ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Patton and Victory

An email from a good personal friend to this YouTube video of a reincarnated Patton talking about Iraq and the War on Terror was great. It prompted me to pull up the original clip of George C. Scott as Patton and I thought it'd be appropriate to post here, given the modern desire to completely dismantle any shred of strength that our nation has today - purely for (domestic) political purposes.



While it's not specific to Iraq or the War On Terror, it does shed some light on how far we've slid from our can-do attitude of World War II. Has anyone ever heard Colin Powell (last seen protecting his underling's leaking of a "covert" CIA agent and undermining the President's foreign policy) speak in such terms?

Where are the Pattons of today? I'd have to say that the closest thing is Petraeus, but even he is no measure of Patton's abilities. Schwarzkopf was close, but he was somewhat of an idiot from a tactics & strategy standpoint. He's tough, but didn't have a lot of imagination.

No, today even Generals talk in the hushed tones and would seem better suited to be wearing a cashmere sweater when speaking to the troops in order to get their compassionate message across. They're simply reflecting the society in which they are operating, so it's ultimately our fault. If we were more confident and resolute in our desire for victory, and understood that greasing the treads of your tank with the guts of your enemies was something that was necessary to win, then they would be willing to convey that message.

Instead, Generals are called before the Ann Curry's of the world to discuss how things are going, when we might be able to stop killing the enemy, etc.

How far we've come... How foreign Patton's words seem today. (His actual speech can be found here)

Have we become that soft?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (13)
Jim Durbin said...

I watched this the other day - the full movie - and thought the same thing.

Have we become soft?

"To an American, the very idea of losing is hateful, which is why America will never lose a war."

Of course - the movie was in 1970, so I thought of it in terms of what happened just a few years later.

Still - a good mashup showing the difference between Patton and, say Obama, would be welcome.

Monterey John said...

I saw this movie while I was in the Army on Post at Fort Leonard Wood, "shoveling shit in Missouri." Needless to say I had pretty mixed feelings at the time. But I think the dominant feeling was one of guilt for not being in the action. Patton was right then and he is right now.

If we are not going to go about things in his spirit, we shouldn't be doing it at all. I cringe at the thought of a war run by politicians, particularly the likes of Obama or Clinton. They will get more people killed than a person like Patton ever dreamed of.

The enemy must be crushed.

Thank God Bush has the Patton spirit, but he is running out of time.

Stupid Country said...

I suggest that the problem isn't that "we" have become "soft." The problem is that more and more Americans are convinced that "we" are not the ones who ever felt this war was even remotely comparable to Patton's war, or that it was our war, or that it was necessary or advisable or moral or even feasible.

The real question is, who's this "we" you keep talking about? It's pretty clear that, while you and Bush and his entourage may fall within a common "we" with respect to this country's blundering foreign adventures, Obama and all of the other Democratic hopefuls, and I, along with most Americans these days, sit outside that circle.

Hate to be the one to break it to you, but your "we" is shrinking.

St Wendeler said...

SC - When the nation goes to war, it's the entire nation. If you do not agree with the war or wish to shy away from going to war, you should've convinced your representative to not authorize the use of military force.

Once you are committed, you don't seek to undermine our forces and assist the enemy (something that even Rosie admits she's doing, although I don't think she understands that she's admitted to that).

My point here is that because of the lack of support at home and the constant attacks from the Left regarding our conduct of the war, the generals and civilian leadership are fighting the war with one hand tied behind our back. We are not as strong-willed as we were during world war II (or even Korea for that matter).

Fighting a war to not offend the sensibilities of a few politicians in D.C. is no way to win a war.

And while support for the war may be down, I think you read too much into it to think that people are all anti-war "progressives" such as yourself. Many are not happy that the war is not being fought as strongly as it should be.

War in the middle east is necessary... continuing the status quo (not an especially "progressive" position) would only mean increased likelihood of death and destruction within the civilized world. Transforming the region and bringing the Middle East into the 21st (or perhaps 20th?) century is required before we will be safe. It's a difficult task and may prove impossible. But the alternative will be much more painful in the long run.

