History test

Managing public perception and the flow of positive and negative information is critical to the success of any political campaign. The Democrats are masters of the quick, pithy soundbite that casts them in a favorable light in the public's mind. There may be many reasons for their undisputed superiority on this count—not the least of which is an ever—sympathetic mainstream media—but their mastery of this all—important political device is unquestioned.

Their best one—liners, such as 'Tax cuts for the rich' or 'The big pharmaceutical companies are getting rich at your expense' are familiar to even the most casual political observers.

There is a new one that is percolating in Democratic circles these days. It hasn't yet been refined into a succinct one—liner, but the basic thought is rapidly evolving towards that end. Look for it to gain traction in the coming weeks. The general thought goes something like this:

'Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda attacked us on September 11th, and Bush's response was to invade Iraq. That's makes about as much sense as President Roosevelt invading Mexico after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.' The primary implication is clear—Bush used 9/11 as a politically—motivated pretext to attack Saddam Hussein and settle old scores. The secondary implication, assumptive in nature as to the reaction of the listener, is that to respond with less than full force to the initial threat is inherently incorrect in every circumstance, and thus it betrays on President Bush's part a lack of understanding of the totality of the situation.

First, the Republicans must counter the factual inaccuracy of the first part of the charge, and hammer it home through the maze of liberal media interference. The forceful U.S. response in Afghanistan began almost immediately after the attacks on our country, in October of 2001. If this message is put forth with conviction and clarity, then even the Democrats' attempt at strikingly anti—Administration revisionist history will be thwarted.

However, of even greater concern, because of its potential for complete misunderstanding, is the second implication noted above. Clichés and falsehoods easily become accepted as truisms when they're trumpeted loud and long. But as is often the case, a close analysis of important historical events will dispel a conveniently—held current position.

Using Democratic reasoning, when the United States was attacked by Japan on December 7th 1941, the full weight and attention of our forces should have been brought to bear on Japan, and other action on our part should have relegated to secondary status. Further employing modern Democratic thinking, since Germany hadn't so much as fired a single shot at us, we should have followed a course of 'containment and sanctions,' despite their hostilities towards other nations and ruthless inhumanities committed towards segments of their own population. If this rationale sounds familiar, it's because this is the same approach that John Kerry now advocates we should have taken toward Hussein and Iraq after September 11th.

That is not the course of action that the U.S. pursued in World War II. From December 22 1941—January 1 1942, just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill met in Washington DC to map out Allied strategies and priorities for the war. The result of their summit was what has come to be known as the 'Europe First' doctrine, whereby the main thrust of the Allies' war efforts would be directed at defeating Hitler first. We would fight a multi—front war, including serious action in the Pacific against the Japanese, but precedence would be given to defeating Germany.

Why? Because Germany was judged, quite accurately and correctly, to be the more dangerous adversary and the greater threat to world peace. Consider the following:

— Germany had an active heavy water research program, and was literally in a neck—in—neck race with the United States to develop the world's first atomic bomb.
— Their aeronautical and space research scientists produced the first rocket—engined ballistic missiles and the first operational jet fighter aircraft. Germany could have deployed massive quantities of such aircraft as early as 1943, which would have inexorably altered the outcome of the crucial air war over Europe. Only internal political squabbling in Germany prevented this disaster from occurring.
— The size and efficiency of Germany's industrial/manufacturing base far outstripped Japan's. As a matter of fact, production of fighter aircraft in Germany actually peaked in 1944, less than one year before Germany's surrender!

For these and other reasons, the United States put forth its greatest efforts towards defeating Germany, a decision whose correctness has been borne out by the verdict of history.

The parallels of Afghanistan and Iraq to Japan and Germany are unmistakable. The Afghanistan—based and —trained 9/11 terrorists attacked us and, like Japan at Pearl Harbor, killed thousands of Americans without warning or provocation. Iraq, like Hitler's Germany, hadn't 'fired a shot' at our country. But we judged Germany to be the more dangerous foe in 1941, as we judged Iraq to be the greatest threat today. In terms of a modern mechanized army, the number and type of sophisticated weapons actually deployed, advanced WMD research programs, their documented contact with known terrorist organizations (including Al Qaeda), their willingness to share their weapons technology with anti—Western factions, and by far most importantly, an avowed hatred of the United States, Iraq constituted a threat too serious for any responsible decision—maker to ignore, even casting aside Iraq's twelve years of total disregard for the UN's sanctions.

The War on Terror is not an either/or proposition. It is not a case of either finding Bin Laden or eliminating the direct military danger and worldwide terror—enabling threat posed by Iraq. We can and are doing both—and more—just as we fought on multiple fronts sixty years ago, and just as we have killed or captured a significant number of Al Qaeda operatives while also ousting Saddam Hussein. Even though the Pacific Theater was considered second in the grand strategic hierarchy, brilliant and heroic battles were waged—and won—at Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, Midway, Tinian, Guam, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, and Okinawa, among others.

This is far too important an issue to be trivialized with inane, vacuous quips of 'invading Mexico.' Thinking people recognize that our actions at this juncture in world history will have consequences that reach decades—even centuries—into the future. Historical trends and patterns have an unpleasant way of re—imposing themselves on the unobservant. In order to pass the 'global test' we're faced with now, we'd best be paying close attention.

