Friday, November 18, 2005

What If We Surrendered?

With all the talk on the Left of the U.S. needing to pull out and give up in Iraq, I could not help but to think about our nation's and the world's history when it has come to wars past. I hear that number 2,000 thrown around and think about that many young Americans killed and that many who will have died in vain if we withdraw. Once again, I think about our history, specifically World War Two.

Now, let me first say that at one level no two wars are alike, but at a more primal level all wars are alike. They are alike in that they ultimately amount to a war of will, of fortitude, of resolve and of values. We are approximately two years and eight months into the war in Iraq. With this has come substantial loss of life and limb, as well as the sacrifice of a few on the homefront. World War Two lasted approximately three and a half years at a cost of around 300,000 American lives. The loss of life during this war is incomprehensible by those of us who do not remember it. The homefront was making monumental sacrifices from ration lines, to women entering the industrial work force, to air raid drills, to U-Boat attacks on shipping off our shores. After pondering this, I thought to myself what if we had just quit? What if we had given up two years and eight months into this war? Well, lets take a look.

World War Two was by no means close to being over and the loss of life was continuing on a mass scale two years and eight months into it. August 15, 1944 marks the beginning of Operation Dragoon to liberate southern France. You will recall the D-Day invasion(Operation Overlord) was only nine weeks prior to this date. America alone lost about 3,000 fighting men on that day in June. On August 25, 1944 Paris was liberated. On September 13, 1944 American troops reached the Siegfried Line. The infamous Operation Market Garden began shortly thereafter. During this operation the U.S. 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions lost a total of 3,600 men. The total Allied casualties, including wounded and downed aircrew, exceeded 17,000. On October, 21 1944 there was a massive surrender of Germans at Aachen. On December 17, 1944 the Waffen SS murdered 81 U.S. P.O.W.s. From December 16 through December 27 the Battle of the Bulge took place. Over 600,000 Americans fought in this and 19,000 gave their lives. On February 14 and 15, 1945 Dresden was destroyed by allied fire bombs. On March 7 of this year the Allies took Cologne and crossed the Rhine. In April of 1945 Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps were liberated by the Allies. May 7, 1945 brought the unconditional German surrender and the next day was marked as V.E. Day. And all this was just in the European Theatre.

In the Pacific the U.S. had just captured the Mariana Islands. In October of 1944 the naval battle at Leyte Gulf began and involved 60 Japanese naval vessels. It was during this battle that the Japanese first used suicide bombers called "kamikaze". Fast forward to April of 1945, while things were winding down in Europe they were still quite hot in the Pacific. From April until June of 1945, in the fight for Okinawa, Japanese suicide bombers sunk 30 U.S. ships and close to 80,000 U.S. servicemen died fighting for Okinawa. In July of 1945 the Philippines were re-taken by MacArthur at a cost of 60,000 U.S. servicemen. After sending 1,000 bombers into Japan beginning on July 10 of this year, the decision was made to drop the big ones. Japan unconditionally surrendered on August 14, 1945.

I rehash this history not to make a comparison of numbers of lives lost, but to demonstrate two points. The first is that it is painfully obvious that two years and eight months into WWII was no time to quit. The going had gotten tough and was going to get tougher, tougher than anything our nation has witnessed or will witness in Iraq. It was a pivotal time. If we had quit all those who died in the first two years and eight months would have died in vain and the world would have been in the hands of evil tyrants. The world as we know it today would not exist.

My second point is that Iraq is a small scale conflict. It is not WWII. Now, by saying this I am not downplaying the sacrifice and loss of life there, but I am criticizing the lack of fortitude to finish the job by many in our country. While it is not a war on the scale of WWII, the stakes are ultimately just as high in regard to the outcome.

I think about how the Left is constantly whining about it "not being worth it", about how people's lives are being lost in vain. Given our situation two years and eight months into WWII it would have been hard not to wonder if it was all in vain, if it was "worth it". None-the-less the American populace and its leaders continued to push forward. We tolerated the sacrifice because we were focused on the greater good. Now we lack the fortitude to make the sacrifices needed to win. Why this is is a topic for another post but I will close by saying now is not the time to stop fighting for the greater good and I thank God we are not faced with a trial as great as fighting WWII again today.
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