“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”
Brunhilde Liebesbombe reporting from Apaydin, Reyhanli and Adana with Ogden Orffe as photographer and Cecilia Gnossos interpreting
(Adana, Turkey) It is a rare opportunity to look through the window of a major military operation such as this. All of Britain, France, Germany and the United States are invested in trying to overthrow the secular and progressive government of Dr. Bashar Al-Assad and replace it with an Islamist regime more in line with the ante-bellum aspirations of Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoghan, and his Saudi Arabian and Qatari financiers. It took over three months to finally arrange this interview with Brigadier Ranulph Swindleham, Chief of British Task Force ENABLE-TERRORISM-IN-FORMER-ARAB-COLONIES or ETIFAC. The General insisted on having the interview in a Turkish tavern he described as “adequate” in the city of Adana.
MNS: Thank you, Brigadier Schwindleham for having us.
BRIG: (Laughing). Oh, you’re German, aren’t you?
MNS: Ja, that’s right.
BRIG: Amazing. You were once bombing the stuffing out of us and now, we’re working together to bomb the stuffing out of these former colonials. Very ironic, wouldn’t you say?
MNS: Well, then you bombed the stuffing out of us. Remember Dresden?
BRIG: (Laughing) Oh, yes. Arthur Butcher Harris. Neat man.
MNS: What brings Englishmen to Southern Turkey?
Brigadier Swindleham (left) poses for this photo taken by MNS’ Ogden Orffe with his adjutant, Colonel Fortissimo Smythe-Blackguard. He wanted a copy, by the way.
BRIG: (Laughing) What brings Englishmen to any place? Why, it’s the love of adventure, the risk, the abject misery we always like to leave in our wake. It’s a calling card, you know.
MNS: But as a modern, respected nation, you have been in the forefront of the war against terrorism. It appears from what we see that the British government is encouraging the mass exodus of Islamists to fight in Syria against a government which is avowedly secular. How can you reconcile that?
BRIG: You’re not becoming hostile, are you?
MNS: Oh, no. Just curious.
BRIG: Well, you know what they say about curiosity – it killed the cat.
MNS: Do you have an answer?
MNS: Well, can you tell us what it’s like commanding an entire army of disheveled Islamist Jihadists?
BRIG: I can answer that one. Don’t you think so Fortissimo? (nods) Hmmm…….Well, you know, we’ve noticed some interesting features with these Jihadists. For example, they make great fighters because they are anxious to die. Then, on the other hand, they make terrible fighters because all they seem to do is die. (Laughs) Isn’t that right, Fortissimo? It’s just the opposite with the non-religious fighters.
MNS: Could you be more specific?
BRIG: You see, the Syrian army deserters are mostly peasants who think that killing minorities will gain them some financial reward. We let them believe that. But, at the same time, they are not willing to do what the Jihadists do.
MNS: Which is what?
BRIG: Die! The deserters don’t like our operations when there is some chance of death. They prefer these wretched Turkish camps. All they do all day is play cards and hide-and-seek. Even that daffy Colonel of theirs, Al-As’ad, pretends lunacy so he won’t have to lead his men. It’s all very puzzling.
MNS: What is it like working with the Germans?
BRIG: You won’t take offense?
MNS: No, I’m really Austrian.
BRIG: Oh. Well, all right. It’s bloody hellish. We thought we were spit-and-polish. With these damnable Prussians it’s “spit-spit-spit-spit and spit and then polish-polish-polish-polish”. How they get anything done is anyone’s guess. And their food! They keep inviting us for beer and cabbage, over and over again. Why, I’ve spent more time with my colonoscope than leading these miserable bearded fanatics. We try to be polite, of course. Our corps commander, First Sea Lord Balthazar St. Cosmo, told us before we sailed off to be “polite to those miserable Gerries, no matter how counter-intuitive.”
MNS: Besides the dying problem, are you encountering any other difficulties?
BRIG: Well, yes. (Becomes agitated) The pesky Syrians are sending us constant disinformation. Sometimes the speakers have Russian accents and sometimes, Iranian accents. Then they throw us a loop with a German accent. It’s always frustrating listening to jingles for “Shalish Tyres“: (Starts to sing)
Buy Shalish, The Tyre of Choice
Oh, not that Tyre, in Lebanon!
Buy the tyre with the Syrian voice
The one you can depend upon.
MNS: Do you plan to be here for very long:?
BRIG: Well, yes! Obviously!
MNS: But we keep hearing on the BBC that President Assad is “beleaguered, embattled, surrounded, bedeviled, isolated”, and the like. Is he?
BRIG: With all that talk about the buggery, maybe it’s the BBC that’s embattled. Don’t tell anybody I said that, okay?
MNS: Promise. (With a wink)