I declare!

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.

Comments

  1. You and your commenter are dead on, Murdoc. The US was isolationist after WWI (‘the War to end all Wars’) and set back as Germany and Japan gobbled up countries and islands. The same types of voices we here today were saying ‘Germany and Japan haven’t done anything to us. Why would we want to invade them?’ Pearl Harbor was our wake-up call. The current WW started in the 70s. We chose to ignore it. We hit the snooze alarm on the wake up calls of Jordan, Beirut, and the Cole. 9/11 finally woke some of us up. Iraq is in a strategic location for fighting this WW. As I’ve suggested at ACE, we need the elected government to grant us a 50mi diameter base in the center of the Sunni triangle, which will be US territory just like the WW cemetaries in Europe. We need to station an Armored Airborne Division (an armored division which can be airdropped — something we don’t currently have, and don’t currently have appropriate vehicles for) there. It will stay on base until there is trouble anywhere in the Middle East, at which time it will be there in a matter of hours. After the new Iraq government signs an oil contract with the US (independent of the OPEC oil cartel — which must be marginalized), the US Division in Iraq will protect the integrity of the Iraqi pipelines, all the way to the ports. As other countries in the region embrace democracy and join the new Organization of Middle Eastern Democratic States (OMEDS), the US will commit to defending them, using the Division in Iraq as well as the full firepower of the US on nearby bases and naval forces stationed in the region. In short, we will be the new sheriff in town in the region. We’ll stay out of the business of countries in are being good citizens. Those who cause trouble will have us to answer to. If other Free World countries want to join in this effort, as they should, they are welcome to. We need to declare the UN a damaged organization, and not even bother going to it for clearance for actions which need to be taken. If it wants to provide relief or peacekeeping forces afterwards, fine. Many are and will say we’re ‘meddling’ in Arab business, but they need to be reminded that, just as Japan ‘awoke a sleeping giant’ so al-Qaeda stirred up a hornets nest when it attacked the WTC. They started the fire. We’re putting it out. Sorry for the long-winded comment. It’s the coffee! BTW, I hate the Blogspot ads, but I’ll probably either do that or just stop blogging soon. It’s too much work to have to cost $ and not make any. ACE out.

  2. I agree w/ ACE in some areas, but I think he needs to look at his ‘base’ placement a little differently. I think we should build one base in Southern Iraq, and one in northern Iraq. This would allow us to have a semi-friendly relationship with the local area, and allow us to squeeze the Sunni minority with friendly gov’t forces once they are trained and ready. The kurds are a hardened fighting force and should be used by our forces to fight the sunni insurgency, and to help secure the polling places at election time. I say we use the kurds in the Iraqi police, army, national guard, and border guards at a 4 to 1 ratio. They at least seem to know that we are on the same side, and they aren’t stupid enough to give in to the sunni bastards. They fought them pretty much the entire time that Saddam was in power, why make them stop now? And an armored airborne division? It’d take us 20 years to get the vehicle designed and funded. Let’s talk short term here. An airborne division, and a mechanized division, an armored division, and a wing of C5 galaxy aircraft. I do agree that we need an air-droppable vehicle, I’m just a realist. Hey, did anyboby hear anything about the stryker air drop test? is it still on?

  3. You might be right about where to place the base(s), Chad. I’ve never been to Iraq, so I’ll defer to those who know the territory. Another alternative would be to place bases in the corners of Iraq which border with two other countries. If they gave us that land, it would be clear we were not in anybody’s country. It SHOULD not take 20 years to have an air-droppable armored vehicle. There are good vehicles in production today which we could buy. If we can buy foreign rifles, surely we can buy foreign vehicles. The company can build a plant here which we could nationalize in case of war. In terms of tracked vehicles, we’ve got hundreds of M113s sitting around. Your approach to have an airborne division and a mechanized division means the Airborne will have to fight with rifles and towed artillery until the mechanized units slowly lumber there, after clearance is obtained to go through other countries, possibly. Remember Market Garden. The Air Force insists on operating the A-10s and C-whatevers, so of course we’d have to have the Air Force on the base(s). But, these are all just details, details. The Pentagon is full of guys whose desk jobs are to figure out the best way to do these things. And, they hire lots of consultants to help them. So, let’s let them earn their $. (Oh, yeah, these are the guys who haven’t got the Humvees armored in 20 months. Well, we can hope they get it right.) The basic concept is that we need one of more land bases in the Middle East to fight this WW. We seem to agree on that.

