The first thing you learn in law is to be cynical. The oath in courts taken solemnly by witnesses means almost nothing and can just as well be left out of proceedings. However, we spoke about that before I think and today I am more concerned with dishonest books. Yesterday, I had the bad luck to start reading a book on South Africa's Nuclear Weapons Program written by two long haired liberals who ostensibly did a lot of research on it. For us who served honourably and always suspected the existence of the weapons (it was an open secret) such a book would be of obvious interest.
Now I love reading and never read less than three books at any specific time. Regrettably my reading is limited to what I find interesting in life (law would not even begin to qualify) like military history, biographies and anything which is capable of exploding. I don't read fiction at all unless it is my favourite authors like Alistair Maclean, Wilbur Smith, Tom Clancy, George Macdonald Fraser and many others where I would read the same book time and time again.
What bothers me about this particular book, and I usually don't disapprove of books for I have been hammered myself (mostly by the far right who ran to Australia or the left wing in Canada) on my own ramblings often enough to know it is a useless exercise, is that I counted no less than four errors in the first ten pages. By page 50 I stopped counting and decided it should be placed in the fiction category as was Lance Armstrong's biography a few years ago.
For instance, they clearly have a liberal political viewpoint which must come over no matter what the facts are. Hence the bizarre innuendo that Dr Wouter Basson was found innocent in 2002 only because the trial judge was an Apartheids Era appointee as if that played any role in the case. In fact I am surprised that his lordship did not institute defamation charges against the authors, university they represent, and publishers for saying such a thing.
Then they also reckoned that the SADF learned counter-insurgency from the Israeli's who learned it by suppressing / oppressing the Palestine's on the West Bank. In fact the Israeli Army was so grateful (for what I would not know) that they assisted in planning the invasion of Angola with Operation Savannah. And all this by page four! It destroyed the credibility of that book as far as I am concerned but that is for me...what about the tens of thousands (millions for all I know) other readers who takes this nonsense as gospel?
And I wonder, what other utter nonsense is being send into the world and seen as facts when we know it is not? I don't fancy myself as an author and knows my limitations on grammar only too well but it was this question which made me publish 20 plus books & articles since 2012. Why? Simply because we need to place on record what really happened or the long hair liberal view will stand as the only record. Even if your idea is wrong it must at least be honest. Why are we not defending ourselves?
The older generation, our senior officers and leaders, who knew very well that they acted under instructions from the Nationalists, are dying out. Which means their stories and the historical truth is also dying out with them. They tried - I read the other day an interesting article by a highly respected (by me anyway) former SAP general - to invoke the tu quoque legal principle to defend their actions. Hear my words, it will never work and was already destroyed as a legal defense at the Nuremberg Trials just after the Second World War as was the principle of acting under orders when those orders are illegal. You have to refuse and don't we know how difficult that was and is? Still we did refuse illegal orders when we could.
* Tu quoque is an appeal to hypocrisy saying you did that too! Let me explain in practical terms. Every now and then someone accuses the government of fraud and then the embarrassed long haired liberals will say "Yes, but you know, such things happened in Apartheid too" as if that is an excuse! What they are begging you to understand is that since both are in the wrong we should now leave each other alone and not point fingers. Let me tell you - the law is not concerned about that but what you did. It is a rather silly defense based on desperation and we talk of it often in my legal books. A more common way of putting it is to say "We fought fire with fire." It is a non-argument in law.
And that is my point today. Write your story so that the future generations can at least understand why we did what we did for our intentions were honourable enough. If cynical, I will say that all this comes down to proper criminal trial procedure - make the water so murky that no-one knows what happened and an acquittal is most likely to follow. Don't let the long haired liberals publish their versions of half-truths unchallenged. Put them to the stand to prove everything while you stick with your Shaggy defense.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a practicing commercial law attorney for eight years. He also wrote several books on business, law, counter terrorism and security issues. He is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.