The Democrats have a long-strategy when it comes to losing against ISIS

We'll never again see the type of victory parade that happened in Paris in 1944

We’ll never again see the type of victory parade that happened in Paris in 1944

A friend emailed me a comment:

Bill Clinton just said in an interview that America has proven we can’t win a land war in Iraq. Too bad he omitted: “Because we won’t let our military win it.”

I agree with my friend, and I want to examine a little further what he said, and I’ll do so via a series of links.

Charles Krauthammer argues convincingly that ISIS is yanking at America’s tail right now, because it knows that Obama will not fight the war to win.  It needs to prove itself regionally, and there is no better way to do so than to watch America retreat.

We can tell that Obama doesn’t want to win the war because he can’t even get himself to call it a war.  We’re assured that it’s a not-war, or maybe a not not-war.  Whatever it is, no matter how many kill shots Obama personally orders, there is no war, except when there’s not a not-not war.

Jon Gabriel says that the reason behind Obama’s reluctance to go to war is grounded in his jaundiced view of America.  If we say ISIS is terrible and that we’re going to protect the world from ISIS, the implication is that we’re the good guys.  Except that Obama cannot have America be good.  Therefore, America cannot fight a war against evil.

I agree with Gabriel, but I want to go back to what my friend said, about our refusal ever to let the military win a war.  That wasn’t always the case, even when Democrats were president.  American won WWI under a Democrat and repeated that feat with WWII.  It was only after WWII that America became embarrassed to win wars.  (For one theory behind that embarrassment, check out this history of the UN.)  It’s only a short step from “has not won a war in 60+ years” to “cannot ever win a war.”

Whenever I go to my mother’s place, I see a car with a Bush-ear bumper sticker, stating that “War is not the answer.” And every time I see it, I say to myself, “That depends what the question is.” For example, if you start talking to people about Nazis and other seriously bad actors, many of them will start agreeing with you that war can indeed be an answer. If you’re the anti-war type, you don’t people’s thoughts to head in that direction. How much better, then, to have a bumper sticker saying “Wars cannot be won,” or “There is no victory with war”?

Average Americans are so ignorant that, if the Democrats lose just a few more wars, voters won’t remember that victory is possible, and that it only matters that the right person or party should be in charge. Instead, they’ll just remember that wars cannot be won . . . ever!

What passes on the Left for intelligent argument about the Atomic Bomb (UPDATED)

Japanese execution0001

Japanese beheading an Australian POW

I was feeling a little puckish, so I posted on my “real me” Facebook the same video about the atom bomb that I posted at Bookworm Room yesterday. In brief, it argues that, contrary to Leftist propaganda after WWII, Truman did not drop the bomb, killing tens of thousands of Japanese just to impress Stalin. Instead, as contemporary documents prove, he dropped it to save lives: The Japanese were refusing to surrender even though they’d manifestly lost the war, and all credible estimates (as it turned out, estimates from the Japanese side too) were that millions of Japanese would die if the war came to the home island. Additionally, and of much greater importance to Truman in a war that the Japanese had foisted on America, up to a hundred thousand or more American troops would die too.

With those predictions facing him, Truman made the logical, and surprisingly humane, decision to end the war quickly with the bomb. No matter how deadly it was, it wasn’t as bad as the alternative. War is like that: you have to choose between bad and worse. You can’t vote “present,” since a failure to decide and act is often the worst course of all.

One of my Facebook friends couldn’t have disagreed more strongly with this historically accurate premise. You can only fully appreciate her comments if you know that (a) she was one of the smartest kids in my high school and junior high school; and (b) she is first-generation Chinese-American, so you’d think that she’d have the memory of the Rape of Nanking living somewhere in her brain. Instead, in the 40 years since I first met her, she’s become a victim of Leftist thinking. (Note: I’ve slightly altered some wording in this woman’s comments so as to protect her privacy. The fact that she’s become a Leftist mush-brain doesn’t mean that she gave permission to have herself publicly humiliated. All commenter’s names have been changed.)

Sally Fu: I found a poem “Museum of Doubt : Nagasaki photos” (graphic images not suitable for children), by Kathleen Flenniken, a civil engineer turned poet, who spoke at Seattle’s Hiroshima to Hope festival.

Sally Fu: Japan was about to surrender. Truman only bombed Japan to impress the Soviets. While the results were good for America, Taiwan became a police state under an American-supported dictator who killed of Taiwan’s intellectuals. The US also turned Asia into a source of cheap labor. [Bookworm here: Who knew in 1945 that Truman was prescient enough to envision Mao's successful Communist takeover of China four years later, which saw the Nationalist Chinese government retreat to Taiwan?]

