Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Why exactly is Iraq a different case than Germany of 1944?
Published on September 19, 2003 By Draginol In Politics
To me, removing Saddam from the board seems like a pretty clear cut "smart" thing for the US to do for so many different reasons. 
 
But if you try hard enough, you can make any foreign policy decision look foolish.  Why, in June 1944 did the why did the US invade northwest Europe? Hundreds of thousands of Americans died in Europe.  Why? The USSR would have defeated Germany on its own. That was pretty obvious by June 1944 so we don't have the excuse of not knowing.  Heck, we could have waited until August 1945 to decide whether we needed to use ground forces. If the atom bombs worked, we let them do the work. If not, then we could decide whether to invade or not. And if we did, we could have "softened" up things with a couple of atomic bombs which would have, in the long term, saved a lot more lives.

Seriously. Let's revisit the events of World War II:

D-Day: June 6, 1944.  A bloody invasion of the French coast. Goal? To liberate France and conquer Germany.

But why? The majority of the official governments of Europe in 1944 did not want the US to invade.  What about respecting their sovereignty? The position of the official government of France was that the US should not invade. Those damn Americans, Brits, Australians, and Canadians were acting pretty unilaterally weren't they? 

If we had not invaded in 1944, odds are the Soviet Union would have conquered Germany and set up France as a puppet socialist country. Then what? The Soviet Union would still have almost certainly crashed. It might have even crashed faster since it would have cost a lot more to keep western Europe pacified as well.

Now, some 380 or so Americans have died in Iraq I believe.  380,000 Americans died in World War II. I don't recall reading of any politicians of the day arguing that invading Europe was a failed policy. It would seem that we lived in a much less cynical world in those days. People recognized the difference between right and wrong and put politics aside to a greater degree than today to roll up their sleeves and do the job that needed done.

Now fast forward 60 years. Iraq, led by a fascist dictator had already invaded 2 of his neighbors. One neighbor was freed thanks to, you guessed it, mainly the US and UK. Iraq flagrantly violated the terms of the cease fire countless times, took pot shots at US planes, funneled money to Palestinian terrorists, brutalized his people, had a history of intent to develop WMD, and is geographically located in the center of an area where the world's most brutal terrorists seem to originate from.  And if that's not enough, it's also positioned right in the middle of where the majority of the world's oil reserves exist.  And yet there are people who still argue that we shouldn't have invaded to remove this guy? Huh?

I think those who oppose US policy should really take a step back and try to look at things from a fresh perspective.  Regardless of whether weapons of mass destruction are ever found (they were never the driving force anyway)., the removal of a dictator guilty of the things I just mentioned certainly rank up there with the reasons for expending so much blood and treasure to liberate France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, etc.

And consider this - one could put together a clear headed argument (with a lot of hindsight to help) that the US invasion of northwest Europe was unnecessary or at least could have waited until the atomic bombs arrived in 1945 to make that decision.  "Why the rush?" could have just as easily been asked in June 1944 as today.  Why were we in such a hurry to send our young men into harm's way when the Russians were doing a splendid job grinding down the Nazi's in the East?

My view is pretty clear: We did the right thing in 1944 and we did the right thing in 2003.

Comments
on Sep 20, 2003
My only problem with the whole situation is that it walks the line.

At the same time we're being premptive....we're passing laws that take away pieces of the common citizen's freedom and privacy. Allowing the FBI to prevent crimes, rather than just investigate them.....a power that was grossly abused the last time they had it under J Edgar Hoover.

That is to say, the Germany of 1944 was not formed overnight by the one person's crusade, nor by the general will of the german people. Rather, it was the slow corruption of positions of power, and those positions holding too much power, that lead to a government of radicals doing what they truly believe is right, and the people backing them because their government would surely "prevent" such opposition where it appears.

Obviously the Iraq cause is surely better than "racial clensing", but Iraq also had plenty of monitary drive behind it. And in the end it's not truely about doing what is right or wrong....but what the rest of the world sees as right or wrong, that will determine if a nation stays in power.
on Sep 20, 2003
Good points Jeremy.

However...

We live in a world where we unquestionably say "D-day was a good thing" that even the left doesn't attack it.

But consider this: Perhaps the reason for D-day was because the west knew that if they did not invade Europe when they did, the Soviets would have conquered not just Germany but the whole continent (other than a north and south Italy). And as a result, this would have meant dire economic consequences down the line.

Ask yourself this: Which is economically more valuable? Iraq or Belgium/Netherlands/Denmark/Austria/France/Luxemburgh?

I submit to you that if all the variables were the same today except that the president was George W. Bush and instead of the war being fought in say Europe it was being fought in the Middle East, you would have those on the left arguing against D-day enmasse.
on Sep 20, 2003
D-day Unnecessary ?

Adolph Hitler’s military ambition spiraled into an unrealistic vision of superiority and invincibility that branched into a complete megalomania of sorts and that was the main reason for the fall of the third Reich. Hitler could not capture Britain; unlike France whose immediate acquiescence must have pleased Hitler, Britain led by Winston Churchill did not surrender their tiny island. Britain fought in a fierce manner that was proving to be a problem for the furor, instead of taking advice from his generals and finishing off Britain first, Hitler ambitiously moved the war to two fronts as he sent his military into Russia.

