Memorial Day

Lt Gen Daniel Bolger:

“By next Memorial Day, who’s going to say that we won these two wars?” Bolger said in an interview Thursday. “We committed ourselves to counterinsurgency without having a real discussion between the military and civilian leadership, and the American population —’Hey, are you good with this? Do you want to stay here for 30 or 40 years like the Korean peninsula, or are you going to run out of energy?’ It’s obvious: we ran out of energy.”

The military fumbled the ball by not making clear how long it would take to prevail in both nations. “Once you get past that initial knockout shot, and decide you’re going to stay awhile, you’d better define ‘a while,’ because in counter-insurgency you’re talking decades,” Bolger says. “Neither [the Bush nor the Obama] Administration was going to do that, yet I was in a military that was planning for deployments forever, basically. An all-volunteer force made it easy to commit the military to a long-term operation because they were volunteers.”

The nation and its military would have been far smarter to invade, topple the governments they didn’t like, and get out. “Both wars were won, and we didn’t know enough to go home” after about six months, Bolger argues. “It would have been messy and unpleasant, and our allies would have pissed and moaned, because limited wars by their nature have limited, unpalatable results. But what result would have been better — that, or this?”

The only way I know to honor the volunteers who died in these two wars is to take a lesson from these losses and work to keep this kind of stupidity from happening again.

Here’s an open thread.

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262 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    I missed yesterday’s shout out to the vets, so here’s to all of you, especially those who aren’t around the read this comment.

  2. 2
    Belafon says:

    work to keep this kind of stupidity from happening again

    Since history indicates that this stupidity will happen again, you’ll probably also need to come up with a plan for handling the consequences.

  3. 3
    Cermet says:

    When you say this about the Fox led thug party and the corporate media whores that lick their asses …

    “The only way I know to honor the volunteers who died in these two wars is to take a lesson from these losses and work to keep this kind of stupidity from happening again.”

    All I can do is LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL … really? Amerika learn? Now that is funny … wait, next you will say that we have learned from the drug war that has been waged against African Americans and will legalize small amounts for personal use …LOL LOL LOL

    If you would like to honor the troops than stop saying shit like that and say that these men and woman died to make money for the thug party and corporate military complex that both profit by the wholesale slaughter of Amerikan soldiers. Maybe when enough people realize this truth, than and only than will we learn – maybe.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    Wars may end, but the human costs of waging war are eternal.

  5. 5
    Fuzzy says:

    This is a tough day for me. A part of me is still in the Mekong where my bitter hatred of all politicians originated.

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    Why does LTG Bolger hate America?

    All the pre, pari and post-Iraq invasion crowing of the Bushies made me ill, literally nauseated by their preening self-confidence. Any of them who had clue one of how messy the occupation would be, especially after they allowed wholesale looting of Saddam’s armories (a thousand years of IEDs and car bombs right there), either remained silent as enablers or were silenced with prejudice. We’ll have to await accurate historical accounts to discover which.

    Stole one election, then glided into a second term, evidently because we’re incapable of figuring anything out while it’s actually occurring.

  7. 7
    Roger Moore says:

    The military fumbled the ball by not making clear how long it would take to prevail in both nations.

    No. The Cheney Regency fumbled the ball by not caring how long it would take to prevail in both nations. The military tried to tell them, and the Administration refused to accept it, made up their own idea, and badmouthed the general who dared to disagree. That’s 100% on the Administration.

  8. 8
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @trollhattan: Stole one election, then glided into a second term

    They fought the war to win the elections. All the great presidents were wartime presidents, remember?

  9. 9
    c u n d gulag says:

    To all of the readers and commenters,
    Today, let us remember those who have fallen, and those who served, and honor and thank them.

    And, at the same time, hope and pray (for those who are religious) for peace, so that we’ll have less and less people that we have to honor and thank on future Memorial Days.
    But honor and thank them, we will.

    I’d like us to have a “National Day of Peace” annually – and make it a national holiday.

    Any suggestions as to the date?

    Maybe on the day that Hiroshima got A-bombed – August 6th – or the day Nagasaki got A-bombed – August 9th?

    Now let’s make it happen!

    Anyone want to join in the efforts?

  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The military fumbled the ball by not making clear how long it would take to prevail in both nations.

    I disagree with the good general on this. GEN Shinseki made it abundantly clear that we were NOT prepared to deal with the aftermath of a successful campaign in Iraq. This of course conflicted with neocon fantasy, so Shinseki was shitcanned by the deserting coward, and even now is under attack for this VA ‘scandal’ as further punishment for his failure to clap his hands for the Great Mesopotamian Adventure.

    The neocons need to hang like Germans and Japanese did for their crimes of waging wars of aggression, and all the war crimes that resulted from that predicate act.

    On edit: As Roger Moore said before me, too.

    Cheney, above all of them, needs to hang.

  11. 11
    White Trash Liberal says:

    The US fumbled the ball by invading a sovereign nation that had zero capability to harm US interests.

    I further disagree with Bolger that the lesson to be learned is topple and leave promptly. The lesson should be not to topple at all. The reason we occupy is to ensure a western-friendly government. Toppling and leaving just ensures what replaces the previous government will be hostile to US interests.

    The US has developed and applied formula after formula to create artificial western puppet governments. The consequences have all been disastrous in one way or another.

  12. 12
    Joel says:

    How about just not invading? How about that one, Lt. General?

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @c u n d gulag: Maybe when you propose to do it on December 13, to commemorate the start of the Rape of Nanking.

  14. 14
    Judge Crater says:

    If this guy didn’t have a Lt Gen in front of his name the neocon wing-nuts would savage him. They’ll probably savage him anyway.

    We’re a “Warrior” nation now. Anyone who questions why the graves in Arlington and elsewhere are filling up is an America-hating pussy.

  15. 15
    Roger Moore says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Maybe on the day that Hiroshima got A-bombed

    ITYM “On the day we Bombed Hiroshima”. It wasn’t something that just happened; it was something we did.

  16. 16
    jackmac says:

    Learning a lesson from these two wars? It’s a noble sentiment and one I wholeheartedly share. But it’ll be short lived once the next Republican administration decides to shed blood for oil or to preserve wealth for the one percent.

  17. 17
    raven says:

    @Roger Moore: Better we had invaded the mainland.

  18. 18
    RandomMonster says:

    @Roger Moore:

    No. The Cheney Regency fumbled the ball by not caring how long it would take to prevail in both nations. The military tried to tell them, and the Administration refused to accept it, made up their own idea, and badmouthed the general who dared to disagree. That’s 100% on the Administration.

    I thought the same thing when I read that.

    When I heard Rummy say, “We’ll stay as long as we’re needed and not one day longer,” I knew there was no exit strategy and we were in for one huge fucking of the nation.

  19. 19

    @Roger Moore:
    Worse than refused to accept how long it would take. They threw away the military’s plans for rebuilding, the only way we might have gotten out and left a reasonably stable country. Plans didn’t match neocon dogma, which said we were so awesome that winging it would be better and the people we’d invaded would love us.

    @Cermet:
    I still don’t believe they did it for money. Bush did it for ego, and Cheney did it for fucked up, unrealistic neocon dogma predicting an American empire. Any money to be made for their buddies was a bonus. Everything that ever came out about the Bush League presidency painted them as those kinds of people. Hell, Cheney’s interviews since then show a man pissed at America that we don’t understand he’s always right, always.

    @c u n d gulag:
    And yes, today we should be sorry for the brave men and women caught in the middle. The best way to honor our troops is to not send them to die for stupidity.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @RandomMonster: That was Roger Moore’s comment, but it’s very much in consonance with my own, a few posts later.

    Afghanistan COULD have been concluded much earlier, but the debacle at Tora Bora, which seems to have been perpetrated from the Oval Office, prevented that from happening and Osama bin Laden was allowed to escape by his partners in war criminality and terrorism, the deserting coward and the Dark Lord.

  21. 21
    amk says:

    Almost 13 years in Afghanistan and 9 years in Iraq was not enough for this guy? Speaks more about the military’s incapability rather than the civilian admin’s sensible refusal to be drawn into perpetual wars.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @raven: I’m of decidedly mixed feelings about that. My late father was the skipper of a landing craft that might have well been involved in either Operation Olympic or Operation Coronet. Which means that if we had gone forward with the amphibious invasion of Japan, which the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki precluded, I might not be here to type this comment.

  23. 23
    jheartney says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Don’t believe in capital punishment, even for the likes of Cheney.

    OTOH rotting alone in prison like Rudolf Hess? I’m down with that.

  24. 24
    c u n d gulag says:

    @RandomMonster:
    Kind of ironic that the same General who told the Cheney/W War Criminals that they didn’t have enough troops to win the war – AND the subsequent occupation – is now the guy they’re trying to pin the blame on for the problems of our under-funded and under-staffed VA, no?

    I suspect that it’s only ironic to people who don’t suffer from an “Irony Deficiency,” like our Conservatives and Republicans.

  25. 25
    Anoniminous says:

    So once again the DFHs are shown to have made a correct analysis and prediction and the SeriousPeople(c) had their heads up their asses.

  26. 26
    Roger Moore says:

    @raven:
    I don’t know about invasion vs. bombing. I’ve heard entirely reasonable claims that far more civilians would have died of starvation had we kept the war going for much longer than were killed in the atomic bombings. I just don’t like it when people treat events like the bombings as if they were things that just kind of happened rather than events that were planned and carried out by actual people making decisions.

  27. 27
    Amir Khalid says:

    This weekend, there was a premiere performance in Putrajaya of Peperangan Bintang. I didn’t go; Putrajaya is an hour’s drive from KL, and I saw Star Wars in English back in the day. But you guys mght get a kick out of seeing George Lucas’ space opera presented in traditional Asian shadow-puppet style.

  28. 28
    Schlemizel says:

    Lets be clear about this: the military did not drop the ball this. Some generals were quite clear about what it would take. Like the intel guys who state very clearly that there were no WMDs in Iraq they were marginalized and ignored. Only the ass kissing brigade at the Pentagon had oxygen.

    This failure belongs entirely on the trigger happy chickenhawks of PNAC and the Bush administration.

  29. 29
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I still don’t believe they did it for money. Bush did it for ego, and Cheney did it for fucked up, unrealistic neocon dogma predicting an American empire. Any money to be made for their buddies was a bonus. Everything that ever came out about the Bush League presidency painted them as those kinds of people

    They did it for money, but not the obvious money.

    Classical imperialist theory confuses means with ends, rattles some stuff off about markets and raw materials, and war profiteering, and misses the point.

    Endless war-and-the-threat-of-war and the jingoism that it engenders, and that supports it, is the only puff of smoke stage left big enough to distract the audience while the economy, the Constitution, and everything else is made to disappear stage right.

    The money going to Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, and Uncle Tom Cobley and all is being used to buy stage props. It’s an investment in a show. Those firms, while your friends, aren’t the primary beneficiaries. Classic war profiteering involves astronomical sums, but they’re not that astronomical.

    The real money is to be made elsewhere, and you earn it by reducing the opposition to a rump and a joke, and ushering in the one-party state. (A Democratic party with a self-neutering reflex really helps).

    Once you’ve got that, the one-party state, you’re able to appoint the judges, shape the monetary policy, draft the regulations — run the government of the state that supports the world’s largest economy as a wholly owned subsidiary of the party.

    Let me re-write the tax code, and I’ll gladly pony up the comparatively small sums required to run the DoD.

    Forget “No blood for oil!”. Think “No blood for B-roll!” The dollar value of controlling the US government tout court for a couple of generations is orders-of-magnitude greater than any putative money made selling toys to the Pentagon. Iraq wasn’t a war — it was a very expensive campaign commercial. And it almost worked. If the people in power were competent, it’d be all over already.

  30. 30
    RandomMonster says:

    @c u n d gulag: Bitter irony.

  31. 31
    Anoniminous says:

    @Roger Moore: @raven:

    Both the atomic bombing and invasion were unnecessary. The US Navy had established a tight blockade to prevent critical supplies, e.g., food, reaching Japan. The USAF was bombing Japan into rubble. Japan had lost the war, they knew it, they were actively looking to end it.

  32. 32
    🌷 Martin says:

    @c u n d gulag: A national day of peace needs to come on a day when we demand anything but peace. It should be on 9/11. Take a lesson from the Japanese that made the Hiroshima memorial a place of peace.

    A national day of peace requires us to forgive those we least want to forgive. That’s the only way it’s going to work. And our national day of peace will probably need to move about to adapt to a changing world.

  33. 33
    scav says:

    @Amir Khalid: Oohhhh, thank you. Ah-Too!

  34. 34
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Afghanistan COULD have been concluded much earlier,

    Maybe a focused search and kill op on Osama could have been concluded quickly. If the Bush 43 admin ever had any real political goals going into Afghanistan, like a stable, non-troublemaking government, they were deluding themselves about America’s capacity to win hearts and minds. Especially in any Muslim-majority nation, where America’s traditional support for Israel and acquiescence in the screwing-over of Palestine is a major drag on its credibility and popular support.

  35. 35
    lukeallen1 says:

    95% cut/paste. Glorified Dkos commenter markymux phones another one in.

  36. 36
    elmo says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    and even now is under attack for this VA ‘scandal’ as further punishment for his failure to clap his hands for the Great Mesopotamian Adventure

    By putting “scandal” in scare-quotes, are you questioning whether it should be a scandal at all, or are you saying that Gen. Shinseki shouldn’t be the one held accountable? Serious question, not snark, because I don’t know enough about the situation to have an opinion except that bureaucratic bumbling and coverups seem to be at the heart of it.

  37. 37

    @Davis X. Machina:
    I definitely disagree. I’m a strong believer in ‘Don’t ascribe to malice what you can explain by incompetence’, but an even stronger believe in ‘Don’t ascribe to greed what you can explain by arrogance.’ The way the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were run show that they were maximized for ego, not profit. The MIC and particularly the big money elements of it would have made way more out of an aggressive rebuilding investment and a competent focus on securing the oil. Pissing around spent too much money on incidentals. This plan also is better for them long term, since it’s not like the MIC was in any danger. Competence would have increased their political power and spawned more wars. Iraq and Afghanistan were run first and foremost to make Bush, Cheney, and the Village feel like awesome conquerors. You can see it vividly in the Village courtesans, who gain little from the MIC. It’s a heady rush, and incompetence gives huge short term gains in ego oil.

