RANGER AGAINST WAR: Tripping the Light Fanstastic <

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tripping the Light Fanstastic


Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly,
be contrite of heart, confess with the lips,

and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction

--Catechism
, Seven Sacraments

Caterpillar:
Who are YOU?
Alice:
I -- I hardly know, sir, just at present --
at least I know who I was when I got up this morning,

but I think I must have been changed several times since then

--Alice in Wonderland
, Lewis Carrol
________________

Ranger continues with Part Deuce of playing fast and loose with history . . .

In 1950 the U.S. fought a war to protect the South Koreans from the North Koreans, which seems odd since our policy the previous year was to allow a Communist takeover of China. Why fight over little Korea, while allowing the Chinese to take over a large segment of the world's population? If the Chinese are inscrutable, the U.S. is even moreso, at times.


Is this a continuation of the trend begun in the Spanish-American War, dictating domination of little guys, while allowing the Big Dogs to do as they wish? It seems we still inhabit that mindset today since the U.S. likes to play tough guy with little states while acquiescing to the really powerful.


Next came French Indochina, or simply, Southeast Asia: A foray into building nations that were not even nations, and fighting a French colonial war by extension and calling it
containment and anti-Communist crusade. A rose by any other name ... We kept the dominoes from falling and killed bunches of Communists before throwing in the towel

Then came the invasion of Grenada, which proved that 11,000 U.S. soldiers, Marines and a few SEALS and Delta dudes could kick ass on 300+ Cubans. Let that be a lesson. Flush with victory, we invaded Panama to practice a little regime change.

Again, wildly successful, unless one stops to ponder why or what the purpose of the exercise happened to be. Again, it was indubitably a lesson that the U.S. can kick around the little guy without breaking a sweat. Why have a massive Department of Defense apparatus if you can't play with it now and again.


Next to the First Gulf War, or GWI to those in the know, and the
liberation of Kuwait. Which implies, erroneously, that Kuwait is part of the liberal democratic tradition. Kuwait is free of Iraq, but so what? Freedom per se is absent, despite our best publicity efforts.

Whether a royal family member or Saddam Hussein controlled the oil, where lies the benefit to the American people who lent their Army to exiled royals living large in London while our troops
freed their little sand box.

Now, Afghanistan and Iraq are the essential wars du jour. What will they gain for the U.S.? What will they lose?

So that's Ranger's non-rigorous, unscientific whirl around the U.S.'s modern historical dance floor. The question is:
What was the purpose of any of it?

--Jim

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ranger.... "Playing Fast and loose with history"

From Globalsecurity.org The Chinese civil war

"The Chinese Civil War, in which the United States aided the Nationalists with massive economic loans but no military support, became more widespread. Battles raged not only for territories but also for the allegiance of cross sections of the population. By using Manchuria as a base of supply and manpower and by accelerating the stages of Mao’s theory, Communists field commanders defeated Kuomintang forces in a series of conventional engagements in the late 1940s and established the People’s Republic of China in October 1949.

After numerous operational set-backs in Manchuria, especially in attempting to take the major cities, the Communists were ultimately able to seize the region and then focus on the war south of the Great Wall. And yet, even though the balance of power was shifting toward the CCP, there were still numerous opportunities for a negotiated settlement. Stalin actually tried to restrain Mao on several occasions while he gauged American responses to developments in China. After the Huai-hai Campaign, it seemed that the Communists were going to pause on the northern bank of the Yangtze River. Only when it became clear that American and British support for negotiations was lacking, did Stalin give Mao the go-ahead to cross the river. This culminated in the collapse of KMT resistance, which led directly to Chiang Kai-shek’s retreat to Taiwan, and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. The Mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn from Chiang Kai-shek."

'Warmonger187'
refuses to play fast and loose with history

Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 10:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all about Control and Greed, just take a peek at what thanksgiving became in a few short years of the locals helping the outsiders. Sad.
jo6pac

Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 11:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Jo6pac,
Well since you mention the indig Americans let me twist a little comment out of it. Our friend 187 talks of the 9 mil Chinese killed by the Japs and this is cool but why do we NEVER talk about the millions genocided by the white invasion of North America. Also I question the 9 million figure but what the heck i go with the flow.
Most recent studies indicate that there was a very populated continent when the turkey gobblers arrived.
While I'm on my soapbox- how many Korean/VN/Irq/Afgh have we killed.
I remember US soldiers laughing about killing gooks.
Thanks for letting me ramble. I know i didn't give you a choice.
jim

Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 11:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times". -Grant

Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 12:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

187: I'm in the middle of preparing a pretty long post on the HuaiHai Campaign, so I've done a little bit of study on the situation in China in 1948-49.

Ranger is giving the Cliff's Notes version, yes, but the salient point re: the U.S. policy towards the Nats is that by 1948 Truman had pretty much given up on Chiang and the KMT. The NRA lost most of its U.S> equipment at Huaihai and we never really tried to resupply the Nats or intervene with, say, airpower.

The KMT was a freaking mess, but it's hard to see how a KMT China would have been harder on the people than the "Great Leap Forward" and the associated famines and massacres perpetrated by Mao after 1949.

Did we "let" the CCP take over?

No.

Did we do very much to try and change things?

Also no.

Chiang was a corrupt, pigheaded fucktard, but we also lost sight of the strategic ball in our dislike of the man and his cronies.

Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 5:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous barcalounger said...

So we basically haven't fought a war of necessity since the Civil War? That's depressing.

Re: The Chinese Civil War. Going back to WW2, we wanted China to stay in the war. We wanted Chiang to tie down the Japanese troops in China so we didn't have to fight them in the Pacific Theater. It didn't work out as we planned. Chiang took our aid and did very very little against the Japanese. Chiang was getting ready to fight Mao once WW2 was over. That's one of the reasons Truman had soured on Chiang. Also, the Joint Chiefs did a study of what it would take militarily if we intervened on the side of Chiang in China. Their conclusion? 1 million troops and at least a decade's long war. Sound familiar? My take? Maybe we should have backed Mao. We would have been better off in the long run. But it would have been political suicide for Truman.

Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 6:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FDChief,
I've read Barbara W. Tuchman Pulitzer Prize winning book, 'Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45' . In it she explores the life of General 'Vinegar' Joseph Stilwell, the military attache to China in 1935-39 and commander of United States forces and allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek in 1942-44. General Stillwel was a voice crying in the wilderness on the incompetentce of Chiang Kai-shek (who he refered to as the derisively as the 'Peanut') and his do nothing Kuomintang Army.

My father flew with General Claire Chennault's 'Flying Tigers', post AVG. Madame Chiang's 'China Lobby' held sway the hearts and minds in the halls of our goverment, although Mao and Chou en Lai army's were doing the lion's share of the fighting. Many 14th Air Force aviators owe their lives due to their being rescued and returned to the fight by the communists and Mao.

Had 'Vinegar' Joe been listened to, history would have been turned on it's ear. But Madame Chiang and a slinky dress had them all eating out of her hand. Any critisism of General Claire Chennault's ass kissing of Chiang Kai-shek is considered heresy by the AVG/post AVG boy's, except for those that had the good fortune to be shot down and saved by Mao's Army. Good luck on your future work.
Blackhawk187

Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 7:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

barca,
I do not accept that the CW was just or necessary.
The rest of the civilised world did away with slavery without fratricidal wars. Or was there some other legitimacy that I'm missing??
jim

Monday, November 30, 2009 at 10:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

FD Chief,
My point has nothing to do with internal Chinese squabbles etc... This was brought to the mix by 187.
My point is that we fought in Korea and passed on China. Is that strategic vision for a world power?
History misses the big joke of Korea, the Chinese that we killed were disposable troops. Every one we killed was a benefit to the Red Chinese so the war was really a disposal for unwanted/unneeded soldiers.
It's always easier to kick ass on the little guys.
Or so we think.
jim

Monday, November 30, 2009 at 10:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

187: Agree with you on the fundamental silliness of the U.S./KMT relationship pre-1948. The notion that Chiang was "indispensible" (and I was thinking about Joe Stilwell when I wrote the above comment) seemed to have a lot more to do with the appeal of the Soong sisters than any real virtue of the Whampoa clique. Politics generally suffers when it is being made based on some politician's yen for someone else's cootch.

But my (and Jim's) point is that we drew a line in the sand (so to speak) in Korea and spent 3 years and a hell of a lot of our guys' lives defending it. Yet two years earlier we decided that trying to prevent a similar takeover in China - by far the larger, more strategically crucial nation - wasn't worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.

I won't argue for or against either decision - there were valid reasons not to try and intervene in China just as there were valid ones for going into Korea - but it would seem that unless your policymaking was based on "who is small enough for me to beat" that consistency would argue for going the same way in the two places; either you intervene in China AND Korea or stay out of both. Or you intervene in China (the geopolitically more crucial of the two) and pass on Korea. We seem to have gotten things back-asswards.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 11:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

187: Agree with you on the fundamental silliness of the U.S./KMT relationship pre-1948. The notion that Chiang was "indispensible" (and I was thinking about Joe Stilwell when I wrote the above comment) seemed to have a lot more to do with the appeal of the Soong sisters than any real virtue of the Whampoa clique. Politics generally suffers when it is being made based on some politician's yen for someone else's cootch.

But my (and Jim's) point is that we drew a line in the sand (so to speak) in Korea and spent 3 years and a hell of a lot of our guys' lives defending it. Yet two years earlier we decided that trying to prevent a similar takeover in China - by far the larger, more strategically crucial nation - wasn't worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.

I won't argue for or against either decision - there were valid reasons not to try and intervene in China just as there were valid ones for going into Korea - but it would seem that unless your policymaking was based on "who is small enough for me to beat" that consistency would argue for going the same way in the two places; either you intervene in China AND Korea or stay out of both. Or you intervene in China (the geopolitically more crucial of the two) and pass on Korea. We seem to have gotten things back-asswards.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 11:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

barca: Worse. I'd argue that we have fought only three unavoidable wars in our history: the Revolution, 1812 and the Indian Wars. You can add WW2 if you want, tho I'd opine that we had to fight WW2 because we got involved in WW1 and then heped fuck up the peace - Woodrow Wilson has a lot to answer for!

All the rest were the result of sticking our nose in other people's business or joining in coalitions.

And I won't disagree that trying to "save" China for the KMT was politically impossible. But to pass on that and then make the politically stupid move of goading the new PRC to intervene in Korea?

MacArthur and Truman have to answer for that one, too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 11:22:00 AM GMT-5  

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