But I still state unhesitatingly, that for pure, vacillating stupidity, for superb incompetence to command, for ignorance combined with bad judgement - in short, for the true talent for catastrophe - Elphy Bey stood alone. Others abide our question, but Elphy outshines them all as the greatest military idiot of our own and any other day. .
Only he could have permitted the First Afghan War and let it develop to such ruinous defeat. It was not easy: he started with a good army, a secure position, some excellent officers, a disorganized enemy, and repeated opportunities to save the situation. But Elphy, with the touch of true genius, swept aside these obstacles with unerring precision, and out of order wrought complete chaos. We shall not, with luck, look upon his like again.
(from Flashman, by George MacDonald Fraser)