    Similarly, policies for the 1% have done less to elevate them financially, and more to grind down everyone else. Changes in their marginal tax rates produce tiny differences in how much money they have. Deregulation often hurts their businesses, and their golden parachutes are hardly affected anyway. What it does do is make them Job Creators superior to the 47% moochers and let them act out any sadistic impulse to grind the poor so they can be applauded as geniuses.

  38. 38
    trollhattan says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    My dad was on a CV that took one direct bomb hit and avoided same from clouds of kamikazes, so limiting further exposure to more had its upsides WRT whether I’d even be here.

    In considering my many qualms about the atomic bombings, I’ve decided the first one is defensible and the second, an act of terrorism. Because we won, nobody has ever had to answer that question in court.

    And yes, the firebombing campaign should be considered alongside the atomic bombings, as they’re just two paths to the same outcome. War production was dispersed enough to make targeting very tough, however.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Amir Khalid: Hey, the neocons were into fantasy. Just like Ronald Reagan and the totally conceived and made in Hollywood boondoggle that is the Strategic Defense Initiative. The reality you plainly state escapes these overgrown six year olds with their bizarre notions of how the world works, which seems to derive from Saturday matinees. If only you have the will, you can make it so. Well, someone else talked about a Triumph des Willens, and look what happened to him when the ice cold water of reality got splashed into his face.

  40. 40
    raven says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: My old man was a radioman on an LCPR coming off an APD, 27 landings in the Pacific. I know where I wouldn’t be.

  41. 41
    Jasmine Bleach says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yeah. I’m always a little bit amazed that people get so angry at the US for using nukes.

    Hey, in actuality it would have been better for Japan not to have bombed Pearl Harbor, eh?! If you start a fight like that, you’d better be ready for you and all your loved ones to perish. If not, you shouldn’t start something that big. End of story. Not that I don’t feel extreme remorse for the innocents that died or who’s lives were affected in those bombings–of course it was horrific. But if I were leading the US at that time, and I was responsible for the safety and well being of my citizens, I probably would have made the same call–thereby saving the lives of potentially hundreds of thousands of my own people. It sucks. It’s not at all fair. But sometimes life presents you with completely crappy choices when you need to make one.

    The same goes for the US invading Iraq. If you start something like that, Americans are going to (and did) die and we’d best be ready for reprisals from people pissed off at what we did. That invasion was completely stupid and unnecessary, of course–I advocated against it and worked in what limited political ways that I could to make it not happen. Was called “radical” and “a traitor” by members of my own family at the time! Oh, well. Most of ’em are still convinced we did the right thing . . . (sigh)

    Wars suck. Period. If you have to do ’em–and by this I mean if there is a real and present danger to your country–then get in and get out quickly as the General advocates. As most of the rest of you advocate here, just don’t do them if they’re not necessary. Save lives and your money for better things (food, water, employment, global warming, science, education, etc.).

  42. 42
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Anoniminous:

    That’s right, Japan was not going to fight to the death at that point. That was a myth made up to sooth the public here.

    We dropped atomic bombs on women and little children to show the world in general what we had and what it could do.

    And to show Josef Stalin in particular.

  43. 43
    raven says:

    @Anoniminous: Bullshit

  44. 44
    Ruckus says:

    Lot of excellent comments here.
    Even if we didn’t know the base reasoning behind the last wars, the wars were still idiotic. Hundreds of thousands of people died for what, nothing? The world is not a better place, we are liked even less around the world, many countries are turning to the right to stem immigration caused by people fleeing war zones, that we caused. The ripple effects of being so pompous and arrogant and deadly will be with us for decades. Economies were and are ruined, including our own because the same conservatives were also stupid and greedy about that. And it will take decades to rebuild those, if that ever happens. Those same greedy conservatives want to stick their heads in the sand about global warming which will forever change what the world looks like and our ability to live in it.
    Conservatives aren’t just bad for our government, rights and poverty, they are bad for the world. They want to fight change and that is just not possible. People talk about how surprised they are at the strength of tornadoes or hurricanes. With all the evidence over the centuries of what nature can do, how can people be surprised? With all the evidence of what damage conservatives cause, why are people still surprised? And even worse, supportive.

  45. 45
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Jasmine Bleach:

    The myth is ever durable, and that’s a fine bit of rationalizing.

  46. 46
    Joey Giraud says:

    @raven:

    Sez you.

    What a load of crap…. we haaaad to bomb them because they were such fanatics!

  47. 47
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Anoniminous: There’s a strong argument that the bombing wasn’t to stop Japan, but to stop the USSR, who were mobilizing against Japan and planning to retake previously lost and and possibly invade the main island. And it served as a demonstration to the Soviets that they should not get too ambitious expanding their own empire in the vacuum of an opposition (something we were definitely concerned about as we were at this point negotiating what do to with Europe.)

    So a protracted end to the war may have resulted in an expansion of the USSR in the pacific. The bombs prevented that by stopping the war almost immediately. Yes, Japan would have eventually surrendered without the need, but we were demanding more than they were willing to give at the time (having Emperor Hirohito step out of power, for one).

    Now, we can dispute in hindsight whether that was a price worth paying (particularly since none of us paid it) or whether we properly assessed the dynamics of it all, but the decision needed to be made then, not now. The war had stretched us thin both the troops and resources back home. Nations needed to be rebuilt, and we couldn’t help with that while we still had an open-ended war going on. There was a lot of pressure to get it over with quickly.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @elmo: The initial report is some veterans died because they were on waiting lists for treatment at VA hospitals, and this was deliberately manipulated in Arizona by VA execs there to make their stats look better. There’s no evidence that Shinseki knew about this or approved of it..it could very well be that the conduct in Arizona was actively concealed from the higher ups in DC, and circumstances point to that. Furthermore, veterans die of natural causes while waiting for treatment all the time…the lack of immediate care may not have been the proximate cause of their deaths. A lot more investigation needs to be conducted.

    Right now this, like every other “scandal” of the past five years, is being waged aggressively in the wingnutosphere to find something, anything to pin on the near sheriff as a lame justification to launch an impeachment effort against him. Shinseki is a bonus target in this, a means to an end, since he pointed out in no uncertain terms that the Iraq invasion was doomed to failure because we simply did not have the troops, including the reserves and National Guard, to pull off the occupation. This stuff isn’t rocket science, but it’s military science, and as the neocons are totally unfamiliar with both, the results are predictable.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🌷 Martin: Truman was a bit taken aback when he “dropped the bomb” so to speak, on Stalin at Potsdam, and Stalin was nonplussed by the revelation. He was hoping for some more reaction, but as an old poker player he should have known that Stalin was quite skilled in the art of keeping cool.

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Ack, I used that naughty word for a card game involving risking money or clothing in a previous post. This sucks.

  51. 51
    cmorenc says:

    @mistermix:

    The only way I know to honor the volunteers who died in these two wars is to take a lesson from these losses and work to keep this kind of stupidity from happening again.

    An enormous impediment to folks trying to make lessons against this type of stupidity stick is that as the next potential “again” approaches, they’ll be up against a powerful cabal of folks who think they’re the smartest people in the universe (most of whom BTW will not personally have to put themselves at risk).

    You might stop more would-be wars in their tracks by: 1) insisting that the war be paid for up front and not put on the national credit card; 2) going back to a mandatory military draft, so every family in the US has a quite personal stake in whether the mission is a wise or a foolish junket.

  52. 52
    catclub says:

    @c u n d gulag: I wish Obama would repeatedly mention that Shinseki was fired last time because he was RIGHT, and he is not going to fire him until he very sure he is in the wrong.

    I also think the scapegoating of Susan Rice is a substitute for the actual accountability that never was visited on Condoleeza Rice. Shinseki also.

  53. 53
    scav says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: There seems to be a lot to the reign of Commander Codpiece that can be ascribed to proving he was an alpha-man! to the world stage and his family. The needed adoration of historians and “blonds” (Michele was sooooo close, Perino closer, not to mention Tweety and ilk. Let me give you a back rub German Blondie.). Swaggering with the big money deals (Mars,bitches! Turn round that Carrier and get me more like it, Ground-based boots don’t matter anymore than budgets, plans or functioning showers in wars, bring on da Macho-Alpha-Bling!). The entire constant push to assert violent Leadership! on the world stage rather than actually doing the non-glamorous work of actually getting things done is very characteristic.

  54. 54
    PurpleGirl says:

    @amk:

    … the civilian admin’s sensible refusal to be drawn into perpetual wars.

    Could you specify the civilian administration you mean? The Cheney/Bush administration would have been quite happy to have the US in a state of perpetual warfare.

  55. 55
    Joey Giraud says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    I’m sure Truman and many others just thought “a new bomb, the biggest one yet,” and didn’t understand or appreciate the ramifications of atomic explosions.

    I’m sure there was an attitude of “God these assholes have made the last few years hell for us in the Pacific, lets give em a taste of this. Bon appetit, assholes.”

    As well as a general exhaustion and a desire to get this over with… those make sense at least.

    I just can’t tolerate total bullshit rationalizations, and “we would have had a million casualties otherwise” is one such rationalization.

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    I further disagree with Bolger that the lesson to be learned is topple and leave promptly. The lesson should be not to topple at all. The reason we occupy is to ensure a western-friendly government. Toppling and leaving just ensures what replaces the previous government will be hostile to US interests.

    This.

    Christ, “topple them and leave?” The Rumsfeld strategy? What the fuck good does that do? You think you can topple a government, leave within a year, and al-Qaeda or whoever won’t be happy to use the resulting chaos to carve out a piece of the country for them again (like they originally did in Afghanistan?)

    If you decide that a country really does have to be invaded, then pull out all the stops and sink in all the resources necessary (time, money, number of troops, reconstruction aid) that it takes to do it right. If you decide that all of that is just too hard, then don’t go in at all.

  57. 57
    Baud says:

    @Ruckus:

    With all the evidence of what damage conservatives cause, why are people still surprised? And even worse, supportive.

    I’ve asked that question before. The only answer that I’ve heard that makes sense is that some people prefer the evil of their own tribe to the good of another.

  58. 58
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    You can see it vividly in the Village courtesans, who gain little from the MIC.

    Not directly. Not in terms of share price, and dividend, and such. But they do gain from one-party rule, if they’re appropriately oriented to the party — which state of affairs you can achieve most easily by an endless series of wars.

    Washington is already wired for Republicans — and success in the crusade would have rendered that state of affairs permanent.

    Or as von Clausewitz could have said, Der Krieg ist nicht anders als die Fortsetzung der Innenpolitik mit anderen Mitteln.

  59. 59
    catclub says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    There’s a strong argument that the bombing wasn’t to stop Japan, but to stop the USSR

    yep, I’ve either read that or was in poli-sci class.
    The second bomb was to show we had a production line going.

    I still do not know why a demonstration to the Japanese high command would not be sufficiently effective.

  60. 60
    Jasmine Bleach says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    And thanks for that content-rich post!

  61. 61
    catclub says:

    @PurpleGirl: I bet they meant LBJ .. and Kennedy … and Nixon … and Eisenhower.

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Joey Giraud: You’re making the classic mistake of looking at the situation in retrospect, nearly 70 years distant from the events.

    At the time, things were not nearly so clear to those calling the shots. As it turned out, the “unconditional surrender” we got from Japan was with…a condition. The Emperor would remain, and not be treated as a war criminal. When we discuss this today we know more about the situation on the ground in Japan at that time than Truman and his advisers did at the time.

    Yes, the atomic bombings had multiple motivations. One, to prove they worked, two, to impress the Japanese that we could rain such utter destruction on them, three, to give Uncle Joe some pause. The bombings were not announced ahead of time, or was a demonstration conducted offshore, because they didn’t have absolute certainty that the darn things would work outside of highly controlled conditions at Alamogordo. It would have been folly to say “watch the skies off Tokyo Bay for what we could do to Tokyo” and then nothing happens. That would have probably emboldened the militarists over those in the Japanese government seeking a way to end the war. Remember, the militants overrode Yamamoto’s concerns with launching the war in the first place.

  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    That’s right, Japan was not going to fight to the death at that point. That was a myth made up to sooth the public here.

    I’m not sure I buy that. Even after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there were strong forces within the Japanese government who wanted to continue the war; it too a direct intervention by the Emperor to force the government to capitulate. Even if historical examination shows that the Japanese weren’t as willing to fight to the death as we claimed, that wasn’t at all clear to the decision makers in the American government. The figure of a million American combat deaths in the invasion of the Home Islands came from contemporary military planning documents, not from propaganda. The desire to scare Stalin may have been a consideration in the decision to use the Bomb, but it clearly wasn’t the only one.

  64. 64
    gbear says:

    @c u n d gulag: We’ve already had a day dedicated to world peace. It didn’t hold in the US.

    An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

  65. 65
    Chris says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I still don’t believe they did it for money. Bush did it for ego, and Cheney did it for fucked up, unrealistic neocon dogma predicting an American empire. Any money to be made for their buddies was a bonus.

    I always find it hard to find the line between personal gain and pure ideology in movements like that.

    What, for example (since we’re talking about the far right a few threads back) was the point of the Ku Klux Klan? Was it an ideological movement based on the fact that many white Southerners simply couldn’t bear the thought of black people having the same rights as them, or was it a means to profit ensuring that Southern elites continued to have a supply of cheap, disenfranchised, easily exploited labor? The answer, of course, is “yes.”

  66. 66
    Fair Economist says:

    This guy is pretty clueless drawing an analogy with Korea, because there was no insurgency in Korea. We “occupied” South Korea to protect it from another de facto sovereign nation, North Korea, and the South Koreans were largely amenable. We weren’t even trying nation building. We *were* trying nation building in Germany and Japan, but there weren’t any insurgencies there either. I believe you have to go back to the Philippines circa 1900 to find the last example of a “successful” US counterinsurgency and the power balance between Western and non-Western countries was decidedly different then. Of course he didn’t bring up the Philippines example because it was pretty horrifying even if in the long term it worked out OK.

