Monday, February 16, 2009

Post No. 88a: Television Show of Interest: American Revolution Compared to Iraqi Resistance


We've been waiting for this one.

Often times, governments and religions have difficulty (or perhaps too much ease), distinguishing their wars, their executions, their human rights activities, and many other practices, from the conduct of others (which might appear to be the same to the casual observer).

We've often wondered whether some one had tried to compare the fight by certain Iraqis against "coalition" forces, to the fight by American revolutionaries against Great Britain. (Apart from the obvious differences which anyone can see.)

Tonight at 10:00 pm EST on C-Span2 Book TV, a retired general will do just that.

The book is Washington's War: The American War of Independence to the Iraqi Insurgency.

We'd be curious as to your thoughts on the subject, BEFORE viewing the broadcast.

This should be interesting.

27 comments:

  1. Ah, history is doomed to repeat itself. Why haven't we learned from our past?

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  2. The modern day proponents of what you view as "repeated" conduct apparently do not view it that way. They can "distinquish" their conduct from that of the past, thus justifying it today. They will argue that they have a higher purpose.

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  3. Which Iraqi "resistance" would you be referring to? The Shi'a who want to be part of the new Persian Empire? Or the Sunni al Qaeda allied faction? Or the remnants of the Ba'ath Party (also Sunni) who worry about the possible vengeance if the majority Shi'a attain control?
    Two of the factions are religiously motivated, one is secular.

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  4. Douglas: The ones who are shooting at "us," American soldiers or coalition forces. Along with driving their car bombs into facilities and locations where our soldiers are concentrated. Another defintion: those humans who have lived in Iraq all of their lives who are engaging in some type of violence against coalition force members, versus those from outside the country pursuing some coalition member objectives, whatever they may be, right or wrong.

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  5. There aren't enough parallels between "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and the American Revolution to make any sensible comparisons. The only lesson to be learned from both of these efforts is that making people dead is a bad habit.

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  6. Interesting Jonathan. No comparisons, eh? Hmmmhh. How about native people in a land (perhaps where they were born and raised) not wanting those from a distant land dictating to them what to do, how to live their lives, and setting up their government.

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  7. Ok, Log, then give me the equivalent three separate factions of the American revolution who not only fought against the British but also engaged in violence against each other. While you are considering that, consider that these Iraqis who were car bombing our troops were a tiny minority compared to the ones blowing up police recruiting stations, Shi'a pilgrimages, and Iraqi marketplaces.

    Ignoring the major differences between the two events does not make them go away.

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  8. David, I would like to "friend" you on facebook and myspace and follow you on twitter, but I can't find you. Do I need a full name? I'd like to link to you on my Blogger site to and would like to use your name if possible. I am at jsgillespie@mindspring.com.

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  9. I must agree with Mr. Bert in that there are no comparisons. Saddam was a brutal dictator whom the majority of the people wanted out. The coalition forces went in to help this happen because they had pulled back too soon and left those who tried to revolt during the earlier confrontation. And a few other reasons like WMD's which Saddam had had for years. It wasn't a self generated revolt however.

    The Kurds who were under American protection for ten years prospered while the rest of the Iraqi people continued to be dominated and exploited. the Kurds were happy with the situation because they didn't have to deal with the two tribes and had all that glorious oil to sell. Then after the coalition removed Saddam the three tribes who should never have been forced together as one country way back in 1923 by the English, began infighting to determine which one would come out dominant. They generally hate each other due to religious fanaticism and different beliefs even tho both are Muslims.

    They were not, and are not, fighting the coalition as such, but as the coalition forces appear to side with one tribe over another and/or when the coalition forces just plain get in the way. And neither are the Iraqis fighting for their freedom since they already have it if they would just decide in a civilized manner who is going to lead and who is going to follow so that the Americans can go home. ( After putting a base or two in their country to stay forever and be a real boon for the local economy! This too will give the locals something to riot against when they get a burr, but like the Philippines they really won't want us to close the bases.)

    Throw into this stew a mixture of the fanatics and terrorists of the world who flocked to Iraq because of the easier target in Iraq than they would have in the United States at killing Americans, or infidels. The terrorist thugs don't care which Iraqi tribe dominates as long as they can kill or be killed and go to Paradise for their 13 virgins. (I wonder what they promise the women suicide bombers?)

