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John Simkin

Iraq and Vietnam

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

Yes it is, but now Bush and Blair are stuck with the problem on how to get out. It won't be long before they talking about leaving with honour but it's hard to see how this will pan out.

The mistake they made was in their reasons for going there in the first place. They thought they could set up a pliant government that would help keep oil supplies flowing and remove a costly thorn in their sides. If it could have been a Saddan removal, the troops leaving in a few months and leaving it to luck whether the next government was friendly or not then they might have got out with honour. Now not only is America fighting the Sunnis in the north but the UK is fighting with the Shiites in the south.

Like Vietnam the longer they wait the worse it will be. A temporary answer would be to set up some buffer zones between the communities and try and keep the troops in barracks as much as possible ... and not to expect the oil to flow in great quantities for quite some while. (I heard that the British troops no longer send patrols into Basra now.)

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

Although many would seem to think that there is some comparison between the two events, there is actually little.

The purpose and actions in Vietnam were for it's own reasons.

The purpose and actions in Iraq are for their own reasons.

Have England and Ireland become bosom buddies?

Was London a pleasant place to live when IRA sponsored terrorist acts were exploding throughout the city?

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One state capitalist dictatorship and its vassal states invades another state capitalist dictatorship, the place turns into a medieval quagmire. If the Yankee people want their sons and daughters home, they should take action. I think they would rather watch them on TV killing and getting killed.

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"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

1) Although many would seem to think that there is some comparison between the two events, there is actually little:

The purpose and actions in Vietnam were for it's own reasons.

The purpose and actions in Iraq are for their own reasons.

2) Have England and Ireland become bosom buddies?

3) Was London a pleasant place to live when IRA sponsored terrorist acts were exploding throughout the city?

1)Vietnam - to impose the cultural and political ideology of the United States of America on another country

Iraq - to impose the cultural and political ideology of the United States of America on another country

Yep, entirely for their own reasons.

2) [The Governements of?] England and Ireland are very good friends, whilst remembering ages-old rivalries. However, I'm not sure the same could be said of England and N. Ireland or Ireland and N. Ireland.

3) Yes. The VERY OCCASIONAL bomb did much less social, economic and physical damage than the monetarist governments after 1976 AND they served as a reminder of Britain's shameful imperialism past and present.

A question for Dafydd: How do you understand the term State Capitalist? Have you read Cliff's book (okay, that's 2 questions :rolleyes: )

Edited by Ed Waller

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"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

1) Although many would seem to think that there is some comparison between the two events, there is actually little:

The purpose and actions in Vietnam were for it's own reasons.

The purpose and actions in Iraq are for their own reasons.

2) Have England and Ireland become bosom buddies?

3) Was London a pleasant place to live when IRA sponsored terrorist acts were exploding throughout the city?

1)Vietnam - to impose the cultural and political ideology of the United States of America on another country

Iraq - to impose the cultural and political ideology of the United States of America on another country

Yep, entirely for their own reasons.

2) [The Governements of?] England and Ireland are very good friends, whilst remembering ages-old rivalries. However, I'm not sure the same could be said of England and N. Ireland or Ireland and N. Ireland.

3) Yes. The VERY OCCASIONAL bomb did much less social, economic and physical damage than the monetarist governments after 1976 AND they served as a reminder of Britain's shameful imperialism past and present.

A question for Dafydd: How do you understand the term State Capitalist? Have you read Cliff's book (okay, that's 2 questions :lol: )

Perhaps further review of the history of "French" Indo-China/aka Colonial Possession, may influence your perspective as regards the country of Vietnam.

Quite a coincidence that we/the United States, are responsible for the initial training and arming of "Uncle Ho", just as we/the United States, are also responsible for extremely similar actions for Fidel Castro.

Each country, thereafter having virtually no/zero civil revolutions, and also being fully governed and controlled by persons of their own national heritage.

In many instances, a "benevolent" Dictatorship is one of the better forms of government.

Were we still an isolated world of countries where transportation was limited to sailing ships, etc;, then the internal strife and affairs of some foreign country would have little economic or political effect on the US, and/or the World.

We are not!

Perhaps the death of entire villages in Northern Iraq, through the usage of chemical agents, is of no concern to you. If not, it certainly should be.

Perhaps the progressive attempts to develop the first nuclear weapon in the Arab world is of no concern to you. If not, it certainly should be.

Perhaps the prior "Iraqi" incursion into another Arab nation is of no concern to you. If not, it certainly should be.

Perhaps the fact that Iran & Iraq had been conducting limited "war" along their borders for almost eight years is of no concern to you. It not, it certainly should be.

