Friday, May 12, 2006


I was having a discussion with a friend of mine the other day about America's won/loss record. Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War (perhaps a little ambiguous), Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II are all pretty much "wins." The Korean Conflict and Desert Storm show up as draws - we held the line at least. The Viet Nam Quagmire is a straight up loss. At this point, we've racked up a fairly respectable 6-2-1 record. Those are hall of fame numbers.
Unfortunately, in the past decade or two, we've started to pick abstract nouns for enemies. The Cold War was won without a single nuclear weapon detonated in anger (though a whole lot of them were built and tested and stored and then dismantled and tested some more). The war on Drugs has been a pretty solid waste of time, money and resources. The body count isn't particularly high unless one considers all the collateral damage done on either side. Drugs continue to be bought and sold on the streets of these United States, so this isn't an official result, and the combatants continue to make a show of it (US versus drugs). For all practical purposes, the War on Drugs began in November 1880, when the U.S. and China completed an agreement which prohibited the shipment of opium between the two countries. By February 1887, the 49th Congress enacted legislation making it a misdemeanor for anyone on American soil to be found guilty of violating this ban. Then in the 1930's, the marijuana scare banned possession and cultivation of cannabis.
That's seventy or one hundred and twenty-plus years of trying to work that one out. The War on Terror, or The Global War on Terrorism, or The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism is in its fifth year, and the results look at least as encouraging as those when we were fighting against Narcotics. This one is a pretty dicey challenge, since the group we are fighting doesn't seem to coincide with any particular nation or uniform, just "extremism." We are not presently "winning" this one either.
This must be why President Pinhead is considering deploying National Guard troops along our nation's borders. This would finally give us a shot at having a discernible enemy again. That would be anybody but us. The Minutemen, a citizens' border patrol group, have vowed to begin erecting a fence in southern Arizona on May 27 unless Bush sends National Guard troops to the border.
Here's your quandary - if it was a choice between troops being deployed on our borders or enforcing the installation of New Democracy (tastes great, less filling!) in Iraq, which would you choose? Chances are we won't have that choice, but it makes one pine for the days of the Monroe Doctrine, doesn't it?
No matter, we're holding steady with a very respectable 7-2-2, and when we have the scores from that extremism thing and the border patrol, we'll make sure to pass those along.


Publius said...

Protecting the southern border is not a War and those who want to protect the southern border are not extremists, around 80% of Americans want the southern border closed off from people sneaking across illegally. How can 80% of the country be extremists? And as for the “vigilantes” who sit in lawn chairs along the border to help our undermanned and under funded Border Patrol, I am glad that there are still people in this country willing to go out of their way to do the right thing.
Oh, and the goal of the Persian Gulf War was never to drive into Baghdad and topple Saddam, it was only to get the Iraqis out of Kuwait, so you might want to readjust your score there.

cavenoid said...

I'm wondering about the eighty percent of Americans wanting the border closed off - I'm suspicious of nice round numbers like that. And the goal of the "Persian Gulf War" may not have been to "topple Saddam" (Hussein), but it sure makes me even more curious about why we are in Iraq again... Oh yeah, weapons of mass destruction, bringing democracy and yadda yadda yadda. I'll keep my scorecard - you keep yours and we'll check back at the bottom of the ninth (whenever that is).

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Publius, both in the notion that guarding the borders (and enforcing immigration controls) is both right and quite centrist. You can be suspicious of the round numbers, but the error rates in these studies are quite low.

What other nations (or at least nations that large numbers of people might want to emigrate to) have such poor enforecment of their borders? Go try and sneak into Canada ... Or Mexico for that matter. I don't feel we owe anyone American citizenship, just as I don't feel owed citizenship in any other country.

How much of our government's inaction can we attribute to their fealty to corporations that enjoy the benefits of depressed wages?

mrs. id said...

Well, *I* thought this post made an interesting point about how America chooses its wars. In fact, the ones that are actually chosen seem to be the unsuccessful ones. And making a "war" out of a social problem means creating tension and conflict rather than solving problems.

Don't get me started on the Minutemen. The thought of guys out there with muskets picking off the poor, tired, huddled masses, longing to be free makes me think Texas doesn't get it.