Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wanker du jour: Vic the Brick

It is almost a gimme at this point: if Victor Davis Hanson puts up a column, he is the odds-on favorite to lead the wank parade. And today is no exception; his entry is his latest piece, Throw-in-the-towel remarks common in past U.S. wars.

"I implore you to inaugurate or invite proposals for peace forthwith. And in case peace cannot now be made, consent to an armistice for one year."

What unpopular war was that?

And does the following gloom about American military prospects also sound familiar?: "Unless some positive and immediate action is taken, hope for success cannot be justified. . . . Final destruction can reasonably be contemplated."

The first throw-in-the-towel remark, however, did not come from Howard Dean or John Murtha -- but from Horace Greeley about the Civil War during the depressing summer of 1864. And the second quote is Douglas MacArthur's bleak assessment not long after the Chinese Red Army crossed the Yalu River in the autumn of 1950.

Similar despair could be recalled from the winter of 1776, the Imperial German offensive of March 1918 or the early months of 1942 after Pearl Harbor and the Allies' loss of the Philippines and Singapore.

Ah, yes. The good Dr. Classics loves his Wayback machine, and often reaches back a few millenia to find support for his arguments. Here he limits himself to American history in his search for reasons to stop worrying and love the IED.

So let's tally up his inventory of past conflicts, shall we? There's the War of Independence, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea ..... wait. Isn't he missing one? Let me think.... Oh, yeah -- VIET FUCKING NAM.

Professor Doomed-to-repeat-it has labored mightily to avoid and debunk the obvious, elephant-in-the-room parallels between Quagmire I and Quagmire II for some time. Here he conveniently omits Vietnam from his list, though he does engage in his trademarked backhand sans evidence near the end of the piece:

Some Americans cannot see any of this yet, because we are still in our own summer of 1864. But as the conditions in Iraq improve, and comparisons to our sole loss in Vietnam ring hollow, expect critics to grow silent. And savvy fence-sitters like Hillary Clinton will begin to preen, rather than express ambivalence, over past votes to remove Saddam.

The blame game is not unusual on the impatient home front during American wars -- and is soon mostly forgotten after we finally win. Iraq is, and will be, no exception.

Well, that sure settles that. Of course, if wishes were horses, Hanson would be one big-ass Cydsedale. But we are winning, y'all. Vic promises.

Speaking of wishes, here is his take on the words of the naysayers:

In this context, Dean's assertion that the present war is unwinnable or John Kerry's claim that our troops are engaging in terrorizing Iraqis is hardly novel.

Second, there is also no necessary connection between occasionally terrible news and the final outcome of the war. The near-fatal losses of the Army of the Potomac in 1864, the advances of the Kaiser's armies in the 1918 German offensive or the carnage on Okinawa in May and June 1945 nevertheless all presaged our own victory not much later.

Notice the rhetorical sleight of hand here -- what Dean and Kerry say has been said before, therefore it is wrong. Bad things "occasionally" happened to us in previous wars and we won them, so bad news is really good news!

What crop do you grow on that farm of yours Vic, and why do you insist on bogarting it?


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