Letters to the Editor

A better analogy

Victor Davis Hanson's attempt to use Pearl Harbor as the appropriate historical analogy to 9/11 (Dec. 10) forgets several important details. In fighting the Japanese, U.S. military and civilian leaders went into the war with a specific, well-established purpose: the military defeat of the Japanese empire. They followed this with a well-coordinated, comprehensive occupation and rehabilitation of a unified, industrialized state.

After 9/11 the United States conducted two separate campaigns: the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq.

Unlike Japan, however, we now know the current administration had virtually no planning for the post-war period in either Afghanistan or Iraq. Nor did they understand the vast cultural differences between occupying Japan and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. The unfortunate result is that both Afghanistan and Iraq remain very unstable and dangerous places.

The post-war situation in Afghanistan and Iraq make the appropriate analogy far closer to another U.S. conflict: Vietnam. This was another situation in which the United States had poor planning, misread the country's historical and cultural circumstances, and wrongly assumed that military might alone was sufficient to win both the war and the peace.

Kenneth Martens Friesen