"Einstein famously said, “Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.” Then he added, “And I’m not so sure about the universe.”" So begins a brilliant Moth story about maths, romance, astrophysics and the unity of all things, which you can read here (or see on the YouTube clip embedded in it).
The bit about infinite stupidity sprang to mind when later in my Monday reading I came across an enlightening post about the origins of ANZAC Day ...
I have read a bit about Gallipoli and the ill-fated attack begun on 25 April 2015. I have been familiar with the facts of its general stupidity as an operation: a prior naval attack had failed to set the situation properly for a military attack; the landings were mucked up; the strength of the Turks was underestimated; too much was decided in London.
But I had thought the general strategy was not stupid, that securing the Dardenelles would lead to the securing of Constantinople and that would provide the way for a new flank to open against Germany and shorten the war.
But reading this post at "Not PC" I now realise that much, much more stupidity was at work. The plan was less about opening a new flank against Germany and more about cravenly offering the Russians a vital conquest in their geopolitical strategic plan. To say nothing of the stupidity of thinking that in return the Russians would meekly give up other parts of that plan. As if!
Worse, from the stupidity point of view, there was no particular need to help Russia in this way at that time.
So, as the Not PC post points out, somehow a futile battle for a faulty plan led by fallible generals and politicians not our own - a plan we Down Under blithely went along with, like good colonies, eager to please their masters - becomes the myth of the forging of new, proud, independent nations.
Well, we weren't particularly "new" as a result of WW1 (see what we did in WW2) and we certainly did not become "independent" soon after (and are we yet a republic with our own Head of State?) but we do have reason to be "proud."
Whatever happened before, during and after Gallipoli from a geo-political or military strategic perspective, our men (and our women nursing them) fought bravely and sacrificially.
We will remember them.