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Secretary Rumsfeld: What We've Gained In Iraq

Updated

Secretary Rumsfeld puts post war Iraq into perspective in an article published in today's Washington Post:

Consider that in three years Iraq has gone from enduring a brutal dictatorship to electing a provisional government to ratifying a new constitution written by Iraqis to electing a permanent government last December. In each of these elections, the number of voters participating has increased significantly -- from 8.5 million in the January 2005 election to nearly 12 million in the December election -- in defiance of terrorists' threats and attacks.


One of the most important developments over the past year has been the increasing participation of Iraq's Sunni community in the political process. In the volatile Anbar province, where Sunnis are an overwhelming majority, voter turnout grew from 2 percent in January to 86 percent in December. Sunni sheiks and religious leaders who previously had been sympathetic to the insurgency are today meeting with coalition representatives, encouraging Iraqis to join the security forces and waging what violent extremists such as Abu al-Zarqawi and his al-Qaeda followers recognize as a "large-scale war" against them...

..Consider that if we retreat now, there is every reason to believe Saddamists and terrorists will fill the vacuum -- and the free world might not have the will to face them again. Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis. It would be as great a disgrace as if we had asked the liberated nations of Eastern Europe to return to Soviet domination because it was too hard or too tough or we didn't have the patience to work with them as they built free countries.

It's interesting that Secretary Rumsfeld compares Iraq to post war Germany. Another comparison can be made. Back in November 2003, Instapundit referenced a Saturday Evening Post article from 1946 titled "How We Botched the German Occupation." Here's a portion:

Saturday Evening Post January 26, 1946

How We Botched the German Occupation
By Demaree Bess

Berlin

Everywhere I've traveled recently in Germany I've run into Americans, ranging from generals down to privates, who ask perplexedly, "What are we Americans supposed to be doing here? Are we going to take over this place and stay here forever?"

Judging by reports received here from the United States, this perplexity of Americans in Germany is matching by the perplexity of Americans at home. We have got into this German job without understanding what we were tackling or why. Imagine how incredulous we would have been if anybody had told us---even so recently as five years ago---that hundreds of thousands of Americans would be camped in the middle of Europe in 1946, completely responsible for the conduct and welfare of approximately 20,000,000 Germans?

How does it happened that even some of our topmost officials in Germany admit that they don't know what they are doing here? The answer can be expressed, I believe, in one word---secrecy...

The 1946 perspective of post war Germany was that it was going so miserably that even American military in Germany were complaining, yet decades later, the rebuilding of Europe in general and Germany in particular is seen as one of the greatest acheivements in American history.

Three years after the start of the Iraq war, we have those who complain that not enough progress is being made in Iraq and that our military needs to get out as soon as possible. The Toronto Star has an article today which advocates this position. The Nation conducted a forum on how to get out of Iraq. Rep. John Murtha was on Meet the Press this morning and said that Iraq is a dismal failure. Sen. Dick Durbin stated on Fox News Sunday that he wanted the troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. These perspectives are simply too short sighted. The success of this effort cannot be judged in only three years. Post war Europe taught us that the only perspective we can take on Iraq is a long term one. As Secretary Rice said a few days ago, history will judge whether the war in Iraq was a success.

Others who are blogging on the anniversary of the Iraq war:

Gateway Pundit has an article outlining predictions and realities of the war in Iraq.

Mudville Gazette posts memories from the war.

Haystack at Red State says now is the time for resolve, not retreat.

The Jawa Report discusses 100 Veterans Voices.

