Don’t vote for defeatists

Patton Crossing the Rhine

“Yes, sir, the pause that refreshes.”
General George Patton raises the level of the Rhine a tad.
March 24, 1944

Jeff Jacoby’s Patton and the 2008 vote:

“Americans love a winner,” Patton growled, “and will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win – all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. . . . The very thought of losing is hateful to an American.”

Nowadays, the thought of losing a war isn’t as hateful to some Americans as the thought of losing an election.


  1. Patton also said:

    …My men don’t dig foxholes. I don’t want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don’t give the enemy time to dig one either. We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We’re not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we’re going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks.

    Where have we advanced to lately? Iraq is a damned Monty Mongomery style cluster f if I’ve ever seen one. It is outrageous that anyone claiming to be a conservative would quote Patton in any way that might indicate he’d be for sending our boys over to some God forsaken hell hole like Iraq just to put a target on their backs while we buy the weapons and the ammo for the very people who’d take the shot. And I’d certainly like to hear his thoughts on hiring 150,000 mercinaries too. This will go down in history as the biggest pussy war we’ve ever been involved in.

  2. Well, there’s a big difference between war winning, successfully occupying. As most (but not all!) of the NeoCons have by now discovered! Pikers! Anyone who’d paid even rudimentary attention to world history between their 6th and 8th grades should have been able to figure out an invasion of an Arab Muslim country by an army of Western Christians was a 25 to 30 year gig right off the bat. And wee’re a nation of drive throughs. For most Americans if it’s taken longer than 60 seconds, it’s time to grab the phone diretory, and start leafing through the ambulance chasing section for some brilliant fabricator willing to argue why you’ve been scared for life by the excessive and capricious wait Hey! That sounded pretty good! Maybe I should go to law school! .) Dude! You got to chill out on that merc thing, before you blow a gasket. Although……………..I have to admit when I was going through the messhall line at the Kellog, Brown, and Root Restaurant…………..they frequently unnerved me with their steely eyed gaze, drooping muustaches, eye patches, parrots, and daggers clenched fiercly between their teeth? Whoops……….holy f#$$! They were pirates………not mercs! I’ve been wronging them for all these months!

  3. I seem to recall Patton didn’t particularly care for occupation duty, but he was adamantly against the idea of giving Germany over to the Russians or anyone else after we took it. Whatever opinion he would have of today’s situation, I doubt that giving Iraq to Al Queda (the Hillary / Obama plan) would be his choice.

  4. This is not an occupation. In an occupation you don’t have to wear body armor every day. You don’t have to arm to the teeth to drive across town. You don’t have daily gunfights. To say that’s how things went in Germany is the worst kind of revisionist history. Ours is a dug in force fighting a rear guard action. The enemy has infiltrated our lines because we went in with insufficient force and we did not win the war. You don’t win by toppling a statue on Fox News. I can think of half a dozen ways myself that we could have not dragged this war out 25 years, and that’s what it is, a war not an occupation. No one refers to it as an occupation except the most extreme neocon spin artists. It didn’t take that long to beat a credible enemy, let alone friggen Iraq.

  5. Dfens, you’re a smart guy but you constantly pretend that you don’t know anything about counterinsurgency. Cut it out.

  6. A counter insurgency is where an established and legitimate government is threated by a rebel force. Is that seriously what you’re saying we have in Iraq? More neocon spin, that’s all that is. The Democrats claim it is a civil war – more spin.

  7. Well, Dfens has established that Iraq is not – an occupation – a counter-insurgency – a civil war What is it, Dfens? You say our military is ‘a dug in force fighting a rear guard action,’ but doesn’t that imply a threatening force advancing on our main force? Have I been missing something? I say we’re neither dug in or fighting a rear guard action in Iraq. In short, I say you’re full of it.