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I’m of decidedly mixed feelings about that. My late father was the skipper of a landing craft that might have well been involved in either Operation Olympic or Operation Coronet. Which means that if we had gone forward with the amphibious invasion of Japan, which the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki precluded, I might not be here to type this comment.

    The deliberations of the Japanese cabinet were released about 30 years ago and made it very clear neither bombing ended the war. They cared so little about either bombing that they scarcely discussed them at all. Keep in mind the Tokyo firebombings had killed about 5 times as many Japanese and that had had no effect either.

    What actually ended the war was the threat to nuke the Emperor’s palace, which induced the Emperor’s party in the Cabinet to switch from supporting war to supporting peace. We’ll never know exactly what made Hirohito change his mind but I assume he just didn’t want his house blown up. (The US had warned the Japanese so he could have evacuated had his own life been the deciding factor.)

  67. 67
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Fair Economist: Again, no one at the time was privy to the deliberation of the Japanese cabinet. Truman was operating without knowing any of that.

  68. 68
    Roger Moore says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    I just can’t tolerate total bullshit rationalizations, and “we would have had a million casualties otherwise” is one such rationalization.

    I doubt we would have had a million deaths- and it was deaths that they were talking about, not casualties- but that was the figure that was being talked about back then. That said, I’m confident that we would have wound up killing more Japanese civilians by continuing the blockade and conventional bombing campaign for long enough to force their surrender, and an invasion would have killed more still.

  69. 69
    Jasmine Bleach says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    I just can’t tolerate total bullshit rationalizations, and “we would have had a million casualties otherwise” is one such rationalization.

    And you continue with the hyperbole. Nobody (here at least) mentioned “millions of casualties”. The estimates I’ve heard (from that time) were along the lines of a hundred thousand. Realistic or not, that’s not “millions”, so I’m sorry I can’t take your arguments seriously.

    Also, just beforehand we had experienced some of the most costly battles of the war with the Japanese. It wasn’t like people in the US were just making sh#t up when they were worried about casualties. It had been happening in real time. You say you’d go along with the people putting pressure to end things quickly–but that was mostly due to wanting to avoid loved ones coming home in boxes.

    And, yeah, the USSR probably factored into it. But like I said, crappy choices all around.

  70. 70
    Lyrebird says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    I’d like us to have a “National Day of Peace” annually – and make it a national holiday.

    I’m in! It may take a long time, but I think it has a better chance than we’ve got of evening out the disparities in which communities pay the price vs. which folks make the war plans.

  71. 71
    gbear says:

    @jheartney: Agreed. I would so love to see justice happen to Cheney and Rumsfeld in a way that would permanently erase the smug from their faces. I want to see those two in a world of hurt.

  72. 72
    Roger Moore says:

    @Fair Economist:

    We *were* trying nation building in Germany and Japan

    We weren’t really trying nation building in either place. If anything, the problem in both German and Japan was excessive nationalism that needed to be tamped down. We were coming in to occupy them, rebuild their economies, and reconstruct their civil society and government along more peaceful lines. That’s not at all the same thing as the situation in Iraq or Afghanistan, which are countries but not classic nation states and have little history of effective national government.

  73. 73
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @catclub:

    Oh. so once we demonstrated the power of the bomb then Japan would have just surrendered immediately? Like they did after we dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima and they immediately surrendered?

    You’re dumb.

  74. 74
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    IIRC, at least some of the “million” deaths they were talking about included civilian casualties, not just military ones.

    There was a good book about this written in 2001 called Downfall that looked at documents that had (then) been recently declassified and concluded that there were definitely powerful elements in the Japanese government that were perfectly willing to fight to the death.

  75. 75
    Lyrebird says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    …A lot more investigation needs to be conducted.

    Thanks for the summary version.

    ETA: I mean that literally – I really appreciate hearing from you, raven, evvybody on VA/veteran-related topics. Personally-closest Iraq vet is still dealing w/flashbacks and sfaik prefers not to be asked about stuff.

  76. 76
    Ruckus says:

    There are many stories on both sides of the atomic bomb issue. A Million casualties!, etc.
    We do know that the Japanese military fought to the death including large suicide missions. Would the civilians do that if invaded? It was thought so at the time. Was it wrong? Truman was not uninformed about the atomic bomb. But it was also much less effective than what we have today so it is a hard comparison. We had been firebombing Japan and that hadn’t seemingly made as much a difference as expected. So we were destroying their country, but at a slower rate. The big question most likely was, Do we continue along the path we’ve been doing or do we see if this much larger, much more damaging bomb works? The idea that this was more for the USSR than stopping Japan may have been a point, but it wasn’t the entire point. We had been at war, a very bloody and costly war for some time. Do you use all the tools you have to end that war or not? We also learned over time that the answer to that question is no. That’s not an easy answer to learn in the middle of a war, especially when the tools are new and unproven to the rest of the world as to their capabilities.
    Should we have done it? How many of us were there and could answer that question? I met and talked to Paul Tibbits, the pilot that dropped the bomb about 12-15 yrs ago, before he died. Someone asked him if he felt it was the right thing to do. His answer? At the time yes.
    With today’s knowledge would any of us have made that decision, at that time? Probably not, at least the rational ones. Remember that some your reasoning of that decision is based on the knowledge gained in dropping those bombs.

  77. 77
    Lyrebird says:

    @Chris:

    Christ, “topple them and leave?” The Rumsfeld strategy? What the fuck good does that do?

    Yeah, the whole Mossadegh (sp?) strategy worked out so well for our interests…

    I thank [deity or monster of choice] that the military people who knew what a horrible plan it would be kept us out of Iran during W’s second term. That was back when mocking a sitting Prez or VP got you interrogated not promoted to your own TV show.

  78. 78
    the Conster says:

    All state-sanctioned violence like wars, and non state-sanctioned violence like mass shootings, are proxies for dick measuring [see: Cheney, DICK]. That’s all it is. War is manhood anxiety writ large, all of the shootings are manhood anxiety writ small. Testosterone is a hell of a drug.

  79. 79
    dmsilev says:

    @Fair Economist:

    What actually ended the war was the threat to nuke the Emperor’s palace, which induced the Emperor’s party in the Cabinet to switch from supporting war to supporting peace. We’ll never know exactly what made Hirohito change his mind but I assume he just didn’t want his house blown up. (The US had warned the Japanese so he could have evacuated had his own life been the deciding factor.)

    Wait, what? The US explicitly sent a message to the Japanese government threatening to nuke the Imperial Palace? Got a cite or something on that? Not to mention, giving the Japanese government explicit foreknowledge of place and time of an upcoming bomber attack would have been amazingly stupid and arguably treasonous.

  80. 80
    The Pale Scot says:

    I am not posting spam,

    FU WP.

  81. 81
    Lyrebird says:

    No pets yet, so have a rehabilitated wild animal — I think the thread needs one!

    http://www.lookoutnow.com/cwc/se-owl-band2014.htm

  82. 82
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Roger Moore:

    No. The Cheney Regency fumbled the ball by not caring how long it would take to prevail in both nations

    BINGO!

    The nation and its military would have been far smarter to invade, topple the governments they didn’t like, and get out

    Nowr the thing generaal is that type of thinking is a century out of date, maybe back when steamboat was the fastest form of gettin’ around you could do that. But now theyz got celfonnes and radios and C4 and airplanes and whole companies that do nothin’ but send people and shit around the globe anywhere you want. I here tell they got Eelectric boxes that pop an idea or instructions or maps from one place to another just like that Snap!! Without even putting a stamp on it.

    So I think if you wanna go around topplin’ gov’ments that are just vestiges of colonial management imposed by racists on a culture where clans and tribes are still an organizing principle and they thinks the Crusades happened a little past last week you might wanna worry about that ‘possum stew blowin’ up all over ya, and let me tell ya them stains are hard get off.

    I here there’s this place called Eyeraan where the Brits told us that theyz wuz becoming commies, and we snuck in and gives ’em a nice dictator, and that dictator’s so good at dictating that the people had get themselves all angry and dictatorish to get up the gumption to kick him out, and now they upset with us! Just because we saved them from commeism, I mean yeah the Brits got to keep sucking up their oil for practically nothing’, but freedom ain’t free! What? The Brit’s suppose to pay retail? Like they’re Episc’palians or something?

    All I’m saying iz that the world can be a mighty serious and confusing place, and maybe yawl can go and get some book learning’ on it instead of taking everything your mullahs err ministers say as gospel.

    But I’m just an old suburban fabricator set in my ways.

  83. 83
    Botsplainer says:

    Silly people. Everybody knows that the way you support the troops is by yellow ribbon car magnets, crying over Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be a Merkin”, posting tweets like Todd Kincannon and doing prayer shout outs to servicemen depicted doing work on Free Republic.

  84. 84
    Roger Moore says:

    @Jasmine Bleach:

    And you continue with the hyperbole. Nobody (here at least) mentioned “millions of casualties”. The estimates I’ve heard (from that time) were along the lines of a hundred thousand.

    There were actually predictions of millions of casualties. The very highest predictions suggested there might be as many as a million US combat deaths, with millions more wounded. Those very high casualty estimates assumed that Japanese civilians would participate actively in the defense, and they assume many millions of Japanese civilians would have died in the process. FWIW, the government minted so many Purple Hearts in anticipation of the invasion that we’re still issuing them out of that stockpile.

  85. 85
    Baud says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Whew. For a minute there, I was afraid we’d have to use my tax dollars.

  86. 86
    dmsilev says:

    I think my favorite of today’s NewsMax headlines is “Rep. Bridenstine: USDA Needs Machine Guns?”. I really really hope there’s an administration policy in place sending a couple of weapons at a time to random Federal agencies just to troll the right wing. “Does the National Science Foundation need rifles?”, “Why does the National Endowment for the Arts have surface-to-air missiles?”, etc.

  87. 87
    Botsplainer says:

    @Ruckus:

    We had been firebombing Japan and that hadn’t seemingly made as much a difference as expected.

    Old NATO joke. One Soviet general bumped into another Soviet general in Paris and asked “by the way, who won the air war?”

    Strategic bombing’s results are mostly negative from a planning standpoint, Ploesti raids notwithstanding.

  88. 88
    Fair Economist says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Again, no one at the time was privy to the deliberation of the Japanese cabinet. Truman was operating without knowing any of that.

    Absolutely. The Americans hoped the bomb would induce a surrender but didn’t know that it would, or what actually induced the surrender offer (until afterwards). With hindsight we know they didn’t need to bomb Hiroshima or Nagasaki and almost certainly didn’t need the Bomb at all (a threat to carpetbomb the Imperial Palace would have sufficed.) But that’s hindsight, and in any case the great firebombings and the night bombing campaigns in general were worse atrocities than the use of the Bomb itself.

    It is, however, a lesson to *us* that massive civilian casualties have basically no effect on the behavior of repressive regimes and that you bring these kinds of regimes to heel by threats and harms to their rulers, not their subjects. So *we* should know never to do that kind of thing again.

  89. 89
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    IIRC, at least some of the “million” deaths they were talking about included civilian casualties, not just military ones.

    Most were civilian. The thought being that we would need to continue with mass bombing (like Tokyo) to stop the war economy, that we would be unable to secure a hostile citizenry who themselves might turn to an insurgency, etc. I don’t think that would have come to pass, but then we couldn’t really understand the Japanese willingness to fight to the death. It was simply foreign to us, and so it was utterly unpredictable to us what would happen. The range of possibilities was huge, so the worst case scenario was indeed quite bad, and yes the administration used the worst case scenario to shape policy.

    However, much of our criticism against the Bush admin is that they rejected the worst case scenario because it was inconvenient. So I’m not sure how people are to square demanding that Truman reject the conservative estimate while criticizing Bush for rejecting the conservative estimate.

  90. 90
    Patrick says:

    The military fumbled the ball by not making clear how long it would take to prevail in both nations.

    President Bush would have ordered an invasion of Iraq even if the CIA had told him that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/1476.....4N6-nbEkZ4

    Why blame the military when it is pretty clear who should be blamed…

  91. 91
    Botsplainer says:

    @Baud:

    Whew. For a minute there, I was afraid we’d have to use my tax dollars.

    Tax dollars are for tossing to friends like Erik Prince.

    I’m surprised that nobody has strung his ass up by piano wire, yet. Figure that will be the event that shuts up Amway Dick and his little dog Betsy right quick.

  92. 92
    Chris says:

    @Lyrebird:

    Yeah, the Eisenhower era of CIA coups is probably the beginning of that “quick in and out” craziness…

    I’ve never read anything about Ike’s thought process, but I always thought he, as a military man who knew just what a huge, costly, destructive enterprise war was, must’ve hoped the CIA could provide a “clean” (as we say today, “surgical”) way of achieving the same result without the whole mess. As it turns out, of course, it was just kicking the can down the road.

  93. 93
    Roger Moore says:

    @dmsilev:
    In fairness, USDA does include the Forest Service, who have to deal with organized criminals growing pot on federal land. Those guys are ruthless, so it’s easy to understand why the USDA might want some serious firepower to deal with them. Also, too, they’re talking about SMGs (i.e. less firepower than an assault rifle) not crew served weapons.

  94. 94
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Stick Magnetic Ribbons on Your SUV

    The Asylum Street Spankers

  95. 95
    Roger Moore says:

    @Fair Economist:

    It is, however, a lesson to *us* that massive civilian casualties have basically no effect on the behavior of repressive regimes and that you bring these kinds of regimes to heel by threats and harms to their rulers, not their subjects.

    Massive civilian casualties don’t have a proven effect on democracies, either. The Blitz only hardened British resolve. The only thing that’s proven to win wars is to crush the other guy’s armies in the field.

