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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17072/the-conquest-of-the-us-by-spain/

The Conquest of the US by Spain

May 24, 2011 by

The year 1898 was a landmark in American history. It was the year America went to war with Spain — our first engagement with a foreign enemy in the dawning age of modern warfare. Aside from a few scant periods of retrenchment, we have been embroiled in foreign politics ever since.

FULL ARTICLE by Ralph Raico


Deefburger May 24, 2011 at 9:18 am

Thank you. I would like to read all of Sumner’s speech.

Helmut Wild May 24, 2011 at 9:53 am

This is a great essay from Ralph Raico. I only object to one side aspect: he puts Germany into one bag with England and other imperialistic and colonialistic countries. There is a huge, huge difference between England, France, Spain, Begium, Netherlands – nations which were truely colonialistc – and Germany, which had received Kamerun and one other colony for a rather short period of time.

Richard Ong May 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm

The length of time Germany participated in the colonial venture does not change the fact that German too was a colonial power.

mark Lewis May 24, 2011 at 10:01 am

Great essay! Perhaps more polemic that straight history, but I found it instructive and inspiring. The last few paragraphs were worth all of the set up. Well done!
Note: Here is the speech by Sumner http://mises.org/daily/2398

Hard Rain May 24, 2011 at 11:13 am

“Soon the American government was directing notes to Spain expressing its “concern” over “events” in Cuba. In fact, the “events” were merely the tactics colonial powers typically used in fighting a guerrilla war. As bad or worse was being done by Britain, France, Germany, and others all over the globe in that age of imperialism.”

This is a good point. I wonder if the U.S. government was sending notes of “concern” when, a few short years later, Imperial Britain was waging a war of scorched earth and ethnic cleansing against rebellious Afrikaners in Southern Africa.

John May 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

Ahhh. . . Perfidious Albion, and Her successor. . . .is . . . ?

lenita May 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Excellent essay!

Richard Harris May 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm

More Libertarian jibber jabber from the Shangri La boys. If we’d paid attention to these ostrichs we’d be speaking German today and singing “Deutschland Uber Alles.”

Richard Harris May 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm

More Libertarian jibber-jabber from the Shangri-La boys. If we’d paid attention to these ostrichs we’d be speaking German today and singing “Deutschland Uber Alles.”

Ricky SIxx May 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Really? Germany would traveled across the Atlantic and just take over the US as if it was a Caribbean Island?

Wandering Cynic May 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Of course they would have. Just look at how the Germans Blizted across the English Channel and conquered England in 1940.

Oh, wait.

(Of course there is the small matter that no Axis leader ever expressed any interest in invading mainland USA and some were even dead set against the idea. But what are details when spewing the same tired statist cliches over and over.)

Jenner May 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Rich, you’re welcome to share a dissenting opinion to the article. But your remarks may be taken more seriously when you provide substantive counterarguments, rather than rambling demagoguery.

Hard Rain May 24, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Fool, everyone knows that West of the Rockies would’ve been Jap land!

The Anti-Gnostic May 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm

So …. what’s the downside?

Vanmind May 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Richard Harris is one of them Pentagon employees sent out to warmonger across the internet.


Ignore him.

Jordan Viray May 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I doubt it. The provision of defense without the state is difficult even for many Libertarians to understand — let alone everyone else.

Nathan May 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Richard you want to sing “America Uber Alles.” Not a dimes worth of difference.

Juan J Buttari May 24, 2011 at 2:51 pm

This post misrepresents the Cuban struggle for independence. Cubans had fought during 1868-1878 and, at outbreak of the US war with Spain, were again fighting for independence since 1895 . Battles raged throught the whole island. It is unfortunate to see those efforts demeaned as “terrorism”. Moreover such tack was unncessary for the main point the author wished to make regarding what he sees as a mistaken policy. The author would have benefitted from research.

Jordan Viray May 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Terrorist or freedom fighter, either way we should not have interfered.

Frank G. May 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Don’t get so upset at the terrorist comment. The only difference between a terrorist and a founding father is winning.

nate-m May 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Modern terrorists are generally very gullible and uneducated people being manipulated by western educated men whose organizations are secretly funded by governments or other individuals in positions of power.

It’s foolish to lump people fighting for freedom with violent suckers.

Don’t fall into the moral equivalency trap.

Frank G. May 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm

And how is that different from the plebeian’s that fought in the American Revolutionary war or the Cuban’s following José Martí? Many of the tactics used by the colonists during the Revolutionary war or the Cuban’s fighting for their independence were as horrific as what the terrorists do today. How do you think the revolutionary fighters would have been labeled had they lost? If you were to read a history book written for UK students, you would find that they describe our hero’s as drunkards, miscreants and yes, terrorists. Its all a matter of perspective.

nate-m May 25, 2011 at 12:25 am

I don’t care who gets labelled what. What I care is about reality, not propaganda.

And, no, I don’t think that George Washington sent anybody into a restaurant or a grocery store to blow themselves up and take out women and children.

Sione May 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm


As was once stated, one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

Anyway, you would have benefitted from comprehending and carefully considering the fundamental and essential point of the essay.


Jacob Steelman May 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Richard missed the point of the article. Spain, Germany, France and England did take over the USA and transformed it from a neutral to imperialist nation which allowed the European financiers to ultimately complete the work in 1913 when they convinced the American ruling elite to create a central bank to lead a banking cartel something that had been resisted for over 100 years.America was never the same again and Americans began to pay the price of acting like Europe by becoming involved in virtually every squabble of the Europeans resulting in the deaths of American men and women in World Wars I and II. This war-like environment spread to Asia with America intervening in the Korean War (excuse me police action, as if there was a difference to an American soldier killed in action), the Vietnam War (which in reality became the Southeast Asian War as America expanded the war into Laos and Cambodia) and then the various wars in the Middle East which have continued until the present time. And of course do not forget NATO’s European War in the 1990s. Like a drug addict; once having tasted war the American ruling elite liked it, became addicted and cannot get rid of the habit even as it threatens to bankrupt America and transform it into a replica of other European totalitarian states.

Helmut Wild May 24, 2011 at 8:43 pm

It’s kind of hard to contradict, but it’s also not quite true what you are writing.
Let’s analyse it a bit more detailed what’s behind it, when you talk about ” Spain, Germany, France and England did take over the USA….”
The mastermind of the FED architecture was Paul M. Warburg, a highly educated jewish banker from Hamburg, partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co., a representative of the Rothschild banking dynasty in England and France. His brother Max Warburg headed the Warburg Bank in Germany.
The J.P. Morgan’s Bankers Tust Company, closely allied with the Rothschilds, was also part of the Warbug coup d’etat in 1913. And whom did they need to get into the FED cartell? Most of all the most powerful of the banks at that time, the National City Bank of New York, dominated by the Rockefellers. They, those bankers, founded the FED 1913, as a privately owned and controlled institution. From now on it was them who decided about and financed the wars. That’s all true. But why hide them behind “Spain, Germany, France and England”?
And, BTW, it’s not just the ruling oligarchy who are addicted to war in today’s USA. Think of Bush’s “shock and awe”. 85% of Americans were behind him. The oligarchs decide and the 85% war-enthusiasts pay and make the rest 15% also pay.

Bennet Cecil May 24, 2011 at 10:56 pm

The average American does not understand that America has been consuming its prosperity with endless wars in distant lands. High interest rates and high inflation will inform them unless the dollar collapses and hyperinflation destroys our civil society.

Richard Harris May 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Without the anti-isolationist (i.e. non-Libertarian) practice of providing US Navy protection to trans-Atlantic convoys from Sept. 39 to Dec. 41 Germany would have succeeded in strangling Britain into submission. With the fall of Britain Germany has no problem obtaining collaberation from British engineers, scientists and armaments manufacturers, thus acquiring the one weapon that they needed to defeat the Soviet Union; that being the 4-engine Lancaster Bomber. They already had the French Navy being manned by French sailors and officers and would have acquired Britain’s Navy as well. With the conquest of the Soviet Union Germany would have been controlling the entire continent of Europe plus other strategic positions. The population they controlled would have been at least 400 million people, considerably more than our 150 million people.

With our Pacific Navy sitting at the bottom of Pearl Harbor we didn’t even have enough capability to launch a rescue mission to prevent 50,000 American soldiers from going into Japanese POW camps where most of them perished.

