May 14, 2007

Why Iraq is not like WWII

Kirk Caraway answers a letter to the editor in this post as to why Iraq is not like World War II. I would have loved to have had this list in hand at our table at Oodles of Noodles this weekend when I had to deal with one of the 25%ers still supporting Bush and this war and railing against Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

  1. Iraq did not attack us. Japan did, and Japan's ally Germany attacked our allies in Europe.
  2. Iraq had no ability to attack us. Their military was a shadow of its former self, and even at full strength had no ability to project power to our shores.
  3. The enemy in WWII was the same from the first day of the war until the last day. While a small case could be made for the Italians switching side, for the most part we knew exactly who the enemy was. In Iraq, that enemy started off as Saddam, then the Sunnis, then al Qaeda, the the Shiites, then who knows who.
  4. Japan and Germany were imperial powers. There were countries who wanted to take over the world, and had the resources to do it. Iraq was a fourth-rate power without either the will or the ability to conquer.
  5. Japan and Germany did not break down into civil war. Huge difference. Imagine if we had tried to occupy Japan and referee a civil war.
  6. We had far, far more troops in WWII, even if you make allowances for the difference in size of the enemy. We had three times more troops when we took on Saddam in 1991 than we have there now.
  7. The nation was asked to sacrifice during WWII. We were urged to enlist (if not, then drafted), and to do without certain luxuries. For Iraq, we got tax cuts, no call to duty. Just go on with your regular life.
  8. Neither Japan nor Germany had the kind of serious ethnic/religious divisions of Iraq. Germany did have the division with the Jews, but their "final solution" pretty much eliminated that division, and not in a good way.
  9. The world wasn't against us in WWII. We had a very strong network of allies all contributing to the efforts against Germany and Japan. Every major power in the world was involved in some way, and all of them were on our side.
  10. Changes is technology has enabled irregular guerrilla forces to fight effectively against regular armies. Cell phones, email and websites make communications between groups easier. Combined with video cameras, insurgents have a way to communicate with the public. Weapons like AK-47s, RPGs and improvised explosives with remote triggers can make even a small group a formidable challenge to regular army forces.
  11. Germany had WMD, Iraq didn't. Germany had stockpiles of poison gas, including nerve gas, but didn't use them. They were also very close to coming up with an atomic bomb, way more advanced than Iraq was.
  12. Germany and Japan didn't have any resources that we would want. They don't have oil, Iraq does, and the Iraqis know this. They believe this war is about oil, and that the two oil men in charge of the U.S. who started this war want to steal that oil. It is this perception that makes this situation so hard to handle.
  13. Our allies in Iraq are not our friends. The Maliki government has close ties to Iran, and the radical Shiite cleric al Sadr. They are working at cross purposes to the U.S.


Munchieman5150 said...

This is an awesome post! Perhaps a list like this will come out comparing Iraq with Vietnam?

TomCat said...

Excellent article, Cls. I understand Newt's new Pearl Harbor book attempts to justify Bush's war for oil and conquest ny comparing 911 to Pearl Harbor.

cls said...

I received an email from a friend of mine to this post and I asked her if I could post her email. Here is her comment:

I usually don't write and thought about not doing that now, but my Mom and her parents survived the Holocaust. I think I owe this response to my Mom (and to the memories of my maternal grandparents):

I realize that Kirk Caraway was using strong language to try to make a point, but his comparison of the sectarian violence in Iraq with the "divisions" that the Germans had with their Jewish countrymen and women was completely off base. Most of the German population of that era, whipped into a frenzy by Hitler, did not have "divisions" with the Jews who lived in their country and in the countries which the Nazis would eventually control. They had, instead, a hatred which morphed into a murderous desire -- one that would not be sated until every Jew was dead (and all Jews remaining in Europe would have been killed, had it not been for the defeat of the Nazis). The murderous hatred Hitler inculcated in most of his countrymen and women did not "eliminate divisions." It turned millions of their fellow human beings, including one and a half million children, into corpses, many of them burned to ash. I know that had the Allied armies been able to take control of the Nazi-occupied territories before most of the "differences" -- or rather, the Jews -- were "eliminated" (mass-murdered), that those Allied armies would have done everything in their power to stop the genocide. They would not have confused genocide with either sectarian violence or civil war, and neither should anyone else.