  96. 96
    raven says:

    Okinawa:

    Military losses
    U.S. losses

    U.S. manpower losses amounted to over 82,000 casualties, including non-battle casualties (psychiatric, injuries, illnesses) of whom over 12,500 were killed or missing. Battle deaths were 4,907 Navy, 4,675 Army, and 2,938 Marine Corps personnel.[36] Several thousand servicemen who died indirectly (from wounds and other causes) at a later date are not included in the total. One of the most famous U.S. casualties was the war correspondent Ernie Pyle, who was killed by Japanese sniper fire on Ie Island (Ie Shima, a small island just off of northwestern Okinawa).[37] Lt. Gen. Buckner’s decision to attack the Japanese defenses head-on, although extremely costly in U.S. lives, was ultimately successful. Just four days from the closing of the campaign, Buckner was killed by Japanese artillery fire, which blew lethal slivers of coral into his body, while inspecting his troops at the front line. He was the highest-ranking U.S. officer to be killed by enemy fire during the war. The day after Buckner was killed, Brig. Gen. Claudius Miller Easley was killed by machine gun fire.

    Aircraft losses over the three-month period were 768 U.S. planes, including those bombing the Kyushu airfields launching kamikazes. Combat losses were 458, and the other 310 were operational accidents. On land, the U.S. forces lost at least 225 tanks and many LVTs. At sea, 368 Allied ships—including 120 amphibious craft—were damaged while another 28—including 15 amphibious ships and 12 destroyers—were sunk during the Okinawa campaign. The U.S. Navy’s dead exceeded its wounded with 4,907 killed and 4,874 wounded, primarily from kamikaze attacks.[38]

    The U.S. personnel casualties included thousands of cases of mental breakdown. According to the account of the battle presented in Marine Corps Gazette,

    More mental health issues arose from the Battle of Okinawa than any other battle in the Pacific during World War II. The constant bombardment from artillery and mortars coupled with the high casualty rates led to a great deal of men coming down with combat fatigue. Additionally the rains caused mud that prevented tanks from moving and tracks from pulling out the dead, forcing Marines (who pride themselves on burying their dead in a proper and honorable manner) to leave their comrades where they lay. This, coupled with thousands of bodies both friend and foe littering the entire island, created a scent you could nearly taste. Morale was dangerously low by the month of May and the state of discipline on a moral basis had a new low barometer for acceptable behavior. The ruthless atrocities by the Japanese throughout the war had already brought on an altered behavior (deemed so by traditional standards) by many Americans resulting in the desecration of Japanese remains, but the Japanese tactic of using the Okinawan people as human shields brought about a new aspect of terror and torment to the psychological capacity of the Americans.[3]

    Japanese losses

    The U.S. military estimates that 110,071 Japanese soldiers were killed during the battle. This total includes an unknown number of impressed Okinawan civilians who were killed during the battle.
    A group of Japanese prisoners taken on the isle of Okuku in June 1945.

    7,401 soldiers surrendered or were captured during the battle. Additional Japanese were captured or surrendered over the next few months raising the total to 16,346.[39] This was the first battle in the Pacific War in which thousands of Japanese soldiers surrendered or were captured. Many of the prisoners were native Okinawans who had been pressed into service shortly before the battle and were less imbued with the Imperial Japanese Army’s no-surrender doctrine.[40] When the American forces occupied the island, many Japanese soldiers put on Okinawan clothing to avoid capture and some Okinawans would come to the Americans’ aid by offering to detect the mainland Japanese in hiding.

    The Japanese lost 16 combat vessels, including the super battleship Yamato. Japanese aircraft losses were 7,830, including 2,655 to operational accidents. Navy and Marine Corps fighters downed 3,047, while shipboard anti-aircraft fire felled 409, and the B-29s destroyed 558 on the ground.[41] The Allies destroyed 27 Japanese tanks and 743 artillery pieces (including mortars, anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns), some of them eliminated by the naval and air bombardments but most of them knocked-out by American counter-battery fire.
    Civilian losses, suicides and atrocities

    Some islands that saw major battles, such as Iwo Jima, were uninhabited or previously evacuated. Okinawa, by contrast, had a large indigenous civilian population; U.S. Army records from the planning phase of the operation make the assumption that Okinawa was home to about 300,000 civilians. According to various estimates, between one tenth and one third of them died during the battle,[23] or between 30,000 and 100,000 dead. Okinawa Prefecture’s estimate is over 100,000 losses,[42] while the official U.S. Army count for the 82-day campaign is a total of 142,058 civilian casualties, including those killed by artillery fire, air attacks and those who had been pressed into service by the Imperial Japanese Army

    Just a walk in the park, mostly deadenders. If we had invaded the mainlaind they would have greeted us a liberators and showered us with flowers.

  97. 97
    Ruckus says:

    @Botsplainer:
    The damage from bombing raids is also meant to be psychological. It works in reverse many times, the London bombings for example. But we were firebombing Japanese cities and it was very effective in destroying things, not so much in destroying Japanese government resolve. Hence the next step was considered and then used. Could we have just kept using high altitude bombing and destroyed the whole country? Probably. How long would that have taken? Another year, two? Remember that we had been attacked and pretty well had our western navy decimated and then fought very bloody battles all across the pacific for years. War is dirty, deadly and costly both in people and money. We had allies spending both as well. The country wanted it to end. The world wanted it to end. The bombs did that.

  98. 98
    c u n d gulag says:

    @🌷 Martin:
    It’s a good idea – except it’s too close to Labor Day.

    Oh, well, since “labor” is so disrespected in this country, the way things are going, maybe a “9/11 National Peace Day,” can take its place.

  99. 99
    trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Extrapolating from the Okinawa experience, it wasn’t unreasonable to project monstrous losses. They were also building and dispersing new types of kamikaze weapons that would have taken a heavy toll on the Navy, regardless of how much air support we would have mustered.

    Considering the unfathomably huge and continuous bombing and shelling brought to bear as we siphoned resources from Europe to the Pacific, there wouldn’t have been much left of the place once the shooting finally ended.

  100. 100
    c u n d gulag says:

    @gbear:
    Thanks, I’d forgotten that part of why it’s known as “Veteran’s Day.”

  101. 101
    tybee says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    you and Anoniminous need to spend a bit of time looking at the japanese government during the final weeks, particularly the military portions thereof.
    they were so anxious to give up that they had a plan to kidnap the emperor, assassinate the prime minister and other members of the Diet and continue the war.
    they came pretty close to carrying out their plan, too.

  102. 102
    Ruckus says:

    @c u n d gulag:
    Setting Veterans Day as Peace Day would be OK with me. I’ll bet that a lot of vets might agree that peace would be definitively be better than being a vet.

  103. 103
    Hurling Dervish says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Don’t forget that part of the neocan fantasy was that they would reinvent Iraq as the America they dreamed of. They packed the occupied government with young neocon fools and called Chalabi his country’s George Washington. They said the resistance just showed they were confronting al Qaeda.

    In the end, the thanks they got was a thrown shoe, but they deserved much more.

  104. 104
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ruckus:

    But we were firebombing Japanese cities and it was very effective in destroying things

    And killing civilians. The firebombing of Tokyo killed more people than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and some estimates put the death higher than both nuclear bombs combined.

  105. 105
    RandomMonster says:

    @Fair Economist:

    We *were* trying nation building in Germany and Japan, but there weren’t any insurgencies there either.

    This is a great point. And it’s telling to compare the German occupation with the aftermath of the Iraq Invasion. Remember Condi Rice going on the Sunday news programs and lying trying to argue that the insurgency in Iraq was not a big deal because there were German “Werewolf” insurgents after WWII? (When, in fact, the supposed “Werewolfs” were almost entirely a nazi propaganda fiction and never staged any serious resistance to the Allies.)

  106. 106
    RandomMonster says:

    @Hurling Dervish:

    They said the resistance just showed they were confronting al Qaeda.

    Oh yeah, the flypaper defense!

    God I sure don’t miss the fucked-upness of the Bush Administration and the Iraq War.

  107. 107
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Japan had lost the war, they knew it, they were actively looking to end it.

    SOME factions of the Japanese people wanted the war to end, After 20 years of harassment and assassinations by the racist, uber nationalists of the IJA (the Nazi’s were pikers compared to Japan’s indoctrination of their population concerning China), they were extremely marginalized. The recording of Hirohito’s radio address accepting the surrender terms bounced around the palace being hidden from outraged Army officers. IIRC, a minister was cut down with a sword protecting it. The IJN was much more realistic about the war, but the army officer class was mostly nuts, and they were the ones who controlled the territory and whether or not a surrender would happen.

    Everyday American servicemen lost their lives conducting wartime operations; carrier landings, aerial oversea recon, marines searching tunnels for “deadenders”, everyday servicemen were getting killed just being a wartime footing.

    Truman had no obligation to put Japanese lives before these guys, and I think if we had refrained from dropping the bomb and had to invade he would have been dragged out of the whitehouse and strung up from a lamp post when people found out there was a “super weapon” that wasn’t used.

  108. 108
    🌷 Martin says:

    A few other considerations on the bombing of Hiroshima. There were 40,000 soldiers stationed in the city, there were military industrial targets there, and it was a major port for shipping and deploying troops.

    We didn’t know how effective these bombs would be. Yes, we had the test, but the survivability of that test was mostly guesswork, and the long-term effect from radiation even more guesswork. Approximately ⅓ of the casualties were due to the blast and was presumably higher than estimated. ⅔ occurred over the next 5 years due to exposure, and was vastly higher than estimated.

    It would certainly be fair to accuse the government of unleashing such a thing on the world barely knowing what the fuck we were doing. Truman’s own words:

    This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new. He and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one.

    I think the concerns about our ability to quickly end the war in a conventional manner are clear enough in that statement, we had little trust that the Japanese would behave as we would expect Americans to behave.

    Some tragedies are just tragedies. It wasn’t a war of our choosing. We weren’t prepared for war. We did incredible things trying to protect not just ourselves, but England and liberate France and the rest of Europe. I can’t fault Truman and US leaders from wanting to end this as quickly as possible. Remember the opportunity cost here – Europe had been wrecked. People were continuing to die as a consequence of that – food shortages, etc. and our ability to help were going to be very limited until the war ended. There were estimates that as many as 5 million people would die in Europe before their economy could naturally stabilize (this was part of the rationale for the Marshall Plan). Something like 15M people were refugees. It was a tremendous humanitarian problem that we couldn’t do much about with Japan still at war with us.

  109. 109
    The Pale Scot says:

    @catclub:

    I still do not know why a demonstration to the Japanese high command would not be sufficiently effective

    Thinking was that if it was a dude, they had had only had one test, it would have made things worse.

  110. 110
    Skippy-san says:

    He’s a graduate of my alma mater and you should hear the chatter on the Alumni boards castigating him for telling the truth. Any one who agrees with him gets equally pummeled. Seems it is a crime to point out how America’s military gets sold out by morons who are appointed to SECDEF and Deputy SECDEF.

  111. 111
    Joel Hanes says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Even if historical examination shows that the Japanese weren’t as willing to fight to the death as we claimed,

    At the time, US Forces had just cleared Iwo Jima, a horrible protracted bloody affair that seemed (along with the kamikaze pilots) to demonstrate that the Japanese were exactly willing to fight to the death of every soldier. “Of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner, some of whom were captured because they had been knocked unconscious or otherwise disabled”

    Those who employ historical hindsight sometimes tend to forget that their informed perspective was not available when that history was being made.

  112. 112
    Fair Economist says:

    @tybee:

    you and Anoniminous need to spend a bit of time looking at the japanese government during the final weeks, particularly the military portions thereof.
    they were so anxious to give up that they had a plan to kidnap the emperor, assassinate the prime minister and other members of the Diet and continue the war.
    they came pretty close to carrying out their plan, too.

    They *did* carry it out. It just didn’t work. There’s one book out there that claims the reason it didn’t work was that the US did a bombing run at an oil refinery near Tokyo and that the Japanese blacked out Tokyo (including the Imperial Palace) to foil it (they didn’t know the target so they blacked out everything) leaving the plotters literally in the dark.

  113. 113
    rikyrah says:

    Republicans Have Created a Lottery Capitalism That’s Bad For Almost Everyone
    Posted on May 21, 2014 by Milt Shook

    If we teach voters nothing else this very important election year, it has to be that the Republican Party’s treatment of the economy has no positives for anyone except the very rich. I know calling the only people the GOP loves “the 1%” is convenient, but the reality is, the GOP probably cares about fewer than 10,000 people, all told, and certainly not 3 million, as “the 1%” implies.

    The number one problem with Republicans and the economy is, they don’t care about anything that benefits everyone. A truly healthy economy is one where everyone is on essentially equal footing, with an equal opportunity to generate the wealth needed to live freely and comfortably, as well as to create commerce on a level playing field. Unfortunately, the economy Republicans have created with their daft governmental reign is what can best be thought of as “lottery capitalism.” In this system, which Republicans call a “good economy,” everyone pays to be part of the system, but the only people who are rewarded are people who are lucky enough to win. Not only is there no reward for working as hard as possible; Republicans use every trick they can think of to penalize you for it. They like to pretend that hard work brings great riches, but the reality is, those who work the hardest in the economy they’ve created have the least chance of getting ahead.

    As the name implies, the problem with lottery capitalism is exactly what’s wrong with playing the lottery. In order for someone to win the huge $100 million jackpot, at least $200 million worth of losing tickets must also be purchased. The elements that make up a successful lottery simply don’t work in a nation’s economy. Put simply, while our economic system used to generate a constant flow of wealth that benefited everyone, it’s now rigged in such a way that only a relatively small number of people control most of the wealth, and a far smaller amount of wealth actually flows through the system. For most Americans, wealth has been stagnant for decades, with small increases in wealth and income having been more than offset by an inflation rate that we have come to accept as “normal” or even “low,” despite the fact that it’s actually quite debilitating for many.

    http://pleasecutthecrap.com/re.....-everyone/

  114. 114
    raven says:

    @Joel Hanes: My father was part of the recapture of Corregidor that was at the same time a Iwo Jima. They were told there were 800 Japanese on the island, these are the casualty figures 6,600 killed, 50 wounded and 19 prisoners. Fanatics? I don’t know but they were tough as shit, committed and fought harder the closer we got to Japan.