Here’s how it goes:

Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt,
Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
Brüderlich zusammenhält.
Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
Von der Etsch bis an den Belt,
|: Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt! :|

Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang
Sollen in der Welt behalten
Ihren alten schönen Klang,
Und zu edler Tat begeistern
Unser ganzes Leben lang.
|: Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang! :|

Jordan Viray May 24, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Even in such a scenario, Germany would not have been able to invade the United States. The sealift capabilities for such an undertaking were and are beyond the capabilities of any navy. So even though I enjoy the melody of the German anthem, we wouldn’t be singing it today.

Ohhh Henry May 25, 2011 at 12:00 am

With the fall of Britain Germany has no problem obtaining collaberation from British engineers, scientists and armaments manufacturers, thus acquiring the one weapon that they needed to defeat the Soviet Union; that being the 4-engine Lancaster Bomber.

You talk as if the plans for the Lancaster were some kind of hyper-secret … as if there weren’t hundreds of them littering the landscape from France to Berlin and back again, and as if Germany didn’t have thousands of capable engineers and scientists. It wasn’t knowledge that prevented Germany from building 4-engined heavy bombers, it was (among other shortages) the lack of aluminum, gasoline and aircrews. None of which would have been solved by conquering Britain. And have you ever looked at a map and estimated the distance from the outskirts of Moscow, where the German army halted, to the region beyond the Urals where Soviet industry was moved? (Hint: it’s almost double the distance from England to Berlin)

They already had the French Navy being manned by French sailors and officers and would have acquired Britain’s Navy as well.

Ah yes, you are referring to the Royal Navy, which in 1940, had no fuel, no ability to navigate to the other side of the Atlantic, no will to fight Germany, no plans to retreat to Canada (carrying the government with them) so that they could continue the war from there, and most of whom would have gladly sailed their ships straight from Scapa Flow into Hamburg so that could enjoy the many benefits of living under the Nazi Flag? Yes I see your point. And it’s true, the French Navy did switch en masse to the German side and using their many battleships and submarines they sank many allied ships for the rest of the war …. NOT.

But go ahead and sing “Deutschland uber alles” all you want, if that’s what floats your navy and gets your four-engined bomber off the ground.

Sione May 25, 2011 at 1:48 am


Gosh! Silly ol’ Germans. Couldna evan ha build a four engine airplane. Dum Kraut bockheads.

Maaaate, as talented as Roy Chadwick may have been, there were plenty of German designers who could (and did) design aircraft every bit as capable as his Lancaster (nee Manchester)- some were even better still. So, there was no requirment to occupy Great Britain for the purpose of getting hold of such an aircraft design. They had plenty anyway. That German industry didn’t manufacture a four engine bomber (or a six engine one for that matter) in quantity would not have been fundamentally altered by acquiring control over Great Britian.

The bulk of the capital ships of the French Navy were shelled into oblivion at anchor by the Royal Navy and hence had little real effect on the progress of the war. Some surviving French units served as convoy escorts for the Allies. Not much serious action for them really. Certainly nothing of influence on the progress or outcome of the war. The Germans got bugger all out of the French Navy either.

Do you seriously believe the Royal Navy would have fought for the Nazis against the US? Interestingly enough, there were plans for the Royal Navy to retreat acrtoss the North Atlantic and continue the fight against the Nazis from Canada, assuming the Germans had actually occupied Gt Britain.

Could the Nazis have controlled a continent of some 400-million people and kept their economies operating sustainably? Well, the USSR could only approach that feat by relying on US govt welfare and by staying out of direct open warfare with the USA. Would the US govt have been as generous with the Nazis with whom they were at war….?

You are dealing pure fantasy and have missed the point of the essay. Go back and read the essay again. See of you can comprehend the fundamental.


Richard Harris May 25, 2011 at 1:45 am

Oops. Shame on me. I forgot to mention the anti-isolationist (non-Libertarian) “Destroyers for bases agreement” in which we provided 50 World War I era Navy destroyers in September 1940 to Britain to help defeat the Nazi U-boats.

What’s the downside to Nazi conquest of America? The Nazis would have implemented the same ethnic cleansing program in North America that they executed in Europe. The victims of that program included political dissidents as well. Nazi death camp victims totaled 11 million people of which 6 million were Jews.

The freedoms of Germans under the Nazi regime were non-existent. People listened to the radio at barely audible volume levels and their ear pressed against the speaker grille lest someone might overhear them listening to an illegal radio broadcast. Children were enrolled in the Hitler Youth and quite often denounced their parents as traitors to the Reich. The Gestaatspolizei had authority to arrest and execute without warrant. America would have become a police state just like Nazi Germany.

Not quite the kind of liberty that Libertarians desire.

Jordan Viray May 25, 2011 at 2:18 am

Nazi conquest of the US was simply impossible. Too bad you didn’t realize that before wasting your time writing up that fantasy.

What actually happened is that the US aided the USSR to the point where the latter was not only able to defeat the Germans but conquer Eastern Europe. No mention from you regarding very real and enormous Soviet atrocities though – all we get are silly ideas about four engined wunderwaffen and impossible wartime scenarios.

Richard Harris May 26, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Keep in mind my initial admonition. “If we had listened to these ostrichs” (Libertarians) “we’d be speaking German…..”Now correct me if I’m wrong but if we’re listening to Libertarians wouldn’t the size of the Defense Department budget be….zero dollars?Now without as much as a hand grenade to lob at approaching Germans never mind a Navy, Air Force, or Army, the Germans could have captured Washington and several strategic locations with the same size force that they boat-lifted into Norway in 1940. They could continue their buildup of invasion forces by utilizing the merchant shipping that they had acquired from the conquered countries. With no naval or military opposition being offered by Libertarian America it would have been impossible to stop the Gerrmans from conquering Libertarian America.

Pay careful attention to my words. Don’t go around responding to arguments that I have not proposed.

Jordan Viray May 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm

You are correct that the Defense Department would have zero funding in a Libertarian America. This does not mean that we would be defenseless any more than getting rid of state-run grocery stores or state housing would somehow mean that the populace would be without food and shelter. As you probably know, capitalist economies supply goods and services far more effectively than socialist economies. Arms and defense are goods and services that would similarly be produced more effectively without government intervention.

If there was a risk of German invasion (which itself is an unbelievably laughable proposition), individuals would have demanded arms and defense services which entrepreneurs would have provided. The same self-organizing behavior that led to the production of millions of cars annually in the US prior to the war is more than capable of producing armaments.

Even in a worst case hypothetical “Libertarian” America with just small arms, a Nazi invasion was impossible. Sorry, your argument fails just as hard no matter how much attention is wasted on it.

Richard Harris May 27, 2011 at 4:18 am

Well the only suitable reply to that statement is that you are simply living in denial.

Jordan Viray May 27, 2011 at 5:25 am

More dodging. I can’t say I’m not surprised.

Sione May 25, 2011 at 2:08 am


Don’t be imbecilic. There was no way that the Nazi Germans could have invaded the USA in the 1940s. They lacked the means. They lacked the industrial base, population, technology and physical ability to manufacture and operate the means. Worse (for the hypothetical German invader) was that the logistics problems of an invasion of the USA would have been insolvable. Note that the logistics problems of the Eastern Front were simple by comparison. There the Nazi Germans were faced with supply issues for a land based invasion and occupation of only the Western-most portion of the USSR. Nevertheless, they were not able to solve those. A sea based invasion of the USA from across the North Atlantic is orders of magnitude more demanding. Forget about it!

There was a Japanese admiral of the time who summed up another difficult problem to be faced by a hypothetical invader of the USA. He said that such an invader would encouter an American with a rifle behind every blade of grass.

By the way, quit with the “we” bullshit. You speak only for yourself. You didn’t supply ships to the Poms or even have a hand in deciding to supply them.


Jordan Viray May 25, 2011 at 2:23 am

The Japanese quote is apocryphal though its message would still ring true. As far as defensibility goes, the US is inordinately blessed.

Helmut Wild May 25, 2011 at 6:59 am

“As far as defensibility goes, the US is inordinately blessed.”
I completely agree.
However, mainstream paranoia sees American security threatened at every little corner of the globe.

Jordan Viray May 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Absolutely true. It’s ironic that the nation with the least to worry about security wise has the largest security apparatus. I suppose that very position of safety allowed that apparatus to be built in peace in the first place.

Not too many Helmut’s in the US so if you are from overseas and would like to see the US get rid of its empire, see if you can convince your American friends to vote for Ron Paul!

Gil May 25, 2011 at 2:58 am

Yeah there’s a similar bogus quote about saying something about the Japanese wouldn’t really invade Australia because everyone owned a gun and knew how to use.

