Can anyone tell me when this stupid notion of a time table for war became de rigeur? Is it a product of the angry Left’s desperation to abandon Iraq or did it exist before? My questions are triggered by a headline from Reuters today that shows all the stupidity of both Leftist thinking about war and modern media writing: “Bush, Olmert have no timetable for Gaza crisis end.”
The last point first: “Crisis.” In the media world today, everything is a crisis. The roiling troubles in the world financial markets are a financial crisis. The earth’s changing climate (something that’s been going on for the earth’s 3 billion year history) was, first, a global cooling crisis, then a global warming crisis, and it’s now a climate change crisis. This week, there’s a crisis in Gaza. What the heck does the word crisis mean anymore? And for whom is Gaza a crisis? Gazans? Israelis? Americans? It’s a such a careless, overused, misused word that its appearance, rather than adding meaning to a story, saps meaning, and simply adds an element of mindless fear.
And now for the first point, which was my real point: that timetable. In what wars have there been timetables? I can imagine situations in which victory was urged before money ran out. Certainly funding was a chronic problem for the Continental Congress trying to keep Washington’s troops paid and supplied. That timetable was “God willing we win before we’re broke” — and it was solved by aid from France. (So, although France bashing is often fun and easy, it’s always worth remembering that the French nation, out of spite for England, saved the American revolution. And in that way wars are won and lost.)
Can you just imagine in past wars the kind of scenarios the Leftist media and its fellow travelers now envision and urge? Silly news stories such as these would emerge from the past:
Dateline March 15, 1863: President Lincoln announced today that the War Between the States will end on April 1, 1863. “We’ve given this war a good try,” he announced to the press, “but it’s time to discuss alternative strategies. On April 1, therefore, we will withdraw all federal troops and discuss reinstating slavery subject to certain strict timetables and controls. I have spoken with President Davies, and he assures me that slaves will henceforth be paid a living wage and allowed to choose their own places of employment.”
[And, in this alternate universe, I can guarantee you a story in the same newspaper, from a year or two later, reporting with surprise that blacks in the South were being treated with a ferocity unparalleled in human history, while vigilante Confederate troops were patrolling the borders between North and South, killing anyone who appeared to be a threat to the South's efforts to control the slave population.]
Or how about this:
Dateline July 15, 1944: President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill held a joint press conference today to announce that they will start withdrawing troops from the continent, effective August 1, 1944. The two nations’ leaders explained that, while the Normandy invasion had indeed established a foothold on the Continent, continued German resistance coupled with increased Allied causalities, had convinced them that it would be expedient to pursue alternate strategies.
“We’ve sufficiently weakened the German infrastructure to believe that a phased withdrawal will still enable us to prevent the Nazis from making further incursions back onto the Normandy outposts,” said a spokesman close to Roosevelt who declined to be named. “The Nazis have assured us that, with a cessation of hostilities from Allied troops, they will revoke some of the restrictions they have been placing on local populations. We are still awaiting word on their Jewish policy, but feel assured that a return to the negotiating table will resolve that issue.”
Wars don’t have time tables. You fight to win. If you perceive that victory is impossible, you fight to the best possible outcome. If there is no best possible outcome, you run away in the hopes of fighting another day. The one thing, however, that you do not ever do, in the midst of a war, especially a war that is running in your favor, is announce to the enemy that, on a specific date, you’re taking your marbles and going home, on the assumption that your enemy will henceforth behave itself well. The time table position, more than anything else, announces a failure of intelligence and sound thinking in the Left that, with nothing more, should make one suspicious of any ideas Leftists advance.