Bill Kristol, World War I historian by mattsteinglass
October 27, 2008, 2:46 pm
Filed under: President, United States

Bill Kristol is now saying McCain can still win the election if he just adopts the strategies that worked so well for the French in World War I:

“My center is giving way. My right is in retreat. Situation excellent. I attack!”

That’s the message supposedly sent by General Ferdinand Foch of France to his commanding general, Joseph Joffre, during the crucial First Battle of the Marne in September 1914. The French and British counterattacks succeeded. The German Army, after advancing for a month, was forced back.

If I recall my Barbara Tuchman, the military strategy of “L’Offensif A L’Outrance” — “Offensive to the utmost!” — embraced by the French general staff in the run-up to WWI was in fact a ludicrous failure based on outmoded technology which subjected the country’s cavalry and infantry to being sliced to bits by entrenched machine guns.


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Looking at the situation, I find a more appropriate quote for the Republicans comes from another French General, August Ducrot, as he looked down German gunbarrels before the disastrous Battle of Sedan (where Napoleon III was captured and the Second Empire expired): “Nous sommes dans un pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdes” (‘We’re in the toilet bowl, and about to be shit on.’)
I’m sure Herr Bismark got the joke.

Comment by MR Bill

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