Sione May 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm


Really? How does that quote go?


Richard Harris May 26, 2011 at 9:07 pm

You too Sione need to pay attention to what I wrote and not what you misread. See my reply to Jordan Viray above.

Jordan Viray May 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm

That hand waving non-reply? Don’t bother Sione.

Richard Harris May 31, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Jordan I have a question about Libertarian philosophy for you. In an America with a government guided by Libertarian phiosophies would America have imposed a trade embargo on Japan in the manner it did prior to WWII, knowing full well that it increased the risk of war with Japan?

Jordan Viray May 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm

No. As a trade embargo is the use of government force to restrict trade, a Libertarian government (inasmuch as one can exist) would not impose such an embargo.

Whether a libertarian individual would trade with Japanese individuals who are supporting Japanese expansionism is another question. The answer to that lies in the ethical calculus of the individual. If non-aggression were a key principle in such an ethic, then libertarians would tend to favor trade with the Chinese defenders rather than the Japanese aggressors.

Unlike the post WWII American government, it is unlikely that Libertarians would have switched support from Chiang Kai Shek’s forces to Mao’s.

Richard Harris May 25, 2011 at 6:35 am

You isolationist Libertarians keep wanting to have it both ways. You keep ignoring the fact that it was US anti-isolationist (i.e. non-Libertarian) intervention which kept Britain in the war in 1940 and 41. Without materiel from Noth America, Britain would have been strangled into submission in that period. Without fuel from America the Spitfires and Hurricanes would have stayed on the ground. With German control of the air, Operation Sea Lion (the invasion of Britain) goes forward in July of 1940 and succeeds. Thus all events subsequent to that event, which the British had a hand in, would not have occurred.

With the fall of Britain there would have been no war in North Africa. Thus there would have been no US invasion of North Africa in November 1942, which incidentally was launched (across the Atlantic) from ports in the United States. (And why would an isolationist Libertarian America even think about going to war in Europe or North Africa.) Thus there would have been no event to precipitate Hitler’s invasion of Vichy France and thus there would have been no scuttling of the French fleet at Toulon. With the war over every frenchman and englishman is a collaborator. Look at the Brits on the Channel Islands. They collaborated.

Royal Navy personnel would have colaborated too. They only have to shoot a few people to get everyone else in line. When they’ve got their hands on your wife and kids and they radio you an order to sail to a British port, there wont be any problems with compliance.

The Lancaster Bomber was the result of a 1936 specification. It took 6 years to get it from specification to service. They came on line in 1942. The Germans had completely gone awry with their 4 engine bomber program and had something which was completely useless and which ultimately accumulated only a handful of missions during the entire war. The Germans desperately needed a usable 4 engine bomber but they were 6 years behind in the design and production curve in order to get one. Having what proved to be the outstanding bomber of WWII handed to them would have been a blessing beyond imagining. The maximum range of a Lancaster with a light bomb load was 3000 miles. Distance from London to Berlin 600 miles. Moscow to Urals 1200 miles. That gives 600 miles to spare on the round trip which can be used to increase the bomb load. Besides bombing the rail lines has the same effect as bombing the factories. Bombing the troop formations is also highly effective as the Germans found out when the Lancasters bombed their formations in the Falaise pocket operation.

With Britain out of the war in 1940 there would have been no war in North Africa or in Greece. The whole Afrika Korps would have been on the eastern front with Rommel there too. Rommel would have made a big contribution on the eastern front. Instead of the Afrika Korps syphoning off materiel it would have been using it to kill Russians. The Germans might have taken Moscow in 1941.

“Sione………By the way, quit with the “we” bullshit. You speak only for yourself. You didn’t supply ships to the Poms or even have a hand in deciding to supply them.”

I don’t know about the Poms but we did supply ships to the British. You will find suitable proof of that statement at this link titled “Destroyers for bases Agreement”.


And as I said before the Nazis would have had a population of 400 million people under their control against our 150 million. They had enough people and manufacturing capability to pull it off. And why would isolationist Libertarian America be producing any weapons or forming military units anyway? Libertarians don’t need any of that stuff, right?

Matthew Swaringen May 25, 2011 at 6:48 am

Where was it proposed that we would not trade with Britain?

If you keep confusing non-interventionism with isolationism you’ll keep coming up with ludicrous stuff like that.

“Libertarians don’t need any of that stuff, right?”

Some would think so, some not. You don’t understand libertarianism, so you don’t really have any place to speak on the matter. Libertarianism is about individual freedom, insofar as some people would be interested in the war they would have every right to choose to defend themselves accordingly. Or did you forget that libertarians are not exactly pro gun-control?

As for “450 million” you are being ignorant. How many of those would be willing to work productively under that regime? You assume central planning works forever. While Germany had a technological advantage they lost it over the course of the war because planning doesn’t work, particularly when people hate you.

Additionally, how many ships/etc. would they have to actually make a land invasion? It would take years to even consider it, years during which their economy would crumble just as that of the Soviet Union did due to similar planning. And this all assumes that they would consider attacking us a good idea in the first place.

Richard Harris May 26, 2011 at 1:56 am

Where was it proposed that we would not trade with Britain?

If you keep confusing non-interventionism with isolationism you’ll keep coming up with ludicrous stuff like that.”

Well I don’t know where you got the idea that someone proposed we not trade with Britain. It certainly doesn’t appear in anything I’ve stated. But it would appear that you have a lack of knowledge of history because despite the fact that I’ve already mentioned it, you seem to be ignorant of the fact that the US Navy intervened in the opening stages of WWII on the side of Britain, by escorting trans-Atlantic convoys which were heavily laden with war materiel. AND During that period our ships engaged in combat with German submarines at a time when we had no declaration of war against Germany.

Now doesn’t that sound like interventionism to you. And nobody ever construed Roosevelt’s pre-war policies as isolationist. So I’m desperately searching for the point that you’re trying to make but I’m sorry I just don’t see your point. But that’s OK, I’ll play your game. So please inform me what the operative difference is between non-interventionism and isolationism. (As is if it bears one iota of significance to any of the arguments or statements that I’ve made.)

And I said “400 million”, not “450 million”. Please don’t exagerate.

Richard Harris May 26, 2011 at 2:24 am

Libertarianism is about individual freedom, insofar as some people would be interested in the war they would have every right to choose to defend themselves accordingly.”

That’s why I refer to you Libertarians as the Shangri-La boys. Your philosophy is completely utopian and impractical.

Wandering Cynic May 26, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Libertarianism is about individual freedom, insofar as some people would be interested in the war they would have every right to choose to defend themselves accordingly.”

“That’s why I refer to you Libertarians as the Shangri-La boys. Your philosophy is completely utopian and impractical.”

Try telling that to the Afghans. I forgot, is the US the 3rd or 4th massive military empire whose asses they’ve kicked out using nothing but small arms and man portable weapons?

Helmut Wild May 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm

First the Brits, second the Russians and now it’s the US’s turn. I think.

Richard Harris May 26, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Where did you dream that nonsense up? The Taliban are hiding behind the skirts of their women in Pakistan. The only time there is any fighting is when they try to sneak back into Afghanistan. You must be high on opium.

Richard Harris May 29, 2011 at 9:06 am

Where did you get the ludicrous idea that the Afghans drove the Russians out of Afghanistan? The Russians killed 1 million to 2 million Afghans. The Russians only lost 14,000 men. That’s a kill ratio of 70 to 140 Afghans killed for each Russian killed. You know what that is? That’s a blood bath. The Russians put the Afghans through a blood bath.

Why did the Russians pull out? Because we were outspending them on weaponry at a pace they couldn’t match. The Russians were losing the Cold War against us. The Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan had nothing to do with anything the Afghans did. It had everything to do with what we did in terms of defense spending. Faced with with the shellacking we were giving them in the Cold War they had to conserve resources. One of the means they had for conserving resources was to pull out of Afghanistan.

Don’t make the mistake of falling for the left-wing anti-war propaganda. You end up being extremely misinformed.

nate-m May 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

The lesson to learn here, also, is that you can go ahead and kill 2 million Afgans, but they still are not going to do what you want.

Our foreign wars are a tragic waste almost beyond imagination.

Richard Harris May 29, 2011 at 10:37 am

Nate-m. You don’t seem to understand why the United States is fighting in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was the launching ground for the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States where nearly 3,000 Americans were killed and substantial property and economic damage was inflicted upon the United States. The Taliban was the ruling government body in Afghanistan at the time of those attacks. The Afghan people are not off the hook for responsibility for those attacks merely because the Taliban have been ejected from the country.

