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Sunday, August 17, 2003
Idi Amin

Well, it had to happen sooner or later:
Idi Amin, the former Ugandan dictator who presided over the deaths of almost 500,000 people in his eight-year rule in the 1970s, died aged 80 yesterday in a Saudi hospital where he had been in a coma since mid-July.
Read more here. What a shame the monster lasted so long and was never brought to justice.

One could have thought of a more appropriate end for him. General Sir John Hackett, the late soldier/historian, predicted something suitably nasty. Writing in 1978 he says, in a passage referring to 'Field Marshal Omotin' (clearly meant to be Amin)
...the morale...of his...countrymen was greatly raised by the news that he had fallen into the hands of his former victims... They had taken their revenge by blowing him from the muzzle of a 76mm gun.
This extract is taken from Hackett's book The Third World War: A Future History (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1978), ISBN 028398449X, p. 40. However, that's no more accurate about the demise of Amin than any of his other predictions.

The book, published in 1978 but set in 1985, describes World War III in some detail. Having read it on publication, I ought to be reading it again to see if Hackett got anything right. A quick glance suggests that he didn't.

So, generals are no better than politicians at reading events accurately; the current shower have been remarkably unsuccessful. Tony Blair, in particular, needs a new set of entrails or tea leaves to study.

Now where was I? Bidding good riddance to an old tyrant: Amin apparently dreamed of returning one day to Uganda in triumph. I know it's much more short term but that won't be what's awaiting Blair on his return from the Bahamas. Perhaps the big gun, instead...

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