It is the habit of the boa constrictor to besmear the body of his victim with a foul slime before he devours it; and there are many people in England, and perhaps elsewhere, who seem to be unable to contemplate military operations for clear political objects, unless they can cajole themselves into the belief that their enemy are utterly and hopelessly vile. To this end the Dervishes, from the Mahdi and the Khalifa downwards, have been loaded with every variety of abuse and charged with all conceivable crimes. This may be very comforting to philanthropic persons at home; but when an army in the field becomes imbued with the idea that the enemy are vermin who cumber the earth, instances of barbarity may easily be the outcome. This unmeasured condemnation is moreover as unjust as it is dangerous and unnecessary.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan, Vol. II (1899)

This passage is not included in the 1902 one-volume abridgment.

Added on 19-Apr-10 | Last updated 19-Apr-10
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