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Lessons Forgotten From Iwo Jima

This Memorial Day weekend it is very good to reflect on an important past successful military campaign for the U.S. and understand why it succeeded and the war in Iraq is clearly failing by comparison.

Iwo Jima had a Japanese force of 22,000 soldiers dug in on this important island needed by the U.S. to stage aircraft bombing attacks on Japanese military targets in Tokyo and elsewhere on the Japanese mainland. The U.S. desperately needed this island in order to win the war, although most of the Japanese Navy was already decimated after the fateful naval battle at Midway, in which Japan lost their aircraft carrier fleet and most heavy ships.

An American force of 110,000 Marines were used to dislodge the Japanese Army forces on Iwo Jima, and the American military was given a free hand in the planning and execution of this successful military campaign.

By comparison, Iraq is a large land with a population even larger than Australia and Switzerland combined of 26.7 million persons. Woefully inadequate American forces of 130,000-150,000 were totally unable to secure ammo dumps left by Saddam Hussein in first days of the 2003 war leading to the supply of the insugent forces. Further, these thin American forces have been unable to control large groups of insurgents, hostile militia groups or other combatants who number into the tens of thousands, with perhaps as many as several million civilian supporters, especially among the Sunni population and the followers of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Politicians in the Bush White had been responsible for most of this war planning compared to the military generals like the previous successful battle of Iwo Jima. Inadequate supplies, far fewer troops than needed to secure such a large population and insurgency, a large land mass with nearly uncontrolable borders and a growing sectarian civil war have all doomed this effort.

American forces have done the very best that they could in Iraq. But with virtually no real military men in the Bush White House planning this war, except for some minor and questionable National Guard service on the part of Bush himself, and the primary reason for this war to secure the suspected 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in Iraq as the biggest motivation for this war rather than true national security interests for the U.S., this mission was really doomed from the very beginning despite the very best efforts of the real military soldiers put in danger in Iraq on the ground. The Bush White House owes a very sincere apology for sending our soldiers into combat with such a poorly planned and doomed mission.


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Comments (1)

There's some Iranian weapons in Iraq for sure, Zelsdorf. But the borders are so pourous that arms are flowing in from Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and just about everywhere else in the region along with a few foreign fighters as well. There is even a new plan to pull 229 of the best U.S. border guards off duty in this country and put them in Iraq.

Certainly the situation in Iraq could be "won" if only we devoted 1 million or more American soldiers to such a large population and land mass country. This would mean bringing back the draft. But there is not the will to do that on the part of anyone, including the White House, so Iraq will not be "won" in any technical sense. Even the White House is planning to withdrawal about half the forces sometime next year. Iraq just isn't important enough for anyone to try that hard to succeed there, including the oil companies, arms contractors or White House.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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