Skip to comments.Thomas Sowell: Diversity's Oppressions
Posted on 10/30/2006 6:38:27 AM PST by presidio9
Iraq is not the first war with ugly surprises and bloody setbacks. Even World War II, idealized in retrospect as it never was at the time -- the war of "the greatest generation" -- had a long series of disasters for Americans before victory was finally achieved.
The war began for Americans with the disaster at Pearl Harbor, followed by the tragic horror of the Bataan death march, the debacle at the Kasserine Pass and, even on the eve of victory, being caught completely by surprise by a devastating German counterattack that almost succeeded at the Battle of the Bulge.
Other wars -- our own and other nations' -- have likewise been full of nasty surprises and mistakes that led to bloodbaths. Nevertheless, the Iraq war has some special lessons for our time, lessons that both the left and the right need to acknowledge, whether or not they will.
* * * What is it that has made Iraq so hard to pacify, even after a swift and decisive military victory? In one word: diversity.
That word has become a sacred mantra, endlessly repeated for years on end, without a speck of evidence being asked for or given to verify the wonderful benefits it is assumed to produce.
Worse yet, Iraq is only the latest in a long series of catastrophes growing out of diversity. These include "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans, genocide in Rwanda and the Sudan, the million lives destroyed in intercommunal violence when India became independent in 1947 and the even larger number of Armenians slaughtered by Turks during World War I.
Despite much gushing about how we should "celebrate diversity," America's great achievement has not been in having diversity but in taming its dangers that have run amok in many other countries. Americans have
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
If Germany had won the Battle of the Bulge, they might have held out long enough to get first place in the A-bomb lottery instead of Japan.
The Clinton administration dropped the ball in the early 1990s - they have no intention of picking it up should they win in the November 2006 election. They had their chance - now we must continue the fight as only Republicans can, backed by a willing and knowledgeable nation.
However, if we have another attack on US soil similar to 9-11, I would not be surprised if Americans would demand the rounding up and deporting of all Arab nationals and the closing of mosques and groups like CAIR.
BTW, the goal of General Kuribayashi, the Japanese commander at Iwo Jima, was to inflict enough American casulaties that the anti-war protests would grow louder and force FDR to cut and run. Sound familiar?
You, too, can have "diversity" as liberals understand and promote it.
Go to teh office store and get a lot of different colored paper. Mix tehm up and put tehm in tyour printer with different colors coming consecutively. Then print 50 copies of the same document.
They all say the same thing but they look different -- diversity, liberal style!
Good point, Thomas. Diversity is really anarchy, and that's what some people are trying to install here.
Whether we want to or not, we cannot unilaterally end the war with international terrorists. Giving the terrorists an epoch-making victory in Iraq would only shift the location where we must face them or succumb to them.
Abandoning Iraqi allies to their fate would ensure that other nations would think twice before becoming or remaining our allies. With a nuclear Iran looming on the horizon, we are going to need all the allies we can get.
Ping on all three counts...
Dr. Sowell always puts things into perspective quite well.
If one wishes to adopt the outlook of the contemporary critics of the Iraq enterprise, than World War II could have been characterized as an endless quagmire that we could never win. Relatively few people are aware that the strategic bombing campaign in 1943 nearly ground to a halt when the deep penetration raids into Germany were called off after the staggering heavy bomber losses of the Schweinfurt and Regensberg missions. (So brilliantly characterized in the great World War II movie "12 o'clock High") No one was whining loudly and publicly about the fact that the self defending bomber formation concept was flawed and had revealed itself to be so by not having a long-range fighter escort ready at the time. We are so used to the Air Force sustaining almost no casualties in current day operations that we often forget that the 8th Air Force based in England suffered more dead (26,000) than the entire Marine Corps did in World War II (less than 20,000) There were no loudly public howls of quagmire, quagmire we can't win this.
How about the night naval battle off Savo Island, Guadalcanal in August of 1942 in which the United States Navy, defeated by a Japanese navy far better versed in night fighting tactics, sailed away and left the Marines stranded on Guadalcanal with no immediate hope of supply? There weren't any howls of quagmire, quagmire we can't win.
How about the slaughter off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States in 1942 in which the U-boats of the German Kreigsmarine during Operation Drumbeat sunk 500 allied merchant and navy ships in a six-month period in the greatest naval disaster in United States history? There was an almost incomprehensible failure to develop an efficient convoy escort system despite the lessons of World War I. Again no howls of quagmire, quagmire we can't win, let's make the Secretary of War and Chief of Naval Operations resign.
