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Liberation?

Reading an article in the NY Times on McCain's approach to military matters of foreign policy, I came across this statement:

"Instead, as American troops swarmed Baghdad, McCain repeatedly compared Hussein to Adolf Hitler and predicted that the occupation of Iraq would be remembered in much the same way that history celebrated the liberation and rebuilding of Europe and Japan."

Probably, the author didn't think about his statement about the aftermath of WWII too much. And I doubt many Americans would take issue with it.

True, we liberated much of Europe from Axis control during WWII; we helped to rebuild many of those areas and Japan after the end of the war; and most Americans look positively on all or a majority of our actions during and directly following the conflicts. But did we liberate Japan and Germany? The Japanese had a republican government in place, and the great majority of Germans had voted for Hitler and, we are told, supported his move to make himself a dictator. We are also told that the Japanese were all willing to fight us to the death, had we unnecessarily invaded their ill defended homeland. In both cases, overwhelming military power was brought to bear before any occupation. And that is what followed: occupations.

When Hirohito instructed his people to accept the American occupation, he didn't talk of liberation but told them to "endure the unendurable and bear the unbearable." By what logic was liberation part of the picture?

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