Fifty Days Out

Fifty Days Out

4 October 2006 is the 1,849th day of the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism War On Terror. That’s 1,295 days since the invasion of Iraq.

In fifty days — on Thanksgiving — the Iraq war will have lasted as long as the American involvement in World War Two.

Now, I never believed that the US had any credible evidence that Iraq posed any kind of threat to the country or that there were any grounds for an invasion. But if you’re going to mount a military campaign, it should be done in a professional manner, it should accomplish your objectives, and it should be executed with deliberation. You don’t — as the saying goes — want to take a knife to a gun fight. The Indiana Jones corollary to that saying is that if you’ve got a gun, bring it to the knife fight.

Between the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and V-J Day on 14 August 1945, the US mobilized enormous resources to fight Japan and Germany. By 1942, the US and its allies had invaded North Africa and begun to turn back the Japanese in battles at Midway. In the next year, Italy was invaded and the Marines took Guadalcanal and Tarawa. 1944 saw the invasion at Normandy and the retaking of the Philippines. By the spring of 1945 Germany fell. And on the 1,345th day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor Japan surrendered.

Yet in the same period of time, the Bush administration has been unable to defeat and successfully occupy Iraq, despite having an overwhelming advantage as the world’s only superpower. America in World War II faced enemies with large populations and standing armies, military technology that was on a par with (and in some cases more advanced than) ours, massive industrial capacity, navies, and air forces. Iraq, on the other hand, had a population 1/12 the size of the US, no heavy industry, hadn’t controlled its own airspace for a dozen years, etc., etc. Still, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, and the gang couldn’t manage to come up with a plan to at least create some sort of stability in Iraq in the same amount of time it took FDR, Truman, and the US government to defeat the Axis powers. That’s a heck of an incompetent job