Never be afraid to speak up, even in Iran.

[edit]Whoops! Obviously I''m on my wife''s account, this is Robear here. My computer has died and I forgot her account logs in automatically. I''m sure you can tell her stuff from mine, so anything in P&C with her tag is actually me - Robear

NATO situation is their ''I will NOT be in your NATO pact...but, I want to sit in on all your meetings, have a say in what goes on, be a major player and enjoy the security that NATO gives me...but, I still don''t want to be in your stinkin'' pact.""

France is a member of NATO. They pulled their troops out in 1966 - just as many here in the US advocate the withdrawal of our troops from UN control in peace-keeping missions. So you are essentially upset with the French for a position that many in the US advocate for ourselves...I believe their concern was that they could provide their own nuclear defense, and that the US policy of early resort to nuclear weapons was not appropriate. They also felt that Europe was strong enough that France and Germany could take more of the load of defending themselves than before. That meant that NATO control of French forces was essentially a loss of sovereignty. This is the ""why put our troops under foreign control?"" argument that we see so often here in the US, and it''s quite understandable.

As for WWII - I don''t know why it is so tough to ever concede a point to me or issue

lol I''m wondering the same thing about this. For me it''s not a ""point"", it''s just fact. Your analysis of Russia''s losses is not supported as far as I am aware, at least in the reading I''ve done. The Russians were quite ready to go to Normandy themselves, eventually, and would have had no trouble taking all of Europe had they desired. I mean, look at the problems the Russians had just compressing the size of the front as they moved into Europe. Their issue was not, say, combining weakened units, it was staging unit movements in the face of their generals'' desire to be the first on the scene. They had so many troops moving on Berlin they had trouble just keeping them seperate from each other. And that''s with the losses you cite.

I''m not denigrating the British, but I''m trying to get you to admit reality. When the Germans invaded France, the British were *forced* to flee - just like the French. There is no difference. Both the Brits and the French were poorly prepared for the war, pretty much in equal measure. The French had refused to modernize their thinking and tactics, so that even with the best heavy tanks on the planet, most of them never saw action. The British failed to confront Hitler, and to build a military that could do the job. That''s why Chamberlin is so reviled. To single out the French situation when it was mirrored by the British one is biased. Again - that bias is a recent one that''s been planted in the media.

The Germans *intended* to outrun their supply lines. That was the point. Their big worry was moving up enough of the slower-moving units to prevent local counter-attacks from being a problem for temporarily stopped armor and motorized units (and some parachutists), and indeed, some of those units were hit hard for a while.

Look, I respect your opinions, I just have trouble with this kind of selective interpretation of history. I''m sure you believe I''m doing the same thing, but at least I have folks like John Keegan on my side. (Yes, appeal to authority here.)

I note you''ve moved from the position that our intervention was the key to the war, so I''ll back off of the bit player comment. We contributed mightily to the Allied war efforts even before we put troops on the ground. But the school of thought that says we were the primary reason the war was won is wrong, in my opinion. Without our troops (but with our materiel) the Russians were quite capable of taking out the Nazis. Would it have taken longer? Probably.

The reason many of us feel that the Coalition is ""bought"" or ineffective is simply by comparison to the coalition used in the previous war. This is insignificant in comparison, it has not paid our costs, we have no Arab troops, or major Muslim countries involved. Remember how Iraq would pay for itself? Remember how India and Pakistan and maybe even Saudi Arabia would contribute large forces and money for the occupation? Remember how, just like in the first war, our allies would pay our way? There were a number of high-flying ideas for the Coalition this time around that completely failed; instead we get soldiers from places like Nicaragua and Romania and other small countries who could really benefit from increased US involvement, and we tell ourselves it''s the best we could do. I don''t blame them, and I''m happy to have them, but to hold this up as a shining example of diplomacy when in 1990 we had a real coalition...That''s just ignoring facts. If you compare the initial plans for the coalition with what actually happened, it''s pretty dismaying, and it raises questions about our handling of the situation diplomatically.

My point is that, yes, this is indeed the way of politics. The question then becomes, why do we not have more countries involved? Why did we largely do this by ourselves? Why are we paying for this? Why are Arab and Muslim countries not putting boots on the ground? This coalition is in fact the result of *failed* politics. And it''s important for us to understand and admit that so we can do better with Syria and Iran and Saudi Arabia and Sudan and Somalia and Egypt and...You get the idea.

