December 31, 2005

Eastwood To Produce New Iwo Jima Movie
— Ace

That's interesting. But this is one of the most absurdly biased articles I've ever read.

Eastwood says he wants to tell the story from "both sides" and apparently views the battle largely through the prism of tragedy. Well, certainly, all those American deaths were tragic (as were those of the Japanese); but again, it seems that this will largely be an anti-war war movie.

That's not really all that surprising, even from Clint Eastwood. Maybe Eastwood is just saying all this because he wants to shoot on location and needs to appease the island's anti-American governor; and of course it's hard to do a movie about a battle which took the lives of 7000 Marines and not sound a mournful note. You really make a movie about the violent deaths of 7000 Marines the feel-good roller-coaster ride of the summer.

I don't know.

But I do know this is the most absurdly, cartoonishly anti-American article I've read in some time.

Eastwood, the gung-ho star of prime slabs of Americana such as Heartbreak Ridge and Dirty Harry, is known for his right-wing political persuasions.

Wouldn't Eastwood's effort - tentatively titled Lamps Before the Wind - be a replay of the infamous Sands of Iwo Jima, starring another Hollywood tough guy, John Wayne?

Sands, made four years after the soldiers returned home, was as shrill and jingoistic as a piece of Stalinist propaganda, and became a recruiting poster for a generation of Marines, inspiring, among others, Ron Kovic, the paraplegic Vietnam veteran whose story was dramatised in Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July.

With its bighearted US grunts pitted against fanatical, Banzai-screaming "Nips" and "Japs", the movie has few fans in Japan, where many old soldiers know that John Wayne never served a day in the forces.

...

Eastwood no doubt hope that the tragic tale of the rise and fall of ordinary American heroes - used then discarded by forces beyond their control - will resonate with contemporary US audiences weary of war in Iraq.

...

The determined [Japanese] general, imbued with the spirit of the quasi-religious Bushido cult, is a standard feature of countless Japanese war movies, as much a cliche as the bug-eyed scarf-wearing Arabs that populate US movies about the Middle East.

Oh? Could you point these movies out to me? US movies avoid the subject matter entirely or else bend over backwards (sometimes too far) to depict even terrorists as having a point.

Japan is the world's second-biggest market for Hollywood movies, one reason why the buck-toothed stereotype of yore has disappeared from movies such as Pearl Harbor, which showed clean-cut Japanese pilots warning American children to flee the bombing.
...

Ishihara's anti-American politics were formed during the war. He remembers being strafed "for fun" by US planes "with pictures of naked women and Mickey Mouse painted on the fuselage".

Etc.

By the way: definitely rent The Great Raid. A very good movie, and you'll be shocked at the un-PC, accurate depiction of Japanese brutality against American POWs and conquered civilian populations (here, the Filipinos).

Posted by: Ace at 07:48 AM | Comments (56)
Post contains 523 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Stupid asses trying to re-write history again.
Anyone who knows ANYTHING about WWII will know that our enemies were worse than depicted in any movie made during the War, or since.
It's always easier to bring America down, and blame America, than deal with the truth, yesterday as today.
Happy New Year, and fuck the left.

Posted by: Uncle Jefe at December 31, 2005 07:56 AM (w9g/S)

2 all those American deaths were tragic (as were the Japanese)

"As were the Japanese"?

Posted by: Allah at December 31, 2005 07:57 AM (CbBW/)

3 That's the problem with us... we don't love our enemies enough. If we did, we could ignore their brutality and evil, kinda like feminists ignore the mysogeny of the Middle East.

I will resolve this new year to love my enemies more than I do now.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at December 31, 2005 08:02 AM (/6jEu)

4 Here's a great article that ran in CSM a few months ago describing revisionist history in Japan -- right on the grounds of the Yasukuni shrine.

Posted by: Allah at December 31, 2005 08:04 AM (CbBW/)

5 If you want a good glimpse into some of the horrors that occured around this region read Flyboys by James Bradley. The whole thing is based on first hand accounts and backed up by declassified military documents. Most of the action takes place on Chichi Jima For some (pc) reason Bradley tends to go a little soft when describing the actions of the Japanese but some of the attrocities were sickening.

Also gives you a real appreciation for some of the boys, and thats what many of them were, sacrificed.

Posted by: JackStraw at December 31, 2005 08:08 AM (wxnhi)

6 One gets the feeling that the reviewer would be perfectly pleased with a Bataan Death March musical that explores the homosexual aspects of Gen. MacArthur's obsession with Gen. Masaharu Homma.

