A little perspective, please

A Little Perspective, Please
by Jonathan V. Last
03/27/2003 7:00:00 AM

I DON’T KNOW where the war is ultimately headed or how long it will take or if it will ultimately be judged by history as a success or failure. I do know this: The talk about the campaign in Iraq being bogged down and the coalition being in this for “the long haul” is, if not ridiculous, then extremely premature.

Why? Because we’re now on Day 8 of the war and with only one or two exceptions, even the greatest, most lopsided military victories take longer than 8 days.

Remember the Grenada cakewalk? The United States invaded on October 25, 1983 and hostilities ended on November 3. If conquering Grenada (133 square miles) took 10 days, shouldn’t commentators take a wait-and-see attitude towards Iraq (169,000 square miles)? The same was true for the invasion of Panama. Begun on December 20, 1989, Manuel Noriega didn’t surrender until January 3, 1990. That’s 15 days.

The first Gulf War was no easier. The allies began the air campaign on January 17, 1991 and didn’t reach a cease-fire until February 28–43 days. And if you back up a few months, Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. In an invasion that spent no time on the niceties of war which the United States insists upon, Saddam’s forces didn’t secure their small, militarily inferior neighbor until August 8. It took Saddam 7 days–and loads of civilian casualties–to conquer a neighbor with only 2.1 million people.

You say that’s ancient history, that we’re in a new era? Okay. How about this: In Afghanistan the United States started bombing on October 7, 2001. The last Taliban forces didn’t leave Kandahar until December 7–a 63 day campaign.

Today, each of these military actions is considered a rout and, with the exception of Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait, each took longer than the 8 days which now seem to have been allotted to the allied commanders in charge of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Still not convinced? Consider the greatest military collapse of modern times, the infamous French fold at the start of World War II. Germany invaded France on May 10, 1940, didn’t get to Paris until June 14, and didn’t get a French surrender until June 22.

Even the French–the French!–were able to hold out for 44 days. If Saddam prolongs the fighting for another 5 weeks, all he will be doing is rising to the level of military competence set by France.

Today is Day 8 of the war. Let’s try to keep some perspective.

Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard.

This guy is an idiot. Is he related to Tyjenks?

People are saying the war is “bogged down” not because it’s taking 8 days, but because they were led to believe that it would be a cakewalk. The impression the media and the Whitehouse gave was that the Iraqis would be surrendering left, right and center, and that the Coalition would just walk into Baghdad and have a tea party.

And I tell ya, there’s no better way to make yourself look like an ass than randomly making fun of the French. Anti-French Americans should think of how long the French have been around and in the top eschelon of the world’s cultures. Americans should consider themselves lucky if there “power” last another hundred years after this fiasco.

Think of this analogy: I don’t really like anything that the Beatles ever produced. But who do you think they’ll be listening to in 30 years: the Beatles or Britney Spears. Like them or not, the Beatles have a lot more staying power than the retard of the month.

You’re not making sense and just being insulting on top of it. If the Iraqi war is wrapped up in 2 months with less than 1000 fatalities then it will be a cakewalk. People that say otherwise are being either ridiculous, silly or dishonest. You apparently fall into the dishonest crowd because you seem to be setting ridiculous goals for the coalition forces simply so you can criticize them for not meeting your goals.

Exactly what “power” are you referring to? Military and economic power? The U.S. could practically stand still for the next 100 years and still be ahead of most other contries on both counts.

And fiasco is a bit harsh, don’t you think? What here has risen to the level of fiasco?

You’re not making sense and just being insulting on top of it. If the Iraqi war is wrapped up in 2 months with less than 1000 fatalities then it will be a cakewalk. People that say otherwise are being either ridiculous, silly or dishonest. You apparently fall into the dishonest crowd because you seem to be setting ridiculous goals for the coalition forces simply so you can criticize them for not meeting your goals.[/quote]

Do those fatalities include iraqi civilians? What about the inevitable backlash that’s going to come once the coalition puts in the government of its choosing?

I’m not the one who set these goals. Rumsfeld et al. gave the American people every indication that the Iraqis wanted “freedom”, and would welcome the Americans (and British lapdogs) as they waltzed in. But as another post pointed out, American “freedom” isn’t exactly what everyone in the world wants. This is not what was “supposed” to happen. Random “quoting” is fun.

Exactly what “power” are you referring to? Military and economic power? The U.S. could practically stand still for the next 100 years and still be ahead of most other contries on both counts.

And fiasco is a bit harsh, don’t you think? What here has risen to the level of fiasco?[/quote]

I couldn’t think of another word for power, but I guess I meant economic/cultural influence. China is already catching up in terms of economic, and I’m sure every little Muslim boy wants to grow up to be a cowboy after the US mows over every Islamic nation it can get a hold of. Every empire falls, and if the US keeps up with its “we can do whatever we want” attitude, it will probably come sooner than later.

And this became a fiasco the second the President was chosen by the Supreme Court and not the people.

“The impression the media and the Whitehouse gave was that the Iraqis would be surrendering left, right and center, and that the Coalition would just walk into Baghdad and have a tea party.”

The White House has relentlessly touted the power of the US military, I don’t think that they’ve ever said the war would be easy. Then again, I don’t think I’ve heard the White House contradict the media when they have said that fighting Iraq would be a “cakewalk”. At least not until after the war started.

-Dirt

So who are the barbarians at the gates? Canada or Mexico? And so what if other countries rise. It’s not a zero-sum game. If China develops a great economy, why is that automatically a bad thing for America? It seems to me like this would lead to exactly what you want, America being less dominant.

If you look at the revised 2050 population estimates that just came from the UN, expect American power to increase significantly relative to Europe over the next 50 years. Mostly due to immigration, the US will continue to gain population and its population’s median age won’t go as high as Europe’s will. Europe is actually expected to shrink by about 130 million people. The economic ramifications of that are staggering - millions of fewer workers supporting a growing aged population.

PDF of UN Report Highlights.

Here’s the bit summarizing the aging European population: “Europe is the major area of the world where population ageing is most advanced. The proportion of children is projected to decline from 17 per cent in 2000 to 15 per cent in 2050, while the proportion of older persons will increase from 20 per cent in 2000 to 35 per cent in 2050. By then, there will be 2.4 older persons for every child and more than one in every three persons will be aged 60 years or over. As a result, the median age will rise from 37.7 years in 2000 to 47.7 in 2050.”

Not to say North America isn’t aging. Its median age will rise from 35.4 to 40.2. However, its population will increase by about 130 million, and its fertility rate will remain much closer to replacement value (2.1 children per woman is considered population replacement). Europe’s fertility rate is expected to drop to 1.45, and North America will drop to 2.01.[/b]

So who are the barbarians at the gates? Canada or Mexico? And so what if other countries rise. It’s not a zero-sum game. If China develops a great economy, why is that automatically a bad thing for America? It seems to me like this would lead to exactly what you want, America being less dominant.[/quote]

Who said America being less dominant is a good thing?

And did you know, there are more countries in the world than those that directly border the USA. And believe it or not, a country can crumble for more reasons than just being invaded.

But the Rome analogy is great, since I imagine there were Romans spouting pretty much the same thing as you. I doubt they were typing it on a computer though.