoleon.

5.     See INS website under Poisoning and The Poisoning of Napoleon, Correction – By Jean-Claude Damamme.

6.     Quoted on the back of The Murder of Napoleon.

 

HAIRSAY AND HERESY:

THE MURDER OF NAPOLEON 

In March 1995 a single lock of human hair was sold to an American for £3,680.1 This was no ordinary relic. It came from the head of an exile who spent the last six years of his life upon a lonely speck of rock in the South Atlantic. For decades those frail strands of hair had kept a dark secret. Each contained minute traces of arsenic, a clear indication that the donor had been poisoned. The lock still exists today as mute testimony to the crime of the century – the murder of Napoleon.

   History is written by the victors. During his time as First Consul, and then Emperor of the French, Napoleon was castigated by the British press and by its corrupt Establishment. He was the Corsican Ogre, the cause of all wars, an evil man who had to be destroyed at all costs. Mothers threatened their children with his name and his face appeared inside chamber pots.

   Black propaganda has coloured innumerable subsequent histories written over a period of one hundred and ninety years and, as a result, errors, misinformation and downright lies have come to be accepted as fact. In England he has been dubbed a “monster genius” by one ‘historian’, and “a great, bad man” by another. Many English writers dismiss him merely as the general who lost at Waterloo.2

   In France, after his fall from power, the Royalists printed anything that might sully his name. During the so-called White Terror, officers and men who had fought for him were hunted down and executed without trial, at the express demand of Lord Liverpool, the British Prime Minister, who was determined to wreak a fanatical revenge upon those misguided French nationals who had dared to support Napoleon.

   We know of Trafalgar and Waterloo, but how many British people know about this?

   Napoleon embodied the principle that the individual mattered, that careers should be open to talent and should not just be the province of the highborn and the well-to-do. This was anathema to the British ruling class and their counterparts, the French aristocracy who clung to a belief in the divine right of kings. To them there was no such thing as the Rights of Man, only the Right of Might.

   Following the spread of the doctrine of democracy after the American War of Independence, the French Revolution of 1789, the death knell of privilege, was bound to provoke a furious reaction from the courts of Europe. They would do anything to nip the concept of individual freedom in the bud. Hence common cause was made against the figurehead of the new ideas – Napoleon. The huge bribes secretly paid by the British Government to foreign powers to entice them into wars against France certainly helped this process along.

   In Napoleonic France, advancement was possible for gifted people of all ranks. The Emperor was a pragmatist. He even allowed hundreds of former aristocrats back into France if they were prepared to serve him. In the process he unwittingly welcomed his would-be assassins.

   The ordinary Frenchman did much better under Napoleon than they had ever done under the Bourbons. Napoleon restored peace within France; his Concordat with the Pope re-established Catholicism as the religion of the majority of the French people; his Napoleonic Code instituted a body of laws that confirmed the property rights of the millions of peasants who had gained land after the Revolution – it is still the basis of the French legal system today.

   His soldiers worshipped him. One has only to read the memoirs of Sergeant Bourgogne and Captain Coignet to see that. Under Napoleon, every soldier believed there was a baton in his knapsack. Anything was possible, they had seen it happen. Men of humble birth like Ney and Murat became marshals, princes, even kings. Napoleon’s personal charisma was almost magical. When he was a boy, Heine, the German poet, saw him: “high on horseback, the eternal eyes set in the marble of that imperial visage, looking on, calm as destiny, at his guards as they march past. He was sending them to Russia, and the old grenadiers glanced up at him with so anxious a devotion, such sympathy, such earnestness and lethal pride: Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant!”.3

   Napoleon supported French industry and provided political stability after the chaos of the Revolution. As a result, the peasants and the middle-classes prospered and France became a great nation once again. Compared to the days of the old monarchy, the French people had never had it so good. What else had Europe to offer?

   In England, Old Farmer George, King George III, after losing the American colonies because of his asinine inability to compromise, went mad and spent his time shaking hands with trees and talking to them. His son “Prinny”, the Prince Regent, convinced himself he had actually led the charge at Waterloo, when the only charge he did lead was the one for the dinner table. Prinny was loathed by the British public because of the way he treated his estranged wife, Princess Caroline. The Royals lived in a world of their own, blind to the misery endured by ordinary Britons at a time of economic hardship and depression.

   Wellington was short of cavalry at Waterloo because the politicians at Whitehall relied on mounted troops to keep the people down in Britain and Ireland. They were even more concerned with quelling internal dissent than they were in defeating France. Some 78,400 people were transported to Australia in only nine years, 1816-1825, many for merely daring to question the way the country was being governed.4

   Napoleon was three times acclaimed by national plebiscite in France. No one ever voted for Louis XVIII who succeeded him. If Napoleon became the heart and soul of France, Louis can be said to have been its stomach. A political lightweight, he made up for it on the personal level, weighing in at 310 lbs. Twice he returned to Paris in the baggage train of the Allies – he needed it, no horse could carry him. Waddling along, limping, plagued by gout, and with his penchant for blond young men, he was yet mystified by the fact that the populace preferred Napoleon to himself.

   It was Louis’ sinister brother and heir Charles, Comte d’Artois, who began making plans for the murder of Napoleon. D’Artois could execute ‘traitors’ every day of the week and still go to Mass on a Sunday. He was a true scion of the Old School.

