Monday, March 05, 2007

Hysterical Perspective

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And then there's Victor Davis Hanson. Hanson writes,
Given all of this country's past wars involving intelligence failures, tactical and strategic blunders, congressional fights and popular anger at the president, Iraq and the rising furor over it are hardly unusual. . .
. . . consider the national mood in 1968 when the United States suffered more than 16,000 American dead in Vietnam (at that rate, we lost more troops in three months than during the entire four-year Iraqi war). In response, riots racked the country. Protesters stormed the Democratic Convention in Chicago. And a polarized country saw both Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. gunned down. . . .
Optional conflicts like the Mexican War, the Philippines Insurrection, Korea and Vietnam all cost more lives than Iraq. Even our most successful wars witnessed far more lethal stupidity than seen in Baghdad. Thousands of American dead resulted from lapses like the Confederate surprise at Shiloh, Japanese surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, and the German surprise attacks in the Ardennes.
What is the point in mentioning that past wars have been screwed up? Readers of The American Conservative, Chronicles, and other sources had plenty of warning about potential problems arising in an invasion of Iraq, usually with emphasis on the result of past Western occupations of Islamic countries--something that appears to be problematic. The issue now is whether the U.S. should consider to pour money, blood and credibility into what seems to be an obviously failed occupation and attempted nation building. Referring to miscalculations dating back to the War of 1812 offers little in the way of guidance.

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