22 August 2006

Wars, short... Wars, long

The ever "need-to-recheck-to-find-out-if-facts-are-just-personal-viewpoint"able people contributing to Wikipedia have a nice little table of US Wars and casualties. Actually, I am not to interested in the casualties, per se, but in the *length* of wars. Now, some wars are short and mercifully so, while others seem to just drag on and on... Now, lets hit the highlights! (My thanks to the days between dates onlineconversion utility!)

American Revolution: Start date April 19, 1775
British Surrender at Yorktown: October 19, 1781 - 2,314 days
Treat of Paris: September 3, 1783 - 3,059 days
Last British Forces to leave, from New York City: November 25, 1783 - 3,142 days
Signed by Congress: January 14, 1784 - 3,192 days
Finishing of Constitution: September 17, 1787 - 4,543 days
Ratification of Constitution: March 4, 1789 - 5,068 days
Washington elected President, assumes office: April 30, 1789 - 5,125 days

Quasi-War, or Undeclared War with France
Starts: July 7, 1798
Ends: September 30, 1800 - 815 days

Barbary Wars
First: (now there should be some *real* start date to this... and
this german site gives 1 May... so be it!) May 1, 1801
End: June 10, 1805 - 1,501 days
Second: March 13, 1815
End: June 30, 1815 - 107 days

Northwest Indian War
Start -
Treaty of Wyandot: January 21, 1785 (I'm using this as a start date as it makes official things that become grievances for war... yes, a treaty that made things worse)
End: August 3, 1795 - 3,846 days

War of 1812
Start: June 8, 1812
Treaty of Ghent: ratified & proclaimed - February 18, 1815 - 975 days

Mexican-American War
Hostilities start for cassus belli: April 24, 1846
Declaration of War by US: May 13, 1846 - 19 days
End: February 2, 1848 - 649 days

US Civil War
Fighting starts: April 12, 1861
Last Confederate forces to surrender:
CSS Shenandoah November 4, 1865 - 1,667 days

Western Indian Wars - cumulative, used to show duration of struggle
Arikara War - June 1, 1823 (citation)
End: October 5, 1898 - 27,520 days

Philippine-American War
Start: February 4, 1899
End: May 1, 1902 (last capable general surrenders while sick and his forces in April) - 1,181 days
The Philippine Autonomy Act (Jones Law) - August 29, 1916 - 6,415 days
Philippine Sovereignty - July 4, 1946 - 17,316 days

Boxer Rebellion
Start: June 11, 1898
End: June 7, 1901 - 1,091 days

World War I - US involvement to last treaty signed
Start: April 6, 1917
Armistice: November 11, 1918 - 584 days
Treaty of Lausanne: July 24, 1923 - 2,300 days

World War II - US involvement
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941
Japan surrenders to US: August 14, 1945 - 1,346 days
Japan surrenders to China: September 9, 1945 - 1,372 days

Korean War
Start: June 25, 1950
Armistice: July 27, 1953 - 1,128 days

Vietnam War - Official US involvement, although troops had been sent to Vietnam under Truman in 1950
Start: November 1, 1955
Signature of Foreign Assistance Act, ending all support of South Vietnam - December 30, 1974 - 6,999 days

1991 Gulf War
Start: Iraq invades Kuwait - August 2, 1990
Ceasefire: February 27, 1991 - 209 days

Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan component
Initial attack: September 11, 2001
Hostilities commence: October 7, 2001 - 26 days
Last cities surrender: December 7, 2001 - 87 days
Loya Jirga meets: June 11, 2002 - 303 days
Constitutional Legislative Elections: September 18, 2005 - 1,468 days

Iraq War - Operation Iraqi Freedom
Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force: October 11, 2002
Invasion of Iraq: March 20, 2003 - 160 days
Iraqi conventional forces declared defeated: May 1, 2003 - 202 days
Iraqi Legislative Election : January 30, 2005 - 842 days
Iraqi voting on Constitution: October 15, 2005 - 1,100 days
Constitutional Legislative Elections: December 15, 2005 - 1,161 days
Government of Iraq: May 20, 2006 - 1,317 days
Now there is perspective for you! So many folks going on about the war dragging on and on... now lets take a look at Iraq from today, August 22, 2006 which is 1,411 days into Iraq.

First we are still a few years short of Yorktown on the Revolutionary War timescale and about 1/3 of the way to the last British forces leaving the US. In fact, from the start of the Revolution to a fully and Constitutionally elected government we are a bit more than 1/4 of the way to doing the same in Iraq in helping those folks get their house in order after over 3 decades of tyranny.... and it is half a world away.

Secondly, we had wound up a few wars in less time and more satisfactorily, like the Quasi-War, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, the official part of the Philippine-American War, helping out against the Boxer Rebellion, the European portion of WWI, WWII, the Korean War and First Gulf War.

More to the point lets look at establishing something a bit larger via war and post-war. As mentioned the Revolutionary War was much longer, costlier in US lives as a portion of population (something like 10% of the then current population) and took forever to get a real government in place.

