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1,000 Days in Iraq Versus World War 2

To commemorate Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, conservative bloggers are bemoaning the fact that -- in their view -- the American public (and especially the American media) doesn't have the stomach to fight a long war anymore. Typical was this comment:

As soon as it became apparent that [Iraq] wasn't a war that could be fought and won overnight, our society of "instant gratification" became nonplussed. Support for the war waned, and Hollywood and the mainstream liberal media took it upon themselves to launch a NEW attack on America...an attack of words, designed to undermine the war effort and the administration of our President.

Instead of blaming the people, perhaps these pro-war bloggers should consider that it's the strategic and tactical incompetence of the Bush administration that's the real cause of the quagmire of Iraq.

As my pal Dick Haggart of Anchorage -- who wore a "No Hard Feelings" tee-shirt to lunch at Pete's Sushi Spot today --put it, Do the math!

He notes that December 7, 2005 marks the 993rd day since we invaded Iraq. In that time, we've organized a couple of elections. But the insurgency is deadlier than ever, sectarian chaos is growing worse by the day, basic services and oil production are at lower levels than before the war, the Iraqi army which is supposed to stand in for us is a joke (according to articles in the military's own newspaper, Stars and Stripes), and we seem to be no closer to victory -- i.e., a stable democratic Iraq -- than when we began this mis-adventure.

By comparison, 993 days after Japan put most of the Pacific Fleet on the bottom of Pearl Harbor, we had leap-frogged two-thirds of the way back across the Pacific, gutted Japanese naval and air power, were preparing to invade the Phillipines and Iwo Jima, had run the Germans out of North Africa, Sicily, and half of Italy, had pulled off the greatest seaborne invasion in world history by landing in Normandy on D-Day, and had already liberated most of France. Meanwhile, our Soviet allies, pushing from the East, had destroyed several German armies and were already closing in on the Third Reich's eastern border.

In other words, the war was basically won, and it was just a matter of time before our enemies were finally crushed and forced to surrender.

So instead of mouthing platitudes about "staying the course," perhaps the administration's supporters should ask themselves why the United States could accomplish so much in less than 1,000 days against the greatest military and sea powers of World War 2 -- Germany and Japan -- yet can't seem to make any significant headway against a third world rebel force that doesn't own even a single tank, ship or airplane.

The answer, of course, lies in Bush's fatally-flawed war on terror policy. We invaded the wrong target, we fractured our own alliances in doing so, we turned vast sectors of the world's population against us, we refuse to even supply our own troops with the proper equipment, translators, etc., and we've turned the country into a factory for the mass production of suicide bombers.

Way to go, Bush!

The truth is, the White House botched it. And the polls show people know it.


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Hmm.. Don't forget, however, that World War II had already been going for two years by the time Pearl Harbour happened. A lot of the grimness and bad stuff (most notably the retreat from Dunkirk) had already happened by then. There were long dark months of bad news during WWII as well. Moreover, victoriy in WWII wasn't just up to the US - it was us (as in the UK) as well. And the French government in exile, and the French resistance, and the Australians, and India, and Canada, and... The D-Day Landings were a multinational force (roughly, two beaches to the US, two to the UK and one to Canada with a bunch of French troops thrown in for good measure) as well. While the war is unlikely to have been won without the US, it wasn't solely a US effort.

Your comparison is good as far as the battle of the Pacific is concerned, but as far as Europe, north Africa and some of the land battles in the Pacific are concerned, it was as much about the allied powers working together than anything else. Of course, this conveys a major message - don't piss off your own natural allies - which is still an important lesson which is worth remembering (and which it seems the Bush Administration has forgotten).

Good points. And you're right, of course, that my analogy is only partially relevent.

Still, to tholse who say that Americans no longer have the stomach for casualites or for long difficult wars, I respond that they would if the cause was just and the war policy sound and strategically valid.

I am as completely disgusted and immensely saddened with the "fatally-flawed war" in Iraq as you. But I do beg to differ with your all-too handy comparison. What took us several years to accomplish in Europe and the Pacific; i.e. to conquer it militarily and force a government out of power, we did in Iraq in a matter of days. The difference is that they were mid-20th cnetury nation states with a coherent political system that could be reconstituted which Iraq, obviously, was not. And therefore unconquerable in the classic sense. That Cheney and company didn't realize this is among the top ten reasons for that failure.

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