The Afghan people must realize that we have the right, for our defense, to impose our conditions upon them to our satisfaction, before we end our occupation of their country. The Afghan people are just as guilty for the crime of making war upon the United States as the Al Quaeda-Taliban axis are. The Afghan people are the ones who allowed the Taliban to rule Afghanistan. Therefore the Afghan people are strictly liable for any crimes that Al Queda and the Taliban commited against the United States.

The Afghan people apparently do not have the desire to deal with the Al Quaeda-Taliban axis. Therefore we must administer Afghanistan, until such time as we are satisfied that The Afghans are willing and capable of establishing a government that will execute it’s responibilty to control the various elements that inhabit its country. With the Taliban attempting to regain control of Afghanistan the United States must clearly continue to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan until the Taliban is defeated. To do anything less is to merely invite future terrorist attacks upon America launched from Afghanistan.

Helmut Wild May 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Richard Harris. I do not believe at all what you say about why the US is in Afghanistan: “Afghanistan was the launching ground for the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States where nearly 3,000 Americans were killed and substantial property and economic damage was inflicted upon the United States.”
There are at least two more launching grounds: Germany and Saudi Arabia, and it is completely questionable if any of the alleged terrorists have ever been in Afghanistan.
There was never a criminal investigation of the 9-11 crime. The official version of what happened is flimsy. At least the official version should have admitted that the preparaton for this crime wasn’t possible without any support from within the US. And without an honest answer to the question: who was interested for 9-11 to happen you will never find out why this catastrophic military intervention was launched.

Richard Harris May 30, 2011 at 7:02 am

Helmut Wild you are an extremely misinformed person. Everybody but you apparently is aware that Osama Bin Ladin and his Al Quaeda followers were well established at their location in Afghanistan. The mission was conceived, planned, and ordered from Osama Bin Ladin’s Headquarters. Of course certain elements of preparation for the attack took part here. That is simply a stage in the attack. Wherever the command for an operation originates is where the operation originates. For you to deny this you are simply engaging in the left-wing totalitarian Big Lie technique which George Orwell described in “1984″.

Richard Harris May 30, 2011 at 7:39 am

The location where the order is given to execute a mission is the location where the mission originates and is thus the launching ground.

Dagnytg May 30, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Richard Harris,

The Afghan people are just as guilty for the crime of making war upon the United States as the Al Quaeda-Taliban axis are. The Afghan people are the ones who allowed the Taliban to rule Afghanistan. Therefore the Afghan people are strictly liable for any crimes that Al Queda and the Taliban commited against the United States.

I will rewrite your quote as if I was an Islamic extremist so that you can see the parallel in your thinking and theirs.

The American people are just as guilty for the crime of making war upon Islam as the Jewish-Neocon axis. The American people are the ones who allowed the Neocons to rule America. Therefore, the American people are strictly liable for any crimes that Jews and Neocons have committed against Islam.

Richard, if the reasoning in your original quote is correct then the reasoning in the edited version is also correct which means you support the killing of innocent American citizens (by way of supporting the killing of innocent Afghan citizens).

Surely you must see the contradiction. You need time for introspection.

The Afghanis are no more responsible for the actions of their government then the Americans.

I beg you to reconsider your position. The killing of innocent people, through the flawed presumption of collective guilt, is not only unethical but immoral. It’s not only anti-libertarian… it’s anti-human.

Richard Harris May 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Dagnytg. You’re argument suffers from faulty parallelism and is a non sequitar. You clearly need to take a course in mathematical logic. What you’ve written is utter nonsense and totally illogical.

Helmut Wild May 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm

great comment! (from May 30, 6:55 PM)
Even though it contradicts completely the basic assumptions of democracy: a rule by the people and through the people.
The methods of modern power engineering are focused on how to rule from the background, unseen by the people. Terms like “perception management” are very unveiling of the focus of modern “democratic” power engineering: keep the illusion of people power alive and allow the background powers to act out their interest, even if this interest is antagonistic to the interest of the people.

Richard Harris May 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Dagntyng. First of all Jews are not making war upon Islam. Islam is making war upon Jews and Americans. Jews and neocons have not committed any crimes against Islam. Islam has committed crimes against Jews and Americans. Your parallelism is shot.

Secondly killing innocent Afghans does not follow from the concept of strict liability. Afghans are not as a matter of policy being murdered by Americans. They in fact are being murdered as a matter of policy by Islamist Taliban members.

Thus your conclusion is a non sequitar.

Dagnytg May 31, 2011 at 3:39 am


Thanks for making an effort to reply. Latin terms are a lazy or cognitively dissonant response.

First, my edited excerpt of your comment was taking the position of an Islamic extremist. That is not my personal view.

“killing innocent Afghans does not follow from the concept of strict liability” I agree.

But that isn’t the quote I derived my conclusion from. This one is- The Afghan people are just as guilty for the crime of making war upon the United States as the Al Quaeda-Taliban axis are. When you say someone is guilty for the crime of making war-that presupposes a warlike response doesn’t it? And warlike responses kill innocent people.

The only point I was trying to make with my edit was to show that your position psychologically and semantically follows their position… I made your words…their words (simply by replacing a few proper nouns). This should concern you. There is nothing non sequitur about it.

That’s why I mentioned introspection.

If we take the position of our enemy- to dehumanize, kill, torture, and maim as a response to our enemy…than we are no different. What values do we then stand for? How can we assume moral superiority? We can’t.

As a Libertarian I can.

Jordan Viray May 31, 2011 at 4:01 am

“Latin terms are a lazy or cognitively dissonant response.”

Hey now, let’s not associate Richard’s intellectual laziness or cognitive dissonance with his use of a Latin phrase. After all, we can’t forget “tu ne cede malis” and all that. In this case though, one might say “tu ne cede stultitia sed contra audentior ito”

Hopefully I picked the correct declension of stultitia or else the phrase will have been unintentionally ironic!

Richard Harris May 31, 2011 at 7:17 am

Dagnytg. You are attempting to establish moral equivalency between the attitude of Islamic terrorists and American citizens. Of course Islamic terrorists believe they are right. Therefore they rationalize attacking us. American citizens however assert the right to self-defense. That implies that we will be the judge of those who will attack us.

In any question of morality someone has to be the judge. As long as we assert the right to self-defense then we will be the judge of those who transgress against us. Thus Islamic attacks on Americans are illegitimate. Thus your argument fails because your premise is illegitmate.

What allows us to be the judge? Our military capability allows us to be the judge.

Your argument implies that no one has the right to self-defense. Throughout history your argument has been rejected by all individuals and all nations, and continues to be rejected by them today.

Are we morally superior to Islamic terrorists? Of course we are. We are not targeting innocent Afghan civilians to be murdered. The Islamic terrorists have murdered thousands of innocent Afghan citizens, Afghan police officers, and Afghan soldiers by directly targeting them for suicide bomber attack. Your suggestion that we are no better than the Islamic terrorists fails on this criterion.

The issue of strict liability is not what you have tried to convolute it to be. Strict liability in the context used here simply means that we assert the right to occupy Afghanistan militarily, and institute a government which will exercise the responsibility to prevent illegal acts of terrorism from originating within its borders, and to refrain from providing aid, comfort, and safe harbor to terrorists. Thanks to American military efforts the terrorists have been driven out of Afghanistan.

Of couse innocent civilians have been killed. They have been killed accidentally by Americans, and intentionally murdered by Islamic terrorists. Americans have no responsibility whatsoever for the murders committed by Islamic terrorists. To suggest otherwise would be to suggest that we do not have the right to self-defense. The accidental deaths caused by American military action is regretable and in many cases American officials have expressed regret for those deaths. Americans have continued to exercise caution in attempting to prevent injury to innocent Afghans, sometimes to extent of sustaining casualties themselves as a result. The fact that innocent civilians will be accidentally killed in war does not trump the right to self-defense. If it did there would be no right to self-defense.

Non sequitar is a term which originates from Latin but has crept into common usage in the English language as a result of its use by logicians. It is a term used by logicians when analyzing logic. After all this is a debate we are engaging in and the merit of the logic being used is naturally subject to examination. The term is so commonly recognized that a nationally syndicated comic strip that appears in over 700 newspapers today and originated in 1992 is titled “Non sequitar”.