Posted by: Gordon at December 31, 2005 08:08 AM (16fqy)

7 I will resolve this new year to love my enemies more than I do now

Me too. Right when I am burying them.

Posted by: rls at December 31, 2005 08:08 AM (Lh7Vt)

8 The Jap General actually commits suicide as did hundreds of other Jap officers during the war and he refers to it as a cliche?

Posted by: roc ingersol at December 31, 2005 08:10 AM (GczzL)

9 "That's the problem with us... we don't love our enemies enough. If we did, we could ignore their brutality and evil, kinda like feminists ignore the mysogeny of the Middle East."

Funny how that attitude doesn't apply to domestic politics, ain't it?

Posted by: at December 31, 2005 08:13 AM (ixsKm)

10 You have to realize it is written in New Zealand. The only thing the NZ government is concerned with is reducing the number of cow farts for the Kyoto treaty. This reporter normally has to do a weekly on-the-spot report on cow farts so he is pissed off at life.

Posted by: Jake at December 31, 2005 08:18 AM (r/5D/)

11 Read "The Rape of Nanking" if you want to see how the Emperor's war machine treated those it had conquered. The Japanese army did things that would have made Gengis Khan's Mongol hordes blanch.

Posted by: UGAdawg at December 31, 2005 08:18 AM (alGm/)

12 The problem with Japan is that many of them see themselves as victims of the war, very few books from that country admit that they were the agressor, and the few that do make lame excuses. You can read almost any book on the Pacific War and see that the brutatlity was spread evenly throughout their Army, and to a lesser extent the Navy.

Posted by: at December 31, 2005 08:33 AM (2d8rd)

13 It has occurred to me before that lefties could try to co-opt the term "Bushidos" to describe what they see as the cult-like following of those who support Bush. But, I suppose that would require them to be somewhat literate in history (i.e., know what "Bushido" means). Nevermind. Best just to stick with "Nazis."

Posted by: SheridJo at December 31, 2005 08:49 AM (bosW4)

14 "As were the Japanese"?

Sure. Plenty of them were just stupid 18-year-olds following orders. Plenty of them were civilians. Etcetera. I feel sorry for all of them. There but for the grace of God go I, and so on. WWII was a collossal tragedy any way you look at it.

But blame for the tragedy cannot be spread around equally. It was directly the fault of the evil decisions made by the Japanese government (and the rest of the Axis, of course).

America's lack of malice in the whole affair can be seen clearly in the Marshall plan. Such compassion and forgiveness was historically unprecedented.

Posted by: SJKevin at December 31, 2005 08:52 AM (6hzCC)

15 I do LOVE my enemies. Mmm, enemy stir-fry.

Posted by: Emperor of Icrecream at December 31, 2005 08:58 AM (w4Bx4)

16 I'd ask my Filipino grandpa about the Japanese, but they tortured him to death in '44.

Eastwood can suck my dick.

Posted by: digitalbrownshirt at December 31, 2005 09:02 AM (AlU3k)

17 Sure. Plenty of them were just stupid 18-year-olds following orders. Plenty of them were civilians. Etcetera. I feel sorry for all of them.

Not me. Fight for evil, accept the consequences.

Saw something on the History Channel not long ago about one of the island battles -- might have been Tinian, not sure. A vet was being interviewed and talked about being on patrol in the jungle, and coming into a clearing where the heads of dead American GIs had been stuck on bamboo polls. Tip of the iceberg, really.

My favorite was an article I read last year where a Japanese vet was quoted as saying that Iraqi suicide bombers were an abomination. Japanese kamikazes were qualitatively different, he explained, because they were targeted at military personnel, not civilians. Uh huh.

Posted by: Allah at December 31, 2005 09:04 AM (CbBW/)

18 Um, Kevin... the only "civilians" on Iwo Jima were Filipino "labor battalions" (read: slaves forced to do construction for the Japanese on starvation diets and murdered en masse by their Imperial overlords).

Posted by: DaveP. at December 31, 2005 09:08 AM (4dxlt)

19 "The Great Raid was not widely distributed. It didn't play at any of the dozens of movie houses within a 50 mile radius of our town here in Florida.

To my knowledge it only played at an "art" house theater 60 miles south of here for a short run. I wrote to all the biggies, Regal, AMC, etc. asking why they didn't show it and receive NO responses.

Posted by: tefta at December 31, 2005 09:14 AM (gMNyI)

20 Dude, it wasn't the kamikazes who raped Nanking (well, at least the female half of Nanking. With the men they skipped the rape part and went straight to the torture and execution).

