George W. Bush may not be much of a president but his latest comments comparing his Iraq war to World War II indicate he is even less of a historian.
In a speech prepared for delivery today (May 28) to more than 1,000 graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Bush links the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to postwar Germany and Japan six decades ago, the AP reports.
“After World War II we helped Germany and Japan build free societies and strong economies (and) …today we must do the same thing in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Bush asserts, according to text released by the White House to AP. The flaw in this analogy is that it is Bush who is the aggressor in the Middle East, not the conquering liberator out to generously rebuild vanquished foes. Bush will go down in history with Germany’s Hitler and Japan’s Tojo as a war-starter, not as anybody’s redeemer. Besides, it’s hard to rebuild a country whose people keep shooting at your “liberators.”
Bush’s America is not the America of FDR, a mind-our-own-business republic with a strong streak of isolationism that went to war only when attacked. Instead, Bush, the war-maker, lied to gain public support for his attack on Iraq just as Hitler lied to the German people when he attacked Poland.
After World War II, the peoples of Germany and Japan at least had the decency to acknowledge their responsibility for their slaughter of innocents. Yet Bush admits to no such crimes. It’s as though he didn’t start the war in Iraq that has turned the country into a killing zone and claimed perhaps 1 million civilian lives, wounded several million others, and forced two million from their homes, ad nauseum. It is as though he does not stoop to torture and murder.
Another tiny flaw in Bush’s analogy is that where the exhausted German and Japanese publics welcomed the American post-war occupation, the people of Iraq have overwhelmingly tell pollsters they want America “out.”
And where the U.S. actively helped Japan and Germany rebuild their economies after World War II, Bush is out to plunder Iraq’s oil reserves. He is, according to some reports, having the devil’s own time getting the Iraqi government to sign over their oil resources to Western oil companies at bargain prices.
As for rebuilding, Bush’s hand-picked, no-bid contractors, at best, have done shoddy work; billions of dollars for reconstruction have mysteriously disappeared; and Bush is now saying let the Iraqis pay for rebuilding their own country as if he wasn’t responsible for making the war in the first place.
In his talk to the airmen, Bush said, “These (rebuilding) efforts took time and patience, and as a result Germany and Japan grew in freedom and prosperity and are now allies of the United States.” Yes, such close allies they refuse to commit any substantial force to the Iraq war. After all, their leaders know they will be driven from office if they do, just as Tony Blair was ousted by the British public.
International public opinion polls today show George Bush is about the most feared and unpopular man in the world, a man who has brought our prestige to an all-time low. His regime is the exact reverse of what America, and FDR, stood for in 1945. That he dares compare his rule with FDR shows him to be a master of only one thing: deceit.
Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based writer who has contributed to World War II history magazines. Reach him at [email protected].