Obama: the New and Improved General Montgomery

To find this article in the Asia Times is significant. This isn’t just some right-wing nutjob complaining about Obama; this is a foreign-language newspaper making observations based on their own view of history:

Obama creates a deadly power vacuum

As a WW2 history geek, I particularly appreciated his comparison of BOO’s Mideast Policy to General Montgomery’s attempt to take the bridge at Arnhem.

To fully appreciate the irony in that comparison, you’ve got to either have read the book or seen the movie, “A Bridge Too Far”. Monty’s plan (AKA “Market Garden” – “Market” was the air and paratrooper attacks; “Garden” was the ground assault) called for seizing six bridges in the Netherlands. One reason for this plan was to get access to the sea ports north of Antwerp. Relying on the temporary ports at Normandy was stretching the Allied supply lines too long.

The other reason was to gain control of the bridge at Arnhem, which would give them access over the Rhine into Germany. Understand that during WW1, Germany was never invaded. The German Empire collapsed without any foreign troops crossing the Rhine. The psychological value of being able to enter Germany was enormous, for as long as Germany itself remained whole, there was a chance that they could hold out until the Allies offered a peace treaty. Once that first Sherman tank hit the shores of the Fatherland, everyone knew that it was game over.

That’s why Monty was so keen to get the bridge at Arnhem, becoming the first general to invade Germany since the time of the Caesars (and also to give Patton a black eye. Historians debate which was Monty’s greater goal.) The Germans also knew this, which is why they reinforced the area with artillery and a few SS Panzer divisions. All of these defenses were visible on air reconnaissance photos and through reports from the Dutch underground.

Monty ignored them.

His plan was shoddy at best, and criminal at worst. There are some that say to this day that Monty should have been relieved of his command after Arnhem. For example, the Dutch War College had an exam which required the student to plan an attack on a certain Dutch city. You could either go on the highways built on the dikes, or take the much more difficult route through the bogs. The students who chose going over the dike highways immediately failed the test. All the defenders had to do was to destroy a few of the dikes and the attackers advance would be halted, leaving their soldiers dangerously exposed on top of these dikes, ready to be picked off.

Guess which route Monty chose.

It was called a success because 5 of the 6 bridges were captured and several new seaports were secured. This came at the cost of over 6,400 British, Polish, and American soldiers captured, with another 4,500 or so killed, with the main objective – the bridge – still in enemy hands.

Yeah. I think comparing BOO’s foreign policy to Market Garden is spot on.

Well, I for one am tired of the US being the big dog on the block, always going out to save the day. Let the pack take the lead for a change, and lets take care of business here at home. As you put, learn form history, we are the best when it comes to economic might, as the Nazi’s and Imperial Japan found out. We were hampered by a depression and crazy progressive ideals by FDR and we pulled it out. We will do the same when we elect a new administration in three years.

No, it is nothing more than some columnist giving his own interpretations of events. “Spengler” is a bright fellow, if a his views are a bit loopy at times. He is also a Westerner His real name is David P. Goldman.

He is definitely right-wing, although calling him a nutjob seems to go to far. That said, his opinions are his own. His column has been published in Asia Times for many years.

While the Pakistan army holds nothing back in attacking the Taliban, American troops in Afghanistan have been told that they no longer can call in air strikes if civilians are likely to suffer. …
The Taliban need only take a page from Hamas’ book, and ensure that civilians are present wherever they operate.
The US has made clear that it will not deal in civilian blood, the currency of warfare in that region since before the dawn of history. It will not be taken seriously in consequence.

What will the administration do now? As all its initiatives splatter against the hard realities of the region, it will probably do less and less, turning the less appetizing aspects of the fighting over to local allies and auxiliaries who do not share its squeamishness about shedding civilian blood. That is the most dangerous outcome of all, for America is the main stabilizing force in the region. …

This is yet another example of how effective the methods of terrorists can be.

It is not that liberals are heartless. On the contrary, terrorists count on liberals being all heart, all about feeling, and therefore incapable of making the hard decisions.

Terrorism has been specfically designed as a tool to use against wester liberal democracies. Terrorism does not work against the mullahs or Iran, or the Saddam Husseins, or the Taliban government in Afghanistan. People there know well enough that such methods against such regimes will bring the first of hell down upon their own loved ones. America has been a moderating influence by at least not going down that road.

That is gone now. America has rendered herself ineffective, and the battles will be fought by those whose hearts are as hard as the steel that brandish.

Read the Market Garden story again. We let the British take the lead and be the big dog, they still managed to destroy 82 Airborne as a fighting division. Moral, letting others take the lead will still get Americans killed.

Oh, sorry I wasn’t as clear on my comment, I was referring to US foreign policy, we Libertarians a just a touch isolationist.

Heh. That’s like saying my sister-in-law is just a little bit pregnant.

:smiley: .

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