Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More Monkey Business

OK, you're a left-wing Democrat and you figure the whole Iraq-as-Vietnam thing is getting a bit stale after three years. So, how about ... Napoleon's retreat from Moscow? I am not making this up:

They burned Moscow down around Napoleon. Denied his last great triumph, the disappointed emperor abandoned Moscow and started home. Along the way, he lost the world's most powerful army.

Now, in Iraq, former Sen. Gary Hart (D-Aspen) says:

It is strange to contemplate the possibility that the greatest army in world history could be slaughtered in a Middle East conflagration. ... The United States is in danger of finding combat forces trapped in a civil war that they cannot prevent, control, or win. America's army is in danger, and that danger is possibly just around the corner.
Gary Hart knows as much about military strategy as Paris Hilton knows about abstinence. Uh, hello -- winter? Gary? Do you think the Russian winter might have had something to do with Napoleon's problems? And does it occur to you that, at least in this respect, Iraq is very un-Russian?

What Hart and other pretentious dimwits can't seem to understand is this: The "history repeats itself" mode of reasoning only works when you employ true parallels.

War particularly seems to lend itself to bogus "lessons" like this, because American schools have never done a good job of teaching military history. This allows the likes of Gary Hart to crib an account of the 1812 campaign from an encyclopedia article and present himself as a sage to a readership that knows even less about the subject than he does.

So vast is this ocean of ignorance, Hart can be certain that no regular HuffPost reader will object: "Hey, what about America's postwar occupations of Germany and Japan? Those turned out OK. And besides, what's a few dozen casualties a month in Iraq compared to the thousands of American troops who died to take Iwo Jima or Okinawa? If the war's worth winning, then casualties are part of the unavoidable cost. Do you want to pull another scaredy-cat cut-and-run like we did in Somalia?"

Gary Hart's stupidity is legendary. When rumors started circulating of his extra-marital affairs in 1987, Hart challenged the press to follow him. They did, and caught him, complete with color photos of him aboard the notorious "Monkey Business," forever destroying his presidential ambitions. The fact that such a has-been loser can present himself as an "elder statesman" at HuffPost tells you a lot about what's wrong with the Democratic Party. Who's up next on HuffPost? Mike Dukakis?