How about the Kasserine pass in Tunisia in February of 1943? The tough panzergrenadiers of Rommel's Afrika Corps soundly defeated and routed green American troops, sending them into pell mell retreat. Again no howls of quagmire, quagmire these Germans are just too battle hardened and ruthless to beat. Or the failure to prevent the escape of 40,000 Axis troops across the Straits of Messina after the invasion of Sicily was sucsesfully concluded.
Relatively little is known of the bloody check inflicted on units of the 1st, 4th, 28th, and 9th infantry divisions by the Germans during the battle of Huertegen Forest during Sep- Nov of 1944 as a prelude to the Battle of the Bulge. The men of these units were attrited horribly in one the most soul destroying campaigns in American history, comparable to the Wilderness and Cold Harbor campaigns of the Civil War. Winston Churchill called it "Passchendale with tree bursts." Or the Battle of the Bulge's disastrous opening on the Schnee Eifel in Belgium where intelligence failures allowed a totally surprised American Army to lose to captivity two whole infantry regiments of the 106th infantry division in the opening rounds of the battle? Again no howls of quagmire, quagmire we just can't win.
Or how about the defeat inflicted on the allies during Operation Market Garden (a Bridge Too Far) in 1944 when everyone knew that the Germans were already beaten? Or the horrendous losses off Okinawa? Or the failure to ensure sufficient numbers of tracked landing craft at Tarawa due to a misinterpretation of the meteorological conditions affecting the tides around Betio atoll? Nearly 1,000 Marines died in a 76 hour battle for an atoll smaller than Manhattan's Central Park, many because they had to wade hundreds of yards to shore from Betio's lagoon after their landing craft hung up on the reef. Or the largely unnecessary Pelielu campaign in which 1,800 were killed and 8,500 wounded? Or the bloody repulse at Italys Rapido River in January of 1944, or the grinding stalemate at Anzio or the entire checkmated Italian campaign, hopelessly bogged down in the Liri Valley before Monte Cassino? Even though the Rapido River attack generated enormous controversy, culminating in a congressional inquiry, it did not commence until the war was over. Or, due to logistical failures, the inability to maintain the pressure on a retreating German Army, shattered in Normandy, which allowed it to refit and regroup behind the Westwall, lengthening the war and costing thousands of lives. Again no howls of quagmire, quagmire we can't win.
We often forget that World War II was no unrelieved string of victories until the final triumph. We often suffered defeat on the battlefield, sometimes catastrophic ones, but we prevailed because we knew that we had to, since the alternative to victory was just too bitter to contemplate. In 1944, after the Tarawa bloodbath was over, there was a great dispute over whether or not to show the gruesome color film shot by combat cameramen of dead Marines floating in the lagoon of Betio, their bloated, rapidly decomposing corpses turning black in the hot equatorial sun and piled in ragged heaps on the beach. It was feared that the hideous sights would damage home front morale too much. The decision was made by President Roosevelt to release the film and trust that this would impress upon the public the gravity of the maelstrom that their sons were being flung into. The decision was correct. War bond sales skyrocketed after the release of the film, and war production soared as the American people realized that their support for the war effort would help to return their men with victory in hand that much sooner. While our forces in Iraq embody the same sort of heroism and devotion to duty as their predecessors, I wonder if the present day home front is made up of the same stern stuff as its antecedent. I certainly hope so and time will tell.
Americas fighting forces of World War II responded to the above described setbacks with a mix of determination, grim courage, innovation, and a uniquely American quality that historian Victor Davis Hanson terms as Civic Militarism. This can be characterized as a combination of virtues possessed by soldiers of those societies that inculcate their armies with the sense that their positive military contributions are derived from a sense of participatory citizenship.
Nothing even remotely resembling any of these historical disasters of World War II has occurred in Iraq, but these infantile naysayers who try to pose the situation has an absolute defeat are either hopelessly naïve or determined to demoralize our soldiers and willfully undermine this effort. Despite the setbacks that have occurred in Iraq, there is nothing here that cannot be remedied to this country's favor.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...
... The first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty.
... Over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.
... Nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are functioning.
... The Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.
.. On Monday, October 6, power generation hit 4,518 megawatts, exceeding the prewar average.
