Monday, March 20, 2006

Rumsfeld's Ramblings

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote an opinion column in the Washington Post the other day. Most of it was basically complaining about the negative views about the Iraq War, but I was impressed with his lack of history or depth of deceptive analysis on the following paragraph.

Rumsfeld.. "
Consider that if we retreat now, there is every reason to believe Saddamists and terrorists will fill the vacuum -- and the free world might not have the will to face them again. Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis. It would be as great a disgrace as if we had asked the liberated nations of Eastern Europe to return to Soviet domination because it was too hard or too tough or we didn't have the patience to work with them as they built free countries."

First, let's consider the Eastern Europe comparisons. The United States had very little to do with countries such as Poland and East Germany in their efforts to throw off the Soviet influence. I don't recall any Americans amongst the Polish labor union/party Solidarity or any Americans tearing down the Berlin Wall. Certainly we rooted and cheered for them, probably fronted them a few bucks, but the revolutions were "of and by the people."

The Soviet Union under Gorbachev had decided not to crush these revolutions. Gorby had tired of the cold war, at the most simple explaination. We won the cold war by outspending the Soviet Union with military googaws and they plain got sick of the debt of maintaining satellite countries as well as trying to keep the heartland going. Losing their war in Afghanistan was probably the eye-opener of so much wasted energy and money.

Rumsfeld doesn't mention any of this, trying to make it seem if we hadn't, what, not cheered on those satellite countries, that they would have slid back under the Soviet umbrella? Nonsense, the revolutions were on, the peoples of those countries were determined, and only a full force military crushing would have defeated them, which Gorbachev wasn't interested in doing.

Second, as to the Nazi comparisons, can we ever stop Nazi comparisons? Let's first not forget that the fall of Hitler and Nazi Germany was performed by a powerful alliance of major countries of the world, something lacking in the Iraq War case. Let's also not forget that the Germans exacted little resistence in the post war. Germans were essentially drained and exhausted from being in a continuous war economy that included such things as fire bombings of most of their major cities, the essential abduction of every able bodied male from the population, the lack of needed items for the households much less luxuries, I could go on. The Germans were fairly quick to understand they lost the war and were ready to submit to the Allies as long as the occupation/reconstruction was an honest effort, which for the most part it was.

Third, Rumsfeld's comment about the Saddamists is nearly a lie. All the experts I hear talking about the insurgency have discounted some sort of Saddam loyalists at this point in time. Maybe back in the first several months or so, but not now. Sure there may be a few pockets of Saddamists left, but they've mainly dispersed into various movements including Sunni groups.

He also calls our leaving Iraq as creating a vacuum, again nonsense. We already have various factions fighting each other in Iraq and our forces have essentially stayed out of the way. We haven't been doing a good job at protecting mosques, we actually are currently in Rumsfeld's vacuum with our troops still there. Oh, our troops go on some missions like the recent Swarmer to rout out insurgents, but with little to no effect on the current violence. I'm guessing that we have little effect because insurgents are probably warned in advance by infiltrators into the Iraqi security forces.

One of the problems the talking heads and the hawks and doves have had all along about the Iraq War is this penchant for trying to compare Iraq to other wars. The Iraq War is unique unto itself. It is not Nazi Germany, have we forgot Hitler swept through Europe? Saddam was bottled up with no-fly zones, no air force or navy. Iraq is also not Viet Nam, deserts not jungles, and we've not approached the body counts of that war. North Viet Nam was a far different political entity than Hussein's dictatorship.

Comparisons to other wars doesn't really serve the discussion well, it's wasted breathing. Iraq must be considered as it happens, as the situation presents itself. The Iraq War is the Iraq War and some day in the future during some other war, people might be comparing that war to Iraq, and probably also as essentially a waste of breath.


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