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Thread: Obama muzzles top military leaders...

  1. #1 Obama muzzles top military leaders... 
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    The President of the US, is the Commander In Chief of all Military forces and Constitutionally responsible for the Safety and Security of the US, the people and US interest all around the World. Additionally he or she (could happen soon) has 24/7/365 access to the Joint Chiefs of Staff whom are advisor's and ultimately the go between, to ongoing activity and the Administration, through the Defense Secretary, currently Robert Gates. Mr. Gates ordered General McChrystal to determine a viable policy for the war in Afghanistan. The General came up with what was the surge policy in Iraq, a slower process of going through the people, training Afghan Forces, allowing them to maintain any ground taken by NATO forces.

    My questions; Should the President, with all these advisers and their talent, disregard any or all the advise, for what may political reasons? Should the Constitutional Mandate and Oath taken to protect all mentioned above, over ride any other reason for non action, if that action is deemed and publicly stated by the Military on the ground?

    I am particularly interested in hearing from folks outside the US, since IMO any failure by the US Administration, will effect Europe and Africa, long before the US. Also noting the apparent apathy of European Countries toward the Afghan War in the first place or the organized war on terror.



    Sources tell Newsmax the Obama administration is muzzling its top military leaders, and keeping them from publicly airing their views on how to fight the war in Afghanistan.

    The administration's primary target: top Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whose speech in London last week apparently caught administration officials off guard.

    In fact, The Daily Telegraph reported that Obama's advisers were "shocked and angered" by McChrystal's speech.
    http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/McC...mo_code=8B27-1


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    Well, he's rethinking the strategy overall. Obviously, if the strategy changes, then so too should the advice given by his commanders. You don't just throw a bunch of troops into a situation that is ill-defined, and where you do not have a clear objective.

    They're doing the right thing. Decide on the strategy FIRST, then determine how to implement it... not the other way around. Even General McChrystal agrees with this, as does the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullin.

    There is no "muzzling" going on. What they're saying is, "Let's refrain from comment until we all agree on how we're going to move forward. Let's not fan the speculations of the media machine until we're all on the same page with this." Makes sense to me.


    Finally, simply sending a surge to Afghanistan is NOT equivalent to sending a surge into Iraq. In Iraq, we had partners on the ground. We had people in positions of power willing to step up and help us. Their power was also enormously centralized. Further, we had a "grassroots" movement from people on the ground before we even sent the surge, and we could not have been successful there without the Sunni Awakening which took place. We had partners there.

    Comparisons to Afghanistan are not valid, as we do NOT have partners there, and they do NOT have centralized power (and those who ARE in power are there due to blatant electoral fraud), and further, the country is vastly larger and has different mountainous terrain. It's going to take much more than just troops to do this. This is not going to be a war against Al-Quada or the Taliban, this is going to be nation building... so let's be clear on that. We're going to need significant amounts of trainers. We're going to need to increase the size of the Afghan army by roughly 600%, and we're going to need a metric assload of money (all while we're trying to fix our economy here at home) to do all that.


    So yeah... I'm sure the Commander in Chief is asking his underlings to keep their mouths in check while they discuss this like adults and agree on a mature strategy before they go out acting like a bunch of spoiled brats who are pissed because they didn't get the pony they asked for.


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    inow quotes;
    Well, he's rethinking the strategy overall. Obviously, if the strategy changes, then so too should the advice given by his commanders. You don't just throw a bunch of troops into a situation that is ill-defined, and where you do not have a clear objective.
    I most certainly agree and if this had been his policy, while campaigning or the first eight months of his term, their would be no question, it was not. Out of Iraq and into Afghanistan was the policy, UNTIL McCrystal , while under orders and appointed by him, made his recommendations. By the way, McCrysrals, recommendations offered a strategy and reasoning, NOT just throwing 40,000 more troops into the arena.