... All 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.
... By October 1, Coalition forces had rehab-ed over 1,500 schools - 500 more than scheduled.
... Teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.
... All 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.
... Doctor's salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.
... Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.
... The Coalition has helped administer over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq's children.
... A Coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of Iraq's 27,000 kilometers of weed-choked canals which now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women.
... We have restored over three-quarters of prewar telephone services and over two-thirds of the potable water production.
... There are 4,900 full-service telephone connections. We expect 50,000 by year-end.
... The wheels of commerce are turning. From bicycles to satellite dishes to cars and trucks, businesses are coming to life in all major cities and towns.
... 95 percent of all prewar bank customers have service and first-time customers are opening accounts daily.
... Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses.
... The central bank is fully independent.
... Iraq has one of the world's most growth-oriented investment and banking laws.
... Iraq has a single, unified currency for the first time in 15 years.
... Satellite TV dishes are legal.
... Foreign journalists aren't on 10-day visas paying mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information for minders and other government spies.
... There is no Ministry of Information.
... There are more than 170 newspapers.
... You can buy satellite dishes on what seems like every street corner.
... Foreign journalists (and everyone else) are free to come and go.
... A nation that had not one single element -- legislative, judicial or executive -- of a representative government now does.
... In Baghdad alone residents have selected 88 advisory councils. Baghdad's first democratic transfer of power in 35 years happened when the city council elected its new chairman.
... Today in Iraq chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country.
... 25 ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraq's history, run the day-to-day business of government.
... The Iraqi government regularly participates in international events. Since July the Iraqi government has been represented in over two dozen international meetings, including those of the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank and IMF and, today, the Islamic Conference Summit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced that it is reopening over 30 Iraqi embassies around the world.
... Shiva religious festivals that were all but banned, aren't.
... For the first time in 35 years, in Karbala thousands of Shiites celebrate the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam.
... The Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large and small, as part of a strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq.
... Uday and Queasy are dead - and no longer feeding innocent Iraqis to the zoo lions, raping the young daughters of local leaders to force cooperation, torturing Iraq's soccer players for losing games, or murdering critics.
... Children aren't imprisoned or murdered when their parents disagree with the government.
... Political opponents aren't imprisoned, tortured, executed, maimed, or forced to watch their families die for disagreeing with Saddam.
... Millions of long-suffering Iraqis no longer live in perpetual terror.
... Saudis will hold municipal elections.
... Qatar is reforming education to give more choices to parents.
... Jordan is accelerating market economic reforms.
... The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time to an Iranian
-- A Muslim woman who speaks out with courage for human rights, for democracy and for peace.
.. Saddam is gone.
... Iraq is free.
....Zawahiri is dead
.Terrorists are being drawn to an arena in which our military can kill or capture them
Sovereignty is restored to Iraq
Our magnificent soldiers, sailors and airmen still have more tough work to do which will undoubtedly be done with the same mix of courage, humanitarianism, innovation, and competence that has characterized our effort in Iraq to date, Abu Ghraib notwithstanding. But when you compare this effort to that other great effort of World War II that we are presently commemorating, this one looks to be comparatively well in hand. All this was accomplished at almost no cost in strictly military terms, and yes, I am aware that the brutal calculus of war is soulless and necessarily heedless of the irreplaceability of precious individual human beings. But we must also realize that wars in the national interest, as I believe this one to be, require that we be prepared to accept this as a condition of our national security.
Again, I wish to express my undying gratitude to a generation of Americans who showed us how to prevail in a REAL quagmire. And to the Americans who are now getting it done and overcoming the quags in the mire despite those who say they can't or shouldn't. As the ever brilliant Mark Steyn said best in his 30 May Sun-Times column:
But that's the difference between then and now: the loss of proportion. They had victims galore back in 1863, but they weren't a victim culture. They had a lot of crummy decisions and bureaucratic screwups worth re-examining, but they weren't a nation that prioritized retroactive pseudo-legalistic self-flagellating vaudeville over all else. They had hellish setbacks but they didn't lose sight of the forest in order to obsess week after week on one tiny twig of one weedy little tree.
There is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites -- from the deranged former vice president down -- want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it's pain-free, squeaky clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we're supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling, which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. - John Stuart Mill ~ (1868)
Great minds think alike, Frank! Nice work, thank you!