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March 22, 2008

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M. Simon

Gallipoli.

SteveMG

There's the old saying that armies don't fight wars; nations fight wars. And since all wars are, from my reading, mostly a series of blunders and counter-blunders (read about the Battle of Leyte Gulf or even Midway; hell, any major battle or war), the party that is best able or more willing to sustain those mistakes wins.

The examples that are cited above emanate mostly from the view that the opposing side was unwilling or incapable of sustaining the fight and would, at some point, either surrender or sue for peace on favorable terms to the aggressor.

Al-Qaeda (and the former Baathists) simply cannot defeat the US militarily in Iraq. They can't.

They can defeat us if the country is unwilling to sustain the conflict. Yglesias and most on the left (and some on the non-left) simply think that we cannot sustain our efforts while the extremists can. Or more accurately, should not sustain our efforts.

PeterUK

Most campaign were long shots,if they failed,but the history of warfare is replete with example where long shots succeeded.Alexander of Macedonia was certainly a long shot against Xerxes was one such.
Hitler believed that Europe was so war weary after the 1914-18 bloodbath that a decisive stroke would end the war quickly.The Molotov-von Ribbentrop pact was to neutralise Russia whilst Blitzkrieg subdued Europe.This was a briliant stroke since it got the worlds leftists on side.Russia could be dealt with at a later date.The widespread pacifist feeling in the UK,the Oxford Union had voted "Not to fight for King and Country" lead Hitler to believe Britain would sue for peace.
Isolationism in the US and the influence of men such as Ambassador Joe Kennedy convinced Hitler the the US would stay out of any European conflict.
The gamble depended on speed,the beginning of the end came when it turned into a war of attrition.
Iraq however is not even remotely like wars of the 20th century,resembling the police actions in the Indian sub continent in the 19th century.
The main problem is that,wars are simply not neat and tidy,thus can only be judged in context.

Cecil Turner

. . . and hence Hitler was undertaking to battle all four countries . . .

Yes, but not all at once. If his strategy had worked, he'd have knocked out at least one, and perhaps two, before the others could react (and in fact, he got France, and had a shot at the UK). There were also major glaring flaws in the execution--mostly diplomatic failures--like when the Japanese got the US fully involved and then failed to threaten the Soviets' eastern flank. A token effort there would've tied down several divisions during the critical part of the struggle. Further, the Germans were far readier at the outset, their sheer momentum was a formidable psychological force . . . and in the final analysis at the critical point (Stalingrad/Moscow) it was a near thing.

That said, I think your point stands. Hitler got plenty of lucky breaks, too, from dithering by the Allies (and reliance on outdated strategies and fortifications) to horribly timed Soviet officer purges. He needed a perfect Yahtzee in one roll, and had no reasonable expectation of such. It was about as close as warfare comes to unwinnable.

GMax

OT

From the Australian a shtick on Global Warming ( lack thereof ):

If Marohasy is anywhere near right about the impending collapse of the global warming paradigm, life will suddenly become a whole lot more interesting.

A great many founts of authority, from the Royal Society to the UN, most heads of government along with countless captains of industry, learned professors, commentators and journalists will be profoundly embarrassed. Let us hope it is a prolonged and chastening experience.

With catastrophe off the agenda, for most people the fog of millennial gloom will lift, at least until attention turns to the prospect of the next ice age. Among the better educated, the sceptical cast of mind that is the basis of empiricism will once again be back in fashion. The delusion that by recycling and catching public transport we can help save the planet will quickly come to be seen for the childish nonsense it was all along.

The poorest Indians and Chinese will be left in peace to work their way towards prosperity, without being badgered about the size of their carbon footprint, a concept that for most of us will soon be one with Nineveh and Tyre, clean forgotten in six months.

The scores of town planners in Australia building empires out of regulating what can and can't be built on low-lying shorelines will have to come to terms with the fact inundation no longer impends and find something more plausible to do. The same is true of the bureaucrats planning to accommodate "climate refugees".

Do you think Al Gore has the capacity to be embarassed? I am guessing it will first be ignored and when that no longer is tenable, it will be a response akin to "fake but accurate."

PeterUK

Misjudging Britain and failing to subdue her was the fatal flaw in Hitler's plan.Goering had promised that the Luftwaffe would bring Britain to her knees,it did not.That and the failure to invade left Germany's flank open.Having promised the General Staff that he would never make the Wehrmacht fight on two fronts,Hitler did just that.Barbarossa was the throw of the dice too far.
Britain became a base from where the Arctic convoys could supply Russia.The U-Boats could not have free rein of the Atlantic,nor could they use the English Channel with impunity.Bombers were able to reach Berlin and the Ruhr,something Hitler had said would not happen.
The main problem for Germany was,despite the excellence of its armed force,as a military genius,Hitler was a member of freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae.

clarice

I am not a military historian. Nevertheless looking at the major sea battles , I am always impressed by how much depends on sheer, dumb luck.

anduril

Think about how close Hitler came. Imagine that he had won the Battle of Britain or, failing that, imagine that he had won the Battle of the Atlantic. Britain would have had to sue for peace. Why did he lose those crucial battles? Because the Poles had scored the ultimate intelligence coup of all time. They had managed, pre-war, to steal the Germans' Enigma code machine. Not only that, but they had done the math research that allowed them to regularly upgrade their machines as the Germans upgraded theirs, and they delivered both the machines and the research to the Allies. The Blenheim codebreakers were bunglers who would never have got the job done without the Poles' research.

Not only was the ability to know, real time, what the Germans were doing crucial to the Battle of Britain (how many and what types of planes were coming, at what time, following what route and at what altitude) and the Battle of the Atlantic (where were the U-boats and where were their refueling tankers), it was crucial to most of our successful operations. Why was the Bulge/Ardennes offensive initially successful? Because uncharacteristically the Germans maintained radio silence, and we had come to rely on Ultra. Why was Patton able to make his rescue of the gallant garrison at Bastogne? Because once the Germans started chattering again Ultra told him his flank was safe.

And the Ultra information was also shared with the Soviets. And to thank the Poles for all that, they--who had contributed 20% of the pilots in the Battle of Britain with the best records (along with the Czechs), who had 1 million men under arms with the British and American armies (North Africa, Monte Cassino, the heroes of the Falais Salient)--they were not allowed to march in the victory parade in London for fear of offending Uncle Joe.

The West owes the Poles big time.

SteveMG

The main problem for Germany was,despite the excellence of its armed force,as a military genius,Hitler was a member of freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae.