Come on, you know I think this was the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. You know I think there were other ways to peel this apple (and in fact I like the way Bush is starting in with Syria). Why would think I''d back off those positions? They are at the core of my thinking. If you want to change my mind on that stuff, you have a lot of facts you need to show me. And I just have not seen them, despite looking hard for the last few years. So yeah, it''s hard for me to back off these points.

I still like ya though, ya big lunk.

OK...lot of stuff to respond to

France is a member of NATO. They pulled their troops out in 1966 - just as many here in the US advocate the withdrawal of our troops from UN control in peace-keeping missions. So you are essentially upset with the French for a position that many in the US advocate for ourselves...I believe their concern was that they could provide their own nuclear defense, and that the US policy of early resort to nuclear weapons was not appropriate. They also felt that Europe was strong enough that France and Germany could take more of the load of defending themselves than before. That meant that NATO control of French forces was essentially a loss of sovereignty. This is the ""why put our troops under foreign control?"" argument that we see so often here in the US, and it''s quite understandable.

France is not considered a full member of NATO because they do not commit troops. Also, there is no mandate that the French would ever have to place their troops under foreign control...NATO can be ineffective in that, but there is no ''US rules, all others serve'' mandate in NATO. Their nuclear arguing was a major point, but then why did Britain and others join NATO - the US does not decide how NATO nations employ their nukes, so France''s argument was a smokescreen. To me, everything I remember boiled down to the usual ''France is France and can do it on its own'' attitude - which unfortunately, has not been true in the 20th century. This is my beef with them - be part of the team...nothing wrong with being an individual in the team...but their ''one foot in/one foot out'' attitude wrt NATO is my #1 beef with them. Only country in Europe to be like this. Again, I don''t have a problem if they refuse to put French troops under foreign control...thats their choice, but its not why they didn''t join NATO.

As for Russia - they started making better headway as the US/Brits pushed the western front - and their massive scramble was brought about more by wanting to ensure they got a piece of the Berlin pie than by any offensive juggernaut. They outran supply lines and their logistics tail in an effort to get their first. It was more politics based than military offensive, and was in tandem with the crumpling western front that split Germany''s forces in two. Again, I''m not sure either the US/Brits or the Russians alone could have defeated the German juggernaut without the other...that is my point. I don''t see any selective history that I''m tossing in. I just feel you have to hold a nation accountable for simply tossing their hands up and saying ''we give''. That will never get a blank pass in my book.

As for the Brits, you are correct that both France and Britain were ill prepared, and the water channel gave the Brits the time to collect themselves for defence, but I still feel that the French do not get off scot free..it was theirs to hold the Maginot line, and to slow down the enemy...and they didn''t. They failed completely, and I do not make excuses.

You are correct in the Blitzkrieg''s plan to outrun supply lines, but they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams...I think we are on the same page on this issue.

The reason many of us feel that the Coalition is ""bought"" or ineffective is simply by comparison to the coalition used in the previous war.

I don''t think many people give the first Pres Bush credit for his masterful diplomacy. The coalition he built may have been one of the largest and most effective coalitions ever...so to use that as the benchmark isn''t really fair. BUT...in comparison, you are correct that this ''coalition'' is minor at best in comparison. I''ve never argued that. But, when Robear discount''s a 1/6 contribution, I take issue. That is NOT insignificant, especially given world politics. As for the Muslim nations, the first war was because a Muslim neighbor invaded another...but now, in the absence of that, most muslim nations do the ''see/speak/hear no evil - and you see it everyday there. Regardless of the initial state, it seems that most muslim countries will not back a non-muslim country in a dispute even if the offending state is dead wrong on an issue. That one is easy to explain, and is just part of realpoliticks.

but to hold this up as a shining example of diplomacy when in 1990 we had a real coalition

I don''t do that...all I ask is that you recognize their contributions - this is not a groundbreaking or historic coalition like the first...but it is one nonetheless...just not a shining example by any means.

why do we not have more countries involved?

Its a tough sell in this day and age, and some do not contribute out of principle, some do not contribrute because their national will or leadership is insufficient to do what must be done

Why did we largely do this by ourselves?

You won''t like this answer - but to me its integrity and guts...doing what must be done when others will not, fighting the ''good fight'' so to speak. The world (look at WWII and Hitler) doesn''t like to stand up to a bully, lets all group hug instead till the bully takes over your neighbor on the way to your back yard. Sometimes, you have to learn from history, and the world doesn''t do this very well imho.

