With the first anniversary of the nightmarish devastation of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans by Hurricance Katerina (with the assistance of the Bush administration) looming, and the major news media already gearing up for their fifth anniversary of 9/11 extravaganzas, the UK newspaper The Independent directs our attention to another black mark on the calendar.
A miserable milestone was passed the other day. America's (and Britain's) disastrous war in Iraq has now lasted longer than the US involvement in the Second World War. Yes, this conflict has outlasted a war that ended with total victory over Nazi Germany. Hitler declared war on the US on 11 December 1941. Exactly 1,244 days later, on 7 May 1945, Germany surrendered. The US invaded Iraq on 19 March 2003, and this weekend it is 1,267 days later, with no end in sight.
Sticklers among you will have noted that the interval between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Japanese surrender on 2 September, 1945 was 1,364 days. But even that record will tumble at the start of December. And if you do measure Iraq against the longer American war with Japan, the contrast is even starker. Victory in the Pacific was even more conclusive than in Europe. It produced no post-war entanglement with the Soviets and no Berlin airlift. The Iraq war unfolded the other way round: Baghdad fell barely three weeks after the invasion. Since then, however, it's been downhill all the way.
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