   In 1792, with the blessing of Pitt’s government, d’Artois began planning the Bourbon restoration from a base on Jersey. Living there were 7,500 émigré priests and nobles, all eager to regain privileges and sinecures swept away by the Revolution. There, in the greatest secrecy, with the knowledge of just a few men in the British Cabinet, d’Artois set up his infamous Chevalier de la Foi. This nest of spies and death squads was given the task of restoring Louis to the throne. From Jersey, British vessels could easily land agents on the mainland at the dead of night.5

   When Napoleon overthrew the French Directory in 1799, the issue became personalized. D’Artois’ pathological hatred of the Corsican Usurper knew no bounds. To him, Napoleon was evil incarnate, the Antichrist.

   Royalist guerrillas fought in Brittany and Normandy and when his troops defeated them, Napoleon had the magnanimity to offer one of their leaders, Georges Cadoudal, a commission in the Army. Cadoudal fled to Jersey instead. Once there he organized a plot to kill Napoleon with a bomb.

   On December 24th 1800, Cadoudal’s man, Saint-Regent, abandoned a wine cart in the rue Saint-Nicaise in Paris. A thirteen-year-old girl was left holding the horse’s reins. Napoleon was due to pass on his way to the opera. However, his coachman was suspicious. Whipping his horses on, he careered past the cart. The people in the carriages behind were not so lucky. The innocent girl was blown to bits, more than a dozen others were killed, and over 200 were wounded. Cadoudal slunk back to Britain.

   D’Artois had backed the plot. His agent, d’Auvergne, who was also the British naval commander in Jersey, provided the gunpowder, the money for the operation, and the vessel necessary to land Cadoudal on the French coast – all on the orders of William Pitt. It was nothing less than state sponsored terrorism.

   Two years later, during the Peace of Amiens, Captain d’Auvergne went to Paris to meet fellow agents. He wore his British uniform in case he was arrested as a spy. He was caught and imprisoned, but when the British Ambassador intervened, Napoleon had him released after thorough questioning.

   Parliament was in uproar. Napoleon had dared to arrest a British officer with a valid passport at a time of peace. The French Ambassador in London leaked the real reason for d’Auvergne’s arrest to prominent political figures. With the possibility of “Chants D’Auvergne” ringing in their ears, the Cabinet panicked. The thought that the British public might find out about their illicit dealings with d’Artois, which were still continuing despite the peace, terrified them. Thus, with delicious irony, Lord Liverpool was forced to speak up in Parliament on Napoleon’s behalf. Perhaps that is why, after Waterloo, he was determined to have killed as many people as possible who had ever supported Napoleon.

   Napoleon’s military career is well known. More than 300,000 books have been written about him, more than any other individual in history. After his final defeat, with misplaced trust, he threw himself upon British justice, seeking asylum upon these shores. There was precious little freedom and justice for ordinary Britons, still less was there to be for the fallen Emperor.

   Betrayed by numerous Frenchmen he had elevated to prominence, Napoleon surrendered to Captain Maitland of HMS Bellerophon – ‘Billy Ruffian’. He was taken to Torbay where crowds of people came from all over Britain just to catch a glimpse of him. However, it was imperative for the Cabinet that he did not land. The public, far more noble than their self-seeking politicians, had sympathy for Napoleon and would have allowed him to stay in England. On August 3rd 1815 an article appeared in The Times stating that an Act of Parliament was necessary to detain Napoleon and another would be necessary to intern him in a British colony.6 Frightened by this growing support for him, Lord Liverpool gave the order to have Napoleon transported to Saint Helena on board HMS Northumberland. With him was a certain Comte de Montholon.

   Montholon had attached himself to Napoleon after Waterloo and asked to share his exile. He was, in fact, d’Artois’ agent, and murder was on his mind.7

   Napoleon’s death had to be seen as an accident. Any obvious action would have led to widespread insurrection in France and, at the very least, extremely awkward questions being raised in a Parliament that was already greatly concerned with the growing republican movement in Britain. So Montholon began to lace Napoleon’s wine with arsenic. The body’s natural reaction is to disperse the poison where it will do the least harm, hence it got into his hair.

   Montholon arranged for the removal of most of Napoleon’s faithful companions after inveigling his way into the Emperor’s affections. Montholon was soon the only person Napoleon trusted. His fate was sealed. With his health failing rapidly, Napoleon stated in his will: “I die before my time, murdered by the English oligarchy and its hired assassin.” To the very end, he never suspected Montholon. He died on May 5th 1821, leaving Montholon 2,000,000 francs in his will. For the final time, Napoleon had been betrayed by someone he trusted. A lock of hair was taken from his corpse and eventually found its way to Phillips’ Saleroom in London.

   A French delegation arrived at Saint Helena to reclaim Napoleon’s body in 1840. When his grave was opened the onlookers were stunned. Napoleon’s sightless eyes stared back at them, for the arsenic which had poisoned the Emperor had also preserved his body. His remains now lie in a splendid mausoleum in Paris.

   In June 1994 Professor Maury of Montpelier University announced that he had Montholon’s written confession to Napoleon’s murder. This corroborates the findings of Dr Sten Forshufvud and Ben Weider. Tests done on samples of Napoleon’s hair at Glasgow University have revealed traces of arsenic inside the hair follicles. There is no way that arsenic from wallpaper or hair pomades could get inside the hair. Furthermore, Sten Forshufvud, a trained toxicologist who had studied the Emperor’s mysterious symptoms for years, proved that the levels of arsenic inside the strands of hair, coincided with bouts of illness described in the memoir of Marchand, Napoleon’s trusted valet. Whenever the levels of arsenic reached critical levels, Napoleon became ill. The work of Sten Forshufvud and Ben Weider has proved beyond a doubt and with scientific certainty, that Napoleon was poisoned on Saint Helena.

