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May 16, 2005

An Interesting Comparison...

Guest post: hilzoy

From Angry Bear:

"This coming Thursday, May 19, 2005, will be the 1,346th day since the attacks of 9/11. That is the same length of time from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the end of WWII on V-J Day. (Dec 7, 1941 to Aug 24, 1945)

Most comparisons between WWII and the Global War on Terror (GWOT) have been preposterous: Saddam Hussein was no Adlof Hitler; the "Axis of Evil" was no WWII Axis Powers; the far right even went so far as to compare Colin Powell to Neville Chamberlain.

But this milestone does provide the opportunity to compare the effectiveness of America's responses to both crises. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, America came together, and with determination, shared sacrifice, and the effective and focused leadership of FDR, George C. Marshall, and many others, America and her allies were victorious. (...)

A poorly defined mission has led to poor results. Iraq is a mess and many Americans have concluded that the invasion of Iraq was unrelated to the GWOT. The situtation in Afghanistan is not much better. Worldwide terrorism is still on the rise and America is now deeply divided.

The economic consequences of this "war" have been significant and are growing. The most obvious are the war expenditures: over $250 Billion already spent and Congress has just passed another spending bill for an additional $82 Billion. Even before the ink dried, Congress is discussing the need for another $50 Billion later this year. All of these expenditures are "off-budget" and are not included in the Bush Administration's reported budget deficits. CORRECTION: The GWOT expenditures are excluded from the "on-budget" projections, but they are included in prior year on-budget deficits. Sorry for any confusion, CR.

And the most deleterious impact may come from the growing lack of confidence in America's leadership. In the event of an international or economic crisis, I have no confidence that the Bush Administration will respond appropriately.

It took 1,346 days to win WWII. 1,346 days after 9/11, what have we accomplished?"

Good question. One of the things that I find hardest to understand about this administration is its fundamental lack of seriousness in the war on terror. I wrote about this before the election here (Afghanistan), here (nuclear non-proliferation), and here (homeland security). Rather than rehash all the details here, I'll just say that I think Bush has not done a good job at all on these fronts, and that details about why I think this can be found in those earlier posts.

We have not caught Osama bin Laden or Ayman al Zawahiri. (But then, Bush is "not that concerned about him".) We have done very little to secure ourselves against further terrorist attacks, secure nuclear material overseas, or prevent North Korea from turning into a one-stop shopping center for WMD, and we have made a mess of Afghanistan.

So when, exactly, can we expect VT Day? And how many lives will be lost before we get there?

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Comments

You are on the wrong track as soon as you accept the paradigm of the "War on Terror". The "War on Terror" is a fraud. There is a war to extend U.S. control over the Middle East.

Terrorists killed you dead yet? No! Success! (so far, Praise Bush, but the fight is not yet over) Stop hating America!

I concur with Angry B that record of Bush in defending his country is poor and is indicative of his future efforts, however, to be fair to Bush, the war has accomplished it's major political goal of distracting the public from the Bush/Radical-Right-Wring agenda. So far Bush has been largely successful in transferring tax burdens from the richest 3% downward to the middle 60% of Americans and to their as yet unborn children. Without the war surely our public debt would loom large in the public mind. So the Iraq war, which has been substituted for the war on terror is far from being a failure, in fact the war has been largely successful from the "modern Republican" point of view, the public is largely ignorant of their fate and the moguls of today sleep easy knowing that the lavish expenditures of yet another big spending Republican Administration, are burdens for the "little people" to shoulder. Sure the war has cost many their lives and thousands their chance at a decent life, but let's bear in mind how the sacrifices of the those brave men and women in our armed forces have eased the heavy burden born by the top 3% of America's wealthiest families. I think that these tax reductions for the top 3% during a time of war is something all Americans who love this nation can be proud of...imagine the guilt we would all feel if those who have been maimed and died in Iraq were to find out that their sacrifices were in vain...and that the top 3% of Americans were forced to contribute their fair share to nation that has been so good to them. The thought is gut wrenching. No this war is a great victory for Republicans, so the next time you hear a Republican crowing about supporting our troops so he can get more tax cuts through congress shove them the respect they deserve....

GT day will never arrive. Eventually a Democratic administration will be in charge again. Shortly after that nothing more will be heard about being "at war". Meanwhile, as SBrennan said, the "war" has accomplished more than even the most optimistic Republican could have dreamed of. So much, in fact, that it is highly unlikely that we will ever again have a GOP administration without its "war" to keep the dunces occupied as they loot the country.

Remember how we finally defeated Japan? We dropped atomic bombs on two major cities (and firebombed Tokyo), killing hundreds of thousands of civilians en route to victory. Similar tactics were used against the Germans at Dresden.

We are trying to be a lot more careful this time around. And our enemies are not only national governments, but nebulous networks of terrorists that blend in among civillian populations. It is only natural that it would take longer.

Of course, Bush could have wrapped things up on a tighter timetable by nuking the entire Middle East into submission shortly after 9-11, but I have a hunch you wouldn't be singing his praises if he had done so.

Maybe a better comparison would be to the Cold War, which went on for almost half a century.

Gaijin Biker,

You forget, this was to be a liberation according to Bush...a trollop in the park, rose petals, minimum troops...more like liberating France...no we weren't trying to be careful, just cheap. We've killed over 100,000 civilians, so if we are going to make military comparisons, Bush has used the US Army & Marines against the Iraqis the way Sadam used his army.

As for you hallucinating that somehow Iraq posed threat comparable to the Axis or the Soviet Union...I laugh at your foolishness. If Bush wanted to go after a threat, he would have chosen, N. Korea or China, but or course a cowardly bully doesn't want a fight. But hey Gaijin, if you don't want to be accused of being a coward in later life, there's still plenty of time to join up with your other keyboarders on Bush's Crusade...show us you mean what you say, recruiters are standing by.

And don't worry about me, I already served in the US Army for the junior's daddy.

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