We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, June 24. 2008
From Investor's Business Daily:
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
So glad that you printed this. Subconsciously, we all feel as if the world began the day we were born, and for us it did, and unless we have grounding and a sense of history, we don't realize much of this has happened before.
Historically, we have some Western nations which have been our friends over a long period of time. But I think, with the growing threat of aggressive Islamofascism, we had better solidify our traditional alliances in Western society, as well as initiate new ones. Because, sure as the sun rises tomorrow, this battle between the Mid-East and the West is going to be a long conflict. And we have to win.
This if just what is meant by that old saw that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.
too bad the people who need to read this are busy reading moveon.org and thus we will repeat our past mistakes. The Holocaust is happening right now in Darfur and Sierra Leone.
The more I thought about it, the more I thought the original email was bogus. I did a tiny bit of research and confirmed it.
First of all, many of the "similarities" are true of any war. Ups and downs, waxing and waning popularity, battles lost and battles won, this could said about any war, the Civil War, WWI or WWII for instance. Of course there are bad days and good days.
The Revolution was fought here. We did not invade another country. HUGE difference.
As far as the Georges go, Washington was not the President during the Revolution. He didn't become President until 1789, 8 years after the British surrender. During the war, he was a general in the army. He was, in fact, THE general, in command of the army. So, he was more like a Norman Schwarzkopf or a David Petraeus than a George Bush.
The article talks about him lobbying congress to get them into the war. Simply, not true. Fighting had already broken out. After the war had already begun, Congress asked Washington to lead the army due to his reputation from the French and Indian War. He initially stated that he was not equal to the task, but eventually accepted the position.
The article talks about Washington lobbying foreign nations for support. Again, not true. He wasn't the President. He was a general in the army. He was too busy fighting to visit other countries. He, at that point, had nothing to do with foreign policy.
The article talks about making changes at dark times, such as adding more troops, an obvious reference to the "surge" sending more of our troops to Iraq. Not at ALL the same thing that happened in the Revolution. Today, we have a large professional army with troops around the world. It was a decision of how to deploy the forces (moving some from bases here in the states to Iraq). When the Revolution started, we had no army. We weren't a country. Throughout the war, Washington used every soldier he had against the Brits. He didn't decide to do a "surge" of sending more of our available troops into the battle. There were no more available. It is true that after the winter of 1777-78 spent at Valley Forge, the army did emerge better organized and became more successful, but this wasn't due to any troop surge by Washington. It was primarily because of a training program led by Baron von Steuben, an experienced Prussian military man who decided to help the Americans. This has NOTHING in common with Bush's "surge". The other incident in the Revolution that might have been the one they were trying to compare to Bush's surge was Dec '76/Jan '77 when Washington, in a brilliant tactical move, sneaked across the Delaware and surprised the Hessians at Trenton, NJ., capturing 1,000 troops. He followed this up with a quick victory at Princeton. These victories improved morale and inspired more men to join the army. Again, quite different from Bush and his surge, which was just a decision to move already available troops from places like Georgia and Texas to Baghdad.
Also, the article mentions that only one other nation helped us during the Revolution. This was France. Not only did they help, they sent a fleet and many, many soldiers. Without the help of the Marquis de Lafayette and Wilhelm de Forbach, French naval and army leaders, we would never have come close to winning. Lafayette's naval victories were especially crucial. Today, the involvements of other nations are token at best. In France, we had a super-power of the day as a major ally. They committed significant resources to help us defeat the British.
A few other differences between Washington and Bush that demonstrate how ridiculous any comparisons are. These are direct quotes from the Wikipedia article on Washington.
Regarding Washington as general of the army during the war:
"Washington's refusal to become involved in politics buttressed his reputation as a man fully committed to the military mission at hand and above the factional fray."
Regarding his time as president:
"Washington was not a member of any political party, and hoped that they would not be formed out of fear of the conflict and stagnation they could cause governance."
"Washington proved an able administrator. An excellent delegator and judge of talent and character, he held regular cabinet meetings to debate issues before making a final decision. In handling routine tasks, he was "systematic, orderly, energetic, solicitous of the opinion of others but decisive, intent upon general goals and the consistency of particular actions with them." "
"Washington reluctantly served a second term as president. He refused to run for a third, establishing the customary policy of a maximum of two terms for a president which later became law by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution."
So, you can see, any attemps to compare the roles of these 2 Georges and their wars is a complete misrepresentation. These wars, in fact, have nothing in common.
Here's a thought:
Adolph H's war.
In 1940 a leader took a great risk, went against many of his advisors and invaded another country. The country he invaded was France. He had great success. His superior forces rolled their tanks across the country and soon controlled it. However, as the years drug on, pockets of resistance began to develop. Other countries began to send support to the resistance. Eventually, the invadors could no longer support their forces. They ran out of money and supplies. The invasion failed. Sound like anybody we know? If you simplify and leave out significant parts of the story, it's easy to make bogus comparisons. George Bush isn't Hitler, but he's certainly not George Washington either. By the way, this is the work of about 45 seconds. I'm sure, if I took the time, I could draw more parallels between Hitler and Bush. That wouldn't make it valid either.
What a load of BS. This article attempts to say that this war is justified and this president is a great leader because a previous leader received similar disagreement. It may be a feel good "see I told you so" attempt at making W supporters feel either vindicated or under appreciated, but the logic simply holds no water. After all, lets say that instead of looking at this from the point of view of W/Iraq, you look at it from the point of view of any losing combatant - Germany in WWI or WWII, the US South in the Civil War, etc, etc. These same allegations would be present, and yet the origins were dubious and the results unsuccessful. Even the author if this screed tells us that a "victory" depends on "the unlikeliest of circumstances and perhaps the most historic example of military luck".
The simplicity of this article is astounding. It assumes that "victory" in Iraq is as simple to define as it was in an 18th century transoceanic war. It assumes that W was not misleading anyone and that Congress was not, 3 weeks before elections, pressured into voting in an expedient way (not to excuse those spineless weasels) and it draws so many fallacious implications and conclusions as to be worthy itself of only scorn. Definitely not worthy of serious consideration.