I would agree with the vet. Kamikazes and suicide bombers weren't the same at all.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 09:17 AM (w4Bx4)

21 They were part of the same force, Emperor. For anyone who served in the Japanese military during WWII to affect moral indignation about someone else's tactics is comically absurd.

Posted by: Allah at December 31, 2005 09:22 AM (CbBW/)

22 If Eastwood does for Iwo Jima with this movie what he did for the Invasion of Grenada with Heartbreak Ridge ... well, that would be bad.

But if Mario van Peebles plays a hip Marine who's able to improvise, adapt, and overcome - I'm there.

.

Btw - "Merry Christmas, Mister Lawrence" strikes a balance between showing the plight of POWs and the conflicted nature of the Japanese without being too revisionist.

What with the beheading and all.

Posted by: BumperStickerist at December 31, 2005 09:24 AM (LpVNp)

23 You outrank me, Allah, but maybe I'll argue back anyway.

So Stonewall Jackson was part of the same force that perpetrated the Fort Pillow massacre. Vietnam vets were part of the same force that perpetrated the My Lai massacre. Etc.

The important point is that Kamikaze pilots didn't perpetrate those atrocities themselves. In fact, since most of them were wet-behind the ears kids who'd just got out of cadet training, probably most of them had no idea about what kind of stuff the Japanese army did, especially in China.

And I think you're wrong that the vet was trying to get morally indignant. Suicide bombers and their western apologists often point to the kamikazes and say, hey, don't condemn suicide bombers, its the same thing. The vet is saying, No, its not the same thing. Military opponents are legitimate targets, innocent civilians aren't.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 09:28 AM (w4Bx4)

24 I think you guys might be jumping the gun and reacting a bit. Clint is going to make two films, and I think they are going to be really good, from the information I have.

I blogged a response to your post here:

Sorry Ace, my outgoing trackbacks aren't working since I moved ISPs, and I don't want troll your site dropping links to my site.

Posted by: TF6S at December 31, 2005 09:30 AM (3LVgA)

25 The Japanese government was evil, yes.

The philosophy of the Japanese soldier was pretty f*cked up from our perspective, yes.

But Iwo Jima is Japan's Alamo. They pretty much all died, in hopes of hurting their enemies so badly that they could buy their home country some more time, or maybe even make the US think twice about continuing the fight.

For as sc*mbaggy as the Japanese fighting man was to his prisoners, their stand at Iwo Jima, and their reasons for doing so, is admirable.

Sure, I'll get flamed, but I think we'll learn a lot about the "average Tojo" from this film.

Posted by: Sean at December 31, 2005 09:31 AM (29u+V)

26 I'll reserve judgment on the movie until it comes out. Clint Eastwood has done great work in the past and the article may be putting his intentions in the wrong light. I do agree that Kamikazes are different than suicide bombers. If you're purposely sacrificing your life to blow up a carrier that's one thing. If you blow up a bus load of kids tht have nothing to do with a military target, often of your own race and religion, that's another thing entirely.

Posted by: David J. at December 31, 2005 09:34 AM (U+81u)

27 Let's see...
Using live civilians and captured soldiers for bayonet practice...and biological weapons testing...beheading our flyers from the Doolittle raid on Tokyo (and many other beheadings)...Bataan death march, and all other treatment of POWs that included lining them up in pits during false air raids in order to machine gun them and douse them with gasoline to burn them alive, in order to hide Japanese atrocities (these actions led to the 'Great Raid')...
Yes, the rape of Nanking and many smaller towns, as well as turning Chinese, Filipina and Korean girls into 'Comfort Women'...
We were just like them, no doubt.

Posted by: Uncle Jefe at December 31, 2005 09:38 AM (w9g/S)

28 I agree, Sean.

Look, here's the deal. Liberals are always trying to show us that our enemies are just like us and therefore we shouldn't fight, etc. So naturally conservatives get a little leary about recognizing good qualities in our enemies.

We shouldn't be leary. Here's why. Recognizing your enemies fine qualities, or even the admirable motives of any one particular enemy, doesn't make their overall cause just or excuse away their real atrocities. And recognizing your enemies fine qualities doesn't mean you can't fight and kill him, somehow. The Japs on Iwo Jima could have all been morally pure, kind, charitable, honest, heroic, good fathers, yadda yadda yadda, and my grandpa still would have been right to hose down their caves with a flamethrower.

