Today is 16 August 2006.
Today is also the 1,245th day since the invasion of Iraq, on 20 March 2003. Why is that number significant? Because in exactly 100 days — which will be 24 November 2006, the day after Thanksgiving — the United States will have been in Iraq for the length of time that elapsed between the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and V-J Day, when the Japanese surrendered.
In World War II, the United States and its allies faced foes who were reasonably well-matched in technology, with military forces in place on land in Asia, Europe, and North Africa, and fleets of ships and submarines in the oceans of the Atlantic and the Pacific. They had fighter planes which — in the early years — were often better than what the Allies could field. In the 1,345 days of the American involvement in World War II, American forces lost and regained the Philippines; landed in and pushed their way through North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany; fought bloody battles on Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guadalcanal, and other Pacific islands; conducted extensive naval campaigns and ran convoys on two oceans; and did much else that cannot be mentioned in a few short paragraphs. That’s what is possible to do in 1,345 days.
In Iraq, the supposed enemy was a country with one-twelfth the size of the US population. A country that had always been a consumer of arms from others, not one with its own major armaments factories. A country that had been under a variety of embargos — however porous — for a decade. That was the “enemy” George W. Bush and his administration chose for their Feat of Strength.
If Iraq had been a true threat — and assuming they were competent — the Bush administration should have been able to deal with it in less than the time it took FDR and Truman to deal with the real Axis in the 1940s.