Skip to comments.Ted Cruz and the Lesson of Dunkirk: You canít afford to fight the battles you know youíll lose.
Posted on 02/21/2014 7:30:17 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Politics is often like war. Unfortunately, politicians, the media, and the voting public seldom have the same degree of realism and discipline with which professional soldiers fight wars. You can indulge your emotions and base your decisions on wishful thinking in politics in a way that you are not likely to when your own life is on the line in battle.
One of the most dramatic and heartening events of World War II was the miraculous evacuation of British troops trapped on the beaches of France in 1940, at Dunkirk. And its lesson is still relevant today.
The British troops were in France to help the French fight off the invading army from Nazi Germany. But the sudden collapse of the French army left the Brits stranded on the beaches, with the German army closing in on them.
The British navys ships in the area were too large to move into the shallow waters close to the beaches so as to evacuate the troops. Instead, hundreds of British civilians headed for Dunkirk in their fishing boats, recreational craft, and practically anything else that would float.
These civilians, who risked their lives going into a war zone, helped nearly a hundred thousand British soldiers get back home across the English Channel.
How does this tie in with politics, especially with politics today?
Many Republicans wanted their party to fight the Obama administration before agreeing to raise the debt ceiling, in hopes of extracting at least some concession on spending, on the Keystone pipeline, or whatever.
Unfortunately, the Republicans had no more chance of winning that fight than the stranded British troops had of winning a battle against Hitlers army.
Whatever the Republicans threatened, President Obama could call their bluff. They would either have to back down or have a second government shutdown for which they would be blamed. Another shutdown could doom their chances of winning the Senate in the 2014 elections, and perhaps even cost them the House of Representatives.
In a war, you do not fight battles that you are certain to lose, if only because you will need your troops to fight later in battles you can win. The British troops who escaped from Dunkirk came back to France four years later, as part of the massive invasion forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated France, and pushed on into Germany for the final defeat of the Nazi regime.
In politics, as in war, you need power to win, and you dont dissipate your forces fighting battles that you are sure to lose. Symbolism and emotional self-indulgence are just not worth it.
None of this says that the Republicans leadership had a great track record prior to the most recent confrontations with the Democrats. For that matter, the British government had a terrible track record in the years leading up to the desperate situation on the beaches at Dunkirk. But that was no reason to sacrifice troops who would be urgently needed for later battles, where the odds would be different.
There would not be a United States of America today if George Washington had followed the tactics being urged by people like Senator Ted Cruz and his supporters. The army under General Washington was no match for the British army, in either military experience or firepower. The American army repeatedly had to withdraw, retreat, and even flee to avoid being annihilated. George Washington did not have to fight futile battles in order to prove his courage. He was already well known for being in the thick of battles, with bullets whistling around his head. But he had to wait for situations where he had the enemy at a disadvantage, and then strike.
When Washington made his celebrated crossing of the Delaware, he was headed for a dramatic victory, using soldiers he had saved for just such a moment. Wars are about winning, not futile symbolic gestures that leave you worse off. Politics must be the same, if you are serious about the issues.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Whats up with Thomas Sowell and Ted Cruz? Whatever it is, Sowell is dead wrong.
I am immensely tired of hearing Thomas Sowell trying to tell us to take it up the keester and vote Republican again (with no distinction as to RINO vs. Conservative). IMMENSELY TIRED!.
Just what the heck difference is his cute “Dunkirk” analogy versus our illustrious Senate Republican Leadership engineering YEA Cloture Votes on OBAMA LEGISLATION and then voting NO in a certain-loss plurality vote that ends up passing OBAMA LEGISLATION.
Frankly, Thomas Sowell can STFU.
This is the fourth anti-Cruz article by Sowell in a short time period. I thought that Sowell was a conservative! I have always liked his articles, so these latest ones are causing cognitive dissonance for me. :-(
It’s like they used to say about the British at war - they lost every battle but the final one.
“Wars are about winning, not futile symbolic gestures that leave you worse off.”
Says the guy that was a photographer in the Marines.
I guess King Leonidas, the 300 Spartans, and the 700 Thespians should have let Xerxes and the Persians walk into Greece.
If you keep retreating, this will never happen!
Republicans have been "saving their bullets" forever. Time to unload.
- - - -
1.) * Whatever the Republicans threatened, President Obama could call their bluff.
2.) * They would either have to back down or have a second government shutdown for which they would be blamed.
3.) *Another shutdown could doom their chances of winning the Senate in the 2014 elections, and perhaps even cost them the House of Representatives.- - -
The above 3 sentences quoted from Sowells article demonstrate the following:
* how easy it has been for Obama and Reid to refuse to work with the Republicans;
* Obama and Reid to shut down part of the Federal Government;
* Obama and Reid to blame their shutdown on the Republicans;
* for Obama and Reid to have full confidence that the Left Stream Media would falsely claim that Reid and Obama did not shutdown the Government;
* Sowell is fearful of bluffs, fighting to damage the enemy, and paranoid about what, could, would or perhaps happen;
* Sowell approves of being blamed for something that he or the RINOs didnt do;
* and that Sowell himself still believes that Obama and Reid did not shutdown the Federal Government, Barrycade our War Monuments, or stop funeral payments to the families of The Commander in Chiefs own Military dead.