So I for one think that what the 9-11 hijackers did was 'brave' and I for one could care less. Their bravery was in the service of hell and if the GOP held a fundraiser in which they auctioned off waterboarding rights, I'd be emptying my bank account and taking out a loan.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 09:41 AM (w4Bx4)

29 Hey emperor, I don't care what fucking side you claim to be on, your head is buried in your ass reeaal bad.
I hope you mistated the 911 punks as being brave.
That was pure cowardice.
Nothing ventured at all, if you consider that they believed truly to be getting virgins and all the trimmings, first off, so it's a freebie.
Second, sneaking on planes to hijack them (hopefully unawares was the plan), then flying them into buildings full of defenseless people...
Yeah, pure bravery.
Fuck off.

Posted by: Uncle Jefe at December 31, 2005 09:47 AM (w9g/S)

30 Anyone know if the Chinese make films about the Japanese actions in WWII? I'm betting they have no problem showing Japanese atrocities with no sympathetic charectors or alternate points of view.

Posted by: David J. at December 31, 2005 09:53 AM (U+81u)

31 You sound a little grumpy. I'm guessing its because your envious of my head.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 09:55 AM (w4Bx4)

32 I'd have to go with the emporer here, although he misses one thing. We're not looking at the let's, say 10% percent that are bad, but rather the percent of people that are beyond the pale and doing really appalling things.

I am not going to sit here and pretend some fourth-rate apprentice grease monkey in the bowels of a Japanese carrier is comitting the same kinds of evils that some whackjob that someone who is spearing babies with bayonets.

If we start down that guilt by association path, then we ended up defining Norman Schwarzkopf or Tommy Franks by Lyndie England. And I do seem to recall a whole lot of people telling me that Lyndie England was just a fools who didn't represent the majority of the really good men and women in our armed forces.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at December 31, 2005 10:03 AM (hIdkY)

33 If we start down that guilt by association path, then we ended up defining Norman Schwarzkopf or Tommy Franks by Lyndie England.

I think you have that backwards. The fourth rate apprentice grease monkey and the bayoneting whackjob were interchangable in the Japanese military because the were ordered to be. The atrocities committed by the Japanese military were done under orders from the military leaders and were carried out by all levels of the military. These weren't isolated incidents but were in fact SOP.

It may have been difficult if not impossible for the average Japanese grunt to avoid being put in the situation of doing some of these acts, do it or be killed and worse, bring shame on your family, but this was no Abu Ghraib or even Mai Lai. This was every day stuff.

For the Japanese to ignore this or say that it was anything but this is a lie. Given the documented way the Japanese military treated civilians throughout Asia I have no doubt whatsoever they would have done the same to us had they been able to reach our shores. And that includes using kamikazes on civilians if they thought it would help.

Posted by: JackStraw at December 31, 2005 10:18 AM (wxnhi)

34 I am not going to sit here and pretend some fourth-rate apprentice grease monkey in the bowels of a Japanese carrier is comitting the same kinds of evils that some whackjob that someone who is spearing babies with bayonets.

No, the grease monkey's just facilitating it. What it comes down to for me is whether any given soldier knew what it was that he was defending. Did the Japs on Iwo Jima not know how American POWs were treated? Had they never heard of Nanking? Everything I've ever read about the Japanese mentality at the time suggests that those troops were utter fanatics, trained to fight to the death and to support Japan's policies unconditionally. Give me a reason to believe that if those guys, or the kamikazes, had been at Nanking that they would have objected to what went on there. I'll be very surprised if you can.

I do totally agree with your point about Franks vis-a-vis Lynndie England, though, BRD. That's where Emperor slips up. My Lai isn't analogous to Nanking because My Lai was an aberration; it's infamous precisely because it's the sort of thing American soldiers don't do. Nanking, by the standards of Japanese military procedure at the time, was an aberration only in terms of its scale. That's a crucial distinction and Emperor glosses right over it.

Posted by: Allah at December 31, 2005 10:19 AM (CbBW/)

35 Buddy, I'll give you a gloss where the sun doesn't shine.

No, speaking of glossing over distinctions:

What about the distinction between the Japanese Navy and the Japanese Army? The atrocities, and the culture that encouraged them, were almost all the Army. Kamikazes weren't Jap Army.

What about the distinction between people who knew about atrocities and people who didn't?
Most kamikazes were kids who'd never been outside Japan before. Do you have any evidence at all that they knew about the atrocities? I doubt very much that they did. Its not like Japan broadcast this stuff on the radio.