   Does Napoleon’s corpse continue with its victory over death even to this day? If a lock of hair was worth £3,680 in 1995, an intriguing question remains – what is his body now worth? Napoleon’s signature alone fetched £150 back then and its value increases every year.8 His reputation meanwhile, needs to be reassessed and revalued.

NOTES

1. The Sunday Times   London March 26th 1995. It also reported that there were more than 100 other Napoleon lots up for auction in March 1995 alone. In the article by Peter Johnson it says: “In a multitude of forms from portrait miniatures to life-sized statues, from love letters to battlefield autographs, he is revered by collectors.” He also adds: “by contrast a lock of hair from the Duke of Wellington’s (head) was a snip at £598.”

Napoleon’s popularity with collectors is phenomenal. On September 18th 1988 The Sunday Telegraph London reported a: ‘Brush with history – No plaque is expected to mark the spot, but Napoleon’s silver and gold-plated toothbrush goes under the hammer next month at the Munich auction house of Herman Historica.’

2. Napoleon was called a “monster genius” by the English journalist Nigel Nicholson, in an article in the Daily Telegraph London of September 3rd 1988. Nicolson’s twisted portrayal of Napoleon is far too ludicrous ever to be called history. Napoleon was called a “great bad man” by David Chandler in the video series called The Great Commanders. Chandler, who was a great historian, shortly before his own death came to accept that Napoleon had been murdered by Montholon  – for years he would not accept the fact.

3. Quoted in Paul Britten Austin 1812 The March on Moscow, 29

4. David Hamilton-Williams   The Fall of Napoleon, 330

5. Ibid., APPENDIX II The Royalist Underground and the Chevaliers de la Foi, 302-308

6. Ibid., 271

7. Ibid., 273

8. Peter Johnson article in The Sunday Times March 26th 1995. See above. 

© 2011 John Tarttelin

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THE REAL NAPOLEON – THE UNTOLD STORY


THE REAL NAPOLEON

THE UNTOLD STORY

NOW AVAILABLE IN

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CREATESPACE COVER NAPOLEON

Front Cover

PREFACE 

“But be not afraid of greatness: some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

(William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night) 

And one man was the product of all three.

Napoleon Bonaparte was both a man of his times and yet one who rose above the circumstances that prevailed around him. Compared to the other rulers of his day he was in a league of his own – the only one who promoted careers open to talent, the only one really open to the new ways of the Enlightenment. The fact he took 177 scientists and experts with him to Egypt proves that he was more than just another conqueror. Only a man with a mind like Napoleon, as he stood next to the Great Pyramid of Cheops in 1798, would speculate that it contained enough stone to build a wall around the whole of France.

   Napoleon was born with a phenomenal memory, one of the greatest of all time, and he possessed an incredible ability to concentrate on the task in hand. His capacity to work astounded his ministers. He had visions beyond the ken of his contemporaries and the willpower and sheer application to make those visions come alive. As William Hazlitt said in his essay On the Disadvantages of Intellectual Superiority: “The chief disadvantage of knowing more and seeing farther than others, is not to be generally understood.” To this day, Napoleon is often seen as but a caricature of his real self. Many do not want to understand, they prefer the propaganda of their own nation and the self-delusion that they alone, and their valiant army or their heroic navy, were the ones that were always in the right.

   In an age of persecution, it was Napoleon who first conceived the idea of a Jewish homeland in the Holy Land and only he allowed the Jews the same rights as every other person in his Empire. And he was the only ruler to employ those that disagreed with him. He once said to Caulaincourt: “I know you don’t like me, but you always tell me the truth”.1

   The truth was the last thing that George III, Tsar Alexander, Francis of Austria and Fredrick William of Prussia wanted to hear. Those feeble monarchs believed they had a divine right to rule – even though they all proved to be pretty incompetent at the task. Their forbears had found it easy enough to carve up Poland between them, and they expected to continue in the same old way. But they did not know what to do when, as they repeatedly attacked France, Napoleon defeated them time after time. There wasn’t enough gold in the vaults of even the Bank of England to buy Napoleon’s genius. Thus, in a military sense, did he have greatness thrust upon him.

   On a personal level, he put those arrogant fools to shame. As Felix Markham has said, to his servants and secretaries: “he was naturally kind and considerate”.2 And he was perhaps the only exception to the rule that ‘no man is a hero to his valet’ as Marchand proved so admirably at Saint Helena and afterwards. He even allowed his staff and officials to get away with things that would have led to imprisonment or far worse with any other ruler. One example is a letter he wrote to Decrès, his Minister of Marine:

‘I regret that you should have lost your temper with me;

but in a word, when once the anger is over, nothing remains;

I hope, therefore, that you feel no ill-will towards me.’3

   That was a letter from Napoleon to one of his staff. For decades in England, Charles James Fox was denied a place in the Cabinet because George III did not like him. Had Fox been in the English Cabinet, there would probably have been peace between England and France. Napoleon did his best to entice even former enemies into his government in order to do the best for France.

   Napoleon was the epitomization of the New Age, a living example that through hard work and constant endeavour, even those from more humble beginnings could make it to the top. In this book he is shown for what he was, not as his enemies constantly portrayed him.

