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Some people never learn. Fred recounts:

When you have militarily stupid politicians listening to pathologically confident soldiers, trouble is likely. All of these people might reflect how seldom wars turn out as those starting them expect. Wars are always going to be quick and easy. Generals not infrequently advise against a war but, once it begins, they bark in unison. They seldom know what they are getting into. Note:

The American Civil War was expected to be over in an afternoon at First Manassas. Wrong, by four years and some 650,000 dead.

Germans thought that World War I would be be a quick war of movement, over in a few weeks. Wrong by four years and fantastic slaughter, and was an entirely unexpected trench war of attrition ending in unconditional surrender. Not in the Powerpoint presentation.

When the Japanese Army urged attacking Pearl Harbor, their war aims did not include two cities in radioactive rubble and GIs in the bars of Tokyo. That is what they got.

When the Wehrmacht invaded Poland, having GIs and the Red Army in Berlin must have been an undocumented feature. Very undocumented.

When the French re-invaded Vietnam after WWII, they did not expect les jaunes to crush them at Dien Bien Phu, end of war. Les Jaunes did.

When the Americans invaded Vietnam, having seen what had happened to the French, the thought did not occur that it might happen to them too. It did.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, having seen what happened to the US in a war against peasants, they did not expect to lose. They did.

When the Americans attacked Afghanistan, having seen what happened to the Soviets there, they did not expect to be fought to a slowly losing draw. They were.

When the Americans attacked Iraq, they did not expect to be bogged down in an interminable conflagration in the whole region. They are.

Is there a pattern here?

Pattern, schmattern.

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