Non sequitar is the correct term. It means one does not follow from the other. The illegitimacy of your argument causes any conclusion from it to fail. Thus since your conclusion does not follow from your premise it is a non sequitar.

Richard Harris May 31, 2011 at 9:00 am

Dagnytg. The twisting in the wind that you’re doing here makes it seem like you’re the one suffering from the cognitive dissonance.

Richard Harris May 31, 2011 at 9:14 am

Dagnytg. I find that quite interesting, (well amusing to be honest), that being a Libertarian makes you morally superior.

Jordan Viray May 31, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Richard, it’s “non sequitur” not “non sequitar”. Sequitar is not even Latin.

Richard Harris May 31, 2011 at 1:18 pm

‘Non sequitur’ is the correct spelling. Readers are asked to read my posts as if the correction had been applied.

Dagnytg June 1, 2011 at 3:58 am


When I stated a Libertarian is morally superior, I was being somewhat rhetorical at the time… but when I read your following statement-

In any question of morality someone has to be the judge… What allows us to be the judge? Our military capability allows us to be the judge.

I am reassured that as a Libertarian I am morally superior.You know your words (above) are essentially saying…might makes right.

Once again, your words put you in very bad company. There is a long list of tyrants (e.g. Hitler, Stalin, etc.) that adhere to this line of thinking.

Richard, I don’t believe that’s what you’re about. I think you are a person who cares about this country and cares about freedom.

The difference between you and me…

Your willing to threaten, coerce, imprison, occupy, or kill if need be to protect your freedom and I am not.

I am willing to create markets, trade, commerce, and jobs… to spread ideas, innovation, and enlightenment…to create self-worth, self-respect, tolerance, and understanding to enhance my freedom.

You refuse to see- you follow in the footsteps of tyrants and terrorists…I follow in the footsteps of entrepreneurs and believers of self-vision for all mankind.

Your way is destructive…my way is productive.

Oh and by the way…the reason as to why a libertarian is morally superior…

Because we know we’re not.

nate-m June 1, 2011 at 5:56 am

Nate-m. You don’t seem to understand why the United States is fighting in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was the launching ground for the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States where nearly 3,000 Americans were killed and substantial property and economic damage was inflicted upon the United States.

Yeah so?

The actions of a handful of people caused us to go to war with a country that had jack shit to do anything with 9/11 except it was potentially a staging area for planners. And… invading them did what exactly? Taking away livelihoods, killing local tribesmen, and imposing puppet governments is going to get the people on our side?

We are doing them a favor by bombing them and taking away their ability to feed their families?

What a bunch of crap.

The Taliban was the ruling government body in Afghanistan at the time of those attacks.

Maybe we should invade the counties here in the USA were the terrorists did their flight training?

Maybe after we kill a few tens of thousands of Americans then they will learn not to operate small city airports were terrorists can purchase training times in airplanes.

The Afghan people are not off the hook for responsibility for those attacks merely because the Taliban have been ejected from the country.

What the hell are you even talking about? Some poppy growers, tribesmen, and barely literate sustenance dirt farmers should bear the fury of the greatest military force of all of human history because Obama made telephone calls from that country and did some planing there?

Your a moron. Utterly delusional and completely illogical.

Thinking like this is why we have this crap in the first place.

Richard Harris June 1, 2011 at 7:06 am

Nate you’re a Kook. The Taliban government of Afghanistan knowingly granted aid, comfort, and safe harbor to Al Quaeda. Therefore the the Nation of Afghanistan is criminally liable for the attack on us. There were no government bodies in the United States that were aware that Al Quaeda agents were operating in this country. Your pusillanimous argument is pathetic.

Richard Harris June 1, 2011 at 7:20 am

Dagnytg. Even though you’ve left some crumbs on the table to quibble over your reply is reasonably intelligent enough to end our debate on.

Sione May 26, 2011 at 1:47 pm


Your version of history is myth. Worse is where you generate fantasy to fill in the awkward gaps of your comprehension.

Dealing with the Lancaster first of all. Before bleating on and on about its development cycle you’d do well to understand the history of how the Lancaster came to be. That means understanding how it was developed and why that progressed as it did. You’d need to understand who funded it, what the specification originally was, why the specification was as it was, who created the specification, how that developed over time and why changes were made. You’d also ned to understand the ideology behind the decision to build Bomber Command instead of employing the resources on something else (and likely more effectively). Then you’d know why the program took as long as it did. Clearly you are utterly and completely ignorant about this.

In brief, the procurement of aircraft by the RAF was a bureaucratic affair which resulted in a lot of paper airplanes being generated. Most designs that were generated never flew. The British Air Ministry would generate specifications in collaboration with the air-fame manufacturers and engine builders. Designs would be submitted to the Ministry for analysis and critique. Some would eventually be accepted for trial and even for procurement. The process took time.

Lancaster started out as as design to meet an Air Ministry specification for a twin engined aircraft. That design was built and did fly. A series of problems were encountered including with the engines. The engines were of a radical new layout and were provided by Rolls Royce. After attempting to develop the engines and realising that the necessary engine development program was going to consume more time at considerable expense (I draw your attention to Sir Roy Fedden’s ultimately successful program at Bristol to develop the sleeve valve aviation engine and also to Rolls Royce’s unsuccessful attempt to make a success of Elliot’s ramp head for the Merlin as examples of the titanic efforts of time and resource and money required to prosecute engine development programs) discussions were eventually held between Avro (Chadwick’s employer), Rolls Royce and the Air Ministry. Lord Hives (of Rolls Royce) had come to the conclusion that Rolls Royce had far too many development programs underway and was stretched too thinly. They had to start ditching programs and concentrate on getting existing engine types into series production. That was apart from making those engines reliable and continuing the on-going adaptations and development of those engine types (development work does not cease once the engine has entered production). The Air Ministry was informed that on-going delays for the twin engine bomber program would accure while the engines continued development and that Rolls would [refer to terminate the engine program and concentrate on other more pressing matters (like making the Merlin water-tight and getting its super-charger to operate effectively). It was at this point that Chadwick was asked to locate another powerplant for the job. His approach was to adopt four Rolls Royce Merlin engines (and later four Bristol Hercules). The Air Ministry agreed with the plan. The Lancaster was the result. A new specification was issued and the Lancaster eventually entered production. It was a short development cycle from the issuance of the new specification until scale manufacturing ramped up, as the airframe was carried over without wholesale alteration of structure or form. Similarly the engines were a known affair already being produced. What delays did occur from the point where the four engine option was taken were as the result of funding shortage, resource allocation and politics.

Sione May 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm


Meanwhile the German aircraft designers were not unaware of what was required to build a long range four engined aircraft. Despite this there were efforts to build a heavy twin. Just as the British encountered engine issues, so too did the Germans- although theirs were for different reasons (the British had torsional and vibration problems and the Germans had localised overheating with consequent oil fires). In the end the Germans did developed four engine aircraft and even six engined aircraft. Some of them were excellent designs and flew well (despite your overly simplistic assertions there were no technical or manufacturing reasons why the German manufacturers could not have produced heavy bombers in quantity had they been required to as a priority). In order to understand why the German aviation industry did not take a four engined heavy bomber into mass production you need to learn about the ideology and expectations of the German military planners of the time.

The planners were equipping the German military for an expected outbreak of a war in Europe in 1945, not in 1939 (which explains why in so many ways the German military was under-equipped and not ready for hostilities in 1939- for example, during the Polish campaign most German field units were supplied by or moved by horse, not by truck or rail, tanks were in short supply and those that were utilised were under-armed and suffered various technical problems). The planners did not consider a high-level heavy bomber as a vital or even necessary part of their plans. Hence priority was not accorded to those projects. What was planned for was a fast moving mechanised war (the vaunted Blitzkreig) of which the airforce was an integrated portion, playing the role of closely supporting the ground forces. The types and specifications of the aircraft were selected according to those requirements. Thus the Germans placed an emphasis on medium and low level bombing with relative precision and accuracy (for the time). They wanted to supplement artillery (which can be slow to move) with accurate air delivered ordinance. The aircraft types best suited to that had modest range, good speed, high availability and a high cycle rate. A long drawn out war of attrition was to be avoided. What they planed for was a fast-moving short war, consisting of a series of quick, finite conflicts. In this approach there was no need to erect a fleet of high-level heavy bombers for the necessarily indescriminant bombing of infrastructure- the very infrastructure they sought to capture, occupy and exploit.