Just perhaps there are numerous differences as to why we became involved in Vietnam, as opposed to why we became involved in Iraq.

However, those who view the world through "tunnel vision" are not likely to either see or understand the significant differences.

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

In terms of the body count, which admittedly ought not to be the standard, there were 58,000 American lives and 2 million Asian lives lost in the Vietnam conflict. We should be reverent to the Vietnam loss and tragedy, although your question asks if Iraq could become another costly conflict like this. That is one way to criticize what is going on in Iraq today, although it might be more helpful to weigh the similarities and differences.

For example, Lyndon Johnson was highly criticized for getting $1 billion to his Texan friends, Brown and Root, to dredge the Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. Today, Brown and Root is owned by Halliburton, the company that Vice-President Dick Cheney served as Chairman and CEO of between 1995 and 2000 and which is largely responsible for obtaining tens of billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq. There is also the perception that the Vietnam conflict really began in 1945, when America started arming Ho Chi Minh's Army, the political leader which we would eventually call our enemy. Likewise in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was our ally throughout the 1980s and the infamous "weapons of mass destruction" that we are supposed to be looking for today were, at least in the form of nerve gas, supplied to Saddam by the United States.

On the other hand, the Vietcong were receiving support from the Soviet Union, while the so-called "insurgents" in Iraq do not have such support from a superpower. Also different is the official status of the conflicts: Vietnam was a "police action" without a declaration of war, while the "Iraq War" is the first time America has ever openly called such a conflict a "war" since World War II.

There is also the erroneous view that the events of 9/11 led to the Iraq War. There were always ways to explain American presence in Vietnam from the Cold War and the Domino Principle, not to mention the trumped-up Gulf of Tonkin incident, but never anything quite as dramatic or wrongly exploited as an attack on American soil.

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

In terms of the body count, which admittedly ought not to be the standard, there were 58,000 American lives and 2 million Asian lives lost in the Vietnam conflict. We should be reverent to the Vietnam loss and tragedy, although your question asks if Iraq could become another costly conflict like this. That is one way to criticize what is going on in Iraq today, although it might be more helpful to weigh the similarities and differences.

For example, Lyndon Johnson was highly criticized for getting $1 billion to his Texan friends, Brown and Root, to dredge the Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. Today, Brown and Root is owned by Halliburton, the company that Vice-President Dick Cheney served as Chairman and CEO of between 1995 and 2000 and which is largely responsible for obtaining tens of billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq. There is also the perception that the Vietnam conflict really began in 1945, when America started arming Ho Chi Minh's Army, the political leader which we would eventually call our enemy. Likewise in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was our ally throughout the 1980s and the infamous "weapons of mass destruction" that we are supposed to be looking for today were, at least in the form of nerve gas, supplied to Saddam by the United States.

On the other hand, the Vietcong were receiving support from the Soviet Union, while the so-called "insurgents" in Iraq do not have such support from a superpower. Also different is the official status of the conflicts: Vietnam was a "police action" without a declaration of war, while the "Iraq War" is the first time America has ever openly called such a conflict a "war" since World War II.

There is also the erroneous view that the events of 9/11 led to the Iraq War. There were always ways to explain American presence in Vietnam from the Cold War and the Domino Principle, not to mention the trumped-up Gulf of Tonkin incident, but never anything quite as dramatic or wrongly exploited as an attack on American soil.

1. 9/11----Battleship Maine-----Tonkin Resolution---whatever.

One can not take the citizenship of a country into armed engagements without some semblance of rational reason.

Even a communist country knows this.

Personally, I fully trust that the true reason for intervention in Iraq was considerably more important than the meager excuses fed to the general public, although some truth lies in each of the provided reasons.

________________________________________________________________________________

_________

2. Body Count: More "Americans" died during the Civil War, than in any other armed conflict. Nevertheless, it was an "evil" necessity as it changed a system which by it's own nature would have ultimately been the downfall of the American Government.

Since this government has demonstrated little aversion at waging war upon it's own citizenship, for the betterment of all of that citizenship, then I personally see little reason for it to have any qualms in regards to waging war on others for the betterment of the world citizenship.

In this regard, the American Government has come to fully recognize that "body count"/casualties are of low priority in the long term direction of governments.

WWII most certainly had considerable more "body count"/American casualties than did Vietnam; etc.

Nevertheless, the US (& the world) has not suffered from this population decrease, and the lives of ALL future generations of peoples of the world have been influenced and affected by the actions of those governments which eliminated NAZISM.

________________________________________________________________________________

_________

3. Iraq is no more of a "War" than was the Vietnam conflict, or for that matter the Korean conflict.

"WAR" has not been declared by Congress.