Why are we paying for this?

Beats the hell out of me

Why are Arab and Muslim countries not putting boots on the ground?

Muslim realpoliticks - see above

This coalition is in fact the result of *failed* politics.

Yup

And it''s important for us to understand and admit that so we can do better with Syria and Iran and Saudi Arabia and Sudan and Somalia and Egypt

We can if the world comes together to put some teeth into sanctions...and I hope they do...I''m not up for another liberation effort in Iran or Syria for a while...

Come on, you know I think this was the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. You know I think there were other ways to peel this apple... Why would think I''d back off those positions?

I don''t, and respect your and many others opposition to the war. I just hold the line at the current line of thinking when I see the US get blamed in every case as a ''aggressive, do-no-good blowhard'' for the past 60 years... Do we make mistakes...damn right we do. But part of why this is the greatest country is we are able to openly confront our mistakes, and in many cases, we learn and move on as a stronger country, promoting freedom and democracy worldwide. To assume we only do good, and don''t work our own national interests in is naive...but to assume we only act out of national interests, and do not seek to help the world out in humanitarian and other non-''playa'' ways is wrong and naive as well. I look for people who can realistically find the bad AND the good in this nation...because like the AF motto - ''no one comes close!''

I still like ya though, ya big lunk.

Right back at ya!

Again, I don''t have a problem if they refuse to put French troops under foreign control...thats their choice, but its not why they didn''t join NATO.

Not only did they help *found* NATO, being original signatories, but that meant that their army, like the rest of the European members, was part of a NATO force structure - that is, portions of it reverted to foreign control in time of war. I''m an internationalist in this sort of thing, but I can see the argument as I mentioned. Basically, it''s French nationalism you seem not to like, as far as I can tell. Okay. But they are still a member of NATO.

I can certainly see where American soldiers would feel they are being asked to defend a country that theoretically might not back them up if there was an attack. I''d say however that what the French reserved is the right to work with NATO, just not to be run by outside forces. And I find that congruent with the attitude we have here that the US should never submit to foreign leadership. I personally think that''s stupid, but obviously it has a lot of force in France as well as here, and I can''t fault them for a decision many people here would sympathize with, if it were us.

I do see where you are coming from.

As for Russia - they started making better headway as the US/Brits pushed the western front - and their massive scramble was brought about more by wanting to ensure they got a piece of the Berlin pie than by any offensive juggernaut. They outran supply lines and their logistics tail in an effort to get their first. It was more politics based than military offensive, and was in tandem with the crumpling western front that split Germany''s forces in two.

I disagree, I would say it was more overwhelming force than anything else. They wanted to rush to Berlin, just as we did - would you then argue that our offensive was ""political""? That would be unreasonable. And if it *was* political, well, they won that race, didn''t they? The fact remains that they defeated the bulk of the German army from early 1943 through May ''44 decisively, without a second front. To me, that speaks for itself.

As for the Brits, you are correct that both France and Britain were ill prepared, and the water channel gave the Brits the time to collect themselves for defence, but I still feel that the French do not get off scot free..it was theirs to hold the Maginot line, and to slow down the enemy...and they didn''t. They failed completely, and I do not make excuses.

They held the Maginot Line! The Germans never significantly breached it. The problem was, the attack was through other countries, and France and Britain were not allowed to maneuver in them to pre-position for the fight. Not that they saw it coming to the degree that matters. Again, I feel that you credit the British too much for their geographical advantage, and the French too little for the classic problem of being attacked where you are weak.

Had the Germans attacked the Maginot line, and breached it, I''d buy the argument. But no force in Europe could have enabled a defense on a plain, with a narrow front, against motorized forces, at that date. The Germans simply had better equipment, leadership, planning and practice.

I don''t think many people give the first Pres Bush credit for his masterful diplomacy. The coalition he built may have been one of the largest and most effective coalitions ever...so to use that as the benchmark isn''t really fair.

I disagree, but your following point is much better. It''s easier to assemble a large coalition when the harm is clear and present, and that was true for the 1990/91 situation. It was however *not* clear for the second war, and I believe many Americans gloss that over. That is ultimately why we could not put a larger Coalition together. The Arab Muslim countries are less than 20% of Muslims world-wide; it''s hard to address this as an issue related to the Middle East, since (for example) Pakistan or Indonesia are not really tied into Middle East politics. So again, the size of the Coalition, in spite of all our arm-twisting, is an indicator of the strength of our position, and the flaws of Bush''s approach.