   We shall see his passion for intellectual enquiry, the kindness he showed to men of all ranks and stations, and his ability to identify with and personify the hopes and dreams of his soldiers and the nation as a whole. With the aid of Coignet’s and Bourgogne’s testimony we shall see the Emperor up close and personal and how he came across to the common man.

   In a review of his career as depicted in the recent English Press and by English ‘historians’ in general, we shall see how Napoleon has been constantly maligned and misinterpreted and a forthright rebuttal of their accusations duly follows.

   Napoleon would have loved the Internet – so many facts available at the mere press of a button. Its overwhelming sweep has enabled me to glean information from ‘forgotten’ historians like Abbot and Runciman who have a completely different take on the supposed Corsican Ogre and many other germane facts from a multitude of websites. In particular, the information on the Tamboran eruption of 1815 ought to fascinate anyone who has ever argued over the details of that much debated battle – Waterloo.

   Recently, information on the weather conditions prevailing during the year 1812, in particular the lack of sunspots, which indicate particular cold spells here on Earth, and even a study of the El Niño phenomenon – which also adds unusual turbulence to the global climate – show that in 1812 Napoleon was incredibly unlucky to have both these adverse weather conditions to contend with at the same time.4

   In particular, I hope a new generation of readers will take a fresh look at the history of Napoleon Bonaparte, without that dead weight of bigoted tradition that smothers his achievements and his deserved claim to greatness.

 

John Tarttelin,

 Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, England, 2013


CONTENTS

        PREFACE                                                                                                                        

1     THE REAL NAPOLEON                                                                                              

2     NAPOLEON’S ACTS OF GENORISITY AND KINDNESS                                     

3     ENGLAND’S WARS AGAINST NAPOLEON                                                           

4     ENGLAND’S UNLIKELY HERO – NAPOLEON                                                       

5     COIGNET OF THE GUARD: PART ONE                                                                  

6     COIGNET OF THE GUARD: PART TWO                                                                 

7     COIGNET OF THE GUARD: PART THREE                                                            

8     COIGNET OF THE GUARD: PART FOUR                                                               

9     COIGNET OF THE GUARD: PART FIVE                                                                  

10   NAPOLEON AND RUSSIA                                                                                         

11   MARCH OR DIE: THE RETREAT OF 1812                                                           

12   ASHES TO ASHES: VOLCANOES AND NAPOLEON                                           

13   NAPOLEON AND THE ENGLISH PRESS GANG                                                  

14   THIS SEPTIC ISLE: BRITAIN IN THE EARLY C19TH                                       

15   NAPOLEON THE TAMBORA ERUPTION AND WATERLOO                          

16   HAIRSAY AND HERESY: THE MURDER OF NAPOLEON                                

        APPENDIX                                                                                                                     

        IMPORTANT NAMES                                                                                                

       BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                                                                          

 

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ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON


GEMS FROM THE MASTER

 ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

November 13th 1850 – December 4th 1894

Robert_Louis_Stevenson_1885


Nearly thirty years ago on November 26th 1983, I came across a little treasure, a literary gem on a market stall in Doncaster. It was a pocket edition of quotes, lines and poems written by R.L.S. and produced by Chatto & Windus in 1912 – “Being favourite passages from the works of Stevenson” as they described it over a century ago. I purchased the pocket bible sized volume for fifty pence – the equivalent of about a dollar and what a wealth of enjoyment has it procured for me ever since! I have read it over ten times from cover to cover. Here are a few of my favourite passages:

 

ON THE BEAUTY OF NATURE

“The pleasure that we take in beautiful nature is essentially capricious. It comes sometimes when we least look for it; and sometimes when we expect it most certainly; it leaves us to gape joyously for days together, in the very homeland of the beautiful. We may have passed a place a thousand times and one; and on the thousand and second it will be transfigured, and stand forth in certain splendour of reality from the dull circle of surroundings; so that we see it ‘with a child’s first pleasure’ as Wordsworth saw the daffodils by the lakeside.”

 

ON THE OUTDOOR LIFE

“You should have heard him speak of what he loved; of the tent pitched beside the talking water; of the stars overhead at night; of the blest return of morning, the peep of day over the moors, the awaking birds among the birches; how he abhorred the long winter shut in cities; and with what delight, at the return of spring, he once more pitched his camp in the living out-of-doors.”

ON THE STARS

“No one knows the stars who has not slept, as the French happily put it, à la belle étoile. He may know all their names and distances and magnitudes, and yet be ignorant of what alone concerns mankind, – their serene and gladsome influence on the mind. The greater part of poetry is about the stars; and very justly, for they are themselves the most classical of poets.”

THE VAGABOND-

 (To an air of Schubert)

Give to me the life I love,

Let the lave go by me,

Give the jolly heaven above,

And the byway nigh me.

 

Bed in the bush with stars to see,

Bread I dip in the river –

There’s the life for a man like me,

There’s the life forever.

 

Let the blow fall soon or late,

 Let what will be o’er me;

Give the face of earth around,

And the road before me.

 

Wealth I ask not, hope nor love,

Nor a friend to know me;

All I ask, the heaven above

And the road below me.

 

ON TRAIN TRAVEL

“Herein, I think, lies the chief attraction of railway travel. The speed is so easy, and the train disturbs so little the scenes through which it takes us, that our heart becomes full of the placidity and stillness of the country; and while the body is borne forward in the flying chain of carriages, the thoughts alight, as the humour moves them, at unfrequented stations; they make haste up the poplar alley that leads towards town; they are left behind with the signalman as, shading his eyes with his hand, he watches the long train sweep away into the golden distance.”

