Not a gentleman’s war
March 11, 2015 by Thomas Wictor
A video of Iraqi helicopters attacking Islamic State vehicles reminded me of one of my favorite movie monologues, “Not a Gentleman’s War,” from the film The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. I’m not a fan of the film, just the monologue, which was delivered by Anton Walbrook.
Here’s the backstory, as we entertainment hotshots call it: Clive Wynne-Candy (Roger Livesley) has been in the British army since the 1890s. He’s a veteran of the Boer War and World War I. His best friend is Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff, a former German soldier with whom Clive fought a duel in Berlin in 1902. During World War I, they’re on opposite sides, of course. Theo is taken prisoner and shipped to a camp in Britain. Eventually his hatred of the British abates, and he emigrates to the United Kingdom in 1939 to escape Nazism.
In this scene, Clive’s friends learn that a speech he was going to give on the radio has been canceled. Clive had been restored to active duty— despite his age—and his speech was about the humiliating defeat at Dunkirk, a setback that required the British to abandon most of their weapons and be evacuated by troop transports, merchant marine ships, fishing boats, pleasure craft, and lifeboats. Clive believes that the British “failed with honor.” As a result, he’s forcibly retired from the army.
Theo’s famous monologue begins at 4:03.
THEO: It’s a different knowledge they need now, Clive. The enemy is different, so you have to be different too.
CLIVE: Are you mad? I know what war is!
THEO: I don’t agree. I read your broadcast up to the point where you describe the collapse of France. You commented on Nazi methods—foul fighting, bombing refugees, machine-gunning hospitals, lifeboats, lightships, bailed-out pilots and so on—by saying that you despised them, that you would be ashamed to fight on their side, and that you’d sooner accept defeat than victory if it could only be won by those methods.
CLIVE: So I would!
THEO: Clive! If you let yourself be defeated by them just because you are too fair to hit back the same way they hit at you, there won’t be any methods but Nazi methods! If you preach the rules of the game while they use every foul and filthy trick against you, they’ll laugh at you! They think you’re weak, decadent! I thought so myself in 1919.
CLIVE: I heard all that in the last war. They fought foul then, and who won it?
THEO: I don’t think you won it. We lost it. But you lost something too. You forgot to learn the moral. Because victory was yours, you failed to learn your lesson twenty years ago, and now you have to pay the school fees again. Some of you will learn quicker than the others. Some will never learn it, because you’ve been educated to be a gentleman and a sportsman, in peace and in war. But Clive, dear old Clive: This is not a gentleman’s war. This time you are fighting for your very existence against the most devilish idea ever created by a human brain—Nazism. And if you lose, there won’t be a return match next year. Perhaps not even for a hundred years.
Well, you mustn’t mind me, an alien, saying all this. But who can describe hydrophobia better than one who has been bitten and is now immune?
Hydrophobia is the archaic term for rabies. Theo means, “Who knows about raging madness better than someone who was one a raging madman but recovered?”
Since September 11, 2001, I’ve sent Theo’s “This is not a gentleman’s war” speech to many people. It’s more relevant than ever, given the enemy we’re fighting now.
Here’s why ISIS hostages appear so calm before they’re executed
A defector from the Islamic State terror group talked to Sky News about how militants prepared captives for executions…
The terrorist group reportedly staged mock executions to prepare hostages for being on camera, telling them in the rehearsals that they wouldn’t be harmed.
Sky reports: “The execution rehearsals took place so that when the moment of death finally came, the hostages were not expecting to be killed and were relaxed to appeal for their release on camera.”
Sky’s source, who goes by the pseudonym “Saleh,” says he was a translator for ISIS. He reportedly fled to Turkey to escape ISIS.
Saleh said that “John,” recently identified as [Mohammed] Emwazi, is reportedly the terror group’s chief killer of foreign hostages.
The man said his job was to help convince the hostages they were safe.
“[Emwazi] would say to me ‘say to them, no problem, only video, we don’t kill you, we want from your government [to] stop attacking Syria. We don’t have any problem with you; you are only our visitors,’” Saleh told Sky, adding that he knew the whole time the hostages would eventually be killed.
I knew that was the case. How utterly demonic.
Well, demons reside in hell, and that’s exactly where the Iraqis are sending the terrorists of the Islamic State. Before the newly dead arrive in their new home, they get a taste of what the underworld is going be like, courtesy of a weapon I can’t identify. It’s seen at 0:45 in the video below.
The camera is in a Eurocopter EC635 gunship, a French-German design. It belongs to the 55th Squadron, Iraqi Army Aviation.
Those are very brave airmen, since the EC635 is unarmored. It relies on speed and maneuverability to survive.
Here is the .50-caliber gun pod on the starboard side of the ship.
It’s a French FN HMP400 pod.
A rocket launcher is mounted on the port side of the ship.
In the background of the photo above, you can see the other helicopter in the video, an American Bell UH-1 Iroquois. This one is part of the Iraqi Air Force.
The door gun is a Russian PKM, which is a 7.62mm general-purpose machine gun.
It can’t lay down the river of fire seen at 0:45 in the video of the attack on Islamic State vehicles. The UH-1 Iroquois with the EC635 is assigned to the 21st Squadron, Iraqi Army Aviation, so my guess is that it’s a special-operations model fitted with some kind of horrendous, heavy-caliber, multi-barreled gun firing a new kind of incendiary ammunition. I’ve never seen anything like it. Initially I thought it was a flamethrower.
Several months ago, I said jokingly that the world should create the Islamic State Ordnance Proving Ground, where new weapons are tested in combat.
Looks like my post gave the right people some ideas.
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