Monday, December 04, 2017

Blast from the past. The Varian Disaster, a warning about arrogance...

This piece of art is titled.."Give me back my legion"

via War HistoryOnline.
Varus was crushed. His feet and hands and mind were numb with the freezing rain. His legions, so splendid and untouchable only days before, were in tatters. The broken remnants of his glorious army were gathered around him with the great hill at their back, facing a crude wall of raw earth.

He had given the order to storm the wall and had sent his most hardened soldiers in the van of the attempt. There was no hope for any of them; he knew, if these men could not break through.

It was the third day since the whistle and thud of the enemy’s javelins had signalled the beginning of the ambush. The rain had been falling then, too, and Varus had been riding in the center of his great host, surrounded by his staff. The host was many thousands strong, and he had suspected no danger. His reputation preceded him, he knew. The name of Varus was feared in this land.
 Varus would have been pleased to retire to bed, but he was interrupted by another German, and older man, the father of Arminius’ wife. There was no love lost between these two; Varus knew, but the old man had gone too far this time. He claimed that Arminius would betray Varus during the march, that Varus would be hemmed in a narrow place, and that the well-spoken, Roman-educated Arminius had secretly raised an army to defy the rule of the Emperor in Rome.
 They met each other’s eyes and saluted smartly, then turned to face the approaching tide. And there he was: the well-spoken, well-educated vassal, Arminius, walking forward at the head of his victorious army. He saw Varus, and his smile was dreadful to behold. He pointed Varus out to the men around him, and with a yell began to charge toward him. Varus took a breath and made his decision. There was no other escape left. He lifted his short-bladed sword, found the soft spot below his ribs and plunged the blade upward.

This battle cost Rome three entire legions and came to be known in Rome as the Varian disaster.
Story here.

History teaches many lessons.  Many of them WE DON'T want to learn.

You know what the most frightening thing I see happening with today's military?

It's not the foolish/stubborn determination to follow thru with the F-35.  We've suffered failed programs before.  It's not the penny packets of forces scattered around the globe doing busy work, wearing out men/equipment in flawed/useless exercises that are suppose to "deter" aggression and "reassure" our allies.

It's the sheer arrogance of those that lead and their failure to accept the fact that they got it wrong.  It's the pride that they have, the self assurance that they somehow have it right and because they have consensus from those that depend on them for their current position/hopeful promotion and sing their praises without debating issues of national importance that has me spinning.

That they tilt with the wind instead of being considerate of the facts is painful to watch.

But you know what worries me the most?

I unfortunately can envision a future battlefield where we see an American commander that is "partnered" with a modern day Arminius that betrays our forces to the enemy.

Did the ambush of the Special Forces detachment in Niger break your heart?  It did mine.  The general public barely noticed.  My fear is that we could see the same happen to a larger unit.

In short.  I fear we're not on the British trajectory of "losing it's empire" but instead following the Romans from so long ago. I hope I'm wrong but I fear history is warning us and we're not listening. Bring our boys back from the frontier, let's rebuild the force, embark on a massive modernization/reset, get our shit together and get ready for the big fight that we all know is coming.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.