  115. 115
    James E. Powell says:

    When we are all assigning blame, do the American people get to share?

    I recall quite a few of them being very enthusiastic about killing people – and they weren’t all that concerned about which ones. As Tom Friedman said, it was all about “Suck on this!”

  116. 116
    raven says:

    @James E. Powell: Are you kidding, the whole fucking thread has been about “blaming America’. What the fuck are you reading?

  117. 117
    Schlemizel says:

    @raven:
    I was going to post something very similar to this, glad I read through first.

    Thanks, The thought that there would not have been a million casualties from an invasion of the homeland is ahistorical. As horrific as the atomic bombs were they really did save millions of lives. You only need to see the film of Okinawans committing suicide at the thought of American victory to see that.

    The sooner the Americans come, the better…One hundred million die proudly.
    – Japanese slogan in the summer of 1945.

    OPERATION KETSU-GO: http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/arens/chap4.htm

  118. 118
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: I don’t even know what I’m doing here, I finished the sidewalk and am putting together a meal. I thought I’d stumbled into a FDL thread.

  119. 119
    Bruce Baugh says:

    The Lt. Gen’s quoted remarks remind me of something Jim Henley wrote several years ago: If you need to put massive effort into counter-insurgency, you are almost certainly on the wrong side.

  120. 120
    chrome agnomen says:

    Dana Loesch ‏@DLoesch 21h
    Please, continue hating on men throughout remembrance weekend while the majority of those in vet cemeteries are men. #YesAllWomen

    stay classy, dana!

  121. 121
    different-church-lady says:

    The military fumbled the ball by not making clear how long it would take to prevail in both nations.

    Unless you count Cheney and Rumsfeld and GWBush as part of “the military” then no. Fucking no. Anyone with half a brain knew the movie was going to go on and on and on and on. The rest bought the quick bullshit they saw in the trailer.

  122. 122
    🌷 Martin says:

    @raven: My grandfather was at Iwo Jima. Was the battle that ultimately broke him according to my grandmother.

    Apparently the troops on these islands were a bit of a honey pot for us. The soldiers were convinced that their job was to tie up and stall US troops so that the main island could be defended against a US attack. That they were literally fighting for the lives of their families. So, they (the islands) weren’t that important to the Japanese other than as a stalling tactic, so they needed to hold out as long as they could, even if they couldn’t win.

    I can’t be convinced that if the roles were reversed and the US mainland were about to be invaded by an overwhelming force that US troops wouldn’t fight similarly if so commanded. I also can’t be convinced that our commanders would think this a good idea, that the troops would be more useful recalled to the mainland or some other place where they could be effective without such sacrifice.

    @raven: Honestly, if our leaders had a better record of engaging in military actions without deceiving the public (Gulf of Tonkin, etc), and if American’s could find a way to debate the merits of our occasional bloodlust without our leaders berating the skeptics by accusing us of being un-American, we might have a bit more faith in our national decision making. I have quite a bit more trust in the decisions made when the war is not of our choosing, quite a bit less when it is.

  123. 123
    Botsplainer says:

    Here’s the thing about the wars of Century XX – the pointless one, the truly transformative war was the war that Armistice Day sprang from. It was truly pointless, a dick measuring contest between cousin royals that spent the aggregate plunder of four centuries of colonialism and the lives of a generation of young men of modest means.

    The thing that the history books try assiduously not to mention is those final charges ordered by British and Canadian generals in the final hours prior to the bell – all to take ground which fate had been determined in the Armistice documents, which they knew.

    It was a vile, pointless, murderous thing, that end, and they did it to prove their resolve. A few American units did it, too.

  124. 124
    Botsplainer says:

    Here’s the thing about the wars of Century XX – the pointless one, the truly transformative war was the war that Armistice Day sprang from. It was truly pointless, a dick measuring contest between cousin royals that spent the aggregate plunder of four centuries of colonialism and the lives of a generation of young men of modest means.

    The thing that the history books try assiduously not to mention is those final charges ordered by British and Canadian generals in the final hours prior to the bell – all to take ground which fate had been determined in the Armistice documents, which they knew.

    It was a vile, pointless, murderous thing, that end, and they did it to prove their resolve. A few American units did it, too.

  125. 125
    different-church-lady says:

    @catclub:

    I still do not know why a demonstration to the Japanese high command would not be sufficiently effective.

    They were worried about what would happen if the demo was a dud.

  126. 126
    raven says:

    @🌷 Martin: with you both times.

  127. 127
    Ruckus says:

    @different-church-lady:
    Will we ever shatter the illusion that anyone in jr’s maladministration had a fucking clue?
    Your movie analogy is brilliant. Because given all the truth and thought involved it was a completely fictional farce.

  128. 128
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Japanese soldiers and civilians were convinced (mostly by Imperial propaganda) that the Allies would make them pay in kind for the atrocities that had been committed in China and across the Pacific, which was one of the reasons for the suicides and suicidal defenses — if the opposing side is going to kill you horribly anyway, why not go for a clean suicide instead?

    When you had an American who could speak Japanese and convince the opposing officers that they would be treated humanely if they surrendered to the Americans, they surrendered in droves.

  129. 129
    Tommy says:

    On this day I think of a lot of stuff. Mostly family related. But I can’t help thinking of Audie Murphy. This overview from the humor site Cracked says it best for me:

    When Audie Murphy applied to the Marines in 1942 at the tender age of 16, he was 5’5″ and weighed 110 pounds. They laughed in his face. So he applied to the Air Force, and they also laughed in his face. Then he applied for the Army, and they figured they could always use another grunt to absorb gunfire, so they let him in. He wasn’t particularly good at it, and they actually tried to get him transferred to be a cook after he passed out halfway through training. He insisted that he wanted to fight though, so they sent him into the maelstrom.

    During the invasion of Italy he was promoted to corporal for his awesome shooting skills, and at the same time contracted malaria, which he had for almost the entire war. Try to remember that.

    He was sent into southern France in 1944. He encountered a German machine gun crew who pretended they were surrendering, then shot his best buddy. Murphy completely hulked out, killed everyone in the gun nest, then used their weaponry to kill every baddie in a 100-yard radius, including two more machine gun nests and a bunch of snipers. They gave him a Distiguished Service Cross, and made him platoon commander while everyone apologized profusely for calling him “Shorty.”

    About half a year later, his company was given the job of defending the Colmar Pocket, a critical region in France, even though all they had left was 19 guys (out of the original 128) and a couple of M-10 Tank Destroyers.

    The Germans showed up with a shitload of guys and half a dozen tanks. Since reinforcements weren’t coming for a while, Murphy and his men hid in a trench and sent the M-10s to go do the heavy lifting. They got ripped to shreds.

    Then, this five-and-a-half-foot-tall kid with malaria ran up to one of the crippled M-10s, hopped in behind the .50 cal machine gun, and started killing everything in sight. Understand that the M-10 was on fire, had a full tank of gas and was basically a death-trap.

    He is a seriously tiny man.

    He kept going for almost an hour until he was out of bullets, then walked back to his bewildered men as the M-10 exploded in the background Mad Max style. They gave him literally every medal they could (33 in all, although he had doubles of a few, plus five from France and one from Belgium), including the Medal of Honor.

    After the war, he came down with Shell-Shock, and was prescribed the antidepressant placidyl. When he became addicted to the drug, rather than enter a program like some kind of sissy, he went cold-turkey, locked himself in a motel room for a week and got over it. He wrote an autobiography entitled To Hell and Back, and later became an actor.

    That happened …..

  130. 130
    srv says:

    I can only offer some of the best words I’ve ever seen on the internets, by FDChief:

    It seems to me that the VERY best thing for the majority of Americans would be to think of this Memorial Day not as time reserved for barbeques and softball in the park, but as the time it took a 19-year-old private to bleed out, alone amid the dying crowd in the grass before the wall at Fredricksburg.

    The time it took a husband and father to convulse his way into death from typhus in the tent hospital outside Santiago de Cuba.

    The time that the battalion runner, a former mill hand from Utica, New York, spent in a shell hole in the Argonne staring at the rest of his life drizzling out of his shattered legs.

    The time it took for the jolting trip down the Apennines to the CCP, unfelt by the father of three because of the jagged rip in his gut wall that killed him that morning.

    The time required to freeze a high school kid from Corvallis, Oregon, to the parched, high ground above the Yalu River.

    The time it took for the resupply bird to come to FSB Albany for the plastic bag that contained what had been a young man from the Bronx who would never see the Walt Frazier he loved play again.

    The time taken up by the last day in the life of a professional officer whose fiance will never understand why she died in a “vehicular accident” in the middle of a street in Taji.

    I’ve been proud to be a soldier, and don’t kid myself that there will be a day when the killer ape “studies war no more”. But the modern view of war as video entertainment for the masses sickens me.

    Every single fucking human being needs to have it driven into his or her forehead with a steel nail that every single day in every single war some person dies a stupid, meaningless death that snuffs out a world in a moment. That those empty eyes zipped inside a bag or covered by a bloody blanket were the windows to an entire universe, once.

    That the price we pay for “forging our national will” is paid in the unlived futures of those we kill and those of us who die to make it so.

  131. 131
    Schlemizel says:

    @raven:
    Just got back from a bike ride – too humid for this early in the year! Was having a cold glass of water & trying to think the perspiration away when I made the mistake of reading the thread.

  132. 132
    Linnaeus says:

    Re: the atomic bombings

    I’ve taught a course on nuclear history a few times, and the discussions about Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the most difficult ones for my students because many of them were confronted with perspectives on the use of the bombs that they hadn’t seen before. I assigned John Hersey’s Hiroshima and the reaction it got from many of the students – that it wrongly portrayed the Japanese as victims – ended up generating a good discussion the end.

  133. 133
    Tommy says:

    @Schlemizel: My dad got me addicted to this thing, reading Medal of Honor citations. That is what I went to do after reading part of this thread. That got me to one of my favorite online stories every, 5 Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a Pussy.

    I posted an entry above, how about one from India:

    Yogendra Singh Yadav was a member of an Indian grenadier battalion during a conflict with Pakistan in 1999. Their mission was to climb “Tiger Hill” (actually a big-ass mountain), and neutralize the three enemy bunkers at the top. Unfortunately, this meant climbing up a sheer hundred-foot cliff-face of solid ice. Since they didn’t want to all climb up one at a time with ice-axes, they decided they’d send one guy up, and he’d fasten the ropes to the cliff as he went, so everyone else could climb up the sissy way. Yadav, being awesome, volunteered.

    Half way up the icy cliff-o’-doom, enemies stationed on an adjacent mountain opened fire, shooting them with an RPG, then spraying assault-rifle fire all over the cliff. Half his squad was killed, including the commander, and the rest were scattered and disorganized. Yadav, in spite of being shot three times, kept climbing.

    When he reached the top, one of the target bunkers opened fire on him with machine guns. Yadav ran toward the hail of bullets, pitched a grenade in the window and killed everyone inside. By this point the second bunker had a clear shot and opened fire, so he ran at them, taking bullets while he did, and killed the four heavily-armed men inside with his bare hands.

    Meanwhile, the remainder of his squad was standing at the top of the cliff staring at him saying, “dude, holy shit!” They then all went and took the third bunker with little trouble.

    For his gallantry and sheer ballsiness, he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military award. Unlike the Medal of Honor, the Param Vir Chakra is only given for “rarest of the rare gallantry which is beyond the call of duty and which in normal life is considered impossible to do.” That’s right, you actually have to break the laws of reality just to be eligible.

    And we imagine the medal looks like two, brass testicles.

    It has only been awarded 21 times, and two thirds of the people who earned it died in the process. It was initially reported that Yadav had as well, but it turns out that they just mistook him for someone less badass. Or they just figured no real human being could survive a broken leg, shattered arm and 10-15 fresh bullet holes in one sitting.

  134. 134
  135. 135
    Schlemizel says:

    @srv:
    I remember my 12 year old’s excitement at the video game gun camera pictures from Desert Storm. I was angry that he thought they were cool. Finally I said. “You know what that is a video of? People dying, dads like me, brothers and sons. They are dying for the simple reason their job puts them on the other side.”

    It calmed him down but I blame that excitement (plus the Clinton peace) for allowing him to thing joining the army would be cool. Its a story as old as warfare, my boy did not come home. A guy did that has his blood type, his DNA but he is not the same kid that went.

  136. 136
    trollhattan says:

    BTW, by now most know of Elliot Rodger’s father, but how many know of his grandfather, George Rodger?

    George Roger was a civilian combat photographer in WWII, among the first to document the newly liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He was friends with the more well known Robert Capa and one of the founders of Magnum. He knew war’s horrors and the meaningless of killing.

    Robert Capa & George Rodger

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Rodger

  137. 137
    Roger Moore says:

    @Joel Hanes:
    I should have said that better. A more accurate version of what I mean was something like “even if they were more likely to capitulate than we expected” (looking at it from a national perspective, not the individual soldier’s willingness to surrender on the battlefield), and I certainly mean that as an open historical question, not as an obvious thing. The point is that even if you accept that point as proven- which I don’t think we can do- that information wasn’t available to Truman.

  138. 138
    trollhattan says:

    @Schlemizel:

    About to leave on mine. Definitely not humid, but hot–87 on the way to a predicted 96. Yay, me. Shoulda been a morning person.

  139. 139
    Schlemizel says:

    @trollhattan:
    As much as I whined when I was commuting by bike on windy days a little breeze sure would have been welcome today.

  140. 140
    lol says:

    I’ll never forgive Obama for getting involved in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  141. 141
    jefft452 says:

    @tybee: “they came pretty close to carrying out their plan, too.”

    If by “pretty close” you mean “not close at all”, you would be right

  142. 142
    Tommy says:

    @Schlemizel: I am always stunned that anybody thinks war is “cool.” It is not cool. Not even close. I say over and over here I am about the only male in 100+ years that has not served. Outside of WWI and WWII, where there was a sense fighting was needed, required, for most in my family military service was a job. Just cause they were in the military didn’t mean they wanted to fight.

    As Sun Tzu says in the Art of War, if you have to fight you have already lost!

