If You Knew Then What You Know Now…
A number of Republican candidates for President are being asked a question that I’d like to pose to you. This is a hypothetical that is really trying to “Monday morning quarterback” decisions from the past, but let’s try this exercise.
If you knew then what you know now, would you have invaded? Now remember, at the time, the country was run by an iron fist, a guy who was killing his own people, partly because they were of the wrong religion, but partly just to keep himself in power. He had also already shown a propensity for invading and occupying his neighbors, so this wasn’t some tin pot despot talking big but not actually doing anything.
But it’s not just what was known before the war; would you have gone in if you knew what would happen after the war? What if you knew that, when the war was over, something even worse would rear it’s heard? And that this group would also butcher people under its control. It would have an expansionist agenda, trying to grab as much vital territory from other countries as it could.
It’s not really fair to judge decisions of the past based on information from the present, but the media seem to enjoy posing this question to the Republicans, as though a particular answer from them, with knowledge from the present, would show that their decisions from the past were “ill-informed”. The answer to the question is of little use, but they demand an answer to it, so I’m posing it to you as well. What do you think? Should we have invaded … Germany?
Hmm? Excuse me? The Iraq war? You thought I was talking about the Iraq war? I’m sorry, I was talking about World War II, but I guess I can understand the confusion. OK, I created the confusion. But now let’s think about that. You might want to go back and listen to it. It’s amazing how many parallels there are between Hitler and Hussein.
Both killed people to stay in power, and because they were of the wrong religion; Hitler vs the Jews, and Hussein vs any Islamic sect other than his own. Both invaded and occupied neighboring countries; Hitler invaded France, and Hussein invaded Kuwait. Something even worse came from the war; after World War II, communism, and after the Iraq War, ISIS. Both communism and the Islamic radicalism of ISIS butchered people under their control, and both grabbed land from other countries, though at this point it remains to be seen if ISIS can keep control of territory it claims for the Caliphate.
One thing that was different was the casualties. In World War II, there were over 1 million American dead and wounded. That’s a little over one-third of the number from every conflict in this nation since 1775. In the Iraq war, the number is a little under 37,000. Perhaps we should add that to the calculus. If you had the Wikipedia article with those stats before both WWII and Iraq, would you have done anything differently?
I’m sorry. As I said, it’s unfair to make you second-guess a decision based on a perfect knowledge that we never, ever have before the fact. And yet the media insist on asking that of the Republicans, all the time.
I’m still waiting for someone to ask Hillary Clinton that, if she knew then what she knows now, would she have been in favor of the complete pull-out of Iraq? Will someone ever ask her that? Some say it created a power vacuum that gave a boost to the formation of ISIS? We’ve got about 30,000 troops still in South Korea, for cryin’ out loud.
So there’s a question for you? Do you want to give it a shot?
Filed under: War
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