Again, the point is that should they have determined that a four engine heavy was a priority requirement, they’d have built it. They had the experience and the capability. Another point for you to understand is that at no point during WW2 was such an aircraft a good platform for the Germans to acquire. A program to do so would have represented an expensive waste at a time when they could ill-afford any such.

More later.


Sione May 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Moving on some.

The Lancaster bombers were employed for the most part to terror bomb cities and centres of population in Germany, in German occupied territories and within the territories of German allies. As a weapon it was indiscriminate and inaccurate (despite all the mythology of WW2 Allied propaganda about things like Norden bombsights and the like, at the time it was not viable to bomb military and industrial centres accurately enough from high altitude for these sorts of bombers to be primarily employed as a tactical weapon). Altitude bombers were employed en masse against large targets. Things that were not so difficult to hit. Things like cities. The rationalisation was that high level terror bombing could be justified as “strategic”, hence worth the cost of resources used (and destroyed) and the loss of life.

As an aside I’ll point out to you that indiscriminate killing of people is a crime. What that entire bombing campaign was about was evil. It was and remains unjustifiable. That goes for the USAF terror bombings of civilians in German and Japan just as much as it does for Bomber Command’s efforts and just as much as it does for the Luftwaffe’s bombing of London, Coventry etc etc etc(and I include the bombing attacks on civilians during the Spanish Civil War in this). All of it was and remains unjustifiable.

As it happens a careful, detailed assessment and analysis of WW2 city bombing campaigns and the like demonstrates that they were relatively ineffectual in reducing the ability of combatants to fight. They consumed much resource, development, training, logistics, intelligence gathering effort, men and material for results of limited military value which would have been more efficiently and readily gained by other approaches. Worse was that they were often counter-productive in that they motivated the local population to support their political regime in a misguided solidarity and hope of retribution.

A recently published analysis by George Friedman of Stratfor is illuminating. He concludes the aerial bombardment of civilian populations and infrastructure in WW2, while satisfying to those of a certain perverse mindset, were ineffectual in reducing the abilities and capabilities of the British, the Germans and various other outfits to continue to successfully wage war. Aerial bombardments of centres of population did not bring an end to the war, nor did they cause hostilities to be halted any earlier than they would have done in the absence of such actions. Friedman concludes that the loss of life and resource was not worth the effort (he is referring to the loss of Allied aircrew, USAF and RAF equipment, as well as Allied manufacturing equipment in this regard). Further, he touches on information that indicates that this was well appreciated (at least by certain military analysts and politicians) at the time.

You are making a claim that the Lancaster was a weapon that the Nazis would have been able to turn to as a war winner for their campaign against the USSR. Before discussing that fantasy it is worthwhile to examine some of the assuptions you are making.

1/. that the Nazis would have been able to successfully invade and occupy on a permanent basis the British Isles

2/. that they wanted to do that, that they had an invasion planned and resourced as a serious matter of first rank military priority.

3/. that had they undertaken a successful invasion of the British Isles they would have been able to acquire undamaged and complete British manufacturing assets, factories, machine tooling, jigs etc. complete and ready to start mass production of Lancaster aircraft for the Nazi cause

4/. that had they undertaken a successful invasion of the British Isles they would have been able to acquire the loyalty of the necessary skilled workforce to build and test Lancasters (British people who had been working around the clock to produce weapons to resist the very military that would now be occupying their towns, billeting in their homes and now ordering their compliance in the production of means to invade other nations in order to commit the same sorts of crimes they would be comitting against the very same British)

5/. that they would have been able to solve the logistics issues of supplying military forces on the Eastern front (which they never actually were able to do in reality), added to which they’d also be able to solve issues related to the supply of consumables and men and material for an utterly alien aircraft which shared nothing with German types (not fasteners or fuel specification or instruments etc etc etc etc etc)

6/. that they would have been able to gain an accurate knowledge of where Soviet industry and other vital targets were located

7/. that they’d be able to recruit and train aircrew, maintenance crew, armourers etc to operate an alien type of aircraft in extraordinarily difficult conditions (which the Lancaster was never designed for) with manufacturing and technical backup a sub-continent away and at a high cycle rate

8/. that RAF crews would fly and fight for Nazi Germany

9/. that high level bombing would be sufficiently accurate and could be sustained for long enough to utterly demolish Soviet military manufacturing capability

10/. that the USSR would not have been capable of developing formidable defences against air attack for their vital centres and assets (note that the Soviets did develop fighter types that were more than competitve with what the Germans employed- I draw to your attention the excellent Lavotchkins which could readily out-climb and out turn most German fighters at low & moderate altitude- which is were most of the fighting got done).

11/. that the strategic problems faced by the Germans on the Eastern Front would have been solved by the availability and use of a foreign high-altitude level bomber

Yeah right.

When the German High Command was planning the attack on the USSR it was known that such a campaign would be initially successful- mightily so. However, it was also well understood that in a long run the campaign stood little chance of defeating the USSR and allowing an occupation of all of (what was then) Russian territory unless a political accomodation was able to be made (in other words, a peace treaty or terms had to be brokered and allowed at some point). It was definately understood that the occupation of Moscow would not guarantee cessation of hostilities or even of a victory. The lesson of Napoleon and his Grand Army had not been forgotten.

Sione May 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm

The problem that faced the German invader (and faces any invader from the West) was that of a front line which rapidly spread sideways (Northwards and Southwards) as an advance into the USSR was prosecuted. Either the invading Germans tried to keep their forces concentrated and run the risks of massive holes opening up in the front exposing the flanks of each army group, or they could dilute their forces to maintain at least some spread of cover across the front. Both approaches were tried and both cost the German forces dearly.

For example, dilutions had the important result of blunting the Blitzkreig. In any particular location German military resources were constrained and heavy resistance took greater amounts of time to overcome. Casualties mounted as reinforcements were far further away than ideal and hence took extra time to arrive for deployment. The defenders began to extract a heavier and heavier toll from the attackers as the delays mounted (which they inevitably must in any case). Eventually the Germans found themselves in the position where nowhere could they assemble local superiority. The rapid movement of mechanised advances became impossible to achieve, let alone contemplate. Now things bogged down into exactly the attrition warfare that the German military cannot survive for long.

Simultaneously, as the advance continued deeper into the USSR the supply lines became longer and longer. This seems innocuous until it is realised that the German army reached deep enough into the USSR so that its supply trucks themselves needed support or else they were on a one way trip. They could not carry enough fuel to get to the forward units with supplies and then return back home again. Indeed, serviceable trucks were abandoned once they arrived with their cargoes for forward units.

On top of this problematic situation you have to realise that there was significant behind the front lines activity directed against the German invaders. This meant nowhere in occupied USSR was really safe for them. The Germans had to deploy a lot of military resource just to defend their supply lines from attack. That, too, was a problem which escalated in magnitude as the advance continued.

Then there was the problem of gaining oil. The Germans had limted access to it. To sustain a mechanised war in the USSR required substantial quantities. The problem of obtaining reliable on-going supply was something the Germans never quite managed to achieve.

So why, knowing this, did they “pull the trigger” and invade the USSR? That erroneous decision was down to their expectations. They thought they knew what the status and internal conditions of the USSR military were and that its status would not alter or develop. They misunderstood the nature, structure and motivation of the Soviet military, relying upon what had occurred during the Soviet war against Finalnd as a predictor of what would happen should a German attack be launched. They failed to understand the nature of the people whose territory they would be invading. They failed to understand that people they considered to be “sub-humans” could fight back against criminal violence successfully when well motivated and they failed to understand that such “sub-humans” were more than capable of eliminating soldiers of the “master race”. They completely underestimated the true nature and the political structure of their adversary. Their belief was exactly as Hitler stated, “Kick in the door and the entire rotten structure collapses”. The trouble was that it didn’t collapse. The USSR retained more than enough capability to resist the German invader. The inevitable results of geometry, logistics, distance, casulty rate, woeful conditions, disease and time prevailed.

Availability of a high altitude heavy bomber platform solves none of the fundamental problems faced by the German invader. In fact it adds quite a few to the already impressively tall pile of insolvable issues that needed to be addressed.

In conclusion, even had the German military somehow obtained the Lancaster in substantial quantities, the result of the attempted invasion and occupation of the USSR would have been exactly the same as what it ultimately was. Your fantasy is baseless.


