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Historian Compares Battles to War

October 12, 2001

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Historian Stephen Ambrose scans American military history and finds only two World War II battles _ Iwo Jima and Okinawa _ that might compare to a conflict in Afghanistan.

``I don’t know what’s going to happen in Afghanistan, nobody does. This is a new kind of war,″ said Ambrose, author of numerous books on American wars. ``We’re going to have to take weaponry that was designed to stop the Red Army and transform it into the kind of weaponry suited to the kind of conflict we’re into now.″

He said fighting in Afghanistan may be similar to the battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa, volcanic islands in the Pacific where Japanese soldiers endured American bombardments in 1945 by hiding in caves and tunnels.

``We hit those islands with the biggest bombardment ever, we just blasted them so there wasn’t a blade of grass standing,″ he said. ``But it had virtually no effect on the Japanese defenders. That is going to be one of the characteristics of whatever combat we’re going to get into in Afghanistan.″

Ambrose was at New Orleans’ National D-Day Museum Wednesday as it announced plans to create the Center for the Study of the American Spirit, a research center aimed at examining the teamwork and sacrifice of Americans during World War II.


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