What about the distinctions between knowing about atrocities and participating in them?
You seem to be arguing that if there had been a bunch of Mylais, then *everyone* who had been in Vietnam would be guilty. But that's not the case. If I don't participate in the atrocities myself, then I'm not guilty of them. Simple as that. You still might have to judge how much my action facilitated the atrocities and what alternatives I had. But even if the kamikazes knew about the atrocities, I doubt you can show that there actions contributed to the atrocities much. At that stage in the war, the only question really was whether or not we were going to invade the Japanese homeland. No matter how successful kamikaze attacks were, they weren't going to let the Japanese Army roam around Asia anymore.

And finally, its real illegitimate of you to say that the kamikazes are equally to blame to the Nanking rapists and killers because they would have done the same thing if they were in their shoes. This is the sort of thing that only an omniscient being can know and--let me be blunt--I don't believe in Allah. Besides, if we're making those kinds of suppositions, what's to stop us from supposing that if you and I had been raised Japanese and sent to Nanking we might have killed and raped too? Nothing. Does this mean we're equally guilty? No, because who cares what we *would* have done. The fact is that we weren't there.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 10:38 AM (w4Bx4)

36 If kamikaze attacks extended the war, could we say that they contributed to the continuing rape and murder of Japan's victims?

Reading up on Japanese atrocities in China it appears that the Japanese, as a people, looked on non-Japanese as less than human. The assumption that the Japanese Navy was somehow made up of people that weren't raised the same way as the members of the Japanese Army is hard to believe.

Posted by: digitalbrownshirt at December 31, 2005 10:47 AM (AlU3k)

37 What about the distinction between the Japanese Navy and the Japanese Army? The atrocities, and the culture that encouraged them, were almost all the Army. Kamikazes weren't Jap Army.

You are factually wrong. While most of the atrocities were committed by the army, the Japanese navy had their share of despicable acts.

What about the distinction between people who knew about atrocities and people who didn't?
Most kamikazes were kids who'd never been outside Japan before. Do you have any evidence at all that they knew about the atrocities? I doubt very much that they did. Its not like Japan broadcast this stuff on the radio.


There really was no need to. I'm not sure if your aware of the scale and scope of what really took place during WWII. These were not isolated incidents. This was the way the Japanese committed war. Take a gander at this page and then tell me that you don't think this was wide spread.

http://members.iinet.net.au/~gduncan/massacres_pacific.html

Posted by: JackStraw at December 31, 2005 10:57 AM (wxnhi)

38 as much a cliche as the bug-eyed scarf-wearing Arabs that populate US movies about the Middle East.

I wonder if, by bug-eyed scarf-wearing, he meant this guy.

Posted by: adolfo velasquez at December 31, 2005 10:57 AM (EOI6D)

39 You seem to be arguing that if there had been a bunch of Mylais, then *everyone* who had been in Vietnam would be guilty.

Once again, you're treating Japanese atrocities as though they were instances, like My Lai, of a few bad apples temporarily run amok. Not so. As Jack says, war crimes were part and parcel of the Japanese ethos. Quote: "By the late 1930s, the practices of Japan's military dictatorship created at least superficial similarities between the wider Japanese military culture and that of Nazi Germany's elite military personnel, such as those in the Waffen-SS." In other words, Japan's armed forces were like one big SS unit.

We didn't exempt any SS officers after the war on grounds that they didn't personally tend to any gas chambers. They knew what the score was when they enlisted; they helped make the death machine run. Accomplices to war crimes, all of them. Same with the Japanese.

Posted by: Allah at December 31, 2005 11:17 AM (CbBW/)

40 If kamikaze attacks extended the war, could we say that they contributed to the continuing rape and murder of Japan's victims?

If you could show there were atrocities that would not have been committed were it not for the kamikaze attacks and either that (1) the kamikaze pilots intended to facilitate these atrocities or (2) had motives that they should have seen were less important than ending the atrocities, then you can pin some of the blame on the kamikazes.

But I don't think you can say this. If I knew that American troops abroad had committed horrible crimes against a foreign power, and I knew that this vengeful foreign power intended to occupy our home soil, yeah, I'd go kamikaze if I thought it would help. I would have no intention of promoting the atrocities either.

Reading up on Japanese atrocities in China it appears that the Japanese, as a people, looked on non-Japanese as less than human.
I'm sorry, but reading about Japanese atrocities in China only tells you about the attitudes of the Japanese in China, to wit, the Imperial Japanese Army. Cultures and countries tend to be fairly complex and to be made up of diverse elements with different attitudes. Heck, even the Army itself never repeated Nanking, although it did quite a bit of shameful stuff.