Richard Harris May 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

Sione you clearly have more time at your disposal than I have for doing the necessary research to continue this debate. I will offer one item of information though. The point that I raised about Germany’s need for a 4-engine bomber was not one that I originated. It was actually the opinion of one Germany’s top ranking Luftwaffe Generals. Since I read the book 24 years ago I don’t remember which one it was but the book where I came across it was titled “The German Generals Talk” by Sir Basil Lidell Hart. Hart interviewed about a dozen top ranking German Generals after the war. The book is still readily available so if you have further interest you can look it up.

J Chancey May 30, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Richard, an interesting bit of fantasy, perhaps you would be interested in my own musings as to how a libertarian (non-interventionist, not isolationist) America would have responded to the German threat.
American manufacturing companies interested in supplying Britain could have built their own private warships to keep the sea-lanes open. Wealthy American Jews, on hearing the truth about Nazi crimes in Europe, would have certainly used their fortunes to help in the war; perhaps forming private mercenary companies to travel across the Atlantic and help defend Britain agaist Hitler’s invasion. Even if, despite these types of private efforts to combat the Nazi threat, Hitler was able to conquer England, he would have faced a continuing insurgancy in both England and the USSR, perhaps covertly funded by interested Americans. This would have made it very difficult for him to gather the forces nessecary to cross the Atlantic and make any attempt to invade America, and the use of land-based American aircraft against his naval forces would have destroyed any attempt to launch an actual invasion of North America. Remember that the Germans were never a sea-faring people, and even with the forced collaberation of the Royal Navy (a very iffy propostion) he would not have had enough aircraft carriers to protect his invasion fleet. The manufacturing base of the United States, especially with the advantages of a market economy and the willing coperation of the industral corporations would provide simply too huge of a force for Germany to ever be able to land on American shores. Also, Hitler was facing assassination attempts from within his own government even when he was winning in France and bombing England, how much more of his insanity would the professional soldiers of the Wehrmacht have tolerated if he had tried such a ridiculous undertaking as the invasion of America? Overall, even with the best of luck, the facist economy simply could not have produced enough war material to sustain the occupation of both Britain and the USSR, much less mounted an attack across the Atlantic on top of it all. The biggest hole in any threat to America by a facist or communist nation is the simple fact that central planning doesn’t work. It is impossible for any totalitarian economy to compete with a free nation in terms of industrial production, whether of arms or of consumer goods.
And all of this without a single American soldier having to invade Europe, much less stay there for 60 years and counting after the war was over.

John May 25, 2011 at 9:11 am

I think that the direction of this blog discussion more than makes the author’s point – namely that Americans have embraced the 20th century “imperialist” version of 19th century “manifest destiny” with its baggage of the earlier “white man’s burden.” Jeffersons ideal of an agrarian society, with colonial New England’s concept of social contract has been replaced with a yankee version of old-world values and ethics.

Peter May 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

This article, I believe is missing several key factors and variables. Tomas Estrada Palma, the head of the Cuban Revolutionary Party at the time lobbied the United States to enter into the war (this is why once the Fidelistas stormed Havana on Jan. 1st 1959 they destroyed the statute of Palma). Cubans present in the U.S. at the time were pushing for the United States to get involved after 1/3(yes…one-third) of the population was killed by the Spanish(Google: Valeriano Weyler).

“Thus they resorted to terrorist tactics — devastating the countryside, dynamiting railroads, and killing those who stood in their way. ” …Can I see a citation of this or proof that the Cuban rebels in the Ten-year war resorted to terrorist tactics. If terrorist tactics accounts for people fighting from treetop, then yes they are guilty of terrorist tactics.

“Also playing a part was the “black legend” — the stereotype of the Spaniards as bloodthirsty despots that Americans had inherited from their English forebears”

Yes…the “black legend” first created by Las Casas in regards to the Taino was exaggerated by Spain’s enemies, but a third of the Cuban population being killed by the Spanish starting in 1895 is not, and there is historical/photographic evidence to prove it.
Now, I agree the United States should never have been involved in the Cuban War for Independence (which was the wishes of Jose Marti(The founder of the Cuban Revolutionary Party)). But saying the US somehow manipulated its position into a war with Spain for imperialist purposes is far reaching. Yes, the U.S. tried to purchase Cuba. Yes, Thomas Jefferson said if we seize Cuba they will be masters of the Caribbean. And, yes, John Quincy Adams said Cuba would fall into the hands of the Union like a ripping plum. But, you must take note of the Cuban rebels themselves; they wished to have the United States intervene(a majority of them). And, a majority of Americans were persuaded for humanitarian reasons, not imperialist outcomes, which Marti warned his fellow rebels of, if the United States were to get involved. My point is the Rebels are guilty of involving the United States and not knowing they would become subservient to her.

Peter May 25, 2011 at 10:19 am

Estrada wrote in letter to the Secretary of State, Richard Olney: “…in the name of liberty, petition you, and through you the Government of the United States of America, to accord the rights of belligerency to a people lighting for their absolute independence.”

In the New York Times Thomas Estrada Palma wrote an Op-Ed:

“To the American People:
The frequency with which there have lately appeared on the public press suggestions made by malicious or misinformed individuals that Cuba would accept or could be forced to accept autonomy, or anything short of independence, has impelled me to make a definite and final statement on this subject.
From the first our motto has been. “Independence or Death.” We are now more firmly than ever determined to carry out our programme, as we will not accept, we will not even discuss, the proposals of autonomy. After three years of the most sanguinary, barbarous and uncivilized warfare of modern times carried on by Spain, we are stronger than ever. It is for us to say what will satisfy us, not for others. Our ideals and our national honor we can confide to the keeping of ourselves alone.
I cannot think that the American people have forgotten the principle laid down in their own Declaration of Independence, nor can I believe that any true American can be found who would advise use to forsake the ideal of republican government for the monarchical, even in its most liberal form.
There is no way to compel the Cubans to accept autonomy except by force of arms. We have fought three years not against Spain alone, but against the whole world. Not a helping hand was extended to us no country gave us equal rights with Spain. The right to arm our people by the purchase of weapons in this country and transporting them to Cuba is admitted, but although engaged in lawful traffic we had to run the blockade to get from these shores and again run the gantlet into Cuba. Our ships and cargoes were seized, subjected to delay, but invariably restored by the slow and costly process of the law. Nevertheless we never faltered. We always appreciated the fact that the sympathy of the American people was with us. Spain has proved impotent to compel us by force to accept autonomy. She now desires the aid of the United States to compel us to accept. I cannot believe that the American Government would ever lend itself to the most treacherous and bloodstained monarchy of history for such a purpose. Should such prove to be the case, how ever, I declare, in the name of the Cuban people in arms, that force alone can compel our submission. We who have seen hundreds of thousands of our race and families exterminated by slow starvation, by a cowardly decree of the most inhuman commander of sanguinary Spain, will fight against anything but independence, no matter who opposes us. If, unfortunately, this incredible proposal be carried into effect and American bayonets are arrayed against us in our struggle for freedom and in aid of the Spanish monarchy, we will fight on, sadly but determined, and let history judge whether the vanquished had not a purer ideal of free institutions than the victors. In such case we will be exterminated, but future generations will again take up our flag and our aspirations, and Cuba will yet be free. Nor will we ever agree to a truce until our independence is established. We will continue to fight, as did the Americans under Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, even after the treaty of peace is signed, if it should be necessary.
The Cubans cannot be convinced that the United States will ever try to force us to remain under the Spanish flag, but I have deemed it my duty to appeal to the generosity, the sympathy and the patriotism of the American people, to end that they may understand the justice and firmness of our demand for complete independence.

Thomas Estrada Palma
New York March 17, 1898. “

Jordan Viray May 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Such appeals for intervention litter the course of history. If an individual wanted to help Cuba on the basis of that appeal, then that individual may give up their time, money or even life to do so. Palma’s suggestion to use the American military for purposes other than the defense of the United States with Americans being forced to foot the bill shows how utterly ignorant he was of the principles underlying these United States.

Peter, a lot of imperialistic wars begin for “humanitarian” reasons. The Germans need to help the Sudeten Deutsch; the proletariat need to be rescued from their capitalist oppressors; Iraqis, Afghans and Libyans need to be freed from their dicatorships.

Don’t forget that the imperialistic Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny and Alfred Thayer Mahan’s sea power theories drove many decisions, including the 1898 war, at the higher levels.

Helmut Wild May 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm

For America, which is easy to defend and almost impossible to be conquered by a foreign power, your principle works and I find it great.
But what if part of a people is occupied by a foreign power? I think in this case applies the self defense principle for the entire people. In this case it would be hard to leave this situation up to individuals, if they “may give up their time, money or even life to do so” (to liberate the occupied part).

