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June 22, 2005

"Are We There Yet?"

huh mom? Are we there yet? Where's the hotel? Tell Jimmy to keep his hands off me! He keeps putting his stuff on my half of the seat!

At this point dad turns to mom and says "do something", whereby she turns around and says "do not make us stop this car! I told you it would be several hours before we get there

!

Who hasn't experienced something like this? Either as a kid, parent, or both.

This is how Tony Snow characterized liberal criticism of the war in Iraq the other day, and I laughed all the way in the car driving to work because it is so true.

Liberals (ok, not all but many) sound like the little kids in the back seat. From day one the Bush administration told everyone that the war on terror would take a long time to win. But no one wants to hear that.

Wars are also unpredictable. Yes, I know, no great insight in that comment. But it's true, and needs to be resaid.

Briefly, here's why; it has to do with what I call "The Myth of the Glorious Crusade"

Let's just get this out of the way up front; many of us who advocated invading Iraq got it wrong. We expected a harder conventional fight and not an insurgency that would last so long. We were burned why what Clausewitz called "the friction of war"

Liberals and leftists have no reason to gloat, however, as they've gotten even more wrong. They told us that there would be thousands of American casualties (just as they did before the Gulf War), and there would surely be a massive "battle of Baghdad" that would drag on for months. They also predicted massive a massive humanitarian disaster and civil war, neither of which happened. They also told us that the entire Mideast would erupt - the "Arab street" routine - which did't happen either. And about a million other horrors, none of which occured.

Between us and the liberals, I'll take our mistakes. Any day.

Like most events, there is no exact parallel in history. The simple fact is that most wars do not turn out like "everyone" thought they would. Obviously the defeated side did not predict things right. But usually the victor didn't either.

The Myth of the Glorious Crusade

There is a tendancy, I think, to view all the wars in which we have been victorious as great crusades in which we all link arms and march off to defeat an enemy. This is borne, I believe, of World War II, in which we pretty much did just that. But most of our other wars were different.

In the Revolutionary War only one-third of the colonists were patriots. Another third were British loyalists, and the remainder didn't care. The patriots spend so much time bickering among themselves it's a wonder we won.

The Civil War went badly for the North for the first several years. The war became unpopular, and the Federal Army did not meet it's recruiting goals. The government resorted to a draft, which was resisted so fiercely that in 1863 it led to bloody riots in New York City. Lincoln thought he was going to lose the 1864 election to ex-union general George McClellan, and the public only came around to supporting Lincoln after several Union victories, including the capture of Atlanta.

In World War II we were certainly united, but our conduct of the war was as often as not inept. I've gone of this in in another post so please go there for details.


Today is June 22, 2005, and no we are not there yet, so stop your whining and stop hitting your brother.

Posted by Tom at June 22, 2005 8:38 PM

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