Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The DU and Revisionist History

A writer at the Democratic Underground tossed up this piece the other day claiming that we should not be comparing Iraq to post-WWII Japan or Germany, and that attempts by this administration to do so can be considered "revisionist history."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld went even farther at the convention. He told the audience, “Nazi regime remnants…plotted sabotage of factories, power plants, rail lines. They blew up police stations and government buildings. Does this sound familiar?” The only problem with these comparisons is that they’re false. The Congressional Research Service (CRS), which acts as the nonpartisan public policy research office of Congress, notes in a new report comparing the occupation of Iraq with that of Germany and Japan, “Iraq faces an insurgency that deliberately sabotages the economy and reconstruction efforts, whereas there were no resistance movements in either Germany or Japan.”

This is pretty much the premise of this DUer's argument. The first problem with this idea is that the Congressional Research Service is anything but non-partisan. The CRS has fired off more than a few strictly partisan reports attacking the President and his administration. If the reports had been based on fact, it would be one thing - however, they were based on DNC talking points.

Further, post-WWII Germany and Japan were anything but cheery peaceful places. I hate to make points without links to back them up, but I know I'll never find the History Channel special that talks about post-war Europe (I watch the History Channel constantly - so should you!). Anyway, I saw a special that specifically described the conditions in post-war Germany and Japan, war crimes trials, etc. An interesting thing about post-war Germany in particular was the extreme severity in which we ruled the country. We had absolutely no sympathy for the Germans after the war, and although the DU article correctly asserts that no soldiers died in combat after the end of hostilities, many soldiers died at the hand of German saboteurs, accidents, and other training incidents (watch Band of Brothers if you don't believe me).

We did not allow any German citizens to own or carry any weapons whatsoever during our occupation. Any man, woman, or child found with a firearm was executed on site. The History Channel special showed footage of a US Army patrol executing about a dozen teenage Germans who were found with weapons on their person. That is the way the US Army handled post-WWII Germany. Not that that kind of conduct should be employed now in Iraq, but I feel that comparisons between the two in other ways are definitely warranted, and I think the future Iraq will prove me right.

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