The assumption that the Japanese Navy was somehow made up of people that weren't raised the same way as the members of the Japanese Army is hard to believe.

This isn't an assumption. The historical record is clear that the Jap Navy and the Jap Army had distinct cultures, were often at odds about procedures, tactics, strategies, etc. (the Navy didn't want to go to war against the US, for example). And I just don't believe Jack Straw's claim that the Jap Navy committed lots of atrocities. Certainly not the kamikazes, who usually went straight from school in Japan to their kamikaze run.

The Army was modeled after the Prussians, recieved a lot of its initial training from Prussians, and had a Prussian culture. The Navy was modeled after the Brits. It was the Army that was the focus of the Bushido cults and the hyper-militarist pressures in the 1930s.

Also, your link just doesn't say anything about how widely the Jap people knew about the atrocities. Look, no one besides some fruitcake Japanese textbook writers dispute that the Japs committed widespread atrocities in China and the Pacific. But that doesn't mean the public back home knew about it. Japan didn't have a free press, you know, and its not like soldiers on home leave would necessarily be like 'yeah, there's this Chinese city called Nanking and totally unprovoked we raped all the women, bayoneted babies, killed randomly and stacked the heads of the dead in pyramids in the streets.' Maybe they would have, I guess, but I'd like to see evidence (this is assuming that Japanese soldiers got home leave, which I dont' know one way or the other). If anything, the post-war Japanese reaction to the atrocity stories tells me that the Japanese public was not widely aware of what was going on.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 11:25 AM (w4Bx4)

41 Also, your link just doesn't say anything about how widely the Jap people knew about the atrocities.

But that doesn't mean the public back home knew about it


Ah but it does. Granted there are a lot of atrocities to sort through but here are two which took place on mainland Japan. One by civilians. The Tokyo Prison massacre and the "medical experiments" done to US flyers at Kyushu University. These experiments are right out of the Mengele playbook.

I think what you are ignoring is Japan's admitted belief for centuries that they were a race above and apart from others on earth. As Allah said, their were a lot of similarities between their ethos and actions and those of the Nazis. They were divine and led by a divine emperor. They didn't begin to fight this way and treat their victims this way starting in WWII, this was their culture.

Again, its not my claim. Its a fact. Read the link, read other places. Unless you don't consider submerging a submarine with 100 prisoners standing on deck a war crime, machine gunning lifeboats of a civilian ship that was sunk by a Japanese sub a war crime, beheading prisoners a war crime, etc., etc., etc., the Japanese navy was indeed guilty of many war crimes.

Posted by: JackStraw at December 31, 2005 11:40 AM (wxnhi)

42 Granted there are a lot of atrocities to sort through but here are two which took place on mainland Japan.

I'm sorry, but two atrocities on mainland Japan does not equal widespread public knowledge of widespread Jap atrocities. Y'all are making this too easy on me.

I think what you are ignoring is Japan's admitted belief for centuries that they were a race above and apart from others on earth.
Until recently, pretty much everybody thought this about their own race. Americans thought they were racially superior to Japs. The difference is that Americans weren't massacring people, at least not nearly as much.

"They didn't begin to fight this way and treat their victims this way starting in WWII, this was their culture."

Yes, they did. In the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, and in what little conflict Japan engaged in WWI, the Japanese military was fairly civilized. The Bushido cult that came to dominate the Japanese Army, and to a lesser extent the Navy and the society at large, was post-WWI. It drew on prior elements but it really didn't exist as such until afterwards.

"the Japanese navy was indeed guilty of many war crimes"

I don't dispute that the Japanese Navy committed war crimes. All militaries commit war crimes. The question, as Allah keeps reminding us, is the degree to which they do it. and the fact is that the Jap navy simply had less scope and desire to commit war crimes than the Jap Army did. Nothing I've read suggests to me that being part of the Jap navy was per se an evil act.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 11:55 AM (w4Bx4)

43 Actually, we did exempt lots of Waffen-SS officers.

So your argument is that members of one organization (the Japanese Navy) were guilty of warcrimes because the Japanese Army had "superficial similarities" to another organization in which we selectively prosecuted for war crimes?

Huh.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 11:58 AM (w4Bx4)

44 And I just don't believe Jack Straw's claim that the Jap Navy committed lots of atrocities.

"Japanese schoolchildren are not permitted to learn from their history books or other official sources that, from early 1943, Japanese submarine crews routinely murdered all survivors of merchant ships sunk by them. Lifeboats were machine-gunned and rammed, and survivors in the water were machine-gunned. "

It's not Nanking, but then it's not like navies have the same opportunities to commit war crimes as armies do. They're pretty much limited to torpedoing civilian ships and murdering survivors. Which is exactly what the Kaigun did.