Danny Lemieux (yes, our own Danny: Sally, where did you read that Japan was about to surrender? I’ve looked at myriad sources about WWII, including Japanese sources. Everything I read said that the Japanese government had ordered every man, woman and child to defend “every blade of grass” to the last person. Indeed, Emperor Hirohito opposed the military junta’s demands when he finally agreed to surrender . . . and that was only after the Nagasaki bombing.

Sally Fu: Danny, it’s okay if you to want to believe in the moral high ground. The fact is, though, that America’s militarism (in fact, all militarism) serves all sorts of goals, including security and economic goals. Whatever journalists say, Asia, and especially Japan, has a long history of resisting colonial rule/interference, while the US and other Western nations have a long history of using the military towards global economic dominance.

Danny Lemieux: But Sally, I was looking for an answer to a specific question: You stated that “Japan was about to surrender.” What support do you have for that statement? Japan attacked America, America fought a war, and America won that war. It’s really not that complicated.

Sally Fu: Simple is good, and a simple story is necessary to defend not one but two actions of horrendous inhumanity in the eyes of the world public and to teach as history.

Another Conservative Voice: There is no evidence whatsoever that Japan was about to surrender. To the contrary: it was defiant even after the US dropped the first atomic bomb. As to “using the military towards global economic dominance,” it seems, Sally, that you’re very disconnected from Asian history. The only reason Asia hadn’t attempted to become an imperial power was because the Asians had fought amongst themselves for centuries, both between countries and within their own countries. Europe was able to engage in imperial growth, not only because the rule of law and relatively orderly governments were the norm, but also because Europe had, by historic standards, exceptionally long periods of peace and prosperity. It was these stretches of time that enabled the economic luxury of exploration and discovery, not to mention economic, military, and/or cultural imperialism. Although it was a painful process for Asia, Asia was ultimately fortunate that the West did influence it, since the alternative would have been continued inter-Asian warfare. India is the world’s largest democracy because of – not despite – western influence.

I haven’t yet weighed in. The short statements “Sally Fu” made are so rich in errors that I haven’t yet decided how to go about introducing new ideas in her mind. Her soil may have been killed off by years of Leftist influence, but that once incredibly bright brain may just be lying fallow, and new ideas, introduced correctly, may eventually take root.

UPDATE:  Tom Elia has also been struggling through conversations with liberals.  He has a wonderful line of thinking that sustains him during those moments.

Truman’s decision to drop the bomb was a good — and humane — idea

Dropping the atom bomb in 1945 was a good idea?!  Yes, it was a good (and humane) decision; no, it was not just to show off to the Russians; and yes, given that my Mom was a Japanese POW, I am here because of the bomb:

For a further development of this same idea, I highly recommend Paul Fussell’s Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays.

Dachau: The bitter fruit of a terrible evil, in full color

Color is an interesting thing.  I long ago realized that the 1920s and 1930s seem further away for me, visually, than the pre-modern era.  The difference is color.  When I think of the Middle Ages or the Renaissance or the Enlightenment, even though the images are frozen, they still are in living color.  Color gives them a vitality that makes them immediate:

Jan van Eyck Virgin and Child

Looking at that lovely Jan van Eyck, don’t you feel as if you could touch the Baby Jesus’s blonde hair or stroke his pink skin, or that you could bury your hands in Mary’s cloak and feel the warm fabric across your fingers?  They may be still, but they’re real.  Van Eyck stopped the moment for you, but you know that, when you’re not looking, their chests will rise and fall, and that the baby will turn towards Mary, and she will wrap her warm, loving arms around him.  Color matters.

Conversely, look at this photograph from the 20s:

1920s flappers
It’s not just the clothes that separate us from those dashing ladies.  It’s also that they’re the wrong color.  They’re not the color of living flesh.  Instead, they’re the colors of death and the grave.  Although the highlights and shades are there to give us dimensionality, they still look peculiarly flattened and unreal.  Their frozen quality will continue long after we turn our eyes away from them.

So it is with too many images of WWII.  Although it took place during the lifetime of many people who are still living, those of us who came of age after the war have a hard time seeing it as more than chilling historic pictures.  We have to keep reminding ourselves that these were real people who fought, and killed, and suffered, and died.  Many of us probably think “That can’t happen here.”  We think this not only because we foolishly believe that our Constitution, without further effort on our parts, is strong enough to protect us from tyranny, but also because a part of our brain says, “Did that really happen anywhere?”  Of course, we know that it happened at a specific place (Europe) and over a specific period of time (1933-1945), but those colorless images distance us from the humanity of the people involved.