John Keegan points this out in his brilliant "Mask of Command." Because of Hitler's experiences during WWI, he grew to just loathe and completely mistrust his generals.

clarice

That's a very interesting point, anduril.

SteveMG

They had managed, pre-war, to steal the Germans' Enigma code machine.

And of course the US broke the Japanese codes, something that led to their massive defeat at Midway.

This was revealed in the US papers (McCormick's Tribune); but the Japanese stupidly continued to use the code for another year.

Eisenhower said it: "War will astonish you."

M. Simon

Cecil,

The Maginot Line did what it was supposed to do - channel the Germans.

The mistake made was in not sticking to the original strategy of fighting the war in France. And the secondary mistake of not better protecting the Ardennes hinge. And the third mistake of underestimating the speed of the Germans. Had the Germans stuck with what most French and German generals thought possible re: speed of advance France would have stood.

Cecil Turner

Misjudging Britain and failing to subdue her was the fatal flaw in Hitler's plan.

Concur. And worse, frittering away much of the Luftwaffe's strength for nothing (after stupidly reining in the panzers at Dunkirk). Handing two huge moral victories that were eminently avoidable to the Allies, and then embarking on the Soviet invasion leaving an enemy done "a small injury" in the rear. All bad.

Bringing this back to Iraq, and contrasting it with the major operations of WWII, the idea that a US war with Iraq was doomed to failure is pretty hard to credit. Even the contrast with Vietnam (a country ~25% as populous as the US, with a bordering twitchy nuclear neighbor and superpower sponsors) is stark--there is a legitimate argument that one may have been unwinnable. But this one? If we in fact can't fight and win against that competition, well, not sure what we're buying with the most expensive military in history. Seems to me the argument that we're losing requires first an assumption that we're losing, and second a commitment to pull out (and lose). If we're willing to win, there's no doubt that we can. The only question (and quite an open one) is: "will we?"

Paul

My understanding is that Hitler wasted three weeks smashing Yugoslavia in a fit of pique over it's refusal to become an ally...three weeks that would have perhaps allowed him to defeat the Soviets before the winter snows crippled the German Army.

But answer me this. Had we not "botched" the post war occupation of Iraq and quickly restored order, quelled the insurgency, etc., with whatever strategies various armchair generals have proposed in their infinite wisdom, would there have ever been the chance for Islamist radicals to to gain footholds in Iraq, and subsequently offend Sunni Muslims so thoroughly that they would join with the Americans to expel them? IMO THE most important outcome of the war so far is the rejection of Islamist radicals by Muslims, and their attendant alliance with the infidel Americans. That's a PR coup that is huge in the big picture, and couldn't have happened any other way.

M. Simon

A good book on breaking the Japanese codes is "American Magic" by Lewin.

Soylent Red

Misjudging Britain and failing to subdue her was the fatal flaw in Hitler's plan.

And failing to eliminate the fighter production plants, airfields and radar sites was the single critical error of the Battle of Britain.

As for Barbarossa, Hitler was a victim of believing his own master race BS. And who can blame him? Blooded Aryan übermensche who had soundly defeated the #3 (France) and #5 (Poland) armies of the 1930s vs. Communist Slavs who (in Hitler's own memory) had been completely ineffective in WWI. Why worry?

And yet, even though they mistakenly planned to have Barbarossa completed within six months, the German Army still nearly got the job done. Had Hitler gone right through Poland into Russia, Stalin would have lost six months of production and training time. With a little more respect for the Soviet adversary, and a little more logistic planning, an earlier timetable would have been all that was needed.

So in that case, it was a failure in conception and planning rather than execution.

Other Tom

I don't concede the premise that the prosecution of the war in Iraq has been a failure, nor that it has been incompetent. I think it is being judged by standards higher than any ever applied to the US armed forces in wartime.

To avoid boring people, I don't think I should repeat the points I have made here many times about utter fiascoes in both the European and Pacific theaters in WWII. Similar horror stories could be told about the disastrous tactics accepted by the US as SOP during WWI. The failure of the eminently superior Union forces before Grant are now the stuff of legend.

The narrative of "failure" in Iraq has become the received wisdom because of a politicization of that war that I think is unprecedented in our history. I realize that in the long, very dark days of the Civil War the Lincoln administration took a lot of heat, but I'm not aware of anything comparable to the decision of the Democratic leadership to declare that Bush had "lied" and that they had thus been tricked into authorizing the war. And I can't think of any historical precedent for the leadership of one of the two parties declaring that a war was unwinnable--or indeed was already lost--when in fact nothing of the kind was true.

MacArthur's blunder in heading for the Yalu, and thus provoking China into the Korean War, was simply catastrophic, but at least Truman could accurately assert that it was an act of insubordination by a general who had gone out of control and who richly deserved to be fired.

M. Simon

Paul,

It is ironic that our "mistake" sowed the seeds of victory.

Winning generals are good. Generals who do not win but who do not lose are also useful. If you can hang on long enough.

sbw

Bringing this back to Iraq...

For the Brits, living under Hitler wouldn't have been worth living. Liberty is, well, liberating. Bringling the back to Iraq... living under Saddam, or under sectarian oppression, offers an equally dim future.

What, for the Democrats, do they honestly suppose "losing" means? For us and for the Iraqis?

I tell you that for me, losing is the possibility of living under Democrats who cannot recognize and value liberty.

PeterUK

Actually,the decider in the Battle of Britain was Radar.Hitler did not know that it was advanced enough to track aircraft movements.Whilst the RAF did not have a vast armada of aircraft,the fighters could swarm with pre-knowledge of the Luftwaffe's movements.
The lack of air cover and the failure to destroy the RAF and it's airfields is a major reason the Germans did not invade.

sbw

Oops! ***Bringling the back*** s/b Bringling THAT back...

SteveMG

I don't concede the premise that the prosecution of the war in Iraq has been a failure, nor that it has been incompetent.

What about the argument that we failed to secure many areas once we drove the extremists out?

We left a vacuum for al-Qaeda to fill. And later had to go back and re-take large parts of the country.

M. Simon

Meade did a good job at Gettysburg. And he was an excellent general under Grant.

What made Grant so good was that he understood the big picture. His job was to pin Lee by being relentless and letting his western forces reduce the Confederacy.

He also understood the necessity of unified action which the telegraph made possible.

M. Simon

Other Tom,

Copperheads.

M. Simon

SteveMG,

Yes it was a failure. However, once the Iraqis got to know their Islamic Liberators they decided that maybe the Americans could be tolerated for a while.

