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Unlearning the lessons of the past

Now the Democrats are saying we need a "clearly defined exit strategy" in Iraq. This is a time-honored practice -- but honored in its failure. Let's look back on the 20th Century wars of the United States, and see just how well the application of this theory has held up:

World War I:
Exit Strategy: Yes, come home as soon as it's over and start 20+ years of isolationism.
Consequence: World War II

World War II:
Exit Strategy: None.
Return date of troops: Still pending, 60+ years later
Consequence: Germany and Japan become staunch allies.

Exit Strategy: None.
Return date of troops: Still pending, 50+ years later
Consequence: No resumption of war.

Viet Nam:
Exit strategy: Pull out after treaty signed.
Return date of troops: within a few years of signing.
Consequence: North reneges on treaty, conquers South, still Communist 30 years later.

Gulf War I:
Exit Strategy: ground troops out, enforcement of terms of surrender from air only.
Return date of troops: nearly all within a year or so of surrender.
Consequences: 12 years of "cheat and retreat," "Oil For Food" scandal, re-invasion 12 years later.

Exit Strategy: Too many to count, never fulfilled.
Return date of troops: "By Christmas," but still present.
Consequences: semi-permanent presence of US forces 10 years later.

The lesson is clear:

Exit strategies are for wars that you don't plan to win, and to win decisively.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Unlearning the lessons of the past:

» Right Thoughts...not right wing, just right. linked with A simple point about exit strategies

» basil's blog linked with Brunch: 11/19/2005

» Eclipse Ramblings linked with An Exit Strategy Review

» A Blog For All linked with 403-3

» The Chip Mathis Experience linked with Exit Strategy is for Losers

» Cold Fury linked with Doomed to repeat it

» Riding Sun linked with "Exit strategies" are for losers

» Alabama Watch linked with Marine Sergeant that Murtha should listen to

» Shock and Blog linked with "Exit strategies" in history

» The Moderate Voice linked with Around The 'Sphere

» Danz Family linked with Troop Withdrawal and Exit Strategy

» Isaac Schrödinger linked with Victory is Our Strategery

Comments (25)

The real consequence of wit... (Below threshold)

The real consequence of withdrawing from Viet Nam was the death and displacement of millions from Viet Nam, Cambodia, Loas and Burma. I live in Houston. The Houston phone directory has nine pages of Nguyen's in it. Those people are the ones who survived.

I want to hear an exit stra... (Below threshold)

I want to hear an exit strategy from the War on Poverty from the Democrats.
And from the War on Drugs from *anyone.*

Roll call in the House f... (Below threshold)

Roll call in the House for Immediate Withdrawal:

Cut and Run (Ayes):

Gutless Wonders Answering “Present”:

Number Who Voted Nay: 403

In resposnse to the questio... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

In resposnse to the question in the third Presidential debate with Gore. in October 2000 when Bush was more moderate. He and Jay would say pre-9-11.
"MEMBER OF AUDIENCE: Today our military forces are stretched thinner and doing more than they have ever done before during peacetime. I would like to know what you are -- I think we would all like to know what you as president would do to ensure proper resourcing for the current mission and/or more selectively choosing the time and place that our forces will be used around the world.

..Bush in response "It must be in the national interests, must be in our vital interests whether we ever send troops. The mission must be clear. Soldiers must understand why we're going. The force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. And the exit strategy needs to be well-defined."
I think it was really Cheney's influence principally, who catapulted Bush into forgetting this Republican establishment idea "First used as military jargon by President Reagan's Secretary of Defence Caspar Weinberger in 1984; popularised by General Colin Powell - now the US Secretary of State - in the early 1990s.

Ah yes. <a href="http://www... (Below threshold)

Ah yes. Cynthia McKinney. Everyone remember who finances her politics? Daniel Pipes summarizes the contributions pretty well. Does everyone remember her moonbattiness? Here's a gem of her insanity:

CM - "We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th... What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?... What do they have to hide?" [Bryan Preston at NRO - July 27, 2004, 2:10 a.m. "The Female Michael Moore"]

Who would be surprised to see her undermine the U.S.? What a disgrace.

Steve, I don't believe the ... (Below threshold)

Steve, I don't believe the President has forgotten any Republican establishment idea. There is an exit plan which has been told repeatedly to Congress, Democrats, liberals and the entire world. That plan is to secure Iraq so that it can stand on its own and continue to nurture the young democracy which exists there now, which will, in turn, establish an environment wherein Islamofascism no longer grows. Many, many things have been, and are being, done in pursuit of that goal. Being uncomfortable with, or disliking, the plan does not mean one does not exist.

Shore was nice to see the D... (Below threshold)

Shore was nice to see the Democraps have to put up or shut up. Now if we could get the senate to do the same.

