Monday, November 27, 2006

Timelines-Lengths of String-WWII/Iraq

Ah the headiness of it all. Soon the 'Iraq War' will have gone on longer than...fill in the blank. Such comparisons touch in only two places, length of time, and both are wars. ( Although I dispute the latter; Iraq is a battle, not a war.)Nevertheless, for comparisons to be meaningful, I think all wars in history ought to be sampled. The Punic wars, Alexander's wars of conquest, the Peloponnesian War, The Thirty Years War, The Hundred Years war, the various Crusades, The French and Indian war, our Revolution, the Russo-Japanese war, various Roman campaigns etc., etc. Does cataloguing all these further clarify or cloud the Iraq/WWII comparison? I say the latter. The comparison is just a way of asking how long is a piece of string. Why use WWII? Why not the Hundred Years War? Just because we were not involved? So what? Is the Cold War out of bounds? If so why? It ran from about 1946 through the fall of the Berlin wall and collapse of the U.S.S.R. We and our allies fought the Soviets and their proxies for 45 odd years. And want to count bodies and point fingers? Please. Let this little fact spin about a bit. During the occupation of France, the Nazis/germans killed about 44,000 French. After liberation in 1944, the French killed about 43,000 French in reprisals, killings or collaborators and suspected collaborators, and just madness. (See Operation Jedburgh by Colin Beavan.) So what you say? Well, what is the standard to compared deaths by violence in warfare? Time, place, country...populace involved, motivation? Some returning Russian soldiers were subsequently thrown into prison by Stalin because survival must have meant they collaborated. When they died, who should get the credit/blame? Stalin or Hitler? Do you see a pattern collapsing here? These comparisons are using the wrong metric. And the unspoken, and faulty assumption is, well it's gone on longer than WWII, it's supposed to be over by now, therefore there must be malfeasance, conniveance, corruption etc. Nonsense. One other thing. In WWII, everyone wanted us to win. Now, too many sorry sons-a-bitches want us to lose. Assimilate that metric

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