Fox News says Iraq is like WW2 not Vietnam

diamond geezer

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 26, 2004
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More "opinion" from a so-called news service. Just who or what is the Weekly standard?

People love to draw historical analogies because they seem to offer a sort of analytical proof—after all, doesn't history repeat itself? In fact, such comparisons do have value, but like statistics, it's possible to find a historical analogy to suit any argument. And Vietnam's the wrong one for Iraq.


In fact, World War II is a far more accurate comparison for the global war we are waging to defeat terrorism. Both wars began for the United States with a catastrophic sneak attack from an undeclared enemy. We had many faint and not-so-faint warnings of the impending*Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor (search), not least the historical precedent of Port Arthur in 1904, when the Japanese launched a preemptive strike against Russia.


We had similar ill-defined warnings and precedents about*Al Qaeda (search)*and*Islamist terrorism (search)*(the*East Africa embassy bombings (search)*in 1998; the*USS Cole bombing (search)*in 2000), but in 2001 as in 1941, we lacked the "hard" intelligence requisite to convince a country at peace that it was about to pitched into war.
Historical apologists say that the Japanese were "forced" to attack us because we were strangling their trade in Asia. Sound familiar? American foreign policy in the Middle East is responsible for the anger and rage that has stirred up Al Qaeda, right? In fact, there is a crucial similarity between the*Japanese imperialism (search)*of 50 years ago and Islamic fundamentalism of today: both are totalitarian, anti-Western ideologies that cannot be appeased.


As Japan amassed victory after victory in the early days of the war, America and our allies could see that we had a long, hard slog ahead of us. Americans understood there was no recourse but to win, despite the fearful cost. This was the first and foremost lesson of World War II that applies today: Wars of national survival are not quick, not cheap, and not bloodless.


In one of our first counteroffensives against the Japanese, U.S. troops landed on the island of*Guadalcanal (search)*in order to capture a key airfield. We surprised the Japanese with our speed and audacity, and with very little fighting seized the airfield. But the Japanese recovered from our initial success, and began a long, brutal campaign to force us off Guadalcanal and recapture it. The Japanese were very clever and absolutely committed to sacrificing everything for their beliefs. (Only three Japanese surrendered after six months of combat—a statistic that should put today's Islamic radicals to shame.) The United States suffered 6,000 casualties during the six-month Guadalcanal campaign; Japan, 24,000. It was a very expensive airfield.

Which brings us to the next lesson of World War II: Totalitarian enemies have to be bludgeoned into submission, and the populations that support them have to be convinced they can't win. This is a bloody and difficult business. In the Pacific theater, we eventually learned our enemies' tactics—jungle and*amphibious warfare (search), carrier task forces, air power—and far surpassed them. But that victory took four years and cost many hundreds of thousands of casualties.

Iraq isn't Vietnam, it's Guadalcanal—one campaign of many in a global war to defeat the terrorists and their sponsors. Like the United States in the Pacific in 1943, we are in a war of national survival that will be long, hard, and fraught with casualties. We lost the first battle of that war on Sept. 11, 2001, and we cannot now afford to walk away from the critical battle we are fighting in Iraq any more than we could afford to walk away from Guadalcanal.


For the security of America, we have no recourse but to win.
Fox again tows the party line, suggesting that Iraq had something to do with terrorist attacks on the US.

Is there any "news service" more adept at keeping the US public ignorant, angry and scared?
 

t300

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2004
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diamond geezer said:
Is there any "news service" more adept at keeping the US public ignorant, angry and scared?
Try the Clinton News Network...ahem...CNN.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
15,925
1
Portland, OR
Fox. For the love of flowers.. in NO WAY (except one) is the war on terrorism like World War II. I will conceed that they both 'started' the same way. That's all. World War II had well defined enemies. There was a well defined purpose, defeat Nazi Germany & Japan and their Allies. Do we even know whom or what we're waging war on? Is there any particular point to our Service people and civilians dying in foreign countries?
 

wwworry

macrumors regular
Mar 23, 2002
235
0
No wonder Fox news consumers are the worst informed. Only a stupid person could accept that article on face value.

why not let Iraq equal Iraq? look at the current facts.

you can see from the posted link the use of analogy only clouds the issues in the current situation. For instance, if you agree that current administration policies in the mid-east are misguided then you are lumped in with "apologists" who say that japan was "forced" to attack the US.

