George W. Bush Attacks Obama On Foreign Policy

Pot, meet kettle.

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For the most part, former President George W. Bush has followed the example set by his father and remained quiet regarding the policy decisions made by his successor in office, something that has set him apart from the rest of his part and, of course, his brother, who is now in the process of running to succeed President Obama. That came to an end over the weekend, though, when President Bush apparently decided to open up on the sitting President at a private event in Las Vegas:

In a closed-door meeting with Jewish donors on Saturday night, former President George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticisms to date against his successor on foreign policy, saying that President Barack Obama is being naïve about Iran and the pending nuclear deal and losing the war against the Islamic State.

One attendee at the Republican Jewish Coalition session, held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas with owner Sheldon Adelson in attendance, transcribed large portions of Bush’s remarks. The former president, who rarely ever criticizes Obama in public, at first remarked that the idea of re-entering the political arena was something he didn’t want to do. He then proceeded to explain why Obama, in his view, was placing the U.S. in “retreat” around the world. He also said Obama was misreading Iran’s intentions while relaxing sanctions on Tehran too easily.

According to the attendee’s transcription, Bush noted that Iran has a new president, Hassan Rouhani. “He’s smooth,” Bush said. “And you’ve got to ask yourself, is there a new policy or did they just change the spokesman?”

Bush said that Obama’s plan to lift sanctions on Iran with a promise that they could snap back in place at any time was not plausible. He also said the deal would be bad for American national security in the long term: ”You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.”

Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama’s policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. On Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011, he quoted Senator Lindsey Graham calling it a “strategic blunder.” Bush signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw those troops, but the idea had been to negotiate a new status of forces agreement to keep U.S. forces there past 2011. The Obama administration tried and failed to negotiate such an agreement.

Bush said he views the rise of the Islamic State as al-Qaeda’s “second act” and that they may have changed the name but that murdering innocents is still the favored tactic. He defended his own administration’s handling of terrorism, noting that the terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was captured on his watch: ”Just remember the guy who slit Danny Pearl’s throat is in Gitmo, and now they’re doing it on TV.”

Obama promised to degrade and destroy Islamic State’s forces but then didn’t develop a strategy to complete the mission, Bush said. He said that if you have a military goal and you mean it, “you call in your military and say ‘What’s your plan?’ “ He indirectly touted his own decision to surge troops to Iraq in 2007, by saying, “When the plan wasn’t working in Iraq, we changed.”

“In order to be an effective president … when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”

On some level, of course, the idea of former President Bush criticizing his successor regarding his policies in the Middle East in general, and Iraq in particular, would seem to be a fine example of chutzpah. After all, as I and many others have pointed out before, there is a strong case to be made that many of the problems that the world is facing today in that part of the world can be directly tied to the 43rd President’s decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 and the forces that it set in motion both in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. At its most basic level, it’s simply an undeniable fact that the organization that we call ISIS began its like as al Qaeda in Iraq, an organization that was formed in direct response to the American invasion and which flourished in the years after the downfall of the regime of Saddam Hussein thanks largely to an influx of foreign fighters who came to Iraq to kill and maim American soldiers. Would there even be an ISIS if there had been no Iraq War? The answer to that question seems to pretty clearly be that it would not. That isn’t to say that an Iraq where there had never been an American invasion in 2003 would be a garden of peace, but we can most assuredly say that much of what has happened in that country and, by extension, in Syria in many respects, would not have occurred if President Bush had not insisted on invading Iraq in 2003 for reasons that, even at the time, seemed dubious at best. Given that, any opinions that he expresses today about foreign policy in general, and the Middle East in particular, should be taken with a grain of salt at the very least and perhaps don’t even deserve to be given much credibility at all.