Update: A reader points me to comments made by The Mesopotamian, an Iraqi blogger, who says this about Operation Iraqi Freedom:

Finally I would like to say to all our friends in the West and America in particular, this: have no fear; the battle is far from being lost. The land of Sumeria, Akad, Babylon, Ur, Nimrod and Ashur will never die. The land where the Old Testament was written and the Aramaic of Jesus Christ was spoken cannot become extinct. The Capital of Harun Al-Rashid and the Arabian nights cannot die. Land of Abraham and the prophets, Mesopotamia is indestructible. Seven thousand years of turbulent history attest to this. Only this land will remain tortured and cannot rest or calm down until it achieves greatness again. This is a germ that has been genetic in this mystic land from the beginning of history. This same history will credit the U.S.A. in years to come to have been the one to arouse this long dormant genie.

Comments (19)

The political left cannot a... (Below threshold)
Aubrey:

The political left cannot allow Iraq to be a success. If it works out, and results in diminishing Muslims reasons for warfare by terror, Goege W. Bush will go into the history books as one of the great presidents. That's an unthinkable prospect for the left.

***Now is the time for all ... (Below threshold)
bryan * "matha stewart" D:

***Now is the time for all good bush-bots to come to the aid of the neo-cons.*** ("It's a good thing."*) You're not ALL NAZI SYMPATHIZERS?!?!? ARE YOU?!?!?

Thank you for that bit of h... (Below threshold)
Omni:

Thank you for that bit of historical perspective; every liberal in America should be forced to memorize it.

Omni

You're not ALL NAZ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:
You're not ALL NAZI SYMPATHIZERS?!?!? ARE YOU?!?!?

No, but given your views on Isreal, I wouldn't be surprised if you were.

Our soldiers in Iraq (and A... (Below threshold)
Neil:

Our soldiers in Iraq (and Afghanistan) are doing better by us than we are doing by them. We might get better results if we deserved better results. We could start by not giving our enemies the idea that some of us are on their side.

OOHH... 25 mono-syllablic w... (Below threshold)
wave_man:

OOHH... 25 mono-syllablic words before envoking the thought provking "NAZI"!!! Come on bryan, why stop with your enlightened tirade so soon? Here's your chance to spout your bulls*%t and show us 'bush-bots' how brilliant you really are. You and your kind are pathetic, you twit.

"Turning our backs on postw... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis."

Am I missing the metaphot? The government we've set up there are "Nazis?"

What could Saddamm's regime be compared to?

jp2:Yeah, you missed... (Below threshold)
tyree:

jp2:
Yeah, you missed something. The Nazis did not magically disappear after Hitler committed suicide in 1945. A significant resistance remained for years. If we left Germany in 1946 we would have been "handing Germany back to the Nazis". Rumsfeld is saying that we did not make that mistake in Germany, and we should not make the mistake in Iraq. We need to be in Iraq until their government can run itself. This should take a little longer than the Kosovo deployment. Hopefully not as long as the German post war deployment.

SCSIwuzzy, (it's a rainy Su... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

