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Sunday, December 18, 2011

DID WE WIN WORLD WAR II?

I received an e-mail message this morning from President Barack Obama:

Patrick --

Early this morning, the last of our troops left Iraq.

As we honor and reflect on the sacrifices that millions of men and women made for this war, I wanted to make sure you heard the news.

Bringing this war to a responsible end was a cause that sparked many Americans to get involved in the political process for the first time. Today's outcome is a reminder that we all have a stake in our country's future, and a say in the direction we choose.

Thank you.

Barack


Of course, so did just about everyone else in America.  But did we really win this war?  Sure, certainly, for we largely neutralized the Republican Guard in hours on 20March2003, felled the statue of Saddam Hussein on April 9 and declared (President George W. Bush, anyway) on May 3, "Mission Accomplished."    We further captured and legally terminated Saddam Hussein, and after eight years of effort, leave a semblance of democracy in place, confirming no signs of mass destructive weapons.


Yet, why are pundits questioning this success?  The general sense continues to be that we are pulling out too soon.  Democracy has not been established yet.  If you think this is nit-picking and political, consider that there is a new book just published last month, where Herbert Hoover (our 31st President--who with his future wife was in the first graduating class at Stanford University--that iconic tower on the campus is known as Hoover Tower, or, in my day, as Hoo Tow) provides a secret history to the Second World War.  As edited by George Nash, the point is made that we screwed up on World War II, setting the stage for the A-Bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Korean and Vietnam Wars and rise of China.

Thus, the question is, considering the benefit of hindsight, did we really "win" the second world war?   Could we have become the only super power without the attendant tragedies and a world at the point today of possible collapse?  Incidentally, Amazon.com indicates that Freedom Betrayed is not yet available.

I must, also, again, point out that the USA has 369,000 troops in 150 countries.  We won the Second World War, and have 54,000 active military in those German bases to the right, and an additional 40,000 in Japan.  We won the Korean War, but retain 28,500 in South Korea.  We lost the Vietnam War and, yikes, have no one in that country.  Amazingly, though, the people of Vietnam today like Americans more than the Chinese and Russians.  (This was a personal poll of only few, but the result was, to me, astonishing.)  Even though we have left Iraq, according to the above message from my President, apparently 20,000 or so Americans will remain there for a long time to come.  If Germany and Japan are indicators, the numbers will not change much in 2077.


Finally, click on a U.S. News and World Report Debate Club competition that ran last month, involving people like Congressmen Ron Paul (left) and J. Randy Forbes (right), and...yours truly, among eight debators on military spending.  In particular, check out the final voting tally, revealing a growing public sentiment that we need to shift away from defense to other budget priorities.

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