You won''t like this answer - but to me its integrity and guts...doing what must be done when others will not, fighting the ''good fight'' so to speak. The world (look at WWII and Hitler) doesn''t like to stand up to a bully, lets all group hug instead till the bully takes over your neighbor on the way to your back yard. Sometimes, you have to learn from history, and the world doesn''t do this very well imho.

I just don''t see it, sorry. Iraq was not a threat.

I just hold the line at the current line of thinking when I see the US get blamed in every case as a ''aggressive, do-no-good blowhard'' for the past 60 years...

Well, I don''t take that opinion at all. I think the Bush Administration is the first in decades to screw up this badly. And what surprises me is that while you can talk about facing up to our mistakes, your rhetoric shows that you don''t think Iraq is one of them. I do, and I believe it''s hurt us badly on the world stage, as well as ruined our moral position among nations.

I''m not a hate-America person. But I don''t want to see our mistakes, like Iraq, glorified just because we respect our troops, say, or because Hussein was a dictator. That ignores the reasons we went there, and the reasons we did not have a big Coalition, and it even explains why we scapegoated an ally.

I can see I won''t get you to change your opinion, but hopefully you understand where I''m coming from.

This is frustrating, because Robear, and I don''t think you are like this,...but your posts come across as purely liberal ""blame the US, never the ally/enemy"" I keep looking for some point where you actually concede that America did something right, that the US did come in for the world good, etc...some ray of light.

Let me clarify this, since I obviously missed the focus earlier - I''ve been sick, as I mentioned.

America is a great force in the world. Our contribution to WWII was significant. We held the line in the Cold War, we have done much to admire. But there is a narrative that''s been popular in the last few years that seeks to wipe out everything bad we''ve done and pretend that we are somehow ""blessed"", the inevitable, unchallengeable superpower, the perfect system that will never be topped.

I don''t believe that, and I think part of the reason we are headed down the wrong path is that we have lost the ability to criticize our own actions. I think the post-VietNam timidity we showed in the world was wrong, but the American Exceptionalist view that''s been building since Reagan, the idea that we cannot do wrong, even to the degree that we can explain away things like Iran-Contra as patriotic....this tendency is genuinely dangerous. And we are seeing the results of these beliefs, as they have underlied Bush''s policies.

Remember people like Wolfowitz talking about an arc of American power spreading from the Middle East to the Chinese border? A ""Pax Americana"" in the Middle East? That sort of rhetoric revealed our initial goals in the area, and it''s remarkable how far we have moved away from that. But somehow pointing it out ties me to the anti-America crowd. I''m pretty far away from those folks.

I''m a patriot, I''ve worked for the military just as you do, and I hate to see us throw away the good we''ve done in a wave of self-congratulatory nationalism. And yet that is what it looks like we are doing.

To better understand how important the Eastern front was during World War 2, you really need to look up the number of forces deployed there compared to the western front. In 1943, 2/3 of all german divisions were on the eastern front fighting the soviets. German losses in manpower were over 4,000,000 compared to only 400,000 on the western front. Soviet losses including civilians varies but is usually listed as around 20 million. I doubt the invasions of Italy or France would have been possible without the Soviets keeping those troops off the beaches.

As for the French, I''m sure they would have fought a lot better if the Germans hadn''t attacked through the Ardennes and outflanked the Maginot line which was where they originally planned to defend from. No matter how good you are, if you''re outflanked, your options are pretty limited. Also, if it hadn''t been for the English Channel and the Royal Navy preventing any invasion, Britain wouldn''t had done much better than France. Going back to D-Day, the French Resistance played a large role in the preparation for it by providing up to date maps of the landing beaches and surrounding countryside which no doubt saved many American, British, and Canadian troops on D-day.

Personally, I have no problem with the French or their foreign policy. I understand the fact that whats good for France may not be good for us and vice versa and that they need to pursue their own policy. We''ve done a lot of shady things in the past that as an American, I''m not proud of and going after the french for doing the same seems highly hypocritical on our part. Anyways, that''s my 2 cents on this issue and I''ll now go back to my being a lurker.

