30 April 2007

Happy Mission Accomplished Day

Four Years Later.

Just for reference, that is three months longer than it took the US to arm itself, invade Africa, Italy, and France, island hop through the Pacific, liberate the Philippines, drive to Berlin, and defeat the Japanese Empire. Granted, that says more about the absolute stunning mobilization the US went through for World War Two than it says about this military expedition. In the grand scheme, WWII was amazingly short, especially when you consider the sheer amount of geography reconquered, and the fact that the weapons the US relied on to win the war not only did not exist at its outset, but in many cases had not yet been invented.

But it is still a remarkable perspective, that the time from Mission Accomplished Day to today is longer than the time from Pearl Harbor to V-J day.


  1. We could have nuked them, but we don't roll like that anymore.

    The mission to remove Saddam from power WAS accomplished, and very well.

    There are other missions we are still working on. Next time I suppose we should just level the country and get the heck out. Would that have been preferable? It certainly would have been easier.

  2. It is funny to me, that many Democrats are starting to agree with Bush on this point. The mission was accomplished four years ago. So, why are we still there? What other missions are we working on, and who says Bush was authorized to work on them?

    I mean, seriously, the military mission had been accomplished. So, he was right. Then we started the policing mission and the nation building mission. Because we cannot do those missions in someone else's country, we never should have done the military mission in the first place. (Duh.) But, I think scalpel is right. The mission authorized by Congress was accomplished four years ago.

  3. This is what drives me crazy when I see the President state over and over that politicians shouldn't tell Generals how to do their job. True. But the Generals did their job, the one they are capable of doing. Whether to leave or not isn't a military decision.

    Its Bush who has put the Generals, and military in general, in this horrible position of trying to do something that they aren't for.

    The only point that matters in the discussion about when to withdraw, and it gets obscured so much, is whether staying can help. In terms of when to withdraw, it doesn't matter if the invasion was good or bad, right or wrong. If we should have left already, whose fault it was. People who think we should stay have this mostly unstated assumption that we can help by staying.
    I think its been demonstrated we can't, and that it probably continues to the problems worse. Certainly the nation building we have tried so far isn't going to to work.

  4. That's a very good point; if this can't be done with the best-trained, best-equipped, strongest military force in history, then jeez, can it even be done?

    That's putting aside the question of "should it," or "should it be done by us." I would be less of a wussy pansy liberal if I thought there was a way to ass-kick this thing into a better situation. I have supreme faith in the ability of our people to kick ass, and I support it unreservedly.

    I'm just tired of our people being killed for reasons I fail to understand. I'm no rocket scientist, but I'm not dumb either, and I haven't heard a cogent argument in favor of this endless policing in the middle of a civil war-like-situation we have. It's discouraging, it appears senseless, and I'd like to have our troops back home. That's all I'm sayin'.

  5. It's a terrible comparison, WWII vs. this war. Yes the military action in WWII was shorter than whatever in the world this is, but we are occupying a conquered opponent -- how long did we occupy Japan after WWII? Well my father went to high school there as a member of the occupying forces, so long enough that we had to set up permanent cities with family support. How many lives were lost in the same amount of time in each conflict? -- again, no comparison makes sense. So stop this particular comparison, it's a stupid and misleading exercise.

    It's been very badly conceived, and very well executed; that's what happens when a bad plan is well-executed -- you get this weird discordance.


  6. Matt, what's the weird discordance?

  7. Matt, you are completely right that it is not at all an apt comparison, which is why I explicitly pointed out that the comparison was a) for perspective only, and b) said a lot more about WWII than this war.

    As I said, it is to me a fascinating perspective that the time from Pearl Harbor to V-J day was three years, nine months. Just amazing. And I compare them for that bit of perspective, not because the wars were comparable -- 400,000 vs 3,500 dead? It's a nonsensical comparison otherwise.

    The analogy that this is more like the occupation of Japan is equally flawed, though. Japan was beaten and pacified. Whereas in this case 96% of US casualties have come after the end of traditional combat. It's not even comparable to Vietman, other than metaphorically. It's a whole new category of its own. Jon Stewart just calls it "MessO'potamia."

  8. Josh, the discordance is in several areas, like more deaths after the major combat, that pulling out is worse than staying, even though staying is terrible.

    Shadowfax, the Japanese occupation was indeed different, but a comparison to an occupation is closer than a comparison to the largest military conflict ever.


  9. Matt, and read zero snark/I'm 100% serious, do you think we need to stay in Iraq forever? Like South Korea or Cuba style forever?

    I can't imagine enduring a 1000 deaths a year in that kind of mission. I mean Jesus, look at Israel. I think a permenant presence in Iraq would be pretty horrific.

    Of course, it will indeed by very awful when we leave.

  10. 50 years ago, there was one democracy in the Middle East: Israel.

    5 years ago, there was still one democracy. the same one.

    Today, there are 2: Israel & Iraq.

    There's no way out of the cesspool of the Middle East until democracies replace the thugocracies, theocracies, and various other dictatorships that populate the rest of the Middle East.

    The War has always been more than just about toppling Hussein, which as others have said was done rapidly.

  11. Is there a democracy in Iraq? I mean, you have a regime that is directly supported by the one world superpower. We say you'll have a democracy dammit. So right a constitution and have this type of government. Oh, and we'll provide the security that makes any of that possible.

    If you want to define it as a democracy that's fine. I mean, we are proping up the government the Iraqis voted for. So, sure, that's more of a democracy that anything else. But it is hardly helpful in the same way Israel being a democracy is helpful.

    And, I think what you, and maybe Matt, although I haven't heard him affirm it recently, believe is that it is worth it for us to stick it out to get Iraq on its feet. But my goodness there is a lot of money and bloodshed between here and there.

    The alternative is shift from military support to financial and diplomatic support. Then let the Iraqis really govern their country. I suspect an organically formed government will be more successful than one we thrust on them. And I know the country doesn't have the stomach to stick it out long enough to transform the region permenantly by force.

  12. Bad Josh. I asked a question and didn't check back. So I don't think its discordance. I don't there's a discordance of "more deaths after the major combat." Herein lies the problem. We didn't understand what the major combat was. The invasion was not the major combat.


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