None of this is to say, of course, that President Obama’s foreign policy is not above criticism. Whether its in Syria, Libya, Yemen, the conflict against ISIS, or what clearly seems in retrospect to have been an ill-advised Afghan Surge, the current President has made plenty of his own mistakes that are likely to resonate long after he leaves office, just like his predecessor did. In many cases, though, the mistakes have come in instances where he was essentially following the same policies that had been first laid down by his predecessors. The supporters of both Presidents will deny that vehemently, of course, but it seems to certainly be the case. The Afghan Surge was, to a large degree, President Obama doubling down on the strategy that Bush had adopted in Afghanistan when that war suddenly turned away from fighting al Qaeda toward propping up the regime in Kabul. His decision to join the Europeans in a Libyan intervention that is only now beginning to manifest it in the chaos that many critics of the strategy predicted bears many resemblances to the Iraq War even though the military footprint was far less substantial. The decision to extend the “War On Terror” into countless nations around the world through drone strikes and targeted assassinations has reinforced much of the resentment against the United States that similar policies by the Bush Administration had. For two Presidential terms now, we’ve had Presidents playing games in the Middle East when its clear that they have little understanding what they are doing, and we’re only beginning to understand the consequences of what they’ve done for the world. The ironic thing is that the guy who wrote the playbook is criticizing his most successful protege for basically doing the same things he did.

Josh Rogin put it quite well:

For George W. Bush, the remarks in Vegas showed he has little respect for how the current president is running the world. He also revealed that he takes little responsibility for the policies that he put in place that contributed to the current state of affairs

The interesting question, of course, is why Bush chose this point in time to start saying things that he has probably believed for quite some time now. The only logical conclusion is that he is motivated to do this because of his brother’s impending run for the Presidency. If that’s his motivation, then it strikes me that he could end up doing his brother more harm than good. As it is, Republican activists are not entirely thrilled with Jeb Bush to begin with, and there’s been much conversation about the wisdom and propriety of nominating yet another member of the same family for President. Additionally, in the same meeting,  and in other forums, the former President has admitted that he could potentially be a liability for his brother due to his own standing with the public. Most recent polling shows the former President with the highest negative ratings of any living former President, for example. Putting himself out there now, just as his brother is seeking to shake off the idea that he’s just another Bush as he runs for office seems to be counterproductive. I wouldn’t expect to see George W. Bush out on the stump for his brother, but I can’t think that it’s helpful when he puts himself out in the public like this, especially on a topic where he is just as open to criticism as President Obama. So, if former President Bush thinks he’s doing he’s brother any favors by speaking out now he’s likely to be sadly mistaken.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Iraq War, National Security, Politicians, Terrorism, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. stonetools says:

    Heh. Please proceed, Mr. Ex-President.

    I’m sure Republican primary opponents and HRC will be happy to contrast current Administration FP with the GWB record. Throw us in that briar patch!

  2. C. Clavin says:

    There is an epidemic in this country….and the disease is un-recognized failures. George W. Bush is but one of those who has been stricken by this epidemic.
    Bush spent the lives of 4000 troops and over $2 trillion dollars invading Iraq, for no reason at all, and all in an apparent effort to gift it to Iran. That was the end result of his efforts, at any rate. ISIS also is the result of his failure in Iraq. Created solely by the hell Bush brought to Iraq, and the refusal of the Shia government he installed to deal with the much larger Sunni population in anything approaching a reasonable manner. Yet he is for some reason allowed to pontificate on foreign policy, instead of being roundly ridiculed.
    What’s next Mr. Bush…are you going to opine on economics next?
    You sir are a failure. A charlatan. An embarrassment to Presidents past and future. And before anyone objects to my tenor…these are not opinions…these are demonstrable facts.
    You have done well to date by shuffling off to your mansion in Dallas and acting the recluse. Don’t blow it now.

  3. DrDaveT says:

    If that’s his motivation, then it strikes me that he could end up doing his brother more harm than good.

    What a lovely thought to start the week with.

  4. george says:

    How common is it for former presidents to publically criticize current ones? If its common, then its to be expected that Bush criticize Obama, and Obama to criticize whoever follows him etc. If uncommon, then what Bush is doing is newsworthy.

    Jimmy Carter has been a pretty regular critic of his successors, Bush Sr has been consistently quiet. But I’m curious what the norm has been over say the last century.

