[Vision2020] An Improper Parallel

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Tue Sep 12 11:59:58 PDT 2006

>From the September 18, 2006 edition of the Army Times -


An Improper Parallel
Rice, Rumsfeld are wrong to compare Iraq to Nazi Germany 

By Ralf W. Zimmermann

Nowadays, it isn't only America's children who are failing history and
geography 101. 

Listening to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld incessantly compare the war on terrorism with World War II
and ranting about Islamic fascism makes you wonder if they, too, skipped a
few classes. 

Rumsfeld recently likened the critics of the war in Iraq to Nazi appeasers.
The current administration loves to compare Saddam Hussein with Adolf Hitler
and Nazi Germany, although the differences are rather stark. 

Hitler led a nation of more than 80 million people with a well-functioning
industry and very capable military.
Saddam's 23 million-strong splinter-nation fielded a poorly led and poorly
equipped military backed by limited industrial capabilities. 

And while Nazi Germany clearly violated international treaties and reached
beyond its agreed-upon borders beginning with the Rhineland campaign in
1936, Saddam's Iraq actually had remained within its borders since the end
of the 1991 Gulf War.

Further, Rice and Rumsfeld keep reminding us of the difficulties surrounding
Germany's occupation and how much it resembled Iraq today. 

But compared to the Iraq mess - where U.S. forces find themselves grossly
undermanned - Germany was solidly occupied by vastly overwhelming Allied
manpower, including hordes of Red Army troops. A credible German resistance
never materialized, mainly because the German military had been totally
wiped out. The Germans - even the ones with doubts - soon realized that
given the severe external Soviet threat, the Americans were the better
prospects for the future.

In Iraq, despite the Iranian external influence, many Shiites welcome the
meddling by their religious brothers, if only to win the upper hand in a
low-boiling civil war and to eliminate the dreaded occupation. When it comes
to fighting the U.S. and British ground presence, most Iraqis, no matter
what their religious or political persuasion, just can't tolerate another
period of imperialism. British thirst for oil and power early in the 20th
century left too many bad memories.

Insurgent access to weapons and munitions appears inexhaustible, courtesy of
the U.S. military leadership, which, contrary to its actions in World War
II, blatantly failed to disband the Iraqi army and destroy captured
ammunition and weapons caches.

No matter how you twist it, Iraq today has very little in common with the
totally defeated Germany after World War II. Consequently, it appears
prudent to postpone grandiose strategic plans of permanent military bases in
that country. At a time when all-out civil war is a clear possibility, it
seems more appropriate to let the Iraqi people vote their own destiny. They
should decide if they really want the U.S. and its allies to continue the
occupation. And if Iraqis decide to end U.S. presence, they must accept full
responsibility to forge their own way through a full-blown civil war.

To keep Iran from intervening, the U.S. should shift to a ground watch
presence in Kuwait, Jordan, and Turkey supported by strong naval and air
capabilities. Strategic repositioning would save our troops from being
targets in a war where the enemy cannot be clearly distinguished.

On final thought, there is, admittedly, a link between Hitler and the way
the propaganda war in Iraq is being waged. To make their points, both Rice
and Rumsfeld keep digging deep into Hitler's propaganda kit box. 

In his infamous "Mein Kampf," Hitler states: "The receptivity of the great
masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power for
forgetting is enormous . a slogan must be presented from different angles,
but the end of all remarks must always . be the slogan itself."

Political spin isn't so new after all. 

The writer is a former tank battalion commander and decorated Desert Storm
veteran. He writes and speaks on diverse military and political topics.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Vandalville, Idaho


"In America, anybody can become president.  
That's one of the risks you take . . ."

- Adlai Stevenson


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