Cathy and I just came back from a dr's appt at an office over the Kingsway Mall in 
Edmonton, and we saw these cars from west of us with a bit of snow on them. Edmonton 
apparently got hit, too, but here in the Grove we seemed to have been in a little 
oasis; we barely even had any frost last night.

Mark Gregson wrote:

>
> Seasons Greetings from the Great White North!
>
> I woke up this morning to a centimeter or two of snow, our first snowfall of the 
>season.  We often get snow right around General Conference time (but then it can warm 
>up a little for a few weeks).
>
> Napolean started with his Grande Armee towards Russia with about 500,000 men.  The 
>10,000 that barely survived escaped  Russia in early December.  So 80,000 Russian 
>losses were not so bad, all things considered.  Napolean got his just desserts.
>
> (BTW, there's the significant difference between the French and the Germans.  The 
>Germans abhor Hitler, the French adore Napolean.)
>

That's always bothered me. How come no one minds that one of the main streets of Paris 
is called l'avenue de la Grande Armée [hope I got my genders right], but, boy, if 
Berlin renamed the Ku'damm "Wehrmachtsdamm" or "SS-Straße"....

>
> Modern wargamers would of course plan for early, hard and lengthy winters in Canada. 
> Modern equipment would keep survival rates way above Napolean's army.

How would they overcome the fact that lubrication oil starts to get viscous at a 
suddenly nonlinear rate at around -45oC or so? Kind of hard to start an APC, and if 
you do, the starter motor could break the crankshaft. Same with helicopters.

> So I don't use an example like Napolean or even Hitler as base scenarios.
>
> Look at Afghanistan.  Russia got badly pounded but the US crushed the Taliban.  Some 
>Russians thought that the US would get a shellacking in Afghanistan and were probably 
>astounded at the speed and ease with which the US toppled the Taliban.  They of 
>course were not taking everything into account, particularly two things: 1.) Russia 
>was not supporting the Taliban this time whereas the US did support them in the 
>Russian war.  2.) The US's military is decades ahead of the Russian military both in 
>equipment and in tactics.
>

I think #1 is more important, in fact -- "the Taliban" ~= "Afghanistan" by a long 
shot. With regards to #2, I think there was also a kind of "Vietnam syndrome," too -- 
going to Afghanistan was not a popular assignment with Soviet soldiers or their 
families. You could say, so what -- they do what they're ordered, but even Soviets 
were human, and performed better if they had better morale.

>
> Russians have always fought wars by attrition.

Even their expansionist wars (their counterpart to our Indian and Mexican wars) this 
is true. Peter the Great fought a number of staged battles, but he basically just 
moved people in and gradually took over places, assimilating them. Like a Borg made 
out of molasses...

> Americans don't like to fight that way and they haven't since WWI.  But Russians and 
>others have always underestimated the Americans by supposing that the American public 
>won't accept large numbers of American casualties.  They think that Americans are too 
>soft to fight a "real" war.  Even if it's true (and it wouldn't be if the US was in 
>true jeopardy), it is irrelevant.  The Gulf war, Bosnia and Afhanistan should have 
>shown the world by now just how advanced the US military is.  So advanced that they 
>do not need to fight by attrition.  Indeed, it would probably be counterproductive 
>for them to do so.

First of all, though, the war in Afghanistan isn't over by a long shot. All that has 
been accomplished is that the Taliban has been toppled from their local role. That's 
not really very much of an accomplishment in the greater scheme of things. "The 
Northern Alliance" is a very, very loosely-connected alliance stuck together with 
bubble gum and bailing twine by the US and were the very people we used to refer to as 
"warlords" when they were the bad guys and the Taliban were the good guys.

Secondly, people might find this hard to believe, but if anyone invaded Iraq, they'd 
meet stiff resistance. This isn't a "Kuwait." I'll use Cuba as an example because I'm 
more familiar with it, but I suspect Iraq is a lot like Cuba in this respect. Most 
people wouldn't talk politics with me in Cuba, which I can certainly understand. The 
most open person was a government-appointed health institute director who was quite 
open in her criticism of Castro as long as we were in private (like in our car we'd 
rented in the tourist resort in Veradero). She said most Cubans hate Castro and can't 
wait for the regime to fall, but they would also fight with their
fingernails if they had to, to repel a US invasion.

To turn it around, consider LBJ's famous comment about a right-wing Nicaraguan 
dictator the US was supporting before he was overthrown by the Sandinistas (one 
dictatorship for another...): Just remembered his name -- Anastasio Samoza. "He may be 
a bastard, but he's *our* bastard." Now, turn that around the other way and turn up 
the volume (because it's your own country, not another, you'd be talking about -- if 
this all parses -- and you'll see how people in even countries like Cuba and Iraq 
feel.)

>
>
> How many dead soldiers have been shipped back to the US in this latest Afghan war?
>

As opposed to, say, dead Canadian soldiers.
Sorry, couldn't resist.

>
> =========  Mark Gregson  [EMAIL PROTECTED]  =========
>

--
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling 
short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
--Michelangelo Buonarroti

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely; 
its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer, nor those of 
any organization with which the author may be associated.

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