Ok, I am actually going to defend the French here. They were left to defend their country basically all alone. The Netherlands did not want to do squat, and the Belgians did not want to ""offend"" the Germans by gearing up their war machine. So the easiest invasion route into their own country was left naked (their defence plan always included at least the Belgian''s helping) and the Brits sent 4, thats right 4, divisions to help with promises of 4 more in the near future (meanwhile the French had like 70+ divisions (mostly outdated infantry) and the Germans had I think 45, half mechanized and armored divisions in the field). The Germans took advantage of their exposed right flank and punished the French.. It was a brilliant strategy based upon new war tactics that the French did not prepare for. But to say that the French just gave up after not fighting is ridiculous. They fought for weeks alone against a superiorly trained and led force, with little air support and help from their allies. They surendered when their capitol was under threat, and they realized that they could not continue the fight without going underground and fighting a guerilla war.

And I also hate to tell you the Brits were losing the air war until Germany decided to end their war of attrition and attack Russia. But if they continued their strategy the Brits would have run out of trained pilots and would have had air mastery.

PigPen, I suggest you read Winston Churchill''s History of WWII, it is a remarkable work that gives a lot of detail into the war and the minds behind it on the Allied side.

first Robear, I was never questioning your patriotism and I want to state that upfront. To me, disagreement on the political spectrum is not a matter of patriotism...I use other criteria that I don''t think come into play here - so wanted you to know that.

I guess we''ve hit our usual 20% barrier...seems we talk, and really are each sitting on our own 40 yard line, chatting, with 20 yards between us...which really isn''t that different...lol

I just don''t see it, sorry. Iraq was not a threat.

We know you and I sit on different views of the war. I just want to point out that when we launched the Iraq war, I think the view of Iraq was truly as a threat to the admin and much of the world. Has that view been proved wrong...yup. But at the time, you don''t have the luxury of hindsight.

I think you second post is spot on. I do believe that when we stop being critical of the govt, and all our rules and laws, we head into a fascist state...so I''m all for being open, being analytical and critical. It just gets me sometimes when I see nothing but pessimism, when I feel we are an optimistic country. We''ve made tons of mistakes, and I think the analysis is good to help us learn from them, so I applaud what you say, even if you know I disagree with many of your views. We, as a country have made tons of mistakes, I just like to point out that we are still at the top of the moral, do-good heap if you ask me

Of course, my complete lack of respect for France as a nation remains...for the reasons I listed and many more. And to my knowledge, they are still not considered a full partner member of NATO due to the non-commitment of troops...that''s just my understanding of it as I read it.

And Mayfield, my father is a history major, and I have books out the yahoo...Its just my view of the French failures over the past 100 years from a military perspective (i.e, I''m convince they had French training the Iraqi military prior to the war because of the exceptional ability of the Iraqi army to ''drop trow and run'' ) I just have no respect for that country in the modern age, I just think you all slight my reasons, when really its not being a hippocrit...because there are countries I can respect that have different views from us, etc...its just how they do business... So, ''nuff said on that.

Robear...hope you feel better!

And on the side note of the Belgians...did you know on deployment, that their military can''t discipline the soldiers...so if they want to do crack or be drunk while deployed, nothing the base commander can do... wow...a whole new level of worthless has now been defined to me!!!

Fair enough. It''s just frustrating to me to have held the same positions before and after the war, talk and post about it vociferously, and then have others come to the same understanding...then be reminded that after all, this understanding is just hindsight. No, it''s not - it was a view that was beaten down and pushed aside. But it''s not hindsight for me, or for many, even in the government. Just a side note, but an important one.

I can certainly see where you are coming from, though. It''s hard to believe that things are heading in the wrong direction; we resist that conclusion for the things we love as strongly as possible. I''d say that one thing to think about is that if there is a tremendous amount of criticism flying about, from both parties, then perhaps it''s just more than the pessimism of the opposition. I think it''s reasonable to ask things like what our strategic gain from Iraq is, and the answer so far - and for the foreseeable future - is pretty depressing.

That said, here''s a good sign - Bush has finally taken an interest in Lebanon. That to me is one of the cruxes of the Middle East''s problems, the convergence of influences of Syria, Iran, Israel, Palestine, the Arab League, and a nascent but reviveable secular government. If we can chop out the Iranian and Syrian influences there, we can directly affect many terror organizations, as well as give the Lebanese a better lifestyle. (And again, this is where I thought we should be going first, as I''ve stated before.) The renewed talks between the PA and the Israelis is also promising, although that was not our doing.

