“We wuz robbed.”

Hindenburgludendorff That is Field Marshal Hindenburg seated and Colonel General Erich Ludendorff standing.  These two gents are generally thought of as Germany’s most able command team in WW I.  They are credited with the great German victory against Russia at Tannenberg in East Prussia in 1914.  They went on to be bosses of the German War effort at the end of the war.

The First World War ended in late 1918 because the German Army could no longer sustain the burden of combat against; the French, the British, and the Americans in the context of the massive introduction of tanks.  Tanks had been tried out in the previous year and had been found to be the "magic" ingredient which could (in spite of their "teething" problems) restore mobility to battlefields which had been "frozen" into defensive patterns by machine guns, barbed wire and breech loading field artillery.  Faced with all that, the German soldier finally had had "enough" and beginning in August just "folded up" and began moving away en masse, towards the east, towards home and away from the Allies.  After years of sitting in muddy trench systems waiting to be slaughtered, Allied soldiers suddenly found themselves to be advancing 10, 20, 30 miles a day through unspoiled countryside and villages.  Germany surrendered.  Ludendorff suggested the surrender believing that the alternative was complete destruction of the Fatherland.  He was right.

Nevertheless, in the 20 year interregnum between the World Wars, Ludendorff was one of the principal proponents of the "Stab in the Back" school of revisionist history.  According to his "second thoughts" about what had happened, the German Army had never been defeated in the field.  No. No.  It had been the defeatism of the Liberals, Socialists and Communists who had corrupted the will of the German people, caused mutinies in the fleet and sapped the German soldier’s fighting spirit and morale until the undefeated army had been forced to accept an unnecessary armistice on 11 November.  This theory of history proved to be a powerful source of propaganda for the armies of disappointed, bitter and angry Germans who wanted some way to explain how their many, many sacrifices had come to naught.  The Freikorps, and ultimately the National Socialists (Nazis) were the beneficiaries of this myth.

If you listen carefully to the Sunday Newsies and read a number of the more mentally constipated blogs, it is possible to see the approach of another such myth.

"We wuz robbed."

Pat Lang



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21 Responses to “We wuz robbed.”

  1. J says:

    i like that – mentally constipated blogs – that’s a good one.

  2. John Howley says:

    The privations of the Germans during WWI were severe and searing, made worse by the fact that the British Navy “forgot” to suspend the Scapa Flow naval blockade until six months after the Armistice!
    And so here is a difference between the two cases: the U.S. has yet to feel much of the economic cost of the war, save for the increase in oil prices. The entire Iraq adventure was paid for with debt. This debt will either need to be paid off or inflated away or both (paid off with shrunken dollars). When the bill comes due, the discussion of “whose fault” will no doubt intensify.

  3. Mac Nayeri says:

    Do u believe that at this juncture, summer 2006, the administration’s experience with Iraq is a lost cause?

  4. zanzibar says:

    Memories are short in todays 24/7 media culture now accentuated by blogs and other new media.
    When the chickens come home to roost the actions of GWB and Cheney and all the neocons will be long forgotten and the search for scapegoats will be run at full throttle. Those least prepared to handle the swift boating will get the blame.
    I saw a glimpse of that on the McLaughlin Group TV talk show this weekend with Tony Blankley stating that the Iraq debacle is because of a 5th column.

  5. manowar says:

    Yes, Blankley blamed the loss on a 5th column, but the actual and telling words used were “fifth columnists.”
    His near entire commentary was an attack on the “leftist” press, who were supposedly getting off on the “oh gee” aspects of the Haditha episode.

  6. MarcLord says:

    John Howley,
    The debt can’t be repaid–our currency and the constitution on which it is based will have to be restructured. Given the debt and balance of payments deficit, our country probably won’t weather the storm that has formed in the world financial markets. I have charted the storm’s formation, and it’s a Category Five-equivalent of historic proportions. It may be worse than 1929 for several reasons–there is a $300 trillion derivatives market (62% of which is controlled by one bank), steepening energy costs, agricultural production is extremely energy-intensive, physical product inventories are now designed to be as thin as possible, and US manufacturing basis is almost gone. Everybody is in denial and there’s a catastrophe begging to happen.
    Therefore, despite the predictable “stabbed in the back” theme that PL has nailed in advance, it will be very difficult for the neocons or the Bush Administration to deflect blame. Even though the blame isn’t all theirs. Immigrants and gays aren’t effective scapegoats, and the media and congressional democrats weren’t “leftist” in an almost universal support of the invasion. It can’t even be blamed on another terrorist attack. The systems we built and relied upon are to blame, and they were broken by the Bush Administration’s stark, delusional hubris.
    I suppose they could blame me, and people like me who knew better, for failing to convince our friends and acquaintances that the Iraq invasion would quickly turn into a debacle, trigger a constitutional crisis, and provide the Bin Laden philosophy with a movable feast.