    I recall being at my grandfather’s funeral and talking to the kids of my cousin. His father wasn’t there, he was in Qatar. Her kid was gitty as a 40 year old dude I played some of the same video games he played and could talk to him, while his mother was confused by it all. It pained me he said he was trying to get straight As, to get into college, so he could eventually fly drones. I actually went outside and cried.

  143. 143
    Tommy says:

    @Schlemizel: Bike power. Going to look for a new bike this week. Had my current Cannondale since 1994. Time for an upgrade :). I mean the darn thing is 20 years old.

  144. 144
    Schlemizel says:

    @Tommy:
    War is cool to 12 year olds and then we grow up. Hopefully before we do something stupid like join (or get drafted in my day). Sadly some guys never grow up, worse when they get to be in charge.

    If anything good can be said to have come out of our recent fiascos it would be that it lets the brighter ones see exactly what war is & how much care they can expect from “a grateful nation”. Now if we could just get some decent jobs maybe we could starve the machine.

  145. 145
    gogol's wife says:

    @dmsilev:

    That was my train of thought when I first saw that one. You’ve articulated it beautifully.

  146. 146
    gogol's wife says:

    @Ruckus:

    Re our discussion the other day, my husband thought that April-May or Sept-Oct would be the best times to visit DC, weather-wise. They didn’t use to have snow in October or April, but these days, I guess anything is possible.

  147. 147
    Schlemizel says:

    @Tommy:
    I love my Trek 730 and can’t imagine a new bike. I rebuilt the drive 4 years ago after I used it to get to work all for 3 years. I think I will just keep rebuilding as needed. Its got to be close to 20 years old.

    I did ride a carbon fiber job that was really sweet but $5k is about 10 times my upper limit.

  148. 148
    trollhattan says:

    @Schlemizel:
    Yeah, wind, ugh. Usually combines with pollen season for a winning combination. My summertime commute weather conspires to be either of these: no wind=hot, or, windy and not so hot, but headwind for morning commute that flips to be headwind for afternoon commute.

    All this adversity makes us better peepels!

  149. 149
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tommy:

    I am always stunned that anybody thinks war is “cool.”

    I’m not. Enormous effort has gone into convincing people of exactly that. From the time we’re very young, we’re exposed to sanitized, propagandized versions of what war is like that tell us that it’s great, glorious, and necessary. We’ve spent literally thousands of years honing the message. It shouldn’t be at all surprising that people buy it.

  150. 150
    jefft452 says:

    @Joey Giraud: “I’m sure Truman and many others just thought “a new bomb, the biggest one yet,” and didn’t understand or appreciate the ramifications of atomic explosions.”

    Agreed, a lot of the “why we really dropped the bomb” discussions ignore this
    We had a really big bomb, what do you do with a really big bomb? You drop it on the enemy, of course

  151. 151
    jefft452 says:

    @Joey Giraud: “I’m sure Truman and many others just thought “a new bomb, the biggest one yet,” and didn’t understand or appreciate the ramifications of atomic explosions.”

    Agreed, a lot of the “why we really dropped the bomb” discussions ignore this
    We had a really big bomb, what do you do with a really big bomb? You drop it on the enemy, of course

  152. 152
    gogol's wife says:

    @srv:

    Beautiful.

  153. 153
    Botsplainer says:

    OT, but goddammit,when I’m at the gym, I want to sweat. Some jackass didn’t want to rain, set up a floor fan on rotate, and left after 10 minutes, leaving it on.

    I’d rather smell a burning cigarette.

  154. 154
    Schlemizel says:

    @trollhattan:
    Summer wind here tends to be from the West. The last 1.5 miles of the trip home was straight into it. End of the day, end of an 8 mile trip, heat of the day & right into the teeth of the breeze. I got used to it but if I was tired it really took the heart out of me.

    That which does not kill us just pisses us off & hurts like hell.

  155. 155
    raven says:

    @jefft452: Oh gee, you are a fucking genius.

  156. 156
    Tommy says:

    @gogol’s wife: As a former DC resident of 15+ years I’d say September/October is better. Lot of reasons, the top of the list is that it is less of the “tourism” time then April and May is (well really April until the end of July). Weather can be an issue, well depending on where you live and what you are used to from a climate point-of-view. DC gets hot and humid for most of the year. Not a pleasnt thing to be tooling around when it is 97 with 92% humidity :).

    I could talk for hours and hours about DC. May I just offer one suggestion. Check out the Phoenix Park Hotel. A pretty nice place and across the street from Union Station. You can fall out your front door and be on the Mall. Capital. You name it. A fraction of the cost of other hotels on Capital Hill. But you are in the center of it all.

    Oh and the bar, if you watch Morning Joe, they do their live shows at in DC, around the corner.

  157. 157
    trollhattan says:

    @Schlemizel:
    Am discovering a sad Bike Fact: road bikes can, for the most part, be maintained forever because the components are still available for older standards, but each mountain bike generation is a dead end. Took me half a year to rebuild my MIL’s mountain bike for my daughter, because shit just isn’t available. Had to toss the suspension fork for a rigid one because there are no replacement parts (the elastomers turned into goo and froze the moving bits inside the tubes) and nobody makes a compatible suspension fork for the head tube diameter. Lose a tiny brake part? Throw it away and replace it. Lose a tiny derailleur part? Ditto, and good luck matching the indexing standard. Replacement chain rings? Sometimes. Cogs? Hah-hah-hah….

    Now am rebuilding mine, and it’s rinse and repeat (at least the fork lives on).

  158. 158
    Tommy says:

    @Schlemizel: The pricing on bikes is off the charts. I paid like $950 for my Cannondale in 1994. A mountain bike that I still love and will still use, but for years I’ve used it to just “tool around” town and that is not what it is really meant for. Looking for more of a hybrid and my limit is $1,000. I’d rather pay under $750, but alas anal about stuff and not sure that is going to happen.

  159. 159
    Patrick says:

    @lol:

    I’ll never forgive Obama for getting involved in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    And don’t get me started on why I never forgive him being solely responsible for our country’s deficit.

  160. 160
    rikyrah says:

    Washington D.C. is a great place to visit. Not in the summer – too humid. October/Early November would be a terrific time to visit. There’s so much to see when you visit. Just get a tour book and just get up in the morning, get on the train, and just enjoy.

  161. 161
    Tommy says:

    @trollhattan: My experience is somewhat different. My Cannondale mountain bike is more then 20 years old and I keep upgrading small parts of it with no problems. Now with that said, nothing frame related. The key of spending as much as I did on it, the frame has a lifetime warranty, which I’ve never even had to use. The components, which I have kept pretty much the same, well those seem to be interchangeable.

  162. 162
    Ruckus says:

    @Schlemizel:
    Very, very unfortunately they never are.

    @Roger Moore:
    This.
    It’s like looking at the decision to drop the atomic bomb 69 yrs ago, using only with the hindsight that only those yrs bring to 2014 eyes. It’s bullshit.

  163. 163
    Tommy says:

    @rikyrah: I don’t mean to disagree with you, but DON’T get the tour book. As a former resident I found the best things in the city were not in a tour book. The first few places I’d take you would be Union Station, Eastern Market, the main reading room of the Library of Congress, the National Building Museum, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

    Oh and if possible, out to Wolf Trap in Northern Virginia. The only Federal park in the nation devoted to the performing arts. They have live concerts there that will blow your mind.

  164. 164
    Ruckus says:

    @raven:
    You left out,

    Not.

  165. 165
    trollhattan says:

    @Tommy:
    Does it have one of those crazy Canondale integrated headtube-suspension thingies?

    Only reason I bothered rebuilding the MiL’s bike for my kid, other than the memorabilia aspect, is the Merlin Ti frame, circa ’92 or so. Thing’s a sculpture on wheels, absolutely gorgeous. Having to toss XTI components was all too painful, but Shimano just doesn’t give a shit about supporting their stuff.

  166. 166
    Schlemizel says:

    I really hate MLB. The home team is wearing desert camo uniforms & hats today. At the top of the 7th they went through some sort of “remembrance” ceremony and of course Gawd Bless ‘Murica” for the 7th inning stretch. Maybe I am bitter and cynical but it all seems so cheap and manipulative. If they really gave a crap about the holiday they would not play but instead go home & decorate the graves of their ancestors as was the intent of the day when it was designated. But their is no money in that & Jingoism always sells.

  167. 167
    Ruckus says:

    @trollhattan:
    Very true.

    I resurrected a lot of old mountain and road bikes in my shop (during the recession very few new sold, lots of old stuff dragged out of storage) and you are exactly correct. Sixties and seventies road bikes could be rebuilt easily and made much better than new, mountain bikes of the same era were fixable but not easily and they generally ended up being townie bikes afterwards.

  168. 168
    Schlemizel says:

    @Tommy:
    I’m afraid to look at prices. There is a very good bike shop here in Minneapolis (FREEWHEEL – they deserve a plug as they seem to be staffed & run by bike people not business people and repairs are dirt cheap!). They have a couple of events every year where they bring out hardware & let people ride. Rode an electric assist bike. Nice for going up hill but not close to being worth the money. Also that $5k carbon model – loved that. But all the bikes I thought I would be interested in were over a grand. Not going to spend that kind of money unless the new bike is A LOT better than my current ride or I win the lotto.

  169. 169
    tybee says:

    @jefft452:

    you are ignorant of the time period.

    begin your education here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K.....D_Incident

  170. 170
    Tommy says:

    @trollhattan: LOL. The bike is old enough there is just the frame, a single fussed piece. Shimano were the components on it when I bought it, but over the years moved away from them. They are just too expensive and I don’t know if that good.

    Thing’s a sculpture on wheels, absolutely gorgeous.

    Understood. I am on my bike daily. Kids that have bikes (are they still called BMX?), you know jumping off stuff and doing tricks will see me ride by and they stop me. They are like dude your bike is so cool (I guess old is the new cool isn’t it).

  171. 171
    Schlemizel says:

    @Ruckus: @trollhattan:

    Did not know that – so glad I was not interested in mountain bikes. My only complaint is I wish my smallest and largest chain rings were bigger. I find I almost never use the smallest one and always wish (well maybe not in spring but soon after) that the largest was just a couple of teeth bigger.

    I talked to the guys at the shop & they didn’t offer much hope that it would be possible to replace the set with something bigger.

  172. 172
    Ruckus says:

    @Schlemizel:
    Retail on a decent bike starts at about $1500. The sweet spot for a damn fine bike without going over the moon is about $2500. But many mtb bikes in the $1000-1500 range are not bad. The frame is sometimes the same on as the $2500 bike but with lesser components. Below $1000 you get serviceable, more weight and not much more.

  173. 173
    Tommy says:

    @Schlemizel: There is a place that sounds like what you mentioned by me but they don’t have a bike on the show room floor for under $850. Most over $2,000. I could afford that, but alas no way I am paying that for a bike in that price range. I went out and got a Cycling Magazine buyers guide. Not a single bike for under $1,000.

    I am looking at this place:

    https://www.missionbicycle.com/

    Hand built bikes you can customize every aspect. Only costs $90 to ship from San Fran to Southern Illinois. They start at almost $1,000, more then I want to spend, but alas at least I control everything.

  174. 174
    James E. Powell says:

    @raven:

    Are you kidding, the whole fucking thread has been about “blaming America’. What the fuck are you reading?

    Blaming America (metonymy) is not the same thing as blaming Americans (actual people with responsibility for what their elected officials do in their name).

  175. 175
    Ruckus says:

    @Schlemizel:
    The overall gearing should be able to be changed on a road bike relatively easily. Tell me what you have on the crank and rear and I’ll let you know what you need to do. How many speeds do you have in the rear? That can complicate things but if your bike is 20 yrs old the cassette, chainrings and chain surly need to be replaced if they haven’t been.

    ETA I used to do this all the time in my shop because I was in a hilly area and most bikes came with gearing for the flatlands. That changed about 5-6 yrs ago btw.

  176. 176
    James E. Powell says:

    @rikyrah:

    If we teach voters nothing else this very important election year, it has to be that the Republican Party’s treatment of the economy has no positives for anyone except the very rich.

    I’ve run out of things to say to the people who don’t already know this.

    When I talk with my friends and family (none of whom are close to being rich) about this, I ask, what have the Republicans ever done for you? What good are they to you? They either give answers about bullshit imagery and feelings or they change the subject.

  177. 177
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Botsplainer:

    crying over Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be a Merkin”,

    DO NOT get me going on a rant on how much I utterly loathe that song. Just don’t. Please.

  178. 178
    Schlemizel says:

    @Tommy:
    There is a place like that here, they advertize the hell out of themselves on radio & TV and I didn’t see anything under $1500. Advertising is not cheap. I have never actually priced a bike at Freewheel because I’m not really in the market. There is a Schwinn dealer in town that has stuff like Trek that used to be reasonable but I have not been there since we bought our son a bike about 8 -9 years ago. The daughter buys “hipster” bikes She found a baby pink Schwinn Varsity (probably early 70’s by the gear set) for $10. It took me an evening and $25 in parts to make a very nice ride out of it. Of course she is frightened it will get stolen. But since she moved to the moutains she really doesn’t ride it anyway.

  179. 179
    raven says:

    @James E. Powell: Oh, well fire away by all means.

  180. 180
    Ruckus says:

    @James E. Powell: You have to not play around with them. Ask them for proof that the things they ask for are better and how are conservatives going to provide them as they are bullshit. But you have to use that word and you have to be ready to be yelled at. I usually just walk away. Laughing. It keeps me from wanting to punch them.

  181. 181
    Schlemizel says:

    @Ruckus:
    Its 18 speed – 3 front, 6 back. I replaced the crank, cassette and chain for the rebuild and have not been using it to commute so I doubt it has 1000 miles on it (one summer lost to cancer)

    I don’t remember the ring counts but could find them if I can remember where I left the paperwork

  182. 182
  183. 183
    JW says:

    @Fuzzy: Hardly anyone, it seems, learned a damned thing from our Vietnam adventure. Naively I thought that Americans would never accept another.