    They're doing the right thing. Decide on the strategy FIRST, then determine how to implement it... not the other way around. Even General McChrystal agrees with this, as does the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullin.
    There is no "muzzling" going on. What they're saying is, "Let's refrain from comment until we all agree on how we're going to move forward. Let's not fan the speculations of the media machine until we're all on the same page with this." Makes sense to me.
    I didn't write the article, but if the accusations are correct, that 25 minute meeting on Air Force One, was to reprimand McCrystal (shut him up), then muzzling is most certainly the appropriate word. Having said this, the President has every right to do exactly that, shut him up and since you mentioned Admiral Mullen, shouldn't the same be said of him. Mullen apparently using polls has "determined" we should consider abandoning a eight year effort. That's not a good foundation, IMO for basing military action, especially from an experienced Commander and adviser to the President.

    Mullen quote;
    "This is the war we're in," Mullen said matter-of-factly, when asked about public perception of a conflict entering its ninth year.
    The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the situation needs to be reversed in the next 12 to 18 months.
    Furthermore, their has never been a war, for the eventual victor, that went according to the plans, including the US most important one, the War For Independence. I just don't see Washington packing his bags and moving west, because he lost one or the actual several major battles.

    Mullen quote;
    "I think it is serious and it is deteriorating," Mullen said. "And I've said that over the last couple of years, that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated."
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009...g-mullen-says/

    Finally, simply sending a surge to Afghanistan is NOT equivalent to sending a surge into Iraq. In Iraq, we had partners on the ground. We had people in positions of power willing to step up and help us. Their power was also enormously centralized. Further, we had a "grassroots" movement from people on the ground before we even sent the surge, and we could not have been successful there without the Sunni Awakening which took place. We had partners there.
    Whether Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or any unstable State, those on the ground or general population will do as they have for a thousand years, side with the perceived future winner ("Sunni Awakening").

    Are you adding into the equation, all the actual National Interest involved or even the stability (if there is any left) of the Worlds Economies. The US is no longer an isolationist Nation (pre WWII), has made itself a player in World affairs, in both security (treaty's) and the economy (International Corporation, noting not always American).

    While, the US has no vested interest or could have for generations, if they returned to a Militant Islamic State (would), there is the probability Pakistan (especially with their form of Democracy) would eventually align themselves with Afghanistan, challenging India for dominance in the area, not to mention the current Iran or the stability of the entire Middle east. I don't like using the 'Domino Theory', but factually Africa, would not be that far behind. My opinion, anyway.
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  5. #4 Re: Obama muzzles top military leaders... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33

    My questions; Should the President, with all these advisers and their talent, disregard any or all the advise, for what may political reasons? Should the Constitutional Mandate and Oath taken to protect all mentioned above, over ride any other reason for non action, if that action is deemed and publicly stated by the Military on the ground?

    I am particularly interested in hearing from folks outside the US, since IMO any failure by the US Administration, will effect Europe and Africa, long before the US. Also noting the apparent apathy of European Countries toward the Afghan War in the first place or the organized war on terror.
    Affect, not effect.

    Your president should listen to a variety of sources including but not limited to his military advisers. If you wish to create an increasingly militant mindset regarding how to engage other cultures, then increasing troop strength (with an implicit role in killing Afghans) is a good step. If on the other hand you wish to develop stronger relations with your allies whilst attempting to navigate the quagmire of Afghanistan, then listening to their input might be a better step.
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    free radical;
    Your president should listen to a variety of sources including but not limited to his military advisers. If you wish to create an increasingly militant mindset regarding how to engage other cultures, then increasing troop strength (with an implicit role in killing Afghans) is a good step. If on the other hand you wish to develop stronger relations with your allies whilst attempting to navigate the quagmire of Afghanistan, then listening to their input might be a better step.
    If indeed I could believe it was another culture, I would agree. In inferring the Islam culture, your saying the Militant/Radical faction represents the culture of it's majority, I would disagree. I personally don't believe this is either the human spirit or the desire of any humans today on this planet, probably never has been and the majority would happily accept, co-existence and mutual prosperity of the todays majority of the peoples, if permitted.

