On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor I noted that after the Japanese attacked us, we declared war on Germany. Then we invaded French North Africa.
My point, of course, was that we didn’t focus solely upon those that attacked us, but upon all of our enemies. And that to defeat all of our enemies we had to do more than simply attack them directly.
I almost brought something up, but I decided to wait and see if someone else would point it out instead. Someone else did.
A reader predictably commented:
We did not declare war on Germany. The Germans declared war on the US.
The reader, of course, is totally correct. After our declaration of war upon the Japanese following their attack, Germany declared war upon us. And then we declared war on them. And invaded French North Africa.
My point was that we knew that our enemies were comprised of more than just the nation that attacked us on December 7th, 1941.
The reader’s point (presumably — I can’t read his mind) was that our declaration of war on Germany was justified by their declaration of war on us.
So if declaring war on someone who has already declared war on us, a policy that I fully agree with and support, is “allowed”, what does the reader have to say about the constant stream of war declarations by every Tom, Dick, and Habdul in the international terrorism racket?
The war has long been declared. We have responded.
We went into North Africa in 1942 because it was something we could do at the time and it was a campaign we could win. We could establish bases and we could prevent the expansion of the enemy’s already-impressive empire while strengthening a tenuous hold on the Mediterranean. Morocco and Algeria weren’t absolutely crucial to our victory in the greater war, but without Operation Torch and the battles of the months that followed, battles like Sicily, Italy, and Normandy would have been far different.
Unlike Morocco and Algeria in WW2, Iraq IS totally instrumental to the victory of the Free World in WW4. Baghdad unconquered would be a beacon to those who would defy America. Saddam unbowed would be an inspiration to those who would defy order and law. Iraq unfreed would be a haven and symbol to those who would defy liberty and justice.
The same arguments for invading North Africa in 1942 apply to invading Iraq in 2003, only more so. Basing of troops and planes, overflight of air power, and pass-through of our logistical train allow us to conduct or threaten to conduct military operations against the other nations of the Middle East in a way we’d be incapable of without Iraq.
The war has been declared. We’ve responded. But our enemies consist of more than the just individuals personally involved in the attacks of 9/11. Our campaign in Iraq has not been flawless (to say the least) but it’s completely necessary and it’s not so very different than early campaigns in wars past.