SCSIwuzzy, (it's a rainy Sunday so here I go) I have nothing against Jews. I DO hate political correctness in every way, shape and form, after all, it's propaganda used to clear the field of weenies and chickenhearts (which is good!), but only the 1st weapon to be wielded in achieving a political objective which is evidently devious (which is bad!) . For the neo-cons (i.e. certain politically-active zionist Jews who migrated from the communist international after the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty, mainly, and who then attached themselves to socialist democratic parties in the west including the u. s. Democratic party) the ascendant party, being the Republican party, is simply the means to an end, which is, an adjunct U.S.-Israel policy. Siamese Twins-style. Anyone who publicly questions the wisdom of said policy is subjected to Bolshevik-style demonization. The apples fall not far from the ideological tree. The stunting of the REAL conservative movement by labelling those with opposing views as "isolationists" and "paleo-conservatives" (the neo-con's insult, now proudly worn, like Yankee Doodle back in the day) and the purging of the elite media with toads (google "national review purge" for your Sunday reading) who say "amem" on cue and who bang the war drums in time is undeniable to any news junkie.(Yeah, many are ducking-and-covering now, but check them BEFORE the war!) To reject the Neo-con agit-prop doesn't mean one is anti-Israel or anti-Jewish. In fact, the Likudniks can only maintain their policies from a minority basis in coalition with the draft-dodging Orthodox parties (don't worry Schlomo, Uncle Sucker's here).Most Israelis disagree with the policy of brinkmanship deliberately put upon the nation since Bibi's "Clean Break" (google it if you dare!). After all, as the only super-power in the region, why the need to pick fights? Oh, of course, while "spreading democracy". Or sabataging democracy if democracy's inconvenient! Situational ethics is the ugly twin of political correctness and they're both Marxist. And Trotsky and his perpetual war doctrine is the most unadulterated form of Marxism. And the neo-cons are the scions of real, live Trotskyites (Kristol, Podhoretz, et al). Yeah, I know! I know! Abramoff didn't do anything, now Abramoff is being picked on, Boulis had it coming, Libby wasn't Marc Rich's consigliere for twenty years, and the Mossad had no prior warning on 9/11. P.S. In case you think the i'm attributing Mephistophelian powers to the Herodians who hide behind the Jews, I'm not. They are just fortunate to have a SELF-SATISFIED RETARD in the oval office! (nice rug, though!) P.S. And in case you think the second news article above from the Sat Evening Post was alarmist and is therfore helpful to the present situation, later that year (or the next) occurred the so-called G I Riots. Europe AND Japan. That would have been TOO pregnant, eh? Political correctness strikes again!! ***F*E*I*N*G*O*L*D*08***

Oh! waveman! I didn't see y... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Oh! waveman! I didn't see you, sweetheart! Whaddyathink? R.S.V.P. (IN YOUR OWN WORDS, BUT BETTER) *this is only a test*

Have you tried breathing in... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Have you tried breathing into a paper bag?

"jp2:Yeah, you misse... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"jp2:
Yeah, you missed something."

I am familiar with the reconstruction efforts in Germany. What I'm confused about is who exactly Rumsfeld is comparing to Nazis. If it's not the government we set up it must be the insurgents. Which set of insurgents?

He is not comparing anyone ... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

He is not comparing anyone to Nazis, he is saying if we had abandoned the reconstruction of Germany the enemy, in that case the Nazis, would have filled the void. The same thing would happen in Iraq, without reconstruction some Talibanish group of lovelies is certain to take control.

bryanD,Try to post w... (Below threshold)
tblubird:

bryanD,
Try to post when you aren't drinking.

Kim,
Don't know if you caught this but I thought it appropriate for your post - especially to the "Iraq is a dismal failure" feed trough.
It's lifted from an Iraqi, The Mesopotamian:

Finally I would like to say to all our friends in the West and America in particular, this: have no fear; the battle is far from being lost. The land of Sumeria, Akad, Babylon, Ur, Nimrod and Ashur will never die. The land where the Old Testament was written and the Aramaic of Jesus Christ was spoken cannot become extinct. The Capital of Harun Al-Rashid and the Arabian nights cannot die. Land of Abraham and the prophets, Mesopotamia is indestructible. Seven thousand years of turbulent history attest to this. Only this land will remain tortured and cannot rest or calm down until it achieves greatness again. This is a germ that has been genetic in this mystic land from the beginning of history. This same history will credit the U.S.A. in years to come to have been the one to arouse this long dormant genie.

There's one big difference,... (Below threshold)
nick:

There's one big difference, folks. The war in Germany was over - unless you're an idiot, you can see that the war in Iraq continues (despite anything Bushie McFlightsuit and his chickenhawks tell you).

I should just laugh at all you morons who continue to support this fiasco, but you're just sad - pathetically sad.

And if the occupation is such a good idea, guess what? The US Armed services would welcome each and every one of you to sign up and ship off to Baghdad. Put your fat, lazy asses where your big mouths are......

Um, you might want to read ... (Below threshold)
bethright:

Um, you might want to read what Henry Kissinger thinks of Rumsfeld's characterization of Iraq.......

