Azure Three Bezants: What is Truth?

In which a rhetorical question is asked, concerning the nature of truth, and states, and propaganda; but no answer is expected.

You shall not know truth;
for the truth would set you free.
You shall die for the words
set in seventy-two points,
shouted from street corners:
PLOTS, they say, and WAR,
and – how could it be otherwise? – JEWS.
Or, if your taste runs
to papers delivered, quietly,
at your doorstep in the morning:
International money interest;
rootless cosmopolitans;
citizens of the world.
Do you think that is truth?
The truth would set you free.

It is not hard to find the words
that make men wear uniforms;
the gleam of the bayonet,
the glance of a pretty girl,
for these and a word
– if it be set in seventy-two points –
he will charge the barbed wire.
Who would not be a hero?
A flag, and a sword
that flares brightly in sunlight;
what else should be needed,
for a man to lie in the wire
and his comrades get across
on his rotting back?
Truth? What is truth?
The useful word is the one
that makes a soldier.
When a man is under command,
the truth cannot set him free;
peace, of the state or of the grave,
is needed to break his chains.
Still, why give him truth?
One never knows; the truth
might set a man free.

The first lie was this:
That Pharaoh is a god.
And did that faith move mountains?
They say not otherwise,
who have seen the Pyramids.
There is much work in ten thousand men
when they have believed a lie.
It is too simple now, the lie
that lasted three thousand years;
today they say, we are a Republic now.
And has that truth made men free?
If freedom is to vote
for the man who tells you where to work
then the citizens are free.
They used only sixty-point type
when the headline was, REVOLUTION.
So it must be true;
and the truth must make men free.

Is he dead then, Pharaoh?
Why, so he must be;
you saw it in the papers.
REVOLUTION, they said, and FREEDOM;
only sixty points, for such long words.
They cut off his head, on the scaffold
that had been used for murderers;
“and so it still was”, they said.
It’s easy to jest with a dead Pharaoh.
And do they joke with the Republic?
Pharaoh is dead; but his State lives.
For that is not dead which can forever lie;
and with strange aeons, even truth may die.

Azure Three Bezants, superimposed Fasces Sable

Obviously Egypt had no intention of allowing foreign infidels to occupy African lands, especially ones close to the Nile Delta; as soon as Kuipy had built up his army to something a little over parity with me, he attacked, intending to retake what he’d lost and perhaps a bit extra for his trouble. However, I was ready for this; my fortified defense line across the Arabian peninsula – wisely, he did not choose to attack the max-fortressed narrow front around Suez – threw him back, and my counterattack drove his stacks into the mountains around Aden. I was considerably helped in this by the nature of the Jackal, which in its focus on PLOTS THAT SPAN CENTURIES sometimes misses what occurs on merely human timescales of a decade or so; in particular, although Egypt had possessed the gas-enabling technology for twenty years, it had not yet invented Gas Defense, only attack. (You have to be at war with a gas-enabled country for the defense tech to pop, and the Nile Delta War was too short – it ended before the RNG could help Kuipy out.) So for the first half year or so of the war, I had the equivalent of a godly general on my side in every battle – over and above the actual generals, who mostly cancel each other out. Unfortunately the laggard Egyptians did manage to put – I quote Kuipy – “gas masks on their stupid commie faces” by the time I had driven them back to Aden, and without a gas advantage, a largish stack defending a mountain is effectively unshiftable in late-game Vicky.

Unshiftable or not, the Egyptian campaign in Arabia was done with; there was no way for Kuipy to get a breakout going with what was left of his attacking force, even though they were for the moment safe enough hiding in their mountain province. Instead he tried, optimistically, to attack the Suez canal; which worked as well as late-game attacks on strongly-fortified provinces ever do in Vicky, that is, not at all. Even without mountains the dig-in and fort bonuses are just too strong; and I had put my good defensive generals in that obvious spot for an attack. So at that point the initiative rested with me; of course I couldn’t get an attack through the Nile Delta any more than Kuipy could, but with my navy I could choose my spot anywhere on the African coast. Pick a wargoal, send troops to occupy it before Kuipy could march to stop them, and wait for the ticking warscore. However, at this point India began to make noises about adjusting our borders in the east, which admittedly are pretty ugly. The provinces are fairly worthless, but I wasn’t happy with the compensation offered; I noted that Germany would enter on my side, Baron noted that if Germany did, England would join the Indians… rather than negotiate under the threat of a two-front Great War, I offered Egypt a white peace, which they took rather than accept the militancy increase from my massive battle score. Then I negotiated with India.

Arabian War

The Arabian War in one handy infographic. Notice the immensely lopsided casualties of Rafha; but by the time I’m attacking Aden, I no longer have the gas-attack advantage and can make no headway. With some recon to reduce the dig-in bonus, perhaps I could have attrited my way through, but I don’t have so many troops that I can throw them away like that when I may need them for a Great War shortly.

World map, 1933

World map, 1933. Russia has a lot of annoying little one-province states that cost a lot of warscore, so the partition goes slowly. The most recent Venetian acquisition looks like a fish ready to take a bite out of India.

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Filed under Azure Three Bezants, Recessional, Reeking Tube and Iron Shard

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