So we took advantage of our mistake.

PeterUK

"And yet, even though they mistakenly planned to have Barbarossa completed within six months,"

So convinced was Hitler that this was so,he refused to issue winter clothing to his troops.

SteveMG

So we took advantage of our mistake.

Yes; and also al-Qaeda's mistake (radicalism, alienating their Sunni allies).

Which returns us to the main point, i.e., that wars are a series of blunders, mistakes, errors and the ability of one side to sustain and adopt to those failures is critical to determining success or failure.

IOW, Yglesias is wrong (again).

PeterUK

Yglesias is of the genus Cyprinidae.

Paul

"So we took advantage of our mistake."

But more importantly our "mistake" allowed the Iraqis to become intimately familiar with AQ. In my estimation the turning of Iraqis against the Jihadis and towards the American occupiers was the pivotal event in the GWOT. I can think of nothing that can do more to dry up the support and recruiting base for the Jihadi movement in the ME than having Muslims reject them in favor of Americans.

This is pure vindication of the Bush Doctrine, and pure poison for the quisling Democrats and their water boys in the media.

Dr. Weevil

Soylent Red:
Hitler didn't need memories of World War I to think the Soviets were military incompetent: he had just seen them defeated (or at least fought to a draw) by tiny Finland.

section9

A couple of things:

First, suppose we had gone in with 300,000 troops. There still would have been a vast insurgency. Bin Laden and his men had always planned for a huge terrorist campaign. Democrats who don't get this don't credit the enemy with enough resourcefulness and imagination to wage guerilla war.

These are the kind of people who are still all wrapped up in the August 6th Presidential Brief-they just don't get it.

Rumsfeld was simply too proud to admit that he hadn't planned for an insurgency, while Bin Laden did. What partisans like Yglesias can't admit is that the Army and Marines have annihilated what Al Qaeda has sent to fight us. We've won, essentially. As to the Democrats and the Left, Ralph Peters put it best: it's not the war they had a big problem with, it's who waged it.

Secondly-Barbarossa. It was winnable. Once Hitler made the decision to turn south after Smolensk, he tossed away any chance of defeating the Soviet Union and winning the War in Europe. After Guderian's and Hoth's smashing triumphs at Smolensk, there was nothing between von Balck's Army Group Centre and the Moscow Rail Network and the attendant Tula Tank works. Hitler's harebrained decision to move the panzers south into the Ukraine threw the war away, or, to be more accurate, kept the war in Europe from becoming atomic. The Western Allies would have had to use the atomic bomb to liberate a Europe in which the German Army had defeated the Soviet Union.

anduril

clarice, the absolutely crucial role that Enigma/Ultra played in the Allied victory is regularly overlooked. Part of Patton's genius was that he exploited Ultra to the max. Other more vainglorious generals thought that their own military genius obviated the need for such intelligence--and made mistakes.

Simon, good point. What the Poles did in obtaining the Enigma machines was perhaps the espionage coup of the century, and their exploitation of it (long kept under wraps by the Brits) was brilliant. The Poles had a long tradition of excellence in mathematical logic which has carried over to the present, while the British approach to code breaking was relatively amateurish. However, in fairness, the US's breaking of the Japanese Naval Code was also huge, and was also a truly brilliant effort. Dittoes for the US exploitation of Soviet blunders that led to Venona.

Peter, here's an abstract of a Army War College paper, Ultra in the Battle of Britain: the Real Key to Sucess?

The basic question is whether or not Ultra intelligence contributed more to the British victory in the Battle of Britain than other sources of intelligence. Possible future uses of the historical lessons learned are examined. Data was gathered through an extensive literary review, a trip to England, and personal interviews with British authorities on the subject. The role of Ultra in the Battle of Britain was significant to the outcome of the battle; however, insufficient evidence exists to determine if it was more important than other sources of intelligence. Radar and lower-grade radio intercepts also made a significant contribution; thus, until more Ultra files are declassified and released to the Public Record Office, final determination of findings must be held in abeyance.

In general, the role of codebreaking has been underplayed in assessing the factors that led to Allied victory. Without these crucial intel successes, Germany may have won in spite of Hitler.

PeterUK

Anduril,
Google Alan Turing and Bletchley Park.

clarice

I always thought of the tragic choice Churchill had to make in not warning of the attack on Coventry because to do so would give away the fact that we'd broken ultra..How much harder were the choices then and how much more sturdy souled and minded were the politicians who had to make them.

kim

Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Hitler had a good plan until we sent trucks to Russia and they resupplied with horsepower instead of horses. Also the globe was cooling for awhile back then. That'll take the heat out of a few errors.

Also, since Hitler had more front line experience than any of his generals he convinced himself that he was a better tactician and strategist than they were. Had he been able to take their advice, PUK would be writing us in German. In charge of the resistance, too, but still, fluent in German.
================================

SPQR

clarice, that's actually a myth about Coventry. It came from the first book written about Ultra, by a man named Winterbotham. Unfortunately, Winterbotham was writing from memory rather than actual records and he got some key things wrong.

Rick Ballard

I think the best comparison would be to the current campaign being waged by the Clinton/McAuliffe wing of the Democrat Party. A clear objective was to be achieved by a date certain (Super Tuesday) and the strategic goal would then be taken by massing tremendous amounts of money and negative publicity to overwhelm the isolated force in opposition.

That plan was almost as shrewd as the one being pursued by Copperhead leadership in declaring defeat in Iraq just as the tide turned. If war is simply politics pursued by "other" means then perhaps the comparison for Iraq should be the brilliant strategy and tactics employed by AQ's allies here in the US?

Personally, I'm scoring it as an all front loss for the Dem/AQ alliance at the moment but RW ain't in a lead sealed coffin being tipped off the back of a boat into the Marianas Trench so I can't turn my scorecard in just yet.

PeterUK

Kim,
The poor bloody horses,a great unsung tragedy of WWI and WWII.My Great Grandfather died of heartbreak after they took his shire horses to pull the guns in the bloody mud of Flanders.He had loved his horses,he was was left with nothing to work the farm,all the hands had volunteered to go to the front.

narciso

There were a whole series of mistakes on Hitler's part, thank God. The invasion of Yugoslavia; where he thought he could take
advantage of the power vacuum in Croatian
politics after the killing of Stepan Radic
was one; but Pavelic's Ustache were too brutal; rallying the Serbs. Had he moved
into Russia, earlier, and the occupying authorities, followed the anti-communist
instincts of Rosenberg over the anti-Slavism
of Himmler; they might not have alienated the Ukrainians so severely, and they might have been able to seize the oil fields in the Caucasus. Of course, Hitler and his crew
were all about race hatred over any other instinct, so that was not likely to change.

