Skip to comments.What If the French Had Pulled a "Murtha" in 1781?
Posted on 11/18/2005 7:16:40 PM PST by Congressman Billybob
There was an appalling lack of historical perspective in the House debate Friday night on the Murtha Resolution. It called for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq (to a safe haven from which they could return). What would have happened to the United States, had France held a similar debate in 1781?
Lets set the stage. The American Revolution was then four years old. French officers and soldiers under the leadership of General Lafayette, had fought along side General Washington. The French fleet under Admiral de Grasse had recently entered the conflict, and blocking the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
General Washington cornered British General Cornwallis at the small Virginia town of Yorktown. But, if France had its Assembly then, how might the debate have gone? We take our script from the debate a small number of Americans just watched on C-SPAN.
(I summarize an hour of debate by scores of Members into just two statements. One is FOR the Resolution for immediate withdrawal of all French forces from the Americas to a safe haven, conveniently available in the French colony of Haiti. The other is AGAINST.)
Mr. Speaker: This military adventure in the Americas has gone on for four years, with no end in sight. Much French blood has been shed. Millions of francs have been spent. And yet the Crown has no plan to end this war, and save French blood, and French treasure. It is time to withdraw our forces, since they are only provoking the British to greater ferocity.
Mr. Speaker: There is a purpose in our participation in the American Revolution. If history teaches anything, it teaches that we will encounter the British on the field of battle. If we do not resist them by joining the American Revolution and fighting the British across the ocean, we will assuredly fight them on the outskirts of Paris. Besides, it is our national interest to have as a national trading partner, this new United States of America, free of British influence, troops, and ships. Not just France, but the entire civilized world, will benefit from that favorable outcome. The only strategy we can have, we should have, is to stay committed until that victory is won.
What would have happened if the French had voted to withdraw from their American adventure?
Without French soldiers under Lafayette, most importantly without the fleet under de Grasse, the Battle of Yorktown would have turned out differently. Without the French fleet at his back, General Cornwallis could have escaped the closing ring of American bombardment at Yorktown. Instead of being forced to surrender, Cornwallis and his army would have lived to fight again.
And there were still other British armies in the field in the Americas, though Cornwallis led the most formidable army at that time.
Without the surrender of Cornwallis and his entire army, not only would the American Revolution not have been won with that critical battle, it would have gone on, and might never have been won. The English Prime Minister, Lord North, resigned as a direct result of this battle, and British policy on the war abruptly changed as a result.
If the French had cut and run at the critical time in the American Revolution, the Americans might have lost their war for independence from Britain. All those Americans, beginning with John Hancock, who signed their names to the Declaration of Independence, would have been duly tried, and then hung by the neck until dead for their treason against King George III, as expressed in that document.
America would have remained a British colony, and would never have become a world power. It would never have written and established its Constitution. It would have served as an example, but a bad one, to those in any other nation who believed in freedom, self-determination, and government of the people, by the people, and for the people, to coin a phrase.
Oh, and we would have to play God Save the Queen before our NFL Games.
The consequences for the Iraqis, if the Americans retreat, will be far worse. Instead of dozens of their leaders being executed as traitors, millions of their citizens will be executed for participating in this folly of freedom and democracy. Given the kinds of weapons that the world possesses, and outlaw regimes can buy or develop if left to their own devices, the consequences for the rest of the world will be similarly disastrous, with deaths measured in the millions.
In this entire debate, there were only a few, minor references to American military history, other than references only to progress (or lack of progress) in Iraq itself. Rep Louie Gohmert, R, Tex.) made such a reference, quoting from a letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail, that we have victory within our grasp.
About the Author: John Armor is a First Amendment attorney and author who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu
John / Billybob
If Murtha was prepared to cut and run at the first sign of difficulty, he should not have voted for the war to begin with. He obviously has no clue what he's doing. I would suggest that he look for some other line of work.
Thanks for this great article that puts this debate in the proper perspective.
The Dems are calling it "shameful politics" to be asked to vote on the course they have been strongly advocating.
Am I missing something? </sarcasm>
Great Freepin' point, John
bttt and a request for ping lists so this will get wider readership ...
Instead it was the British who pulled a "Murtha".
If the French had cut and run?
Woulda taken us what? another six months?
And then we could have dispensed with 225 years of unnecessary gratitude to a bunch of Euro-slime.
Good stuff, CB. Thanks for posting it.
Once again, clear thinking.
Without French help we would have definetly lost the American Revolution.
Shows just what the cowardly scum of the left is made up of. They have the heart and strength of popular culture, in other words, they have none of either.
You got the "right stuff."
I like to use the same parallel approach," What if we had intervened in Germany to blunt the rise of the fascism instead of chewing our cuds under Roosevelt?"
Woeld War II would have been averted. Iraq shows that we have absorbed a lesson learned from WW II.
That ain't bad at all!
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