So I''m not a negativist, as far as the US goes. I believe we have an administration that can''t handle information properly and that thus cannot set useful policies. That''s damaged us economically, diplomatically and socially, not to mention the political side effects. But with luck, we can get past those problems and reverse them in a decade or so, if we care. What I see, though, is that we seem hell-bent on the ideological solutions to a degree I''ve not seen in decades, and that''s worth raising questions about.

I''m negative about the administration, not the country as a whole. I''m led to believe that patriots happily criticized Clinton without being pessimists; I claim the same right.

Feeling much better and keeping food down again. Urg. Don''t catch this bug.

Just a quick note - people discussing french ""surrender monkey syndrome"" tend to forget happily the impact WWI had on the morale of people in France and, indeed, all Europe. Although the WWII is considered ""the"" war, mostly because of the numbers of casualties and the fact that for the first time it was really ideologies that played main role, not nations-bickering, the first world war still lingers in european minds as great deal more brutal and exhausting.
French lost 20 percent of their military age males in WWI and thats without invalids and such. It had been the first war when millions could die in one battle operation, none of them really believing that the battle will do any good- trench warfare basically ensured that it was permanent stalemate, with any breakout possible only with the costs of hundreds of thousands.
No wonder that french were not really psychologically ready for another such war short after. Despising a nation because it doesnt really want to go through mincer when the previous one hasnt stopped spinning, and having had watched first one from pretty safe distance asks for light educational arse-slapping, in my humble opinion.

Having said all that, I have no love for the French either but for different reasons. I just think its worth keeping in mind the whole picture and not falling into the mindless ""covard-bashing"" traps.

I feel compelled to make a few comments about the whole WW2 discussion.

In my opinion, without American Involvement, Russia would likely have lost the war. Perhaps I am discounting a variety of bad decisions made by Hitler that could very well have resulted in the same result, American involvement or not. However, I think some of you are not accounting for the significant impact of the air war on the war in Europe. By late 1941, the British were making almost daily raids into occupied Europe. They were joined by the Americans in 1942 and by 1943 both the British and Americans were severely dimishing German willpower and capacity with daily raids around occupied Europe. Without the impact of the air war, the German industrial war machine would likely have had the staying power to maintain the offensive in 1943.

Please don''t forget that the Germans were literally on the doorstep of Moscow. They were about as close as you could get to breaking Russia''s back. Had Germany been able to fully concentrate on the Easter front, I believe Russia would have been lost. Although Russia did have an air force, to my knowledge, it did little beyond disrupting German supply lines.

Please don''t forget that the Germans were literally on the doorstep of Moscow. They were about as close as you could get to breaking Russia''s back.

That was in 1941! They hit the high-water mark in late 1942, and by early 1943 they had been turned back. In 1941, the Germans really had no other major fronts to worry about; North Africa was tiny compared to the Russian Front. That year was their high-water mark, in terms of effort, available resources and the like. And they did were not able to do the job.

By by 1943, North Africa had ended and late in the year the invasion of Italy began. The big bombing campaigns started in late ''43 or early ''44. But remember, the object was to take out Italy, not to try to cross the Alps.

I was not arguing that without ""American Involvement"" the Russians would go down. I simply arguing that with the forces they had by June 1944, the progress they had made, and the overall existing strategic situation as it stood, if Overlord had failed, the Soviets would still have won the war. Might have taken longer, but they''d have still won. They had been advancing steadily for about 15 months at that point; why is there a belief that they could not have finished the job?

I don''t see any persistent weakness that indicates they would have petered out without Overlord. Had Germany only engaged the Soviet Union, yeah, you might be right, but that''s a scenario that involves a lot more than a failed invasion of Normandy.

Again, the thesis was that without the Normandy front, the Soviets would have failed, and I think that''s wildly wrong. I think it simply would have delayed the end. That''s not nearly as much of a variation than a total lack of American involvement (Lend-Lease, etc.), which I was not arguing.

Although Russia did have an air force, to my knowledge, it did little beyond disrupting German supply lines.