I've never bought the argument, by the way, that German and Japanese civilians should bear no responsibility for crimes committed by their governments unless they knew about them. For one thing, how do you suppose they would have reacted had they known? They had been weaned on the same principles of absolute obedience to authority as their soldiers had. Mass protests weren't in the cards. And even if they didn't know, they knew at least that their countries were aggressors in a war of conquest. They sowed the wind; they deserved to reap the whirlwind.

Once again, it all comes back to culture. Germany and Japan dehumanized their enemies. Ordinary German and Japanese citizens willingly participated in that. That's more than sufficient to establish proximate cause for the events that followed. It's like packing a room full of dynamite and handing a child a lighter: you might not intend for there to be an explosion, but in light of such gross recklessness, you're fully liable for the damages.

Posted by: Allah at December 31, 2005 12:05 PM (CbBW/)

45 Emperor, your willingness to ignore history (or your ignorance thereof, whilst trying to argue historical facts) and your tendency towards moral equivalance are astounding.
You sound like a Daily Kossack.

Posted by: Uncle Jefe at December 31, 2005 12:11 PM (w9g/S)

46 So your argument is that members of one organization (the Japanese Navy) were guilty of warcrimes because the Japanese Army had "superficial similarities" to another organization in which we selectively prosecuted for war crimes?

No. My argument is that kamikaze pilots, much like Waffen-SS officers who weren't prosecuted, really aren't the best guys to go scolding other people for the barbarity of their tactics. It'd be like a Klansman complaining about racial prejudice against whites. Even if he's never burned a cross himself, his credibility in the matter is a bit undermined by virtue of the team he plays for.

Posted by: Allah at December 31, 2005 12:14 PM (CbBW/)

47 I'm sorry, Allah, that you can't see any distinction between civilians who didn't take part in atrocities--who didn't even know about them--and the soldiers who committed them. Are all southerners to blame for the lynchings? Yeah? That's a sick little world you live in.

In fact, its a world where we can't make moral distinctions at all. Since in your view anyone who would have committed the atrocity if put in the same circumstances is also guilty, what difference is there between you and me and the japs at Nanking? Do you think that if we had been raised in Japan we would have been any different?

Isn't your argument the same one that terrorists use to justify killing civilians and children? They're just as guilty as whoever it is that has actually done something to the terrorists because they support them and because they would have done the same thing if they were in their place?

You make me sick, you terrorist lover, you.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 12:14 PM (w4Bx4)

48 I'm sorry, Allah, that you can't see any distinction between civilians who didn't take part in atrocities--who didn't even know about them--and the soldiers who committed them.

I didn't say there was no distinction. I said "I've never bought the argument ... that German and Japanese civilians should bear no responsibility." Do I think all southerners were guilty of murder for the lynchings down there? No. Do I think they bore some responsibility for helping to breed a culture in which racial violence was tolerated? Uh, yes. And I'll bet you're the only one here who doesn't agree.

Isn't your argument the same one that terrorists use to justify killing civilians and children?

Isn't your argument the same one that SS officers made when they were caught? "I never personally gassed anyone, I don't believe in any of this stuff, please please please let me go?" Good book on that phenomenon here, by the way.

Anyway, no, I don't agree with terrorists that American civilians deserve to die for supporting the building of democracy in Iraq. I certainly do agree that our support means we bear some responsibility for it, though. Just like German and Japanese civilians bore some responsibility for supporting their nations' project of world conquest and mass extermination. See how our mission is morally distinct from theirs, and therefore perhaps doesn't warrant violent reprisals? You terrorist lover, you.

I'm gonna go surf around for interviews with surviving kamikaze pilots, see if I can find any other pearls of moral wisdom in there. E.g., "Never fly airplane into skyscraper full of office workers. Unless Hirohito tells you to."

Posted by: Allah at December 31, 2005 12:55 PM (CbBW/)

49 All right, terrorist lover.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at December 31, 2005 01:05 PM (w4Bx4)

50 There are many sites and books where you can get better aquainted with Japanese tactics and the worldwide, not just in Japan but worldwide coverage they recieved. I'm refering to the period prior to WWII.

You could look here for example

http://www.centurychina.com/wiihist/njmassac/killcomp.htm

Read about a well reported competition between Japanese officers and their supremacy in killing Chinese. That would be civilian Chinese. Conveniently, they even post the newspaper pictures and article which was printed in Japanese newspapers.