    I don't pretend to understand the POWERS behind the 'Islamic Brotherhood' or the apparent control over populations of the Muslim Cleric (all men) or the attitudes of what the "stronger relations" with our allies would mean, however I do believe, if nothing more than a hope, that most wish for peaceful solutions, to what I see as another 'Holy War' centuries after the last one.

    In todays news, the Pakistan Power, the military, has refused the US Administration request for spending of billions in aid, on monitoring Taliban activity.

    ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistan's powerful military on Wednesday rejected U.S. attempts to link billions of dollars in foreign aid to increased monitoring of its anti-terror efforts, complicating American attempts to strike al-Qaida and Taliban fighters on the Afghan border.
    http://my.att.net/s/editorial.dll?pn...ne+topnews&ck=

    This tells me they, the military is concerned about the Obama's Administration in following through with the previous plans and a concern for their own survival. Commitment and follow up are important....
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    free radical;
    Your president should listen to a variety of sources including but not limited to his military advisers. If you wish to create an increasingly militant mindset regarding how to engage other cultures, then increasing troop strength (with an implicit role in killing Afghans) is a good step. If on the other hand you wish to develop stronger relations with your allies whilst attempting to navigate the quagmire of Afghanistan, then listening to their input might be a better step.
    If indeed I could believe it was another culture, I would agree. In inferring the Islam culture, your saying the Militant/Radical faction represents the culture of it's majority, I would disagree. I personally don't believe this is either the human spirit or the desire of any humans today on this planet, probably never has been and the majority would happily accept, co-existence and mutual prosperity of the todays majority of the peoples, if permitted.

    I don't pretend to understand the POWERS behind the 'Islamic Brotherhood' or the apparent control over populations of the Muslim Cleric (all men) or the attitudes of what the "stronger relations" with our allies would mean, however I do believe, if nothing more than a hope, that most wish for peaceful solutions, to what I see as another 'Holy War' centuries after the last one.

    In todays news, the Pakistan Power, the military, has refused the US Administration request for spending of billions in aid, on monitoring Taliban activity.

    ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistan's powerful military on Wednesday rejected U.S. attempts to link billions of dollars in foreign aid to increased monitoring of its anti-terror efforts, complicating American attempts to strike al-Qaida and Taliban fighters on the Afghan border.
    http://my.att.net/s/editorial.dll?pn...ne+topnews&ck=

    This tells me they, the military is concerned about the Obama's Administration in following through with the previous plans and a concern for their own survival. Commitment and follow up are important....
    I am speaking of the Afghan culture, not of an extremist faction within the culture. Do Americans recognise that Afghans do not live an American lifestyle? Do Americans define 'success' in Afghanistan as the establishment of something approximating an American-style democracy?

    Do you see any inherent problems in this?
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    free radical;

    I have said this before, but feel it deserves repeating; I considered President Bush, could have had an underlying religious agenda when attacking the Taliban in Afghanistan and later Gulf War II, settling on the idea that the folks in both Countries were tired of Radical Islam in their lives, more so than the fear of 'Western Culture' (founding principle of the Islamic Brotherhood 1927) entering their society. I feel the folks in those two and and majority in all Islamic States, have a strong desire for practicing Islam, the Koran and their traditional values, with changes only to what they feel are tolerable to the majority. This primarily being choice of Government, with or without Mullah influence, the rights of women or limited rights, the education of all their people with or without religious influence and the most important item, not having to fear death for voicing their individual opinions or ideas, protected under the laws they can influence. Basically this simple means freedom of choice in matters the rest of the World has long enjoyed. In any effort to afford these changes, at least in my mind, does NOT mean an attempt to change the culture, in the least. Success then, I assume (can't speak for the Obama Administration) is to rid the area of the extremist element and allow a stabilizing of a Government. McCrystal's idea, IMO is thought the people with additional troops (working with the locals) as was done in Iraq....And yes, I have understood where your coming from, but disagree with the premise. The only major changes on culture by the American Government today, are on the Americans themselves!!!

