n reply to Bernie Smith’s article (The News, Jan. 13), mention of Rudyard Kipling, my favourite author, touched a nerve with me.
I can see that Burmese maid and hear the temple bells ringing.
“Come you back you British Soldier, come you back to Mandalay!”
“Oh! How I’d love to. Too late now. My time is fast running out.”
As for Afghanistan, I have a medal from an ancestor of mine, from the second Afghan war of 1878 to 1880.
In the first war the governor’s men were slaughtered and only one man escaped on horseback through the path into India to inform the British of what had happened.
On their return, they made a better showing, re-establishing a government house with fully armed men in Kabul. Later they moved on to Kandahar and the British taxpayers paid for a decent road through the Khyber pass.
When the Duke of Edinburgh drove along the road by the Northwest frontier, they fully expected Afghan horsemen to ride down the mountain with swords drawn. To them, it was all in the game. They were excellent horsemen and a human head made an excellent — if oversized — polo ball. It was one big game.
The U.S.A. made sure that Russia would not win in Afghanistan by supplying arms to fight the Russians. What a bunch of greedy, stupid human beings. When will they ever learn?
I wrote to Harper and Lunney, telling them to get Canada out of Afghanistan. Instead, they extended it another two years. More blood on their hands.
It is not so much the men who died, but rather, those who are left behind.
When Britain stood alone, my friend took off in a Stirling bomber to bomb Germany. The other bombers saw his plane blown to pieces. Probably it still had its bombs on board.
I can still see in my mind’s eye his mother sitting in a chair with that piece of paper in her lap, stating, “We regret to inform you that your son …”
Looking into her eyes, I know that a part of her died that day.