``Our occupation forces never set foot inside Japan until the emperor had formally surrendered and prepared Japanese citizens for our arrival. Nor did MacArthur destroy the Japanese government when he took over as proconsul. ... Nor is Japanese culture in any way similar to Iraq's. The Japanese are a homogeneous people. ... The Iraqis are a multiethnic people filled with competing factions who in many cases would view a U.S. occupation as infidels invading the cradle of Islam.''
Long convinced that invading Iraq would ``empower Iran, the long-term threat,'' Webb thinks the administration's neoconservative nation-builders ``are so far to the left they seem to be on the right.'' His challenge will be to harvest financial support, much of it from outside of Virginia, from antiwar liberals, without forfeiting his appeal to Virginia's moderate Democrats and many military families. He is being endorsed by some of the retired generals now denouncing Don Rumsfeld. And he will attract attention if he continues to charge that the Bush administration is ``deliberately miscounting the casualties in Iraq,'' minimizing them by ``counting only those evacuated out of theater.''
Webb says, ``I'm pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-Second Amendment.'' Two out of three might not suffice, given that Democratic primary voters -- disproportionately, liberal activists -- often have little tolerance for heterodoxy. And he says, ``I'm not saying what antiwar people want to hear -- 'Get out last Tuesday.'''
Although Webb has concentrated his fire on Allen, Miller attacked Webb until Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and hates primaries, told him to desist. Over the years Webb has made impolitic pronouncements opposing women in combat and warning that some affirmative action had become ``state-sponsored racism.'' Today, Webb endorses affirmative action but not for mere ``diversity'' reasons. He says that as secretary of the Navy he tripled the number of women in ``operational billets'' and that he has been endorsed by the only woman to make it through the Special Operations course.
He campaigns in combat boots given to him by his son, who was a year from graduating from Penn State but now is a Marine lance corporal. He is due in Iraq in September.