America at war
This is a jaundiced and not terribly inaccurate account of America's military history. Written by Anon.
This marks the first real time that the place we think of as America went to war. This was primarily because Indians were getting so scarce on the coast that they could only be massacred in season, and the colonists needed something to do to pass the time. As a consequence they cheered as All-American Hero the Duke of York marched into a tiny Dutch trading post at the mouth of the Hudson, leading those brave All-American boys shipped from over the Atlantic onwards to victory.
Known in America as the French and Indian war, primarily because a good part of the war consisted of the French fighting the Indians, while Americans sat on the side- lines wondering which one would be the easier to massacre. (The official reason for calling it the French and Indian war is because of how it was started by Austria trying to win land off Prussia). The colonists were particularly keen to start the war, and promptly saw their militia slaughtered by the French and Indians, who decided to team up just to give foreigners something to laugh about in later years. After this the war consisted mainly of the Americans waiting for the Household cavalry to appear over the horizon and win the day, which they do over the space of approximately 90 minutes on a bank holiday weekend in 1759. Already we can see a rule forming here- without significant foreign military aid America has severe trouble beating an enemy wielding anything more deadly than a beach parasol.
The Seven Years war led to the formation of the second rule of American warfare- there's always someone to fight. Without the French in Canada or the Spanish in Florida, there was only one option- fight them- selves! Using the convenient excuse of being taxed to pay for their own defence, Americans decided to throw off the oppressive chains of British imperial domination that would later turn Canada into a 1984-style hell. New England rednecks scored impressive victories over regular British forces commanded by inbred incompetents with desires of beating the Russians in the Worst Officer Class ever awards. Wanting fancy uniforms, the Americans then draw up a proper army, which is promptly shattered. The states then argued about who should pay for their independence, while their generals won victories by massacring drunken Germans on internationally recognised holidays. Eventually the French managed to win control over the seas and land some competent officers to instruct the Americans. They then managed to hold on to enough territory while the pro-American opposition in Parliament forced the British to end the war. Thus was born the Land of the Free(tm) and the Home of the Brave(tm)- two commodities which America has had a complete monopoly on ever since.
The second rule came into play once again, and America looked for someone to beat up. They decide on several million square miles of uninhabited wilderness. End result, Wilderness 1, America 0. The Americans try to pull off a three pronged attack into practically unprotected Canada, while the colonial overlord has all her troops involved in a war to decide the fate of the civilised world 5,000 miles away. American troops distinguished themselves by refusing to fight outside of their home state, showing a firm understanding of the idea of an offensive war. Britain manages to spare enough troops from the Gotterdammerung in Europe to take America's capital city almost without a fight and burn it to the ground. Clearly we see the first rule in play here- America has trouble beating a force under a man whose chief CV point is being distantly related to Wellington. Although no film was made of this war, it is famous for being the place from which America's national anthem derives, originally titled "Hey look- we've finally won a battle!".
Having established the USA as a beacon of freedom and tolerance in which everyone had a say in the running of the country, the American people found to their horror that centuries of biological warfare had not quite wiped out the natives. Following a policy of 'It's not genocide if there are no survivors', the government decided that the best way to serve the interests of the native Americans was to relocate them all to a telephone box in Arizona. The US army spend fifty glorious years fighting a brave struggle against a cunning and dastardly foe who stood for everything America didn't, like the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The war is the stuff of legend in the US, and many American school- children hope that one day they too can go and cleanse Holy American Land of the filthy, alien indigenous peoples.
Having dealt with the Indians, the Americans felt confident that they could take on an enemy slightly higher up the ladder of inferior races. Not wanting to take too much in the way of risks they settle on Mexico, which was accused of stockpiling the Pacific coast and violating the no-salsa zone. In its 25 year history Mexico had already managed to lose a war to the three farmsteads that made up Texas, so the US had a fair chance of getting at least a draw. American troops do surprisingly well, especially considering the fact that the enemy have firearms.
Once again the second rule comes into play- no Indians, no Mexicans, not Canadians to fight. Who next? The answer in retrospect was obvious- hillbillies. Needless to say, the USA was hardly going to make this a fair fight, making sure it massively outnumbered the south in everything that mattered. And they still managed to lose, nearly. Once again, Americans simply could not be bothered to get up and fight, preferring to sit at home and hoping the problem would go away. Having escaped getting their capital Southern Fried for a second time, the north finally remembers that there isn't anyone else who they can get to fight this war for them, and proceed to pillage and burn anything that looks even vaguely redneck. This war is most famous for the film Gone With the Wind, with its classic summary of American foreign policy for the past 300 years- "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn".
After realising that war actually involved effort, America found war 'boring' and 'no longer fun'. As a consequence it was another thirty years before someone poor and weak enough to be a worthy adversary was found. With Mexico looking too dangerous America decided to pick on the world's most decrepit empire- Spain. With a navy consisting of two old tin baths and a rubber duck the Spanish put up a valiant fight, assuming that a valiant fight consists of synchronised suicide. The Americans take a hill overlooking an insignificant town at ridiculously high cost, lose about a tenth of their entire army to disease and decide that it's too much effort to bother fighting a proper battle and just wait for the Spanish to give in. This they duly do, and America 'liberates' Cuba, whose gratitude shines through to this day.
