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Response to Ms. Solis' comments

Reader comment on item: Salvaging the Iraq War
in response to reader comment: knowledge vs. opinion

Submitted by Roger W. Gardner (United States), Aug 24, 2007 at 17:31

Once again, I must respond to the knowledgable Ms.Solis' well-reasoned statements. I think that she might agree that sometimes -- like in 1941 -- war IS the answer, the only answer that will do. And I agree that a strong hand will most likely be necessary for some time to come.

I hold no illusions concerning the difficulties we face in Iraq, and with this whole violent culture; however, if it is any solace to Ms. Solis (no puns intended), when, after Japan's unconditional surrender, we occupied the country and declared our intentions to bring about a democracy there, the wise men here and elsewhere hastened to point out -- quite reasonably -- that for us to attempt to change an alien culture, that had been more or less unchanged in thousands of years, a culture based on a foreign religion and on a national creed of the warrior and centuries of Emperor Worship, was both arrogant and foolhardy, and almost assuredly impossible.

It took about 5 years.

Before the pundits had time to write many books on this subject, Japan already had major league baseball and was quickly beginning to outdistance some of the Western democracies in performing those miracles of capitalism. All this, without losing their essential unique Japanese culture. The same thing happened in South Korea. And the entire Soviet Union fell apart before the CIA had had time for their morning coffee.

Once again, I don't underestimate the difficulties we face, and are going to face in the future in the Middle East and elsewhere. But as the previously examples have proven, there's always room for hope.

On a more personal note, it's been a pleasure talking with you.

And it's also been a pleasure following all of the other thoughtful comments on this subject.

RWG

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