>>The reason the Nazis inflicted so many casuaties on the USSR was that before the war Stalin had most of the officers of the Red Army above the rank of Major murdered--40,000 in all.

There were many other reasons. For example, Stalin appointed political commissars who had no military training or experience, but who were political toadies who had authority over the military commanders on scene. In some cases, the commissars accepted the "advice" of the military officer; in others (such as the Kerch peninsula) they overrode the military advice with horrific results. (As I recall, the commissar at the battle for Kerch - where John Demyanyuk was taken prisoner - decreed that anyone more than a 100 metres from the front line was a coward and would be shot; as a result, the soldiers were crammed in shoulder to shoulder, creating a perfect target for the German artillery.)

When I studied Russian at the Canadian Forces Language School, our instructor (who had been evacuated from Leningrad as a child during the first year of the siege) insisted that Stalin was the one who secretly arranged for the food warehouses to be torched, destroying much of the city's food supply; many Leningraders to this day believe that Stalin wanted Leningrad to fall and had sent many of his political adversaries there so they could be denounced for their "failure" when it did.

He also gave ironclad orders that not one inch of Russian soil should be given up without a fight to the death. Commanders who staged a tactical withdrawal, even if the end result was successful, were court-martialled and executed. As a result, I believe whole divisions began the war surrounded on three sides and were quickly annihilated because they weren't permitted to fall back to a more defensible location.

The fact remains, the Soviets suffered much higher casualties than the Nazis but ended up winning the war, which negates your assertion that inflicting higher casualties necessarily equates to military victory.

>>We lost Vietnam because the American people had had enough of a war where it seemed that there were no vital American interests at stake. I don't recall the Viet Cong ever murdering people by the thousands in New York City though.

>>That's what makes this war a little different.

Are you so sure Americans aren't already losing their stomach over the mounting casualties in Iraq - especially after it was discovered that there were no WMD, and there were no ties to Al Qaeda?

>>I think Bush has kept HIS target in sight--I just don't think that his target and yours are the same.

They took a bunch of young reservists, whose only "crime" was being patriotic and wanting to serve their country, sent them over to a land that was in total anarchy, gave them no proper training in how to run a prison, allowed them to do it without proper supervision, and then hung them out to dry when they screwed up.

If Bush's "target" is American civil rights and democratic freedoms, then I'd have to agree with you. That doesn't make him right - only right wing <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."