  5. George,

    In recent history, it has not been common at all. Other than President Carter, I can’t think of a single President in the past 35 years who has publicly criticized a successor while they were in office. Reagan didn’t do it. George Herbert Walker Bush didn’t do it. Bill Clinton pretty much refrained from doing it until his wife was running for President.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    “In order to be an effective president … when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”

    Um….you mean like Osama Bin Laden?
    Go back to Texas, loser.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Nothing new here. We’ve had six years of Republicans refusing to take responsibility for the incredible mess they made. Having driven the car into the ditch they immediately hopped out and began attacking the tow truck driver. Chutzpah doesn’t begin to cover it.

    1) I’m not so sure the Afghanistan surge was a bad idea. Karzai is out and the new guy seems to be a bit less unstable. Taliban have not yet taken Kabul. We’ll have to see what they do come full spring, but if they don’t mount a major offensive we’re going to have to start wondering why.

    2) Libya. Yes, this has turned out rather badly. Of course they were already on the verge of civil war before we came along and blew stuff up real good. But there’s no way to spin this as a good thing.

    3) ISIS. It’s brain-dead bullsh!t to say Mr. Obama has no strategy. His strategy has been obvious from the start. He has contained ISIS. In fact, ISIS has been driving in reverse since last summer. Some elements of the Iraqi army seems to be functioning vaguely like an army, fighting, winning, holding ground. The Arabs in Jordan and the UAE are openly opposing ISIS and the KSA is obviously letting us use their bases and air space. ISIS has been isolated and degraded. Not only is there a strategy, it’s succeeding. The critics are idiots.

    4) Iran. Mr. Obama has made the first progress made by any American in decades. We have the framework of a deal. That doesn’t mean we’ll get a final deal, or that Iran will comply, but an Iranian bomb is further away than it was — which is sure as hell not something the cretin who used to be POTUS can say about his dealings with Iran. No one has done more to make Iran dangerous than Mr. Bush.

    Nothing is more disgustingly revealing than Mr. Bush remarks about calling up the military see what they want to do, heh heh heh. President Bevis. How in hell did we ever elect that moron?

  8. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    No one has done more to make Iran dangerous than Mr. Bush.

    And N. Korea, oh-by-the-way.

  9. c.red says:

    Best endorsement of Obama’s policies so far.

  10. Franklin says:

    In a closed-door meeting with Jewish donors on Saturday night, former President George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticisms to date …

    Technically public, but unless you’re a rich Jewish Republican this was essentially a private setting. That doesn’t excuse the remarks, but I don’t think GWB intended this to be front-page fodder. (The setting was not dissimilar to where Romney’s 47% remark was made.)

    In other words, he was talking to the echo chamber and still believes whatever he believes, and is still wrong about it.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Nothing new here. We’ve had six years of Republicans refusing to take responsibility for the incredible mess they made. Having driven the car into the ditch they immediately hopped out and began attacking the tow truck driver. Chutzpah doesn’t begin to cover it

    This is chutzpah of the highest order.

    President Bush’s disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq, for no reason directly related to the security of the United States, created the shift in power in the region from Iraq to Iran, and the chaotic ISIS infected landscape we are dealing with today.

    Bush is the architect of the most egregious foreign policy mistake of the last 40 years.

  12. Mark says:

    It’s George Bush. Who freaking cares? If anything, his disapproval is a good sign.

  13. C. Clavin says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Bush is the architect of the most egregious foreign policy mistake of the last 40 years.

    Ever. Not 40 years. In the history of the United States.

  14. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Reagan didn’t do it. George Herbert Walker Bush didn’t do it. Bill Clinton pretty much refrained from doing it until his wife was running for President.

    Well, Reagan didn’t do it because he was debilitated by Alzheimers, and Bill Clinton didn’t do it because his wife was a sitting Senator. So, you know, there were some practical real-world reasons there.

  15. Rafer,

    Fair points, perhaps, but are there that any examples of modern former Presidents criticizing their successors? Other than Carter, and now Bush 43, I can’t recall any.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Simple human decency and a sense of shame should have been all it took to stop George W. Bush from ever speaking publicly about anything. Ever. The man needs to get back to painting cat pictures back in Buttwipe, Texas.

  17. James Pearce says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Bush is the architect of the most egregious foreign policy mistake of the last 40 years.

    Benghazi?