To my knowledge, the Russian Air Force and the famous Shturmovik participated in many of the large ground battles from 1941 on, and wrested air superiority from the Nazis in the South Central Fronts in 1943, and in the North somewhat later, broadly speaking. The problem for the Germans in the air was the same as on the ground - not enough pilots, and eventually, not enough planes and supplies.

edited for forgotten words and clarification.

"Ulairi" wrote:

http://channels.netscape.com/ns/news...

Not withstanding Ambassador Joe Wilsons statements that Iran is a democracy (it isn''t), I wish the human rights group would spend more time on brining these things to light. Any negoations with Iran that include carrots, like France wanting to sell Airbus planes, should require Iran to liberalize their society.

here is my biased opinion about the subject (I''m Israeli) :

Iran is definately not a democracy the most recent liberal act they probobly did is stoping to use the punishment for adultry(I''m not sure if they stoped it):

the offender is burried verticly in the ground and then people throw relatively small stones at him/her (so it would take time to kill the person) until either the person dies or gets out of the ground (or something like that). if the ofender is male he''s buried from the waist down. female from the neck down.

Iran has a long way to go and it''s a well known fact it''s sending weaponry to hizbolla through syria including chemical weapon and long range rockets to deploy them. they sent a large shipment of weapons to the palestinians which was cought in the red sea . they stored the weapons specialized sealed crates for them that floated a few feet below the water (making them hard to find but easily recoverable). this country fuels terrorist around the globe.

the only liberal thing the iranians did is put that reporter in prison and not killed him in some bizzar manner.

Iran is a democracy and if you say otherwise they''ll send their inteligence agents to convince you in a polite manner.

Again, the thesis was that without the Normandy front, the Soviets would have failed, and I think that''s wildly wrong. I think it simply would have delayed the end.

This I am in full agreement with.

See? I thought so. It''s just very easy for a thread to go haring off in some odd direction.

Well, I do feel better now...sometimes you all come up with such good arguments that it causes me to doubt myself or change my opinions. I chatted with my dad last night, a history major whose love and specialty is WWII, and he concurs that the Russians would have had a hard time sustaining their push in the long run and/or defeating the germans if the US/Brits had not pushed hard on the western front...now I just got to get him to give me a number of reasons for this view, (logistics, war fatigue, german technology, etc) and I''m gold

I chatted with my dad last night, a history major whose love and specialty is WWII, and he concurs that the Russians would have had a hard time sustaining their push in the long run and/or defeating the germans if the US/Brits had not pushed hard on the western front...now I just got to get him to give me a number of reasons for this view, (logistics, war fatigue, german technology, etc) and I''m gold

I''m always open to it. The last book on the period I read was Beevor''s ""Fall of Berlin 1945"", which may have colored my impressions. But I am familiar with the usual survey books (Keegan''s WWII, Speer''s Rise and Fall, etc.) and I''m pretty convinced that if it''s just a matter of, say, Overlord failing, the Soviets would still have won. I''d hold that by the time the Normandy invasions occured, the big bombing raids had pretty much strangled German production, and the new technologies would not have come in quantities that would have changed the war significantly.

Did you ask him to defend the opposite thesis, as an exercise? Maybe you could start this as a new thread, I don''t think we''ve done this topic before.

no..only chatted for 5 minutes...hence the reason I need him to inumerate the reasons, but if you do the strategy of taking out that the bombing raids that crippled the German logistics machine, take out the pressure they had in keeping significant forces back to defend the western front, tie in the technology that the Germans were developing even as the war ended (just imagine if their logistics tail was not in bad shape, the effect of the tank and air and rocket innovations they had in place) - taking into account, I think this is a major reason that the US forces/$$ get a ton of credit...

Granted, the US took minimal losses in comparison to what happened in Russia, so again, not meaning to downplay the significance, but my view has always been that the Russians were more a ''power of the infantry'' force that could not have held any significant counterattacks on their flanks or tail if the Germans had been able to focus on them...

More to come...and sounds like you are feeling better Robear...so glad to hear

But remember, the object was to take out Italy, not to try to cross the Alps.

Talk about a pathetic military! It''s always amused me that people bash the French more than the Italians. Without Italian blundering, it''s quite possible that Germany may have been able to mobilize the Russian invasion earlier, capturing Moscow and causing Stalin''s support to crumble.

Damn Pizza-eating surrender monkeys!

Forgive me for getting way off topic here, but wasn''t Germany expecting Japan to jump into the fray and occupy the Soviets on another front?