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former top officials in two presidential administrations -- one Democratic, one Republican -- disagreed Sunday with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's characterization of what would happen if the United States were to pull out of the war in Iraq.

"Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis," Rumsfeld wrote in an opinion piece published Sunday -- the third anniversary of the beginning of the U.S.-led war in Iraq -- in the Washington Post.

The anniversary came as officials from Iraq and the United States differed on whether there is all-out civil war there. (Full story)

Henry Kissinger, who served with U.S. forces in Germany at the end of World War II and who served as secretary of state under Republican Presidents Nixon and Ford, said the situations are not analogous.

"In Germany, the opposition was completely crushed; there was no significant resistance movement," the German-born diplomat told CNN's "Late Edition."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security adviser under President Carter, a Democrat, was less charitable.

"That is really absolutely crazy to anyone who knows history," he said. "There was no alternative to our presence. The Germans were totally crushed. For Secretary Rumsfeld to be talking this way suggests either he doesn't know history or he's simply demagoguing."

Rumsfeld has been a lightning rod for complaints against the wars on terrorism and Iraq since shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. (Watch the debate over Rumsfeld -- 2:38)

He told CNN in February 2005 that he had twice offered President Bush his resignation during the height of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, but the president refused to accept it. (Full story)

His record in Iraq came in for fresh criticism Sunday from a man who worked under him.

"He has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq," said Paul D. Eaton, a retired Army major general who was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004.

"Mr. Rumsfeld must step down," he wrote in an opinion piece published Sunday in the New York Times.

"Secretary Rumsfeld serves at the pleasure of the president," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in a written statement Sunday. "Retired Gen. Eaton is certainly entitled to his opinion."

Eaton's opinion was shared by Sen. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent critic of the defense secretary.

"Imagine what would happen if it were announced tomorrow in the headlines of the papers of America and throughout the world that Rumsfeld was fired," the Delaware senator told CNN.

"It would energize, energize the rest of the world, to be willing to help us. It would energize American forces, it would energize the political environment. Yes, he should step down."

Asked his opinion, Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, chose neither to defend nor to criticize Rumsfeld.

"If President Bush ever wants to visit with me privately about my counsel on his Cabinet, I am sure he will ask me, but it appears to me it would not be helpful for me to make a comment," the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said.

U.S. officials have expressed hopes that the number of troops in Iraq could be reduced later this year depending on the country's progress with security and politics.

Bush delivered a speech last week at George Washington University where he said "as more capable Iraqi police and soldiers come on line, they will assume responsibility for more territory with the goal of having the Iraqis control more territory than the coalition, by the end of 2006."

You guys just can't seem to get it right these days, can you?

So what is your point, Beth... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

So what is your point, Beth? That we were stupid to stay in Germany since there was no resistance? That because there was no resistiance in Germany, if we pull out of Iraq the resistance there will go away? How does any of your post refute the idea that if we pull out of Iraq the Islamofacists will take over?

B Moe:No, I think ... (Below threshold)
lurking observer:

B Moe:

No, I think Bethright is lamenting that we didn't kill enough of the Iraqis.

After all, how were the Germans crushed? By a combination of thousand bomber raids (such as Dresden and Hamburg), the Soviets raping their way across eastern Germany (letting the western Germans see what their choices were if they didn't behave), and massive fighting in the cities that killed thousands of civilians.

Oh, and keeping most of the German military in prison camps for several years (think Gitmo, but without the three square meals, provision of a Koran, etc.).

Any kind of effort at a Fallujah-style "resistance" or uprising would probably have been suppressed bloodily in the West, just as the East Germans who fought the Soviets in 1953 were suppressed, i.e., with tanks and submachine guns.

I'm not sure I'm as bloodthirsty as Beth, but I gotta admit--it would probably work.

to bryanD ... (Below threshold)
virgo:

to bryanD ( Feingold in 08 ) Not once the voter id act gets passed.




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