  18. Steve V says:

    @Franklin: Yep. Not really “public,” and he was telling his audience what they came to hear. Still, I thought he would know better.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    And of course in the Republican mind the tragic killing of some Americans in Benghazi is absolutely the equal, if not far more important, than a miserably botched war and occupation that led directly to thousands of dead GI’s, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis, hundreds of billions of wasted dollars, and now Iranian Quds force actually running around Iraq killing ex-Saddam people and helping us (!) by cleaning up some of the mess we left behind . . . while of course extending the power and reach of the Mullahs.

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Steve V:
    I’d guess the “audience” was essentially just Sheldon Adelson and George W. was trying to keep Mr. Adelson from going all-in for Mr. Rubio. The former president of the United States licking the boots of a vice lord billionaire. Because that’s the world the Republican Supreme Court gave us.

  21. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Fair points, perhaps, but are there that any examples of modern former Presidents criticizing their successors? Other than Carter, and now Bush 43, I can’t recall any.

    There aren’t, but again, that’s due as much to real-world circumstance as to any notions of propriety. Kennedy couldn’t criticize anyone because he was murdered. Johnson left office a broken man, and was dead four years after leaving office. Nixon left office in disgrace, one step ahead of a criminal conviction. Reagan, as noted, had Alzheimer’s.

  22. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds:

    vice lord billionaire

    I may read too many spy novels but the fact that Sheldon Adelson has casinos in Macau probably means he has been totally compromised by Chinese intelligence. And yet there is potential for the President of the US to be totally indebted to him.

  23. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds: Exactly. Launching a war of choice for dubious reasons and with disastrous results is forgivable. Being Sec of State during a terrorist attack, on the other hand….

  24. Jackie Rawlings says:

    Now a War Criminal is asked to speak out and get the US back to War. Bush a convicted War Criminal in 2012 by the Malaysia court and pending war crimes charges in numerous nations is attacking Obama for not going to war against the ISIS group Bush created. Now Bush knows many Americans accepted the exposed information that the Saudi government paid the Saudi 9-11 terrorist and selected Florida to train to fly planes under the protection of Governor Bush. Yes we know everything said by President Bush was a lie and yes we do torture innocent men, women and children as the released documents showed. But this is the need to get oil rich land and control of Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Yes the gold is to bomb Iran and talk their oil rich land for Israel. Bush and Cheney are threats to the World and a danger to all human life as it is the greed for oil that pushes this mission. Few realized why even the attempted assassination on Reagan was about Bush getting to be President for the oil missions set in 1980. Attempts on Obama’s life have not been successful even with Secret Service members in the plan. Nations of the world should be on alert as they could be attacked by the US war hawks as they only have on friend the Israelis.

  25. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Other than Carter, and now Bush 43, I can’t recall any.

    The sample size of “presidents who left office and were even in any position to criticize their predeccessors” in the modern era is basically two, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. Most others were either dead (Kennedy, Johnson), sick (Johnson, Reagan), in disgrace (Nixon) or, had a wife who was herself an active politician after they left office (Clinton). (And there’s Ford, but c’mon).

  26. Dave D says:

    @Rafer Janders: Ford never got elected to POTUS so he would be a rather poor person to throw around insults.

  27. Dave D says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The one I recall because of how vocal it was, was T.R.’s epic public criticism of Wilson’s refusal to enter WWI. But T.R. also criticized Taft for basically everything and then ran against him basically allowing for Wilson to get elected.

  28. HankP says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug, Nixon criticized Carter extensively over Nicaragua and the Shah.

  29. george says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Ever. Not 40 years. In the history of the United States.

    Disagree, Vietnam was still worse. But being number two means Bush has to try harder.

    And actually, in terms of consequences, I think the Spanish-American war was also worse, since that gave the green light to getting involved in overseas empire building in the first place.

    And morally the Indian wars (and those were foreign policy decisions at the time, the first nations weren’t part of the US) were far worse than Vietnam or the Iran war. Worse in consequences too, though not for Americans.

  30. PD Shaw says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Clinton criticized Obama many times. He wrote a book after the 2010 midterms with criticisms and advise for what Democrats did wrong and should do now.

  31. bill says:

    @george: W’s criticism wasn’t “public”- it was made at a private affair.
    that he’s right has little to do with any discussion in here as “he” didn’t invade iraq without the consent of the congress.