Stupid Country said...

When the nation goes to war, it's the entire nation.

Nah. You're voicing an obsolete myth, a relic of the days when people instinctively trusted government. These days, most Americans view government as principally concerned with partisan dynasty-building, not competent or ethical leadership. An administration that isn't trusted can bully Congress into taking the country to an unnecessary war, but it can't sustain that bullying forever.

Your point seems to be that the society's dwindling support for the war is evidence of collective softness and decadence. You're way off.

Our government owes its power to the consent of the governed. What you’re seeing is this government losing that consent.

Our freedom to withhold that consent actually is this democracy's best hope and greatest strength.

Stupid Country said...

If you do not agree with the war or wish to shy away from going to war, you should've convinced your representative to not authorize the use of military force.

Yeah, well…my representative used to be Rush Holt, who did not authorize the war in Iraq. But by then, I’d been redistricted out of Holt’s sphere. My rep’s now Mike Ferguson, a neocon Republican and Bush’s boy. I don’t really expect to have much sway with Mike, but I do my bit by voting against him when I can.

Republicans are determined to delay the inevitable long enough so that blame for the eventual, utter collapse of Iraq can be laid at the feet of the Democrats after the 2008 elections.

They can do this because the Republicans still have enough strength in the Senate to stop the Democrats’ initiatives by threatening to filibuster.

Note carefully and give this some genuine thought: No Democrat has ever suggested breaking this logjam through the “Nuclear Option” of revoking the minority right to filibuster, as the former Republican majority threatened during its waning days. One wonders why not. Could it possibly be a matter of scruples?

Anonymous said...

ANONYMOUS WRITES:

ANONYMOUS HAS ALREADY WRITTEN IN DETAIL ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR. ANONYMOUS THINKS THE LAST SIX YEARS WERE LOST IN CATCHING THE REAL VILLAIN THE CAVEMEN TERRORISTS OF OSAMA AND MULLAH OMAR. ANONYMOUS WILL WRITE IN DETAIL ABOUT THESE LATER..MAY BE TOMORROW..ANONYMOUS IS INCREASINGLY SOBER..NO VODKA INDUCED BLOGGING..BLOGGING UNDER THE INFLUENCE IS NO OFFENCE IS IT? BUI ACTUALLY MAKES ANONMYOUS SOBER THAN BNUI N FOR NOT AND NOT NUT.

ANYWAYS WILL WRITE IN DETAIL ABOUT THE DURAND LINE TOMORROW....ST.WENDELER THE DURAND LINE IS MORE IMPORTANT TO AMERICA'S SECURITY THAN BRINGING THE MIDDLE EAST TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY....CAN YOU BRING THE DURAND LINE TO THE NINETEENTH CENTURY THAT WILL BE A BIG ACHIEVEMENT....AND SOME OF AMERICA'S EVANGELICAL RADICALS TO THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY....THAT WOULD BE A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT AS WELL..

SINCERELY AND SANELY,
ANONYMOUS

St Wendeler said...

SC - The Dems recognize that under-cutting our military and the War On Terror is not a good move for the country.

If they really wanted to cut the funding, they could get the votes. But, they have to consider the will of the people (ie, voters).

The fact that Mike Ferguson is your rep means that more people in your district agree with Mike than with you. This is called representative democracy.

Stupid Country said...

SW -- Please cite evidence for the assertion that if the Democrats wanted to cut the funding they could get the votes. It requires 60 in the Senate, and they don't have that, as was the issue when the Republicans had a similar majority and the Nuclear Option got dropped on the table.

We're a very polarized society.

I also seriously doubt the suggestion that the "Dems recognize that under-cutting our military and the War On Terror is not a good move for the country." I think too many of the Dems are just too afraid for their seats to really test the will of the people. I think a significant majority of actual voters would reward the Dems if they could just find a way out of this stalemate and cut the funds. But it's all academic unless the Dems have a supermajority after 2008. Unless that happens, it'll all have to be done by executive order. But that seems to work.