ON FORGETTING TIME

“It is almost as if the millennium were arrived, when we shall throw our clocks and watches over the housetops, and remember time and seasons no more. Not to keep hours for a lifetime is, I was going to say, to live for ever. You have no idea, unless you have tried it, how endlessly long is a summer’s day that you measure out only by hunger, and bring to an end only when you are drowsy.”

A LITTLE LUXURY

“I own I like definite form in what my eyes are to rest upon; and if landscapes were sold, like the sheets of characters of my boyhood, one penny plain and twopence coloured, I should go the length of twopence every day of my life.”

THE REAL BEAUTY OF A FOREST

“But indeed it is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of the air, that emanation from the old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

THE COUNTRY OF THE CAMISARDS

We travelled in the print of olden wars;

Yet all the land was green;

And love we found, and peace,

Where fire and war had been.

They pass and smile, the children of the sword –

No more the sword they wield;

And O, how deep the corn

Along the battlefield!”

 

ENEMY MINE

“The spice of life is battle; the friendliest relations are still a kind of contest; and if we would forego all that is valuable in our lot, we must continually face some other person, eye to eye, and wrestle a fall whether in love or enmity. It is still by force of body, or character or intellect, that we attain to worthy pleasures.”

THE PLEASURE OF IDLENESS

“Extreme busyness, whether at school or college, kirk or market, is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity. There is a sort of dead-alive, hackneyed people about, who are scarcely conscious of living except in the exercise of some conventional occupation. Bring these fellows into the country, or set them aboard ship, and you will see how they pine for their desk or study. They have no curiosity; they cannot give themselves over to random provocations; they do not take pleasure in the exercise of their faculties for its own sake; and unless Necessity lays about them with a stick, they will even stand still. It is no good speaking to such folk: they cannot be idle, their nature is not generous enough; and they pass those hours in a sort of coma, which are not dedicated to furious moiling in the gold-mill.”

THE PLEASURE OF EATING AND DRINKING

“I suppose none of us recognize the great part that is played in life by eating and drinking. The appetite to so imperious that we can stomach the least interesting viands, and pass of a dinner hour thankfully enough on bread and water; just as there are men who must read something, if it were only ‘Bradshaw’s Guide.’ But there is a romance about the matter, after all. Probably the table has more devotees than love; and I am sure that food is much more generally entertaining than scenery. Do you give in, as Walt Whitman would say, that you are less immortal for that? The true materialism is to be ashamed of what we are. To detect the flavour of an olive is no less a piece of human perfection than to find beauty in the colours of the sunset.”

ON THE SPIRIT OF A PLACE

“I was walking one night in the verandah of a small house in which I lived, outside the hamlet of Saranac. It was winter; the night was very dark; the air extraordinary clear and cold, and sweet with the purity of forests. From a good way below, the river was to be heard contending with ice and boulders; a few lights, scattered unevenly among the darkness, but so far away as not to lessen the sense of isolation. For the making of a story here were fine conditions.”

ON MAKING DO

“Burns, too proud and honest not to work, continued through all reverses to sing of poverty with a light, defiant note. Béranger waited till he was himself beyond the reach of want before writing the Old Vagabond or Jacques. Samuel Johnson, although he was very sorry to be poor ‘was a great arguer for the advantages of poverty’ in his ill days. Thus it is that brave men carry their crosses, and smile with the fox burrowing in their vitals.”

COUNTING YOUR BLESSINGS

“Now, what I like so much in France is the clear, unflinching recognition by everybody of his own luck. They all know on which side their bread is buttered, and take a pleasure in showing it to others, which is surely the better part of religion. And they scorn to make a poor mouth over their poverty, which I take to be the better part of manliness.”

PRIDE FOR THE MOTHER COUNTRY

“A girl at school in France began to describe one of our regiments on parade to her French school-mates, and as she went on she told me the recollection grew so vivid, she became so proud to be the countrywoman of such soldiers, and so sorry to be in another country, that her voice failed her and she burst into tears. I have never forgotten that girl, and I think she very nearly deserves a statue. To call her a young lady, with all its niminy associations, would be to offer her an insult. She may rest assured of one thing, although she never should marry a heroic general, never see any great of immediate result of her life, she will not have lived in vain for her native land.”

ON THE DEBT WE OWE THE PAST

“But our ancestral adventures are beyond even the arithmetic of fancy; and it is the chief recommendation of long pedigrees that we can follow backward the careers of our homunculus and be reminded of our antenatal lives. Our conscious years are but a moment in the history of the elements that build us.”

THE PAST RULES US

“The future is nothing; but the past is myself, my own history, the seed of my present thoughts, the mould of my present disposition. It is not in vain that I return to the nothings of my childhood; for every one of them has left some stamp upon me or put some fetter on my boasted free-will. In the past is my present fate; and in the past also is my real life.”

MAKING THE MOST OF THE MOMENT

“Childhood must pass away, and then youth as surely as age approaches. The true wisdom is to be always seasonable, and to change with a good grace in changing circumstances. To love playthings well as a child, to lead an adventurous an honourable youth, and to settle when the time arrives, into a green and smiling age, is to be a good artist in life and deserve well of yourself and your neighbour.”

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUTH AND OLD AGE

“Age asks with timidity to be spared intolerable pain; youth, taking fortune by the beard, demands joy like a right.”

