Who won the last Olympics?

That’s a trick question. No country ever “wins” an Olympics. Even better, winning is optional and wide open to interpretation. If the USA wins the most gold medals, we can say America won the Olympics. If Russia wins the most medals – gold, silver or bronze – they could say they won the Olympics. If Luxembourg sends only one athlete and he wins a bronze medal, Luxembourg can say they won the Olympics because 100 percent of their participants came home with a medal.

Wars are a little trickier. Who won World War II? For sheer power and sacrifice, the Soviet Union did more than its allies to destroy the Nazi war machine. The Pacific was almost entirely an American show, with valiant and appreciated support from Australia and New Zealand. Don’t forget the days when England stood alone absorbing terrible assaults from the air while keeping freedom’s candle lit until the other players could take the field.

We’re not through yet. Norway, with fewer than 4 million people, succeeded in damaging, sabotaging and actually sinking the production of the Norsk Hydro plant making heavy water for the Nazi nuclear program. That allowed Norway to say with at least some validity, “We kept Hitler from getting the atomic bomb.”

Americans are treated almost hourly to fresh scenarios for economic disaster. There’s little evidence anybody ever gives a thought to American military disaster. Let’s back up to World War II and take a deeper look. Hitler’s worst mistake was attacking the Soviet Union. How could he be so stupid? Well, for one thing, he knew millions of Russians despised Communism. That paid off big-time for Germany in the early going in 1941, as millions did, indeed, welcome the German troops as liberators, until Russian “fatherland patriotism” overwhelmed hatred of Communism. Also, Germany was accustomed to easy victories, at least against Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and even the larger Poland and France. However, German might had never been tested against a power like the Soviets on their own soil.

The real reason Hitler overreached so disastrously connects an interesting German yesterday with an unthinkable American tomorrow.

Stalin was as much a nut-cake as Hitler, just luckier. He fired or purged too many generals, replacing them with military incompetents from the Communist Party. As Europe veered toward war, the Soviets got edgy about their border with Finland being almost on top of the Leningrad city limits; no room for defense. Russia wanted the Karelian Isthmus as a buffer. Finland said no. Negotiations collapsed. The Soviets attacked, in a military campaign that should have been easier than Grenada or Panama. Instead, the world was treated to the spectacle of little Finland, with a population less than half that of Chicago, repelling and repelling and repelling the Red Army, inflicting massive Russian casualties, hundreds of smashed tanks and equipment, and bringing the hatred and ridicule of a bewildered world down hard upon Moscow.

Hitler got it all wrong. He just figured the Soviets were bad fighters. He ignored the importance of the military illiterates Stalin sent to lead them.

Give a sentient American a pen and a legal-size pad and ask him to take his time and list Obama’s 10 worst mistakes. Obamacare would be there. So would misuse of the IRS. Then stimuli that didn’t stimulate, green dollars plunging down green energy rat-holes, the many-sided catastrophes of Benghazi, the caving in to Iran on sanctions in a craven manner unbefitting a superpower, and possibly even bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia. Then there’s the idiotic, narcissistic gifts Obama gave the queen of England.

Absent from most Americans’ lists would be the firing of all those loyal, experienced and downright good American generals and the trashing of the American military. Some might hit on the inability of lady Marines to do three pull-ups. Or military abortions, or women in combat. For some reason the massive firing of generals fails to horse-collar America’s attention. And Obama’s at it full-throttle.

Big mistake. Bad mistake. There’s no more effective way to trash a military silently and non-violently than firing the good generals and making the unfired ones afraid to tweet.

Remember President Reagan noting he’d lived through a lot of American wars and couldn’t name one we’d gotten into because we were too strong? Some of us miss a strong-as-possible America already. Our struggle is trying, patiently, to convince the rest of you.

Prior to World War I the German Kaiser paid a state visit to neighboring Switzerland, where he was a guest witness to the Swiss Army’s maneuvers. After the exercises the Kaiser approached the head of the Swiss armed forces and said, “You have a spunky army of half-a-million men. What would you do if we attacked you with a million men?”

The Swiss general thought for a moment and then replied, “We would each shoot twice!”

History shows that the Kaiser elected to go through Belgium instead.

Media wishing to interview Barry Farber, please contact [email protected].

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