FREEPERS: Would anyone with a Military background choose to have Thomas Sowell in yalls Foxhole when an attack comes from the enemy?
Professor Sowell is well suited to be a card-carrying Obsolete RINO Intellectual for the following Sowell Rules of Battle:
* Always retreat when given the rare opportunity to inflict major harmful attrition on an enemy;
* Never defend any Principles that involve the defense of the US Constitution;
* Always put Political Party above Country;
* Never challenge a bluff in a battle;
* Never attempt to refute any lie that the enemy promotes against you;
* Always assume that the only way possible for a victory is to have control of the House, Senate and Presidency;
* Never attack the enemy first, always stay on friendly defense.
* Wait for the exact moment when it is obvious to the Left Stream Media, and even the most timid RINO that winning is a certainty.,vacations and weather permitting.
Sowells analogy to Dunkirk leaves out - - - the rest of the story.
England had a Warrior in Churchhill who could motivate men to follow him into the Gates of Hell.
Churchhill spoke often about fighting in the fields, and never, Ever, EVER, GIVE UP!
Okay Sowell: Who is the Churchill Warrior among the Obsolete RINO troops that believe what you write?
. Thought so!
Sowell mentioned that the English citizens risked their lives to rescue the Remnants of the British Army stranded at Dunkirk.
Okay Sowell: We, the internet FREEPERS, risk our lives every we describe on the internet the REALITY of the current Communist takeover of our Republic.
Yes, RISK! We FReepers KNOW that every word we type is recorded by the NSA, distributed to Holders FBI, the IRS, the TSA, Pentagon, the ATF, the Data files of the Democrat Party, certain Foreign Governments, and the CIA.
You, Thomas Sowell, need not fear the knock on the door by the various armed forces of Communist Obamanation.
You need not fear because you have chosen to play by the rules imposed on you by the enemy. You and the RINOs are equivalent to the Vinchy French when France fell to Hitler.
Would you, Thomas Sowell have even bothered to get out of bed when Paul Revere rode by shouting The British are coming! ?
My guess is that you would have said The British are the mightiest Military force in the World. This a fight that we cant win. We are doomed to lose everything.
The battle we fight to save our Republic from the Jackboot heel of Communism has proven to be of no concern to the RINO Wing of the Republican Party.
The RINOs, including yourself, foolishly assume that there will be a future election held that will reward the cowardly RINOs by voting them back in. We did that in 2012 and now the RINOs are fighting us. Fine! BRING IT!
Why should we vote in cowardly RINOs who will not fight Communism?
The RINOs had 5 YEARS to plan an effect attack, and failed.
Now it is our turn, and we will fight you and elected RINOs FIRST, as yall have proven to be traitors in the Battle against Communist Obamanation.
Our votes will come from Americans who in one Minute have gotten out of bed, grabbed clothes, ammunition and muskets, and then assembled on The Village Green as America shifts up into second gear Cruz Control for November, 2014.
DONT TREAD ON ME
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
"...these young men, going forth every morn to guard their native land and all that we stand for, holding in their hands these instruments of colossal and shattering power, of whom it may be said that
Every morn brought forth a noble chance And every chance brought forth a noble knight,
deserve our gratitude, as do all the brave men who, in so many ways and on so many occasions, are ready, and continue ready to give life and all for their native land."
"...we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,..." - Winston Churchill
As I recall, the Alamo, which they knew they’d lose, bought time to form an army and eventually defeat Santa Anna.
Leaving the GOPe alone and allowing them to lead the fight against Obamacare and the Dems is like letting Vichy France lead the Allied effort to defeat Hitler.
Many people on this believe in an all or nothing purity test. I will be flamed without mercy for observing an actually undeniable truth. The best outcome we can hope for this November and in 2016 is a mixed victory. I hope every TEA Party candidate running wins and wins big but if they can’t get through the primary process we have to hold our noses and vote for the GOP. I hate it but there is no reasonable way to deny it. There will likely be a SCOTUS nomination for the senate to deal with and a democrat senate will be a disaster for nine of the first ten amendments.
This matter must be handled by grown-ups. The rest of you can flame away.
The theme here is that the Republicans cannot defeat Obama and the Democrats.
Therefore, they should retreat and not oppose the President’s agenda.
Why is it that the Republicans are always the ones who must retreat, give in and cave?
This is a strategy for losers.
So it seems. It also is becoming rapidly apparent that THOMAS SOWELL is their “Baghdad Bob.”
Someone needs to explain the difference between tactical and strategic victory to Mr Sowell. Very often tactical defeats have turned into strategic advances, and vice versa.
Is Sowell now a race pimp?
The visible tree is the one we see,
Here rotten, there broken,
And all racked by age.
The few live limbs poke through,
Poke through tattered tent flaps,
Here and there - - - - .
The deep fertile soil sustains,
Sustains the strong the tree roots
That are now silent,
Waiting for Spring to come.
This Winter is the time for pruning,
Pruning with great care,
To dig out all the rotten wood,
And cut off dead limbs
Long past use.
Who will come to prune and save,
This Grand Old Republican Tree?
The dying tree cannot prune itself,
Thus, it is up to you and me.
Wonder if Mr. Sowell has ever heard of the Battle of Leningrad.
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