    I DO NOT think it is or has been the desire of the Coalition in Iraq or the NATO forces in Afghanistan to alter or make these Countries like their own, which I might add are also very different to each others. In fact most have NOT been satisfied with the chosen leaders of these Countries, but are and have worked with each to achieve goals to those leaders over the desires of their own, IMO.

    What was going on in Iraq and now picking up in Afghanistan is pure intimidation by the radical to any change what so ever and IMO in many cases with pure revenge in mind, from those that feel they are losing CONTROL. Again my arguments are going to fall back on the Domino Theory, that there are many people in many States, including major democracies, pushing the older Traditional Muslim Theology, including male dominance, that will become more active with any defeat of those efforts to change.

    Published: 10/8/09, 10:05 AM EDT
    By RAHIM FAIEZ
    KABUL (AP) - A suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle outside the Indian Embassy in the bustling center of the Afghan capital Thursday, killing 17 people in the second major attack in the city in less than a month. The Afghan Foreign Ministry hinted at Pakistani involvement - a charge Pakistan denied.
    The blast occurred a day after the war entered its ninth year and as President Barack Obama was deliberating a request by the top commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal for up to 40,000 more troops. Opponents of a troop increase want to shift focus to missile strikes and special operations against al-Qaida-linked groups in Pakistan.
    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack - the second against the Indian Embassy in the past two years - and specified that the Indians were the target.
    This is off my personal news wire (not going to give site), but am sure can be found in any Newspaper, later today. This is in effect an attempt to intimidate not only the people and Government of Afghanistan, but the Indian Government directly and indirectly any State THINKING about a more liberal stance on Islam.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    inow quotes;
    Well, he's rethinking the strategy overall. Obviously, if the strategy changes, then so too should the advice given by his commanders. You don't just throw a bunch of troops into a situation that is ill-defined, and where you do not have a clear objective.
    I most certainly agree and if this had been his policy, while campaigning or the first eight months of his term, their would be no question, it was not. Out of Iraq and into Afghanistan was the policy, UNTIL McCrystal , while under orders and appointed by him, made his recommendations. By the way, McCrysrals, recommendations offered a strategy and reasoning, NOT just throwing 40,000 more troops into the arena.

    They're doing the right thing. Decide on the strategy FIRST, then determine how to implement it... not the other way around. Even General McChrystal agrees with this, as does the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullin.
    There is no "muzzling" going on. What they're saying is, "Let's refrain from comment until we all agree on how we're going to move forward. Let's not fan the speculations of the media machine until we're all on the same page with this." Makes sense to me.
    I didn't write the article, but if the accusations are correct, that 25 minute meeting on Air Force One, was to reprimand McCrystal (shut him up), then muzzling is most certainly the appropriate word. Having said this, the President has every right to do exactly that, shut him up and since you mentioned Admiral Mullen, shouldn't the same be said of him. Mullen apparently using polls has "determined" we should consider abandoning a eight year effort. That's not a good foundation, IMO for basing military action, especially from an experienced Commander and adviser to the President.
    I get the impression that devising a strategy is meant to be a collaborative effort among multiple generals/admirals/etc, so for one of them to go straight to the press with his own strategy, because he feels the others might not agree with him and wants to go over their head, would be a tremendous show of disrespect for the others.

    Since Obama is officially in charge, it would fall on him to actually deliver the reprimand, but he'd still be speaking on behalf of the other military leaders, who want to have their say in the matter too, before the public mobilizes around the first plan to reach their ears.

