Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Historical Precedent

"I’m not going pull the troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete."
--President George W. Bush, speech in Riga, Latvia, November 28, 2006

This kind of determination always sounds good, but it fails miserably when the battlefield and mission were poorly chosen in the first place. In the case of Iraq, the original mission (WMDs) was hollow and the new mission (quell insurgency) was thrust upon us. And we did not choose the battlefield: it was Al Qaeda that decided to fight us in Iraq, not the other way around. It was never our plan to fight Al Qaeda there... they weren't even in Iraq before we got there.

I thought I might recall a few other instances where such simplistic stubbornness got us into trouble, or would have done:

The Vietnam War expands to Cambodia and Laos, 1969-71

The German army breaks itself against Stalingrad, 1942-43

"The Miracle of Dunkirk" 330,000 allied soldiers evacuate France, 1940

ANZAC troops are slaughtered at Gallipoli, 1915


Anonymous said...

Did Bush forget that, three years ago, he already said, "Mission Accomplished"?


// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

You left of the photo of the chopper lifting off from the US Embassy in Vietnam. I bet that can go right next to the toppling of the Saddam statue as in interesting juxtaposition.

Reading State of Denial, I can tell that Bush has no idea what is going on. No one tells him and he doesn't inquire. Not an inquisitive man.


// posted by UNWest

Anonymous said...

Changing the mission in wartime is not per se a bad idea. In the US Civil War, the mission changed from preserving the union to establishing a new union without slavery. It was contentious but ultimately worked. But the union was massively committed to the task and the cost of "withdrawal" was also the hugest we would have ever paid. Change in mission probably saved that war. Similarly, WWI got a shot in the arm when Wilson recharacterized it as a "war to save democracy." The war acutally ended in part because Wilson changed the Allies' victory terms from abject surrender of the Central powers to "a war to end all wars" and a "just peace." That Versailles did not live up to this goal did not matter.

So I think the issue is not that you cna't change the mission in wartime, but you should choose the change, not have it thrust upon you. 

// posted by LTG