    The American Revolution was not against a brutal dictator, just a stupid one. It wouldn't have happened if the King and Parliament had treated the Americans colonials as Englishmen rather than tried to exploit them. It was a self generated revolt.

    There were two distinct sides I will agree, those who were against England and those who were not. However there was no infighting between the two segments beyond a bit of help here and there and spying and a whole lot of partying with the British officers in the major cities while those who called themselves "patriots" starved or froze in the countryside. And there certainly were no outside disinterested parties involved like the terrorists unless you want to count the Indians. But the Indians didn't fill cars with bombs or tie them to people. They were more of a nuisance to both sides, that is when they weren't playing both sides.

    Sorry Log. Not comparison. BB

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  10. Douglas: We were not performing the comparison. When we originally posed this question, we neither suggested that there were similarities nor differences. We simply suggested that we were curious whether someone had tried to "compare" them. We also did not suggest that the author of the book had established similarities or differences.

    Later, in response to Jonathan's comment, we suggested one possible similarity. We were seeking from our audience their thoughts about the similarities and the differences, if any, prior to our listening to what the general has to say later this evening at 10 pm EST.

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  11. Brenda: As we have often said, we do not care where people come out, as long as they perform the analysis, and it is intellectually sound and not disingenuous.

    Compare is a neutral word. When we originally posed this question, we neither suggested that there were similarities nor differences. We simply suggested that we were curious whether someone had tried to "compare" them. We also did not suggest that the author of the book had established similarities or differences.

    A couple of things. Are you suggesting that we are more like France, who aided the colonialists against the English? Are you suggesting that the United States should feel free to enter a country when it a brutal dictator with weapons of mass destruction? Why haven't we invaded North Korea, and do you suggest that we should?

    My understanding is that the Kurds felt that we abandoned them to some extent. The influx of those elements from outside the country is a possible difference. Did we have outside interlopers enter the colonies to assist or fight against us for their own purposes?

    Is the fact of internal conflict the most significant distinguishing feature?

    We'll see what the general has to say later this evening at 10 pm EST.

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  12. Here are a couple questions for all of you before the general speaks. (1) Articulate for us the generic reasons underlying a decision on the part of the United States to enter any foreign country the way that we did Iraq. (2) Tell us two other countries that we should approach in the same fashion.

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  13. Yes I would say we were more like France, but far more involved because we truly wanted to help the Iraqi people whereas France just wanted to annoy England.

    The US/Great Britain had the political reason of wanting a foot in the Middle East as in military bases so as to be better able to handle any emergencies. Or, put out fires before they became blazes. The fire that was most worrying was Russia and Frances meddling in the area. This worked against the Soviet Union with our having so many military installations in Europe.

    Why haven't we invaded North Korea? We don't have to because China is keeping North Korea in check. China has a golden goose in the American consumer so they don't want to hurt the goose. Neither do they want the goose to get too close to mess around anymore than they are in what they consider their side of the globe. China considers North Korea under their wing. The US is covering South Korea. It is a good arrangement that has lasted for 60 years.

    The Middle East however was becoming a stomping ground for Putin (Russia). George W. played friendly with Putin but it was just a guy's game because neither one trust the other. Where the miscalculation came in was the infighting with the three tribe in Iraq that has had us tied down and unable to complete our objective.

    George W. wanted then to get into Afghanistan and establish an American presence before Putin made a move back into that territory. he didn't get this done and now Putin is in and making mischief with that little country to the north where we have a supply air force base (forget the name) and Pakistan. Russia has enter the bidding and out bid us thus far.

    I think that covers the why on North Korea. And why the Middle East and Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Now back to the question: The Kurds did revolt and did feel that we had abandoned them. We did go in however and rectify that in creating the no fly zone and keeping Saddam out of Kurdish territory for ten years allowing them to prosper and form a fairly stable government. this is why they were not particularly happy when we invaded Iraq because they knew it would just turn the other two tribes loose to demand their share of the northern oil fields that the Kurds had had exclusively for ten years.