    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    free radical;
    Your president should listen to a variety of sources including but not limited to his military advisers. If you wish to create an increasingly militant mindset regarding how to engage other cultures, then increasing troop strength (with an implicit role in killing Afghans) is a good step. If on the other hand you wish to develop stronger relations with your allies whilst attempting to navigate the quagmire of Afghanistan, then listening to their input might be a better step.
    If indeed I could believe it was another culture, I would agree. In inferring the Islam culture, your saying the Militant/Radical faction represents the culture of it's majority, I would disagree. I personally don't believe this is either the human spirit or the desire of any humans today on this planet, probably never has been and the majority would happily accept, co-existence and mutual prosperity of the todays majority of the peoples, if permitted.

    I don't pretend to understand the POWERS behind the 'Islamic Brotherhood' or the apparent control over populations of the Muslim Cleric (all men) or the attitudes of what the "stronger relations" with our allies would mean, however I do believe, if nothing more than a hope, that most wish for peaceful solutions, to what I see as another 'Holy War' centuries after the last one.
    Naive people will always want to believe the world is simpler than it is. It's true in the USA just as much as anywhere else, only in the USA those people run around and protest stuff instead of strapping bombs to their chest. (Probably because they're less confused.)

    Mere mortals that we are, the USA has done a less-than-perfect job of trying to manage an increasingly complicated world economy. If someone wants to compile a list of errors, they'll always be able to find some. Islamic leaders claim they could do better if they had all the power and all the control, and everybody had to listen to them. I'm pretty sure they're bluffing, just like those free energy people who claim to have built perpetual motion machines, or those charlatans who sell herbal cures to cancer victims. -- Always claiming some Great Satan or another has been suppressing them.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I get the impression that devising a strategy is meant to be a collaborative effort among multiple generals/admirals/etc, so for one of them to go straight to the press with his own strategy, because he feels the others might not agree with him and wants to go over their head, would be a tremendous show of disrespect for the others.
    And stupid, too, since the final strategy could be different than the one they shared with the press. I couldn't agree more with your post.
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    kojax; A couple interesting points in your post.

    It's my understanding the McCrystal's plan for Afghanistan was leaked prior to his public comments, but forgetting that he has the responsibility of the troops themselves on his shoulder. I believe he, takes this obligation a little more serious than most. Many feel today, if he is denied the troops or the associated equipment, he will (to be polite) retire, not accepting what he may feel will be much higher casualties with a dead end result.

    Obama, has absolutely NO military experience, must rely on his advisor's and out of desire will place his political career above that of what ever the outcome may be. Said another way; Obama, in making the decision (either way) will be what he feel is best for him and in his mind then best for the Nation**. Lyndon Johnson, had much the same dilemma in Vietnam, chose the 'War Expansion', which led to him not running for re-election and under President Nixon, who ran on the promise to pull out of Vietnam, was finally held to the promise when Congress refused funding.

    **Note; To be clear, any President would do the same, including the apparent bias of Military Presidents to become pacifist after taking office (Washington/Eisenhower).

    In fairness one excuse for Vietnam, was the Domino effect or that if VN fell to communism, others would as well. Of course over the years everything worked out pretty well, except for Cuba. While my concerns are also Domino, they are based on a 1500 year track record of aggression and dominance over others, today on an International level. What I really DON'T know or pretend to know, is how many of the 1.5 Billion Muslims agree with the said very few extremist, especially the Mullahs, who seem to control things everywhere, including the US Muslim population.

    If you like here is a quick review of the results and aftermath of Vietnam, which many say was a politician run war....

    US Pulls Out of Vietnam
    President Nixon had been elected on a promise to Vietnamize the war, meaning more fighting would be turned over to the South Vietnamese army, and to start bringing home American troops. When the President ordered US troops into Cambodia and ordered more bombings, the result was a tremendous uproar at home with more marches and demonstrations. Congress reacted to the antiwar feeling and repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave the President the authority to send troops and fight the war in Vietnam. The United States did not lose the Vietnam War. Although some may argue that by pulling out of South Vietnam we did just that. In 1972, North Vietnam finally realized that the war was a stalemate. The two sides met and arranged a cease fire. In January of 1973 the Paris Accords went into effect. The US agreed to withdraw all its troops from Vietnam in 60 days. Congress had stopped funding the war effort. The North Vietnamese government agreed to release all prisoners, which they never did. Free elections were to be held in Vietnam. The President of South Vietnam considered the agreement between North Vietnam and the US as a sell out. But it allowed President Nixon to save face and bring the soldiers home. By 1975, after US troops had been pulled out of South Vietnam, the ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Vietnam) collapsed and the North Vietnamese moved into Saigon, ending the war and finalizing the take over of the South by the North. Our purpose in the war is debated to this day.