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @bill:
    He gained the support of Congress by lying to them. So, yeah, it’s George W. Bush’s fault.

  33. C. Clavin says:

    @george:
    But wait…Iran is so evil we can’t talk to them, can’t trust them.
    If you listen to Republicans Iran is the worst possible evil.
    Iran will bring the apocalypse.
    So how is giving them Iraq not the biggest possible blunder?

  34. michael reynolds says:

    Actually I have a different suggestion for worst American foreign policy blunder: sitting out World War 1.

    Had we gotten in earlier it is much less likely that the war would have dragged on to the point where the Czar fell. Had the Czar not fallen the Bolsheviks might not have triumphed. Had the Bolsheviks not triumphed, their opposite numbers – Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany and Austria would likely not have risen in their turn.

    Had we had a capable military force and made a quick decision to throw all our weight behind France and Britain we’d likely have saved tens of millions of lives.

    We compounded the error by sitting out WW2 until the worst of it was over, thus ceding Eastern Europe to the Soviets.

    We’ve made mistakes getting into wars, but our biggest mistakes were in the name of peace.

  35. Dave D says:

    @michael reynolds: Completely skewed viewed of America at the start of WWI. We had a standing army of 200,000 in 1914. We had such low military capabilities we couldn’t even apprehend Pancho Villa in 1916-1917 border wars. This was one of the reasons we looked weak to the Germans and a reason for the unrestircted sub war and the Zimmerman Telegraph. Add to that the fact we disliked the Czar because he represented the Old style Europe that Britain and France were fighting against, and the immense amount of Irish and German immigrants in this country joining in 1914 was not possible. Wilson ran on an isolationist platform that was popular. We needed to build our industrial capacity arming both sides as well as all of the money that was transferred from the old world to the new to fund the war before we were capable of even fielding an army. Add to that we thought our forces would be reserve in Europe for at least 6 months and then only see the front to fill gaps in the French and British lines.
    Had we gotten in earlier we’d have lost millions of Americans in the senseless slaughter the occurred as a result of old tactics used to fight a modern war that none of the generals understood. It would have been a deathblow to Wilson and he likely would have lost to an isolationist opponent in 1916. Because Americans still weren’t used to going and fighting foreign wars. It would have likely been an unmitigated disaster for US as opposed to what happened when the banking centers moved from London to New York. What we should have avoided was backing the Whites in the Russian Revolution, which pushed the Soviets away from the West and did a lot to tarnish our relations with them.

  36. M. Bouffant says:

    @Scott: I think his Israeli wife is the agent who really compromised Adelson.

  37. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Dave D: Despite my belief in democracy, I think it was regrettable that Germany didn’t win WWI in 1914. A German victory would have been an ugly outcome, but the fact that the war didn’t drag on might have saved France the bloodletting that followed. The Czar would have fallen in any case, but the government that followed might have taken some steps toward democracy, rather than succumbing to a Bolshevist coup. Not to mention the fact that Corporal Hitler would probably have lived out his life in well-deserved obscurity.

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Dave D:

    Dude, I know all the reasons we didn’t take action more quickly in WW1, that doesn’t alter the fact that it was a catastrophic blunder. We had the capacity to arm up – witness 20 odd years later. Or for that matter, witness a couple years later when we did in fact arm up for our belated entry into WW1. More to the point we could have built our power years earlier but were hung up on outdated notions of Fortress America safe behind our oceans.

    When is a foreign policy situation not fraught with dissent, weakness, distraction, outdated ideology, lack of information, etc? We could have acted, we did not act, and that’s a blunder, regardless of excuses.

    A United States with military might commensurate with our economic and manpower capabilities could have been built up and maintained. It wasn’t. That’s a choice. We could have intervened earlier, we didn’t, that was a choice. Our choice to remain weak and passive was a blunder.

  39. Dave D says:

    @michael reynolds: We lacked the money and capacity in 1914. We used those three yers to build up those capacities by siphoning all of the money out of Europe. That said we would never have gotten any man power in sufficient numbers to make a difference before the front was set. We couldn’t have moved the men before the Battle for the Frontiers was closed. The only good it would have done would have been to prop up the Czar in the East. Other than that there is no way the American public would have the stomach for the losses that would have ensued at the Somme or Verdun or Passchendale.