  184. 184
    mdblanche says:

    @Patrick: Is it just one of the many intriguing ideas I’d get if I subscribed to your newsletter?

  185. 185
    Tommy says:

    @Schlemizel:

    The daughter buys “hipster” bikes.

    LOL. I did not know there was such a thing, but alas I guess of course there is. It appears I have a hipster bike and didn’t even know it. Nice to be “hip” and not even be trying :).

  186. 186
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: Everyone in WWII was operating under the assumption that bombing campaigns would break the will of the enemy (see Douhet, Mitchell, Trenchard et all.) and by gum even though they observed the London Blitz they still thought this time, for sure, when they bombed the heck out of Germany. The post war survey of how effective strategic bombing actually was (not nearly as effective as it was theorized between the wars) didn’t stop them from carrying on. Just look at the incessant strategic bombing of North Vietnam which was every bit as intense as the bombing of Germany, if not moreso, and still didn’t bring the North Vietnamese to their knees. Quite the contrary, it worked out much differently than WWII did for the US.

    Air power can be useful, for sure, but it’s no substitute for boots on the ground.

  187. 187
    liberal says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: agreed. Main reasons were Bush’s ego plus neocon scum. Certainly wasn’t for oil.

  188. 188
    Schlemizel says:

    @Tommy: Well, fixies are the real hipster thing but anything vintage. She bought & we fixed a few older road bikes, always made money because people give them away for some pretty simple repairs.

    I am sorry we sold our Caliente’s but I wanted a more comfortable ride, I’m too old to be bent over that far!

  189. 189
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Its a story as old as warfare, my boy did not come home. A guy did that has his blood type, his DNA but he is not the same kid that went.

    Just by joining the military, either voluntarily or drafted, you’ve given your life for your country, before you ever hit the battlefield. Being resocialized for military duty does that to you. Things never look the same, you’re never the same. Combat only makes the contrast that much starker.

  190. 190
    ulee says:

    @JW: We didn’t accept it. Our elected representatives decided that war would be a good idea. If McCain was president, who knows how many wars we would be in.

  191. 191
    Tommy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: So in my wheel house. My father literally wrote the text book on the use of air power while a professor at the Army War College. I am not an expert, I am not my father, but he will tell you air power is only a part of any war. He wrote that book while an Air Force guy teaching at an Army college, so clearly he didn’t make any friends.

    But boots on the ground is the only way. Our use of air power. Now drones. Seems many “experts” think this is the future. Ask my father and he will laugh at you. Boots on the ground!

  192. 192
    Ruckus says:

    @Schlemizel:
    With a six speed rear and triple front there really isn’t much that can be done without changing shifters to something more modern. I’ve done this for people whose shifters broke or who were so in love with their 30-40 yr old bike that they wouldn’t change it, just wanted to repair it better for them now that they were 30-40 yrs older as well. A six speed rear is not wide enough to upgrade to, if I remember correctly more than 8 or possibly 9 speeds so it isn’t worth the money. I have a nice 2004 Kestrel Talon in 57cm, up graded to late Ultegra, compact front ten speed rear, bike weighs 17 lbs that I’m selling as I can no longer ride leaned over on a roadbike due to my back. The price would be maybe a little more than you want to spend but the bike would retail for about $3000 today given the weight and equipment. Nice ride it handles 40+ speeds very nice.

  193. 193
    liberal says:

    @Jasmine Bleach: yep, it started with Japan bumping Pearl harbor. Had nothing to do with the West cutting off Japan’s oil supplies, etc.

    Not that I’m a fan of J militarism, but this idea that the J attack came out of nowhere is laughable.

  194. 194
    liberal says:

    @Joey Giraud: yep. To show Uncle Joe.

  195. 195
    Tommy says:

    @Schlemizel: Vintage. Oh vintage. I like to joke that many of the things I did as a kid in the 70s and 80s, mocked for. Even beat up over. Well they are “hip” now. Funny how the world works isn’t it?

  196. 196
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Roger Moore: The latest I’ve read about the surrender of Japan says that the A-bombings didn’t do the trick (after all, we had been systematically devastating Japanese cities with conventional bombing, and that didn’t affect Japanese military planning at all), but what changed their minds on the winnability of the war was that the Soviet Union declared war on them, and in short order crushed the Japanese army in China.

    The Japanese strategic plan was to talk the Soviet Union into maintaining its neutrality, and then make the invasion of the Japanese mainland into such a bloody affair that the Allies would give up and leave the Japanese government intact. When the Soviets declared war and invaded Manchuria, the Japanese then had to face a new enemy and lost their source of supply of natural resources. That’s what made them give up, not the bomb.

    The bomb was a convenient excuse for the surrender (who wants to admit that they started a war and pissed off nearly everyone into fighting against their country?), and a great way to flatter the occupiers (you guys are SO Awesome, with your amazing weaponry!). We fell for the flattery, of course.

  197. 197
    liberal says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: more like the Soviets were probably briefed in advance by their spies.

  198. 198
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: 2.5 M tons of bombs on Laos.

    The Allies dropped 2.77 M tons of bombs in Europe in WWII.

    :-(

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  199. 199
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I’ve heard a serious claim that the biggest military effect of the Strategic Bombing Campaign in WWII was to force the Germans to keep a lot of troops and equipment back in Germany to provide AA defense. That’s not nothing, but it was a lot less than promised, and not an especially good return on investment. Probably the greatest success of the USAAF in Europe was Big Week, which was vital to the success of the Normandy landings but which the commanders saw as a diversion of effort from strategic bombing. Tactical use like that is much more important than strategic bombing, but the Air Farce people hate it.

  200. 200
    ulee says:

    My friend hates Jane Fonda with a passion. I told her it was a long time ago, she’s apologized so try to forgive. She said she remembers being in high school and a student was called out of class. His brother had been killed in Vietnam. He never got over it, ending up in a mental institution. So I understand, but it our government that killed that kid. Jane Fonda was just young and dumb.

  201. 201
    Schlemizel says:

    @Ruckus:
    Yeah, thats what my experts told me, thanks though for confirming it. Maybe as I get older this will be all I need anyway – right up to the time I have to switch to one of those giant trikes!

  202. 202
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: Can I ask you a few bike questions. I’ve been told I use my bike as a commuter. I ride it to the store when I need something that isn’t a 20 pound bag of cat food. I take it with me to the Metro to get to St. Louis and tool around. I don’t use it for fitness. I use it to get around cause I feel like there isn’t a reason I get in my car to do everything.

    I am shopping as we speak for a new bike. I am being told to think of a single speed bike. That is totally foreign to me. If I am in a hurry I drop down the gear and pedal harder. I never get below like 5th cause well the biggest incline I have is a speed bump.

    The concept makes sense to me. But alas it seems not very forward thinking. That if I move or change how I use the bike, it won’t change with me cause well it is fixed.

  203. 203
    Roger Moore says:

    @liberal:

    Not that I’m a fan of J militarism, but this idea that the J attack came out of nowhere is laughable.

    It may not have come from nowhere, but the US cut of Japan’s trade in response to Japanese aggression in China. Any way you look at it, Japan was the aggressor.

  204. 204
    Schlemizel says:

    @Tommy:

    You didn’t ask me but I’ll give you my 2 cents anyway. Ask them WHY you should go with a fixie. Having extra gears will make you commute easier and faster without extra work from you. You don’t need 24 speeds but having choices would be important to me.

  205. 205
    Schlemizel says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Yeah, that whole ‘rape of Nanking’ thing might have had a little tiny bit to do with why the US cut off strategic supplies. How inconsiderate of us!

  206. 206
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Tommy: Fixees are for skinny young men.

  207. 207
    liberal says:

    @ulee: possibly not too many more, given he seemed to want to go to war with Russia over Georgia.

  208. 208
    Tommy says:

    @Schlemizel: I did. They openly said cost. Cost of the bike and cost for maintenance in the future. I am like 99 percent sure I’d never get a bike this way. I don’t need 40+ speeds. I do need 10 or so :).

  209. 209
    Tommy says:

    @The Pale Scot: Well I am skinny, but not young. I don’t want one of these bikes if for no other reason I don’t want anybody to call it a “fixees.” Didn’t know that was the name for it, but alas I won’t own anything that has that name attached to it :).

  210. 210
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: You’re drillin a dry hole with these people.

  211. 211
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tommy:

    I did. They openly said cost.

    You seem like a guy for whom that would not be the primary concern. If their main justification is cost, you can simply tell them that you’d rather have the convenience and are willing to pay extra to get it. I suspect they really like fixies themselves and recommend them to more people than they really make sense for.

  212. 212
    Ruckus says:

    @Tommy:
    I’ve build single speed bikes, including the frame. I’ve ridden them. I don’t suggest them for anyone except a hard core rider. You will get fitter, mainly because you have to work harder. Gears were invented to allow us to be more efficient, something very few humans actually are at bike riding. At the end of WWII(OK only a little bit on the original topic) cars had 3 speeds, now they have 6 speed manuals and up to 8 speed automatics. Why? Efficiency. Get a geared bike.
    Gearing doesn’t add that much to the cost of the bike but it makes it far more useful. What adds cost is losing weight. Lighter parts have to be better engineered. Costs money. They have to use lighter materials. Costs money. A $2500 bike is a good trade in the cost/weight ratio. But there are diminishing returns. I’ve sold $10,000 bikes that weighted just a tiny bit less than a $5000 bike, that most people wouldn’t be able to feel the difference, except in the wallet. There are commuting bikes for around a grand which work fine, they just weigh a bit more. I’ve only been out of the biz for a little over 2 yrs, it hasn’t changed that much except for less competition and fewer models.
    ETA Get a bike with external gears. Anything new today at a reasonable cost should be able to be maintained for 20-30 years. Anything engineered to be different than the majority of bikes will either take over the market, which is very unlikely in a mature business or fail.

  213. 213
    Tommy says:

    @Roger Moore: It is a little. But not the top concern. I have always felt buy the best, even if it is costly, and then take care of said product. It will be cheaper in the long run. Why my current bike I bought in 1994 is still functional. Folks here can’t change the market, but as more then a few have said I am looking at $2,000 for a solid bike. That was my takeaway. My budget was closer to $1,000.

    It just stuns me I can’t get a world class bike for $1,000.

  214. 214
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: I am confused what to do. You talk about weight and I totally get that. But what I am on I got in ’94. Pretty sure I could buy a bike at Wal-mart for $99 that would weight less :). I am a pretty fit person so this doesn’t worry me:

    I’ve build single speed bikes, including the frame. I’ve ridden them. I don’t suggest them for anyone except a hard core rider. You will get fitter, mainly because you have to work harder. Gears were invented to allow us to be more efficient, something very few humans actually are at bike riding.

    I talked to this person about ordering a single speed bike and I don’t recall how often I changed gears, other then 1-2 this way or 1-2 the other way.

    But as I talk this out, I need basic gears.

  215. 215
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Ruckus: Lot of couriers around my patch ride fixies or single-speed bikes for the simple reason that their drive train doesn’t break very often compared to a derailleur setup. If their bike is borked they’re not earning. The frames also tend to be heavier than the ones zoomies ride for the same reason, fewer frame fractures from grates and potholes. The really weird ones are the front-and-back MTB suspension bikes with a single big cog and a three-speed hub gear setup in the back wheel for the aforementioned reasons.

    OK, these guys are twenty-somethings with legs like sacks of potatoes and the lung capacity of a Peruvian mountain-goat…

  216. 216
    Ruckus says:

    @Tommy:
    How much does a world class car cost? Or even a cheap car?
    Compare that to 20-30 yrs ago when you bought your bike. A huge increase. Yes the car is better in a few ways but the cost increase is more than the benefit. As things always are. A bike is different in that most people will price cars more often and keep a bike longer. Bikes today are better, maybe not given the cost increase percentage but they are built better. Generally. Cheap bikes are still built very much to be cheap. I sold a lot of $300-$500 bikes to adults that didn’t want to spend more because they remembered what they had paid for a bike 30 yrs before. And they got a bike that wasn’t as good as they got 30 yrs before.

  217. 217
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ruckus:

    I’ve sold $10,000 bikes that weighted just a tiny bit less than a $5000 bike, that most people wouldn’t be able to feel the difference, except in the wallet.

    Whenever I hear about the extreme cost of saving weight, I think that most ordinary people would do a lot better to save a pound off their waistline than off their equipment. Only when you’re in good enough shape that you don’t have much weight to lose from your body are you in a reasonable position to worry about shaving ounces here and there out of your gear.

  218. 218
    MikeJ says:

    @Ruckus:

    . What adds cost is losing weight.

    A cup of coffee and some bran flakes will remove $5000 worth of weight from a bike.

  219. 219
    Ruckus says:

    @Robert Sneddon:
    My shop was north of SF and I saw many fixies being ridden up and down hills I couldn’t ride my light wt road bike up. People do crazy things to prove their, what’s the word, manhood. I’ve never understood trying to kill yourself to ride a bike, just doesn’t compute.

  220. 220
    gwangung says:

    @catclub:

    I still do not know why a demonstration to the Japanese high command would not be sufficiently effective.

    Could have been.

    But given the boneheads in the Bush administration, I can easily think of high commands where demonstrations wouldn’t do a lick of good.

  221. 221
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Exactly.
    The number of people I sold extreme bikes to that could stand to loose at least 5-10 lbs was a pretty high percentage. Now a lot of my customers were triathletes would would actually carry that much over a professional cyclist because of the other two sports and the length of the races. Hard to have no upper body muscles and swim very fast before the bike. Harder to have to run with no extra body fat to use as fuel when you got off the bike.

  222. 222
    evodevo says:

    @Roger Moore: See Shinseki, Gen. Eric ….

  223. 223
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: You are getting at a point I didn’t explain. I spent $998 dollars for a bike in 1994. Looking to spend about the same now. Clearly it is 2014 and not 1994. I get things change over time. For me to get the same bike today, well it will cost a lot more. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it :).

  224. 224
    Ruckus says:

    Tried twice to answer Mike J.

    A big holiday fuck you to word press.

