WWII was really cool for the US. We helped rid the planet of some very bad actors. We were heroes.
We won, not because we were smarter than the Nazis or Japanese; they were both very smart. Nor did we win because we had better weapons – at least until the end, when we had the A-Bomb. The Germans had better tanks, army, planes, (they were the first to use a jet in battle, for example), at least in the beginning. The Japanese soldiers had a better Navy and more highly trained troops in the beginning.
Most historians and military experts agree that we won WWII primarily because of our industry; we may not have had better weapons, but we produced more of them, and more of them, and more of them…
There was another factor, too: allies. We fought with allies like England, much of Europe, China, and others. We were key, but the allies – together – won the war.
One other factor: leadership. The US took two years to get into the war. Why? Because, we’d done our bit to help Europe in WWI and twenty-one years later, in 1939, the country simply didn’t want to do it again. Franklin Roosevelt knew better than to impulsively pushing a war the population didn’t support. Instead he spent two years readying the country psychologically and industrially for a war he knew was inevitable. And when it arrived at Pearl Harbor in 1941, while not completely ready, we were a lot better prepared than we had been in 1939. That’s good leadership.
WWII is pretty much the last time this country got into a war it really needed to fight. I say “pretty much” because you can argue the Korea War wasn’t a “war”; it was a “police action”, but very necessary to save South Korea. The Viet Nam War was actually defined by Congress as a “military engagement”, one step below “war”. You can argue that it, too, was necessary, but would probably lose.
Those are just two of many military actions over the last 75 years – some necessary, most not, in which much time and treasure – human and financial – has been spent trying to recreate the glory war of WWII.
The most recent was a few days ago, when Trump ordered the assassination of another country’s general.
It’s important to note, General Qassim Suleimaniwasn’t part of some religious cult, like Bin Laden or al-Baghdadi. He was a general of a sovereign nation. Assassinating a leader of a sovereign nation is considered an act of war by most countries, including – and especially – Iran. We’re now at war with Iran.
Keeping in mind it’s a different time, let’s compare this new war to just these few aspects of the glory war.
Industry: Roosevelt had spent two years preparing our industry for war. Our current industrial capability, already far below China’s, has been shrinking for the last year.
Allies: China is not an ally. Britain still is, but France and the rest of Europe aren’t the fans they once were. The Middle East… I can’t think of a single fan there, except possibly Saudi Arabia, but then, we’ve sort of let their assassination of a US reporter slide, so they kind of owe us. Iraq would like us out, but still needs our military, so they just burn our flags. I guess Canada would stick by us against Iran, maybe. Mexico? A weaker “maybe”. The ally pool has also shrunk.
Leadership: 13000 lies and counting by Trump. Even his fans admit he and the truth aren’t exactly bedroom buddies, something his extra curricular bedroom buddies can loudly attest to. I wonder if anyone is counting the insults he’s aimed at our allies. In terms of preparing the country for war, he doesn’t do fireside chats so much as set fires with his twitter chit-chat. The country is as divided now as it was in Civil War times. Trump is not Roosevelt.
War: Trump justified the assassination by telling the world it was a “targeted killing” as opposed to an “assassination”. Why? Because a loophole in US law allows a “targeted killing”, but not an “assassination”.
Bottom line: no matter what words he uses, Iran considers it an act of war, and Trump cannot turn that around with one of his fantasy-land denials.
So, with few loyal allies left, a country trillions in debt from 19 years of existing war, a shrinking industrial base, and a population sick of war and constant political conflict, what’s a little assassination in the big picture?