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Correlations with previous wars

SpideyCU

Golden Member
Nov 17, 2000
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I'm curious about a few things from a long-term perspective...I really hope this doesn't erupt into more flames, but, I really really want to know if anyone else has thought about this. As the mod said in the stickied post at the top, with a topic like this, tensions are high on both sides. I ask that if you have anything insightful to say to my views below, please do so, but I will NOT tolerate sarcastic one-line remarks, conspiracy theories from either side with no facts and just angry words. Again, I'm truly interested in what you might have to say in response to my observations, but if this is going to degenerate into another hate-thread, I'll sadly have to ignore anything further that'll posted in this thread. As many of you can understand, the aggrevation of seeing your question answered with childish "bush sucks!" or "you anti-war idiots" is enough to make you ignore the thread permenantly.

With that out of the way (sorry, just had to get that off my chest), let me get to the meat of what I want to ask.

A lot of anti-war folks say that, OK, at the very least, we should hold off until we know for a fact that "this" or "that" is going on in Iraq - that we're just going based on assumptions, suspicions, and rumors. This really hits me as having a parallel to many people arguing in this day and age that America knew about what was going on in Germany in WW2 and didn't do enough to stop the Holocaust. 50 years from now, are we going to have people blaming the US, saying "America knew what Saddam was building up and doing to his own people, why didn't they step in sooner?" By the way, as for the argument of us not doing more in Germany, I'm just pointing out that people are still upset about it today. Whether or not it's a legitimate complaint is beyond me. Unlike many other people, I'll readily admit that I haven't researched that topic in great depth. Even if I had, information from both sides would be highly skewed and one could easily argue either side with no absolute conclusion.

Another thing I contemplate: people look back now and talk about how it was wrong to appease Hilter before WW2 by conceding to his demands for land. Are people going to say the same thing about the ridiculous nature of the UN investigations? I mean, whether or not you think Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction from the rest of the world, you've got to admit that whole situation was a freakin' circus. I know Bush-bashing is very "in" right now and popular, but I'm more tempted to start bashing the members of the UN - these are the people who make the big decisions for the major countries?

Keep in mind that anti-war sentiments were heavy during WW2 as well. People were isolationists and didn't much care to partake in what they saw as "Europe's problem". Heck, how many people do we have these days that still argue whether or not Pearl Harbor could've been prevented, i.e. that it was just a "convenient excuse" for America to go to war? But, looking back, can we honestly say that our involvement in WW2 was a mistake? Will Americans say the same, or differently, in the future?

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm very curious as to what people will think about this war 20, 30, 40, even 50 years down the line, considering how we now view previous military engagements and the choices made back then.

Please don't make me regret asking these questions, folks. I'd love to discuss this, if we could all keep it civilized.
 

da loser

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
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how we view this war will not depend on the actual war, but it's consequences. iraqi freedom, less threat, yadda yadda.

as far as the comparison, it's not really the same. hitler was actually supported by his people. saddam for the most part is not. so the threat is really limited to his coercion of others, which is very powerful, but not quite on the same level as hitler. Also, I might be called a anti-semitic for this, but I feel America went in at the right time. Suffering is needed for people to realize what their actions do. Plus, I don't believe war should be used as preemptive. The case can be made that Iraq has already struck at the US, just like Iran, through sponsoring terrorism (not necessarily Al-Quaeda). But this fuzziness, without the absolute good and bad, has caused an ambigous situation with no clear answers; such is the problem with terrorism and why terrorism has gone unchecked until lately.

I think the UN will come back after the war, even if they decide to not have the UN helping in Iraq. A place for diplomatic interaction in the open will always be needed, and there's no real alternatives to the UN. People need to stop thinking of the UN as an entity or as a be all and end all. The only entity is their programs, but their programs are the result of member nations.
 

wirelessenabled

Platinum Member
Feb 5, 2001
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Everybody seems to bring up the comparison with the late 1930s appeasement of Hitler. To me this is a totally different situation. By the time Hitler was "appeased" say 1936 or so, Germany had a large war-making power and was in fact a close match to any single power in Europe or probably on earth at the time. For Britain or France to challenge Hitler in 1936 meant putting themselves on a war footing immediately to catch up to what the Germans were already doing. To Chamberlain and the others that obviously didn't seem like a good idea. History has "proved" them wrong but at the time those were the choices.

In 2003 the US is far and away the predominant military power on earth. The US spends more each year on war materials than the next 50 or so highest spending countries. The US war-making ability is such that the US Navy could take on ALL the other navies in the world simultaneously and almost certainly win. The US Air Force is not quite so powerful but could probably take on the next 15-20 largest air forces in the world at the same time and win. Ground forces are somewhat less powerful because the US has lots of technology but not a huge number of personnel but still the US Army has overwhelming force against numerous foes.

