On Winds of Change, Donald Sensing first complains that withdrawing from Iraq is like surrendering in the middle of World War Two and then explains the importance of killing people. To his credit, he doesn’t advocate massacring civilians the way other posters on the same blog do; however, he’s still applying a very one-eyed judgment, on a blog populated by blind people.
Well, back then, no one was claiming that FDR and the US military were the ones who carried out the Pearl Harbor attack and that the “New York money people” (cough , Jews, cough) had engineered America’s entry into war to stop the Holocaust or something. Neither was more than a third FDR’s opposition party – and tenth of his own – actually wanting FDR’s military strategy to defeat the Axis to fail. Nor was anyone of either party calling for the withdrawal of US troops from the combat theaters before the enemy was beaten.
You’d think that warbloggers would know enough about military history and military strategy to know about the importance of war aims. In World War Two, the US had a clear war aim: the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan. In the Iraq War, the only comparable war aim, the deposition of Saddam, was achieved in April of 2003. Since then, the aim has been political rather than military.
When Germany declared war on the US, Churchill said, “So we had won after all.” The US had a population unmatched by any Axis power, or indeed by any industrial country other than war-torn Russia. It was more thoroughly industrialized than any other country in the world, including the economic powerhorses of Germany and Britain. It had every necessary natural resource, including all the oil it could consume. And unlike Germany and Britain and the USSR, it was far away from the war theaters, protecting its industrial base. In conventional, symmetric, there was no possible outcome but an American victory.
Today, the American share of the world economy is down to a fifth from one half in 1945. It’s dependent on oil imports from the Middle East, and its military can’t guarantee a victory against many possibly hostile world powers, including Russia and China.
But more importantly, Iraq isn’t WW2. Asymmetric warfare is completely different from symmetric warfare. The stated goals of the occupation of Iraq – to smoothen Iraq’s transition to a pro-American democracy – are political rather than military. A military campaign is only one possible solution to the issue, and a bad one at that.
The United States’ campaign isn’t a war, but a policing operation. That it uses the military is irrelevant. In the past, the soldier combined the roles of fighter, policeman, and tax collector. Even today, it’s routine in countries without advanced law enforcement agencies like the FBI or MI5 to deploy the military when there’s a serious law enforcement problem, such as terrorism.
The War on Iraq is over and has been for almost four years. When it was going on, most liberals correctly wished for a rapid resolution, which would minimize the damage to civilians. What liberals, moderates, and many conservatives want right now isn’t to end a war, but to end a doomed law enforcement campaign.
Bush said that the people didn’t vote for failure. He was right: nobody supports failure in Iraq. However, most people both inside and outside the US recognize that the US has already failed in Iraq, and can do nothing now but cut its and its civilian victims’ losses.