Blogs > HNN > Comparing Our War with WW II

Sep 1, 2005 12:09 pm

Comparing Our War with WW II

President Bush at a ceremony in California honoring WW II vets yesterday (again) compared the war against terrorism (his term) with World War II. Won't someone please stop him from drawing this insulting analogy?

Here's the quote:

Sixty years ago this Friday, General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. With Japan's surrender, the last of our enemies in World War II was defeated, and a World War that began for America in the Pacific came to an end in the Pacific. As we mark this anniversary, we are again a nation at war. Once again, war came to our shores with a surprise attack that killed thousands in cold blood. Once again, we face determined enemies who follow a ruthless ideology that despises everything America stands for. Once again, America and our allies are waging a global campaign with forces deployed on virtually every continent. And once again, we will not rest until victory is America's and our freedom is secure.
What do our war and WW II have in common?

THEN: On Dec. 7, 1941 we were attacked.
NOW: On 9-11 we were attacked.

THEN: By the 4th anniversary of Pearl Harbor we had mobilized a military of some 12 million men and women.
NOW: Today on the eve of the 4th anniversary of 9-11 we have mobilized an army of some 1.5 million men and women. (These numbers were corrected on 9-1-05 after reading Eric Rauchway's blog here)

THEN: Enemy leaders included Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini.
NOW: Enemy leaders include Zarkowi, bin Laden, Saddam.

THEN: Hitler's scientists were working to develop nuclear weapons and missiles.
NOW: bin Laden is trying to steal or buy nuclear weapons and missiles.

THEN: War deaths tallied more than 400,000 at the end of four years.
NOW: War deaths are just shy of 2,000 at the end of four years.

THEN: The president called on Americans to make great sacrifices.
NOW: The president tells Americans to go about their business.

THEN: Our enemies adhered to a monster ideology of death, nihilism, racism and anti-Semitism.
NOW: Our enemies adhere to a monster ideology of death, nihilism, racism and anti-Semitism.

To be sure, there are similarities and I have strived to include any parallels I could think of. But are the differences not greater than the similarities? Is it not insulting to the memory of the veterans the president claimed to be honoring yesterday to compare their war with this one? (And I am giving Bush the benefit of the doubt by not drawing the obvious distinction between a war we had to fight (WW II) and a war we chose to fight (Iraq).)

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