James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It Isn't the 3000

Several of history's great battles saw ten or twenty times the number of deaths that the USA has suffered in three and a half years in Iraq. If Americans want out of Iraq just because of the casualty count, we would be 100 times as soft and cowardly as we accuse other nations (like France) of being.

The problem isn't the loss of life or the financial cost, it is the waste, that disheartens. We've been through this before, in Korea and Vietnam, and we are rightly getting tired of the false promise that American military intervention solves the problems of far-away peoples. Even granting (for the sake of argument) the legitimacy of the "War on Terror," Americans recognize that Iraq is no more essential to it than Vietnam was to the Cold War.

Pulling out of Vietnam was disastrous for the people of Southeast Asia, but remaining in Vietnam would have been equally disastrous - for them and for us; it would have just prolonged the inevitable. The same will happen in Iraq; when we pull out, a lot of horrible things will happen. We will gaze on it in horror, and a vocal faction will yell, "See? See? I told you we shouldn't have pulled out. We have blood on our hands."

But we must remember: we beat Germany over sixty years ago, and we're still in Germany. We beat Japan the same year, and we're still in Japan. We repelled North Korea's invasion of the South 55 years ago, and even though it has twice the population and twenty times the economy of the North, we're still in South Korea, as there are none.

But we are not in Vietnam. We're saving billions every year. And though are troops may be over-extended, that's certainly not because too many are stationed in Vietnam.

Pat Buchanan puts it well:
Our hawkish elites bemoan the fact that Americans seem ready to give up on Iraq when U.S. casualties are not 10 percent of those we took in the Korean War. That is because they do not understand the nation.

Americans are not driven by some ideological vocation to reform mankind. We do not have the patience or perseverance of great imperial peoples. If an issue is not seen as vital to our own liberty and security, we will not fight long for some abstraction like democracy, self-determination or human rights.

It is a myth that we went to war to save the world from fascism. We went to war in 1941 because Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. That Hitler had overrun France, booted the British off the continent and invaded Stalin’s empire was not a reason to send American boys across the ocean to die.

In 1990, Americans were not persuaded to throw Iraq out of Kuwait until Bush 1 got to talking about Saddam’s nuclear weapons. Even after 9-11, Americans were skeptical of marching to Baghdad until we were told Saddam was building weapons of mass destruction and probably intended to use them on us. Americans have often had to be lied into war.

Democrats are probably reading the country right. Americans will not send added troops to Iraq, as McCain urges. They want out of this war and are willing to take the consequences.

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