Stabbed in the back!

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Which of the following is closest to your opinion?

The war in Iraq was a mistake from the start.
31
94%
The war was justifiable, but was doomed by incompetent leadership in the White House.
1
3%
The war would have been won, if not for defeatism and treason by liberals and the media.
1
3%
What are you talking about? The war is going fine!
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 33

kurt_w
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Stabbed in the back!

Postby kurt_w » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:44 am

After World War I, a story began to circulate in Weimar Germany, to explain the country's defeat and the humiliating terms of the Versailles peace agreement.

That story -- called the DolchstoÃ?Åžlegende, or "dagger-thrust legend" (i.e., "stab-in-the-back legend") -- was used by nationalists and militarists to pin the blame for Germany's defeat on others. The idea was that leftists, politicians, Jews, and foreigners had foiled an imminent German victory.

After all, most of the war had been fought outside Germany's borders, and until shortly before the armistice, the country and its allies seemed to be within sight of victory. But that superficial appearance masked deep problems -- the entry of America into the war, with a million fresh troops pouring into Europe, at a time when Germany's military complex was nearing exhaustion.

Anyway, the humiliation of the peace agreement led to the spread of this legend that blamed the defeat on domestic traitors and foreign duplicity.

Why bring this up today?

Three years ago, the Bush administration launched the invasion of Iraq, amidst a blizzard of optimistic jingoism from Fox, CNN, talk radio, right-wing bloggers, and the rest of the American media empire.

Today, the fantasy of the Iraq war is in tatters. The only questions remaining are when US troops will be withdrawn, what turn the Iraqi civil war will take next ... and who will be blamed for it all.

A rational observer would assume that the latter question would be straightforward. Bush, the GOP, and their media allies promoted the war. The GOP controls every branch of the US government. Congress has voted for every single dollar requested by the Bush administration.

If they needed more troops, they could have had them. If they needed a draft, they could have asked for it. If they needed more dollars, they could have raised taxes or cut spending.

There is nothing, nothing that Bush or the GOP has requested for the war that's been denied. Essentially, the Bush administration has been given complete freedom to conduct the war however it sees fit.

But human beings are not rational observers.

The people who were most caught up in the jingoistic frenzy of 2002-2003 -- conservative white males, red-state voters in the south, mainstream media pundits on Fox, CNN, etc., and the self-avowed "warbloggers" -- those people have an immense emotional investment in the war.

They're not going to admit that they were wrong, and that it was all a mistake from the start. Instead, they're going to create their own DolchstoÃ?Åžlegende. The media will be blamed, for tricking Americans into losing support for the war just when we were about to win. Politicians will be blamed, for not letting the troops win. Europe will be blamed, along with the usual enemies -- Iran, Syria, etc. But among the hard-core GOP faithful, blame for the failure of their own war will fall mostly on "liberals", simply for the unforgiveable crime of having (a) opposed the war, and (b) been proven right.

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Postby Marvell » Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:54 pm

This is already the hard-right party line in regards to Vietnam - a la Rambo's famous line "Do we get to win this time?" According to this particularly scurilous fantasy scenario, evil treacherous fellow travelers kept our heroic boys from securing their just and honorable victory over the devilish V.C. horde.

So what if the Indochina peninsula got depopulated/deforested as a result? What's a little genocide compared to stopping the inevitable communist invasion of Racine?

Which, in case you hadn't noticed, hasn't exactly been invaded by communists...

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Re: Stabbed in the back!

Postby shelly » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:56 am

kurt_w wrote:
They're not going to admit that they were wrong, and that it was all a mistake from the start. Instead, they're going to create their own DolchstoÃ?Åžlegende. The media will be blamed, for tricking Americans into losing support for the war just when we were about to win. Politicians will be blamed, for not letting the troops win. Europe will be blamed, along with the usual enemies -- Iran, Syria, etc. But among the hard-core GOP faithful, blame for the failure of their own war will fall mostly on "liberals", simply for the unforgiveable crime of having (a) opposed the war, and (b) been proven right.



