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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 June, 2004, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Can the war on terror be compared to WWII?
President Bush is saluted by cadets as he arrives for the United States Air Force Academy graduation ceremony
President George W Bush has compared the US-led war on terror to World War II ahead of ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

In a speech to new air force officers, Mr Bush said they were fighting the same war as those who battled the Nazis.

He also said the war on terror resembled "the great clashes of the last century" between democracy and totalitarianism.

The US president vowed that America would continue to strike terror groups around the world.

What do you think of President Bush's comparison of the war on terror with World War II? Send us your comments.

There will be a special edition of our global phone-in Talking Point on Sunday 6 June commemorating the D-Day landings. Our guests will include the historian David Stafford, author of 'Ten days to D-Day'. and Major General Patrick Cordingley, who led British troops into Iraq in the last Gulf War. If you would like to take part, please include a telephone number where we may contact you.


This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by David Shrader, USA:
Is Bush justified in equating his war on terror to WWII?

The only similarity I can see is that WWII was about fighting the forces of unreason. The difference is that now the unreason exists on both sides.
Linda Ashford, Birmingham UK

The issues like the enemies are not as clear cut. To link WW2 to the current conflicts exploits our pride in the great achievements of that war. Pure electioneering.
Ian , Bradford, UK

If Bush thinks he is fighting to preserve the values of freedom and democracy, I have two words for him: Guantanamo Bay. And if he thinks what he is doing is even remotely comparable to WWII, then he is even more ignorant of history than I thought.
Adam, London, UK

WWII was a just war. Iraq war is an unjust war who does Bush think he's fooling
Akoto, Accra, Ghana

I think it's an absolute disgrace that Bush compared the unnecessary war in Iraq to the very necessary WWII. Bush is doing his best to try to paint a picture as he would like others to see it. It is far from the truth and is typical behaviour on his part to glorify himself.
Jen Senko, NY, USA

I suppose the surprise of 9/11 could be compared to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Both events "woke a sleeping giant"... both events literally propelled the US into action.. the similarities start falling apart there after.
KM, USA

WWII was a very complex part of our recent history, fought out among many countries from all continents battling against their freedom from the ideologies of a few. The war on terrorism is a well crafted propaganda cause to promote and control US interests across the world and derive economic gain. As with all war, there are often similarities and none of them are good news.
Piran Scoot, New Zealand

It depends on the comparison being made. Clearly, our civilisations are being tested today, just as they were 60 years ago. Today the enemy is terrorism, and because it is a less visible enemy, many people unfortunately do not take it seriously.
David, Philadelphia

Bush is making the world less safe with his actions
John Farmer, Henley-on-Thames, UK
Of course there is no comparison between WWII and Bush's war on terror. It is an insult to those who lost relatives in the Great War and another attempt to hide the fact that the terrorism Bush is facing is in opposition to his foreign policies which have nothing to do with freedom and democracy for the people in the Middle East and everything to do with increasing US influence at the expense of the locals. I believe Saudi Arabia is heading towards anarchy and the downfall of the house of Saud. It would hardly be surprising given the amount of the country's wealth that is in the hands of so few people and with the US benefiting so much. Other countries on a knife edge include Jordan, Pakistan and Egypt, plus Quatar and a few other Gulf States. Bush is making the world less safe with his actions. World War II was about making the world safer.
John Farmer, Henley-on-Thames, UK

This is a blatant attempt to try to compare the war on terror to WWII, when everyone else knows full well that the war in Iraq is rapidly becoming comparable to the Vietnam War. Quite frankly I feel that Bush should apologise to the soldiers who fought during 1939-1945, for this lame comparison.
Ben Steeples, Colchester, UK

This war is like WWII in only one respect. US economic interests are at stake. This is where the comparisons end. In WWII we had a definite beginning and a definite end. We had a declaration of war and surrender documents were signed at the end. This war had no declaration and will not have surrender documents signed either. It will last as long as all of us let it. It will free no-one, and the average person no matter where they are is going to suffer, while a chosen few line their pockets.
Anonymous, Houston, Texas, USA

There is no comparison between WWII and what he is calling the war on terror! WWII was a fight for freedom against tyranny! Are the Iraqi people tyrannical? To my knowledge it is the American army that kills and violates conventions! I don't give excuse to the terrorists! but I think that a president who speaks about democracy and than invades a country without reason? (were are WMD??!!), whose army maltreats have no rights to speak about terrorisms!! I feel sorry for America, before its ideology gave dream to people, now thanks to Bush, America takes another direction, it is unjust tyrannical America!!
Kawtar, Morroco

This trouble is nasty, but certainly does not compare with World War 2.
K.P.Lawrence, Telford Shropshire

I believe that the analogy Mr. Bush made between the Second World War and his so-called "war on terror" is quite correct actually. WWII was a struggle against fascist forces, using a the spread of communism as a pretence to dominate much of the world. The so-called "war on terror" is exactly the same; forces using a largely constructed threat of terrorism as a pretence to secure world domination.
Ola Skaalvik Elvevold, Tromso, Norway

An arrogant nationalistic sense of superiority to all other nations, driven by an imperialistic desire for world domination? Sure it can.
David , Singapore

WWII was a war that was inevitably since its roots can be found in the treaties signed at the end of WWI. The "war on terror" and especially the invasion of Iraq was a war of choice since it has been proven that no real reason made this war necessary.
Mirela Antoniou, Patra Greece

