Friday, December 01, 2006
Silly comparisons between Iraq and other wars
Last week, someone pointed out that the Iraq War has lasted longer than WW2. It was another cynical way to confuse the issue.
See Jonah Goldberg's It's losing we hate, not war:
"ONE THOUSAND three hundred and forty seven days. That's how long the United States was involved in combat in World War II, and Monday, the U.S. passed that "grim military milestone," as one TV anchor called it.
This factoid has become a fixture of respectable talking points about the futility of the Iraq war.
Newscasters and pundits note its gravity with sober foreboding and slight head-shaking. The only thing they don't note is the grotesque stupidity of the comparison.
Let us start with the obvious.
World War II may have lasted 1,347 days, but it cost the lives of 406,000 Americans and wounded 600,000 more.
Losses among Allied civilians and military personnel stretched into the tens of millions.
Whole cities were razed, populations displaced, economies shattered.
The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq remains much less than 1% of our WWII losses.
World War II ended when the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japanese cities, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Were it not for those grave measures, the war might have lasted for another year or two and cost many more lives.
So maybe those wielding the WWII yardstick as a cudgel would prefer we gave Sadr City and Tikrit the Hiroshima-Nagasaki treatment?
That would surely root out even the most die-hard insurgents and shorten the war.
The phase of the Iraq war that was comparable to World War II ended in less than three weeks.
Remember "shock and awe"? As far as such things go, the conventional war put WWII to shame; the U.S. military victory was akin to defeating all of Italy in less than a month."
As Goldberg points out:
"Indeed, when partisans claim that the American people are fed up and want our troops home, they're deliberately muddying the waters.
The American people have never objected to far-flung deployments of our troops. We've had soldiers stationed all over the world for decades.What the American people don't like is losing — lives or wars.
After all, you don't hear many people complaining that we still have troops in Japan and Germany more than 20,000 days later."
Will we have troops in Iraq in sixty years? I don't know but it probably won't matter that much, specially if the Middle East is run by moderate leaders.
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