In one of Sen. Conrad Burns' latest radio ads, he says that Jon Tester has inaccurately referred to U.S. troops in Iraq as an occupying force. It's as though he thinks that occupying forces are bad things. Why?
We had occupying forces in Germany and Japan for years. It had its rough points here and there, but I think you would find very few Germans, Japanese or Americans who would say that it was bad. We removed despotic governments, established democracies, helped rebuild vibrant economies and provided a bulwark of protection against outside threats. I doubt that you could find more successful examples of military occupations in world history.
At some level, Sen. Burns knows that, so he doesn't come out and say that it's bad to call what we're doing in Iraq an occupation. He just says that it's inaccurate. Instead, it is an army of liberation. Really?
Let's look at a couple of undisputed examples, both from World War II.
A. An invading army conquers France. U.S. forces counterattack, drive out the invading force and, in effect, tell the French, "Here's your country back, to do with as you please, no matter how much you may annoy us." That's liberation.
B. We invade Germany, dismantle its government, and, in effect, tell the Germans, "You can't have your old government back. You have to form a new government, and we aren't leaving until you get it right, and we decide that it's safe to go." That's occupation.
So does what we are doing in Iraq more closely resemble A or B? And is the senator really all that concerned about semantic accuracy?
UPDATE: Apparently I was wrong when I said the above examples were undisputed. David Berg on "Berg in the Morning" just said that U.S. forces in Germany were an army of liberation, not of occupation. So Burns was right to criticize Tester, not because what he said was inaccurate but because what he said was impossible: Armies of occupation do not exist (at least not American armies).