  4. PS: The Navy is studying how to have a sizable Marine force based on ships off shore for an extended period. A water-based base, if you will. There’s a fancy name for it, but I forgot it. Special ships are being considered for such a purpose. That’s an option, albeit an expensive option to build and maintain, I’d think. And it will probably take a decade or more to actualize, since we can’t buy these things from another country (to my knowledge). ACE out again

  5. O.K. ACE, You might have some points there. The problem, as I see it, is not what forces to put on the bases. What I was getting at is that we need about 8 more full time, active duty, divisions. More armor, and a lot more infantry. This was the number of divisions cut by the Clinton administration, and under his leadership. This is the reason we don’t have the manpower to do the current set of tasks. Yes, we need to rethink the vehicles, especially patrol, light cav, and air-deployable. And unfortunately, through a ‘good’ design team, it takes 10 years to get a well designed AFV. I’d like to see the Stryker be an interim, and I’d like to see all of our patrols in Iraq armed with the new strykers. We need more soldiers to do the jobs. That needs to be our first priority. The elitist left needs to stop demonizing the military, and start realizing that freedom isn’t free. If they can’t pull a trigger, fine. Just help us find the people that are willing and able, let us pay them well, and let us reward them when they deserve it. That’s all we ask.

  6. The only reason the US went North Africa was to help the British push the Africa Corps out of North Africa. The only reason the Germans were in North Africa was to bail out the Italins. The Germans had no designs on North Africa. Operation Torch and the Italian Campaign had no effect on the Normandy invasion. None of the bases in Morocco, Algeria or Italy were instumental. If you want to know the real history of Operation Torch,read http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0805074481/qid=1103269467/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/102-7471296-1432953?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 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. Your logic is wrong. None of those bases in North Africa or Italy were instumental in the Normandy invasions..Show me some proof

  7. The US was isolationist after WWI (‘the War to end all Wars’) and set back as Germany and Japan gobbled up countries and islands. The same types of voices we here today were saying ‘Germany and Japan haven’t done anything to us. Why would we want to invade them?’ It is ironic that the isolationist that you refer to were conservative republicans who did not want the US involved. Remenber America First. And it was the Arch-Liberal FDR who saw the threat

  8. torcik: You’re nothing if not reliably contradictory. My overall point here is that war had long been declared on us by at least some of our enemies and that we are taking a big-picture approach to responding to those declarations and threats, not simply striking back at those directly responsible for 9/11. Remember that this post exists because of the comment you made about Germany declaring war on us before we declared war on her. You are right. But, if anything, I think that strengthens my argument/analogy. Bin Laden, Saddam, and others have long declared war on us in one way or another, vowing for our destruction, the death of our people, and the expulsion of our interests from any territory once looked at by their ancestors. Even though some of our enemies didn’t attack us on 9/11, many of them fall into the same category and are being addressed, some directly, some indirectly. Any thoughts on the declarations of war? I’ll respond to the points in your most recent comments later today, if I get a chance.

  9. Hey, mystery poster who won’t put your name up there: get this, Hitler wanted the whole world. That’s right, he wanted to dominate the whole world. Here’s where you get to get your facts straightened out. Don’t you think that coming to our allies aid might have been a good reason to land in North Africa? How about seasoning our troops before we threw them at the atlantic wall, or the long difficult campaign in Italy? How about taking the citizens of Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya out from under the heel of a dictator? You do realize that this psycho wanted to kill all non-aryans right? So what was the destiny of north Africa under Adolph Hitler? You tell me, were we right to land in North Africa under the answers you got from those questions. Freedom demands a price, and unless you are willing to give up your rights, you always stop a dictatorship as far from your own shores as possible. Bet you never thought of it that way before, huh?

