On the heels of the South African War came the sleuth-hounds pursuing the criminals, I mean the customary Royal Commissions. Ten thousand words of mine stand embedded in their Blue Books, cold and dead as so many mammoths in glaciers. But my long spun-out intercourse with the Royal Commissioners did have living issue my Manchurian and Gallipoli notes. Only constant observation of civilian Judges and soldier witnesses could have shown me how fallible is the unaided military memory or have led me by three steps to a War Diary: (1) There is nothing certain about war except that one side won't win. (2) The winner is asked no questions the loser has to answer for everything. (3) Soldiers think of nothing so little as failure and yet, to the extent of fixing intentions, orders, facts, dates firmly in their own minds, they ought to be prepared.
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June 30, 2010
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