Give the above the US is most definitely not in the same situation as those confronting Hitler. The big advantage of overwhelming superiority is that one can afford to wait until the very last second before taking offensive action against ones enemies. Mr. Bush chose to do what is close to a sneak attack on Iraq not having enough smarts to realize the advantages of the US position and using it to advantage. Having given up the moral high ground Mr. Bush's armies are now, and most likely will continue, to suffer the consequences of that ill-advised policy decision.

The choice Mr. Bush made is so ignorant it is appalling. If you are the overwhelming military power on earth, why wouldn't you move an overwhelming force into place, issue a war proclamation and then proceed to dismantle the enemy? Why would you play into the enemies hands by a sneak attack and barely adequate forces.
 

SpideyCU

Golden Member
Nov 17, 2000
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as far as the comparison, it's not really the same. hitler was actually supported by his people. saddam for the most part is not
Perhaps not in sheer numbers, but he's certainly got a group of extremely loyal people in his Republican Army that are willing to do almost anything for him.

wirelessenabled, I certainly agree that the situation isn't the same, regarding appeasement. I'm wondering more along the lines of what you said later on: "History has "proved" them wrong but at the time those were the choices." Are we going to say the same about the song & dance that the UN pulled? "What? You can't comply with the deadline for weapons inspection! No problem! You can have another week. Just be sure to keep your promise this time." Not quite that bad, but... ;) Just to clarify, since both you and loser brought it up, I'm not trying to impress the idea that the two situations are exactly the same. Just that perhaps reactions to it might be.

Also, regarding "The big advantage of overwhelming superiority is that one can afford to wait until the very last second before taking offensive action against ones enemies"...I agree to an extent. But again, the folks who, justifiably or not, complained that we didn't get involved in stopping the death camps in Germany soon enough would have an even stronger voice in this case. "Well, if the US had the capabilities, why not try to help out the Iraqi people? Why did they wait? <insert conspiracy theory>". No matter what you do, people will say you made the wrong decision at some point or another. It's important to separate whom we give heed and whom we ignore.

My point perhaps isn't so much that people need to get perspective *today* on what they're arguing against, on both sides...but rather, to the people who say "We should've done this and that during WW2" and such...perhaps now you see why it isn't as easy as saying what the leaders then "should've" done. It's much more complicated than that, hindsight being 20/20 and all.

By the way, thank you both for responding without it turning into a political liberal vs. conservative bashing free-for-all. Of course, we're only a few posts in, plenty of time for people to start posting irrationally!
 

wirelessenabled

Platinum Member
Feb 5, 2001
2,190
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It seems to me that the containment options has been working and will continue to work in this situation. Iraq has no long range weapons capabilities. They barely have the capability to hit their neighbors let alone Europe, the Far East or North/South America. Iraq's only real offensive option is the so-called terrorist one. It certainly is possible that Iraq has/had the ability to project power using some small scale one-off suicide attack. But if you look at that sort of attack, what country or group doesn't have that option? Iraq has a few advantages being a country to implement that type of action but there are lots of sub-country groups out there that have significant capabilities as well.

So we get to the question of what threat does the attack on Iraq ameliorate? On the one hand when/if we take out the Saddam Hussein government it certainly will not attack the US. But as we accomplish that we are inflaming the situation not only in Iraq but all over the Islamic world. I fear we are creating more fanatics/terrorists than we are eliminating by invading Iraq.

As I tried to say in my first post ... when one has overwhelming military superiority than one can wait until there is definite information before acting. In this case I would say that if the US has information that with absolute certainty details Iraq's so-called WMDs ( I hate that term!!!!) then a bunker buster or whatever is needed could take them out. If we had that information why wouldn't we give it to the UN weapons inspectors? They seemed to have fairly free run of the country. I can only conclude that the US does not have any exact information but only a lot of hearsay and weak info. Not enough to invade a sovereign nation in my opinion, no matter how despicable the government of that country.

If for whatever reason one concludes that the invasion was correct why wouldn't the US use the overwhelming force at its disposal to get the job done as quickly as possible? Seems like the Bush/Rumsfeld team jumped the gun on this one.
 

SpideyCU

Golden Member
Nov 17, 2000
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Points taken. I've wondered if their reasons for going into Iraq meant that they knew something important enough that warranted it, but it wouldn't be safe to publicly disclose it for whatever reason. Of course, that's just wondering and nothing more - whether or not something like that is true, and whether or not the reasons are actually justifiable, I don't feel I'm in a position to comment on. From what we *actually* know, along the lines of what you said, it does indeed seem a bit much.
 

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