  7. Green Zone Cafe says:

    As someone who just returned from a third tour in Iraq, who started there in late 2003, the “stab in the back” stuff is ridiculous.
    I saw the whole thing unfold, from the days of high hope to the current hopelessness. All educated Iraqis just want to get the eff out.
    It is very simple: there were not enough troops to provide security from the beginning. The physical social services and administrative governmental infrastructure were wrecked in the looting (the invasion bombing was pretty selective and precise).
    We spent months rebuilding the governmental infrastructure wrecked in the looting. We haven’t made a dent in the pre-war problems with water, sewer and electricity production.
    We did a poor job talking to the Iraqi people from the beginning. Most of the “strategic communications” people were oriented towards US domestic media. Some were out-and-out Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign operatives.
    Because of the slow pace of reconstruction, lack of security and fear and loathing of the beleagured US troops out running patrols along IED-strewn roads, we lost the hearts-and-minds.
    Money that should have gone for Iraqi-led construction projects got eaten up in Green Zone overhead and security costs. Not to mention the outright theft and gouging.
    We let Sadr live free and organize a large militia and political party. Bremer wrote about it in his book, and I shared his frustration at the time (although I did not know who was responsible).
    Oh yeah, we did open up Iraq to cell phones, internet, somewhat free journalism, travel.
    I could go on, but the idea that the journalists that reported what they saw are the problem is crazy.
    The fault lies with Rumsfeld and his staff and their enablers, Bush and Cheney.

  8. W. Patrick Lang says:

    If I had wanted to say that, I would have done so. pl

  9. Mac Nayeri says:

    That sounds like no.

  10. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Think what you like. pl

  11. Patrick Henry says:

    PAT….Tango Yankee for your recent Columns…Answered some quesations in my Mind..
    l/e ZDeck of Cards and Players in the Game..Events over there would verify what you say..
    all the Sunni Bad guys should be in thier LISTED
    District Strongholds with thier Support groups..
    Options are to keep going into SUNNI Strongholds..and Finding them..Until That Area of RESISTANCE..is Eleminated..
    May Take awhile…But thats what I would be Training The IRAQIS to Do…
    The Civil War/Insurgent / & Ouaeda Violence will continue..and get worse..as ANTICIPATED..More Unstable…Growing Shia/Iranian Ties..
    I like Green Zones Candor…Being There…Doing That ..Knows What and WHY..
    Same thing almost everyone else who likes the BOTTOM LINE knows..
    The FOK`US Fault was DON RUMSFELD..and who ever Assisted Or Advised Him in ALL the Planning for the Iraq Invasion..And WHY They Ignored or DISAMISSED Lots of Good Advise..and ADVISORS..( Cammanders etc)
    And Twisted Events so that It Wound up Being ONLY Thier PLAN..
    I Think history may Call HIM “Wrong Way Rummy”..
    The Worst Quarter Back in History..Sent in His Team to tear Down all The “WRONG WAY” signs so they could Blindly drive along..Going the Direction they wanted to go In..
    Until They CAUSED an ACCIDENT..
    and then Saying…”No One told US this a “Wrong Way” Street..
    Actions that Raise SERIOUS~ Questions..
    It Was such a Self Destructive Plan… that Was and IS so harmful to the Best Interest of the United States..and to the MILITARY of the United States…
    One MUST ask WHY..Demand Answers and ACCOUNTABILITY..
    So Far..that FOCUS to BE Deflected..
    Rumsfeld Wont RESIGN and BUSH wont FIRE Him..
    I Support General Batistes Call for ACCOUNTABILITY and for DON RUMSFELD tro Be Replaced Immediately..
    OUR PEOPLE ARE DYING..They are TIRED..and MUST Have Our FULL Support and CARE..
    We should get beyond other Issues..like Plame..because that ONE is under the Microscope..and Investigation..
    The WAR and the DECISIONS made by Don Rumsfeld et al..are the Biggest EVENT in this whole Process and THE Neo`Con Controversy..with U*nanswered Qustions as to MOTIVE..
    There Is CLEAR and Evidence of INTENT to do ALL this..Either it was a Willful Attempt to Undermine the United States and put it into a VERY DANGEROUS Situation…Knowing all the Chaos that would Result from the PLAN Being Carried Out on Rumsfelds Terms..
    Since Many EXPERTS Warned there would CHAOS and Grave Instability in the Wole Middle East..as we Now WITNESS..
    Or it IS the Worst Example of Deriliction of Duty..or Performance of Duty…By Any Cabinet Official and His Associates..
    In the HISTORY of the United States..
    I Think It is IMPERITIVE that Don Rumsfeld Be FIRED Immediately…and Subject to Further Investigations..
    The Best SEC/DEF and Staff Need to be Assembled Immediately and Put in Charge of DOD..and OPERATIONS..Find Soultions…No Matter How Challenging..
    Im NOT Sure HOW..But we MUST..
    “Get Er Done.”
    my Priority would be to do everything I could for ALL Our Troops and Support staff in Iraq Afghanistan…
    Unlike the POLICYS of DON RUMSFELD..
    Was He ever a Corporal..??
    On DON RUMSFELDS Terms..
    Stick That guy in a HUMMER…and send him our to Take His Victory Laps around Iraq..
    Since Hes Been Blowing “SMOKE'” Up Americas Ass so Long..Maybe He will get a BIG Clud of SMOKE Blown Up His ASS..

