The fantasy of American Empire lives on

There was a weird historical allegory in Denny Rehberg’s Gazette guest column on Friday, tying the so-called “war on terror” to World War 2:

In World War II, our country lost a generation of Americans because our leadership saw a threat and did not react quickly enough. How much shorter could the war have been? How many fewer lives would have been lost, if America had acted swiftly against the looming threats posed by Japan, Germany and Italy? Unfortunately, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor forced us to act. Today, we are in a similar situation in the war on terrorism. For decades, we ignored the growing and obvious threat presented by terrorism. Sept. 11, 2001, forced us to rethink this threat. To ensure that we do not lose another generation of young Americans, we must continue to fight terrorism wherever it resides and provide our soldiers the resources they need to get the job done and return home safely.

First the comparison between even the Iraq War and WW2 patently ridiculous. In the WW2, we fought a number of large conventional armies belonging established sovereign states. Those states were definite aggressors against our own territory and were a definite threat to our interests.

Currently we’re fighting a number of loose shadowy terrorist and nationalist groups in Iraq in a grueling – but not terribly large – guerrilla war.

Other things matter, too. In WW2 Congress unanimously declared war on Japan, Germany, and Italy. No declaration of war kicked off Iraq; instead the administration wrangled an open-ended quasi-approval for military action after all diplomacy was exhausted, which was based on “faulty” intelligence. Also, during WWII the country was involved – there was a draft, rationing, the whole bit. Now? Some irritating news to wade through, increased gas prices, and a small number of dead soldiers mostly from poor and working-class families and rural areas.

Rehberg’s analogy is also patently ridiculous. The US would not have, could not have intervened before Pearl Harbor. The citizenry wasn’t into war. There wasn’t a question of making sh*t up and dragging the country into war against its will, even if the enemy was clear and present. That’s a recipe for disaster. Could you image defeating Hitler and Tojo with an indifferent American populace?

The deal is simple: the GOP wants you and me to believe that the present Iraq War is analogous to WWII because that was the “good” war. No one thinks fighting that war was a bad idea, and they want you to think that fighting their war is the same thing. It’s part of the conservative mindset on foreign policy, where everything is broken down into a simplistic “us vs. them” approach. Only no one asked us whether we want to go to war, no one proposed it for debate. We were hijacked, and some of us are still pretty p*ssed.

Only it gets worse, or threatens to. Now these goons want to drag us into Israel’s mess. Newt Gingrich:

Gingrich said in an interview Saturday that Bush should call a joint session of Congress the first week of September and talk about global military conflicts in much starker terms than have been heard from the president.[snip]

Gingrich said in the coming days he plans to speak out publicly and to the administration from his seat on the Defense Policy Board about the need to recognize that America is in World War III.

Got that? We need to be told we’re in “WWIII.” By the President.

Only thing is, it ain’t the President’s job to “tell us” what wars we’re in. The power of declaring war belongs to Congress. Period.

And just who would they declare war on, Newt?

See, the neocons are facing a choice. They can either face up to their colossal intellectual blunders about the Middle East and endure the humiliation that will accompany self-realization, or they can become more strident and claim we haven’t gone far enough to realize their American Empire fantasies.

We know where Gingrich and Bill Kristol stand: with their egos.

  1. Two points. First, the Declaration of War was not unanimous. Come on — Jeanette Rankin was in Congress and she never voted for war.

    The second is a bit more relevant. What the Hell does Mr. Rehberg mean we lost a generation of Americans? Our casualties were nowhere near that high and haven’t been in any war since possibly the Civil War. France lost a generation in World War I. Russia arguably lost a generation (something like 20 million deaths) in World War II.

    But America? We and Great Britain basically wiped fascism off the planet and halted communism in its tracks. As for getting involved in the fight earlier, it may have worked, but the politicians of the time did not move out in front of the public — a good decision for anyone who wishes to maintain public support.

    The American public still support the War on Terror. We have not forgotten 9/11. Most of us just can’t figure out what Iraq has to do with it other than serving as a distraction from the battle. The Bush Administration has lost credibility.

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