The wisdom of Rambo

(Originally posted January 02, 2008)

Well, the New Year 2008 has begun! To a political-minded person like me, that means one thing:  The new elections are coming up soon. The ALL-IMPORTANT Iowa caucus is coming up next week (Why anyone really cares what Iowa thinks, I’m not entirely sure).

Huckabee’s not really my first choice, but I do know one thing:  Chuck Norris doesn’t vote in elections; he decides them. 

Have been chillin’ a lot over the break. Saw a couple good movies with friends, and I’ve just hung out with friends and family. It has been a nice break from the hectivity of Knoxville.

You often hear people complain that no one makes any good movies anymore. But come to think of it, it seems like I have seen a lot of rather good movies lately. I watched I am Legend last week, and it was pretty hard core. Very exciting, kind of like Jurassic Park intensity multiplied by about three. I finally saw a preview for the new Narnia movie. It won’t come out until May — two and a half years after the first one!  That’s even longer in between movies than the Star Wars prequels.

But the movie I’m really looking forward to is Rambo 4It comes out January 25th. Should be amazing. Anyway, my friend Jeremy hadn’t seen any of the Rambos, so I’ve been showing him the whole series recently. Rambo is an important series, but it quite possible to mistake its meaning. For example…
In Rambo III, Colonel Troutman tells his Soviet captors that they cannot beat the people of Afghanistan.

Now, this seems like an innocent comment, but a lot of people have lately taken this same idea and twisted it into a complete jumble of nonsense. For example, two of my (older) friends made comments to me regarding a newly popular political belief, which goes something to the effect of, “You cannot win a war of conquest,” or “America needs to stop intervening militarily overseas.” Since I’m the one providing brilliant analysis here, I’ll go ahead and tell you that both statements are absurd.

 Of course you can win a war of conquest. How does anyone think the Soviet Union got as big as it did (and lasted for half a century), or that America got as big as it did (and lasted 200+ years), or that Rome got as big as it did (and lasted 1000+ years)? Sorry Ron Paul supporters. Get a clue.

No, what can’t be won as easily is a proxy war. Vietnam was a proxy war where we fought against forces backed by the Soviet Union. We never came up with the guts to really strike at the heart of North Vietnam (much less the U.S.S.R.) directly, but we bore the pain of their interference regardless. Similarly, the Korean War was a proxy war. There, we fought  hordes upon hordes of Chinese soldiers, and we eventually split the country in two because we refused to strike at the heart of the enemy. We limited our use of force.

In Korea, General MacArthur advocated the use of nuclear weapons to keep the Chinese from sending in reinforcements. Instead of taking his advice, (Democratic) President Truman fired General MacArthur. Now we have to worry about North Korea using nuclear weapons against us. Thanks Truman!

By the way, in recent news, North Korea has missed another of its disarmament deadlines. Oh wait, is that news?

Anyway, the point of this fascinating history lesson is that war is not pointless. Halfhearted, NICE war is pointless. The colonel in Rambo III was not entirely correct:  You can defeat a free people through invasion if you do it right. In fact, any true fan of Rambo could tell you that a major theme of Rambo III was the need for American intervention. (The characters were in Afghanistan to supply Afghan rebels.) The Soviet Union would have conquered Afghanistan if we had not sent weapons to the rebels. The new movie Charlie Wilson’s War is about this same situation.

Some pessimistic people act like the invasion of Iraq has been doomed from the start — because we’ve been trying to “conquer” an “unbeatable” “free people.” Umm, no. On the contrary, we initially had trouble because 1) We didn’t send a large number of troops to stabilize the country, and 2) Iran has been funding insurgents in Iraq while we do zilch to stop them.

So what we need is not less foreign intervention but MORE foreign intervention, with way more aggressiveness and bloodshed. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to put up with less bad behavior from other people (My other resolution is to learn the guitar). Maybe the country should adopt a similar resolution and start knocking out its enemies left and right — instead of trying to fight unwinnable proxy wars.



Emily posted,
“ummm Drew…that video.
(01-06-2008, 1:37 am)


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