Not unlike Vietnam, Congress, can, at it's will, cease all Military Action in Iraq.

All that they have to do is merely vote to cut off all expenditures of funds, and thereafter, all military forces must come home.

Simple as that!

________________________________________________________________________________

_________

4. When placed into it's full and proper perspective, the US had no option, other than to intervene in Iraq.

Anyone who does not recognize and understand this, has little if any concept of the political situation of this region of the world and exactly what was next on the agenda of Saddam.

________________________________________________________________________________

_________

5. The "Viet Cong" received their initial training and weapons from the US, and US backed sources.

Thereafter, they were co-dependent on Soviet as well as Chinese supplies.

In fact, the great majority of the war supplies came from Red China, of which one saw many "Chinese" made AK-47's and other copies of Soviet Arms.

Seldom did one encounter a "true" Russian AK, or for that matter, Russian ammunition.

Since the Vietnamese and the Chinese have a common link in heritage, I do not find this unusual.

The Iraqi Government/Military received their initial armaments from the US, and US backed sources.

With the available funds from oil production, Saddam had little difficulty in finding arms sales from other countries, which of course gave him an independence from US control.

________________________________________________________________________________

_________

6. And, although the crookedness of Lyndon Johnson is fully (to the extent known) recognized, it is not like Mr. Brown or Mr. Root, took that money home and buried it in their back yard.

Although they certainly kept a given amount for their own betterment (just like Johnson), a larger sum was expended in the creation of jobs, most of which went to Americans who worked overseas for these firms.

By this same token, the US Government is not so naive that it does not recognize the frequent corruption in such items as the medical/welfare/medicare billing system in which millions of dollars are frequently charged through corrupt billing practice.

Do those who receive these monies benefit?------------Absolutely!

Do these persons bury these monetary benefits in their back yard?--------Not likely! They invest these illicit profits, which----MOM-----Movement of Money creates jobs.

It is the general public who has little understanding of what transpires, and therefore thinks that the government is either corrupt or stupid.

Of course, the news media assists the government in creation of this illusion as well.

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A question for Dafydd: How do you understand the term State Capitalist? Have you read Cliff's book (okay, that's 2 questions :lol: )

Not in the way western Fake-Socialists (aka Right-Deviationists and Trotsky-Fascist Hyenas) do...I see 'state capitalism' as being the US model - a state founded upon capitalism, and with its structures in place to uphold capitalism through Fake Democracy.

Cliff's books? Very useful - they are very absorbent for when the andrex runs out.....

:huh:

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

Iraq is another Vietnam but with a less defined ideology/philospohy that originated the action.

It has become a crusade to create a democracy in a country that likely receives its liberating force with reticence.

The similarities to Vietnam in Iraq include the fact that there is a difficulty in establishing a popularly supported government, that occupying forces (and for Britain, isn't this really more like ANOTHER Iraq from the mandate era??) remain as daily targets.

Also the present ideology, that of creating a model of democracy for the Middle East, is creating concern among the neighboring nations.

The strognest similarity is the tar baby similarity. When do you stop slugging the tar baby and get out of Dodge. It is very difficult for an immensely strong nation to pull out of an area. The present gains for remaining in IRaq are very mild, but leaving has a host of costs and admissions that are not acceptable to the government of the US and likely the UK.

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

Iraq is another Vietnam but with a less defined ideology/philospohy that originated the action.

It has become a crusade to create a democracy in a country that likely receives its liberating force with reticence.

The similarities to Vietnam in Iraq include the fact that there is a difficulty in establishing a popularly supported government, that occupying forces (and for Britain, isn't this really more like ANOTHER Iraq from the mandate era??) remain as daily targets.

Also the present ideology, that of creating a model of democracy for the Middle East, is creating concern among the neighboring nations.

The strognest similarity is the tar baby similarity. When do you stop slugging the tar baby and get out of Dodge. It is very difficult for an immensely strong nation to pull out of an area. The present gains for remaining in IRaq are very mild, but leaving has a host of costs and admissions that are not acceptable to the government of the US and likely the UK.

We attempted the "dictatorship" method long ago with the Shah of Iran.

And, although clearly a dictatorial form of government, the Iranian population was observing progressive change for the betterment.

In education opportunities, as well as rights for the opposite sex (female) and differing muslim groups.

The "change" was far too rapid for the social order to accept. Therefore, this failed in the name of "religion".

Saddam would have been allowed to remain in power so long as he created no threat to world stability.

