Monday, June 06, 2005

June The Sixth, 1944 And 2005.

There is quite a little difference in sixty-one years as to how the West reacts to an existential threat. By 1944 the War had gone on for some time, the then version of "Shock and Awe" was resulting in the wholesale bombing of enemy cities.

A combination of legitimate fears of sabotage and espionage and fear for the safety of Japanese-Americans, both citizen and non-citizen, plus some overblown fear for the same things had caused the wholesale internment of those folks. There was also the somewhat more selective internment of Germans and Italians, both citizen and non-citizen. Troublesome Americans were dealt with, extra-legally, most often by locking them up in mental hospitals.

The Invasion of Normandy caused more American and British casualties, KIA, WIA, MIA and captured than we've lost in this entire war, so far. In one day.

Today we're quite different, it seems. Instead of interning anyone who might be an enemy we seem to not only welcome them but to give them a veto over the conduct of this war. In my Dad's War the losing Presidential Candidate, Wendell Wilkie, toured the world as a representative of Franklin Roosevelt both reporting back information and rallying the troops and civilian workers. We see what the losing Presidential Candidates of this new era are doing.

We are fighting the most 'humane' war in history, in large part because of the incredible advances in precision munitions coupled with the superb training and skill of our professional military. That's the tactical end, we no longer have to carpet bomb a whole city to hit one target, nor must we slaughter an entire regiment to render it combat-ineffective. An equally large part of why we're fighting this war so delicately is to keep the vast majority of the billion and a half Muslims in this world on the sidelines. The hope, forlorn as it is, is that the changes we're effecting in Afghanistan and Iraq will cause a change in the dynamic of the entire Muslim world. This change, if successful, will prevent a wider war, the West against all Islam.

I've never been really all that sanguine about the chances of winning this war of civilizations by finesse, I've always thought that the chances of avoiding this huge war by fighting a couple of small wars to be somewhere in the range of four or five to one. Still, I've supported the attempt, wholeheartedly. If it works we avoid a war that will make the Hitler-Tojo fracas look like an argument among Kindergartners, if it doesn't work we'll have important land bases and seaports in in the region where we'll be fighting.

This is what angers me so much about the whole Gitmo, Abby-Grabby, Koran-desecration frenzy. It's not just the fact that the whole thing is overblown and being used selectively to beat the Bush Administration. It's not that it puts our people in more danger. It's that we are being forced into this wider war by the very people who claim to be in favor of peace.

Each day, as I read the news, I grow more convinced that we will be in this wider war within a decade or so.

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