Yglesias, (does he still boast of having a Harvard degree) forgets that the lightning
speed of OIF was based on the premise that they did have NBC weapons and the will to use them; and the long drawn out experience
of the 1st expedition to Mesopotamia; where
more died to mad medical care, and capture
in Turkish casualties before they liberated
Baghdad in 1917. A lesson that a young Clement Attlee applied when it came to the
choice of policy in India; which in typical British form was bollocksed up by the Radcliffe partition.

Annoying Old Guy

Since it was already brought up, I would say the Winter War was a hopeless one, from Finland's point of view. As bravely and well as the Finns fought, they were doomed and they knew it (or they wouldn't have signed an armistice on such unfavorable terms).

It seems to me that a losing war of the nature you are discussing is inevitably a war of attrition where the enemy clearly has the resources and will to grind you down. It obviously can't be a quick war, because it'd be over before you got around to worrying about it.

anduril

Peter, I'm aware of Bletchley Park and Turing, nor do I deny his genius, but for Enigma/Ultra purposes the fact is that the Brits concealed for many decades two crucial facts: 1) they had been given replicas of the Enigma machine by the Poles and 2) the Poles had also provided the Brits with all their research--which was very extensive. This provided the theoretical and very practical basis for continuing to solve the Enigma as it evolved.

In turn, I suggest that you Google "Marian Rejewski." Oh, never heard of him? The Wikipedia article is quite extensive. Here are the first few paragraphs:

Marian Adam Rejewski ([ˈmarjan reˈjefski] (help·info); 16 August 1905 – 13 February 1980) was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who, in 1932, solved the Enigma machine, the main cipher device used by Germany. The success of Rejewski and his colleagues jump-started British reading of Enigma in World War II, and the intelligence so gained, code-named "Ultra", contributed, perhaps decisively, to the defeat of Nazi Germany.(Note 1)

While studying mathematics at Poznań University, Rejewski had attended a secret cryptology course conducted by the Polish General Staff's Cipher Bureau, which he joined full-time in 1932. The Bureau had achieved little success reading Enigma and in late 1932 set Rejewski to work on the problem. After only a few weeks, he deduced the secret internal wiring of the Enigma. Rejewski and two mathematician colleagues then developed an assortment of techniques for the regular decryption of Enigma messages. Rejewski's contributions included devising the cryptologic "card catalog", derived using his "cyclometer", and the "bomba".

Five weeks before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, Rejewski and his colleagues presented their results on Enigma decryption to French and British intelligence representatives. Shortly after the outbreak of war, the Polish cryptologists were evacuated to France, where they continued their work in collaboration with the British and French. They were again compelled to evacuate after the fall of France in June 1940, but within months returned to work undercover in Vichy France. After the country was fully occupied by Germany in November 1942, Rejewski and fellow mathematician Henryk Zygalski fled, via Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar, to Britain. There they worked at a Polish Army unit, solving low-level German ciphers. In 1946 Rejewski returned to his family in Poland and worked as an accountant, remaining silent about his cryptologic work until 1967.

As some have remarked, the British treatment of Rejewski was not their "finest hour":

Enigma decryption, however, had become an exclusively British and American domain; the two mathematicians who, with their late colleague, had laid the foundations for Allied Enigma decryption were now excluded from the opportunity of making further contributions to their métier. British code-breaker Alan Stripp suggests that by that time, at Bletchley Park, "very few even knew about the Polish contribution" because of the strict secrecy and the observance of the "need-to-know" principle. Stripp comments further that "setting them to work on the Doppelkassetten system was like using racehorses to pull wagons".

Even after publication of The Ultra Secret and subsequent books the Brits have continued to try to minimize the role of the Poles, which was absolutely crucial. Typical.

PeterUK

Narcisio,
Put that way,Turkey should not have been so stupid as to ally itself to Germany,then none of this would have happened.The Caliphate,or Ottoman Empire as it was known,would still exist.Britain would not have been lumbered with governing the crazed remnants of which,a task incidentally Britain did not want,but after the slaughter of WWI,neither did anyone else.

PeterUK

Anduril,
I suggest you read this about Colossus the first computer.

fdcol63

Let's ask ourselves if WW2 in Europe could have been AVOIDED if ..... if ..... if only Britain, France, and the US had taken decisive military action in 1936, when Hitler re-occupied the Rhineland in violation of the Versailles Treaty?

Military action then might have resulted in a relatively small war, with hundreds or thousands of casualties and destruction of major parts of the Rhineland.

But what if this had "changed" the political climate in Europe, as we hope the Iraq War has in the Arab world? What if it had resulted in Hitler's overthrow, or at least a loss of power and influence for his leadership and the Nazi Party?

How many more millions might have been saved in the longterm, and how much damage to Europe might have been prevented?

We'll never know. As is always the case. Often there are no good choices, just the lesser of really bad choices.

Personally, I take our "failures" in Iraq and other wars as a good thing. It means we don't get enough practice.

punslinger

Other Tom, I agree 100%.

The Germans, Italians, and Japanese surrendered only when they had seen enough death and finally believed that winning was impossible.

If the US plan was to minimize our own casualties and let AQ and others kill Iraqis until they were fed up, then the plan was highly successful. Divide and conquer.

If we had done a Soviet style occupation of 300,000 plus as the Soviets did in Afghanistan, the popular resistance against us could arguably have been much stronger and more costly to us.

Barney Frank

The RAF was valiant and radar invaluable, but Germany was days away from breaking the back of the RAF had it not stupidly turned the Luftwaffe from the airfields to the cities.
A few days of mayhem at Dunkirk and a few more bombs on the airfields of England and there may not have been a base to launch operation Overlord from, although it's hard to imagine the fury and bloodshed any invasion of Britain by Germany would have entailed.
Had it succeeded I wonder if Hitler's dream would have been impossible.

capitano

OT:

I don't concede the premise that the prosecution of the war in Iraq has been a failure, nor that it has been incompetent. I think it is being judged by standards higher than any ever applied to the US armed forces in wartime.

Me neither. My first thought is of D-Day and the thousands who died on the wrong beach, or drowned stepping off LSTs because the tide level was improperly calculated, or parachuted into the wrong landing zones, or who died in the hold of gliders which crashed short of targets.

