Friday, May 20, 2005

9/11, World War II, and 1,347 Days

It has now been 1,347 days since 9/11. That's how many days there were between Pearl Harbor and V-J Day.

Think about it. Enough time to build an Army, Navy, and Air Force virtually from scratch. Enough time to fight the Battles of Midway and Iwo Jima. Enough time to invade Italy and Normandy. Enough time to defeat Mussolini, Tojo, and Hitler.

Enough time to conquer half the world and set it free.

So where do we stand by that same mile marker in the War on Terror?

Richard Larsen has an answwer in a guest column for the Washington Post. He's a former Chairman of the Department of Military Strategy and Operations at the National War College . He's currently the Director of the Institute for Homeland Security. Mr Larsen added up the number of days that've passed.

What It Adds Up To

In World War II, the US went all out to build the atom bomb before Germany or Japan did.

Today, Mr Larsen argues, the US has no protection from a terrorist launched nuclear or biological attack. He talks about the billions spent on defenses against a nuclear missile attack. Then points out:

"The last time the United States suffered a biological attack, the U.S. Postal Service provided the delivery vehicles, and we still don't have a return address for the sender. A small truck, boat or private jet will most likely serve to smuggle a nuclear weapon across our 7,500 miles of borders or 95,000 miles of shoreline."

The Sum Total

1,347 days after Pearl Harbor and Hitler and Mussolini were dead, Tojo was in the dock.

1,347 days after 9/11 we still don't know where Osama bin Laden is.

1,347 days after Pearl Harbor the US had won the race to build the atomic bomb.

1,347 days after 9/11, we've done virtually nothing to guard against a terrorist atom bomb.

It's been 1,347 days since this generation's darkest day. And not that much has changed to make us safer from the potential for greater darkness. (WashPost)

[Crossposted at]


Mark said...

that is a very interesting post. i wonder if rush limbagh is aware of that fact? i have a blog of my own and i think i have a different perspective on many of the current events deemed newsworthy by the media. keep in mind that i try not to comment on things that i have alrady heard others comment on because i don't want my opinion to be tainted by outside opinions such as laura ingraham, rush limbaugh, or even al franken for that matter. see my blog at

Blue State Republican said...

Not a fair comparison at all, my friend. The war on terror is unlike any other conflict we've ever been involved in. Aside from the fact that we've lost only 1,500 or so total lives in this conflict, there are many, many other differences. For one, our enemies in WWII stood up and fought...they were willing to get shot. Our enemies in the war on terror set boobie traps and then hide in the shadows. This "war" will never end, not so long as there are those out there willing to commit acts of terror against us or our interests. Consider the Israeli military, thought to be among the best, most well-trained and efficient militaries in the world--if not THE best. There is one type of 'war" they have been unable to bring to a swift end....their own war against terrorism.


Daniel Kirkdorffer said...

Great post Terry. But gotta admit "blue state republican" has a point about this war being unlike any other - after all how do you fight "terror"? They'll always be someone else to frighten the living shit out of us.

Terry "Tex" Turner said...

Daniel & Blue State Republican,

I think the point is that you can't declare war against a vague enemy. You have to define the enemy and set the terms of victory. That was the purpose of the Atlantic Conference in WWII.

By declaring war on poverty, drugs, or terrorism -- you set yourself up for a "forever war."

This was one of the flaws in US response that the 9/11 Commission came up with.

The surest way to deter terrorism is to go after the leaders -- the ones who never martyr themselves -- but send others to do the dirty work. When the leaders see swift and painful consequences, they'll be less likely to send others out.

But good points all the way around. Glad I stirred up some thoughtful consideration among my readers.