What do you think?

Jordan Viray May 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Good question.

It is a noble thing, in my opinion, to defend others from aggression (though what I would consider defense might be considered an act of aggression by others; you pays your money and you takes your choice).

The libertarian mindset tries not to think in terms of “a people” or “a foreign power” in the typical sense. It’s a lot more expedient to say “people” rather than “a number of individuals” but the former is easy to conflate with the collectivist sense.

An entire people do not engage in collective self-defense, individuals do. Sometimes these individuals are organized by (individuals operating under) the state who act on behalf of the hypothetical construct of “the people”. It is an illusion as is self-defense in the name of “the people”.

We know that state organization to provide goods and services is inferior to the organization that emerges under a free market to provide those same goods and services. It’s hard to imagine how security and defense services would arise in the absence of the state monopoly in the same way it was hard for the Soviet citizen to imagine how individuals could possibly organize to provide food in lieu of the state run groceries. And yet supermarkets are abundant.

The same applies to arms / security which are just a kind of good / service. Inasmuch as libertarians recognize the threat of nation states and the value of defending like-minded individuals, I would wager that the economic (in the wider sense of the word) activity going towards the defense of libertarians under attack would be immense.

Helmut Wild May 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Thank you for your thoughts. Very intriguing.

Andrew Cain May 27, 2011 at 7:18 am

This is a interesting article presented by Dr. Raico. I actually presented something similar to this recently at a conference but I titled it “The Benevolent Empire: Origins on the U.S. Empire.” If anyone is interested, you can get more on this topic from Dr.Joseph Stromberg. There are also works by William Appleman Williams, Robert Wiebe and Thomas McCormick. They are from the Wisconsin school of thought and are Marxists or sympathetic to it. Getting past this fault, they do great research on the topic of the American empire. I would quibble on the point of America being seen as a neutral or non-interventionist country before the Spanish American war. I think Sumner likes to romanticize the early Colonial period (like many “patriots” today). I don’t think the United States have ever truly been an non-interventionist nation in all of its history.

El Tonno May 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

“Afghanistan was the launching ground for the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States ”

Last time I checked, it was Germany and the US.

Some people’s head is like a tape onto which government propaganda can be written.

Richard Harris May 30, 2011 at 7:55 am

The standard technique of the left-wing is to simply invent a bold-faced lie. Osama Bin Ladin and his followers were entrenched in Afghanistan. Bin Ladin gave the order to launch the 911 attack. Therefore the launching ground for the 911 attack was Afghanistan. Statements to the contrary are simply left-wing lies.

Of course El Tonno could be an Al Quaeda or Taliban member, right? That possibility also exists.

Ohhh Henry May 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

Of course El Tonno could be an Al Quaeda or Taliban member, right? That possibility also exists.

You’re right. You can’t rule out that possibility. You’d better fire a few missiles into his house, drop a brigade of elite troops into his yard, arrest him, and establish a new regime in his neighborhood based on democratic principles! You start the war, I’ll nip down to the UN to get a resolution passed. I assume he’s a small fish in the scheme of things, so you won’t need to bring in stooges from the UK and Canada this time.

Err … just by the way … what um, oil or minerals or other strategic resources does he have? Oh – no reason, just asking. You will have to find money for the, uh, reconstruction. Don’t forget to freeze the French, Chinese and Russians out of the bidding process for reconstruction contracts, and make sure you grease the appropriate local warlords with sufficient taxpayer money.


Richard Harris June 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

Ohh Henry. If you have knowledge of his current whereabouts on this planet, let us know. We’ll check the availability and positioning of our assets, plan possible tactical scenarios, evaluate their feasibility, devise cover stories, and see what we can jin up in terms of authorization. Just don’t tip him off that we’re coming.

Hey don’t laugh. I’m serious.

Helmut Wild May 30, 2011 at 10:26 am

Nobody really knows or can prove that Bin Laden, the former CIA agent, gave the order for the 911 attack. It’s an assumption. But one thing is sure: this attack couldn’t have happened without support from within the US. This crime was never investigated. Isn’t this extremely suspicious?
Who profited the most? The war mongers. Those who said beforehand: “Without a new Pearl Harbor we cannot get the American public into war acceptance.”

Richard Harris May 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Helmut you are so misinformed. Bin Ladin acknowledged responsibility for the 911 attacks in the various videos that he released. Have you just reached the age of intellectual maturity in the last couple of years. This information was on television news broadcasts 8 years ago. Were you not watching television news back then? The only support for the 911 attacks that came from within America was from the traitorous immigrants who were LEGALLY in this country on student visas and who ultimately executed the attack; AND probably a handful of other Islamic sleeper cell terrorists. You have raised an excellent argument as to why potential Islamic terrorists should not be allowed to LEGALLY enter this country.

“This crime was never investigated?” Another misconception of yours owing to your immaturity? I think you’ll find that it was investigated by a congressional commission. Apparently you’ve never heard of the 911 Commission Report. Or are you peddling another totalitarian left-wing “Big Lie”?

Sione May 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm


The Nazi generals said a whole lot of things after the war. They even said a whole lot of stuff they didn’t say. All sorts of nonsense was published. What they are supposed to have said- well, some of it was propaganda, some pure fiction, some of it was self-justification (especially when confronted with some of their crimes or those of their regime), some of it was fantasy with fevered imagination hard at work, some of it was greasing up their captors/victors, some of it was misguided and stated in ignorance of reality, some was purile and stupid, some was emotional etc. Remember these were the guys who had just lost a war costing millions upon millions of lives for a political ideology that even they could understand was evil. They were a pack of criminals to the very last.

It’s all very well for a pack of professional failures and murderers to discuss what they imagine it would have taken for them to win their war but the salient fact is that they did not win it and never could have anyway. Their activity was irrational right from the start. These imbecilic and utterly repulsive criminals would have cost millions of lives and destroyed much of Europe no matter how they operated their foolishness, no matter how many times they replayed their plans of violence, and, were it possible to re-run the war, no matter how many times they re-ran WW2 in various permutations (shades of ground hog day). They could never win as what they were doing was and remains irrational. The fascinating part of all this was that well prior to the outbreak of hostilities German military analysts had concluded that they could not win a European War, further that they could not conquor the USSR (and that was in the projected absence of USA indistrial and material assistance- US supplies made the inevitable result occur sooner). Yet, in spote of this evidence, away went the German military with the inevitable result.

All this post-war mumbo jumbo they spouted about how they “coulda won” was worth about as much as one of their heel-clicking “Seig Heil” salutes. That is, not much at all.

Now, the fundamental point is not that some high ranking military thugs are irrational and not worthy of serious consideration (although that is, in fact, correct), it is that Nazi Germany could not have won the war that the leadership embarked on (and was planning to embark on come what may anyway). It is that a German four-engined bomber would have made not a whit of difference to the outcome of the War. Millions of lives would have been lost and much of Europe would have been destroyed either way. Sure the generals would have had another toy they could unleash to kill a few more people in a somewhat different way than otherwise, but the result would not, in the long run, have been any different. Naziland would not have lasted for the vaunted 1000 years. They would have been defeated.

There were far too many people who would have (and did) oppose the ideology and plans of the Nazi regime for it to survive. Most importantly, no form of socialism is sustainable. A strain of socialism as rabidy irrational and as economically destructive as Nazism was destined to collapse. It was merely a matter of how soon. Austrian School Economics is worth study if you want to perceive why.

Europe has a long and dishonourable history of collectivism. Various forms of socialism are merely the latest examples. European people will eventually have to come to realise that one way or another they have to abandon all forms of socialism- that or face eclipse by other races who are living according to superior ideologies. In the meantime replaying the European wars over and over in imagination, playing with the boundary conditions and changing various superficialities (like who had what tanks, guns, planes, types of weapon etc), altering the war games to play them over again, is a pointless waste of intellectual energy and time. If you want to understand why this is so, consider what Mises wrote. The books are here on this site and they are free of charge to download.


Richard Harris May 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Reply forthcoming.

Real Estate in Spain December 1, 2011 at 5:59 am

Great post! Congrats for releasing such a nice post. Germany doesn’t have the imperialistic and colonialistic nature of other countries like England, France, Netherlands, Spain, and Begium – nations which were truly colonialist. The colonial venture of Germany is too short and that is too for different reasons. Also, at outbreak of the US war with Spain, Cubans were fighting for independence and it is regrettable to see those efforts are disgraced as “terrorism.” Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article.



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