Then, because we are not "apologists",
???
Iraq is like WW II

and Iraq has to be "bludgeoned into submission".
 

mda01aqt

macrumors newbie
Jun 5, 2004
3
0
i actually use to watch foxnews to try and understand why the american population seem......uh hum.....stupid an ill informed.

after watching it i understood perfectly.

what a crappy piece of journalism.
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
25
Northern Virginia
yellow said:
Fox. For the love of flowers.. in NO WAY (except one) is the war on terrorism like World War II. I will conceed that they both 'started' the same way. That's all. World War II had well defined enemies. There was a well defined purpose, defeat Nazi Germany & Japan and their Allies. Do we even know whom or what we're waging war on? Is there any particular point to our Service people and civilians dying in foreign countries?
And witnessed by the increased violence following our "justified" invasion of Iraq, we have only succeeded in creating a new generation of terrorists.
 

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Feb 14, 2004
2,435
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OBJECTIVE reality
Is, uh, Fox aware that in WW II we had a lot more allies?

Are they clear that we're battling not a country, but a widespread organization that is more akin to the Mafia?

Do they understand that, if we'd fought WW II with the same logic we're fighting this war, we would first attack Japan, then turn around and attack China?
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
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The Weekly Standard is a Fox Newscorp-owned right wing publication edited by William Kristol. FWIW.

The historical analogy presented in this article would be laughable if so many people weren't prepared to park their brains at the door and accept any comparison, no matter how foolish and counter-historical, that rationalizes the misbegotten Iraq adventure.
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
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Los Angeles
People love to draw historical analogies because they seem to offer a sort of analytical proof—after all, doesn't history repeat itself? In fact, such comparisons do have value, but like statistics, it's possible to find a historical analogy to suit any argument.
I agree w/this. Everything after this is just, well, :rolleyes:


Lethal
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
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wwworry said:
Only a stupid person could accept that article on face value.
Reminds me of the way many here followed and believed the mindless drivel their demi-god rather was spewing while he foamed at the mouth. :D
 

pooky

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2003
356
1
I think they've actually got it right here. The Iraq war IS a little like WWII, but not in the way they're thinking.

We're the Japanese. Think about it - we strike a country preemptively despite their attempts to appease us. The country we've attacked happens to be oil rich, a resource we'd like desperately to get our hands on. Our attack forces a country that had, for the most part, been quiescent towards us to unite in a fury of nationalism.

I'm not saying it's a perfect analogy, but it's a whole lot closer to the real situation than what faux news has put out. Nor am I suggesting that we will ultimately lose this war. And I'm certainly not endorsing the actions of the militants who've been doing so many nasty things, both to "coalition" forces, private contractors, and peaceful iraqi citizens (are you reading this Mr. Ashcroft?)
 

Vector

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2002
835
1
edesignuk said:
You gotta be sh*tting me. Like WWII!? Glad we don't get Fox news, I'll still with the BBC thank you.
You have Sky news isn't that close enough?
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
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Los Angeles
pooky said:
We're the Japanese. Think about it - we strike a country preemptively despite their attempts to appease us.
Iraq was well aware of the force build up aginst it and the US never tried to appease Japan nor did Japan demand anything from the US.

The country we've attacked happens to be oil rich, a resource we'd like desperately to get our hands on.
Japan didn't attack Pearl Harbor to get oil (or any other resources). Japan attacked PH to cripple/desotry the US Navy's ability to wage war in the Pacific.


Lethal
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,652
123
Right, so this war in Iraq is just like the one where 'we' happened to win.

Not like that other one which turned into a messy, ignoble complete f**k-up that left the country in ruins for years...
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
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Los Angeles
Personally, I find the whole war X is like war Y thing stupid. I think that the climate and mistakes of the Vietnam era are being watered down by the severe over-use of comparisons like these. The first Gulf War, Somalia, the Balkins, Afghanistan... all got the "Vietnam" treatment. "It's just like Vietnam" has turned into a fear-invoking catch phrase.

All wars have similarities between them and if you want to narrowly comment on those specific parallels that's fine. But soundbite friendly blanket statements are just uncalled for and misleading.


Lethal
 

blackfox

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Feb 18, 2003
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LethalWolfe said:
Iraq was well aware of the force build up aginst it and the US never tried to appease Japan nor did Japan demand anything from the US.
Lethal
Not to get off the argument, but I believe this statement is not entirely accurate. Japan was aware that by joining the (original) axis powers, that it would most likely have to deal with the military force of the allies, especially the US, at least eventually.

