A great editorial in Investor's Business Daily. I have always thought that the proper analogy between what is going on now in Iraq and Afghanistan is World War II and NOT Vietnam (the only similarity with Vietnam is the continual sniping of the Media and the preposterous framing of every event in the war in the most negative light possible).
On Dec. 22, 1944, almost 60 years ago to the day 22 people died in a mess tent in Mosul, Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe of the 101st Airborne, surrounded in Bastogne, Belgium, by a German offensive that was not expected, responded to a Nazi surrender demand with the famous one word response: "Nuts!"
Things don't always go as planned in war. We certainly found that out in World War II, when our first encounter with the Nazi Wehrmacht, at Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, in February 1943, using outdated tanks and tactics, was a disaster.
As Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld put it recently: "You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have." We learned from our mistakes at Kasserine, and we went on from there to victory. Yet there were more surprises to come.
One wonders how today's press would have handled getting bogged down and taking heavy casualties on Omaha Beach or plodding through hedge row country. Yet nobody said the D-Day assault on Hitler's Festung Europa was badly planned or mismanaged. Our eyes remained on the prize.
On Dec. 16, 1944, Allied forces were surprised by Hitler's last great offensive, and found themselves in the single biggest engagement in which U.S. troops have ever fought. Yet no one demanded Eisenhower resign because he didn't expect the Battle of the Bulge.
Allied intelligence had reports of a transfer of German troops from the Russian Front to the Western front in the fall of 1944, and there was evidence they were regrouping in the Ardennes. But six months after the invasion of Normandy, the war seemed won. The information was not forwarded up the chain of command. In today's vernacular, nobody had bothered to connect the dots.
The battle would involve three German and three American armies and three British divisions, more than a million men. Americans would suffer 80,000 casualties and 19,000 dead — 500 a day. Yet few demanded to know why our intelligence failed. There were no hearings, no demands foe Eisenhower's scalp.
The Nazis had taken everything into account except the sheer determination of the American GI and a nation that knew victory would be worth the price being paid. Operation Iraqi Freedom should be no different. Patience and courage won the day in the Ardennes. It will again in Iraq.
Like General McAuliffe, I say, "Nuts!" to the terrorists; "Nuts!" to the Mainstream media; and "Nuts!" to all the doom and gloom purveyors on the Left and Right. If you can't see what is at stake here, then you have lost any credibility with me. I am glad you not around when my father fought in WWII.
In the safe retrospect of 50 years, you praise him and his brothers as "the Greatest Generation"; but you haven't the sense to see that OUR generation is engaged in a war whose outcome may determine the course of human events for centuries to come. And our response to this challenge will determine our place in history. Will we live up to our fathers' sacrifices? Or, will we be known as the "Loser Generation" --the ones who abandoned the fight for Liberty and Democracy because it was too hard? Nuts to that.
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