Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
Posts tagged "Wars"
Asker Anonymous Asks:
Would you say the War of 1812 was a draw or a victory for Canada or the British? I lean draw, but I once spoke with a Canadian friend who insisted it was an unequivocal victory for them.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

It was a draw. Maybe Canada can take it as a moral victory from the War of 1812, but not an unequivocal victory. 

Canadian pride (is that a thing?) comes from the fact that Canada’s militia outperformed American militia forces when the United States invaded Canada during the war, but the Canadians also needed the help of British regulars and the Indian tribes led by Tecumseh. Tecumseh’s coalition of tribal warriors was a major weapon in the northwest (“northwest” being Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania at the time), and were a thorn in the side (or, more accurately, the rear) of the Americans during the invasion of Canada. That was a big reason why the U.S. forces were pushed back over the border by the British and Canadian forces.

It still ended as a stalemate, however. I think Canadians see it as a victory because the United States invasion of Canada was part of a plan to annex Canada and make it a part of the U.S. So, that didn’t happen, and that’s probably something to celebrate. Especially now. But, like I said, it’s more of a moral victory than anything. And for those arrogant Canadians always bragging about their military prowess (is that a thing?), I’d like to point out that we burned down York (the precursor to Toronto) before the British burned down Washington, D.C. So take that, Canada.

Also, wasn’t 1812 the last time that a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup?

Sorry, that was just mean. To make up for that, I’m going to start writing a book about Canadian military victories right now……Okay, I finished the book.

I think that an argument could be made for that, but when it comes to direct, day-to-day involvement, our military’s war in Iraq officially ended when the last U.S. troops were withdrawn from the country in December 2011.

Anything that’s happened since then, or anything that happens in the near-future with ISIS and other insurgencies requiring assistance from the United States and an international coalition of partners is certainly related to the original war, but should be considered a separate, new conflict historically.

The scary thing is that going to war doesn’t seem like such a major step anymore because it feels like we have just been at war constantly in Iraq (even after the withdrawal) and because we have been at war for thirteen years in Afghanistan. We’ve been conditioned to believe that war is just something that is always happening — as if that’s not a very bad thing or extraordinary event. War has become the default setting for the United States.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Is the Vietnam War the only war that the United States lost?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

It might be considered the only war the we lost, but there have been several major wars that we certainly didn’t win.

We think we won the War of 1812, but we didn’t. Our major victory — Andrew Jackson throwing back a British assault in the Battle of New Orleans — happened after the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, was signed. But it was 1815 (I know…we probably shouldn’t call it the War of 1812 since it lasted for three years), so the hostile forces fighting in North America and the diplomats negotiating in Europe didn’t know what was happening in the other place until weeks later. The War of 1812 was a draw. We shouldn’t ever be allowed to claim victory in a war where the enemy invades the capital city, eats the President’s dinner, and then burns down the White House, U.S. Capitol, and most of the rest of Washington, D.C.

The Korean War ended in a stalemate. Technically, the Korean War never ended — there’s an armistice in effect, but there is no peace treaty.

Vietnam was a defeat. Some will claim that it ended in a stalemate like the Korean War, but it was an American defeat.

Afghanistan is still going. It’s been almost 13 years now — it’s longer than both World Wars combined, It’s longer than the Revolutionary War and Civil War combined. And we don’t know what victory looks like there.

And I don’t understand how anyone can claim an American victory in the Iraq War. Especially this week as the President prepares to address the nation about a brutal terrorist group that is destabilizing the country and region far worse than Saddam Hussein ever did. We weren’t victorious in Iraq when President Bush said so after landing on the aircraft carrier in his silly flight suit and we weren’t victorious in Iraq when President Obama said so after we withdrew all of our troops. It’s a war that we never should have started, and we did not win. 

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