Thomas Sowell

All this rhetoric about a withdrawal timetable is based on trying to make political hay out of the fact that the Iraq war is unpopular. But all wars have been unpopular with Americans, as they should be.

Even World War II, won by "the greatest generation," was never popular, though the home front was united behind the troops a lot better than today. The last shot of that war had barely been sounded before the cry arose to bring our boys back home.

The exuberant celebrations across this country when World War II ended showed that we weren't looking for more war or more conquests. We weren't even trying to hold on to all the territory we had conquered. There has probably never been a time in history when a military force in the millions was disbanded so quickly.

Even after the first Gulf War, with its quick success and low casualties, the biggest ovation that the first President Bush got when he addressed Congress afterwards was when he announced that our troops would start coming back home.

Those who discuss the current war in terms of frivolous talking points make a big deal out of the fact we have been in this war longer than in World War II. But, if we are serious, we would know that it is not the duration of a war that is crucial. It is how many lives it costs.

More than twice as many Marines were killed taking one island in the Pacific during World War II than all the Americans killed in the four years of the Iraq war. More Americans were killed in one day during the Civil War.

If we are going to discuss war, the least we can do is be serious.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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