As the 1970's began, so did the sparks of revolution and quite frankly terrorsism. Rhodesia, known as the breadbasket of Africa hosted mineral wealth and a well oiled agricultural system. Hacked out of the primal lands of Africa, farms and ranches supplied Rhodesia and surrounding countries with staples of life. Like rural America, it became the backbone of its psyche and economic stability. The quality of life was among the best in Africa for both whites and blacks.
Thomas Blanding, a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam war began to organize private security for these outposts against increasingly violent terror attacks. Some were lured with the old romanticism of soldiers of fortune. Many took contracts and were disappointed that they did not become rich enough to retire to a fiefdom after a few months patrolling cattle tracks and manning observations posts at night. Sadly, those that came and went were not attatched to the country itself and proved of little use to fight the coming scourge.
Initially service in the Armed Forces of Rhodesia was not a first choice for many. Doing so could cause a loss of citizenship in the United States. Going back back to the strategic concepts of the United States during the Cold war, covert support of anti communist forces were common in Africa. The United States was heavily involved in the Congo after Belgum forfeited its colonial rule. When a gap in power appeared, Mobutu was courted heavily by the CIA. The ever grinding chess game with the Soviets was a top priority on the Continent. The US involvement in south east asia was predicated on the premise of stopping communism.
However, a changing political climate in the United States was emerging. The age old issue of racism was being dealt with in a major way. And rightly so. The Civil Rights movement put America on a tight rope of walking the talk at home and abroad.
The terrorist revolution taking hold in Rhodesia was predicated on Racism and Anti Colonialism. The rhetoric was made is such a way that forced countries to choose its side. Would they support European domination of Rhodesia or help the downtrodden African regain its land and wealth from Salisbury. The new America was in a state of indecision and decided to back the British its closest ally.
One might ponder from afar the merits of cutting off support from oppressive white regimes. But that is only one side of the story. Those on the ground away from the halls of power saw that the wars of liberation took the highest toll on those they were supposedly liberating. I find this blurb interesting and more accurate as the facts represent.
" That the terrorist war in the Zambezi salient represents a "national war of liberation" against the established government . That this is total rubbish can easily be proved by the fact that, as the Minister of Defence stated in a television interview on July 22, the largest number of atrocities have been committed against Africans (as was the case in Kenya during the Mau Mau emergency). In other words the people on whose behalf the "insurrection" has been instigated are proving to be its major victims. This fact underscores the basic tenet that the terrorist is essentially a criminal (seeking influence and power within a chosen area with the familiar instruments of the criminal - terror and intimidation), and certainly not a soldier. Hostile news media seeks to identify the former with the latter. This is reflected in the wilful and glib confusion of the two terms "guerrilla" and "terrorist". "