I agree that this "War on Terror" could far more justifiably be compared to Vietnam than to WWII, but it is in reality a completely new kind of war: we are seeing for the first time in history the successful implementation of global guerrilla fighting. From a military standpoint, this war is more likely to become a reference itself for the future than to be compared to other conflicts.
Gordon Finn, Dublin, Ireland

Bush's attempt to muddy the waters by trying to call on our latent pride and nationalism
Richard Corless, Bridgend, Mid Glam
The last time I checked my history books America didn't supply Hitler with money, technology and implicit support of early policies only to withdraw that hand once Hitler threatened US National Interest. So any comparison of the two is yet more evidence of Bush's attempt to muddy the waters by trying to call on our latent pride and nationalism
Richard Corless, Bridgend, Mid Glam

Mr Bush seems well qualified to comment on similarities between wars, having watched Vietnam from the vantage point of the Texas Air National Guard.
Andy J, England

I cringed a bit when Bush made this analogy. But it does resonate with something I've felt since 9/11. Right or wrong, Bush felt it was time to confront the evils that had long festered (i.e., extremism and tyranny). And not all were the result of US policies. We can debate the legitimacy of Iraq, but the eerie parallel to WWII is that our world has become self-complacent and negligent in its responsibilities. Bush may be pursuing the wrong approach to the war on terror, but we have some complicity too.
Guy, USA

My late father was decorated by an American general for bravery in WWII. He would be ashamed to be associated with the US today. The relentless pursuit of a just cause that was WWII bears no resemblance to the vindictive and incompetent shambles that is the "war on terror".
Tom, UK

In WW2 the 'mad' man was on the other side.
Graham Found, Banwell, North Somerset

I see no Europe in ruins, no holocaust, no atom bombs and no victory here. There is only "totalitarianism" and it's coming from both sides - not one.
Xrys ., VA, USA

It's not comparable to the lost of generations
Andrew, Boise, USA
It's a joke to think that the war on terror can be compared to WWII. WWII the world lost generations of young men. The American people need to understand how to view the war on terror in perspective of human history. 3-4 thousands lost in the world trade centre. It's not comparable to the lost of generations.
Andrew, Boise, USA

As a WW2 Marine combat veteran, Bush turns my stomach with this comparison. It's an insult to my comrades that died over there. Bush & Cheney never went to war, nor will their children.
Gene McCrimmon, Oregon, USA

There is a similar situation between WWII and Bush's "war on terror": part of German people were not aware of many atrocities committed by Nazi leaders against civilian population from other countries. Nowadays, a great portion of US public do not really understand nor believe the terrible methods used against civilians in Iraq and Afganistan.
Luis, La Fortuna, Mexico

In contrast to WWII, the war on terrorism can't be won. WWII had an enemy with a face and a name. The war on terrorism will have a new name every year.
Ben Heller, New York

I think the comparison is pathetic
Tom Hunsberger, Canadian in Mexico
It's an election year in the US and George badly needs voter approval, so of course he'd be happy if voters equated his battles with those of WWII. Too bad that America's "strikes against terror" seem to be motivated more by US greed for economic and political control than by real concerns for "democracy". I think the comparison is pathetic.
Tom Hunsberger, Canadian in Mexico

Surely, if this war was like WW2, Americans wouldn't be in it yet!
Andy, London, England

This is a very different type of war compared to World War II. That was a case of superpower vs superpower. You knew who was the enemy and you knew where to strike. This is a case of superpower vs relatively few extremists who are hiding amongst the rest of the world. You don't know who is the enemy until it is too late.
Ray, Soton, UK

This war on terrorism is very similar to World War 2. It is a war to defend what we hold sacred - freedom and liberty.
John Karran, Liverpool

Terrorism is a world wide conflict that we all face in every corner of the planet. In WWII, we knew who the enemy was and where the fighting needed to be done. With the terrorists, we fight an almost invisible enemy who could be living in the house next door. World war yes but the comparison is not realistic. I do support President Bush and believe that we (USA) should have entered this conflict with the terrorists many years earlier.
James, Lexington, KY, USA

Bush is trying to "spin" the facts to suit his political agenda
Tom, Lima, Peru
The war in Iraq and the war on terrorism are two different things. As from the beginning, Bush is simply trying to "spin" the facts to suit his political agenda. Unfortunately, many Americans are being misled by this propaganda.
Tom, Lima, Peru

In some ways, yes it can. It is a war in which ideology plays a key role. In other ways this war is different. This is not a conventional war, only one side shows its face, only one side wears a uniform and while battle lines may be drawn no-one can really see them. The key difference in this war is that there will be no peace declaration at the end of it and the end may also never come. It would be more correct to compare this war to Vietnam, with sand dunes for trees.
Fraser Irving, Sheffield, UK

I have seen WWII vets standing in front of US Walmart stores asking for donations. Bush should shut up, and take care of them instead of wasting money trying to avenge his dad.
Mirko Sala, Bangkok, Thailand

Let's clear up a misconception by the gentleman from Thailand: The veterans seen by him "in front of Walmart" are not begging for handouts or anything like that. They are there representing organisations such as the "Veterans of Foreign Wars", the "American Legion" or the "Disabled American Veterans" (of which I am a member). It is a long standing tradition for these organizations to seek donations from private citizens around "Memorial Day", which is a major holiday in the US on which we remember and honour our war dead throughout our history.
John, Seattle, USA

Bush's comments are intended to draw credibility to his war in Iraq which is a completely unjustified war. It's also an insult to those who fought in WWII.
Charles, Montreal, Canada

I was appalled when I heard this, an insult to the memory of the greatest generation that has lived; yet another foot in the mouth statement from Bush.
Chris, Boston, USA




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