You really need to stop denying the average Japanese civilians didn't know about this stuff. They did. And most assuredly this stuff was known throughout the Japanese armed forces, including the navy. When the Japanese navy began WWII with a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor (Bushido? Bullshit!) they merely transfered their techniques to US, Australian, Filipino and other allied troops and civilians.

The Japanese population did not revolt against these tactics, not because they didn't know about them, but becacuse they were not told to by Hirohito. One doesn't argue with a God. This believe that they were decsendants of a higher race and that their was a living god was not even close to what you say Americans believed about their superiority.

And no, not all armies commit war crimes, certainly not to the extent the Japanese of Nazis did in WWII. To even attempt to morally equate their gov't sanctioned actions with a few rogue individuals is repugnant and wrong.

Posted by: JackStraw at December 31, 2005 01:44 PM (rnOZq)

51 I hope its better then MYSTIC RIVER and is like THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA with JOHN WAYNE

Posted by: spurwing plover at December 31, 2005 03:51 PM (rAMmL)

52 "The Japanese government was evil, yes.

The philosophy of the Japanese soldier was pretty f*cked up from our perspective, yes.

But Iwo Jima is Japan's Alamo. They pretty much all died, in hopes of hurting their enemies so badly that they could buy their home country some more time, or maybe even make the US think twice about continuing the fight."

We did think twice about continuning the "fight" when it came time to Invade the mainland Pres. Truman decided to drop two A-Bombs instead.

Hiroshima and nagasaki stopped Mainland Japan from becoming Japanese Alamo

Posted by: GTBurns at December 31, 2005 04:54 PM (FD+CQ)

53 Bravery in pursuit of evil is not admirable. Hitler won the highest combat medal the German Army gave out in WWI. He certainly was brave. But admirable? I think the honorableness of the goal matters as much as the means used to pursue that goal. The fact that the 9/11 murderers attacked innocent unarmed civillians (who had done nothing to harm the attackers or thier families),without warning renders the discussion of bravery mute, unless you have no notion of civilization. I personally find it nauseating that anyone would equate the butchery of the japanese in WWII to honorable military service.

Posted by: pendelton at December 31, 2005 07:30 PM (aEIJ1)

54 First, as a child I lived on Okinawa. As a Marine family, we didn't have base housing to live in ; we lived in Ishikawa in an apartment. As a friendly kid, I ended up meeting the Miari family and our family was invited to their home many times. Chogi, the dad, was chosen as a Kamikazi pilot but the war ended before his final flight. Nice people, decent people and no one ever talked about the war. After we moved back to the states, their oldest daughter lived with us while attending college. That is the Japan of today, or at least 1971.
The Japanese army and navy committed atrocities of epic proportions. Nanking is just one in a bloody series of events that was or would have been played out anywhere the Japanese military was in control. Allied prisioners herded into airraid shelters, covered in avgas and burned alive, Admiral Husband Kimmel's son among them. Guamians tied up and bayoneted, Army officers beheaded while marching from Bataan, downed aviators strafed, Japanese soldiers walking around with fetuses impaled on bayonets, Korean "comfort" women and a culture of death that resulted with so many Japanese civilians committing suicide by jumping into the sea at Saipan that US ships attempting to rescue them had their screws jammed with human flesh. Fuck any goddamn motherfucking son of a bitch that has the audacity to even attempt to slander our war effort by blurring the distinction between the conduct or direction of the war between the Japanese and the Allies. Two atomic bombs was mercy (yes, goddamn it, mercy) compared to the unimaginable suffering on all sides that would have resulted from an invasion of mainland Japan. Revisionist sons of bitches that try to muddy our efforts by whining about "stereotypes" haven't the foggiest idea of the meaning of the word. What makes a streotype true? One banzai charge? Two? One hundred? Why can't these cocksuckers just read a goddamn book and learn.

Posted by: Mike Caldwell at January 02, 2006 01:03 PM (8kyNc)

55 On a tangent:

"Hitler won the highest combat medal the German Army gave out in WWI. "

Hitler won the Prussian Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class and the Bavarian Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with Crown and Swords. There was a certain prestige attached to the Iron Cross, but none of these was the highest combat medal of any state of the German Empire. The highest decoration for a Bavarian enlisted soldier such as Hitler would have been the Bavarian Golden Bravery Medal, awarded 998 times. There were approximately 200,000 awards of the Iron Cross 1st Class in WW1.

Posted by: Dave (in NYC) at January 03, 2006 06:54 AM (1ILk2)

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