  12. ckrantz says:

    Interesting when you consider the parallels to another lost war people still argue about.
    The fate of Iraq and ME are undecided but the direction seems to be clear unless something drastic happens. What happens to the military and society in general when the troops come home from a failure? People are already branded as traitors in some places for not supporting the war. It seems obvious that there will be repercussions for long time.

  13. b says:

    The stab-in-the-back legend in Germany only got hold because there was so much hardship AFTER the war.
    A lot of this was related to very harsh conditions in the Versaille treaty.
    The US will recover, though the fiscal policy of the last years has made a serious recession inevitable.

  14. angela says:

    At least one of the leading rightwing blog strategists is deep into this theme.
    He used to do gushing analysis on tactical issues and Tommy Franks as the new Clausewitz now it’s a tortured attempt to blame the MSM for every bit of bad news including discointenetnts and tensions native to Iraq.
    It gets pretty wild.

  15. ckrantz says:

    ‘The stab-in-the-back legend in Germany only got hold because there was so much hardship AFTER the war.’
    I hate being the doom and gloom guy but I suspect that is exactly what is going to happen again. All it would take is one real push and the economy is an freefall and with it much of the global growth depending on the borrowing of broke US consumers. An economic crisis combined with a loss of faith in goverment could make for an very unsteady political climate.
    But then I’m a professional pessimist.

  16. Norbert Schulz says:

    If you look around, there are plenty of Americans on the right, still convinced that those pinko hippies lost America the Vietnam war.
    I disagree. IMO the stab in the back is the ‘easy way out’ explanation for something more complex, and more inconvenient. How about America’s leaders rather seriously getting their grand strategy wrong?
    I also disagree with that economic crisis must be there to make the ‘stab in the back’ work. ‘Blame the hippies’ was there even though America hardly suffered through anything as bad as France after abandoning Algeria or Germany after Versailles. America had Watergate, sure, but that was a political earthquake, nothing economical. If you look at ‘Hanoi John’ and similar nonsense, it still poisons the political landscape 30 years after the fact.
    So I don’t think economic hardship is more than a contributing factor to stab in the back legends.
    The biggest part of it is CYA. The bad workman always blames his tools. ‘Leaders’ blame their subjects. ‘Blame the troops’ is a no-seller with conservatives. So who’s left? The opposition. To the benefit of getting out clean, you get a wedge issue to polarise an electorate. How handy. Republicans are not beyond this.
    So beware folks, your defaitism just loses the Iraq war for America.

  17. angela says:

    Mr. Schulz:
    I disagree that “blame the troops” is a nosell with rightists (let’s separate them from conservatives.) Their heroes have always been peole like John Wayne and Sylvestor Stallone who actively avoided active service during war.
    The trashing of Kerry who did travel dangerous canals in a light boat and did run towards enemy fire shows their utter contempt. As does their desire to destroy the VA.
    The myth forming is that a politically correct army (and to a lesser extent Marines) undermined the efforts of true patriots and kept us from victory. It’s simlar to the trashing of the CIA which despite many flaws is not as treasonous as portrayed.
    The brifly covered and far from new “revolt of the generals” (though not only generals) is an example.
    So is the treatment of many Viet vets who during the seventies were discouraged from joining some Legion posts because they lost their war and were probably hippie junkies. Many Viet vets tended not to stress the fact until Rambo won the war and made service respectable.
    We turned our backs on them.

  18. Norbert Schulz says:

    you raise a good point, and you’re probably right.

  19. Norbert Schulz says:

    As if right or wrong my country isn’t problematic enough … right or wrong my party is far worse.

  20. John Howley says:

    Rush Limbaugh: “This Haditha story, this Haditha incident, whatever, this is it folks, this is the final big push on behalf of the Democratic Party, the American left, and the Drive-By Media to destroy our effort to win the war in Iraq. That’s what Haditha represents — and they are going about it gleefully. They are ecstatic about it… Folks, let me just put it in graphic terms. It is going to be a gang rape. There is going to be a gang rape by the Democratic Party, the American left and the Drive-By Media, to finally take us out in the war against Iraq. Make no bones about it.”

  21. ikonoklast says:

    Ok, let’s see if this is right.
    The people responsible for the failures in the Middle East are the ones who didn’t go along with the deranged scenario in the first place, in concert with the media shills who are starting to hedge their bets by finally quailing at regurgitating more party-line pap.
    Is this like a passenger on a crashed bus at the bottom of a canyon being responsible for the accident because he tried to tell the driver that speeding over the edge was dangerous? And the travellers who urged on the incipient plunge (who are now woefully tending their wounds wondering what happened) are complicit for having second thoughts after the fact? Got it.
    I guess blaming others for your failures is human nature, unrefined by any sense of personal responsibility, ethics, or wont for introspection. Falling on your sword seems to have gone out of fashion. Can’t waste time looking back – savages to be civilized and money to be made.
    Onward! Excelsior! 9-11!

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