How was Eisenhower ever elected President after such a disaster? I guess because the French still speak French and the Brits still speak English.

bgates

The West owes the Poles big time.
Of course, Yglesias must count WWII as a loss for the West; it was entered with the express purpose of rescuing Poland from totalitarian attack, by which standard it failed utterly, and at a cost of 60 million lives.

has the debacle in Iraq been a failure of conception or of execution - no. There have been mistakes; but consider that cutting fatalities in half would have left the Bush presidency with a lower casualty rate than the Clinton presidency. We've fought wars in two countries on the other side of the planet under rules of engagement more restrictive than the domestic police in that region of the world have and we've lost men at a lower rate than during the Carter administration. Rambo movies aren't as lopsided successes as the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.

What would a flawlessly-executed but doomed-to-failure war look like?
First, hijack 4 planes....

MikeS

I'm with Other Tom on the Iraq War. I think a decade or two hence historians will regard the Iraq War as not only the successful conclusion of the first Gulf War, but also a pivotal moment in the GWOT.

anduril

Peter, I understand all that. The Poles were very much aware of their limitations--Poland was a very poor country with few resources. Nevertheless, the fact remains, it was the Poles who solved Enigma. The French and British had been trying with zero success until the Poles showed them how to do it. As the Enigma developed it got to the point that solving it exceeded the Poles' resources--but the principles for solving it remained the same. MAYBE, if the Poles hadn't shown the British how to do it, EVENTUALLY they would have figured it out. But don't you think it was nice to have right from the get go, thanks to the Poles?

Please note: the author you cite never actually mentions that the Poles solved Enigma--there is a vague reference to "mathematicians", no nationality given, and there is mention that the Poles developed some sort of "machine called The Bombe." No mention of the significance. The Poles had been decrypting Enigma for years and they showed the Brits how to do it--and got no thanks in return.

Rick Ballard

fdcol63,

I count Desert Storm as the Rhineland "what if" move, followed by the new League of Nations corruption which was allowing Hussein to slowly subvert the control process to the point where rearmament was becoming a distinct possibility. I would also note that the Sunni were very complicit in allowing AQ to come to Iraq and that nothing could have changed much until the cash that Hussein had stashed (remember the billion dollar find?) was used up.

We can hope that the Sunni sheiks will remain rented through the election and/or that the division of the oil revenue will bring a period of calm but we would be very foolish to forget that the core tenet of islam is that the thief/murderer/liar who succeeds at whatever villainy is attempted obviously has allah's blessing and is thus above reproach (until a bigger thief/murderer/liar shows up).

Other Tom

"What about the argument that we failed to secure many areas once we drove the extremists out?"

Conceded. But how does that compare to FDR's failure to advance as far across Europe as possible, instead taking the deliberate decision to stop and let the Soviets come west and take Berlin and eastern Germany?

Meade's most important decision at Gettysburg was itself catastrophic: he could very readily have pursued Lee and defeated him in detail, almost assuredly ending the war then and there. He elected not to do so.

It's true that the breaking of the Japanese naval codes had an important effect on the Battle of Midway, but you can't read an account of that battle without realizing the enormous effect of just plain providential good luck. (The most concise and informative account I have ever read--and I have read many--is in Herman Wouk's "Winds of War." It's just priceless.)

When you win--and we have it within us to win in Iraq, provided only that we have the national will--the populace forgives a whole host of blunders committed on the way. When you lose, all of the blunders are deemed to have been easily avoided.

PeterUK

Capitano,
Not to mention over 700 soldiers and seamen who died on an exercise at Slapton Sands before D Day,but still they went.

PeterUK

"Even after publication of The Ultra Secret and subsequent books the Brits have continued to try to minimize the role of the Poles, which was absolutely crucial. Typical."

Yes. we bastards involved ourselves in a hugely destructive war for our treaty obligations to Poland.Absolutely typical.

"The Poles had been decrypting Enigma for years and they showed the Brits how to do it--and got no thanks in return."

Germany invaded Poland in 1939.

It might have slipped your notice that,Enigma,Ultra and Colossus were all secret for years after the war,nobody got credit for them.Only in recent years was Bletchley Park made public

Soylent Red

I obviously don't have the definitive answer, but discussion of whether Iraq is a failure of conception or execution, aside from making the assumption that it is a failure (it isn't), relies on the assumption that we know the criteria by which we can make the determination (we don't).

What I mean by that is that by any standard means of judging military success, Iraq is a terrific success. However, as a political venture (and not domestic politics), or a war of ideologies, it is much more difficult to tell.

Even if you could though, you might be judging the whole thing from the wrong viewpoint. I have said many times that Iraq has never really been about Iraq. So how do we measure "success" when "success" might have been to expose Iraqis to the horrible ideology of AQ in order to prevent it from taking hold there after a regime change? Or perhaps Iraq was about fomenting the stirrings of democracy in Iran?

At this point in time, no one right now can pronounce Iraq a debacle because,

a. as a free standing enterprise, it isn't a debacle.

b. we can't be sure it is a free standing enterprise

pagar

Well said, SWB.
"I tell you that for me, losing is the possibility of living under Democrats who cannot recognize and value liberty."

kim

Anduril, I love you, but you should learn from Obama and avoid the unnecessary use of the word 'typical'.
===================================

kim

Speaking of military history, did you know John Kerry swerved in Vietnam.

Speaking of John Kerry, has he died and me not notice? I tried to pick a Swiftie fight on another blog recently, and got nowhere. What is the world coming to?
===============================

section9

You have to understand something about Yglesias and the Liberals of today-they have no conception of how well our troops have actually fought in Iraq. Our casualties there, compared to, say, the Hurtgen Forest or the first month of Normandy, come out quite favorably.

We had lost 11,000 KIA from June 6th through June 25th. It was damned brutal, that war. During the Bulge we lost 16,000 KIA. Compared to some of the cockups we pulled off (Kasserine, Anzio, the disaster at the Chongchon River during the Korean War), our performance in Iraq has been superb. We have lost 4,000 men in a period of some five years of war. By the standards of the Second World War, that is nothing short of amazing.

The casualty numbers from the Eastern Front border on the apocalyptic. Don't even get me started on the Battle of Moscow.

It is hard to take people like Yglesias seriously as students of history in that light. And don't get me started on Andrew Sullivan, even though I'm a regular reader there.

sbw

Swerved?