When does the "shut up" par... (Below threshold)

When does the "shut up" part come into play? I'm anxiously awaiting....

Tish, speak to me in French... (Below threshold)

Tish, speak to me in French! And thwack Steve another time for me.

FWIW,We did have an ... (Below threshold)

We did have an exit strategy in WWII. It was called 'Unconditional Surrender'. The common phrase among the troops was that the path to home lead through Berlin and Tokyo.

You also left out the cold war.
Exit Strategy: None
Return date of troops: We might want to menton to some of the troops stationed in Greenland, Alaska, etc that the war is over.
Consequence: We won, but don't let anyone on the left hear you say that Reagan had anything to do with victory. The USSR just magically collapsed and its collapse had nothing to do with 30+ years of containment strategy or re-invigorating that containment strategy under Reagan.

Je thwack Steve en français... (Below threshold)

Je thwack Steve en français sur demande d'Epador. Ah, oui, Je! J'espère que ceci rencontre votre satisfaction, mon ami.

Thanks to online translators, I can speak to you in any language you please. :)

fuk bush is a moron. not th... (Below threshold)

fuk bush is a moron. not that he makes any decisions himself. but bowing to all demands the zionists make will eventually lead the usa down the path rome went down and tumbled head over heels.

Yep, WTF, we should all be ... (Below threshold)

Yep, WTF, we should all be focused on "zionists" while the Left attempt to take this country the way of Sodom and Gamorrah, promoting all that which has rent societies to shreds throughout history. But we'll sure keep an eye on those zionists! *eyeroll*

Bad news for WTF: <a href="... (Below threshold)
Ah yes, WTF. I forgot the ... (Below threshold)

Ah yes, WTF. I forgot the very important qualifier on the Left: it's not racism when you're dealing with Joooos or conservative blacks.

Thanks for reminding me.

All Things Beautiful TrackB... (Below threshold)

All Things Beautiful TrackBack The Cut and Run Prescription for Iraq

"The suggested Democratic prescription was 'Cut and Run', that turned out to be a 'Vote and Run' at 403 to 3 against. Jay @ Wizbang has a very good History Lesson.

All Things Beautiful TrackB... (Below threshold)

All Things Beautiful TrackBack The Cut and Run Prescription for Iraq

"The suggested Democratic prescription was 'Cut and Run', that turned out to be a 'Vote and Run' at 403 to 3 against. Jay @ Wizbang has a very good History Lesson.

Excellent food for thought ... (Below threshold)

Excellent food for thought on exit strategies. However, it would be nice if the Bush Administration cranked up the PR on what is positive, progressive, and good about our efforts. Unfortunately, the word does not get out except via returning veterans, words that the MSM are not interested in reporting because the MSM has their own anti-war, anti-Bush, ACLU-loving, weak-kneed, weak stomach for confronting terrorism agenda.

For a list of the chicken "non-voters" on the House of Representatives proposa last night for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, please visit my blog.

Finally, Representative Murtha, in his old age, has apparently forgotten the Marine Corps credos of "Semper Fi" and "Death Before Dishonor."

Roll call in the House f... (Below threshold)

Roll call in the House for Immediate Withdrawal:
(updated with state information)

Cut and Run (Ayes):
Cynthia McKinney, Ga.
Jose E. Serrano, N.Y.
Robert Wexler, Fla.

Gutless Wonders Answering “Present”:
Michael Capuano, Mass.
William Lacy Clay, Mo.
Maurice Hinchey, N.Y.
Jim McDermott, Wash.
Jerrold Nadler, N.Y.
Major Owens, N.Y.

Number Who Voted Nay: 403
This included Murtha.

ah, Cara Mia...Mer... (Below threshold)

ah, Cara Mia...

Merci et, si tu plais, encore une fois...

To Tish and Epador, in the ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

To Tish and Epador, in the interests of debate, not of getting whacked over the head, I will send you a link to a established Republican figure, Brent Snowcroft, probably the closest friend of Dubya's father, who expresses the viewpoint, that as politics is the art of the possible Bush's ( Bush Junior ) goal in Tish's words to secure Iraq so that it can stand on its own and continue to nurture the young democracy should have been part of careful finetuned plan, from day one as finetuned as the successful military invasion plans. They plainly didn't and misunderestimated the enemy. SNOWCROFT "This is exactly where we are now," he said of Iraq, with no apparent satisfaction. We own it. And we can't let go. We're getting sniped at. Now, will we win? I think there's a fairchance we'll win. But look at the cost ."

Steve, do you have any thou... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Steve, do you have any thoughts of your own, or do you only hide behind the words of conservatives who happen to agree with you?