Which is why you should watch this short color video showing the liberation of Dachau:

The dead are real people; the Germans dragged into the camp to see what their statist ideology had wrought are real people; the surviving prisoners, with such faint hope in their eyes, are real people.  It’s a terribly disturbing video because it drags us out of our 21st century American complacency and forces us to acknowledge that real people committed unbelievable heinous acts against other living, breathing, full-color human beings.

Watcher of Weasels for January 8, 20

Watcher's Council logoWonderful posts and, if you’re interested, a wonderful forum on 2016 candidates no one wants to see:

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

“Let’s remember Pearl Harbor!”

Burning ships at Pearl Harbor

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor because of the 2,402 Americans killed there.

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor because it catapulted us into an incredibly bloody war for dominance over the Pacific.

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor because, within a few days, Hitler also declared war on America, so that America found herself a combatant in the biggest war in the world’s history.

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor because America’s participation in the European theater was the main thing that beat back Hitler’s genocidal bid for world domination (Britain had done her best, but couldn’t do it alone).

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor because America’s participation in the Pacific theater was the  main thing that beat back Japan’s genocidal bid for domination over the Pacific.

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor because America, after utterly destroying Germany, Japan, and Italy in World War II, stuck around to build them up again as peaceful, economically successful republican democracies that have been our allies, not our enemies.

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor because, pretty much until Obama quit doing the job, it marked the beginning of America’s role as the world’s policeman, protecting as many people as possible from the “peaceful graveyard” that is communism as well has our efforts to protect as many people as possible from sharia’s murderous hands.

Leftists don’t believe in the constitution and they’re pretty sure a Democrat-run federal government is the People’s master, not their servant

Here’s the thing that the progressives in media and government want to hide from you: The federal government is America’s servant, not its master. This means that the National Park Service is a caretaker, not an owner. To the extent it is denying people access to outdoor monuments (including blocking the roadside vista points from which drivers can see Mt. Rushmore), it is grossly overstepping its bounds.

Barrycades blocking roadside viewpoints of Mt. Rushmore

Barrycades blocking roadside viewpoints of Mt. Rushmore

While the Mt. Rushmore barrycades are the most graphic example of the federal government’s failure to understand that it is the American people’s employee, the most disgusting example is the way the National Park Service has spent tens of thousands of dollars (during a shutdown) to barricade the World War II Memorial, an open air park, in Washington, D.C. The purpose is to prevent members of the World War II generation, sometimes called “the Greatest Generation,” from having access to a memorial honoring their courage and their dead during the battles across Europe, the Pacific, and the Mediterranean during World War II.

Veterans ignoring the NPS power play and visiting WWII memorial

Veterans ignoring the NPS power play and visiting WWII memorial

Those men and women from the Greatest Generation who are still living have overcome enormous physical, financial, and emotional challenges to visit their monument – a monument built to honor them and their comrades, and that sits on public land that the American people have allowed the federal government to care for. And what does the caretaker do? In a grotesque example of spite, it uses its power – the power we gave it – to block the veterans. No wonder the men who stormed Iwo Jima and fought the Battle of the Bulge, even though they’re in their 80s and 90s, thought nothing of storming Obama’s barrycades.

And speaking of the World War II memorial serving as an example of the federal government’s arrogant overreach and cruelty, HBO’s Bill Maher is the poster child for the arrogant viciousness behind that attitude:

The other thing that apparently was so important for the Republicans to keep open was the World War II Memorial in Washington. That was closed, so a bunch of the World War II vets knocked down the barriers and stormed it.

And then I loved this, they posed for pictures with Michele Bachmann who showed up. Michele Bachmann, one of the people most responsible for shutting the fucking thing down. They’re the greatest generation – nobody said they were the brightest generation.

This is not only cruel, but it’s a gross misstatement of what’s going on: Republicans in the House, exercising their constitutionally granted “power of the purse,” have offered repeatedly to fund every aspect of the federal government except for Obamacare. (Incidentally, Obamacare’s opening days have proven that it is not ready for prime time and may never be.) Democrats from Obama on down have responded by refusing to fund the government and by trying to bludgeon the American people into thinking that the House’s constitutional conduct is somehow “illegal.”