SteveMG

I forget who it was but someone pointed out the enormous difficulty in conducting a war, defeating a terrorist guerilla insurgency, creating a government, establishing a civil society, restoring the country's infrastructure, setting up a legal system, arresting and detaining thousands of terrorists, holding together disparate and hostile religious sects, all done while the world's press is watching every step you make.

Add to that a bunch of armchair experts second-guessing your every move.

Good luck.

clarice

Ask yourself how the left would respond if Gore had won in 2000. Someone--OT I think--said he'd never seen anything like the opposition party's behavior in thie war..And I agree wholeheartedly. I suppose if JFK has not been the President who really got us into Viet Nam in a meaningful way they might have claimed we'd been lied into war there, but the Dems' behavior this time around means they will never get my vote again as long as I live. It has been an altogether shameful performance.
I predict they will lose this presidential election and be forced to completely reformulate the party--and the left may have to form its own party because it will be blamed for what happens this time.

K-Mac

To paraphase an astute observer of military affairs, no plan survives first contact with the enemy.

One can only hope to improvise after that first contact more prudently than your advesary.

Crew v1.0

When is a debacle not a debacle? Like Iraq, the Korean War led to anguished political thrashing, led to the death of many of our soldiers, and frustrated our desire for neat, tidy endings. Was it not defensible, necessary, tragic proxy war, ineluctably bound up in the saga of a great triumph in the Cold War?

I'm sure I would think Iraq was a debacle if I only watched MSNBC. But if MSNBC had been around in November 1942, we would be hearing an Olbermann-like wretch calling from the left to impeach FDR for Operation Torch, on account of the bad intel about the effort to turn the French generals, "incompetence," lack of a plan, and a host of other horribles. Leading, of course, to quagmire... until, that is, the Allies persevered, tacked, fought on, and trimphed.

PeterUK

"We have lost 4,000 men in a period of some five years of war. By the standards of the Second World War, that is nothing short of amazing."

Compared to WWI where they could lose that many before they had got half way across No Mans Land in a single morning,it is absolutely miraculous.

sbw

I look at too many blogs regularly. Was it on JOM that I saw the pointer to graphs of military casualties?

Certainly the most telling graph is that more military were killed in the first five years of the Clinton administration than in the first five years of the Iraq war during the George W. Bush administration. So Clinton lied (true); people died (true).

K-Mac

...or aggressively...

Dagpotter

Cheerist, I can give you a list of books that argue the Allied execution during WWII was incompetent and wasteful, but don't argue the point the war was just. War is messy, people die, and screw ups happen. No intelligence is 100%, and did I say people die? War is best not fighting unless you are willing to see it to the end.

Cecil Turner

First, suppose we had gone in with 300,000 troops. There still would have been a vast insurgency. Bin Laden and his men had always planned for a huge terrorist campaign.

Yeah, I'm not terribly impressed with the "more troops" argument. During the invasion, they'd have been a further burden on the already strained logistics. Afterward, they weren't necessary for the missions actually assigned (though I think there's a good argument that the missions were curtailed due to a lack of assets). The big difference on the "surge" was a change in mission (which necessitated an increase in troops). More troops without a mission change would've been useless featherbedding.

(The most concise and informative account I have ever read--and I have read many--is in Herman Wouk's "Winds of War." It's just priceless.)

Ain't that the truth. The whole collection of "Armin von Roon" commentaries deserves its own binding (even the self-serving ones involving ETO battles). But I'm not sure the "luck" conclusion is necessarily as stark as the "5 minutes at Midway" story suggests: there were several different scenarios that'd result in burning Japanese flattops, the one that happened was just a bit hard on our torpedo bombers. Having wargamed the snot out of this one, the US advantage in sea search makes it very likely they'll find the enemy first, and that makes the historical outcome most likely. Moreover, even if we'd lost Midway, it'd just prolong the inevitable: the disparity in ship building would make the later battles look like Leyte, regardless. The big issue was exactly as Wouk had it: submarines from Midway were far more effective than they would've been from Pearl (and they accounted for the vast majority of Japanese shipping sunk).

carl

"What would a flawlessly-executed but doomed-to-failure war look like?"

The 2nd Punic War.

Hannibal did everything right and his strategy was sound but Rome and Italy were too strong. Once he crossed the Alps he had to either take cities and break the Latin confederacy with Rome or destroy enough Roman armies in the field to force a surrender.

Roman naval supremacy meant that Carthage couldn't re-supply him directly and the loyalty of the Latin allies to Rome meant he was forced to forage and live off land. He was therefore unable to devote his time to the kind of siege operations necessary to take major cities in central Italy.

The Consuls and the legates refused battle after Cannae and used the man power raised during the lull in Italy to carry on operations in other theaters to reduce Carthage to her African holdings and drive away her allies. When Scipio landed in Africa and Carthage was forced to recall Hannibal Roman victory was assured.

Zama was a mopping up operation.

capitano

PeterUK --

Thanks for the link to the Exercise Tiger tragedy. I knew generally that there was a training disaster prior to D-Day; this is beyond anything I could have imagined.

PeterUK

Capitano,
A great tragedy,but still they went.How was it kept out of the New York Times?

PeterUK

Capitano,
On D Day only 2 out of 29 amphibious tanks made it ashore.

SteveMG

On D Day only 2 out of 29 amphibious tanks made it ashore.

Yep, my great uncle was on one that did make it ashore (not sure it was this division).

It got shot up/disabled and everyone in the tank except him was killed. It took a couple of days to get him out. He was forever traumatized as one can imagine (or not wish to).

After dark when he was asleep, we kids were told not to yell or make any loud noises. Well, I remember once all of us yelling over something and he came frantically running into the room.

Horrendous.

Other Tom

Go brush up on the naval battles of Guadalcanal (my father was there, and survived the sinking of USS Atlanta). Check out Tarawa. Or Pelelieu. Ever hear of the raid on Makin? How about Kasserine Pass? Anzio. Cold Harbor. Antietam. Manassas I and II. Gallipoli.

(Gallipoli was the brain child of one Winston S. Churchill. Why did he survive that disaster to inspire us as the greatest man of the 20th Century? Because notwithstanding the disaster, his side went on to win.)

anduril

Yes. we bastards involved ourselves in a hugely destructive war for our treaty obligations to Poland.Absolutely typical.

LOL. Poland was purely incidental to WWII, or symbolic if you will. Britain and France went to war with Germany because they were (correctly) afraid that they were next in line--or somewhere pretty near in line. There was nothing particularly noble in that.

Anyway, my initial point was that WWII was a more closely run affair than is usually realized. If not for the advantage that Enigma/Ultra gave to the Allies it is quite conceivable that there would have been a different ending.