  10. Hey, mystery poster who won’t put your name up there: get this, Hitler wanted the whole world. That’s right, he wanted to dominate the whole world. >>>Where did he say that? In Mein Kampf he said he wanted living space in the East. Can you show me any statements he made about world domination Here’s where you get to get your facts straightened out. >>>>Not by you Don’t you think that coming to our allies aid might have been a good reason to land in North Africa? >>>>Did not say otherwise. The Russians were pushing for a second and the US needed to do something How about seasoning our troops before we threw them at the atlantic wall, or the long difficult campaign in Italy? How about taking the citizens of Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya out from under the heel of a dictator? >>>>>Which dicatator was that? Those countries were under Vichy and the Germans could care less. American troops in North Africa despised the Arabs and when things got bad , they blamed the arabs with collaborating the germans You do realize that this psycho wanted to kill all non-aryans right? >>>>He only wanted to kill all the jews So what was the destiny of north Africa under Adolph Hitler? >>>>Hitler could not give a shit about Africa. The only reason he was there was to bail out the Italians You tell me, were we right to land in North Africa under the answers you got from those questions. Freedom demands a price, and unless you are willing to give up your rights, >>>>>>>What rights are those??? you always stop a dictatorship as far from your own shores as possible. Bet you never thought of it that way before, huh? >>>Bet you nevet read a book on WWII. You can always wait for Fox do TV show on WWII,

  11. They’ll never understand that some things have to be fought for, and there’s a price to be paid for the rights we enjoy. Freedom demands a price, and unless you are willing to give up your rights, I am confused. Do I enjoy my rights or do I give them up?

  12. Somebody gave up their rights, so that you could enjoy yours. That’s what it means. As far as reading books about WWII, I’m a military history major, and have read over 6,000 pages of history on WWII, and the causes of that war. Who do you think was running most of North Africa? You say the Vichy, but the original premise of the comment said it was Italy. Both of which were being supported, and helped by the Germans under Hitler. Rommel was running the military efforts of these powers, and unfortunately was not giving much attention to the civil affairs of the area. Northern Africa was not a large deposit of resources, true, but the Suez Canal was always (once he reached the Med.) something Hitler wanted to control. And if you think Hitler didn’t want to control the world, why was he courting S. America, and why did he (in his second book) talk about conquering America? Oh, and by the way, if Hitler was only out to eradicate the jews, why did he kill over 4 million slavs and poles that had no Jewish blood at all? Hitler was out to kill or subjugate anyone of non-aryan descent. Time to quit listening to CBS, and pay attention. Hitler was not in N. Africa only to bail out the Italians. That’s a farce. Hitler wanted to control the Suez Canal. The reason he wanted the canal was so that he could get to some of the resources of Western Africa as he depleted some of the european stockpiles of things like rubber, tin, and various metals(including uranium). Hitler even had a plan to deploy a ‘dirty weapon’ over the east coast of the U.S. Luckily, he never managed to complete a delivery system, or perfect his ‘heavy water’ weapon. So don’t tell me that the invasion of North Africa wasn’t necessary. It was the starting point of a whole strategy. This was also the test bed for a lot of the technologies, and procedures that the rest of the war was fought with. Yeah, Dawn of war sees it one way, and maybe the arabs in N. Africa weren’t treated the greatest, but when we cleared out the enemy, we left, would the Italians, Germans, or Vichy French have done the same? Not on your life. Il Duce was not as homicidal as Hitler, but still not a very nice fellow, and you could see that his aspirations were to keep this area as a colony. So tell me which dictator it was that I left out? They were there to stay. Oh, and the rights I was talking about giving away, were the ones like free speech, press, religion, keep and bear arms, you know, the ones dictators always take away after you watch your neighbors and allies get slowly gobbled up. Those are the ones that are always the first to go when a country gets moved into by a dictatorship. Ask a pole, slav, frenchman, belgian, or phillipino that lived through WWII. They’ll tell you just which rights you lose under a dictatorship.

