Clarification of Answer by
03 Jul 2005 14:43 PDT
Here is the information about Japan and Germany that you requested.
I've only printed brief excerpts from a number of very interesting
articles. If you will read them in full, you will see how Japan and
Germany were able to make the transition to peaceful and consolidated
democratic government. You'll also find little reason to think that
the US will see any similar success in Iraq.
Bush's comparison of Iraq with postwar Japan ignores the facts
"Here was a populace socialized to think in terms of death before
dishonor ? an adversary whose greatest wartime innovation (after the
preemptive strike on Pearl Harbor) was the terrifying kamikaze suicide
attack. Yet in the wake of defeat, and in the midst of widespread
misery, not a single serious incident of violence against the
occupying forces was reported.
"What is more, six months after Japan's surrender in mid-August 1945,
Gen. Douglas MacArthur presided over an efficient military government
in Tokyo that soon stabilized at between 5,000 and 5,500 military and
civilian personnel devoted to "civil affairs." Esprit was high.
Would-be American reformers were looking forward to being joined by
their families. That doesn't sound much like Iraq today.
"Half a year into the occupation of Japan, policies aimed at achieving
"demilitarization and democratization" were well underway. A few weeks
after MacArthur's arrival in Tokyo, the U.S. released its official
"post-surrender" policy. In the seventh week of the occupation, the
Japanese government was told, in lengthy detail, precisely what
repressive laws and institutions to abolish.
"One week later, on Oct. 11, MacArthur issued a famous statement
calling for "liberalization of the constitution" and rapid
implementation of democratization in five fundamental areas ?
emancipation of women, unionization of labor, liberalization of
education, establishment of a judicial system that protected people's
rights and democratization of economic institutions. Basic reforms
were soon in place that enlisted the energies, expertise and support
not only of American and Japanese officials but of a broad spectrum of
ordinary Japanese as well."
The following article provides interesting details of the four-year
occupation of Germany, and the postponement of national elections in
Germany until it was clear that Naziism had been extinguished.
Condi Rice Is Wrong About Germany's Werewolves, But Right About Iraq
"In the first year or two, none of the occupying powers was eager to
restore a German democracy and certainly none had a desire to put "a
German face" on the occupation. Before democratization could take
place, the Allies wanted to be sure that Nazism had been definitively
crushed and that the German people in general understood that this was
the case. Given that the German army fought to the bitter end and that
the German anti-Nazi resistance was small, late and unsuccessful, the
Allies did not romanticize German anti-fascism. Politicians such as
Konrad Adenauer, Kurt Schumacher and Theodor Heuss prominent in the
Weimar era who were not implicated in the Nazi regime emerged first in
local elections. But the first national election did not take place
until 1949, over four years after the end of the war."
This article, written even before the Iraq resistance emerged,
compares the Iraq challenge to the failed pacification of Germany
after World War I.
The Two Essential Steps Needed to Turn Iraq into a Peace-Loving Country
"The United States and the coalition against Saddam Hussein must
commit to rebuilding Iraq's social, economic and political
infrastructure, so that New Iraq does not have German-like lingering
resentments or weaknesses to exploit. This means addressing Iraq's
internal tensions and creating meaningful participatory political
systems. But unless the region is stable, New Iraq will still not be
secure, so we must commit to active and multilateral engagement in the
region. This will not be easy....
But the alternative -- conquest followed by disengagement -- risks the
catastrophe of repeating the mistakes that led to World War II."
Does Iraq 2004 Resemble Germany 1946?
"Historians ridicule such Germany-Iraq comparisons as absurd. They see
them as either false (there is not a single documented case of an
American soldier being murdered by bitter end SS men after Germany's
capitulation) or invalid because political and social conditions in
Germany fifty-five years ago and Iraq today vary greatly (Germany, to
give just one example, was an ethnically homogeneous country, Iraq is
deeply divided by religion and ethnicity among Sunnis, Kurds, and
Shiites). Iraq lacks both democratic traditions and political leaders
who remained in the country during Saddam's rule and yet have some
experience with democracy. Postwar Germany had at its disposal
democratic traditions going back to 1848."
Japan and Germany:
Parallels to Iraq
"First, Germany was utterly and totally destroyed in the war. All
Germans, even Nazis, understood by April 1945 that Hitler had involved
their country in a horrible mistake.
Second, the Japanese were humiliated. The Emperor was forced to be
human in front of a foreigner. Japan had suffered twice the tremendous
superior technology of a foreigner.
Iraq, and the Arab/Islamic world, have not been put in this kind of position."
Few Parallels with Germany and Japan
"'American GIs were so safe in Japan that they could move their
families there and Gen. Douglas MacArthur lived in Tokyo with his wife
and son. ''I can't imagine this happening in Iraq,'' Dower said.
"In Germany, also, the Americans met cooperation, not violence, said
Harvard's German history professor Charles Maier. Maier and Dower say
U.S. forces in Germany and Japan met no armed resistance because their
populations felt legitimately defeated and their leaders had
"'Not all former Nazis became democrats overnight, to say the least,
but they realized how totally Germany had been defeated and that there
was no point in a resistance campaign,'' Maier said. ``Iraq was
defeated too easily for the same consciousness to pervade.'' In Japan,
Emperor Hirohito even ordered his subjects to cooperate with the
occupiers -- a far cry from the situation today in Iraq...."
"There are other major differences, experts say:
* In Iraq, U.S. troops face a nation with a history of conflicts among
Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Kurds and Turkomans, unlike the largely
homogenous Germany and Japan.
* Iraq's neighbors pose problems for U.S. rebuilding efforts, with
Syria and Iran accused of failing to secure their borders against
infiltrators. By comparison, U.S. troops in Germany and Japan enjoyed
the cooperation of neighboring nations that had been invaded by the
* Perhaps more importantly, Iraq lacks the democratic experience of
pre-war Germany and Japan, making it harder to implement a U.S.-led
democratization process, historians say. German history professor
David Hamlin of Brown University added, ``German politicians could
look back on their own past for a German model of democracy in a way
that Iraqis cannot.''
* Unlike World War II, when the world applauded the U.S. war effort,
the U.N. Security Council refused to endorse the preemptive U.S.
strike on Iraq and protesters around the world denounced it as illegal
* Finally, the U.S. rebuilding policy in occupied Iraq is quite
different from the one promoted in Germany and Japan, the historians
added. While the Bush administration has been inviting foreign
companies to help rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, the U.S. occupation
of Germany and Japan preferred to issue reconstruction contracts to
Iraq: Losing the American Way
"The Bush administration and neoconservative writers have repeatedly
cited the U.S. successes in West Germany and Japan, but they have been
notably silent about the large numbers of failures or disappointments
elsewhere, particularly in the Caribbean basin and Central America.
"If any honest discussion about the prospects for democratization in
Iraq and other countries of the Middle East had included any analysis
of a few of these three dozen cases, the discussion would have ended
with a general consensus that the prospects were surely bleak."
So, those are the steps where transition and consolidation was carried
out successfully--in part I would say because the cultural norms of
Japan and Germany were able to accomodate the transition.
Thanks again for leading me to these interesting analyses.