A Wikipedia conflation:

The German military model, the Wehrmacht Enigma, is the version most commonly discussed. The machine has gained notoriety because Allied cryptologists were able to decrypt a large number of messages that had been enciphered on the machine. Decryption was made possible in 1932 by Polish cryptographers Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski from Cipher Bureau. In mid-1939 reconstruction and decryption methods were delivered from Poland to Britain and France. The intelligence gained through this source, codenamed ULTRA, was a significant aid to the Allied war effort. The exact influence of ULTRA is debated, but a typical assessment is that the end of the European war was hastened by two years because of the decryption of German ciphers.[1][2]

1. Kahn (1991).
2. a b Miller, A. Ray (2001), The Cryptographic Mathematics of Enigma, National Security Agency

An exhibit in 2003 on "Secret War" at the Imperial War Museum, in London, quoted British Prime Minister Winston Churchill telling King George VI, "It was thanks to Ultra that we won the war." Churchill's greatest fear, even after Hitler had suspended Operation Sealion and invaded the Soviet Union, was that the German submarine wolf packs would succeed in strangling sea-locked Britain. He would later write, in Their Finest Hour (1949), "The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril." A major factor that averted Britain's defeat in the Battle of the Atlantic was her regained mastery of Naval-Enigma decryption.

F.W. Winterbotham, the first author to outline, in his 1974 book The Ultra Secret, the influence of Enigma decryption on the course of World War II, likewise made the earliest contribution to an appreciation of Ultra's postwar influence, which now continues into the 21st century—and not only in the postwar establishment of Britain's GCHQ (Government Communication Headquarters) and the United States' NSA (National Security Agency). "Let no one be fooled," Winterbotham admonishes in chapter 3, "by the spate of television films and propaganda which has made the war seem like some great triumphant epic. It was, in fact, a very narrow shave, and the reader may like to ponder [...] whether [...] we might have won [without] Ultra."

Jim

Insofar as WWII is concerned, all the secret intell in the world wouldn't have saved England if, after the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7th, 1941, Hitler's advisors had convinced him to not declare war on the United States, and to have instead, however falsely, offered to mediate diplomatically between Japan and the United States while publically denouncing the unprovoked attack. The result? The United States does not declare war on Germany (and Italy), and the American public demands that all of our efforts and resources be devoted to taking on the Imperial Empire of Japan. Lend-lease to England dries up, or slows to a trickle. The Germans starve England of what little shipping heads that way, and Churchill falls. England and Germany negotiate a truce, and Germany controls all of Western Europe with no potential attack from the Atlantic. Hitler pursues all out war with Stalin, while Stalin receives no Lend-lease aid either, as all efforts are still focused on Japan. The extra divisions from North Africa and the Western front carry the day.
I still think this had to rank as Hitler's biggest mistake.
I would love to see someone write a book, or produce a show, covering Hitler's ten biggest mistakes. I would love to see what a West Point history professor thinks they were.
Insofar as the Global War on Terror is concerned, I think it has gone well for the US, since if one adds the US, UK and allied (but not Iraqi or Afghani forces) dead in Iraq and Afganistan, the number is about 5,000, which is far less than the 6,821 dead on Iwo Jima, and at a far lower rate than the battle for Tarawa, with 1,000 US dead in 76 hours.
The biggest US mistake? It's probably its failure of public relations nere at home and in those contries. Where is Madison Avenue when you needed them? If there's much of an effort to win the "hearts and minds" of the locals by running advertisements or planted interviews, it's the best kept secret of the GWOT.

capitano
A great tragedy,but still they went.How was it kept out of the New York Times?

Posted by: PeterUK | March 22, 2008 at 09:56 PM

They went because of a sense of duty to God and Country, much like Marine Gunnery Sgt. William "Spanky" Gibson who recently returned to Iraq with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force -- after losing his leg in a sniper attack in 2006.

The NY Times lost all sense of duty many years ago. At best they are neutral in the GWOT and I'm afraid they haven't been at their best for a very long time.

M. Simon

clarice | March 22, 2008 at 08:45 PM,

Totally agree. All the old coalitions will reform after this election. The Ds will be hurt the worst.

==

Here is the first video of a 13 part series on WW2 code breaking, mainly from a Brit perspective. It is very good. You get a good feel for the effort:

Mind of a Code Breaker

They explain "cribbing" very well. I first found out how cribbing was done from a book. A fascinating subject.

Another thing - Canaris was supposed to have given the Brits the Enigma keyes from time to time. See

"Bodyguard of Lies" by Brown.

The Germans had a highly place voluntary 5th column in Germany. They also controlled all the German spies in Britain.

See "The XX Committee" by Masterman.

M. Simon

The British also controlled all the German spies in Britain.

M. Simon

BTW American Naval strategy in the Pacific was superior to the Japanese.

The American submarines went mainly after oil tankers.

The Japanese went mainly after warships. Why? There was no honor in blowing up tankers.

We tackled the war as a business problem. Honor was not high on our list of priorities. The same is true of this war. For the jihadis the honor is killing Americans. (well they gave that up after a while - too hard - and went after civilians) we were more concerned with the jihadi base of support. Winning the people with very restrictive rules of engagement. It cost us. But in the end we have won over a large fraction and pacified the rest.

M. Simon

Why oil tankers? Because without oil it doesn't matter how good your fighting ability is or the capability of your warships. If you can't get to the scene of action superior weapons and crews avails you naught.

PeterUK

LOL. Poland was purely incidental to WWII, or symbolic if you will. Britain and France went to war with Germany because they were (correctly) afraid that they were next in line--or somewhere pretty near in line. There was nothing particularly noble in that."

I can see I am debating with a complete ignoramus who's only skill is googling.Since going to war with Germany got me personally bombed by fat Herman's finest,it is rather a sensitive subject.I bid you depart in a micturating mode.

clarice

Jim, what an interesting hypothesis. People forget how strong the American firsters etc were in 1941. I think you're correct--It was hard enough for FDR to get us to enter WWII, had Hitler condemned the Japanese attack the entire course of the was might have been different. We might have eventually gotten in--but it would have been much later and much more difficult at that point to overcome the Axis.

Providence makes our enemies stupid, I think.

Had AQ not gone on a disgusting "wilding" in Iraq, the circumstances there would have been far different as well.

M. Simon

PUK,

It is wonderful to have you here. BTW loved your closing.

I bid you depart in a micturating mode.

Heh.