THE PAIN OF BECOMING

“A young man feels himself one too many in the world; his is a painful situation; he has no calling; no obvious utility; no ties but to his parents, and these he is sure to disregard. I do not think that a proper allowance has been made for this true cause of suffering in youth; but by the mere fact of a prolonged existence, we outgrow either the fact or else the feeling. Either we become so callously accustomed to our own useless figure in the world, or else – and this, thank God, in the majority of cases – we so collect about us the interest or the love of our fellows, so multiply our effective part in the affairs of life, that we need to entertain no longer the question of our right to be.”

THE JOB OF YOUTH

“Youth is the time to go flashing from one end of the world to the other both in mind and body; to try the manners of different nations; to hear the chimes at midnight; to see sunrise in town and country; to be converted at a revival; to circumnavigate the metaphysics, write halting verses, run a mile to see a fire, and wait all day long in the theatre to applaud Hernani. There is some meaning in the old theory about wild oats; and a man who has not had his green-sickness and got done with it for good is as little to be depended on as an unvaccinated infant.”

MEMORIES OF A SICKLY CHILDHOOD

“I rose and lifted a corner of the blind. Over the black belt of the garden I saw the long line of Queen Street, with here and there a lighted window. How often before had my nurse lifted me out of bed and pointed them out to me, while we wondered together if, there also, there were children that could not sleep, and if these lighted oblongs were sighs of those that waited like us for the morning.”

 

From long sleepless nights, fostered by ill-health and domestic captivity, this sickly child developed one of the greatest imaginations the world has ever known:

 

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

 

©2013

 John Tarttelin

 

 A SOULADREAM PRODUCTION

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ON THE IRAQ WAR – LETTER TO THE SUNDAY TIMES, ENGLAND


ON THE IRAQ WAR

MY LETTER TO THE SUNDAY TIMES

IN PROTEST

MARCH 22ND 2004

JOHN TARTTELIN

IN RESPONSE TO AN ARTICLE BY ANDREW SULLIVAN

THE SUNDAY TIMES WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

Dear Sir,

I must protest at the defamatory comments made by Andrew Sullivan against the Spanish people in the Sunday times of March 21 2004.

What arrogance. How does Andrew Sullivan know what went through the minds of millions of individual Spanish voters? Perhaps he has “intelligence” from his Washington pals who told us all about Saddam’s fearsome WMD and the dire threat posed to world peace? Who is Andrew Sullivan to accuse a whole nation of cowardice? How many terrorists has he personally confronted or captured? How many terrorist incidents has he lived through and experienced? And is it only proper democracy if Andrew Sullivan agrees with the results of an election?

The Spanish people held a noble rally against terrorism in the aftermath of the Madrid atrocities. Ninety per cent of them were against the invasion of Iraq in the first place. Probably many of them disliked the spin of Aznar’s government when it tried to blame ETA for the outrage when it was increasingly obvious that an al-Qaeda cell had been responsible. Aznar’s policy of closeness to the Bush regime led directly to Spanish citizens being blown-up. No wonder they punished the government that created such circumstances. To accuse them of being cowards is itself cowardly, especially coming from someone in the relative safety of a Washington office.

Zapatero was right to say: “The war in Iraq was a disaster, the occupation of Iraq is a disaster,” and it was his party’s policy to remove Spanish troops long before the Madrid bombings. He has also said they may remain if the UN is put in charge, as it should have been all along.

According to Richard Haass, Director of Policy and Planning at the State Department: “In the case of Iraq this time around there was no necessity of fighting the war. There wasn’t an immediate threat…The US Administration…essentially chose to fight a war at this time. But there was no reason that war couldn’t have been put back 6 days, 6 months, or 6 years. This was simply a policy decision”.

There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no legitimate reason for war.

As the Russian Ambassador to the UN said: “There was no deadline in the Resolution (1441) which could be considered as the end of the road, and there was no end of the road. The road was artificially blown-up basically”.

The so-called war (technically an ‘armed conflict’ because it wasn’t backed by the Security Council) was also illegal. To quote Kofi Annan: “When I said the question of legitimacy and indicated that the legitimacy was going to be widely questioned, I think some did not believe it at the time, but that is precisely what has happened”.

Richard Clarke, who had three decades of experience under four US administrations, remarked that George Bush is doing a “terrible job” in tackling terrorism. He says Bush ignored warnings about the threat from al-Qaeda, while Condoleezza Rice hadn’t even heard of them before September 11th. And he adds that Donald Rumsfeld wanted to attack Iraq and not the al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, because there were “no good targets in Afghanistan”. Jimmy Carter agrees the war was “unnecessary”.

Saddam should have been dealt with in 1991, but Bush senior failed to do his duty. Furthermore, he encouraged the Shia in the south of Iraq to rebel and them callously left them to be butchered by Saddam. The Shia did not forget and that was one of the reasons why they weren’t dancing in the streets when the Coalition arrived in 2003.

The cynical, self-serving and arrogant policy of the current US Administration is doing no one any favours least of all themselves. You cannot bomb democracy into a country, it has to be home-gown and carefully nurtured, not shipped in from outside like some GM panacea. The recent marches in the capitals of Italy, Japan, Australia, Britain and elsewhere, indicate how heartily sick people are becoming of America über alles. Many of us are aware of the dangers of a Wolfowitz in sheep’s clothing and we are not taken in by the great Neo-Con.

