SteynOnSouthpark reborn

I mentioned Mark Steyn's meeting with George Bush and a curious similarity with a South Park episode almost a month ago.

So odd that he should extensively quote South Park's Steve Irwin show in his obit of the Aussie crocodile hunter:

Asked by Jay Leno how he determined the sex of a croc, Irwin replied, “I put my finger in here and if it smiles it’s a girl, and if it bites me it’s a boy.” There was more than a grain of truth in the South Park episode in which the guys are lounging on the couch watching an Aussie crocodile hunter and his missus gliding down the river. “As we steer our boat down, looking for these dangerous predators …boy, there’s a king croc right here!” says the TV naturalist. “He must be four meters; 12, 13 feet long at least.” The mighty beast raises its head out of the water. “This croc has enough power in its jaws to rip my head right off… I’ve got to be careful. So what I’m gonna do is sneak up on it and jam my thumb in its butthole.”

Also of interest is in Steyn's letters, where his reader Dave Schneider writes about the "2 year" rule as it applies to American military will. Since the letters page is so fluid, this link won't show up in a couple weeks, so I'm quoting the letter verbatim:
I'm a great admirer of your columns and wish you continued success.

I wanted to give you a bit of an idea. I teach history at a community college in New Jersey and part of my lecture regarding US History is an explanation of what I consider to be the American reaction to warfare. It is a synergy of two principles. The first is the "1/3 Rule" as explained by John Adams during the Revolutionary War. They second is my rule on American war spirit, which I call the "Two Year Rule". How they work is thus:

John Adams once said that only about 1/3 of the American people were for the Revolution, 1/3 were neutral and 1/3 were against it.

This split is still the functioning system of the American electorate today. About 1/3 are hard core Democrat, 1/3 are hard core Republican and 1/3 are "swing" voters.

When a war breaks out, the swing 1/3 can be expected, if the provocation is sufficient, to swing to the side of the war, causing it to be prosecuted. However, once a war starts, the "2-year Rule" begins. Because no matter what the provocation, no matter what the reasoning, 1/3 of the population already opposes it and will begin immediately to attempt to end it, regardless of any other fact.

The 2-year rule states that majority support for a war will last a maximum of two years. This is because most Americans are not warlike in nature and only react after provocation. As time passes, the provocation loses its strength and the neutral 1/3 begins to swing naturally to opposition to the war. After two years, unless the war is clearly heading for outright victory, anti-war movements gain enough strength to serious effect the conduct of the war or even cause it to end.

These are the proofs:

The Revolution was an exception. It lasted longer than two years due to the determination of the minority to prosecute the war combined with the decentralized nature of the government. The neutrals and anti-war Tories were unable to influence the leaders of the rebellion because there was no real centralized government to influence - the Continental Congress was totally controlled by the war faction and there were no elections.

The War of 1812 ran dangerously close to the 2-year Rule. By 1814, the anti-war feeling in New England had reached the point that a congress of those states held in Hartford, CT was on the verge of declaring secession and seeking a separate peace with England. I believe that the willingness of the U.S. government to accept a peace which did almost nothing except establish status quo ante was given impetus because of the fear of disunion over the war.

The Mexican War was too short to run into the 2-year rule and was quickly crowned with victory so that although the anti-war movement was rapidly growing in strength towards the end of that conflict, it never got a chance to end it.

The American Civil War was torn with anti-war activity. Draft Riots throughout the north, large scale desertion in the south. Lincoln himself was doubtful of reelection and the Republicans did lose many seats in the Congress. It was only the Northern victories of the second half of 1863, the feeling of many that the North would win and the voting support of Lincoln by the Union Army kept the Republicans in power.

The Spanish-American War, the "splendid little war" only lasted a few months and didn't generate much opposition.

The First World War saw the Wilson Administration from the very start take strong steps to crush opposition, jailing many who would oppose the war. Further, the American phase of that war didn't last two years, so again anti-war movements were unable to get traction.

The Second World War was also a partial exception. The Roosevelt Administration took massive steps to silence opposition, even to the point of exiling suspect ethic groups to "camps". However, WWII by the time where the 2-year Rule would be effecting (late 1943) it was so obviously heading for a victory that most people continued to support it.

Korea was a prime example of these two principles working. In two years, the opposition to this war became so great that the Truman Administration was unable to even consider running for reelection and the Democratic Party candidate (the party of the war) was crushed by the Eisenhower campaign which promised to end the war.

Vietnam is another prime example. The anti-war movement forced Johnson out of office and it led to the election of Nixon. But Nixon failed to end the war fast enough and so it turned on him, so much so that the majority of my students come into my history class believing that the Vietnam war was the fault of Richard Nixon.

The Iraq war is also becoming a prime example. With no clear-cut victory and no clear-cut end, the hostility to the war, regardless of the reasons for it, has grown to the point where the party in power has be removed by the electorate.

Thus, the lesson to be learned is clear. The U.S. can not go into any war without majority support and at the same time, the war must be concluded, within two years.

Iraq therefore is doomed. It’s been over two years and the majority now opposes it, regardless of the consequences.

Dave Schneider

Bonus Steyn letter:
According to Albert Speer, Hitler once opined that Germany would have been better off if Islam had successfully conquered Europe. That way, Aryans wouldn't have been saddled with wimpy Christianity but a religion more attuned to conquest and domination. Seems Adolf may eventually get his wish.

Bill Manuel