January 1, 2005

" The USA is going down"

Cliff May writes:

...Ingmar Lee, a Canadian reader, emails me: “Once upon a time, the rules of war said that one army dressed up in red, the other in blue, marched off to a field, faced each other 100 yards apart, and blew each other away. Whoever ran out of ammo first was the loser. This was the respectable way to fight a war. Nevertheless, people soon realized that such combatants were easily beaten the unconventional way.

“Now the world watches the certain defeat of the American military behemoth unfolding again before our very eyes. (Vietnam defeated the U.S. military in the same way.)

“Watching the defeat of the world's most aggressive and violent nation, its largest consumer, its largest polluter, its fattest population, the hugest debtor nation, we know what's going on. The USA is going down, and not just in Iraq.”...

May is discussing Zarqawi and Iraq, but I find the e-mail interesting as an example of misinformation, of a sort we encounter often...So what's wrong with the picture?

  1. The linear warfare of the 18th Century made perfect sense with the weapons (smoothbore muskets) and manpower (peasant rabble) of the time. Unconventional tactics failed then unless the enemy was in a state of unreadiness (ie: Lexington and Concord)
  2. Our military was not defeated in Vietnam. We defeated both the Viet Cong and the NVA, and then withdrew. South Vietnam only fell to communist tyranny after a Democrat congress cut off all military aid to them.
  3. America is not a military "behemoth." We fight with astonishing suppleness and flexibility. Compare the recent clearing of Falluja with the Russian defeat in Grozny.
  4. "The world's most aggressive and violent nation?" How about: the one developed nation that still believes enough in its culture and high traditions to confidently and aggressively attack evildoers with skillful violence.
  5. Pollution? Steadily decreasing for decades, while America-haters ignore the deadly pollution-legacy of Communism, and rapidly rising pollution in the Third World.
  6. Consumption? We've built the largest economy. We deserve to consume the most.
  7. Overweight? We like our chow! And our being overweight is mostly a matter of junk statistics.
  8. Debtors? Funny thing how everybody wants to park their money here...

Actually, about that debt, the little-known truth is that the world is buying our paper in exchange for us handling most of the security costs on Planet Earth. It IS true that if they dumped our paper, we'd be in big trouble. BUT, gee, I guess then we'd just have to mothball our fleet... I'm SURE other countries would be happy to guard the world's sea lanes, and keep China and Taiwan from nuking each other, or India and Pakistan. Hey world, you can run one Carrier Strike Group for only about 4 million dollars a day! We find that 12 or 14 of them is just about right. You'll also need certain frills and extras, like an army and an air force and such.

Posted by John Weidner at January 1, 2005 7:37 PM
Weblog by John Weidner