In a perfect world, people all across America would engage in massive civil disobedience by doing such radical things as viewing Mt. Rushmore, standing at the stone-carved feet of Lincoln and Jefferson as they sit in stately dignity in their memorials, touching the names carved into the Vietnam Wall, and walking onto through, around, and over the outdoor World War II Memorial. The Democrats running the federal government need to be reminded that this land is our land, it is not their land.

(This post  first appeared in somewhat modifed form at Mr. Conservative.)

It’s not too late to honor the atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The August 6 anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima has come and gone, but it’s not too late to watch Bill Whittle’s beyond brilliant deconstruction of Leftist moral idiocy regarding that bombing — in this case, moral idiocy as displayed by Jon Stewart, the intellectual light for too many leftists.

Longtime readers know that I routinely thank God for the Atom bomb.  My mother, interned in a Japanese concentration camp, had reached the point of starvation that saw her lose interest in food.  Death was days away.  Instead, because of that bomb, this is a picture of my mother five months after Hiroshima:

Mom photo

As a P.S., it’s worth recalling that Japanese concentration camps were no picnic, especially for the Western men caught up in Japan’s Bushido madness.

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor

The generation that experienced the attack on Pearl Harbor is fading away, which makes it all the more important that we remember Pearl Harbor.  Regular readers know that we’ve always taken the attack on Pearl Harbor very seriously in my family, because it marked the beginning of Japan’s assault against the entire Pacific region.  My Mom was living in the Dutch East Indies at the time (aka Java), and ended up interned by the Japanese for the rest of the war.

I will always remember Pearl Harbor, and I will always be thankful for the tens of thousands of brave Allied fighters who liberated the Pacific at such great cost to themselves.  (This may explain my partiality for the Marines and the Navy.)

“Loose lips might sink ships” — and blabby administrations definitely kill American servicemen

One of the most memorable advertising campaigns from WWII was the all-out effort to make sure that people didn’t inadvertently reveal military secrets that they’d gleaned from their work or from contacts with loved ones.  The most famous is probably this one, because it’s got that memorable rhyme:


The “loose lips” poster wasn’t the only one.  England and America were covered with posters reminding people that national security — and their loved ones’ lives — were at stake, and that a careless word could cause unthinkable damage:

What’s quite obvious when one looks back at WWII is that no one ever contemplated that this deadly loose talk might emanate, not from a thoughtless, gossipy homemaker but, instead, from a boastful White House.  How could those men and women have imagined a time when our President and his administration would be so anxious to borrow military honor that they would treat military secrets with complete disregard for the safety of the men under their command?  It’s hard to find a better example of the base selfishness that characterizes an administration that enthusiastically, and with massive government coercion, assures us that we have an obligation to be selfless for the greater good.

Yes, it was reasonable to drop the atomic bomb

Almost since Truman drooped the bomb, historians have been claiming that he did so, not to end World War II but, instead, to fire the opening salvo in the Cold War. In other words, the post war academics claimed that Truman sacrificed hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives just to prove a point to Stalin.

For decades, the only writer to buck this trend was Paul Fussell in Thank God for the Atom Bomb, a book that I don’t believe ever got much traction. Fussell argued that Truman and his advisors, looking at the staggering US losses in Okinawa, and projecting ahead to a mainland invasion, predicted another 70,000 or more American dead, and 100,000 to 200,000 Japanese dead. Under these calculations, the bomb was a reasonable, even humane option.

It turns out Fussell was wrong. His numbers were too low. War historian Dennis Giangreco has examined many more documents that were released since Fussell’s book, and concluded that the best belief in 1945 was that a mainland assault would have been a bloodbath:

American planners for the invasion of Japan as far back as the summer of 1944 produced a worst-case scenario of “half a million American lives and many times that number wounded.” The Japanese Imperial Army’s increased efficiency at killing Americans, particularly on Okinawa, demonstrated to US Secretary of War Henry Stimson and many Pentagon planners that the worst case was a real possibility. This begged a question. The invasion of Japan was scheduled for fall 1945. If the situation on Okinawa — fully half a year before the invasion — was movng toward the original worse case scenario, was there an even worse case, unanticipated death toll? This notion alarmed Stimson. He ordered a multifaceted examination of the US Army’s manpower and training requirements. Shortly before the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, this resulted in an ominous warning: “We shall probably have to kill at least 5 to 10 million Japanese [and] this might cost us between 1.7 and 4 million casualties including 400,000 and 800,000 killed.”

You can read the rest of a fascinating and information interview with Mr. Giangreco here.