William Shawcross, an apologist for Bush and Blairs’ adventurism, details in his book ‘Allies’ how the whole Iraq was predicated upon Wolfowitz’s ideas, his neo-con buddies and their Project for a New American Century. On page 53 he writes: “In 1992 Wolfowitz …drafted a defense planning guidance for Cheney. It was radical. It called for U.S. military pre-eminence over all Europe and Asia and proposed that pre-emptive attacks might be necessary. Particularly against states suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction”. Very friendly of them to appropriate the whole century to themselves, and unwise, as the debacle in Iraq indicates that their very days are numbered.

The same sorry old troopers kept appearing on our tv screens last year: Cheney, Pearl, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, extolling their version of the Third Reich, espousing the simplistic rhetoric so beloved of David Frum, the creator of the phrase ‘The Axis of Evil’. He put such gems into the mouth of George Bush, leaving us all to wonder, how do you defeat an abstract noun called ‘terror’. Certainly not by bombing the hell out of mainly innocent people and thereby terrorizing them.

If Bush senior had done his job properly, Bush junior wouldn’t have been able to wreak such havoc.

Bush and Blair are like mirrors facing each other, reflecting each other’s vainglorious ambitions and magnifying each other’s political fears and insecurities. They speak as if they are the font of all wisdom and light, handing down the virtues of their divine mission like Old Testament prophets and seeming to claim, ipso facto, that God is on their side. They speak with messianic fervour of good and evil like a medieval pope sanctioning a crusade. Bin Laden’s own barmy world view is likewise steeped in the past. All three claim that religion inspires them; they are all closer to each other than they think. Millions of people throughout human history have died at the hands of religious zealots and in the name of God. We do not need Western leaders spouting such nonsense today.

What is it that makes religious people so eager to kill their fellow man?

On 9/11 nearly 3,000 innocent people were killed by al-Qaeda; in Madrid 202 innocent people died at the hands of an al-Qaeda ‘franchise’. In Afghanistan, some 3,000 innocent civilians have been killed by the US; in Iraq over 10,000 innocent civilians have been killed by Bush and Blair. As we have killed more innocent civilians does that mean we are ‘winning’ the war on terror?

I was astounded to hear that the American Administration has never even bothered to count the Iraqi dead. To the neo-cons, this is probably what is meant by winning the hearts and minds.

Two and half years after 9/11, Iraq is a seething cauldron of violence and insecurity. Bush and Blair are obviously not students of history. Every historian knows that the only thing certain about war is that great uncertainty will surely follow it. They have sown the wind and they are reaping the whirlwind. Prior to the invasion there was no real evidence of al-Qaeda in Iraq. There is now!

American troops who were extremely secure at home, have been offered to al-Qaeda like sacrificial lambs on the altar of neo-con ambition. From across the globe, fundamentalist terrorists are heading for those soldiers, trapped like goldfish on a bowl. Hail to the Chief.

Tacitus said: “The Romans create a desert and call it peace”. Iraq was a desert to begin with, thanks to the Coalition, large parts of it are wasteland. The trouble with Pax America is that, unlike Pax Romana, it comes without the peace. A year after the invasion there are shortages of water, electricity and medicine and massive personal insecurity. But we can rest assured that the oilfields are protected and Halliburton and Bechtel will be making their profits. All the while, Blair gets only crumbs of contracts from Bush’s imperial table.

So, Bush and Blair went on their crusade, their quest for the fabled weapons of mass destruction in the land of the Arabian Nights. And despite satellites that can read a newspaper headline from outer space, they have found absolutely nothing of an immediate or imminent threat. Facing our intrepid warriors was the might of a third-rate mainly conscript army, badly equipped, badly led and of poor morale.

Turning to Andrew Sullivan’s puerile and false analogy with World War Two, Saddam did not invade the Rhineland or Poland; he did not drive British troops off the beaches at Dunkirk; he did not send the Bismarck, the Tirpitz, and a fleet of submarines to destroy our maritime life-line; he did not send the Luftwaffe to bomb London also during the Blitz.

Saddam had no naval fleet and no air force. He couldn’t even send up as much as a Zeppelin to take on the might of an F-16 eagle. The few ancient missiles he had were so inaccurate that some of them ‘missed’ Kuwait, a whole country, and ended up in the gulf. What a testing foe he was.

There was never a threat to the British nation. Blair lied. Then he had the temerity to say that he doesn’t even know the difference between a battlefield and a strategic weapon.

That didn’t save little Ali Abbas. He lost both his arms, both his parents, and 13 members of his immediate family and he got 60% burns into the bargain. An American missile made sure that no members of his family could become terrorists.

Coalition forces have scattered cluster-bombs around Iraq like confetti in a marriage of death and destruction. They even bragged about “Shock and Awe”. And they wonder why the people aren’t cheering. Where are the polls and surveys asking those Iraqis who lost family members, what they think of Blair and Bushs’ triumph? The dead are forgotten it seems, just as easily as their lives were snuffed out. But they won’t be forgotten by history.

I have been pro-American most of my life, but I detest this Administration. If the Democrats had won the election, Al Gore would have been President. Now, we have gore of a different kind. I voted for Blair twice, but never again, I can’t vote for Bush of course, neither would I – but then, neither did the majority of Americans. After his gerrymandering in Florida, the man still has the gall to peach to the world about freedom and democracy. He claims an inalienable right not to abide by Kyoto; to plunder the world’s resources as he thinks fit; to tear-up the anti-ballistic missile treaty with Russia so that he can put his own weapons of mass destruction into space – an American umbrella to reign over us all. The only peace-maker he believes in is a Colt 45.