1914 was the year that Europe decided that peace, prosperity and having sections of the population aged between 15 and 35 was overrated. When war starts America manages to have its cake and eat it- not only do they sit around waiting for someone else to fight the war for them, but they kill a load of inferior Mexicans for refusing to salute the US flag. Eventually, after they find out that Germany has offered to help Mexico invade the USA, realising they would have an enemy who could fight back, America finally goes to war. Arriving just in time to chase the Germans back and claim victory, American history books could claim that without them Germany would have conquered the entire world. Upon entering the war- zone American commanders demonstrate their intelligence and cunning by marching all their troops straight at the German guns. At this point even the Allied generals, for whom the greatest horror of war was being unable to get real Turkish delight for their mistresses, had figured out that this wasn't the smartest of moves. The great fighting ability of the American soldier is demonstrated by achieving in seven months three times as many casualties as Belgium managed to suffer in four years, despite being in the middle of Trench warfare for all that time.
America's finest hour. Sadly, that isn't saying much. The internationally recognised Most Evil Man Ever makes a bet with his friends about how many countries he can conquer before America declares war on him. He is on his twelfth when he gets so angry at America's laziness that he decides to declare war on them in exasperation. The Americans discover that the Japanese are not actually bandy- legged inferior people who couldn't see in the dark when they mount a surprise attack that knocks out most of the US military in the pacific. You do rather wonder what exactly the US navy thought the armada bearing down on one of their biggest naval bases was- a yacht club with a taste for military grey perhaps. The second world war was, for America, fought in two places. The first was the Pacific theatre, where America once again performed gloriously, managing to take less land off the Japanese than the Australians, before finding a way to win the war that only required a dozen or so people to leave their hammocks on tropical pacific islands. The war in Europe was characterised by American commanders trying to show cunning and guile, but giving up and borrowing the Russian tactic 'if we outnumber you ten to one, we can afford to lose nine of them'. Thanks to this war Americans can tell any nationality in Europe that 'If it wasn't for us you'd all be speaking German'. Missing out on the fact that had the Germans won the war they would have said, rightly, that if it wasn't for them you'd all be speaking English.
Five years of peace occur before the second rule strikes, and America once again is off to fight. Several million Koreans under the command of a ruthless communist dictator attack several hundred thousand Koreans under the command of a regular old ruthless dictator, and needless to say, the USA feels obliged to fight for democracy in the area. On the flipping of a coin it is decided that the South Koreans are the more democratic, and need helping. Washington is horrified when it finds out that two squads of the Kentucky National Guard can't actually hold off a million-man communist Blitzkrieg. They're even more horrified when, having beaten the Koreans, the Chinese get involved and force the Americans to give up half the country. America decides that war's really sad anyway and it's only for losers and they weren't really playing and China was cheating.
American post-war military history is a bit like that of someone in a corporate band called the Allies. First the group was working together, making some good singles and a chart-topping album called World War 2. Then the band started to have disagreements and fights, France goes off to have a solo career, and eventually everyone's 'following their heart' and producing utter crap. The Vietnam war is the equivalent of the single that means the airhead singer will never work again. Having not fought a proper war for at least ten years, the Americans try to find a suitable dictatorial regime to prop up. Before you can say 'My Lai' American troops are swarming through the jungles, enjoying the warm hospitality of the natives. American troops are particularly keen to be polite, scrupulously obeying the ancient Vietnamese tradition for visitors- burning down the village and butchering the children of your host. American airmen promise to 'bomb Vietnam back to the stone age', then proceed to drop 2/3rd of their bombs on South Vietnam- the country they are notionally defending. At home American youths flee to Canada, on the grounds that they don't want to fight in the jungles of South East Asia until the army figure out a way of killing people without leaving the air-conditioned bases. Eventually America decides that it's all too much hard work, and that the South Vietnamese can be enslaved by communism after all. 50,000 Americans die in a guerilla war in the jungles of South East Asia- coincidentally the same number of troops required by the British to win a guerilla war in the jungles of South East Asia ten years earlier.
Having lost to a nation whose idea of advanced weaponry was a bicycle with a sharp stick tied to the front, America decides to go back to basics for their next war. Fast approaching the constitutionally forbidden tenth year of peace, the US army selects its target- Grenada. As the world's second largest nutmeg producer, it was only a matter of time before it joined with the godless communists and destroyed freedom as we know it. For a nation with a population one fifth the size of the US airforce the natives put up a strong fight. However soon America has made certain that the world is once again safe for democracy, apple pie and discount tourism. The world applauds America's success much in the way a teacher at a school for 'special' students does when one of their charges manages to draw an upside down H at the age of fifteen.
America's on a roll, having managed to defeat Panama after several years of protracted trench warfare. Now it's time to start playing in the premier league, and the US decides to take on Iraq. Having secured UN support there are enough foreigners to do the military equivalent of holding a kid up when they use a bike without stabilisers for the first time. Even with widespread international help, the Iraqis know it's still going to be nowhere near a fair fight unless they help the Americans out a lot, for example by taking the batteries out of their own tanks and push starting them in the morning. Even with this the US army has trouble getting their head around the whole idea. One American unit makes the mistake of confusing the Union Jack with the Iraqi flag, and ends up killing more British soldiers than the entire Iraqi military. Having managed to drive the enemy out of Kuwait, the Americans once again get bored, and put defeating Saddam Hussein on their 'to do' pile, promising to get it done after the barbeque next week.
Or, as American commanders originally referred to it, T.W.A.T. Finally America had found its calling- a war that involved plenty of cool explosions, the needless death of allies to moronic friendly-fire incidents, slaughter of generic dark-skinned natives, an Evil sounding enemy and, most importantly, no risk whatsoever for any Americans. Thanks to American bravery in handing suitcases of cash to Afghani warlords and bombing raids against dictionary suppliers, terror was completely destroyed, in another glorious victory for the USA.
This page was last updated December 1, 2004.