  225. 225
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: Oh the weight thing. I am a huge hiker/camper. I have world class camping stuff. I don’t buy into the “ultra light” camping thing. People paying 3 times what it costs to save an ounce or two. I just don’t get it. I you can’t carry in a few ounces here or there, maybe don’t carry it in.

  226. 226
    Ruckus says:

    @Tommy:
    No, I get it. I have much less today than I did in 94 so I understand fully about not liking it. I looked at bikes the other day and yes the price is up. But a bike in 94 is not the same as a bike in 14. It just isn’t.
    Another thing we haven’t discussed is, why are you considering a new bike? Are the components worn out or do you just have the jones for a new one?

  227. 227
    ulee says:

    I have a great Trek mountain bike collecting cobwebs in my basement. I bought it in 2001 to get myself to and from work. Now I have a car and two dogs. Needless to say, if I’m going out, the two pupdogs are coming. My bicycle days are over. It’s trailwalking now.

  228. 228
    Ruckus says:

    @gwangung:
    Do you mean a demonstration of the weapon or a demonstration of what a clue x four upside the had feels like?
    OK even then I’m pretty sure we’d get the same answer.

  229. 229
    Joel Hanes says:

    @JW:

    Hardly anyone, it seems, learned a damned thing from our Vietnam adventure.

    Hmm. I’d say that many influential people leaned from Vietnam, but learned the wrong things.

    Lesson 1 : Co-opt/corrupt the media

  230. 230
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tommy:

    Momentum magazine has a city bike buying guide that has a range of prices — don’t get freaked out that the list starts with the $2,400 bike, there really is a whole range in there. It sounds like you want a city bike, not a road bike.

    Also, as far as fixies go, remember that you have to pedal continuously with one because of the fixed gear. So you can’t (for example) glide down a hill without pedaling. You have to keep pumping because otherwise the bike will stop. They’re very fashionable right now, but that means that a lot of people are being talked into bikes that aren’t suitable for them.

  231. 231
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus:

    Another thing we haven’t discussed is, why are you considering a new bike? Are the components worn out or do you just have the jones for a new one?

    Just to be clear you can tell me my thinking is shit all stupid and I won’t be offended.

    With that said I’ve started to use my bike almost 24/7 to get around. Using it more and more. I love my VW Passat, but around town it is now my bike. I find I “think” well when out and about. Exercise isn’t a bad thing. To get to your question, well it seems my bike isn’t the “best” for what I use it for. I might add, and my dad is like my best friend, he said the same thing. Just upgrade what you have. Why get a new bike.

    Maybe you and he is smarter then me and I should spend more time thinking about doing that.

  232. 232
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tommy:

    I don’t buy into the “ultra light” camping thing.

    I buy the ultra-light thing when it’s about what you can get away with leaving out of your pack rather than how much money you can spend trying to get a lighter version of the same thing. There was a great article on this that I saw in the LA Times where the author was going on an overnight backpacking trip with an ultra-light packer. The ultra-light guy brought food that didn’t need cooking so he could leave his stove at home, knew there wasn’t likely to be bad weather (and that he could rig shelter from his trekking poles and a space blanket) so he left his tent at home, etc. He managed to cut a lot of weight by removing unnecessary gear rather than getting more expensive stuff. The one piece of lighter weight gear that I still remember is that he brought his water in the water bottles you buy at the store rather than Nalgene bottles because they’re lighter and cheaper.

  233. 233
    Ruckus says:

    @Tommy:
    Mnems may be right about a city bike being what you need. That said I’ve converted a lot of mountain bikes to be an acceptable replacement. The real question is what is it about your current bike that doesn’t work for you?
    The following are a couple of tips about mountain bikes being ridden on road, which includes well maintained dirt roads.
    Tires are the first thing, you don’t need off road tires to ride around town, you need a tire without deep open treads, no knobbies if you will. A proper fitting may be in order, to allow you to sit more comfortably while just ridding around. That you may have to search for, not all shops can do that.

  234. 234
    jefft452 says:

    @tybee: From your link – “They failed to persuade the Eastern District Army (Japan) and the high command of the Imperial Japanese Army to move forward with the action.”

    Their aim was to spark a rebellion in the army, they failed miserably

  235. 235
    jefft452 says:

    @raven: Why the hostile response?

  236. 236
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: Pushing me there isn’t really anything I don’t like about my bike. I am pondering this right now so sorry for the short response …. cause when I think about it not sure why I am thinking of a new bike.

  237. 237
    trollhattan says:

    Well, survived that ride and youse guyz is still geeking out on bikes while I’m having this post-ride beer. “Mmmm, beer.”

    After years of commuting on my mountain bike I went for the “city bike” last year and am really taken with the thing. This is the critter.

    http://spotbrand.com/bikes/product-page/acme/

    The belt drivetrain is just brilliant. First learned of them when the NAHB show was held here a couple years ago. For anybody into cycle pr0n, you simply have to attend this event. It will restore your faith in craftsmanship and passion.

  238. 238
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Tommy: There’s no need to buy new if you want a newer bike, of course. Lots of people have bought fancy bikes and let them sit. Pawn shops and Craig’s List are filled with them.

    A $2k+ bike and a $100k sports car are similar – there’s a huge depreciation hit when you drive it off the lot. Spending some time looking around can save a lot of money.

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (Who last bought a Specialized Crossroads XT for $550 or so around 2000.)

  239. 239
    Tommy says:

    @trollhattan: Stunning bike. Look if somebody has a $2,300 bike you get I spend more time on my bike then I do in my car. On many days more time then I spend in front a TV. I love my bike. I could talk about it for hours and hours. Oh and since I’ve talked so much about my bike, well here is a pic:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/webranding/5512504373/

    I was thinking the other day. I might have put 20,000 miles on that bike.

  240. 240
    Ruckus says:

    @Tommy:
    You like your bike. So the next question ,is there anything that doesn’t work as well as you’d like it to?
    Is it not a comfortable? Maybe a new seat.
    Speed doesn’t seem to be the issue so saving weight won’t get you much, especially given cost.
    Would it handle better with new tires? Depends on what you have on it now and how you ride, but possibly yes.
    Do the components function correctly? If not maybe all it needs is a tune up, new cables/housing, maybe true the wheels.

    Here is the real deal.
    You sound like you are having a little new bike jones. That’s OK but replacing your working bike with one that functions just like it for a grand seems a little over the top to me. Now if I owned your local shop I’d have asked you all the questions I already have and then if I got to this point and could see that you wanted an new bike at much less money than I could sell you the proper bike for I’d ask/tell you the first sentence in this graph. Then the following: Only you can decide, but if you want a new bike as good as the one you’ve got you will have to pay more than your budget. Now that that’s out of the way do you want to improve your old bike? The answer to that makes your decision for you but you most likely can improve your old bike for less than your budget. Or just ride what you have for nothing.

  241. 241
    Ruckus says:

    @trollhattan:
    Went to the first show they put on to learn more about building bikes.
    There were more exhibitors than spectators. I went to few more over the years and you are correct about the show. Some of the builders have 25-30 yrs experience and it shows. But some of they young guys(and they were all guys) were amazing to my 30 plus year experience at working with metals. It’s very humbling to see what it takes to try to become one of them.

  242. 242
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: You people here are smart. You are correct. Just having a new bike jones and I don’t even know why. Now you ask these pointed questions I have no response that makes sense in getting a new bike. Not a single one. Had the thing for 20+ years. I guess no reason it can’t serve its purpose for another 20 :}!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  243. 243
    Dexter's new approach says:

    I’m a pretty serious get-around-in-the-city-by-bike guy. I switched to simple cheap-looking single speed bike after my semi-expensive bike was stolen for the 3rd time in 5 years.

    I don’t miss the gears. I understand it would be different if I was a serious distance rider, but gears are only really useful on hills or at 18mph+ speeds, both which are very rare here in Chicago. And to the point that it may be a little more effort, it’s a few more calories gone.

    My ride is simple and worry-proof, and that works for me, and there are a lot of people that feel the same way.

  244. 244
    Ruckus says:

    @Tommy:
    That pic would have saved a lot of time. Your bike looks great. Only suggestion would be some clip in mtb peddles as that will make you more efficient and still allow you to walk around comfortably and clip in and out easily. I recommend Speedplay Frogs. I use them, they are dramatically better than clips and straps. You will need a pair of bike shoes to go with them but your local store should have many options.

  245. 245
    Ruckus says:

    @Tommy:
    If it hadn’t been for the recession I’d still have my store and people would be paying me for this info. Most of it is just to me good business but I was more worried about building up repeat customers who told everyone they knew about my shop rather than just taking your money because you walked in the door. It works, problem is that I had a great customer base full of people without money to spend. Other than that best job I’ve ever had. Job before that my main thing was having to tell people no. In the bike shop I got to put smiles on their faces. That is worth a whole lot of money.

  246. 246
    trollhattan says:

    @Tommy:
    Nice. And yeah, nothing terribly complex so everything probably can be restored/refreshed/replaced. Canondale went a bit nuts with their designs for a while and I wonder how many of those are still chugging along now.

    My first mountain bike was also rigid, fore and aft (a Gary Fisher) but I got bucked off the damn thing a few times on rough trails and decided I at least needed a suspension fork. My current one is a heap of parts and I need to set aside the time to put it back together. They always come apart pretty quickly, back together, not so much. (It was a parts donor to my kid’s bike, so I need to roll in some new stuff in the process.)

    What could possibly go wrong?

  247. 247
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: Didn’t know a pic would help :). In your last comment or two you sounded like my father (this is a compliant BTW). I was telling him I was thinking of dropped more then a thousand on a bike and he openly laughed at me.

    Oh and just cause I like pics. This is my great, great grandfather in like 1912 tooling around NYC:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/webranding/4000368199/

    We are not from that part of the country. He went there cause he felt it was where you went to make money. Didn’t stay that long …..

  248. 248
    trollhattan says:

    @Ruckus:
    I’d have loved to walk the show with someone who had a pro’s eye, since I’m sure I missed a lot, but no matter, it was a great experience. Even kind of met Bruce Gordon (like a cranky but fun uncle). Took hundreds of pictures, since there’s simply too much to absorb in real time. Also like shooting race bikes atop the team cars when the Amgen Tour comes to town. Can learn a lot from parsing the bits back at home. (More technology in one of those than the typical Toyota.)

  249. 249
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: I totally understand and why I am sure you would be successful if given another chance to own a store. I had a client tell me the other day they wanted to pay me thousands to redesign a site for them. I was like “Lee, your current site is fine. I can’t often say that, but in this instance I can. To pay me to rework something that doesn’t need to be reworked, well I won’t do that.”

    We’re on the phone, but pretty sure his jaw was on the floor.

    He asked me about this. Said you are a business person right. Why would you turn away business? I said I charge a lot for my services and you need to know that is cause I am both good at what I do and also honest. I will tell you when you are dumb. When you are making a mistake. I am telling you to pay to redesign a site just to redesign a site is dumb and a waste of your money, even if you would spend it with me.

  250. 250
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tommy:

    Ruckus can probably say for sure, but that definitely looks like a fixie your hip-before-his-time grandfather was riding.

    Also, some amusement for a holiday afternoon/evening: the Fargo St. Hill Climb here in Los Angeles, where people compete to climb a 33-degree grade. And it ain’t a short climb.

    ETA: Here’s the same hill from somebody’s helmet-mounted GoPro.

  251. 251
    Tommy says:

    @Mnemosyne: In that pic I’ve always wondered where was he coming from and where was he going. But as ‘hipsters” go thinking somebody could wear that, do that today and they’d be “cool.

  252. 252
    Tommy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Love the GoPro. Oh I how I get that back and forth. Left to right. Right to left. Pedaling up a hill.

  253. 253
    Ruckus says:

    @trollhattan:
    Met, well was standing nearby Bruce in one of the shows and your take is exactly like mine.

  254. 254
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Yes no brakes fixie. But then in 1912 gear changing didn’t exist.
    @Tommy:
    Not enough energy(or time) left to work 6 day weeks and have little to show for it. Not interested, SS and part time work gets me food and place to live, toys not so much.
    I still have my dad’s 1980 Colnago, not quite the same as a 1912 fixie for old but at the time it was a top of the line bike. In pretty good shape, it also is for sale.

  255. 255
    PJ says:

    @Scamp Dog: Do you have any sources for this? Because it sounds like hogwash. The Japanese command knew they had lost the war, but they refused to surrender. The loss of islands close to Japan, and Manchuria, for that matter, only meant that they would fight more fiercely. Civilian and military casualties were not an issue so long as they caused the US more pain – as many or more people died on Okinawa than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. The eradication of two major cities with one bomb each persuaded the Emperor that prolonging the resistance would only result in similar destruction (without causing any US casualties.)

  256. 256
    lurker dean says:

    @srv: wow, thanks for sharing that, i’ve shared it with others.

  257. 257
    NotMax says:

    @PJ

    Do not discount the Soviet invasion of Manchukuo on Aug. 9 (after Hiroshima, still hours prior to Nagasaki) and the relatively quick collapse of the Japanese command there, after Russia’s official declaration of war on Japan on Aug. 8, and its role in promulgating Hirohito’s radio announcement on Aug. 15.

  258. 258
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @NotMax: don’t just take Max’s word for it – read The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 by John Toland which is based on interviews of the Japanese officials involved. Japan was rather delusionally expecting the Soviets to come save them from the Americans right up until the Soviets declared war on them.

  259. 259
    Paul in KY says:

    LTG Bolger still misunderstands that Iraq was supposed to be a fuckup. It was supposed to fuck up the nation of Iraq & remove it as a viable Sunni Arab state.

    Until Pres. Obama, Osama wasn’t supposed to be found either. He was useful as a bogeymen to allow further military adventures as needed for the MI complex.

  260. 260
    Paul in KY says:

    @Anoniminous: They wanted to end it with their evil system of government still in place. That was not going to happen.

  261. 261
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: It certainly wasn’t a surprise to the Russians.

  262. 262
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The main reason was not to have D-Day style invasions of Japanese islands. They fought like dogs over Okinawa & that wasn’t officially part of Japan. We knew they would fight like maniacs if we invaded Honshu.

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