Managing public perception and the flow of positive and negative information is critical to the success of any political campaign. The Democrats are masters of the quick, pithy soundbite that casts them in a favorable light in the public's mind. There may be many reasons for their undisputed superiority on this count—not the least of which is an ever—sympathetic mainstream media—but their mastery of this all—important political device is unquestioned.

Their best one—liners, such as 'Tax cuts for the rich' or 'The big pharmaceutical companies are getting rich at your expense' are familiar to even the most casual political observers.

There is a new one that is percolating in Democratic circles these days. It hasn't yet been refined into a succinct one—liner, but the basic thought is rapidly evolving towards that end. Look for it to gain traction in the coming weeks. The general thought goes something like this:

'Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda attacked us on September 11th, and Bush's response was to invade Iraq. That's makes about as much sense as President Roosevelt invading Mexico after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.' The primary implication is clear—Bush used 9/11 as a politically—motivated pretext to attack Saddam Hussein and settle old scores. The secondary implication, assumptive in nature as to the reaction of the listener, is that to respond with less than full force to the initial threat is inherently incorrect in every circumstance, and thus it betrays on President Bush's part a lack of understanding of the totality of the situation.

First, the Republicans must counter the factual inaccuracy of the first part of the charge, and hammer it home through the maze of liberal media interference. The forceful U.S. response in Afghanistan began almost immediately after the attacks on our country, in October of 2001. If this message is put forth with conviction and clarity, then even the Democrats' attempt at strikingly anti—Administration revisionist history will be thwarted.

However, of even greater concern, because of its potential for complete misunderstanding, is the second implication noted above. Clichés and falsehoods easily become accepted as truisms when they're trumpeted loud and long. But as is often the case, a close analysis of important historical events will dispel a conveniently—held current position.

Using Democratic reasoning, when the United States was attacked by Japan on December 7th 1941, the full weight and attention of our forces should have been brought to bear on Japan, and other action on our part should have relegated to secondary status. Further employing modern Democratic thinking, since Germany hadn't so much as fired a single shot at us, we should have followed a course of 'containment and sanctions,' despite their hostilities towards other nations and ruthless inhumanities committed towards segments of their own population. If this rationale sounds familiar, it's because this is the same approach that John Kerry now advocates we should have taken toward Hussein and Iraq after September 11th.

That is not the course of action that the U.S. pursued in World War II. From December 22 1941—January 1 1942, just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill met in Washington DC to map out Allied strategies and priorities for the war. The result of their summit was what has come to be known as the 'Europe First' doctrine, whereby the main thrust of the Allies' war efforts would be directed at defeating Hitler first. We would fight a multi—front war, including serious action in the Pacific against the Japanese, but precedence would be given to defeating Germany.

Why? Because Germany was judged, quite accurately and correctly, to be the more dangerous adversary and the greater threat to world peace. Consider the following:

— Germany had an active heavy water research program, and was literally in a neck—in—neck race with the United States to develop the world's first atomic bomb.
— Their aeronautical and space research scientists produced the first rocket—engined ballistic missiles and the first operational jet fighter aircraft. Germany could have deployed massive quantities of such aircraft as early as 1943, which would have inexorably altered the outcome of the crucial air war over Europe. Only internal political squabbling in Germany prevented this disaster from occurring.
— The size and efficiency of Germany's industrial/manufacturing base far outstripped Japan's. As a matter of fact, production of fighter aircraft in Germany actually peaked in 1944, less than one year before Germany's surrender!

For these and other reasons, the United States put forth its greatest efforts towards defeating Germany, a decision whose correctness has been borne out by the verdict of history.

The parallels of Afghanistan and Iraq to Japan and Germany are unmistakable. The Afghanistan—based and —trained 9/11 terrorists attacked us and, like Japan at Pearl Harbor, killed thousands of Americans without warning or provocation. Iraq, like Hitler's Germany, hadn't 'fired a shot' at our country. But we judged Germany to be the more dangerous foe in 1941, as we judged Iraq to be the greatest threat today. In terms of a modern mechanized army, the number and type of sophisticated weapons actually deployed, advanced WMD research programs, their documented contact with known terrorist organizations (including Al Qaeda), their willingness to share their weapons technology with anti—Western factions, and by far most importantly, an avowed hatred of the United States, Iraq constituted a threat too serious for any responsible decision—maker to ignore, even casting aside Iraq's twelve years of total disregard for the UN's sanctions.

The War on Terror is not an either/or proposition. It is not a case of either finding Bin Laden or eliminating the direct military danger and worldwide terror—enabling threat posed by Iraq. We can and are doing both—and more—just as we fought on multiple fronts sixty years ago, and just as we have killed or captured a significant number of Al Qaeda operatives while also ousting Saddam Hussein. Even though the Pacific Theater was considered second in the grand strategic hierarchy, brilliant and heroic battles were waged—and won—at Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, Midway, Tinian, Guam, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, and Okinawa, among others.

This is far too important an issue to be trivialized with inane, vacuous quips of 'invading Mexico.' Thinking people recognize that our actions at this juncture in world history will have consequences that reach decades—even centuries—into the future. Historical trends and patterns have an unpleasant way of re—imposing themselves on the unobservant. In order to pass the 'global test' we're faced with now, we'd best be paying close attention.