March 20th, 2008

wombat

facts getting in the way of the narrative again

Despite all the talk of a "broken Army", it sure seems like the troops aren't buying it, and at least one of the generals saying so has changed his mind.
After all, reenlistments are up and despite all the anecdotes about captains and majors fleeing the Army, retention in the O3/O4 grades is pretty much the same as it was in the 1990's, which has led MG Scales to retract his earlier statements about the Army being broken. This isn't to say that they couldn't use some of those divisions demobilized during the false peace of the Clinton years, to say nothing of a fourth Marine division, but things aren't nearly as bad as the press and the Democrats (redundant, I know) want you to believe.

(Mudville Gazette, via Instapundit)
Boss Coffee

a brief history of World War II

Provoked by this interview, which is worth reading even if you don't agree with Mr. Baker.

There really isn't a short history of WWII that doesn't oversimplify everything. Americans commonly believe that the war started on December 7, 1941 when the Germans Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, but Europeans know that it really started in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. On the other hand, the Chinese have a good case for saying that it really started in 1931 when the Japanese took over Manchuria, but on the other tentacle most people agree that the Spanish Civil War wasn't part of WW2 at all despite having volunteer contingents from just about all the major combatants present on one side or another. (It wouldn't surprise me to find out there were Chinese and Japanese in the International Brigades or among the handful of Nationalist volunteers; there were, after all, Irish fighting on Franco's side, and they managed to stay neutral in WW2, probably out of residual spite at the English.)

Anyhow, it doesn't pay to consider the war as an isolated incident anyway, given that it grew directly out of the punitive clauses of the Versailles Treaty, which in turn was France's revenge for their humiliating defeat during the Franco-Prussian War. So you might as well take it as the last act of the Franco-Prussian Wars that started in 1871. When did it end? The consensus is that it was all over on V-J Day in 1945 when the Japanese signed the articles of surrender on board the USS Missouri, but Berlin remained an occupied city by the four Great Powers until the Berlin Wall fell at the hands of impatient Berliners in 1989. So technically, that's when it was really all over, over there.

EDIT: Wow, more topical and timely than I thought. Lo, Clive Davis gives Senator Obama a rhetorical kick in the ass in the Spectator, reminding him that "There were, in fact, some isolated outbreaks of fighting before Pearl Harbour." LOL.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
  • Tags
Catholic

One down, several million to go

Keep jiggling the beads, brothers and sisters. We may yet get Russia back on track after all these centuries of backwardness, schism, and misery. I mean, if even the former General Secretary of the CPSU is making pilgrimages to the tomb of St. Francis, who's to say there's no hope for the likes of Vlad Putin and his gang of not-so-merry thugs?

(Instapundit)