Forgive me for getting way off topic here, but wasn''t Germany expecting Japan to jump into the fray and occupy the Soviets on another front?

One of Hitler''s biggest strengths/weaknesses was that he always expected people to honor their agreements - unless that person happened to be himself. I''m sure Robear or Pigpen could tell us the exact reasons that Japan didn''t fight Russia. My guess would be that Japan figured that Russia could wait until they secured and stockpiled vital oil/mineral supplies in SE Asia.

Japan ran into extremely fierce guerilla resistance in northern Korea and Manchuria. On the onset of WWII, they had no complete control over the entire peninsula to continue north to Sovier Far East.

During the occupation of Manchuko a seminal doctrine emerged that they need to press southwards (Southern China, Phillipines) and into the Pacific rather than trying to confront Russians. Failed Klahkin Gol invasion became the proof and the turning point. I remember reading about the whole chronology of Japanese war machine turning around in Manchuko and poising towards eventual Pearl Harbor.

if you do the strategy of taking out that the bombing raids that crippled the German logistics machine, take out the pressure they had in keeping significant forces back to defend the western front, tie in the technology that the Germans were developing even as the war ended (just imagine if their logistics tail was not in bad shape, the effect of the tank and air and rocket innovations they had in place) - taking into account, I think this is a major reason that the US forces/$$ get a ton of credit...

But...that''s the same as saying the that US deserves the credit since, if they weren''t there at *all*, the Germans would have been in far better shape. I agree entirely. But my original point was this.

You made the statement that the US entered the war before it was ready, and that that entry was the decisive point in the war (in the context of ""rescuing their sorry asses"", which I took to mean Normandy). You used that point to bolster the argument that too many people discredit American contributions to the world, myself included. My argument is that we did *not* enter before we were ready (as North Africa, Lend Lease, destroyer loans, volunteer pilots, etc show), and that while Normandy was important, it did not create a turning point in the war in Europe, nor was it our principle contribution to the war. I believe the failure to invade Britain, the failures in Russia in 1943, and the failure of the submarine war were the main turning points of the war. Normandy was not a sideshow by any means, but it was also not something that pulled the Soviets fat out of the fire. That was Lend Lease, General Winter and Siberia.

Ask your dad what he thinks the effect of the failure of the Normandy invasion would be (say the docks were wrecked completely by storms and Rommel''s tanks had been released to him upon request). I think he''d agree with me.

So just like it''s inaccurate to say the French just turned and ran without noting the British actions and the nature of the German plans and capabilities, it''s inaccurate to single out one American action and make that the crux of an argument that we ""saved Europe"". It''s far more accurate to say that it was the cumulative American aid to it''s allies in the face of public resentment at home, and it''s crash economic building after 1941 was the basis for it''s importance to the war effort. Likewise, the fall of the French was inevitable at the time, just like Poland, given the German plans, the diplomatic situation, the utterly new tactics and troops used, the striking leadership of the Germans, and the expectation that the Maginot line would have to be breached for an invasion to succeed. The truth is that the Germans followed the same rule in France as they did in Poland and Czechoslowakia and Austria - never, ever get involved in a fair fight.

Not respecting the French because they were invaded is just as inaccurate as saying that Normandy pulled their asses out of the fire. Don''t worry, I''m agreeing with you about what would have been if we were entirely out of the fight, but that''s not what I''m arguing. Just as you look beyond Normandy for the American contribution, you need to look beyond national character for the loss of France to Germany.

You made the statement that the US entered the war before it was ready, and that that entry was the decisive point in the war (in the context of ""rescuing their sorry asses"", which I took to mean Normandy). You used that point to bolster the argument that too many people discredit American contributions to the world, myself included. My argument is that we did *not* enter before we were ready (as North Africa, Lend Lease, destroyer loans, volunteer pilots, etc show), and that while Normandy was important, it did not create a turning point in the war in Europe, nor was it our principle contribution to the war. I believe the failure to invade Britain, the failures in Russia in 1943, and the failure of the submarine war were the main turning points of the war. Normandy was not a sideshow by any means, but it was also not something that pulled the Soviets fat out of the fire. That was Lend Lease, General Winter and Siberia.

How bout if I agree with you, and you buy me a beer, and we call it a day

{and note, my disrespect for France is mainly induce by POST WWII behavior, not their efforts in WWII - just for the record}

Works for me!