Wars for freedom are always close run things – the foe is invariably brutal and unprincipled, and supported by appeasers nesting in the safety of free societies. But throughout their histories free nations have found reserves of fortitude to carry them from their darkest to their finest hours. So I predict the Republicans will hold Congress and the US and Brits will stay the course in the GWOT.
Victories are only easy in retrospect – here are some examples.
America’s War Of Independence
After a grueling march…Washington’s troops arrived at the hills at Valley Forge on December 19, 1777. The Army was reeling from defeats at Brandywine and Germantown.
The British had occupied the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia…(the) American Army was weak, poorly supplied, and ill. An estimated 2,500 men (out of 10,000) died over the winter.
In spite of Trafalgar, by 1809 Napoleon had defeated all Britain’s allies, occupying the whole of Europe, and its economy was in tailspin. The king was mad (again), and much of the political class was ready to throw in the towel. So Brit pols adapted, firing all their old generals and sending the 40 year old Arthur Wellesley to attack the French in tiny Portugal. After successes and reverses, he won Portugal and most of Spain, and in 1813 (my ellipsis):
He personally led a small force in a feint against the French centre, while the main army…looped around the French right, leading to the the French abandoning Madrid and Burgos.
A few months later, after taking the small fortresses of Pamplona and San Sebastián, Wellington invaded France and defeated the French army under Marshal Soult at the Battle of Toulouse.
The Brit WW2
After losing the battle for France and much of their army and airforce, the Brits just stopped the Nazis invading – although of thousands of Londoners died. Then they struggled to keep the Nazis from the Middle East’s oil, holding on to strategic Malta (which almost starved) until a youngish (55) general finally defeating Rommel in late 1942.
While battling the Nazis they suffered stunning defeats when the Japanese attacked their Far Eastern possessions after Pearl Harbor. At Singapore:
About 80,000 Indian, Australian and British troops became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken in the Japanese invasion of Malaya.
The allies didn’t turn the tide until 1944.
There are plenty of other examples of close run wars including the near loss in Korea, and Israel’s near defeat in 1973.
In each case the ultimate victors found the will to persist in the face of adversity, and this history shapes the character of free peoples.
They’ve always had the equivalent of today’s MSM – although until now none achieved the depravity of CNN. But only once has it achieved a US defeat, from which America’s enemies within and without still draw their strength – hence their frenzied attacks as the election draws near.
But Iraq and Afghanistan are too important to lose – if we don’t find a way to help Islam modernize, our kids will be faced with an existential war that will kill billions.
I think Americans are too smart to hand this problem on, so expect a Republican Congress in after the elections.
That’s not to say that we don’t need better generals and a sharper strategy – a topic for a future discussion.