In reality, the greatest danger facing the average American is another American. There are 11,000 gun deaths in the Sates every year, a 9/11 every 3 months. Thousands more die in road accidents and tens of thousands die due to medical errors and negligence. Historically, more Americans died at the hands of their fellow Americans in the Civil War than all the subsequent wars they have been involved in, more than the casualties of WW1, WW2 and Vietnam combined.

Bush ought to bear in mind the words of a truly great President –

“FORCE IS ALL-CONQUERING, BUT ITS VICTORIES ARE SHORT-LIVED”. (Abraham Lincoln)

No one is suggesting complacency in the face of terrorism, but al-Qaeda is not a nation state, you cannot follow Napoleon’s famous maxim and destroy its field army first and foremost rather than capture its territory, because it had no conventional army or territory. The essence of al-Qaeda is in the hearts and minds of men. Different tactics are required, above all, national, regional and global co-operation is required – the very thing Bush has inhibited by his cavalier attitude towards the UN.

His policy in Iraq and the Middle East is the greatest recruiting sergeant al-Qaeda could ever hope for.

When the Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine in May 1915, president Wilson said: “There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight. There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it doesn’t need to convince others by force that it is right”.

By sinking to the level of al-Qaeda and propagating mass murder ourselves, we do not strengthen democracy throughout the world.

After 9/11 the American people acted with great dignity, they inspired the world. So much so, in France it was said: “We are all Americans now”. We all felt the same way. But Bush has squandered all that good will. His neo-con allies went so far as to blame France for the war when the US and UK failed to get a second resolution at the UN. But it wasn’t only France that was against the war at that time – so were Russia, China, and all the ‘Swinging Six’, the temporary members of the Security Council, including Mexico, Pakistan and Chile. All of them wanted the UN weapons inspectors to have more time, to give Hans Blix a chance to end the crisis peacefully. Even when the attempts by the US and UK to bully the smaller countries failed, the Chilean Ambassador tried to make a case for more time. He said he approached the Americans and his idea was knocked on the head in twenty minutes flat.

The Bush Administration was intent on war with Iraq from the outset. Wolfowitz and his acolytes wanted the same war under Clinton.

They did not get their chance to foster their ignoble plans for the New American Century until 9/11. Even as the dust clouds settled around the ruins of the World Trade Center, they were clamouring for war.

Are we any safer now? According to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, Britons are more, not less likely to be the target of terrorist attack as a result of war in Iraq and the failure to find WMD had “damaged the credibility” of the US’ and UK’s war against terror. Blair responds with: “You can’t end up having an enquiry into whether the war was right or wrong”.

What a shallow man he is.

George Sorros states: “The US is a democracy and an open society. But I do think there is a truth machine operating in America – a conservative truth machine (that is) misleading the public”. He likens the Bush Administration’s interventionist policy to George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ where, despite the animals proclaiming their equality, the pigs take charge and change the rules to justify their brutal behaviour.

George Thielmann, a former Senior Intelligence Officer remarks: “I believe…the decision to go to war was made in the fall of 2001…shared with Prime Minister Blair in August 2002”.

I am no pacifist. I supported the re-taking of the Falklands –our land, our people; and interventions in Kosovo and Sierra Leone – to SAVE human lives; and the removal of the Taleban.  But Iraq is a Bridge Too Far. It was the wrong country at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. Now, after all the civilian deaths in Afghanistan, hearing the US air force trying to justify the killing of Afghani children with a bomb meant for a suspected terrorist – I support it no longer.

Why can’t neo-con Americans see themselves as others see them?

There is an added and bitter irony to all this, the genocide of native Americans by successive administrations in the C19th ( to whit: ‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian’ and ‘Nits make lice’). The Bush Administration went to destroy the terrorists of Iraq armed with Apache and Comanche helicopters and Tomohawk cruise missiles.

The power of words is the power of thought. Bush’s glib phrases say it all. His neo-cons speak without thinking, think without reflection, and never, ever listen. Blair talks of the hand of history touching him, he believes he’s another Churchill. But if so, he’s the Churchill of Gallipoli. Not the Churchill of the Blitz.

History will probably crucify the Born-Again President, and damn the Sedgefield Messiah. It is what they deserve. They have killed thousands of innocent people and made the world a more dangerous place.

                                              From John Tarttelin (MA) History

PS. In your editorial, you state: “Most of those who opposed the war, including yesterday’s ragbag of protestors in London, would have done so even if Saddam had been found to have had missiles trained on Big Ben”.

I would have joined that demonstration myself had I lived nearer to London so, according to you, I am part of that “ragbag”. I find this extremely offensive. I shall no longer buy your paper which I have read on and off for 30 years.

Sullivan’s ‘article’ and your feeble, misguided editorials recently, convince me I shan’t be missing much. How you all get paid for such poor quality copy is remarkable.

The Sunday Times is NO LONGER the Sunday papers.

 June 19th 2012

It is now thought that over 100,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in this ‘war’. And Iraq is still in chaos. Meanwhile the war in Afghanistan which has been going on for over ten years is no nearer a successful conclusion. As Napoleon said after the very close Battle of Wagram in 1809 against Austria – war should only be used as a last resort because the outcome of it is never certain… And Blair has been made Middle East Peace Envoy. You couldn’t make it up!

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