    I am taping the program. I think better after Lew goes to bed and turns off his TV which I can hear thru the walls. He likes the cop show. Yuck! BB

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  14. Reminder: 10 pm EST, C-Span2 Book TV, right after short presentation on Teddy Roosevelt. General comparing American Revolution to Iraqi opposition, coming on in a few minutes: http://www.booktv.org/program.aspx?ProgramId=9354&SectionName=History&PlayMedia=No

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  15. If we were speaking of this from a purely military point of view I could understand the point. The U.S. and the curent Iraqui arm forces do not operate as a covert guerrila force. The British marched in pretty little rows while the Americans frequently fought down and dirty, knowing the land and the weakness of those trying to fight as thought they were in the British Civil War or as if the enemy were the great Prussian War Machine instead of the colonists. It proved to be their undoing...just. If Napolean wasn't becoming a threat perhaps we might still be part of the Empire or at least the Commonwealth. The Americans were not hating the British as many if not most of their families came from Britain but they didn't want to have their fate determined without representation and the Brits were not about to budge. A far cry from how the insurgents see the U.S., eh?

    The insurgency is more about the age old power stuggle between Sunni and Shiite. They will be at it long after we are gone. I still hope that enough prople decide they don't want to have their sons and daughters die and will come to an accord but these folks don't seem to be fans of forgiveness. Plus, God help the Kurds.

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  16. This presentation was mind numbing. We never considered even 10% of the similarities which the general asked us to consider. We're looking forward to hearing your comments.

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  17. Beautiful Brenda. We can work with the comparison to France. We can work with the desire or perceived need to have a base of operations in the Middle East. We can work with our position on North Korea. We're not as comfortable with your position on the Russian chess game, although it is not unreasonable, and having oil definitely should have boosted Russia's confidence and motivation to become a major player again. (Sorta like Peter the Great.) We feel better about your "beat Putin back in" theory.

    Good stuff. We enjoyed it. We'll be interested in your thoughts after hearing the generals comments.

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  18. June, you must have been peeping at the general's presentation.

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  19. Loved the line of an author who wrote a book on the Revolutionary War, "All Ben Franklin wanted to do was run that printing business...."

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  20. We know that lots of you watched the general's presentation last evening, because you informed us that you did in your e-mails. Any further thoughts about differences and similarities following that presentation?

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  21. Now only if we could invade Cuba this time without giving it up.

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  22. Now only if we could invade Cuba this time without giving it up.

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  23. We know that lots of you watched the general's presentation last evening, because you informed us that you did in your e-mails. Any further thoughts about differences and similarities following that presentation?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Yes I would say we were more like France, but far more involved because we truly wanted to help the Iraqi people whereas France just wanted to annoy England.

    The US/Great Britain had the political reason of wanting a foot in the Middle East as in military bases so as to be better able to handle any emergencies. Or, put out fires before they became blazes. The fire that was most worrying was Russia and Frances meddling in the area. This worked against the Soviet Union with our having so many military installations in Europe.

    Why haven't we invaded North Korea? We don't have to because China is keeping North Korea in check. China has a golden goose in the American consumer so they don't want to hurt the goose. Neither do they want the goose to get too close to mess around anymore than they are in what they consider their side of the globe. China considers North Korea under their wing. The US is covering South Korea. It is a good arrangement that has lasted for 60 years.

    The Middle East however was becoming a stomping ground for Putin (Russia). George W. played friendly with Putin but it was just a guy's game because neither one trust the other. Where the miscalculation came in was the infighting with the three tribe in Iraq that has had us tied down and unable to complete our objective.

    George W. wanted then to get into Afghanistan and establish an American presence before Putin made a move back into that territory. he didn't get this done and now Putin is in and making mischief with that little country to the north where we have a supply air force base (forget the name) and Pakistan. Russia has enter the bidding and out bid us thus far.

    I think that covers the why on North Korea. And why the Middle East and Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Now back to the question: The Kurds did revolt and did feel that we had abandoned them. We did go in however and rectify that in creating the no fly zone and keeping Saddam out of Kurdish territory for ten years allowing them to prosper and form a fairly stable government. this is why they were not particularly happy when we invaded Iraq because they knew it would just turn the other two tribes loose to demand their share of the northern oil fields that the Kurds had had exclusively for ten years.

    I am taping the program. I think better after Lew goes to bed and turns off his TV which I can hear thru the walls. He likes the cop show. Yuck! BB

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  25. Ah, history is doomed to repeat itself. Why haven't we learned from our past?

    ReplyDelete
  26. David, I would like to "friend" you on facebook and myspace and follow you on twitter, but I can't find you. Do I need a full name? I'd like to link to you on my Blogger site to and would like to use your name if possible. I am at jsgillespie@mindspring.com.

    ReplyDelete

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