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Rumsfeld cites Truman, suggests 40,000 casualties a reasonable price for Iraqi freedom

<![CDATA[DoD News: News Briefing with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Maj. Gen. Peter Pace:

I noted to them that within my lifetime, the same now free and prosperous South Korea that they’re helping to defend was almost completely destroyed by a terrible conflict. In the three years of the Korean War, nearly 40,000 Americans would fall in brutal combat, and U.S. forces endured many setbacks along the way.

President Harry Truman, now remembered as a fine president, would leave office in 1953 with an approval rating of about 25 percent, one of the lowest recorded ratings since folks started measuring those things.

The problem with this comparison is that North and South Korea are separated by a border, something that can be defended in traditional military parlance. The War on Terror is a distributed conflict (see this John Robb link to Martin van Creveld’s analysis) that defies the analogy to fighting communism. And Newt Gingrich is talking a 30 Years War scenario. If the best Bush can offer is “You’re going to hate us more than Truman,” this is a new low for the Republican party.

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