September 12, 2008

Operation Barbarossa and how not to count your chickens before their hatched !

Germany 1941
The victory music was chosen in advance. “You’ll hear that often in the near future,” Adolf Hitler boasted to dinner guests one night in 1941 after playing on the Gramophone a passage from Liszt’s Les preludes. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels was optimistic as well.

“The Fuhrer estimates that the operation will take four months,” he wrote in his diary. “I reckon on fewer.” At 5.30 on the morning of June 22, 1941, Goebbels had Les preludes played over the radio before announcing Germany’s surprise invasion of the Soviet Union that had begun two hours earlier. “A glorious, wonderful hour has struck, when a new empire is born,” he wrote in that day’s diary entry. “Our nation is making her way up into the light.”

The assault kicked off 129 years to the day Napoleon launched his Grande Armee toward Moscow, the Germans had amassed one of the largest strike forces ever: more than 3 million troops along a 1,600 km front, supported by 3,350 tanks, 2,000 aircraft and 7,200 artillery pieces. Stalin refused to act on clear evidence of the buildup. “You can’t believe everything Intelligence says,” he chided his top generals in mid-June.

Hitler erred as dramatically. He underestimated the Soviet Union’s resources, believing for example, that it had only 10.000 tanks, not the actual 24,000. More fatefully, Hitler’s racial delusions blinded him to the prowess of his foe. Slavs, he was convinced, were no match for Teutonic warriors, and the regime of “Jewish Bolshevism” could not withstand the coming blow. “You have only to kick in the door,” the Fuhrer explained to Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, the commander of Army Group South, “and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.”

The fight to the death with the Soviets lasted not four months but four years – through the blood-drenched ordeals of Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad and Berlin with the ultimate defeat of the Germans.

Sri Lanka 1995
The Sri Lankan Governments 21,000 troops entered the Jaffna town. The Tamil capital had become a ghost town. Most of the roughly 10,000 fighters of the LTTE had melted away into the jungle. The majority Sinhalese expected the war to end with the fall of Jaffna. The LTTE relocated to the Wanni jungle and continued its fight for a separate state.

In a survey taken before the Tigers broke the truce in April 1995, only 16 percent of Sri Lankans said they believed in a military solution to the country’s civil war. A follow-up poll taken by the same group, Mitofsky International after the capture of Jaffna found that 67 percent favoured a military solution.

Sri Lanka 2008
The war did not end in 1995 as predicted by Government pundits. It has raged on for more than 13 years since the capture of Jaffna. Now the Government says it is on the verge of capturing the LTTE stronghold Killinochi and ending the war. Yes, the Government might capture Killinochi in the near future, and then the Tigers will revert to hit-and-run guerrilla tactics, basing themselves in the Wanni jungle. The well known dictum of ‘War being a continuation of politics by other means,’ is been practiced to the fullest by the present government as they are unable to find a solution to the economic woes of the gullible majority. The majority, once again have been hoodwinked by the ‘War Carrot’ that the government has dangled towards them.

What I can say to the Government of Sri Lanka, and the ‘Gullible Majority’ is, “Don’t count your chickens before their hatched!”

The ‘Silent Minority’ of which I am one, believes that the only way there will be peace in Sri Lanka, is only if extensive power is devolved to the people living in the North and East.

When the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’ is revoked, and there are no more ‘check points,’ and the armed forces are confined to their barracks with only the police handling the day to day law enforcement in the whole of Sri Lanka will be the day that we the ‘Silent Minority’ believe that the war has finally ended!

Until then, “God help us all!”

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