The brutal urban battle of Stalingrad was the decisive defeat and the moment when “the war god” turned against Hitler, the funny thing is that if any of Hitler’s generals could point out that the he was wrong (without getting hung) things may have turned out different. All the stories written in history would indicate that Hitler became obsessed with occupying Stalingrad when the military objective could have been met simply by choking off Stalingrad and concentrating all the German forces on Moscow, Russia’s capitol city. The battle of Stalingrad and Hitler’s obsession to take that city named after his arch rival is what inevitably leads to the red army marching into Berlin. The red army defended Stalingrad to the last granule of soviet soil because they knew that the German enemy would exert “maximum cruelty” in the face of Soviet defeat.

By the time Hitler decided to blow out his brain in his bunker he had American and British forces that had advanced through Italy and France, and Russian forces marching on Berlin. Americans and the Soviets came head to head, General “blood and guts” Patton, confronted with the Russian’s asked for authorization to advance in battle, obviously that did'nt happen, that but if the American, British, and some other forces were not there, the Russians would have advanced across Europe and that is why the NATO alliance was eventually formed. Everything was partitioned and Russia’s presence remained in East Germany and the threat Soviets posed of rolling across Europe with tanks was a reality that always remained.

Russia would have conquered Europe, not liberated Europe there is a big difference.
So when people in Europe say things like we thank Russia for liberating us I have to laugh because that is unrealistic to think that the rule of Stalin would have been a lot better than the rule of Hitler or that Stalin was there to liberate Europe as much as to conquer and to enslave, I think the world owes a huge debt to Britain and America for helping to stabilize the European theatre after the fall of the third Reich because had Britain fallen and America been absent from the equation Stalin would have just became a replacement for Hitler.

on Sep 20, 2003
Everyone is so concerned about the Patriot act, oh our freedoms, lets look at how an administration needs no laws or acts to abuse power, Look at Waco when Bill Clinton signed a waiver to a law that basically prevents the military from acting upon citizens within our own borders. As a result Janet Reno sent columns of armor and military soldiers for an illegal siege on an American compound that resulted in the death of everyone in the Davidian church.
on Sep 20, 2003
Why did I post all that crap about WWII?
on Sep 20, 2003
Anthony,

Exacty my point: The soviet union would have taken over Eurpoe. So a cynical person might say we sacrificed hundreds of thousands of people so that the Soviet Union wouldn't control western europe which was a major trading partner.

After all, you have people who claim the only reason we dropped the bomb on japan was to scare the Soviets.
on Sep 21, 2003
There is a difference between D-Day and Iraq. D-Day was opening another front against a country who you were already at war with. Iraq was starting a war.

Another important point is that the US sat out the first two years of WW2. They only joined when they were attacked. Before then there were plenty of politicians advising against joining the war against Germany. There was even some talk of assisting Germany.

I believe America made the right choice in both invasions.

Pity they didn't complete the job in 1991 though.
Pity they often have different sets of rules for different countries.
Pity they're so revenge focussed.

Paul.
on Sep 21, 2003
If America were "revenge focused" the middle east would be a glass parking lot.
on Sep 21, 2003
Not comparable. The US Congress formally declared war against Japan and its allies after the attack by Japan (and its declaration of war) in 1941. The US had already been in a state of war with Germany and had been fighting the Nazi regime and its Axis allies for years by the time of D Day. North Africa, Sicily, Italy, etc. including the war on the sea.

The US was already supporting the Soviets in their fight against the Germans on the Eastern Front. Stalin had been pushing the other Allied nations since well before 1944 for the opening of an Western Front ASAP to take some of the heat off the Eastern Front. The opening of a Western Front was part of an Allied plan to bring an already existing state of declared war to an end. It wasn't just a unilateral US idea to open a Western Front and invade France to defeat Germany. And D Day involved Allied troops, not just US troops.
on Sep 21, 2003
As for the European gov'ts that opposed an Allied invasion, would those be the same gov'ts controlled by their German occupiers and collaborating and allied with the Germans? Here's just a small blurb about Vichy France, for example: http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vichy_France

D Day's not a good analogy for the invasion of Iraq.
on Sep 23, 2003
Brad I think that the US (like many other western countries) is very revenge focussed. When something happens the American people always want someone to blame and to convert that blame into a response.

The level of that response is thankfully below a nuclear strike, but that fact that they don't nuke places does not remove the fact that revenge is often an important reason for America going to war. The entire war on terror is powered by revenge desires. The American people support the war on terror because of 9/11 and their desire for revenge.

Revenge is a powerful motivator and a useful political tool, but can be very misguided and cloud judgement. Three good examples are

a) 70% of American actually blaming Iraq for 9/11 (gives them a target for revenge)
desire to boycott French goods for not supporting the US
c) Americans using economic blackmail on small countries to stop the world court of human rights.

The first case worked in the administrations favour when they wanted to go to war. It meant that Americans, unlike the rest of the world, weren't in the least concerned about lack of proof of WMD. They wanted revenge and if WMD gave them an excuse then well and good.

The second case was a backlash of the first. Their desire for revenge meant that they would strike out at the French for trying to stop that vengence. Months later and American's are beginning to realise that France might have been right on WMD (not on avoiding the war in my opinion).

The third case is just sickening. World ratification of this treaty brings it into force and American threathens to reduce economic support in countries who ratify it (unless they specifically excluse Americans). America is so hell bent on revenge against terrorists that it wants it's soldier immune from any human right crimes they may commit. Just in case like...

No Draginol, you can't deny the revenge focus of the US just because a nuke wasn't used.

Paul.
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