Tuesday, July 03, 2012
After the Archduke
This is Lake, posting by proxy for RL. He called me this afternoon and described Friday's storm as the worst he'd even seen, and now his power, water, everything are out until at least this Friday. Mrs. RL consented to staying with a relative, so RL is now sitting in the hot darkness, getting scowled at by sighthounds and thinking about the Supreme Court decision.
Thank God for the iPhone, which he can charge in his car. He's not completely cut off, so he was able to relay the outline of this post to me. It's an extended metaphor, an apt analogy for the current stakes in the coming battle for nothing less than the future of civilization.
The year was 1914, 98 years ago last week. Archduke Ferdinand's assassination causes European diplomacy to fall to hell, and the stage is set for The Great War (before we knew enough to number them, as the saying goes). Two countries, France and Germany, with two plans. France's Plan XVII set out to strike a dagger into Alsace and Lorraine, leaving Paris undefended. Germany, meanwhile, enacted the Schlieffen Plan (which Hitler later plagiarized with devastating results). They sliced through Belgium to approach Paris from the North and West. Within weeks, the French were repelled and back where they started. As the Germans hit the Belgian border to sweep into France, they were met by seven French armies and some British divisions. With Britain's later full support, Paris came to be defended and the battle lines were drawn from the North Sea to the Swiss border.
Thus, the Western Front, one of the most horrific battlegrounds in history. Generals with 19th century battle plans and a knowledge of the US Civil War were armed with 20th century weapons -- machine guns, tanks, mustard gas. 15 million lives were chewed up in the war that neither side wanted to continue. Of course, we now know it as the preliminary movements leading to World War II, Hitler, the Bomb, all of it.
As RL painted the picture for me, reminding me of this history as my high school teachers never could, he referenced Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, a detailed description of the events and a deep analysis of the "misconceptions, miscalculations, and mistakes" that wrought the atrocious war. The Wiki page is detailed and serves as an excellent primer.
So this is the analogy. The Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare touched off powder kegs on both sides, with each claiming some kind of victory. Obama popped his head up to acknowledge the "win," but he must see that he's in deep trouble over this when it comes to the election. Battle lines are being drawn, and this is one we *can't* afford to lose, much like the Allies in the trenches of the Western Front.
What InstaPunk has been saying right here for the last four years.