Iraq versus WW II--Just So You Know

Thursday, March 02, 2006 at 10:36 AM

The rightwingers love to soften the impact of the trouble in our occupation of Iraq by resorting to the "it's too soon to tell" excuse. One analogy that several have used is that "if you had looked at our position early in WW II, you'd have thought for sure we were going to lose.

Well, that sounds pretty good on the surface. But how far along are we in Iraq, now? What point in time of WWII is analogous to this point in Iraq?

There are no objective answers to that, of course. Do you consider that the Iraq war "ended" with Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech, with all of the time since then being part of the reconstruction period that needs to be compared to the WWII reconstruction period? If so, you'll never agree with someone who thinks that the war in Iraq has not yet ended, and that we should compare Iraq now, just about 3 years after we invaded, to WW II after a similar length of time had passed since Pearl Harbor.

As to the latter comparison, I offer the following facts:

Iraq war:
War begins with the March 20 2003 attack; as of March 2, 2006 we have been at war for roughly 1,078 days


Dec 7, 1941 - Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor; Hitler issues the Night and Fog decree.

May 7, 1945 - Unconditional surrender of all German forces to Allies.

Aug 14, 1945 - Japanese agree to unconditional surrender.

Days we were at war in WW II:

from Pearl to end of war in Europe 1,246 days
from Pearl to end of war in Pacific 1,345 days

1,078 days into our participation in WWII would have been roughly November 20, 1944. By that time, North Africa had fallen to the allies, MacArthur had indeed returned to the Phillipines, the attempt to assassinate Hitler had already occurred, D-Day had occurred, and Paris had fallen to the allies.

In other words, we were clearly winning that war by the 1,078 day point, and had every one of our adversaries in full retreat across their respective continents. How's that for progress compared to Iraq?

And 1,078 days into the Korean war would put us only 7 weeks short of the armistice ending that war.

So turn the right's analogy around: If at this point in WWII things had looked as bleak as they do now in Iraq, all kinds of political and military leaders would have been out so fast their heads would have spun.