  8. Claiming Iraq is not an occupation because it doesn’t mirror or conform to previous occupations is untrue. This is especially true if you’re going to compare Iraq (or the Stan for that matter) to Germany & Japan after WWII. Both Germany & Japan had homogenous populations with lengthy traditions of submission to and/or respect for Central (or at least regional) Government authority. Both G & J’s infrastructures had been stomped flat to a much further degree than anything seen in Iraq (though the Stan is pretty close,in my book). Both G & J’s militaries had received a much more thorough mauling (especially Germany’s), though in Japan’s case I think the militarists were only too willing to die to the last man (thank Manhatten for the bomb, Truman for using them, and the Hirohito for stepping on his military’s collective ambitions and egos). Iraq is an occupation. It’s substantially different from other, or classic occupations, because of unique cultural, social, political, and religious conditions exisitng before and after we went in. You have either minimised, or are ignoring the amount of sustained resistance to Allied occupation of Germany for at least 5 to 6 years after VE day. I certainly have to grant the occupation of Germany was ultimately easier than what Iraq has proven to be so far (and it’s unlikely to become real soon either). I submit the improvement in security & conditions in general, in Iraq the last few months are due to not only more boots on the ground (you’re absolutely correct about inadequate forces being used), but more effective allied techniques being used to manage the disgruntled local nationals (that’s right…..a better counterinsurgency campaign), and some of the social and cultural exhaustion present in Germany at the end of WWII, is finally starting to be manifested amongst certain populations in Iraq. I guess all that death, destruction, and meeting Allah has had the shine knocked off it to some degree. Enough boots on the ground to slap the bleep outta the bad guys each and every time they act up, demonstrating very real social, and life improvments to the locals over a sustained period of time, effective use of residual (Baathist in this case) governmental ifrastructures until a transition to a more modern (inclusive in this case) government/civil service can be made, successfully managing and/or thwarting potential meddlers (can you spell Iran, Syria, China & whoever?) are all keys to a successful occupation. Is any of this acchievable quickly. You’re right…………’s not! Especially in the Middle East. PS: I still haven’t forgiven those steely eyed pricks at KBR for traumatising me.

  9. You did NOT just engage Dfens in a discussion, did you?!? Quick, someone throw an H1-B into the debate!!!

  10. Burger biz slowing down, KTLA? I’m not saying that we aren’t doing a better job in Iraq. I think clearly we are and that the rules of engagement are probably more like what they should have been when we originally went in, but quite frankly, you can occupy a fox hole. That doesn’t make you an occupying force. You win a war today the same way you always have won a war, the same way you always will win a war. You stomp the living crap out of a country and break their will to fight. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few crazies that didn’t get the message, but it means that the vast majority of the society is pacified. Now you are really taking the position that’s what has happened in Iraq. I’m calling your bs. It’s a war. The very premise that started this thread is that we can still lose. I’m tired of hearing the crap about ‘losing the peace’. You don’t lose ‘the peace’. You don’t lose period if there’s no conflict, that’s just stupid neocon spin. Over the years we’ve heard all kind of meaningless spin words thrown out there. It’s a police action, an incursion, an air space violation, we’re sending military advisers, it’s all meaningless crap. We are in a war. We are losing this war simply by the act of being engaged with the enemy for as long as we have been. The longer we are there, the less likely it is we will ever win for reasons I have already covered. You want to vote for a ‘defeatist’ (it’s always good to have another ‘ist’ to talk about) vote for McCain. He’ll have us in Iraq for another 100 years. He thinks that’s winning. 100 years of fighting from a fox hole is winning. That’s what Patton would say, right?

  11. Good one on the burger biz zinger, Dfens. I think you’ve got KTLA really figured out. If you were saying all this in late 2006, I’d tend to agree with you on some points and be willing to grant that others have quite a bit of merit. However, you’re saying all this in 2008 and huge strides have been made while generally avoiding what you say is the only thing that can be done to win. If I’m reading you right, you’re saying there’s no counterinsurgency or occupation because it’s a war, and being at war is simply being at war. Either war=off and there is peace or war=on and you use every weapon in your arsenal to kill and destroy until the enemy submits. I disagree completely. It sounds like you’re saying that since I don’t favor carpet bombing Baghdad, division-sized armored assaults on Iraqi cities, and tactical nuclear weapons against insurgents that I don’t want to win. That, of course, is stupid.

  12. Patton not just the one-dimensional hard-charger you think. He would damn well know how long and difficult it was for Alexander the Great and the Brits to subdue Afghanistan. The Brits had similar experiences in Mesopotamia in the 19th century. Any criticism he would have would be that of a professional soldier – not a political hack.