And this is already happening, as in Bush's recent speech where he accused the media of showing only negative images of the war, so that the American people don't get to see what he sees, all the good stuff that is happening in Iraq.

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Postby snoqueen » Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:17 pm

I don't know what percentage of Germans around World War I were fanatically nationalist, but the percent of Americans right now who are diehard pro-neocons is around 30% or less in most estimates.

We'll always have a certain number of people claiming everything went bad due to liberals (similar to Vietnam) but how much continuing influence they will have remains to be seen. They have a big emotional investment in the war but a lot of other people think they're fixated on a vision that's well past its expiration date. In addition, that 30% is carrying a heavy weight because they're identified with other administration failures like homeland security, disaster preparedness, the debt, and more. Their vision may not be as compelling today as the Dolchstosslegenders' was (how do I make an s-z?).

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Postby Tarek » Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:41 am

snoqueen wrote:I don't know what percentage of Germans around World War I were fanatically nationalist, but the percent of Americans right now who are diehard pro-neocons is around 30% or less in most estimates.


Right after the war or during it not that many. The DolchstoÃ?Åžlegende came up some years after the war (or at least than it began to spread) but the nationalist still had to wait until the collaps of 29 to gain enough strength.

btw: Kurt w did your write the article on your own? Its pretty rare that i find in "foreign" forums post about germany which are that well investigated.

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Postby kurt_w » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:21 am

Tarek wrote:btw: Kurt w did your write the article on your own? Its pretty rare that i find in "foreign" forums post about germany which are that well investigated.


Yes, it was my own thoughts. Thanks for the compliment, though I don't think anything I said was especially notable -- discussion of the Weimar republic would be standard in a good advanced-placement high school European history course over here.

snoqueen wrote:the percent of Americans right now who are diehard pro-neocons is around 30% or less in most estimates.


Obviously, there are big differences between the German response to the outcome of WWI -- which affected the country directly -- and the American response to failure in Iraq, which is a smallish country half-way around the world.

But even if it's numerically small, a disgruntled fringe on the right wing can have a big impact. Remember the "militia" movement of the early 1990s, which culminated in Timothy McVeigh and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City...

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Postby sparky159 » Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:26 pm

I just finished reading "the Idiot" by Dostoyevski. There is a quote that is nearly the same that you are talking about. "Liberals" hate their country, they are to blame, etc. It sounded exactly like the drivel being spouted by the right wing fucks right now. It was absolutely shocking to me that 1875 Russian aristocracy and 2006 neo-con mentallity is exactly the same. I am on vacation right now and am short on time, but when I get back I will post the exact quote. It is really scary, it sounds word for word what Limbaugh, O'reilly, and Hannity spew forth day after day.

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Postby Madcity Expat » Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:41 pm

sparky159 wrote:It was absolutely shocking to me that 1875 Russian aristocracy and 2006 neo-con mentallity is exactly the same.


This shocked you? Seems obvious to me... :P

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Postby snoqueen » Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:08 pm

kurt_w wrote:But even if it's numerically small, a disgruntled fringe on the right wing can have a big impact. Remember the "militia" movement of the early 1990s, which culminated in Timothy McVeigh and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City...


True. But that bombing also decimated the right-wing hard-core militia movement, because it became obvious almost nobody came to the aid of McVeigh and whoever his co-conspirators may have been, let alone rose up in a mass movement to carry on in his name. Same with the Unabomber, who also imagined he was the forerunner of some big movement that didn't materialize.

I'm not saying it can't happen here -- not at all -- but so far this stuff has been self-limiting in the US on the far right, and among anarchists and the far left as well.

I'll grant you the 30% of everybody who continues to think Bush is on the right track is a larger percentage and represents a true cultural minority with its own long history, not just a fringe group. Whether they've reached a high-water mark at present or will have a resurgence 10-15 years down the line is a good question. I do think the changing demographics of the US, with greater black and Hispanic populations in the future and a lesser white population, is running against them.


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