I also believe the US attempted to "appease" the Japanese by engaging in diplomatic solutions between the US and Japan, although the latter was being duplicitous by virtue of sneaking their carrier fleet w/in striking distance of Pearl Harbor, while speaking of non-aggression.

I do agree, however, with the larger point of each War being unique, and not prone to be understood through the prism of another engagement, under vastlyy different circumstances. I think the WWII analogy is particularily poor, however.

The Vietnam War was also, of course, about ideology and about anti-western encroachment (ie communism) and the guerilla warfare style of combat is much more analgous to current affairs, as well as the lesson that under such circumstances the US's conventional military superiority was rendered largely irrelevant. I believe that the US's inability or unwillingness to understand or acknowledge this led to our defeat in Vietnam and the subsequent repeat of similar mistakes in Iraq.

I believe it was Ho Chi Minh who when asked about the effects of the Vietnam War, said something to the effect of: " They will lose many lives, we will lose many more...but they will tire of it first."

Again, although the US has the most technologically advanced military, when this advantage is erased in urban guerilla-warfare, to succeed, the US must be willing to lose many soldiers lives, which is, suffice to say, unpopular with the public and therefore difficult to push politically. In this sense, the US does not have the determination of our "enemies", whose fight runs deeper and who are willing to sacrifice more.

If you insist on historical comparisons, I believe the Crusades might be an apt example. Back then, an advanced Islamic Culture was spreading throughout the east and towards Europe. Western Culture stepped in and began nearly a millenia of conflict, which culminated in the defeat of the Ottoman empire, and the humiliation and subjugation of Islam to the West (re: Colonial Middle East). It is foolish to think that this cultural competition has been extinguished or that Islamic culture does not have a desire to regain past glory by shirking off the West.

Speaking of learning from History, we might take a lesson from the Romans...they managed to conquer their large Empire both by military might and by flexibility and adaptation. More often than not, they did not impose their customs and culture on their conquered lands, but co-opted and assimilated local customs. The US, in it's ideological zeal, does not seem able to see the wisdom of tempering ideology with pragmatism. As I heard the other day: " Do you really think that a Culture that keeps half of it's population in bee-keeper suits is ready for Democracy?"

An unfortunate reality, but a reality nontheless. Perhaps we truly need a woman President, as women have long understood that a modicum of cleverness and tact goes much further than that of brute force or fiat in getting what you want.
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
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toronto
a followup on blackfox's point...

lesson #1, as expressed by robert mcnamara is errol morris' excellent The Fog of War, is "empathize with your enemy."

though the main emphasis of his point was the US' lack of understanding of who it was fighting in vietnam, the lesson applies to all wars. imo, the US understood germany well, both in military terms and in western thought.

in this light, i'd say the wars in afghanistan and iraq are more similar to vietnam than to europe in WWII.
 

blackfox

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Feb 18, 2003
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As a follow-up to zim's follow-up to my post <ahem>...

I might add that the US had some difficulty understanding even Japan's Culture and subsequent tactics. The usage of Kamikaze pilots and the propensity for the Japanese to fight down to their last man, made our progress in the Pacific theatre slow and extremely high in casualties as we were fighting an enemy who did not conceptualize the conflict or the stakes in a way we could easily understand. The McNamara quote Zim posted addresses this issue.

It is perhaps the most important concept to understand. Some comparisons can be drawn between Kamikaze pilots and suicide bombers and the willingness and tenacity of both Islamic and Japanese forces to fight to the death, regardless of any hope for Victory.

With this in mind, I would remind everyone of the manner which we brought the War in the Pacific to a close...Hiroshima is not a precendent I enjoy...do any of us want it to come to that?
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
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toronto
yet another followup...

and preceding the two nukes on japan was the firebombing of just about every city in japan. tokyo lost 100,000 civilians in a single night (yikes!).

if we want to use these types of high-level bombing raids -- against civilians, no less -- for comparison to iraq, perhaps Fox (the media outlet, not blackfox) is onto something after all.
 

blackfox

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Feb 18, 2003
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zimv20 said:
yet another followup...

and preceding the two nukes on japan was the firebombing of just about every city in japan. tokyo lost 100,000 civilians in a single night (yikes!).

if we want to use these types of high-level bombing raids -- against civilians, no less -- for comparison to iraq, perhaps Fox (the media outlet, not blackfox) is onto something after all.
See: November 3rd, 2004 (assuming Bush Victory)

Fallu...where?