  13. Yeah, agreed about that, Bram. Murdoc, I’m not saying that we have to carpet bomb Iraq to win. That’s one way we could have won. We could have won other ways. We could have gone in, captured Saddam, scared the hell out of him, and made some agreements with him that he wouldn’t be happy about, but he’d be willing to abide by so as not to end up dead. We could have had an indigenous provisional government waiting in the wings for when we subduded Baghdad instead of installing some US State Department weenie as the new ‘ruler’. We could have killed Saddam but left most of his government in tact so someone else could have taken over his position and the country would have avoided collapse. There are many things we could have done. The problem is, as time goes by most of these options have fallen by the wayside. Even the carpet bombing option would be so horribly cold blooded at this point as to be unforgivable by any civilized measure, so I’d say it is off the table too. So what are we going to do, pay off Iraqi warlords forever? Continue to let our boys get killed so some other president or political party can be left holding the bag? We have achieved our objectives. Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. We know that for sure. We can leave. We should remain willing to come back if they run into significant problems like they get invaded by Iran or taken over by some sort of Taliban like group, but this idea that we have to sit there funding warlords and mercinaries for 100 years while using our kids as meat targets is not winning. It is losing, and the farther we go down that road the harder it is to win.

  14. That was really a general comment, not to say that Murdoc’s or anyone else’s comments are dull, it’s just a dull format for commentary.

  15. Time. Time is on our side if we stay. We stayed as long as we needed to in West Germany, Japan, and South Korea, we didn’t stay in South Vietnam. If we stay – and I don’t necessarily mean high troop levels, but stay involved – Iraq will stabilize and then prosper. Meanwhile, Syria and Iran will circle downward and the contrast will be damming.

  16. From the Genghis Khan school of occupation On effective Rear Guard Action.. One tactic for which the Mongols became famous was to sack a town, leave and then a few days later send a rearguard party back to the sacked town to see if any survivors had made their way back – any such unfortunates were put to death on the spot. In this way entire regions were quite literally stripped of all living souls. How to pacify cities…. Some cities surrendered without fighting. In cities the Mongols were forced to conquer, after killing its fighting men, Genghis divided the survivors by profession. He drafted the few who were literate and anyone who could speak various languages. Those who had been the city’s most rich and powerful he wasted no time in killing,

  17. Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.’ – Wiston Churchill This quoting thing is fun. =D

  18. While bombing them into the stone age, and stripping regions of their populations are supremely amusing diversions for bored occupation troops; I’m thinking they probaly worked better in the 12th century than the 21st. Like I said, hisory is not static you need to morph your techniques to suit the timeline, society, and culture. But if you pay me enough……………..I could see my way clear…………….)

  19. As fond as I am of destroying things, after all that is my business, the fact of the matter is that time is up. Time is not our friend in Iraq. Time is treasure. The more time we spend there, the more this war is costing us. The cost is not just in terms of money, but more importantly lives of our young men which is our greatest treasure. The longer we are fighting in Iraq the more it costs and the harder it is to justify that cost. When we’ve been there 100 years, how could we possibly win? What would be worth that cost? I mean, if the whole damn surface of that God forsaken place fell in and revealed a huge lake of oil 100 miles deep, it would not be worth what we are paying monetarily and in human lives. Right now there is only one course of action that the government bureaucracy is going to give us which is ‘stay the course’. There are too many people making too much money off this war for them to let it end. Then add to that the fact that the current crop of politicians have invested themselves and their reputations in this war and will continue to spin it to their advantage for as long as possible. None of these people wants to pay the price for a failed policy, but they are more than willing to let our young men pay that price. That’s not reasonable. It’s not right. If someone has a good NEW idea for how to win this war, then let’s hear it. Let’s do it. Then let’s pull out in an orderly manner leaving the usual occupying force assuring continued stability of that country. I’m all for that. Now where’s the idea? Absent that idea, I am not willing to send more of our boys to that hell hole just to die for some dumbass politician’s suck hole of a career or so f’ing Blackwater can continue to rob us blind.

  20. The cost of Iraq does not seem to be equal to the threat or danger posed by it. I read an estimate that $8 trillion was spent from 1945 to 1996 on cold war defense spending. That is over 40 years of containing a real, major league threat in the Soviet Union. Iraq will probably end up costing over $1 trillion. Does anyone think Iraq is even remotely on the same scale as the Soveit Union? I have heard of people being upside down on their car loans and now home mortgages. I guess this is like being upside down in your foreign policy.