    The War results;
    The most immediate effect of the Vietnam War was the staggering death toll. The war killed an estimated 2 million Vietnamese civilians, 1.1 million North Vietnamese troops, 200,000 South Vietnamese troops, and 58,000 U.S. troops. Those wounded in combat numbered tens of thousands more. The massive U.S. bombing of both North and South Vietnam left the country in ruins, and the U.S. Army’s use of herbicides such as Agent Orange not only devastated Vietnam’s natural environment but also caused widespread health problems that have persisted for
    The aftermath;
    In July 1976, the new unified Vietnam was officially reunited as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV), with its capital at Hanoi. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Even though Vietnam had succeeded in evicting the United States, its military problems were not over. In neighboring Kampuchea (as Cambodia was now called), Communist dictator Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge forces began a reign of terror in the hope of creating a pre-industrial utopia, murdering around 2 million people in so-called “killing fields.”
    's
    http://www.sparknotes.com/history/am...mwar/section10
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    kojax; A couple interesting points in your post.

    It's my understanding the McCrystal's plan for Afghanistan was leaked prior to his public comments, but forgetting that he has the responsibility of the troops themselves on his shoulder. I believe he, takes this obligation a little more serious than most. Many feel today, if he is denied the troops or the associated equipment, he will (to be polite) retire, not accepting what he may feel will be much higher casualties with a dead end result.

    Obama, has absolutely NO military experience, must rely on his advisor's and out of desire will place his political career above that of what ever the outcome may be. Said another way; Obama, in making the decision (either way) will be what he feel is best for him and in his mind then best for the Nation**. Lyndon Johnson, had much the same dilemma in Vietnam, chose the 'War Expansion', which led to him not running for re-election and under President Nixon, who ran on the promise to pull out of Vietnam, was finally held to the promise when Congress refused funding.
    His job is also to facilitate coordination between all of the bureaucracy of the military, so they're on the same page and working together, rather than fighting among themselves, or pursuing conflicting objectives. If he's got say... 5 generals who want one thing, and 1 general who wants another thing, he's got to go with the 5, even if the 1 general's idea was better.

    In the first place, you're making it sound like unexperienced Obama is ignoring a professional soldier, instead of unexperience Obama listening to a number of professional soldiers who all say the one professional soldier is wrong. In the second place, if he allows his soldiers to fight among each other, that may do more harm to the war effort than any mistake of strategy would have done.




    In fairness one excuse for Vietnam, was the Domino effect or that if VN fell to communism, others would as well. Of course over the years everything worked out pretty well, except for Cuba. While my concerns are also Domino, they are based on a 1500 year track record of aggression and dominance over others, today on an International level. What I really DON'T know or pretend to know, is how many of the 1.5 Billion Muslims agree with the said very few extremist, especially the Mullahs, who seem to control things everywhere, including the US Muslim population.
    I think it's unwise to rely too heavily on military history that goes further back than about 200 years. A lot of the reason the UK felt the need to humiliate Germany with "war reparations" after WWI, is because that's the way things had worked in Europe for a long time. Humiliate your enemy and it wears down their sense of nationality, making it hard for them to mobilize for another attack. What they didn't consider was the effect of radio and print media enabling Hitler to sell his people a bunch of false dreams, and make them more united than ever.

    My point is: technology changes things. The past is only reliable when conditions of "ceteris paribus" (all things being equal) prevail.
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