Iraq and Germany

Max Boot takes Andrew Sullivan and Josh Marshall to school in a brilliant post. Boot had drawn analogies between Germany and Iraq, and the liberals attacked him for it. Boot responds masterfully. You should read it all; here are a few highlights:

Needless to say, I wasn’t denying the substantial differences between the two historical situations. I brought up the analogy only in a very limited context–to demonstrate what I meant by a long-term U.S. troop presence in Iraq. …

Sullivan thinks it’s impossible to imagine that we could have this sort of long-standing military presence in the Mideast without perpetual fighting. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that the U.S. already has a string of bases in Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and other Middle Eastern countries. Having visited many of these installations I haven’t noticed a lot of fighting there. …

The broader point is that the success of American military interventions has usually been closely related to their length. The longer we stay, the more successful we are. When we get out too quickly–as we did in Haiti in the 1990’s–the situation often goes to hell. So if we want to secure a lasting victory in Iraq we need to stay around for a good long while.

But I get the sense that Marshall and Sullivan, like many of their antiwar compatriots, don’t really care about whether we win or lose in Iraq. They simply want to get out, and damn the consequences. That brings up another historical analogy that I’m sure they would rather forget: the way we pulled out of South Vietnam after the defeat of the North’s Tet and Easter Offensives when a decent outcome (namely the long-term preservation of South Vietnam’s independence) was within our grasp.

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