Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ghost Of Dolchstoss Past

Mass battlefield desertions seem to pose a special threat to the illusion:

Earlier this week, much hay was made when an Iraqi Army company deserted its position in Sadr City. The next day, the New York Times interviewed an Iraqi Army company commander, also from Sadr City, who left his unit to take leave and speculated he may not come back. In two days, the narrative for the Iraqi Army and U.S. military incursion is set: The Iraqi Army is falling apart.

Both of these stories get a feature-length report, while successes of the Iraqi Army are relegated to single paragraph throwaways. ...

Bill Roggio, The Weekly Standard, 4/18/08


And so in early 1967, Joe McGinniss, then just a young reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, would spend a day traveling with Westmoreland to the coastal town of Phan Thiet. There a young American officer startled McGinniss by giving an extraordinarily candid briefing on how bad the situation was, how incompetent the ARVN was. Westmoreland had demanded the briefing and the young American had been uneasy about giving it, apologizing for being so frank with a reporter present, but finally it had come pouring out: the ARVN soldiers were cowards, they refused to fight, they abused the population, in their most recent battle they had all fled, all but one man. That one man had stood and fought and almost single-handedly staved off a Vietcong attack. When the officer had finished his briefing, still apologizing for being so candid, Westmoreland turned to McGinniss and said, "Now you see how distorted the press image of this war is. This is a perfect example -- a great act of bravery and not a single mention of it in the New York Times."

David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest

6 Comments:

Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

Catch the New York Times article about the perspective of an Iraqi captain who deserted? He said his troops had run out of ammunition, and the Mahdi Army (his opponents in the battle) called up his house and said "we know where you live". There's an oft-quoted saying in the military about how the point of war is "not to die for your country, but to make the other poor bastard die for his country." Interesting that the saying apparently applies to our allies as well as our enemies.

Hey, iTulip has a rock-solid article today about the signs of inflation. Dovetails well with your Weimar Watch series. If you post another "Inflation Chronicles" I will try to remember to link to iTulip again in the comments. Candy bars, surly wait staff, absolutely everything your readers have already mentioned -- placed in economic context.

4/22/2008 8:21 AM  
Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Let those who have broken this Republic and turned it to Empire continue to throw the youth and treasure of this nation in the black hole that is Iraq. It only brings us closer to the day of reckoning against the enemies of the Republic. History is only repeating itself. The Empire never ended. Look at Egypt, Rome, etc. We are now staring history in the face. The rich and powerful are once again exploiting the multitude. This nation was founded as a rejection of imperial supremacy and executive lawlessness. Now the tables have turned and we are the Empire that we so abhorred in the past. In the words of Lincoln, "a house divided against itself cannot stand". We must marshal the courage to stand for the Republic before it is to late and all that is left is the Empire.

4/22/2008 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CR, I don't know if I read this excerpt from Halberstam's book on your site or not, but between reading the excerpts on your site and the now defunct Whiskey Bar, I picked up the book and read it. It's really amazing how little we apparently learned from that war. We made and are making the same mistakes in Iraq. It's ridiculously frustrating.

4/22/2008 12:29 PM  
Blogger Spider said...

Here is a classic example of irony. Goto Amazon.com and search for David Halberstam's book, The Best and The Brightest that TCR quotes from so often. The previous commentor wrote, It's really amazing how little we apparently learned from that war. We made and are making the same mistakes in Iraq.

Well guess who reviewed this book and wrote a forward.

Review
"For anyone who aspires to a position of national leadership, no matter the circumstances of his or her birth, this book should be mandatory reading. And anyone who feels a need, as a confused former prisoner of war once felt the need, for insights into how a great and good nation can lose a war and see its worthy purposes and principles destroyed by self-delusion can do no better than to read and reread David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest."
--from the Foreword by Senator John McCain


Guess he didn't learn either.


"Isn't it ironic, don't ya think!"

4/22/2008 1:54 PM  
Anonymous steel building said...

The writer is absolutely just, and there is no doubt.

5/15/2011 11:45 AM  
Anonymous kamagra said...

That is all wrong what you are writing.

5/15/2011 11:46 AM  

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