  13. Somebody gave up their rights, so that you could enjoy yours. That’s what it means. As far as reading books about WWII, I’m a military history major, and have read over 6,000 pages of history on WWII, and the causes of that war. >>>>I have read over three time that and even more on European history Who do you think was running most of North Africa? You say the Vichy, but the original premise of the comment said it was Italy >>>The French controlled Morroco and Algeria. The Italians controlled Libya and the British controlled Eygpt. . Both of which were being supported, and helped by the Germans under Hitler. >>>>>Hitler gave no help. Some references please Rommel was running the military efforts of these powers, and unfortunately was not giving much attention to the civil affairs of the area >>>>He was a military commander not a politcitian . Northern Africa was not a large deposit of resources, true, but the Suez Canal was always (once he reached the Med.) something Hitler wanted to control. And if you think Hitler didn’t want to control the world, why was he courting S. America, >>>He was trying get the support of the large german population in South America. and why did he (in his second book) talk about conquering America? >>>A dubious book at best. If he wanted to conquer the world, why did he believe that Britain would accept a German-dominated European continent so long as Germany did not challenge the overseas British empire. He did not talk of conquering the US, but that a incompatability of interests would lead to war Oh, and by the way, if Hitler was only out to eradicate the jews, why did he kill over 4 million slavs and poles that had no Jewish blood at all? >>>>Be cause they resisted his invasion. It was three million poles Hitler was out to kill or subjugate anyone of non-aryan descent. >>>You said ‘You do realize that this psycho wanted to kill all non-aryans right’Time to quit listening to CBS, and pay attention. >>>>I do not watch CBS or Fox and I pay attention Hitler was not in N. Africa only to bail out the Italians. That’s a farce. >>>>Prove otherwise. Sources please? Hitler wanted to control the Suez Canal. The reason he wanted the canal was so that he could get to some of the resources of Western Africa as he depleted some of the european stockpiles of things like rubber, tin, and various metals(including uranium) >>>>Only after Rommel was successful in pushing the British back to Eygpt did he consider seizing the Suez. Not before. . Hitler even had a plan to deploy a ‘dirty weapon’ over the east coast of the U.S. >>>>>>A wild and implausible plan that was conceived when Germany was on the brink of defeat Luckily, he never managed to complete a delivery system, or perfect his ‘heavy water’ weapon. So don’t tell me that the invasion of North Africa wasn’t necessary >>>Did not say it was not . It was the starting point of a whole strategy. This was also the test bed for a lot of the technologies, and procedures that the rest of the war was fought with. >>>>What technologies were those? Yeah, Dawn of war sees it one way, and maybe the arabs in N. Africa weren’t treated the greatest, but when we cleared out the enemy, we left, >>>>Did the US leave the Philiphines when they freed it? would the Italians, Germans, or Vichy French have done the same? >>>Did the US demand that Great Britain give up its colonies. Il Duce was not as homicidal as Hitler, but still not a very nice fellow, and you could see that his aspirations were to keep this area as a colony. >>>What was wrong with colonies, did not the US try to get in the game with the Spanish American War So tell me which dictator it was that I left out? They were there to stay. Oh, and the rights I was talking about giving away, were the ones like free speech, press, religion, keep and bear arms, you know, the ones dictators always take away after you watch your neighbors and allies get slowly gobbled up. >>>>Except if those dictators are your Allies like Peron. Pinochet, Mobuto Seski and South Africa during the cold war. And Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Do those two countries have free speech, press, religion Those are the ones that are always the first to go when a country gets moved into by a dictatorship. Ask a pole, slav, frenchman, belgian, or phillipino that lived through WWII. They’ll tell you just which rights you lose under a dictatorship. >>>>Also ask a Saudi or Pakistani

  14. I am not going to bother to rebut the ridiculous argument you’re making. Hitler was a psycho that needed to be stopped. N. Africa was the first step. That’s all that needs to be said.

  15. >>>>>Whats the matter? Met your match and refuse to debate me. Next time come back with some facts and do not regugeritate some right wing rant.