Scowcroft, as I recall, was one of the architects that set the whole decade-long post-war Iraqi mess in motion.

The historical precedent I cited is, I believe, valid. I have absolutely no interest in knowing who disagrees with me; I am far more interested in WHY the examples I cited don't apply. Can you do that, or are you only capable of parroting what others say?

And Steve, let me quote one of your own comments for you:

In resposnse to the question in the third Presidential debate with Gore. in October 2000 when Bush was more moderate. He and Jay would say pre-9-11.

Don't put words in my mouth. I'm quite capable of speaking for myself. And as I've said numerous times, I don't speak for anyone, and no one speaks for me.


Okay Jay, I will take up yo... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Okay Jay, I will take up your gauntlet no quotes, not even from moderate Republicans. In the wars you listed there were only two wars without exit strategies...World War 2, a decisive and devastating Allied victory, including unfortunately that of the Red Army in Eastern Europe, and the Korean War which I understand resulted in a deadlock : the border on the 38th parallel remained but the Communist/Chinese threat was averted and pushed back..I'm not even going to google it but I understand it was a UN sponsored Action so I am not sure if you can say that there was no exit strategy..What I believe you are saying is America shouldn't be content fighting a limited war in Iraq and this was the problem with Vietnam and the possible quaqmire again in Iraq if we continue to fight af if we had'one-arm tied behind our back with undermanned troops looking for the first opportunity to declare victory and leave..Snowcroft and the like-minded George Bush senior 41, were content not to finish Saddam off and only keep him in his box. The first Iraq war was a UN mandated action, in other words limited mission goals i.e. removing Iraq from Kuwait. My basic problem with a total victory approach, one without an exit stategy, is that vis a vis Iraq ,is that we didn't take their soverignity claims serious enough in the early stages; oil and permanent American military bases were of more strategic importance. So a total or less limited war might increase the chances of winning, but also the stakes or consequences if we didn't. Bush has come round to combining anti- world terrorism with the twin goal of spreading democracy goal as Condi Rice has become a surprising force even influence. So he has raised the stakes and the goals, but is that sound with only 160,000 troops and a public appetite not to increase troop levels more?

Two limited 'American' wars you didn't list had successful conclusions: Grenada and Panama were successful. Nicaragua with the US backed Contras was hardly worth the costs and deaths given the behavior of American proxiesand the corrupt governments they have subsequently had. In Somalia, the goals were blurry and it was a p.r. disaster and probably the reason for the popularity of this code phrase uised by politicians of all stripes exit-strategy which I will grant you has become like the cartoon suggests a cliche that has become slightly hollow because of its over use.

Steve, Tell me, please, of ... (Below threshold)

Steve, Tell me, please, of one war which has been carried out precisely as planned, even one with finetuned planning prior to its engagement. Here is a hint: The only war to have been carried out successfully according to a previously hatched, finetuned plan is the one fought against no enemy. In other words, it hasn't happened. That things haven't gone as smoothly in Iraq as all would wish does not mean there was no plan. There is more than one way to interpret the ease/difficulty our troops have encountered in the phases, conquering the country v. democratization of the country, of the war in Iraq. Just because one period was easier than the other should not automatically be interpreted as one period being better planned than the other. That, in my opinion, would be foolish because it all hinges on the enemy's actions, which can't be predicted with 100% certainty.

Regarding Scowcroft's statement which you highlighted, "We own it..." Of course we own Iraq, just as we've "owned" every country we have defeated in war. We can't let go of Iraq any more than we could have let go of Japan or Germany prior to a certain point in their democratization after WWII. Why you, Scowcroft or anyone else would expect it to be any different this time...especially this time....is beyond me. Do the Left, or Scowcroft, believe we should pick up and run home because we're "being sniped at?" Our forces have been "sniped at" in every single war in which we have been invovled. Guerilla actions have been employed by our enemies throughout history as well. Now, however, such actions seem to be a surprise to so many in this country. Why is that so? Have our countrymen with a liberal bend completely forgotten history, or do they simply lack testicular and intestinal fortitude to do that which must be done? When the Left rally behind people like Scowcroft, a man who was considered to be one of the "evil ones" previously by them, because he whines that we're getting "sniped at" in a war.....

When people like Murtha suggest we need to bring the troops home because our enemies see them as the :::gasp::: enemy....

It becomes quite clear why Americans do not trust them in national security matters. They have lost any backbone they once possessed.

We need to start preparing ... (Below threshold)

We need to start preparing our exit strategy for North Korea... or we could just kill KIM Jong Il and be done with it.

"...let's expedite matters and kill KIM Jong Il. A bullet is far less dangerous than an idea."

See North Korea: A Case For Rescinding Executive Orders 11905* & 12333**






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