Repeatedly, REPEATEDLY, during both the second and third debate, Trump mentioned George Patton and Douglas MacArthur, in context “Patton and MacArthur would be turning in their graves…” if they were confronted with Hillary’s political and military decisions. This has driven me insane. Twice.
Let’s start with the more subtle issue of Patton. Patton, while impressive in his North Africa campaign, would probably not fit in to the modern military ideals so well. Patton was well renown for ignoring possible civilian casualties to throw huge numbers of troops and equipment directly at the target with little regard for both his own sides lives and the lives of the people living there. This sort of military approach, “total war”, made famous in United States history by William Tecumseh Sherman, is rather frowned upon in a post Geneva Convention era. Patton, while militarily effective, would never have been able to operate in this current military and political climate.
But MacArthur… MACARTHUR… MacArthur doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Patton unless it is a military chronology, let alone Hillary Clinton, because despite the fact that she has never served in the military making her totally unqualified to be a general (kind of like Trump and the Presidency) she could still general circles around MacArthur.
MacArthur’s contribution to WW2 was island hopping, the idea of only taking only specific islands in a line to approach more strategic Japanese locations. This seems obvious now, why take the entire wall when you could make a tiny hole and stream into the city through that, but at the time it was ingenious and revolutionary. So revolutionary, in fact, that when Hitler did it to the Maginot line in France everyone was shocked.
Wait, What? I hear you ask me in your head.
That’s right. After WW1 France created the Maginot line, a series of interconnected fortresses and cannonades on France’s Northern border pointing directly at Germany. It was thought to be impenetrable, since taking every single fortress would have been required uncountable manpower and unprecedented military machinery. This made sense in a world without… say… planes… and tanks… but it also made sense in the context of WW1’s trench warfare. This fortress line would give France a huge advantage if Germany ever made a giant trench line across that border again. Hitler looked at this and literally loled. Then he took his tanks, and his planes, and his army, and marched it right through the Maginot Line in a straight line, taking 5 of the over 200 fortresses before entering France.
MacArthur credited Hitler’s tactics in piercing the Maginot line with the Allies victory in the Pacific. That’s right, MacArthur’s greatest accomplishment was credited to Hitler. And it turns out he didn’t even come up with it, and aide suggested adopting similar tactics. So MacArthur’s greatest accomplishment was listening to an aide suggest they act like Hitler.
Fast forward to the Korean War. The Korean War, if you study it long enough, becomes an internal struggle between hawkish politicians who want to go to war with China to undermine communist influence and everyone else who thought that that was absolutely insane. Both sides were deeply paranoid, powerful, and far reaching. MacArthur was one of the more famous hawks, advocating for such humanitarian efforts as NUKING CHINA. (Actually, the more that I talk about MacArthur, the more Trump’s apparent idolization of him makes sense; neither has a strong concept of the impact and severity of nuclear weapons.)
MacArthur was put in charge of the Korean War from the outset, and he did exactly what he learned from the Pacific Campaign and marched in a straight line. Never mind that he was fighting a totally different enemy in an entirely different arena with widespread public support, he thought that this war was strategically similar to the last. Because it wasn’t MacArthur who learned military history’s lessons, it was Hitler, which is why when given the opportunity to do it again, he failed miserably. MacArthur marched the United States military in a straight line, right through North Korea, towards the goal he really wanted: China. (Again, lots of similarities with Trump).
See, MacArthur thought that if he got close enough to China, they would see Chinese troops in North Korea, and attack them. This would instigate the Chinese into a full scale invasion, which would throw the USA into all out war with China. MacArthur wanted all out war with China because he was an idiot more concerned with the spread of communism than the colossal tole such a war would have taken on humanity.
The CIA didn’t find evidence of Chinese Troops in North Korea, but what they did have were intelligence reports of North Korean troops surrounding the Americans as they traipsed north towards China. They also had pictures of China massing troops on the border in preparation to defend itself. MacArthur didn’t trust the CIA, because similar to Donald Trump, he believed it was rigged. Actually that’s not fair. MacArthur refused to listen to the CIA because he thought that he was right and Washington couldn’t possibly have a better grasp of what was happening than he did because they weren’t there.
MacArthur finally arrived and crossed the border. China threw him backed with sheer weight of people involved. MacArthur was forced to retreat in shame back through North Korea, all the while being harassed and slaughtered by the North Koreans who had surrounded the US army, sort of like how the CIA had suggested. This was the worst defeat of an American army since the Civil War. MacArthur was immediately removed from command.
This is the general that Trump keeps touting as an icon. What a joke.