The Barbary Wars took a bit longer to finally get sorted out, didn't last that way and only really ended once the Ottoman Empire took over, so the initial problem of tribute to Muslims was ended, but only by a larger State taking over the place.

Getting the Indian problem settled in the Northwest Territories took a decade and still had some minor problems even after that. Of course this was part of a much larger problem that continued on from 1823 to 1898 as the US settled and expanded into the territory of the continent and established government and control. But, it was a low-level conflict of ongoing strife that flared up into pitched battles and revolts and then quieted down again. Somehow the Nation persevered over those 75 years. Not pretty, but it did happen.

A look at the Philippines to actually setting up a way to transfer power and setting *that* into place, took a long, long time and the US faced a continuous insurgency for about a decade after the end of the official conflict. Call it around 5,000 some-odd days to that and then the Jones Act passing into Law. Seen in *that* light, Iraq is going at a blistering pace and leaving skid marks as its tires rev up to speed! A long, long way to 17,000 and some days, and we are not even 10% of that. This would make previous generations *green* with envy, to have a US force so competent and capable that it can get a real government stood up with the HELP of the people in a foreign land and then fight the insurgency there WITH them. Look at how long it took in the Philippines and one gets the idea that the US had a will to stay and do the right thing there that is positively lacking today....and YES we also fought TWO WORLD WARS while that went on and had to LIBERATE the Philippines after the Japanese took it over. Where ARE the Americans of that era today? Yes, dead and buried save for the 'Greatest Generation'... and apparently their spirit of the Nation with them or is just tuckered out.

Vietnam was a huge slog, and the main problems there were: 1) Not allowing US forces to actually capture and control North Viet Namese territory, 2) Not allowing the South Vietnamese to do the same, 3) the resupply from the USSR and China which effectively had to resupply 3 or 4 COMPLETE North Viet Namese armies, 4) Not cutting off North Viet Nam's supply lines heading INTO their country, 5) Not following up the successful counter-insurgency against the Viet Cong to then roll back the North Viet Namese Army. Triple canopy jungle was a huge problem... but not addressing the strategic resupply of North Viet Nam nor their ability to continually take in supplies and feed them southwards was a huge problem: going after the supply into South Viet Nam did *not* address the problem of the supplies getting to North Viet Nam in the first place. Even with that the US had rendered the NVA incapable of open combat and *then* decided it was time to pull out and cut off supplies to South Viet Nam. Iraq, by these standards is going *swimmingly* with far fewer US forces needed, far fewer casualties, and the only resupply to insurgents needing to come through mountain or open desert territory. These resupplies are NOT of tanks, aircraft, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and the such, but small arms and explosives used to kill civilians. This is also war by proxy by Saudi Arabia and Iran against each other for the Nation known as Iraq... and Iraqis are not liking being in the shooting gallery between their countrymen in the pay of these folks.

What is Iraq like? Well, getting a government that is recognized in place took the US a hell of a long time... but then we had to INVENT how to do it while it was going on. Still, even by modern standards of the Philippines, say, this is still *excellent* progress.

What still has not been addressed is that while Afghanistan harbored terrorists, and Iraq supported multiple terrorist organizations with training and equipment... and Iran and Syria openly support terrorism... the real problem of Transnational Terrorism and how to fight it has not been addressed. Instead we get mis-reporting on the conflict as a whole with MSM collusion to boot! And even with all of this defeatist, anti-American reporting that the US can do *nothing* right being hit day by day with this... ONLY 30% of the American people are against the war, and really haven't figured out that killing or submission is the only thing that these terrorists have in store for them. Because there are no such things as 'neutral, non-combatant civilians' to them and no path to peace via terrorism.

So you could say that 30% of the American people are FOR the end of civilization and national suicide...

Oh, one other war... the Cold War

Cold War
Starts: June 24, 1948 Berlin Blockade
Ends: December 25, 1991 - 15,889 days.


Unknown said...

nice post. i saw a chart on meet the press showing length of US wars by months and found this post while searching. took your data and made a chart out of it on swivel here. props.

A Jacksonian said...

Dick - My pleasure... don't forget to add on the time period since the article was posted to get current length of the conflicts. And the Cold War deserves a special mention, too...

Much thanks!

javaz61 said...

It is nice to find a site about my interest. My first visit to your site is been a big help. I really love history. It makes me feel better thinking where i am today is because of yesterday.

A Jacksonian said...

javaz61 - History gives us perspective, which is necessary to find where we are not only in our lives but within mankind.

Wars should have definitive goals and then fought to them without holding anything back: that gets shorter, though nastier, wars and then allows for the actual establishment of peace. Peace is not the absence of war and must be created and maintained. When we do not fight all-out, but put war on a dimmer switch, we have people dying to no good ends. If we had started to hold other Nations to account for their actions around when this article was first put out we would be in a far deeper and harder conflict which would force the issue of just what, exactly, it is we seek to do.

We still havn't done that and have had war on the dimmer switch.

No good ever comes of that.