The conflict which he was on the road to initiation, would have drawn virtually all nations into what would have been an Arab vs. many nation conflict, which would have had effect upon the entire world population.

For this reason, and this reason alone, he was removed.

It is by far more advantageous to swat the mosquito than to have to treat and recover from the malaria which it can spread.

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Perhaps the death of entire villages in Northern Iraq, through the usage of chemical agents, is of no concern to you. If not, it certainly should be.

Perhaps the fact that Iran & Iraq had been conducting limited "war" along their borders for almost eight years is of no concern to you. It not, it certainly should be.

It's of enormous concern to me. I wonder where the chemicals came from! The thought that Saddam was a nasty dictator and that as a result he did some really horrid things does not escape me. The intervention by a bunch of people who don;t give a tinker's cuss for democracy but are dead keen to control increasing proportions of the world's oil supply is of even more concern. Where were these people when Iraq was having a little dispute with its neighnbour? Oh I forgot - they were supply the people who went on to wipe out whole villages in N Iraq.

Perhaps the progressive attempts to develop the first nuclear weapon in the Arab world is of no concern to you. If not, it certainly should be.

That's funny, I was sure Israel already had one. So the next would presumably be the second, and therefore might bring some balance to that area of the world (Remember M.A.D.?). Or should some countries have done more to prevent Israel's development of that particular weapon of mass destruction?

Perhaps the prior "Iraqi" incursion into another Arab nation is of no concern to you. If not, it certainly should be.

Strangely enough I'm totally and unequivocally opposed to other countries sending an army to another country.

However, those who view the world through "tunnel vision" are not likely to either see or understand the significant differences.

Yes, tunnel vision... I can see exactly why it might be a problem...

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Perhaps the death of entire villages in Northern Iraq, through the usage of chemical agents, is of no concern to you. If not, it certainly should be.

Perhaps the fact that Iran & Iraq had been conducting limited "war" along their borders for almost eight years is of no concern to you. It not, it certainly should be.

It's of enormous concern to me. I wonder where the chemicals came from! The thought that Saddam was a nasty dictator and that as a result he did some really horrid things does not escape me. The intervention by a bunch of people who don;t give a tinker's cuss for democracy but are dead keen to control increasing proportions of the world's oil supply is of even more concern. Where were these people when Iraq was having a little dispute with its neighnbour? Oh I forgot - they were supply the people who went on to wipe out whole villages in N Iraq.

Perhaps the progressive attempts to develop the first nuclear weapon in the Arab world is of no concern to you. If not, it certainly should be.

That's funny, I was sure Israel already had one. So the next would presumably be the second, and therefore might bring some balance to that area of the world (Remember M.A.D.?). Or should some countries have done more to prevent Israel's development of that particular weapon of mass destruction?

Perhaps the prior "Iraqi" incursion into another Arab nation is of no concern to you. If not, it certainly should be.

Strangely enough I'm totally and unequivocally opposed to other countries sending an army to another country.

However, those who view the world through "tunnel vision" are not likely to either see or understand the significant differences.

Yes, tunnel vision... I can see exactly why it might be a problem...

1. Many of those of the Jewish State of Israel may wish to debate the issue of their having been included as an "Arab nation", or part of the "Arab World".

And, if as fully suspected, they have the bomb/weapon, they would also have little reluctance to utilize it against any Arab forces which may decide to attack their borders again.

They are quite tired of this, and it is one of the primary reasons that they initiated an air attack against Iraq some years ago.

To destroy the progressing capability of Iraq to develope such a weapon, which Saddam most assuredly was not attempting to construct to utilize against another Arab nation.

2. Since the United States received absolutely no oil from the country of Iraq, it was only to our benefit in this regards as applicable to the world price of oil.

In the event that another Arab vs. Arab conflict comes to pass, or an Israli vs. Arab conflict, then the world price of oil will only skyrocket as the supply diminishes.

All industrialized nations are dependent upon the flow of oil. Disruption of this flow would create the type of tension which could lead to another version of a WW.

Those who think far beyond you and I have long known that in the event that there is another WW, then it will either be over energy (oil), or as a result of a nation such as Iraq or North Korea having obtained a nuclear weapon and thereafter utilized it against either an opposing force, or as a weapon of terror against US Interests.

3. Don't kid yourself that the US does not have plenty of oil. For some years, the US Government has been pumping it into every hole/void which exists.

The salt domes are full!

Old underground mines are full!

Even old underground nuclear test caverns are reportedly full!

We, the US, are in far better condition with our existing untapped supplies and our large stockpiles.

Exactly where is it that the remainder of the industrialized world has their "emergency" stockpiles?

