Some analysts chide the president for using the word “occupation” in his speech instead of the word “liberation.”

Last week a competing news channel unveiled a poll showing that most Americans now describe coalition forces as occupiers of Iraq (search) rather than liberators of Iraq, as if the two roles are mutually exclusive.

Apparently folks have forgotten that 60 years ago we were both liberators and occupiers of Europe and Japan. And like today, great intellectuals of the time smartly declared that the liberation of Europe had turned into a failed occupation.

Writer John Do Passos was not alone when he lamented in 1946 that, “We’ve lost the peace… our mechanical de-Nazification policy in Germany is producing results opposite to those we planned… We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.”

Of course, it eventually took the Marshall Plan to get Europe back on its feet.

Democracies like America are not good at occupations. But despite our clumsy efforts as occupiers, the liberation of Europe and Japan turned out best for all.

If past is prologue, the same could happen in Iraq.

And that's the Observer.

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