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In World War II (WWII) the US with its allies were able to defeat two great powers Germany and Japan in three years and nine months. On the other hand, the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq has taken six years and still counting. Van Evera critiques the US strategy dealing with war on terrorism and calls to learn the lessons that lead to success in WWII.
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WWII could have been lost or it could have cost much more in terms of money and deaths but the US applied a number of different strategies that lead to the decisive victory. Even though the US was first attached by Japan, but the Roosevelt administration prioritized its targets and made the right choices by applying a strategy of checking Japan and Asia and focusing resources on Germany which was the primary target. Germany posed the main threat of defeating Britain, consolidating Europe, defeating the Soviet Union, dominating the Atlantic then even developing atomic bombs. This comprised the first lesson to learn from WWII as to make choices, prioritize your targets and goals then focus resources and efforts on one at a time. This strategy was not followed by the Bush administration in its war on terrorism. After 9/11, the US focused on its primary target al-Qaeda and attacked Afghanistan and removed the Taliban regime. Then the US made a huge turn before completely destroying al-Qaeda and went after Iraq which did not co-operate with al-Qaeda and was not involved in the 9/11 attack. Resources were allocated from Afghanistan to Iraq and al-Qaeda leader escaped to Pakistan. The cost to ignore this strategy is obvious with the current existence of the al-Qaeda threat to attack European and US cities with weapons of mass destruction.
President Roosevelt was unashamed to ask the American people to sacrifice for war as he increased military draft and spending and taxes. In contrast the Bush administration did not ask anybody to sacrifice except the reserve and National Guard units. The American public was told to go shopping.
To win WWII, the US forged a huge alliance that included the mass murderer Stalin of the Soviet Union, the brutal Tito of Yugoslavia and the corrupt emperor of China. This huge alliance help cut the US losses of war as US battle deaths during WWII was only 3.7% of war deaths. In contrast, the Bush administration made little effort to win allies to aid the war on terror. Not much support was gathered from Islamic countries who were also victims of terror. Even after winning the war in Iraq, they failed to cut a deal with Sunnis, which led the Sunnis to rebel thinking they had no place in the new Iraq. Neighboring states were threatened instead of negotiated with to support the new order in Iraq.
After winning WWII, the US invested so much money to help bring the defeated countries in the Western World. In contrast, the Bush administration did not invest in resuscitate Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghanistan is now the largest Opium producer and Iraq has descended into a civil war.
President Roosevelt created international organizations such as the United Nation and World Trade Organization to help spread peace and prosperity in the world. In contrast, the Bush administration pulled away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and did not defuse the civil war between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq.
President Roosevelt picked the best team to lead the US during WWII such as Marshall, Bradley and Patton. In contrast, President Bush has appointed leaders known for their obedience rather than competence and accepted their weak performance. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld committed major errors in the war on Iraq yet stayed in office until 2006.
Most competent leaders from both democratic and republican parties put hands together to lead the US to win WWII. In contrast, the Bush administration excluded Democrats from the government and often used the war on terror to score points over the Democrats.
The Bush administration strategy towards its fight on terror has proved its inefficiency in achieving its objectives. The al-Qaeda still exists with potential threats to European and US cities. Iraq has plunged into a civil war with no clear plan to bring stability and order in the near future. The Bush administration needs to analyze the situation and reset its priorities and go after its main goals. The American people and all available resources must be concentrated towards the achievement of set goals. Justification for intended actions and allies should be convinced into sharing future plans. Economic support and aid must be offered for Afghanistan and Iraq as an international effort to restore order and encourage them to democracy. The US must call for world peace and economic prosperity. America must come together to provide its best with no regards to party or differences as to ensure best performance towards achieving the prioritized goals of the American People.
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