Putting Lipstick on the Pig

Very sharp analysis there, Tri-Cup. But to my mind, another difference between the two conflicts is that in Korea, we already had a substantial pre-existing security commitment in the region, because we were already occupying nearby Japan. (And thus since Korea had been occupied by Japan from 1910 to 1945, we were already occupying Korea when the communists attempted to take over the entire country.) There is no equivalent in the Middle East, even if you count our much, much smaller presence in Saudi Arabia (where we'd clearly overstayed our welcome).

The distinction is even more worth noting because it highlights the fact that we probably didn't have much interest in freeing the Korean people; we had an interest in preventing communist takeover of a country we were already occupying, next door to an even larger country we were already occupying. We had a clear, realpolitik reason to fight.

Thus only way that the Iraq casus belli rises to anywhere near the same level as Korea would be if Iraq had attacked us somehow -- which is precisely why the Administration (especially Cheney and Rumsfeld) engaged in a continuous campaign to weave Iraq and 9/11 together in the minds of the American people. When, and only when, such notions were discredited did Bush begin talking talking about democracy and freedom rather than 9/11 and the supposedly imminent threat of Iraqi WMD.

In other words, Iraq didn't start out as a Korea -- but the Administration made it into one. And now we're stuck with the consequences. The only solace is that so many more of our brave soldiers have been lucky enough to survive than did 50 years ago.


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