St Wendeler said...

"Dems recognize that under-cutting our military and the War On Terror is not a good move for the country." I think too many of the Dems are just too afraid for their seats to really test the will of the people. I think a significant majority of actual voters would reward the Dems if they could just find a way out of this stalemate and cut the funds.

1) What is good for the country is not always what is good politically.

2) Given their history, I would bet that the various methods of cutting funding, removing troops, securing defeat and the multitude of ways that each of these methods could be "framed" have been polled endlessly around the country. The problem is that the Dem base is anti-war (not because of any facts, but simply because they're anti-Bush). Unfortunately, the center is not so clear cut - people are not against the war, just against losing a war.

3) I guess it comes down to this... if you hear of progress in Iraq (such as fewer Iraqi civilian deaths, major progress in killing Al Qaeda in Iraq, etc) and your first reaction is this is bad news because makes my party's political situation difficult (or to quote the Majority Whip in the House, "[progress in Iraq could be] a real big problem for us"), you may as well be a traitor.

You mentioned earlier how this is a Republican war or Bush's war and that the country wasn't at war. The reason for that isn't because of the GOP or Bush, but rather that the Dems have staked their political success on the failure of our efforts in Iraq.

Stupid Country said...

I wouldn't say the Dem base is antiwar. A lot of the people you call "liberals" are hardly pacifist -- they'd have been ok with committing troops to Darfur, or a lot of us would have, if that had ever been suggested. We're just anti THIS war.

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but my beef with it is not that it's a Republican war or Bush's war, but that it's a war conceived by choice to protect corporate interests and not to further anything that I can accept had or has to do with legitimate interdiction of terrorism.

I can't agree with your spin that "the Dems have staked their political success on the failure of our efforts in Iraq." I suggest the Repubs have staked the survival of their ideology on "victory" in Iraq, and that any such victory is a mirage. The Dems happen to have a windfall of support coming because we're a two-party system, and the Repubs are collapsing under the weight of this failed policy. Other side of the same coin, maybe.

St Wendeler said...

"[success in Iraq] could be a real big problem for us."

At the end of the day, the Dems benefit politically if more US soldiers are killed in combat, if Iraq turns into genocide, and if the Al-Qaeda sets up shop in Baghdad.

I wouldn't like to be in that position you know, because I like it when we WIN.

And the American people are starting to rethink their position on the Surge and whether it's having any impact. Yes, as your Majority Whip in the house pointed out, success in Iraq may prove troublesome for the Dems.

Dems had better cut the cord before this thing gets too far.

Stupid Country said...

Well, first a quick reminder that I don’t speak for Democrats – only for myself.

But I will push back on the suggestion that the Dems benefit if Iraq falls into “genocide.” Suspend disbelief for a moment and accept my premise that the next president will be a Democrat, and will preside over US withdrawal from Iraq. I suggest, further, in my earlier comments that whatever happens in Iraq after that is already more or less inevitable. It’s inevitable because of seeds sown by the present policy; the next administration will just have to deal with what comes next. Might be genocide; certainly will be a hot civil war.

Republicans will then attempt to rebuild credibility by spinning these events as the results of the Democrats’ withdrawal policy, as opposed to the original blunder of invading in the first place – I submit that this strategy is already formalized and is the main reason there’s such unanimity among the Republican presidential candidates on support for staying the course in Iraq. It’s the party line. Criticism of the pullout is going to be intense; I hardly see how this is advantageous for the Dems. It’s going to become their plague.

Also, I can’t agree with the scenario in which “Al-Qaeda sets up shop in Baghdad.” That scenario is absurd. Even Sunni Iraqis despise al Qaeda and will marginalize them. The most articulate explanation of this that I’ve seen comes from an article I’ve shared with you previously, from the Cato Institute, hardly a liberal Democratic front organization.

I don’t know what you mean by the “cut the cord” comment.

Hey, by the way, I got a hostile e-mail from one Richard Cordero. Friend of yours?