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Dave D:
    The only comparative numbers I could find quickly were for GDP PPP in 1990 dollars, but the results:

    Germany’s GDP: 1913: 237 billion
    US GDP 1913: 517 billion.

    The Germans created one of the greatest armies in history out of a GDP a little over half ours.

    We had a population of 99 million. The Germans had 68 million.

    So we clearly had sufficient assets to establish and maintain a very capable military force which , had it been properly configured, could have arrived on the scene fairly quickly. We chose not to spend money on keeping a large military force. We had ideological reasons, but again, ideology is a choice. We made choices which amounted to a catastrophic blunder.

    More to the point, had we early on said, “Look here, kids, I know you all want a war, but if this gets going we will be the ones deciding the outcome,” it’s quite possible cooler heads would have prevailed.

    An earlier recognition of our latent power, and a foreign policy prepared to leverage that power, would quite possibly have averted WW1 and thus WW2 and the Stalinist era and the Cold War which itself came damned close to finishing off the human race.

    We chose to be weak when we could have chosen to be strong.

  41. CS says:

    Well, at least he’s disagreeing with what Obama did- I can’t think of a worse endorsement than him or Cheney saying “Yeah, we’d have probably done the same.”

    While I admit it’s not exactly the most self-honest moment a politician has ever had, I can’t blame him for trying to spin things. Knowing how history is likely to see you as the president chosen by the governor of Florida, sandwiched between two rather more successful presidents, and responsible for epic screwups both at home and abroad that were left for others to fix… Well, that can’t be a comfortable feeling.

    Yes, that may be a little heavy, but to be honest, he’s also not exactly popular with the sort of people who write history books.

  42. Dave D says:

    @michael reynolds: The Germans also had universal conscription going back to the formation of the German Empire. It had 40 years of heavy emphasis on it’s martial spirits and build ups. Had America in 1914 ramped up to try and field anything near what we had by 1917 it wouldn’t have gotten there before the closing of the front on the West. The convoy had yet to be invented so there would have been massive troop casualties transporting Americans to Europe due to u-boats. And we would have fielded a poorly equipped poorly trained army that would have been slaughtered at the front. Where do you see the US Army having had a truly impressive effect had it been called up and sent over as quickly as possible? Poorly trained US troops fighting the most professional army in the world that at that time was fresh would have been disastrous. Combine that with the mindset of isolationism and the huge amounts of German immigrants in this country and we would have made a separate peace when Wilson would’ve lost reelection in 1916.
    If you are suggesting we should have post Spanish-American War put more emphasis into building a World Class military we could have helped when Germany invaded Belgium, I agree. But as things stood in 1914 no disparity in GDP is going to erase the generations of Prussian military experience.
    We saw that disparity in the fights in the hedgerows and that was with total air superiority from the Allies, fighting an under supplied Nazi army. Combat going up the ranks is important.
    The only realistic way I could perceive a massive number of green US troops in 1914 that helps is to shore up the Russians, but even then supply lines were there biggest issue that we maybe would have been able to overcome but maybe not. Then after Italy joined maybe to help them try and move the front. But a lot of the reason the War in the east didn’t go better was logistical, and I can’t see us getting sufficient numbers quick enough to keep the trenches from forming. Then its just more cannon fodder until the public breaks. And America would have broken much sooner than any of the European nations while taking far less casualties because it wasn’t our war.

  43. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Dave D: I agree. In the Civil War, we took casualties commensurate with those of the major powers in WWI. The North’s death toll (as a percentage of population) was comparable to Germany’s. The South’s death toll was comparable to France’s. But The Great War was not our war in the same sense.

  44. george says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    Despite my belief in democracy, I think it was regrettable that Germany didn’t win WWI in 1914. A German victory would have been an ugly outcome, but the fact that the war didn’t drag on might have saved France the bloodletting that followed.

    Alternatively the Russians could have succeeded in their initial attack into Prussia, and ended the war then – that’d have given the same short war. They came almost as close as the Germans did on the Marne.