Simon

anduril

I can see I am debating with a complete ignoramus who's only skill is googling.

LOL. Peter's idea of "debate" seems to be name calling and googling. Typical:

Anduril, Google Alan Turing and Bletchley Park.

Posted by: PeterUK | March 22, 2008 at 06:11 PM

Anduril,
I suggest you read this about Colossus the first computer. [Link probably obtained by googling]

Posted by: PeterUK | March 22, 2008 at 07:15 PM

I can see I am debating with a complete ignoramus who's only skill is googling. Since going to war with Germany got me personally bombed by fat Herman's finest,it is rather a sensitive subject.I bid you depart in a micturating mode.

Posted by: PeterUK | March 23, 2008 at 06:56 AM

Some debate! Here's some news for you, Peter: I'm not going away. Live with it.

And all that irrational vituperation because I 1) suggested that WWII was a close run affair (supported by no less than Winston Churchill in that assessment) and 2) that the Polish contribution to Enigma/Ultra was crucial--hardly a controversial point any longer, and again supported by Churchill (without, of course, mentioning the Poles).

Imagine if I'd raised the 800 year history of English dealings with Ireland! I probably would have gotten an even more typical "debate."

clarice

**the entire course of the waR****

anduril, I beg you not to start with PUK and the Irish..He's a vicious fighter and my delicate constitution cannot take rough language and brutal verbal tousles.

PeterUK

"Some debate! Here's some news for you, Peter: I'm not going away. Live with it."

Anduril the Interminablator.

"And all that irrational vituperation because I 1) suggested that WWII was a close run affair (supported by no less than Winston Churchill in that assessment)


Where did you conjure that up from,we all know WWII was a close run thing,some of us were there.
As for "irrational vituperation" you are the one bandying insults,on this I have say you are being creative with the actuality

"and 2) that the Polish contribution to Enigma/Ultra was crucial--hardly a controversial point any longer, and again supported by Churchill (without, of course, mentioning the Poles)."

The polish contribution was important,but Enigma did not win the war,blood and sacrifice did that.Many Poles sacrificed also.
Get it into your head,Enigma was a secret until relatively recently,Churchill was long dead,sadly so too were many British.

Now if you bring in Ireland I will bring up Sitting Bull,Geronimo et al.You have apologised to the American Indian have you not?

boris

Since Charlie hasn't intervened here on the subject, I will provide a modestly informed tech POV.

IIRC the success of the Brits in decoding the enigma was a product of (1) knowing how it worked (2) a working electronic computer and software to rapidly explore the permutation settings to find the proper key.

Using a crypto machine is based on the assumption that even if a machine is captured, communicatins are still secure because without the key, the captured machine is of no value. The Turing & Von Neumann computer busted that assumption.

anduril

clarice, he's a pretty brutal typist, too. I don't think I can take reading any more of that drivel today. Typical, though, comparing the Irish to the American Indians. Anyway, my ancestors--and those of others on this forum--came to America after the time of Sitting Bull and Geronimo. Funny, accusing me of being insulting after calling me an "ignoramus," an now he's basically retracting everything he said.

clarice

It's Easter..I'm in no mood for this. Putting on my patent leathers with the grosgrain bows, my straw hat and looking for peeps to appropriate..well, not really, but this is silly..You both have strong points of view and I like you both.

I had forgotten about the Polish contribution to cracking enigma, though once you mentioned it, I do seem to recall having read it. In general the West forgots how much the beleagured Poles helped in WWII. So many of my relatives were murdered brutally there then I had rather biased views on the Poles. It wasn't until I started prosecuting those who'd assisted the Nazis which required me to travel to Eastern Europe and interview survivors and read the captured war documents that I appreciated how many had acted bravely and what deprivations they, too, had suffered under.

Still, no one can ignore the military contributions of the British and how their brave refusal to surrender made victory possible.

anduril

clarice, I never ignored military contributions, just tried to put it in some perspective. Great intel only gets you to the dance, you still have to get out there on the floor and perform. Still, without the intel you may never get the chance.

clarice

***the West forgEts how ***

(I do so wish there was a possibility to edit errors--preview often just jams up my posting and no matter how hard I try the errors are largely invisible to me until posted. I apologize.)

Yes, anduril often great intel only gets you to the dance. Sometimes I think it also tells you not to attend the dance that night or to attend another event altogether.

Of course, many fine intel coups may never be public knowledge..others--like placing fake docs on a dead soldier and letting him wash ashore before D Day were acts of genius.

PeterUK

"Typical, though, comparing the Irish to the American Indians. Anyway, my ancestors--and those of others on this forum--came to America after the time of Sitting Bull and Geronimo."


You seem to be stuck on typical Anduril,it has been your mode of deprecation throughout.

Being a late comer to the land of the Amerind does not absolve you of blame.

No , I am not retracting everything I said.
Over 500,000 military and civilians died,somebody owes us for that "big time" also.

kim

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum.
To not listen is typically dumb.
===================

Charlie (Colorado)

Anduril, would you learn to goddammit link?

Charlie (Colorado)

It wasn't until I started prosecuting those who'd assisted the Nazis which required me to travel to Eastern Europe and interview survivors and read the captured war documents that I appreciated how many had acted bravely and what deprivations they, too, had suffered under.

Now there's a story I'd like to hear.

anduril

Poor babies. And how many Irish died in the Famine, while ships laden with grain passed them by?

A major part of the world today's ills are a result of the English shipping impoverished Scots and Irish mercenaries around the world, stirring up troubles that are with us to this day. Typically, the English are loath to accept responsibility for the results. Now fashionable English opinion blames America after America bailed them out of several wars.

The last several centuries of fratricidal and genocidal wars in Europe are in part the result the English policies to encourage such strife to prevent the rise of any dominant European power.

Get it into your head,Enigma was a secret until relatively recently,Churchill was long dead,sadly so too were many British.

It was I who cited the still classified nature of much of the Ultra data near the beginning of this thread--in bold! Can't you read English? As for Churchill being dead--Ultra data may have been secret, but it wasn't secret from at least one man: Churchill.

anduril

Charlie, how about you learn to double-click on unformatted urls and then paste them into a new tab? It'll take you less time to do that than it takes me to do the extra typing when I'm busy with several things. I don't post here strictly for your convenience--you'll need to exercise just a bit of effort on your sluggish own.

kim

The Europeans ability to fight with themselves was accidental to English input. Anduril, you are plenty bright, but so are a lot of people here, and some of your historical vision is sadly misinformed.
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