Thursday, October 25, 2007


The Length of the War

A lot of Americans think that WWII started on December 7, 1941 when Japanese naval forces conducted a very successful carrier aircraft raid on our naval forces at anchor in Pearl Harbor. Those with a better grasp of history know that it at least started two years earlier on September 1, 1939, when German forces began a very successful and brief invasion of Poland. Those with even greater historical knowledge put it back to September 18, 1931 when Japanese forces began to wage war against Manchuria after what we call the Mukden incident. (I'm happier to put it on September 7, 1937, with the Marco Polo Bridge incident because, after that, Japan fought China without a break until the surrender on September 7, 1945). However, the Mukden incident certainly was the start of hostilities between China and the Empire of Japan which waged hot and cold for the next 14 years.

Likewise, most people think that WWII ended in May and September, 1945 when German and Japanese representatives, respectively, signed formal surrender papers. Ah, but surrender is not the end; there is a traditional period of occupation following and then a formal treaty ending all hostilities and restoring the belligerents to a formal state of peace. It takes a real history savant to know that WWII ended in this way with the Treaty of San Francisco signed on September 8, 1951. That makes WWII just about 20 years long with shorter periods of combat operations for some nations involved.

Gulf War II, the current war in Iraq, has been going on since April, 2003, so about 4 and a half years. That's about a quarter of the formal length of WWII and just as our combat operations in WWII only lasted just over 4 years, our combat operations in Iraq 4 years ago lasted about 3 weeks. Apparently, the Germans and Japanese are better at war than the Iraqis.

The real difference between Gulf War II and WWII is the deaths the wars caused, 75,000 versus 72 million. For us, 4,000 versus 405,000. To free 50 million from the murderous Taliban and the tyrant Saddam, twice that seems like a bargain.

UPDATE: The Treaty of San Francisco ended the war with Japan. It's tougher to peg the end of our war with Nazi Germany. The best bet is the the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany signed by all parties involved (but Poland) on September 12, 1990. That makes WWII just about fifty-nine years long. Wow, who knew?



On w/ the fuzzy math. First of all, the invasion of Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq were completely unrelated. You can't call Afghanistan part of GW I or GW II.

The estimated population of Iraq in 2006 was slightly less than 26.8 million. As of October 2007. 2.2 million were displaced in neighboring countries while 2.3 million were internally displaced.

This means that just over 20% of the population is internally or externally displaced. That isn't freedom, Roger, that is a humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, other segments of the population are subjected to al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, although we appear to be getting the upper hand on that problem, or the insidious influence of Iran.

The duly elected democratic government is completely dysfunctional having yet to pass essential legislation for sharing oil revenues a necessary first step for rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure which degraded under Saddam following GW I and was further degraded by the invasion. Essential services such as electricity and clean water have not yet even risen to pre invasion levels.

Yep. We sure liberated the hell out Iraq. Let's not forget that by doing so we have made Iran the most powerful country in the region.

As for the cost of the war, not in irreplaceable lives, but in countable dollars, what is it? The war is even part of the national budget but like most wars, it costs a lot. Unlike previous wars, however, the Bush administration is paying for it by tax cuts for the rich.

Precisely what strategic national interests were served by invading Iraq? Where are the WMDs? No connection between Iraq and 9/11.

I could go on but what's the point. You will continue to believe that the bathwater is vintage champagne.

Here is where we can agree. It will probably be 59 years b/f we are out of Iraq. Wow, who knew?

When the Iraqis are moving out, thimgs indeed must be bad, but you have neglected to factor in the million plus who returned to Iraq following our brief combat operations. Not 20% displaced, not even close. I agree Afghanistan is not Gulf War II; it is strike back at al Qaeda, part one, but I have been charting deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan for a few years so combining the liberations of both places was a natural next step. I disagree that infrastructure is not improving and that the government is dysfunctional. No worse than our Democrat led legislators. Finishing Gulf War II, just to depose Saddam, was legal and worthwhile. The WMD focus was merely an unsuccessful attempt to redeem the counterproductive UN. I never thought al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for the attacks on 9/11. I'm not sure why you mention it. The Germans were pretty bad off in 1945 but things slowly got better and now even East Germany is doing OK. Cruel to be kind, old friend. Cut into the healthy flesh to excise the cancer. These can't be foreign concepts to you.

I need your source as to millions of Iraqis returning, overwise my math is good.

I appreciate the charting you have done but you have to make a better case as to why Iraq and Afghanistan are the same conflicts unless you are going to fall back on the good vs. evil conflict.

Ypu may not like the Democrats but compared to the Iraqi government WHICH HAS YET TO PASS REQUISITE OIL REVENUESHARINBG LEGISLATION, they are mightly functional.

As for infrastructure, my understanding is that there is less electricity now than b/f we invaded. Cite your sources that there is more.

T;;,1&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL; (pp. 15 and 16). Those searches took about 12 minutes.
Tony, what's wrong with the numbers? If we include the occupation of Iraq, we also need to include the occupation of Japan and Germany to be able to compare lengths. While more retaliatory action is happening in Iraq (suicide bombers) than happened during the WWII occupation because German and Japanese cultures are different from Iraqi culture, it still did occur.
I think the analysis was quite interesting.
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