Oil, as well as "weapons of mass destruction" are merely the window dressing which was necessary to persuade the uninformed populace that the removal of Saddam was an essential part of attempting to maintain some semblance of peace in the Arab world.

4. Saddam, during his practice exercise to "test the waters" of US reaction when he entered Kuwait, made a combination of severel mistakes.

In attacking another "Arab" state in open warfare and invasion, he obviously misjudged the other Arab nations in their permission to station US troops on their soverign soil to fight against a fellow "Arab".

Those who are not fully aware of the facts, should review exactly what it took for the US to get this authority/permission from Saudi Arabia.

Without which, we would have had to conduct an immediate attack against Kuwait from a far-distant staging area.

An extremely difficult as well as being a tactically severe loss of personnel operation.

After the sojurn into Kuwait, through negotiations, we were able to maintain a small US presence in Saudi Arabia as well as in Kuwait. A foothold which was desperately needed and one could even say was required for preparations against any potential further actions by Saddam.

5. Saddam had made his mistakes. One can rest assured that he would not openly invade another Arab Nation.

Therefore, exactly who did that leave for him to attack next?

The Israli forces are tired of playing games with those Arab nations which have sought to defeat them.

Some years ago, the conflict with Egypt brought US & Soviet Forces almost to the point of direct conflict.

Egypt's loss was so humiliating that the Soviet Union had dispached armed forces in an attempt to assist Egypt in stopping the Israli forces from marching to and taking over the Suez Canal.

And, the 82nd Airborne Division was placed on immediate action alert, knowing full well what the Soviet Union would do when Israeli forces began to exterminate Soviet led and advised forces of the Egyptian Army.

Had Saddam managed to remain in power and initiate an Israel vs Iraq conflict, there is absolutely no Arab nation which would have come to the aid of Israel.

And, any country which was providing aid to Israel would have not been allowed a foothold/base of operations out of an Arab nation, as well as would not receive oil imports from an Arab nation.

Our presence in Saudi Arabia came extremely close to causing the downfall of the Saudi Government.

When Israel started over-running Iraq, which rest assured they would have done, in the event that Saddam had anything from Nerve Agents to Nukes, he would have utilized them against the Israeli forces.

And, Israel would have retaliated in kind.

And, when other Arab nations observed what Israel would have done, some (about like Iran) would have entered, and thus escalated the situation.

By removing Saddam, the WORLD (the US is not the only force in Iraq) has de-fused a situation which could have resulted in complete chaos and open warfare in the Middle East.

Which, in turn, has protected the oil supply of which virtually every industrialized nation on this planet is through one means or another dependent.

Those of the industrilized world should take a short look back into history. Were it not for the American blood which was spilled on foreign soil, then many of those who live today in a free society, would be wearing swastika armbands, speaking the German language; and praising the attributes of Adolf Hitler.

Vietnam was about the right of a people (Vietnamese) to not be a slave state (colonial possession) of the French Government, as well as the right to at least be governed by persons of their own nationality.

It had little possibility of dragging a large portion of the industrialized nations into open warfare.

Iraq is a country of many religious zealots who would like nothing better than to see open warfare among all Arab nations agains the "infidels", who by their moral code must be eliminated.

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Those of the industrilized world should take a short look back into history. Were it not for the American blood which was spilled on foreign soil, then many of those who live today in a free society, would be wearing swastika armbands, speaking the German language; and praising the attributes of Adolf Hitler.

Could we just nail this one, once and for all.

The contribution of the United States of America to World War Two, from the beginning of 1942 was very important in defeating the Nazis. Before that time, the USA played an equivocal role, to say the least.

The contribution of the Soviet Union was quite a lot greater, both in terms of the numbers of men and women, both soldiers and civilians, killed, wounded and captured, and in terms of the numbers of Germans killed, wounded and captured.

The contribution of the other Allies wasn't negligible either …

Edited by David Richardson

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It should be pointed out that they only joined the European War after Hitler declared war on the United States. Hitler did this as Roosevelt declared war on Japan. This of course was as a result of Pear Harbor. If Hitler had not done this it is unlikely that the United States would have entered the war against Nazi Germany. Roosevelt of course wanted to do this but the American public was against it.

It is a myth that the United States entered the war in favour of freedom and democracy. In fact, Hitler based his treatment of the Jews on the way African Americans were treated in the Deep South. The truth is that the United States was dragged into the war. The same is of course true of the Soviet Union. However, as David pointed out, the contribution (and the sacrifice) of the Soviet Union was far more important than that of the United States.

You should really read history books rather than listening to the ignorant speeches of American politicians like George Bush.

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